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Merchant Kitty

Category: Gifts

Anything that would make a good gift

Reversible Thanksgiving / Christmas Blocks with 2×4’s

We made these reversible thanksgiving/ Christmas blocks from 2 x 4’s for the craft show.  Of course they are super easy (after the nasty cutting and sanding stage).  We color washed them and decoupaged scrapbook paper to the front and back.  This first set is free handed letters.

2x4 holiday blocks
give thanks and Christ is born reversible holiday blocks from 2×4 scraps


We also made some with letters cut with the Silhouette.

2×4 pumpkin blocks

But what I really fell in love with was the 2×4 block pumpkins.  I decoupaged all four sides and added a stem and burlap leaves.  The stem is a paper funnel wrapped with yarn or jute.  I painted my burlap with decoupage (actually I ran out of Modge Podge about half way through, so you will be happy to know I substituted elmer’s glue straight from the bottle with no noticeable difference).  The “decoupage” made the burlap stiff so I could cut out leaf shapes.  I wrapped a bit of craft wire with brown floral tape and hot glued the burlap leaves to it after wrapping it around the stem.  They were a little more work with the stem and flowers, but oh, so worth it!

2x4 pumpkin blocks
2×4’s decorated with scrapbook paper and stems are fun and festive

2×4 pumpkin

Here is a taller large pumpkin in a 2×4 grouping.  I used the freezer paper transfer method to apply lettering and flourishes to the pumpkins and hot glued them together.  They don’t like to be dropped on concrete though.  I think I have dropped them about 3 times now and had to glue them back together.

2x4 pumpkin art
pumpkin fashioned from three 2×4’s

4×4 pumpkins

These pumpkins are made from fence post.  I just used some scraps for the stems.

pumpkin blocks from 4x4 fence post scraps
pumpkin blocks from 4×4 fence post scraps

Have you used salvage wood for your fall decorations?  We would like to hear about it in the comments!

I have been busy in “the dungeon” (the garage) preparing pallets for painting.  Pallets render beautiful wood that is perfect for distressed signs.  The older and shabbier the wood the more beautiful it seems to be.  My only complaint would be dis-assembly.  They are an absolute pain to get apart.  I am not a big fan of sawing and sanding either, but even with new wood, you would be in for that.  It’s best just to spend a day committed to being filthy and get it done.

pallet with color wash
Color wash pallet art. Adjust the intensity of the color by adding water.

My favorite way to finish old wood is to white wash or color wash.  I am not very scientific about it I am afraid.  I have become very lazy.  I just wet a paper towel, barely ring it out and dab it in paint and rub it in like lotion.  If you want it darker just get more paint.  If you get it on and decide it is too dark, just make sure your paper towel is wet and wipe it away.  You get a nice color but are still able to see all the wood grain and character flaws that make each piece unique!  If your wood is too new and you are wanting that old weathered look, you can go back over the edges and larger scars with a bit of black (if you do a color other than black).

hand painted pallet art
Free hand lettering on pallet art

Now about lettering…  There are several ways you can go about it.  There is always the vinyl letter standby.  You can rub on a transfer using the freezer paper method. (One thing to mention is that on a dry surface like unfinished wood or color washed wood is that you  cannot wipe away mistakes like you can on a painted surface.  The thirsty wood absorbs the ink readily.  The third way is to free hand your lettering.

Lately I have just been super lazy.  I don’t want to cut or print anything out, I just want to get to it.  So I lightly pencil in my letters.  I don’t worry about the font style or anything like that, just get the basic size down.  There are a few key components to nice free hand lettering:

  1. Keep the aspect ratio correct.  Lower case letters and a little more than half of upper case and tall letters.  All letters keep the same height and spacing.  If your size gets off, return back to the size at the beginning of the word so that it looks like it is on purpose.
  2. Keep your letters on a straight plane.  If you find it is impossible to keep them straight, your only option is to make them crooked on purpose by tilting each letter a different direction
  3. Match your characters.  If your saying has more than one e, then your e’s should look the same.  Lower case a, d, q, o, p, b, & g should have the same roundness and legs or matching serifs (the little marks at the end of the legs)  Lower case r, n, m should also look alike.
  4. I usually rough in my letters, and then go back and fill in thicknesses, fancy curves, and serifs, always erring on the side of less, since you can always make the letter thicker, but once it is too fat your stuck, unless your good at getting the paint off.
  5. Keep telling yourself, you can always paint over it, and many times you can wipe off mistakes with a brisk scrub, and it is just a pallet.  The world is not over if it fails.  Pep talks help me to keep moving forward when I inevitably get to that point where I think I have messed it up beyond hope.  I find myself at that stage in nearly every craft I take on.  “It’s ruined now.  All I can do is try to fix it” And I spend the rest of the time hoping no one sees it until I am able to rectify a colossal mistake.
  6. Take a look at similar pieces and try to see what makes it better than yours.  Many times it is a subtle shadow or an added color that gives it depth that you never noticed before.  If you are all done with your lettering but it just doesn’t have that gorgeous feel, yet you know your letters are well made, it might be that depth that is missing.  I will sometimes take a dry paper towel and rub off a little paint, or water down some dark paint to create shadows under and around my letters.  I might add another color with colored pencil or outline with a sharpie for some stark definition. It might need the color of the letters on the edges of the sign to pull it all together.

Here are some more pallet signs!  Reward for good behavior in the dungeon!

Life is better in flip flops wood sign
hand painted wood sign


Pallet salvage
Reversible pallet salvage
Happy Harvest/ It’s beginning to look a lot like Chirstmas


Key sign with hooks to keep your keys
Key storage Made from salvaged pallets
Pallet decor
This fence like structure created from salvaged pallet wood gives you instant hanging space in any corner
Tune my Heart to Sing thy grace salvaged pallet sign
Tune My Heart to Sing Thy Grace hand painted wooden sign
A yawn is a silent scream for coffee with coffee hooks
A yawn is a silent scream for coffee with hooks for coffee cups


paint cans as cookie tins
paint cans embellished with scrapbook paper and burlap makes a great decorative container or popcorn & cookie tin to give at the holidays


We purchased these paint cans for a ladies retreat in October.  They are super easy to class up with scrapbook paper, or fabric and ribbon.  New cans can be purchased from your local paint dealer.  Ours cost $2 and we decided it would make a great cookie/ treat tin for the holidays.  It takes two papers to cover each can.  You can remove the handles to make it easier to manage.  Punch holes where the handles go with a large hole punch or circle cutter. Paint cans are great because they have straight sides so there is no guess work getting your paper to fit.  You only need to hot glue the edges of the paper.  One thing to note is that the cans are metal which means they cool down your glue very quickly.  It helps to apply the glue to the paper instead of the can, but you still must work quickly before the glue cools. Add a contrasting belly band, a wide ribbon or a strip of burlap.  We added burlap and burlap rosettes.