From time to time, we want to add a little color to our projects. But not just a little color; a lot of color. The kind that stands out and says "Look At Me!" But as woodworkers, it breaks our heart to cover up the beautiful grain of the wood. What are we to do? Use leather dyes! Leather dye has incredible vibrancy that can't be found in traditional wood stain. It is one of the favorite coloring techniques of Sue Chrestensen of Chrestensen Burghout Designs. She has written a great article on how she uses leather dyes to really punch up her designs. Check it out. While you are there, check out the patterns they have to offer. Their patterns are fantastic and many of the examples use this technique. Very cool.
Scroll Saw Goodies Has Moved!
Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
From time to time, we may need to frame one of our cuttings. Many times, a mat will make our artwork really stand out. But having a professional cut our mats can be rather expensive. Thats when we take matters into our own hands. Sarah Neuburger, from The Small Object, has a great tutorial on how to cut a simple mat. Mat cutting isn't all that difficult. Supplies can usually be found at your local art supply store. Doing it yourself will save you a lot of money and make your artwork look that much more professional. Check it out!
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Jesse Williams is a scroll saw artist who recently set up a website, Williams Wood Works, to sell his scroll sawn wood art. He was kind enough to share some of his thoughts on the process.
[SSG] Hi Jesse, thanks for joining us. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you get started scrolling?
[Jesse] Glad to be able to share some thoughts about scrolling. Im 26 yrs old and live in Urbana, Ohio. I lived here for 5 yrs and just love this little town. I am currently a 3rd grade teacher and going back to school so I can become a principal. I have been teaching for 3 yrs and love being able to teach children everyday. I have been married to my beautiful wife for 2 yrs now and we are expecting our first child in September. I love scrolling because it gives me time away from the entire high paced world and I can just sit out in my garage with some country music on, scroll for hours. If I am not scrolling I am usually on the water fishing.
I first started scrolling about 5 yrs ago on a really cheap pin-end scroll saw my father picked up for me from one of those mobile tool shows that travel from town to town. It was a small 15-inch but it got me started. I really had no idea about a scroll saw or the different ways to use it. I just sat down in front of it after I got it and started cutting out shapes and small little figures. I then started to explore the internet to find out more information about it and found out there is some nice pieces of art you can make from it. I use the word Art and not craft because you are creating something from an image in your head not from a package with instructions. I think this is a big misconception of what we do. I saw all of the portraits and fretwork style cuttings and wondered, how in the world did they use a pin-end blade to do all of this. Well I got the bright idea to go ahead and grind the pin down just small enough that it would hold and be able to fit in a small entry hole. It worked but then I found out they have straight blades. The saw I was using at the time did not accept straight blades so I had to upgrade. The second saw was a tradesman saw from the hardware store. Really nice but had limitations, then I upgraded to the current Dewalt 788 scroll saw. The saw is great and I have been using this one going 3 yrs.
[SSG] You just recently created a website to sell some of your work, can you tell us about it?
[Jesse] The website was intended for me to get my work out to the public. When I first started to sell my scrollsaw woodart it was mainly by word of mouth. It really was nice to sell items that I created from my thoughts. The custom portrait is something I really love doing. I do not think the public knows much about this type of art. That is where I really started to make my first sales. Teachers from my school saw what I did and wanted one. It was great. My thought was, get this to the Internet and make a business from it. Offer people who do not know about this a way to see some of the portraits that I have done and the detail I put into them. I always tell my customers if I would not hang it on my wall, I will not sell it to you.
Along with custom portraits I wanted to also get all of the items I have created out to the public, stock portraits, which are portraits from pictures I have created, welcome signs, and a few other items I am currently in the process of finishing and placing on the web.
I also have so many scroll saw magazines with patterns that I will cut and have for sale on the website.
[SSG] How long have you had your website running?
[Jesse] The website has been up since January 2008. The site right now is kind of in the test phase so I can continually add to it. I wanted to get some of the main areas out there so people would see what I have to offer. It is a website that is going to grow and keep getting bigger.
[SSG] What prompted you to create the website?
[Jesse] Talking with some of my current customers they asked if I had a catalogue or a website. I thought why not put the two together and create an online catalogue. I am currently trying to put a paper catalogue together as well.
[SSG] Is the website strictly for internet sales, or do you use it in conjunction with craft shows.
[Jesse] It is right now strictly for Internet sales. To be honest I have yet to do a craft show. I have went to them to see how business was and to see what scrollsaw woodart was offered. My first show will actually be this October if I can get enough stock built up.
[SSG] I noticed the products you offer are made to order as opposed to maintaining an inventory, what made you choose that route?
