Monday, August 19, 2013

Hearts from recycled fence pickets

I really love the shape of the Mexican heart milagros, with a decorative edge and flames above. I had seen a cool mirror shaped like one at the Cherry Creek Art festival and thought it would be cool to make some artistic ones.

Recently, we replaced a small portion of our wood fence due to structural issues (a strong wind almost took a portion down). We had put the leftover wood in a pile until we had time to cut it down and put it in the trash. The longer it sat there, the more I thought this would be great for my hearts. It is great to re-use the wood and will give my hearts a rustic feel. So I took five boards and was able to get three hearts from it. The larger ones are about 21".

Here is my first set of boards. I glued (and eventually) screwed the wood strip to them to hold them together.  Usually it took more than one strip to keep the assembly from being kind of wobbly.

I used a hand held jigsaw to cut my shapes. When I planned my design, I made sure I didn't make any tight curves that this saw couldn't handle. Having made three of these, there are some things I would do differently. Make sure the wood strip on the back is not going to get in the way of the saw. I also think cutting the end pieces separately, before assembly, would be best as the saw vibrates so much that these pieces sometimes came unattached. Even with the glue and screws, the wood is old and these pieces would just fall off.

Here is the backside. I then spray painted the back and edges black.

 Front side:

Heart 2:

Heart 3:

I gessoed the fronts with white gesso in the center, and black gesso around the edges and flames.

I painted the smaller heart turquoise in the middle. I plan to leave some black details, but most of the black gets covered with metal leaf.

I painted details with gold paint to give me a road map for the metal leaf and the black details.

I knew I wanted this heart to have two types of metal leaf. I applied glue only where I wanted the gold leaf.  I used a glue that dries tacky which allows the leaf to adhere.
I use a stiff painting brush to first press the leaf into the glue, then brush the excess leaf away. I then used a rainbow (oil-slick looking) metal leaf for the other part of the frame area. I always put any scrap foil pieces I brush off into a plastic container to use later on another project.

 I then mixed some black paint with some glazing medium to paint some shadows on the heart center and on the gold frame.

 Red Heart 1, before adding black shadows. Foil was from my mixed container of foils, some copper, gold, rainbow, etc.

 Red Heart 1, finished.

 Detail, Red Heart 1

Red Heart 2, before adding black shadows.

Red Heart 2, finished. Gold foil was used.

Red Heart 2, detail

I really like how these turned out!

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