Decorations and Event Planning
The cost for decorations for any event can add up quickly. A delightful way to decorate that is fun and unique is to make the decorations through the art of upcycling. You are then showing guests who come to that event the value of upcycling and what you can achieve by being more conscious of waste.
Mason Jar Lanterns
With the use of mason jars, you can create lanterns that give soft lighting and illuminate any event you wish to decorate for. Just place some decorative rocks or gems at the bottom of each Mason jar and then add a tea light candle. You can hang the jars up or display them on the tables. If you have glass paints, all the better because you can add color. In order to add it, add in a couple of drops and swirl the jar around to help the color spread out evenly inside the jar. You can also shake it randomly to help create a nice pattern inside it.
Old bottles can be turned into vintage vases for decorations. They can hold real or fake flowers. They can hold sand and small seashells for a wonderful beach theme event. These bottles may be clear or they may be made out of colored glass. Don’t worry if they don’t all match in terms of shape, size, or color. It will create an upcycling, creative theme. You can also wrap the bottles in different colored wool to create interesting and colorful bottles. These bottles will look superb if you use vibrant colors. You can then add in real flowers to it which will up its decorative value.
If you have old candle stands, they can be used for various things at any type of gathering. They can be used to display cards from guests if you would like them to. They can also be used to display dessert items such as cupcakes. This is a simple way to add some elegance to the display of items that you are offering your guests. Be inventive and find ways that these can be incorporated into the decoration, serving a different purpose to their original outdated purpose. These are attractive elements that can be upcycled easily. But remember try not to scrub the pieces to make it nice and shiny. The idea is for it to look upcycled and not too clean and nice. It should not look like you have bought them and not repurposed anything.
If you have some old pieces of metal around, you can use them to make some colorful spirals and swirls for any event. They work best for outdoor events. Cut the metal carefully into long strips. Use some snipping tools to bend it into spirals and wire to hang them. Be sure not to cut yourself on any sharp edges. Paint them different colors to match your theme. Display them with the colors alternating as you hang them. When the wind blows slightly, it will swirl the spirals, adding even more to their ability to wow your guests.
Remember when working with metal, you need to protect your hands since cut metal can really hurt you if you cut yourself. Remember also that you have a responsibility to your guests. Hang them high enough so that no one touches them and cuts him or herself. Orange Peel Candles A summer time BBQ can be fun, but it can also be a time when there are mosquitoes. Avoid the harsh bug spray and go with orange peel candles. The smell will naturally keep the bugs away. You can use the oranges to create a fruit salad or other items for the guests to enjoy. Cut the oranges in half, and remove the insides so that you can have two candles from each whole orange. Place a tea light candle in the center and put them outside on display. They will give off a very nice fragrance as you enjoy your gathering but more than that, they will keep the bugs at bay. They will also look beautiful. You can cut out a diamond shape on the sides to make it look nice and your party decoration will be taken care of.
Bike Wheel Photo Display
If you are hosting a birthday, anniversary, or retirement party, photos of the people involved are always a nice touch. If you have some old bike wheels, you may be unsure what you will ever do with them. Here is a great idea that is going to be a huge hit! Take the tire off so that you are only working with the rim. Repair any broken or missing spokes. You may have to borrow parts from one bike wheel to create the designs for the others to be complete. Next, you can take small clips and attach photos to the spokes.
You can do a progression from one point in time to the next with such a display. This is definitely an idea that is going to get plenty of attention from those that attend your event. These can be placed on an outside wall so that guests can take their time and enjoy the photos during the course of the event. When the event is finished, don’t forget to take down the photos so that you can use them for future events, and store the bike wheels because you may need them again.
Stabilizing a Cross-Cut Section of Wood with Pentacryl
Wood cross-cut sections or “cookies” are a popular cut of wood to work with. They are also the most challenging to stabilize, as this type of cut has the highest tension in it. The wood will tend to crack from the outside edge as the tension increases farther from the pith forming a pie shape crack.
Pentacryl has been highly successful in stabilizing all types of hardwood and softwood cookies.
There are 2 key factors for achieving success when using Pentacryl:
- Completely saturate the wood.
- Dry it SLOWLY.