[Jesse] I think options are good, not to many because then it get confusing. My thought was some people might want a small portrait for the mantle, or a big one for the wall. Same for welcome signs. This gives the customer the option or lets them feel more like they have a decision. I look at it like the grocery store. If you are making dinner for two and you want turkey but the store only sells whole turkeys you most likely will not make turkey. But if the store offers whole turkeys and turkey breasts, the store has accommodated to the customer that wants the smaller portions. (I am not too sure why I used turkey as an example)
The big idea is offer something for either the small buyer or the big buyer.
[SSG] On your website, you offer custom portraits. Can you explain the process when dealing with custom orders?
[Jesse] The big question I get is why do you not take a down payment when you design the pattern. My answer is simply I want business. I could charge someone $10 to design the custom pattern then apply it towards the cost of the portrait they want. There are 2 sides to this. Some of the customers I get have never seen these types of portraits before so I want them to be able to see how nice the final product is. I am offering it as a free opportunity to see what it will look like. This encourages the buyers to step outside the paper portrait box and into the scrollsaw woodart world.
I have offered two different ways for the customer to submit photos, either through email or through an online form that I created. The online form is right there and the customer does not have to go through their email to submit photos. Quick and Easy is key.
If the customer would like to submit their photos through email that is fine as well. They just attach the images and send them. Once the pattern is created, I then send them a graphic representation of the final cutting. I never send just the black and white pattern because the pattern could be confusing to some.
[SSG] Did you design the website yourself?
[Jesse] I did create the website by my self.
[SSG] Do you have a background in web development?
[Jesse] I have dabbled here and there with web pages and blogs just to get a feel on how it works. I do not have any type of schooling to create websites. I have found a great website builder program and host. Bluevoda is the program I use. Very user friendly and they also offer online video tutorials.
[SSG] What program did you use to design your website?
[Jesse] I use Bluevoda. This is a great program for anyone to create a website. They are cheap, as a host and the program is absolutely free to download. You have to use them as a host in order to get your website on the Internet. That did not bother me because they have such a wealth of knowledge on their website it was just worth it. This is a great program and a great site.
[SSG] Were there any hurdles you had to overcome when developing your website?
[Jesse] The biggest hurdle was making the website user friendly. You do not want it complicated to navigate, and you dont want it to be cluttered or hard to purchase items. That was my biggest hurdle. I have to take myself out of the equation and think of the end user. It should be Quick and Easy, two key words to building a website.
When building a website you just have to try things and see how they work.
[SSG] How do you handle orders and payment processing?
[Jesse] All of my orders go through PayPal. It is yet again quick and easy. Push the buy button, go to the cart, and check out. That is the main payment system I am using right now. For some of my custom orders I will send an email with a payment button along with the graphic representation, making it easier for the customer to buy the product.
[SSG] Can you give any advice to other scrollers wanting to set up a website to sell their products?
[Jesse] Be patient, you will not start getting orders the first day you put your website on the internet. I have had mine up and running now for two months and have gotten a lot of feedback but just a few orders. I am still getting the word of mouth orders. But the site is coming along with close to 50 80 views a day and people emailing me.
I actually worked on this website for 3 months prior to having it placed on the web. That was just the website, not pattern making. So be patient and read on the Internet about online businesses and get some ideas. The one big thing that helped me a lot was to put everything on paper first then build the website that way.
Remember Quick and Easy navigation.
[SSG] Thank you, Jesse, for the insight on how you put your website together. It looks really great and I wish you continued success.
[Jesse] I really appreciate the opportunity and thank you.
Take a look at Jesse's website Williams Wood Works. His website is a great example of how to set up a website to sell your work. Hopefully this will inspire you to set up your own website. If you have questions or comments for Jesse, please post them in the comments section. He said he'd be happy to answer any questions. Thanks again, Jesse.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Finishing trivets is a bit tricky. You are putting hot plates on the wood and you don't want to discolor or melt the finish. There is a great thread on Absolutely Free Scroll Saw Patterns about finishing trivets. People discuss their personal preferences about finishing trivets as well as providing a few product links. Definitely worth checking out if a trivet design is in your future.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Spring is right around the corner. Birds are starting to make a show. What better way to celebrate the upcoming spring season than with our fined feathered friends? The Dallas Ft. Worth Scrollers has provided this great pattern designed by Sylvia. They have a number of other free patterns available too that should keep you busy. While you are there, check out their website. They have a gallery section which is fun to look through. If you live in the Dallas Ft. Worth area, stop by one of their meetings to exchange ideas, tips and enjoy good old fashion community!
