Farm Charm

Winging It in the Workshop

How Momma Rolls-White Sign
One of the first signs made after I got over my fear of the table saw.

Since I have only been working with wood, saws, and staple gun for about six months, I am still a wide-eyed novice. I have trouble taking accurate measurements, my cuts on the saw are always a little off, and I still punch through many staples that totally miss their mark.  I have a blast making things appear out of hunks and boards of wood. I have no practical knowledge other than what my husband has taught me over the last months as I’ve hung around the workshop. The biggest obstacle for trying to work with wood was getting over my fear of the table saw and air stapler. Plus, I don’t think I ever correctly learned how to read a tape measure, so I’m constantly struggling to decipher (guess) any markings other than ¼ or ½ inch line. But what fun is learning something if there isn’t a challenge? I’m still wrestling with how I should do things versus how I like doing things in the workshop. I follow my own lead on how to get a project to completion, using these guidelines:

  • There is no right amount of wood glue; it either bleeds onto the workbench or is so scant that is dries before anything attaches
  • Checking alignment with a level just seems cocky
  • Angle cuts of any kind should be avoided; they make a project harder x10
  • Drilling pilot holes for screws is merely a suggestion

So far I’ve made welcome signs, decorative boxes, curio shelves, a shoe rack, and a plant stand. All of which required too much measuring and accuracy to come out perfect, but they are original. I get a kick out of making smaller decorative crafts that don’t take much time investment and because of their whimsical nature, they don’t have to be flawless. I favor simple pattern ideas so I can skip reading instructions altogether and get down to the finishing up in an afternoon. Yes, I am an impatient woodworker…I need to see a completed product in the near future or I end up stacking it half-finished in the back of the workshop and forget where I left off. At this point, it’s impractical to attempt any project larger than a bread box. Lucky for me I find tons of ideas for woodcrafts that seem to have a high failure threshold and are delightfully elementary.

How Momma Rolls-Katz1
No litter box required…what more could you want?

I found inspiration for these crazy-eyed cats online, but I have long since lost the link to show a comparison. They are very simple and I was able to cut, attach, sand, and stain/paint all three in three hours. The website didn’t provide instructions (yay!) so I just guessed at the measurements using scrap 1×4 pieces laying around the wood bin and guessed at the sizing. Here is my vague materials list if you’re interested:

  • 2 – 1×4 cut in six inches
  • 1 – 1×4 triangle cut out
  • Wood bore drill for the wide eyes
  • 3-inch nail for the tail
  • Wood glue
  • Minwax stain of various tints
  • White barn paint
  • Black acrylic
  • Spray can of acrylic sealant (if they are going to be outdoor cats)
How Momma Rolls-Dark Sign
Learned how to use freezer paper to transfer letters onto wood. Also playing with different stains for different “barn wood” looks.

These signs are made from wood trim that was 1×6. I made the length 18 inches wide with seven rungs high. They are attached by two pieces of the same wood glued to the back. I lightly stained and then sanded the front for a worn look. Then I used a freezer paper transfer technique I found on a website called Little Bit Funky for outlining the words, then filled in with paint. Finally, I attached a couple eye-screws, threaded some rope through and they are now ready to hang.   

Now, if you have always wanted to try to make a wood craft on your own, but thought it was too technical without any wood skills, these are easy “figure-it-out-on-your-own” projects to try. Just please wear safety glasses and watch your hands around the saw blade. I’ll bet you a paint brush that you can make something even better.


Written By

I have lots of fun being active outdoors, learning about nature, trying to master skills like paddle boarding, and using technology to keep current and connected where ever I end up. I also enjoy helping to manage our farm, caring for my daughter, extended family, and learning about how to manage chickens, ducks, goats, cats, dogs and the occasional visiting wildlife.