Shannon Berrey

How to make sliced wood ornaments

Thursday, December 09, 2010

One of our local restaurants--Saphire Mountain Brewing Company--invited local businesses to decorate a Christmas tree in their courtyard. I was up for the challenge! What a great fun way to market your business, right?! I love thinking outside the box so I challenged myself to create ornaments that could hold up to being outside for a month...

We had collected branches of a few trees that had been damaged by a recent storm. I am always collecting tree branches-I use them for everything! Using the table saw, my husband sliced the branches about 1/2" thick. In order to get 1 clean cut, you need to use branches that are less than 3 1/2" in diameter. We had a variety of different trees. When cut, they looked really different--I liked the effect.

They were really wet so I let them do a little sun-bathing. Unfortunately, they weren't drying fast enough for me so I decided to do a little baking.

The lowest my oven would go was 170 degrees {if you try this PLEASE don't go any hotter!}
I kept rotating pans for about 20 minutes at a time over several hours. Obviously, if you use dead
 branches then you can skip this step. But they have to be dry to continue on. 

The next day, I cut a small hole with the drill in the top of each one. This would be for the ornament hanger.

Then I lightly sanded each one {I didn't sand the bark part--I like it 'barky'}

Since my ornaments were 'design' themed, I did a google image search for 'furniture silhouettes' and loads of great images came up:


I got out my fine tip and medium tip Sharpie and began drawing the furniture images on each piece. If you are confident with your drawing skills then go for it! If not, there are great rubber stamps or stencils that you could use. Or, you could print out some images and then use transfer paper and a pencil to transfer the outline to your wood.

I think I ended up with about 75. I watched all my Martha and Nate episodes during this process :)

I thought I would jazz some of them up with a little glitter. Using the wood pieces that had their bark pretty much in tact, I spread some Elmers around the edge. Then I used my finger to really 'work it' in all the grooves.

I used my collection of Martha glitters and Dollar Store glitters, and shook a little sparkle on. 

I found a package of 50 red pipe cleaners for a dollar at The Dollar Store. I stuck one end through the hole, gave it a twist {so that it faces front} and then made a circle with the ends by twisting them around each other. Because the wood is a little on the heavy side, the pipe cleaner makes a great hanger.

Then, they got themselves together in a little line-up and waited patiently for their satin spray sealer
 {I used Krylon Crystal Clear indoor/outdoor Non-Yellowing}.

Some things I learned:

•If you are going to use your ornaments outside, use wood glue for the glittering part. Elmers washes off in the rain.

•I have no idea if the spray sealer is really necessary--it just makes me feel better. 

•This would be a great craft to do with kids--make sure they sign their name and put the year on the back.
•These would also make great coasters! I found these in Country Living Magazine. Just skip the hole drilling if you go this route:

Of course, every good designer tree has a Chandelier topper...

Check back tomorrow and I'll show you how I made it!

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Jess commented on 10-Dec-2010 10:36 AM
I just love these ornaments! Thanks for the instructions. You should sell them on etsy! I would buy the coasters!

denise commented on 11-Dec-2010 08:13 PM
I love this! your free hand is great with a sharpie! i'd have to trace.
the coaters are a great idea. i'll have to do that. they go great with my barn wood table. lovin' it all!
shannon berrey commented on 11-Dec-2010 08:24 PM
Thanks Denise! If you try it, send me pics!! Have a great weekend!
shannon berrey commented on 13-Dec-2010 01:45 PM
Thanks Jess! Hmmm...hadn't thought about selling you've got my wheels spinning!
David commented on 20-Dec-2010 12:00 AM
Thanks for the great idea! I found that you can also use a powered miter saw to make the cuts, since I don't have a tablesaw. Chopped them up, found a bunch of christmas themed silhouettes online, traced the patterns onto the wood and sharpied them! I ended up making ornaments for my neighbors and coasters for family. Couldn't have done it without your inspiration! Thanks again!
shannon berrey commented on 20-Dec-2010 10:32 PM
David, so glad you gave them a go! Did you take any photos? I would love to see them, if you did!
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Shannon Berrey Bio
I'm an artist, interior designer, wife and mom. Join me here as I share projects, ramblings, and inspirations.
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