Woodburn DIY: Personalized Michigan cutting board

Woodburn DIY: Personalized Michigan cutting board

Soooo... woodburning might be my new favorite hobby. I probably shouldn't be so surprised at how much I enjoy it considering the pyro in me, but I am blown away at how cool this looks using just a $15 tool! 

If you're looking for an expensive-looking and unique gift or maybe just a personalized piece for your own family to enjoy, look no further! This is a ridiculously easy DIY project (so long as you have some patience) that gives any old piece of wood, in my case a cutting board, a customized touch with that trendy rustic feel. 

HOW WE DID IT

1) BUY A WOODBURNING TOOL

I purchased this one from Walnut Hallow at Michael's for about $15 with tax.

You can easily purchase a more expensive one, but I figured I'd start small and, if I love it enough, I can save up down the road for a nicer one. Besides, many of the reviews I read from avid woodburners say they still love using this "value tool."

2) BUY YOUR WOOD PIECE

The goal of this DIY was to make a thank-you gift for Andrew's first clients as he begins his new career as a real estate agent. We wanted a special housewarming gift that wouldn't break the bank because we are (mostly) living on just my income. 

When we moved into Mary Kay, our good friends Josh and Kelli bought us a Michigan-shaped cutting board that we adore. We actually use it as a piece of art in our kitchen. So, we figured, why not personalize one of these for Andrew's clients?

At around $20, this board from Bed, Bath and Beyond was the winner. Not pictured - a leather string through that hole for hanging purposes.

Bed, Bath and Beyond has a multitude of cutting boards to choose from, but if you're looking for something else, Michael's and other craft stores have whole aisles of raw wood pieces (plaques, jewelry boxes, bird houses, etc).

**Disclaimer: PLEASE make sure your choice is untreated wood with no finish already on it. Woodburning finished wood could release toxic fumes. Check out this for more info.**

3) CREATE, PRINT AND CUT OUT YOUR DESIGN

We decided to do their last name on the front with an "x" to mark where their new home is and the year 2017 to signify this new chapter.

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On the back, we chose to do JMW Real Estate's logo with Andrew's name below. 

We downloaded some fonts from DaFont and 1001 Fonts to play around with before deciding on Tanglewood Tales NF from 1001 Fonts

We used the Apple equivalent of Microsoft Powerpoint (Keynote) to create what we wanted and then printed them off and cut them to size. 

4) TRANSFER YOUR DESIGN

Figure out where you want to place your design. For us, we had to keep in mind where in the mitten their new home is so we could still mark it with an "x" later. 

Once you figure that out, it's time to prep it for transferring. We're all about saving money, so we opted for the free technique (no transfer paper required) that we saw in this video tutorial. Using a pencil, we shaded the back of the design where the font was. 

Then, we flipped it over to the front side and placed it on the cutting board where we wanted it to be transferred and taped it in place. We did the same with the tiny 2017 writing.

At first, on the back, we only traced the font with a pencil. It turned out very faint, leading to us to outlining it in pencil on the cutting board once more. So, on the front, we tried using a pen and it worked out much better. 

5) BURN, BABY, BURN

Time to get burning! Pick the tip you think works best for your project. We shaded with the X-ACTO knife-looking tool and outlined with the rounded point pen-like one.

After you turn on your woodburner, let it warm up for a few minutes. After about five or ten minutes, start burning.

Keep in mind, different woods burn differently. Bamboo is known for how hard it is, so it takes a little more effort than a softer wood, but still isn't too tough.

This video tutorial uses the exact tool we did. This video tutorial demonstrates how to shade. 

**Tip: we brought in a fan to blow the occasional smoke away from our faces.**

6) ADMIRE YOUR FINISHED PRODUCT

It took about two and a half hours from start to finish. We wiped off any ashes with a dry paper towel and used an eraser to get rid of extra pencil marks.

If you're also burning a cutting board, feel free to season it with mineral oil or, my favorite because of its longevity between seasonings Howard Butcher Block Conditioner, once you're finished. 

PLEASE PARDON OUR APPEARANCE

PLEASE PARDON OUR APPEARANCE