I have been getting started with some Christmas projects. This particular project is for a mantle décor project that I will show you soon/. I think it is a fun gift idea for people how like to decorate, perfect for a bookshelf or a wall display… and might be fun at a wedding (you guys will have to share your ideas on how to use it with me in the comments!)
Anyway, it is super easy it is to create your own ampersand sign or “and” sign. It only took about an hour and a half to cut and sand it, in preparation for paint. The cutting was the easy part, it was the sanding that took most of the time. Best of all this project was basically free. We used scrap MDF and left over spray paint. So for those of you that need a decently priced gift for the holidays… give this a try!
How to Make an Ampersand Cutout Sign
All you need are the following tools:
- print out of ampersand
- jig saw
- sand paper
- sanding block
- variety of pipe sizes for sanding
about 1 – 2 hours
We started out by printing the ampersand that we liked the look of, to the exact size we wanted the final piece to be. This is a personal thing, you can find the perfect one for you just by looking around online or through your computers fonts and make it any size you want. The only rule is that it just has to be one continuous piece. We made ours slightly wider around some of the curves with a marker, to make it feel a little beefier.
Once we were satisfied with the look, I scribbled graphite(or some soft pencil lead) on the back of the printed ampersand just around the edge of the image, to be able to transfer the design to the MDF wood. It’s like making your own homemade transfer paper or, you can also use transfer paper if you have any. After that was done, I taped it to the corner of the board, so I could use the rest of the wood for something else.
Now that it was taped in place, all I had to do was trace the edges of the ampersand. The pencil lines were a little faint, so I ended up outlining it a little darker, so I could see where to cut it out.
Before we get to the cutting, be sure you know how to use your tools, and follow all safety instructions of any tool you use. I decided to use a band saw for cutting out the edges The edges were a little rougher than a jig saw cut would be but, I was able to cut it really fast. (*you can also use a jig saw just be sure to clamp the piece in place and be careful with the small cuts).
Clamp the edge of the ampersand to a sturdy work table, with the center holes hanging out over the edge (so you don’t cut your table up!) in order to cut out the center portions, you have to start with a drilled hole to fit the blade of the jig saw in. Place the blade in the hole and get cutting just make sure to cut slow and steady. This will give you a smooth cut and keep your cuts straight up and down.
After all the cuts where made in about 15 minutes, here is how it turned out. Pretty cool huh?
Because the edges have lots of curves, I wrapped the sandpaper around a piece of pvc pipe to help maintain the curved shape while sanding the edges. I used two different sized pipes to sand the curves. With the outer curved edges I used a sanding block and my multi-tool.
Now the next step is to paint it, we chose silver to go with the rest of the craft project that you will see soon! One genius idea Justin came up with for painting both sides at once was screwing a screw hook into the side, then hang that through a paint stick with a hole drilled into the end. Easy! Then you can spray each side and just hang up to dry (and bonus, your hands won’t be covered in paint!
(Next time I will put it in the center exact bottom of the sign, then no need to worry about touching up paint)
We used Rustoleum hammered spray paint to add some texture (it was a dark silver color) You can see the texture above! You can paint yours any color that you like!
This is what it might look like on a mantel (like the one we just installed, but like I said I want to hear your ideas on how you would use it, and I will show you what I made it for in the next day or two!)
What do you think of our tutorial on how to make and ampersand cutout?
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