For Christmas and other special occasions I like making creative gifts for Michael. The very first year after I moved to Kansas I ended up making a surprise visit to Houston so we were not going to be together for the holidays.

But before I left, I wrote and illustrated a highly dramatic story about me trying to decide what to get him for a present that year. My plan was to leave the story book for him to open and read on Christmas and then after I was back in town, I would give him his actual gift.

So I won’t give too much away, but basically in the story I’m attacked by Christmas-gift-eating-bugs and needed a little help from Santa gaining the key to Michael’s perfect gift.

It’s a regular page turner. I posted a few pictures of the most riveting plot points below.

But thanks to inspiration from Pinterest and a recent photo session with this lovely Lady, I picked up a new idea to try out for Michael’s Christmas present this year.

I decided to use the image below and transfer it to a wood plaque following the directions from Ben Franklin Crafts and Frame Shop’s blog. This turned out to be a super easy, inexpensive project and I was really happy with the end result.

20131211-1504184_667158886668070_227197455_o On the disc of images Beth provided us from our session there was a black and white copy of the picture above. So using Lightroom, I uploaded the photo and flipped the image horizontally so that it could be printed in reverse.

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During my trip to Kinkos for the wine candle tags, I also had Beth’s now reversed picture printed on an 11×14″ sheet of paper. Earlier in the week I had already gone to Michael’s to pick up a pine wood plaque, some multi-medium, Mod Podge (I swear I’m always buying bottles of this stuff and I didn’t even end up needing it this time) and a couple of brushes.

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I wiped down the wood plaque with a damp cloth before brushing an even and liberal coating of the multi-medium onto the wood. I then applied the image face-down on the wood plaque and smoothed out all the bubbles using one of those little Pampered Chef stone scrapers.

And now comes the exciting part 🙂 After letting the paper dry for 24 hours and do it’s magic I laid down a scrap towel underneath the wood plaque and began lightly rubbing away the paper using a sponge and some water. Bit by bit the image underneath revealed itself.

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It took me a good twenty-five to thirty minutes or so to finally remove all the excess paper and there were a few places where I had to use the Pampered Chef scraper again to gently work the paper away.

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After that was all done, I removed the towel and cleaned up my work area for the next step. Using a combination of directly applying a Distressed Ink pad (I have an addiction to these) and sponge pouncer, I antiqued the edges of the wood and image. Once the edges were done I dipped my foam brush in a little water, squeeze out the excess water and quickly swiped the image from edge to edge to smooth out any harsh lines and to give the entire plaque an antiqued look.

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Finally, I gave the plaque a few minutes to dry before I measured and marked the wood for drilling. Once drilled, I cut off a section of hemp cord, ran it through the holes and tied knots in the front of the plaque for hanging.

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And that’s it! Another inexpensive, easy-to-make gift for the holidays. And it’s a great way to display pictures in your home. Not that guys typically care a whole lot about home decor… But Michael made a good show of it anyhow 😉

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***(Special thanks to Beth Laird for taking this awesome picture and so many more! If you live in the Kansas City Area and are looking for a graphic designer/photographer, please take a moment to stop by her Facebook page and give her a “like” at Beth Laird Photo & Design!)

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