Friday, February 22, 2008
Its hard to find good free clip art on the internet. The websites that have good clip art want to charge an arm and a leg to use their clip art. Even then, you are only buying limited rights to use them. I think that's why I really like the books from Dover Publications. They publish clip art books on every imaginable subject. Their images are royalty free, which means you can use them for whatever purpose you wish. You can find Dover books in almost any bookstore next to the art section. Many times, they come with a CD ROM so you don't have to spend all of your time scanning in the pictures.
Wanna try before you buy? Well you can. Dover offers free samples delivered to your email box every week. They'll send you a link where you can download a bunch of samples from a variety of books. The samples change weekly, so you'll always have new stuff to look at and perhaps spark an idea or two. You can sign up here.
If you'd like to purchase a few of these books, take a look at our webstore. You'll find great deals and any purchases help support SSG. You can find our Dover clipart books here.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
I've got a new pattern for y'all. This one is probably the most famous picture of Harold Lloyd, hanging from the clock face from his 1923 movie, Safety Last! With 200 films to his credit, he is especially known for his daredevil stunts.
You can download the pattern from my other blog, FreeScrollSawPatterns. The pattern is a little tricky around his face and hands, but the rest shouldn't pose too much of a problem. I recommend scaling the pattern to 14 inches tall. Give it a go. And if you do, I'd love to see some pictures!
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
by: Natalie Goyette
One of the things that you might consider is finding a niche for your craft. Maybe you have some expertise, skill, or interest that might be a creative tool for you to use in creating items for craft shows. Below are some hints to finding what that area might be for you:
What interests you? – You can take an interest you have and turn it into a craft show success. If you are a gardening hobbyist, why not come up with something every gardener needs. Provide that craft inexpensively and you might have yourself a winning craft for spring craft shows.
What do you have knowledge of – Maybe you are a model railway buff, along with being a crafter (the two go hand-in-hand) and you want to provide railway buildings or railway terrain for people to use in their own train sets. You have the knowledge of what needs to be built and used – so why not combined the two joys in order to come up with one profitable craft show item?
What are you good at? - If you are a good cook, then make a quick recipe book. If you are pretty good at organizing things, then why not come up with a desk organizer that anyone can use.
What are other people doing? – This is certainly not an open invite to start copying the design of other people at a craft show. Instead, it is an opportunity to see what is out there and for you to be the one that says, "You know, this craft would be better if it was… (fill in the blank)." Once you fill in that blank, it might trigger an idea inside your head of how you can improve this product or maybe even come up with one that works WITH it.
When in doubt, teach others – This is becoming a great way to make extra profits at craft shows. Some crafters love to take the bull by the horns and make their own crafts, so why not capitalize on that? Provide them patterns or instructions and unmade kits at a cost – so it takes the labor out of it but you are still selling the product.
At last resort, create a niche that works for a craft you have in mind. Sometimes that niche is staring right back at us and we don't even know it. If we are good at something, or interested in another, or you see something you can improve on, feel free to take the initiative to take it and make a profit from it at your craft shows!
About The Author
Natalie Goyette shows you how to make your craft show business profitable in her best selling ebook: Craft Show Success Secrets. Visit her site: http://www.craftshowsuccess.com
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
I'm a Star Trek: The Next Generation fan. So when I saw this scroll saw pattern of the crew of the USS Enterprise, my jaw dropped. Wow. What an impressive pattern. If you are looking to show off your skill, this is the pattern for you! If you are not ready to jump into that big of a project, check out Kerry's version of the USS Enterprise. Very cool.
While you are there, check out the rest of the site. He does really nice portrait work. He also shares his method of creating great portraits by offering 2 eBooks on creating portrait patterns with Photoshop and Paintshop Pro.
Friday, February 15, 2008
While looking through YouTube, I came across Ceal Pedersen as she demonstrates how she makes unique wooden puzzles for children. The video is very interesting. I especially like how she mounts her artwork to the wood. Very informative for any puzzle maker out there. Check out her YouTube video here. And while you are at it, check out her website Heirloom Puzzles For Children to see more of her work. She has some really great stuff and will spark an idea or two, I'm sure!
Thursday, February 14, 2008
I’m a sucker for the fantasy genre. I love wizards, dragons and evils that must be vanquished by a group of unlikely heroes. Naturally, I’m always on the lookout for fantasy based scroll saw patterns
When I came across Fantasy & Legend Scroll Saw Puzzles, by Judy and Dave Peterson, I knew I had to have it.
