Waste Not ~ Want Not! Using up wood scraps

Michael gets the reclaimed wood that I use for making my signs and cuts it to certain basic sizes and keeps several shelves full of it in our workshop.  I ‘pre-piant’ my sign boards assembly line style.  Line up as many as will fit on the work table and basecoat them all in black.  Once dry, I paint the color top coat; then distress.  NOW they are ready for the designs to be painted on them. 

I keep a stash of these pre-painted boards stocked up in my craft room.  When I am ready to letter the signs, I select the sizes/colors that I want and usually do several of each design at a time.  Since we don’t individually cut each board to size to exactly fit each stencil; I end up doing that final cut at the END of the process.  Then I just touch up the black paint on the end that I cut.  This leaves me with a LOT of little painted scraps of wood.


And THIS is what I do with all those little scraps!


I have foam alphabet stamps and stamp a single letter on each scrap of wood when I get enough of them built up.


These little ‘monograms’ are for sale in my booth at Stars; priced from $3.00 – $5.00.

Use them to spell out a word, or just your initials.

Half round coffee table

Michael scrounged (rescued from a dumpster!) several of these BIG half round pieces of plywood, so I’ve been wracking my brain to think of a good way to USE them.  First thought was a headboard for a child’s bed, or maybe a GIANT ‘man in the moon’ painting.  Nope, just not the right inspiration yet.  THEN I was telling Michael what items are on my current ‘wish list’, and coffee tables was at the top of the list.  Why not make some half round coffee tables?!?  And so we did!

SUPER simple design with an elongated “H” base (instead of legs) like we use for step stools.  I painted the whole thing beachy blue, sanded to distress then applied some of my own ‘weathered wood wash’ (a stain or glaze would work just as well) to give it that weathered beach feeling.

Things NEVER look as ‘distressed’ in the pictures as they really are!  sigh.  It is QUITE well distressed, trust me.

We actually made 2 of them.  Was thinking it would be fun to display them together, as a big round, like this.  Alas, I don’t think there is going to be enough room in my booth at Stars for both of them just now.  One of them will be going in this week, for sure though.

We’ve got a couple more pieces of this half round stuff to work with; so we’ll see how well these coffee tables go over before we decide to make more or not.  I also spotted a smaller half round in Michael’s stash and was thinking we could do a TALL sofa back table, with a shelf  below, and an upper shelf  from the smaller half round.  Would work well as an entry hall table or even a BAR! 

Watch for LOTS of the beachy blue items to appear at Stars by the end of the week!


Been lovin’ the monogram thing for a while now.  Here are some new ones I’ve been working on for the spring show next week.

These are made using scrap pieces of 2×6.

Nicely worn and weathered look.

A few of the scraps were big enough to write words on.

And some others made using scrap pieces of plywood:

Wouldn’t it be fun to spell out a word using all the different colors?!?!


Published in: on April 14, 2010 at 8:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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Waste not . . . want not. Scrap wood.

I pride myself on not being wasteful.  Michael and I both do, actually.  And if WE don’t have a use for something, we’ll donate it to someone who does.  We support the thrift stores and Habitat ReStores both by purchasing AND donating.   And we get a lot of ‘orpahns’ left on our doorstep.  (not literally!)  But back when we had our store, we’d have people come in with a pile of something they WERE going to throw away, but thought we could come up with a use for it.  And the circle of life AWAY from the landfill begins.

An example.  Back in the day I used to make a LOT of wooden hearts.  Nearly everything I made had a heart on it.  You remember those days, don’t you?  So, in the process of cutting out all those hearts, I ended up with a lot of triangular shaped scraps.  With some of them, I actually made smaller hearts! (by cutting a “V” out of the top of the triangle and ‘hand carving’ the rest on my belt sander.  Then when I’d made more of those than I knew what to do with, I made carrots out of the triangles.  Carrots for bunny pull toy handles and snow man noses.  Like these:

And these:

For the bunches of carrots, I’d drill a small hole in the top, glue in a snippet of green jute, and once the glue was dry, unravel the jute to look like carrot tops.

Lots of square shaped pieces of wood scraps too.  Most of these became these:

I called them ‘word blocks’.  And I’ve literally sold thousands of these over the years.  So much so that I cannot bear to make them anymore.  I’m OVER the word blocks!  I cannot make myself make them anymore! 

Fortunately I don’t have as many wood scraps as I used to, now that I am doing more vintage than handcrafted, but for the little square and rectangular scraps I DO have, THIS IDEA from Molly Susan Strong’s blog is perfect!  Just gotta remember it for NEXT Valentines Day!