I was in search of a special gift to bring to my sweet friend who is in the hospital. I was inspired by this idea from the lovely ladies at Shanty 2 Chic. These girls are seriously SO talented and have THE BEST free plans and tutorials!!
I love giving and receiving handmade gifts…I think the simple things are the most beautiful, heartfelt and meaningful. This is a perfect handmade, personalized gift that can be displayed and enjoyed for a long time.
These sunflowers grow wild near my house and I’m amazed at how many there are! There aren’t very many flowers that grow wild in this Arizona heat but these little guys are thriving and growing like crazy! I see them everyday on the side of the road and had always wanted to pull over to pick some for myself but never did. When I decided to make this gift, I knew that the sunflowers that I had seen everyday would be perfect! I had no idea how perfect. When I brought them to her, she told me that sunflowers have a very special significance for her and her family, more than I had even known. Sometimes the little things are big things and even the smallest gestures can fill your heart more than you can imagine.
- 1×4 pine board
- Mason jars
- Brad nailer
- Wood glue
- Cotton rags
- Vinegar (I used organic apple cider vinegar because that’s just what I had on hand and had good results with it in the past)
- Grade 0000 Steel Wool (you can find this at most hardware stores or the paint & hardware section of Walmart)
- Jute twine
- Decorative card or embellishment
I cut my 1×4 pine board into 5 pieces. Three 10″ boards for 2 sides and the bottom. Then I cut 2 boards at 4 7/8″ for the ends. I made the box 10″ long because I wanted my mason jars to fit perfectly without too much room for them to move around.
Before staining the boards and getting them ready to assemble, I made sure that they fit together and that the jars would fit the way I wanted them to.
This vinegar staining method creates a chemical reaction between the vinegar mixture and the tannic acid in the tea. This oxidizes the wood making brand new pine look like you just went and pulled it off of an old barn.
To do this, you’ll need to start by soaking your steel wool (or anything with iron…I’ve used old steel bolts in the past) in a sealed container with vinegar overnight or longer. I used organic apple cider vinegar because I had it already and I liked the way it worked for me before. I just used the glass bottle that the vinegar came in, ripped apart & shoved, strategically placed the steel wool inside of the bottle, screwed the cap back on and let it sit overnight.
Next, soak a tea bag in warm water for a few minutes and saturate the boards with it. If the tea bag falls apart…and it will…no worries just rub the loose tea on the wood also.
Alright, so this next step is THE MOST important step of all!! I repeat…VERY IMPORTANT!! PUT..ON…GLOVES! Unless you like the dirty mechanic nail look (no offense if you’re a mechanic…or you’re into dirty nails) Trust me. You will have black nail beds and cuticles for like 3 weeks if you get this stuff on your hands…I’m speaking from experience…
Also very important to protect your work surface and clothing.
After the boards are coated with stain, lay them out to dry. I put them in the sun to dry completely. They dry really fast this way and I feel like sun drying helps give the wood even more of an aged look.
I gave the dry boards a light sanding to distress the edges.
Next I assembled the box using wood glue and my Ryobi brad nailer.
I applied a light coat of finishing wax. I like using this Minwax Paste Finishing Wax because it’s easy to apply…you just wipe on, let dry and lightly buff it off. I also like it because it gives the wood a light finish without taking away from the aged, rustic charm.
The finished piece is wrapped in jute twine with an hand written verse to encourage my friend in the days ahead.
Now every time I visit my friend, I can replenish her sunflowers and hopefully help brighten her day. This was so easy to make and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome of this project!
Leave your comments and questions below. I’d love to hear if you’ve tried this vinegar stain technique and how it worked for you!
Thanks for stopping by and check back again soon!