Applying Pentacryl to Wood
Wood should be treated with Pentacryl immediately after cutting. If you are unable to treat the wood right away, lightly wet the surface with water (picture 1) and wrap in plastic (picture 2) until it can be treated. To prevent mold from growing, do not keep the wood in plastic longer than 1 week.
Apply Pentacryl either by soaking or brushing. For best penetration, the Pentacryl and wood should both be at room temperature.
When soaking the wood, use a plastic, fiberglass or stainless steel container only. Other metal containers will react with the Pentacryl and darken the wood. Place the cookie on small wooden or plastic slats to keep it off the bottom of the container (picture 3).
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A large plastic kids pool is ideal for treating this 5 foot diameter by 12 inches thick maple cookie (picture 4). The cookie is sitting on small stickers between the plastic so the Pentacryl can soak in evenly. Since this piece is too large to turn over, Pentacryl is also being brushed on from the top.
When soaking, the wood does not need to be completely submerged in the Pentacryl as it will also “wick up” from the bottom (pictures 5/6).
Generally, the wood will be saturated within 1-2 days however, larger pieces should be soaked longer, 7-10 days. The more water that is displaced prior to drying, the better results you will have. Cover the exposed wood in the soak with plastic to help the Pentacryl soak in and prevent the top from drying too soon (pictures 7/8).
Often times you will see a white film or residue on the wood (picture 9). This is the water that is being pushed out.
When using the brushing method, apply Pentacryl liberally with a paint brush (picture 10) and then wrap the plastic over the wood to prevent the wood from drying (picture 7). Repeat the brushing (apply to both sides) and wrapping plastic methods until the wood is completely saturated.You will know the wood is saturated when the Pentacryl lays on the surface and won’t absorb anymore.
Try to complete the brushing process within 1 week so the plastic can be removed to prevent mold growth. Once the wood is saturated with Pentacryl, remove the plastic, let the wood drain and proceed to drying.
Drying the Wood
Even though Pentacryl speeds the drying by 30%, since it displaces the moisture, the treated wood still needs to dry slowly and naturally. A basement or garage is ideal as it is away from air movement, heat source, wind and sunlight.
More than 75% of the drying will occur through the end grain and since cross-cut sections are all end grain, the surface drying to these pieces needs to be slowed. There are several methods that we recommend – for each method, stand the wood on edge so it can dry evenly on both sides. 1. Smaller pieces can be put in a cardboard box with the top loosely closed (picture 11), 2. buried in saw shavings (picture 12), or 3. tape cardboard to the sides (pictures 14).
For large pieces, 2+ feet in diameter and 3+ inches thick, we recommend applying End Grain Sealer prior to applying the cardboard (picture 13). Do not apply End Grain Sealer to the bark. This will slow down the drying even further. Once dry, the End Grain Sealer can be scraped off and if needed, lightly sanded.
When drying wood in high humid areas, lightly spray a coat of Lysol (or a fungicide) to the surface of the wood prior to applying cardboard. This will prevent mold from growing during drying. If mold does form, the spores are only on the surface and can be treated again with Lysol and/or sanded off.
Finishing the Wood
Once completely dry, your wood will have a natural look and feel to it. The surface can be sanded, stained, wood burned, glued, and/or finished (sealed).
Often times it is desirable to keep the bark edge on the cookies. Pentacryl will help to keep the bark intact since it prevents the wood from shrinking and pulling away from the bark.However, the best method is to cut the tree in the winter (the dormant period) when the sap stops running and the wood has hardened off.
If you have a cross-cut piece from a dead standing tree where the wood is almost dry, it is recommended to treat it with Wood Juice. This stabilizer is like Pentacryl but formulated to treat wood with a lower moisture content to prevent future cracking.
Years of research and testing have gone into creating each of our products. Preservation Solutions’ products are blended and bottled in the USA.
There has been good success with treating cross-cut sections with Pentacryl. The species stabilized range from soft to hard wood with sizes up to 6-7 feet in diameter. Do not rush the drying, or all your efforts will be wasted on cracked wood.
Occasionally you will have a cross-cut piece from a dead standing tree where the wood is almost dry, in this case, it is recommended to useWood Juice, a stabilizer for drier wood.
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