I love how the copper piping links the pictures together. A very different take on the typical "family tree"!

I was trying to find a unique way to display all of the old black and white photos I found in my grandparents home after they passed away. I made this for my uncle's cabin so it is quite rustic looking which is what I was going for.  I have since done a piece that is more modern in style. I have to say, I do love the rustic look with these pics.
I used cut wood blocks, painted the back with a thin paint wash in an off white colour and wiped the access paint off so that you can still see the wood grain through the paint. I then applied a liberal layer of artists gel medium with a paintbrush, took my laser print photo and placed it on top of my wood piece(face down-picture will show in mirror image). I used a pencil just to help get all the air bubbles out and let it dry for several hours/over night(no less than 6 hours). Take a spray bottle with water and spray the back of the picture then start peeling off the layers of paper(it's messy and takes patience!) just keep rubbing off the layers of paper with your fingers until you are satisfied with what you are seeing. Paint on another layer of gel medium that I thinned a bit with water over the picture and let dry! I then arranged them in different depths using additional wood blocks or thicknesses of wood and played around with the copper piping in different ways for accent. once I had everything where I wanted it I used a spay drill bit the diameter of my copper piping and drilled my wood to fit my piping. I used a pencil to trace the markings of where I wanted to drill. I drilled about 1/4inch in(enough to hold my copper in place. I secured the copper in with a clear silicone. let it dry. I then glued my wood block pieces to the wood backing which I had already painted. let it dry. I then used screws and secured each wood block to the backing from the back. I attached picture hangers to the back and "wooden you know it", another project complete!
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The great thing about this rustic piece is it's imperfection. The wood was as old and weathered as the pictures. That's what makes it so charming!
Adding the copper piping was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle but the result was so worth it for the look I was trying to achieve.
This was one of the first projects I did where I used a new experimental technique. I had the vision of what I wanted in my head but wasn't entirely sure of the process to make the vision come to life. It turned out exactly as I had hoped and I am glad I took the risk in trying something new!
These pieces were purchased for a teenagers room believe it or not. She was wanting a funky mix of old and new and these matched her modern wallpaper motif perfectly. It was just what she was looking for! I was surprised and happy that they were going to be used in such  modern and young surroundings. Who knew that these vintage Victorian style pieces would work this way. Just goes to show you that thinking outside the box can give you the results
you never knew were possible!
Here are the instructions on how I refinished these two pieces in case you want to take on the task. It was fun and much easier than I had anticipated.

Sand  and clean the piece well and prime. I used a paint that had the primer in it
Apply two coats of latex paint(I mixed my own custom colour).
I  used a paint brush to apply the paint because I wanted the brush strokes to show
to add character to the piece.
Choose a stencil to match the piece you  working on. I used an acrylic craft paint in Gold.  Use a stencil spray adhesive  to help keep your stencil in place. I dabbed on a thin layer of gold paint and
removed the stencil right away. After the paint is completely dry make sure that
you remove any spray adhesive that has stuck to the surface of the piece as it
will prevent the stain and wax from taking properly.
Apply stain with a lint  free cloth. I kept my cloth slightly damp. It seemed to work better as the stain
dries quickly and it gave me a little more working time. Rub over in small
sections. I worked with the grain of the brush strokes. wipe off excess stain
remaining if needed. Let dry really well.  You be the judge on how much stain.
The more stain the older the piece will look. I used a minwax Colonial Pine on
these pieces but use whatever suits your piece. I tested  everything on a sample
before applying it to the actual piece. I knew then how to apply the stain and
how much I wanted to use and how it would look on the paint colour I chose.

Apply a wax paste to the whole piece with a dry cloth and buff to a beautiful sheen!

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