Crafty Thursday: DIY Christmas: Children’s Name Plaques
Hi Everyone, hope you are enjoying your holiday season. We are getting about eight inches of snow here in Southeastern Michigan. It arrived a day late, but that is not too late for our out-of-town guests to have a white Christmas break after all.
And boy has this Christmas been a busy one! I decided to do a mostly DIY Christmas and, typical, didn’t get myself going early enough to finish in a reasonable amount of time. I made it though, thanks to Edmond, a little caffeine and maybe a healthy dose of insanity. Very, very late nights became the norm for a couple of weeks.
Today, I would like to share some customized name plaques that I built and painted for some special kids in my life.
My niece and nephew have unique names and as many of us who grew up with names that aren’t found on personalized children’s items, we understand the frustration at never seeing your name on something you may like to have. Growing up, NICKI was nowhere to be found. NICK for boys and NICOLE for girls was the closest I could get.
So when a little birdie (their mom) told me the kids were often bummed that they couldn’t find anything with their name on it and wanted name plaques for their bedroom doors, I accepted the challenge to make them something that I hoped they would like and would be as unique as they are.
For my niece, whom is six, I started with a fancy frame that would need a back added to paint her name on and the side loops cut off so it could open wide enough to write something while hanging on her door. I wanted it to open because I thought a message center inside would be fun, and because I can’t seem to do things the easy way
I heard she is past the pink stage, so I went with my favorite colors (that I found out later are hers too) and this is how it turned out:
You can find small pieces of hobby wood at Michael’s that work really well to create smaller projects like this one. I painted the main box in Martha Stewart’s Teal with a Vanilla wash and a pearlized blue dry brushed in random areas. Copper paint and the vanilla color frame the inside, with 3D paint in teal, green and purple for the accents and lettering. I painted a wood flower button I found at Joanne Etc. for the dot over the “i”.
I made some chalkboard paint, cut the handle off of a small brush to use as an eraser and attached a piece of chalk. The eraser is held in place by screwing with very small hinge screws a piece of velvety elastic bought by the yard. Twine holds the chalk which fits inside the box or can hang on the outside.
There are two ways to hang it, since I wasn’t sure what set up they had on their doors. I added the ribbon to hang from and a regular picture hanger on the back. The small hinges and clasp can also be found in the wood section at Michael’s.
My nephew is nine now and really into everything spy and ninja. I decided to make his plaque with secret doors, which means false doors too. I started with the main plaque, added slats of wood held flush to the plaque height by gluing “legs” on each end of the slat. Some were glued in place and others left to open. I bought elastic ribbon, latches, tacks, hinges and any other notions I thought I might be able to use.
Here is how his came out:
Upholstery tacks and the elastic ribbon act as hinges on the doors, both real and false. Latches hold the doors closed as well as work as a way to open them.
I painted the inside Crimson by Lumiere. The outside in Martha Stewart’s Mariner Sample and Bay leaf sample for the lettering. Green is his favorite color.
I decided to add special notes that I tried to write like “M” would in a James Bond movie. They would describe what the area could be used for or what was in there. I cut a crayon in half to fit in one, left a message written in invisible ink in the second and some post-it paper to write and receive
messages missions. Of course each secret note needed to be destroyed to protect our identity.
Some hot glue dots across the back to help protect the door and a simple picture hanger were added to the back.
Here it is on my front door for some perspective.
Hopefully the kids will enjoy their customized name plaques as much as I had making them.
Did you do any DIY gifts this year? I would love to see them.