Judy and Dave create free standing puzzles. These are thick puzzles that are intended to be handled and stand on a shelf by themselves. They prefer using hardwoods to utilize their unique color and grain patterns. Their book takes you step by step in great detail for creating your first puzzle. Each step includes a close-up photo as they cut the puzzle. They cover everything from basic techniques to specific techniques required for puzzle making. They show you their method of sanding and finishing so you too can achieve the finest looking puzzle possible.
The book is 75 pages long and includes 28 unique patterns. Each pattern includes an accompanying photo of the finished puzzle with notes on the hardwood they used. Each pattern is presented in black, white and gray and includes a grain direction indicator for maximum stability. They have a wide variety of mythical creatures, including
dragons, centaurs, gargoyles, griffins, mermaids, unicorns, pegasus, tree spirits, hippogriffs, phoenix, and landscape patterns. The puzzles are stunning and would look great your shelf.
- The patterns are optimized for photocopying.
- Each pattern includes a photo of the finished product, noting the hardwood used.
- Each pattern is categorized according to skill level.
- They give resources and specific information on the tools they use.
- Most of the puzzles do not lend themselves well to be colored with paint or stains.
I really liked this book. I love freestanding puzzles and the fantasy genre makes this book a must have. There isn’t a pattern in this book that won’t cut. I highly recommend this book to anybody who is interested in making unique puzzles or who has a soft spot in their heart for dragons and other mythical creatures.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
OK. Now that clock making doesn't look as scary, are you ready to give it a try? I've gathered a bunch of sources for plans so you can build your own wooden gear clock. Now it's just a matter of browsing through theses sites and find the clock plan that suits your tastes!
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Last post, I talked about Adrian Iredale's video on how he makes wooden gear clocks. It is pretty inspiring and he makes it look a little less intimidating. But, maybe you're not quite ready to jump into the deep end just yet.
Jim Bumgardner of KrazyDad.com has written about his experience making a wooden gear clock. He isn't a woodworker. In fact he has very little woodworking experience. But he was curious about how clocks work, so he ordered the Ascent clock kit from Wooden-Gear-Clocks.com. Granted, the gears were all precut, but that shouldn't matter too much. As scrollers, we know how to cut. Its the precise assembly that seems overwhelming. But Jim was able to put together the kit with little trouble. You can read about his experiences here. Its pretty interesting and he gives a little writeup about how the clock works. Check it out!
Monday, February 11, 2008
One of my Holy Grail projects is to make a wooden clock. I think I would have a real sense of accomplishment. It would be a great way to show off your skill and impress your friends. Besides, they look really cool. Adrian Iredale has a bunch of videos on YouTube that show off the clocks he has made. He also put together a great video on how he goes about making his clocks. After seeing him make a clock, it seems a little less intimidating. Perhaps I might take a crack at clock making a little sooner than I thought. You can check out the rest of his videos here. You can see his clocks in action. You can also visit his website and purchase plans for many of these clocks.
Friday, February 8, 2008
When Allison White put together her blog to show off her intarsia and scrollwork, she didn't quite know what she was getting into. Blogging, just like scrolling, can become quite addictive. Her blog, Willowshimmer Woodworks, highlights her artwork along with her thoughts about each project. Along with her woodworks, she shares some of her favorite quotes, funny cartoons, and her thoughts about life. It really is a neat scroll saw blog that has a personal and sentimental touch.
She has tagged each post so you can find the posts you are most interested in. Look under the Labels section for a list of her tags. She has a lot of great work and worth checking out.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
As a dad with a 1 year old boy and a husband with a honey-do list a mile long, its tough for me to spend some quality time with my scroll saw. Typically, I can only get in a couple hours a week. The problem with scroll sawing, like any other skill, you have to keep doing it or else you lose your 'knack.' When I finally able to sit down at my saw, it takes me awhile to get back into the groove of things. My lines are wobbly, and my corners are far from sharp. But, with little frustration, a few choice words, I finally get back into my cutting groove.
Wouldn't it be nice to stretch those cutting muscles before jumping into the game? GrayBeard Phil of SSWC forums has put together a nice exercise. Just print it out and stick it to some scrap wood. Before you sit down and work on your next masterpiece, use this practice sheet to get back into your cutting mode. It only takes a few minutes, and you won't risk ruining your project with sloppy corners and wobbly lines.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Last post, I talked about using Dingbats in your designs. Sarajane listed a few of her favorite sources for Dingbats. Just Google the word Dingbats and you'll find hundreds of webpages that have Dingbats available for download. Many of these websites are cumbersome to use, however. But I was able to put together a list of websites that make it easy to find the perfect Dingbat for your next project. And since Dingbats are fonts, these websites are a great source for finding fonts for word art.
