Friday, March 5, 2010

Ampersands and Jig Saws: How I *Didn't* Lose Any Fingers

I wanted to share this project in The DIY Show-off's project parade!!

The DIY Show Off

Back in my "I'm going to be a artist!" phase (i.e. college) I was into Typography. I've always had a appreciating for type and the way it curves, specifically Ampersands. I love the way they look in any font.


How can you not like that?

I've seen a lot of Ampersands lately.  From just hanging out on a shelf, to actually hanging on a wall. 

I decided to poke around online and see what sort of large ampersands I could find. Unfortunately, I couldn't find many that I liked. So I decided to take matters into my own hands. Plus I've got a unopened Jig Saw in my garage that needed to be broken in. 

I perused through my fonts and found a Ampersand that was overall traditional but had a little more curve to it and blew it up in Photoshop.

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I'm sure you're like me and don't have access to a gigantic printer that prints on gigantic paper. So I had to make due. Just trim to fit and tape it together. Easy peasy.

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Now we're going to trace like we did here but without the carbon paper. Just use a good 'ole No. 2 pencil instead. Just start scribbling where the lines are on the
BACK of the printed side. I held it up to the light now and then to make sure I was following the right lines.

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Here's my board

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After you've "traced" the printed side's lines, flip it over and stick it onto the board. You can secure the paper if you'd like with some masking tape if you feel like it'll slide around.

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I used a ballpoint pen, but you can anything with a solid point to trace the outline of the Ampersand to transfer it onto your board.

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Make sure you use something like saw horses when you're cutting it out. You wouldn't want to cut through your trusty workbench or your hand anything.

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Brand spankin' new! It's never been touched and I've never touched a Jig Saw before. Let's see how this goes.....

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I just started cutting from the sides and sliding into the curves of the letter. Just be super careful where your fingers are and where the blade is going. It's easy to forget you're working with a blade here and I would be so devastated if I found out you cut something off.

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As for getting to the center, get the biggest drill bit you can find in your tool box and drill a hold right in the middle of the gap. If the drill bit wasn't big enough like mine, I sort of had to carve out a big enough hole for the blade to fit in with the bit.Once you've got the blade in you can cut the center out!

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And there you have it! Not bad for my first time eh?

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I used some fine grit sandpaper to even out the rough spots along the edges, but I also used some files I had to touch up the tight spots that sandpaper wouldn't really get.

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I gave it a good coat of primer just so the paint would go on smoother. I didn't feel like the sandpaper gave me a smooth enough surface.

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I wanted it to be distressed so I have it a coat of white paint first...

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Then black...

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I let it set overnight and then took some handy fine grit sandpaper and distressed it just a tad on the edges.

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And here you have it! I absolutely love how it turned out!

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If you'd like to try this for yourself, here is a great post about Ampersands at The Design Cubicle Huge list of fonts and their ampersands. He even is so kind as to link to the font download if you find *the* one.



b*schus said...

I'm impressed! What a fun little project with a totally professional looking result!

Catherine Hansen Peart said...

That is fantastic!! I LOVE IT! You are obviously a natural with a jigsaw...

Liz said...

I love it and I WANT ONE!!!! Oh goodness, now I'm going to have to find a jigsaw...:)

~ Liz

Desiree said...

Genius! However, I'm leaving the jigsaw part to you - I would DEFINITELY be the one to saw through my hand!

Eileen said...

That was your first one?! So great! I'm embarrassed to say..I have a jigsaw and I've never used it. I love your tutorial!

Kair said...

Found your blog from One Pretty Thing :)

I love this! What font is that ampersand in, if you don't mind sharing?

Kristina at The Purple Pea said...

Thanks guys!! It's is super easy to make and was fun to make!! But then again I'm a sucker for tools.

I bought a new orbital sander over the weekend and got so excited when I used it.

Averill said...

I'm so impressed! I've used a jigsaw before and they're not easy to control, especially on curves. Way to go, Ms. Power Tool!

The Whimsical Princess said...

Yea you have I have my very own set of powertools. I LOVE this and I will have to break those babies out!

Jessi said...

Wow! Fantastic! I am super impressed that you cut that out on your own. I am still scared of power tools. ha!

Chrissy @ Home.Kids.Life. said...

Wow! I am so impressed. Nice work!

Sherry said...

This turned out great! I have been wanting a jigsaw and seeing this has confirmed I need to buy one. Great Job.

I would love for you to stop by for a visit and enter my giveaway.

Hattie said...

I can't believe that was your first try! It looks so good!

tales from an oc cottage said...


m ^..^

Debbie said...

WOW your new name is going to be tool time!~ You are good, that turned out awesome, i would not dare try that at home, I truly would wind up in the ER.....I have a fun linky party going on too, and an awesome giveaway you may just want to check out.

Charity said...

I love this project! it's so chic!

michelle@somedaycrafts said...

This is AMAZING! Love it! Great job!

Pam @ diy Design Fanatic said...

Wonderful job!

Vicky said...

Aren't you handy!! I love it! I get inspiration from PB, too, but somehow it just ends as that, inspiration. I love your bells of Ireland, too. One of my favorites!

Vicky @sleeping in an unmade bed

Amber @ Two Nuts in a Shell said...

Love it! My dad just gave me one of his jigsaws so this would be a great way to hone in on my skills! Thanks for the idea!

michelle@somedaycrafts said...

I am featuring this at later today. Grab my "featured" button. said...

I love it! you did a fabulous job, and so glad you didn't lose any fingers!
thanks for a great tute!

Dawn said...

That is so cool! I have a Monogram wall with all of our family's initials, and the ampersand's would be fabulous!!! Love it, thank you!

1 Funky Woman said...

Ok, I seriously screamed when I saw that you made this with your own hands! You go girl! I am popping over from Someday Crafts! You really did a great job, I want one!

You got me as a follower now! Love your purple nail polish!

I am having my 1st giveaway, stop on over! It was Sunday's post, but you can click on giveaway at the end of today's post! Hope to see you!


Ginnie@allie~millie designs said...

I'm your 100th follower!! Found you from SOmeday Crafts and I love your ampersand! I'm impressed you used a saw!

Melanie Beth said...

love the idea - and it came out looking great!

Cherie said...

I'm SO impressed! I LOVE it!!!

{The Classy Woman} said...

Awesome! My favorite part is that you made it.

My friend bought me a "K", "P" and ampersand as part of a bridal shower gift (all in black) I have the initials on a shelf with a framed picture and the ampersand is in our bookcase in our TV cabinet. I love them.

Thanks for sharing how you made it. That took me back to grade 8 shop class. LOL. My grandfather lost half of his index finger with a circular saw so I'm a bit paranoid of power tools that cut. ;)