As I mentioned in my Appalachian Trail Koozie post, for Secret Santa at work, I drew a colleague who had recently hiked the entire Appalachian Trail (AT). I was looking for a cool AT themed gift. I found some really cool signs/plaques on Etsy, but they were outside of the Secret Santa budget. I decided to make my own. I bought a wooden plaque from Michaels. I then made my own stain by putting some old steel bolts in vinegar overnight. (I had seen the idea on Pinterest.) It brushed on clear, but turned the wood a nice vintage-like brown/grey. Using PowerPoint, I designed a hiker on a trail. Using the same method I used for my wedding signs, I transferred the design to the plaque. It turned out great, and he loved it!
Last year, I found a cute idea on Pinterest. Someone had created this adorable plaque. Unfortunately, the link attached to the pin didn’t lead to directions. I decided to make similar plaques for my parents and my boyfriend’s parents for Christmas. I detailed my improvised process below. Sorry for the lack of pictures!
Purchase your plaque so you are certain of the size.
Print out a state map and a small heart using your computer and printer. Make sure the sizes are appropriate for your plaque. I copied my state map into PowerPoint so that I could scale it to fit my plaque well. Also in PowerPoint, I superimposed the heart on the map over the cities where my parents and my then boyfriend’s (now fiance’s!) parents live.
Cut out the map and the heart using scissors.
Create small rolls of masking tape and put the tape on the back of the map.
Place the map on the plaque in the orientation desired.
Line the paper map and heart with nails. I would suggest using a spacer so the nails are evenly spaced. I used a crochet hook. A pen would be an appropriate size.
After the paper map and heart are completely lined with nails, carefully remove the map.
Tie the end of the thread to one of the heart nails. Maintaining tension in the thread, wrap the thread around the nails alternating between heart nails and map nails. Wrap thread around each map nail once and each heart nail several times. When all of the nails are wrapped, tie the string to the final nail and cut the string close to the nail.
I was very pleased with the final product and both of our parents loved their gifts!
Time Requited: 2 Movies
Overall Experience: Excellent
About a month ago, I got an email from Uncommon Goods. They are selling almost the exact same plaques for $85! I wish that I had thought to paint the tips of the nails red for the heart. That was a really cute idea!