Numerical Carvings

Initially, I wasn’t very excited about making table numbers.  I figured I would print out the numbers in a cute font, throw them in a frame, and call it a day.  If only they were that easy. Ultimately making the table numbers turned into quite the project and I am so exited to see them on our feasting tables.  The tables will be full of twinkling candlelight and bright flowers, so I wanted the tables numbers to balance out some of the natural aspects of our wedding.  Well folks, you can’t really get any more natural than this:

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A log from my parent’s backyard. [It was chosen for its barky goodness.]

When I was visiting my parents over the holidays, my dad and I had a few dates in his wood shop…aka the garage. My dad has always loved woodworking and has built some pretty awesome things over the years (lots of furniture, playsets, and a screened-in-porch). This past year he hasn’t had much time for his wood shop so it was fun to pull his tools out. Growing up it seemed like he was always getting the latest and greatest tools every birthday and Christmas, so I was a little surprised when he said he wanted to use this old guy:

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This band saw is older than I am. It has traveled across the United States during family moves and obviously still has a warm place in my father’s heart. So, armed with our safety googles and gloves, we got to work.

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Completely focused.
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My awesome dad helping out!

We slowly sectioned the wood—and remember this is a 25+ year old saw so when I say slow, I mean tragically slow. It took a little rolling, pushing, and quite a bit of coercing to crank these babies out. Fortunately, we had a tag team thing going so it wasn’t too bad.

We ended up with 18 log slices:

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Nothing too grand, but just wait for it. [On a side note, these wood slices cost $15 each at my local Michaels. Insane. I'm sure there are cheaper options online, but after my great review I am sure everyone is searching Craigslist for a used band saw. Not.]

When I got back home, my “thriftiness” again caused me to go for the cheap purchase. This is an electric woodcarving pen. Basically you plug it in and it gets very hot [950 degrees] so you can burn into wood.

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Image via Amazon

I purchased this from Amazon for just over $14. Seemed like a great deal at the time. It has interchangeable tips and a little stand. It heats up very quickly, but if I had to do it again, I would spend $30 and not get the “value” version. (Sadly, it is indeed called the Walnut Hollow Creative Woodburner Value Pen) It was very slow going carving the wood and because I was pushing so hard, the tip quickly was completely bent.

Before I even starting burning, I used my Cricut (a recent Christmas present!) to cut out the numbers so I could have a template.

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I first used the sharp tip to go around the boarder of the number so I would get a solid line. Then, I randomly interchanged the other tips so I could “burn out” the number in a way that would create texture. I didn’t want it to look like the numbers were only painted on with brown paint.

I have the first half finished so far, but plan to finish the rest this week. Also, consider this fair warning, if you attempt wood burning you will smell like a campfire for the rest of the day :)

Overall, I am really pleased with how they are turning out. Each piece of wood is different and has cracks and imperfections. We had briefly tossed around the idea of staining them, but I think I like them in their natural glory.

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And a final emo shot

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This is an easy way to add detail and dimension to a traditional wedding project. I wish my electric pen was better or else I would use this for all sorts of signs as well.

Now I just need to decide on what to use to prop the numbers up on the table. I was thinking maybe cheap plate stands…any other ideas out there?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Squirrel

Location:
Tampa, FL
Wedding Date:
May 2013

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  1. Member
    superduperbrit 2466 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:45 am

    I love them! I’d go the cheap plate stand route too if I were you. You can sometimes find them at thrift stores (if you’re lucky) but I think Michael’s sells them for cheap. Walmart or Target may be worth checking too. They may be even cheaper than Michael’s. Also, maybe check the dollar store?

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    fionak, Guest @ 5:56 am

    LOVE them! They look amazing.

  3. Member
    bracelet 1419 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:56 am

    What a great project! I also used my FIL’s shop to cut and sand our table numbers.

  4. Member
    star 2107 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:58 am

    Wow, those look amazing!

  5. Member
    sugarpea 4824 posts, Honey bee @ 6:11 am

    Those look awesome (: I love the natural look too, no need for stain!

  6. Member
    braverbeating 1131 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:31 am

    They look so good!!!

  7. Member
    mrscvsomeday 155 posts, Blushing bee @ 6:35 am

    After being in the bridal party for a number of friends, coordinating weddings for others, and now thinking about my own…it’s safe to say these are my favorite table numbers! Plus, I love it that it allowed you to have some good dad-daughter time. :) Great idea and excellent work!

  8. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 6:41 am

    They look great, they will go great with your décor!

  9. Member
    texasaggiemom 595 posts, Busy bee @ 6:57 am

    These turned out great – congratulations! Perhaps your dad could help you trim a small flat spot on the bottom of each one (the side it should stand on, below the number.) That would allow them to stand alone, rather than having to add something to them.

  10. Member
    jbarker09 382 posts, Helper bee @ 7:30 am

    did you dry out the log or anything? We have some logs that the homeowner before us left but they’ve been outside and I’m wondering if they’re still usable or if they are crawling with bugs inside?

  11. Member
    bluewhale 638 posts, Busy bee @ 8:26 am

    what?!?! this is incredible. you should open an etsy store :)

  12. Member
    mswallaby 2061 posts, Buzzing bee @ 8:38 am

    I love those!! So pretty! You should make an extra one, with your house number – Mr. W and I have been loving having little leftover details from our wedding ;)

  13. Member
    ghiagirl893 347 posts, Helper bee @ 9:22 am

    Super cute. I second the cut off a small part of the bottom idea. Maybe even burn the other side so you can see the number from both sides.

  14. Member
    mssquirrel 276 posts, Helper bee @ 10:24 am

    @SuperDuperBrit: All my go-to stores! Good call!
    @TexasAggieMom: I had never even thought of that! Hmm….I will definitely have to consider that!
    @Mrs. Wallaby: Genius! Done.

  15. Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 10:36 am

    I just hope you find a way to use them after the wedding, ’cause they are fantastic.

  16. Member
    stephk527 987 posts, Busy bee @ 12:56 pm

    Love these! They’re very fitting for you! Also, you guys have stellar patience.

  17. Member
    chris.trib.37 7 posts, Newbee @ 1:15 am

    They turned out really great. This is so far the best idea someone had for table numbers.
    You could use your favourite number as decoration after the wedding.

  18. Member
    mssquirrel 276 posts, Helper bee @ 6:04 am

    @jbarker09: Hmm.. well I can tell you my logs were dry, they had been stacked in a wood pile for a while. If they had just been sitting on the ground, I may not have been so lucky. I say try it out and see.

  19. Guest Icon Guest
    credonna, Guest @ 11:10 am

    They look great!!!

  20. Guest Icon Guest
    Anna, Guest @ 2:00 pm

    I love this idea! You turned something that is typically a last minute project into a fun project that goes along great theme. Your guests will love the thought and time you put into it!

  21. Guest Icon Guest
    Ginny, Guest @ 10:35 am

    Maybe 2 nails driven slightly into bottom, back, that the numbers lean back onto a bit…depending on how rustic you are willing to go… stands would def be more elegant, but nails (substantial straight, not cheap flat head) are definitely budget friendly)

  22. Guest Icon Guest
    sandra ribbonsandfavors.com, Guest @ 2:28 pm

    You are right the bark on your log slices look great, very good choice! I have used log slices for risers (or chargers) on buffet tables as well, this would continue the earthy accent into other area’s.

  23. Member
    kimy 1164 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:39 am

    These look awesome!!!

  24. Guest Icon Guest
    Mardee, Guest @ 5:56 am

    These are gorgeous! And I love the pics of you and your dad wood-working! I cannot wait for this wedding!

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