Font Space - This is my favorite font site. Each font is categorized by the users by using tags. You can follow user tags to view fonts with the same tag. This makes categorizing much more thorough. Fonts have a text preview along with a character map. I suggest you use the keyword Dingbats or Silhouettes and see what you come up with. Very cool.
Abstract Fonts - They have each of their fonts neatly organized with a text preview option and a character map. They also have a feature that suggests other fonts you may like.
Wanted Fonts - Fonts are organized into categories with a text preview option.
Dingbat Pages - Nothing but dingbats here. The dingbats are organized into categories for easy browsing. Each Dingbat has a static sample.
Simply The Best Fonts - Each font is categorized with a static sample.
TypeNow.net - Dingbats are categorized into sections, but are displayed on one page with a static sample of each.
Acid Fonts - Fonts are categorized with a static sample of each.
Font Garden - Dingbats are categorized by theme with a static sample of each.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
As pattern makers, we like to collect unique fonts to use in our designs. But often overlooked is the use of dingbats. Dingbats are fonts that have small pictures instead of letters. Sarajane of polyclay.com has a great article about how she uses dingbats in her crafts. She lists some of her favorite dingbats as well as some great dingbat resources. She also has a useful Font Table download where you can create printouts of all the characters in a particular dingbat. The article is very interesting and really gets your imagination going. She has a disclaimer, though. Collecting dingbats is addictive. So you've been forewarned!
Monday, February 4, 2008
by Pete Jansen
Creating scroll saw art in wood, and scroll saw portraits takes a lot of time and patience on the artist's part. Each portrait starts out as an idea, and goes through many stages before he, or she can show off the finished product. These stages include, but are not limited to, selection of a workable image, filtering and pattern making, wood selection, transferring the pattern to the work piece, drilling, cutting, and finally framing and finishing the artwork. Finding a workable image to create a scroll saw pattern from is not very difficult. Images with solid dark (shadows), and light (highlighted) areas work the best. Light shining on the subjects in the image from an angle, produce the best results. These images can include photos captured by a digital camera, or artwork scanned into a computer. The computer is an important part in creating great scroll saw patterns and portraits in wood. It is possible to convert an image to a pattern by hand, but it is extremely difficult and time consuming. The best and fastest way to create a scroll saw pattern from an image is to use photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop. This editing software allows you to isolate the dark and light areas of the image to create a completely black and white pattern. The black areas will be the areas cut out of the wood to create the dark areas of the portrait or scroll saw art. Find the best filters to separate the dark and light areas of the image. "Poster edges" is a good way to start the process. The light areas can be touched up by hand with white-out to add finishing touches to the pattern before you transfer it to you work piece. When the pattern is ready to be applied to your work piece, it's time to select a flat, clear piece of 1/8" furniture plywood to work with. Baltic birch is the favorite for me. It is very light, free of dark spots and flaws. Cut the birch to fit your pattern and frame. After a light sanding, the work piece is completely covered on the top side with masking tape. The scroll saw pattern is printed out on the computer scaled to fit the area to be cut as well as the frame. Spray the masking tape with a light coat of high quality contact adhesive like 3M. Before it has a chance to dry, place the pattern on the work piece and smooth out any bubbles. You have to work fast, and apply it in the correct position the first time, or you will have to start over. Let the work piece dry for about an hour before continuing. Now that the work piece has the scroll saw pattern on it, and it's dry, it's time to drill lots and lots of tiny holes in it. Using the smallest drill bit that will allow the scroll saw blade to pass through it is a good idea. Every black area in the pattern must have at least one hole drilled in it for the scroll saw blade to pass through. Yes, every dark are is and individual cut and must have a hole drilled through it. On the opposite side of the coin, every light are must me connected to "all" other light areas, or sections of light areas will fall out of the artwork as the dark areas are cut out. Remember this when creating your pattern also. It's more work to fix it later, after you've started cutting. Now the cutting begins. Work from the center of your scroll saw portrait out, as this helps keep the work rigid and strong as you are cutting. I like to use a 2/0 size spiral type scroll saw blade on my "portraits in wood". This style scroll saw blade will cut in any direction, keeping you from having to constantly turn your artwork while cutting. Cut your first black area out of your piece remembering to start near the center of the work and leaving enough white area thickness so it won't break off while you handle and cut it. It looks bad when you have to glue a broken of area back into the portrait. Now the tension on the blade is loosened, the top of the blade is taken out of the upper holder on the saw, and threaded through your next drilled hole. Keep cutting until all the dark areas are removed. The time has come to remove what remains of your pattern from the scroll saw portrait. Carefully peel the masking tape from the wood, being careful not to break any of the thin areas of the portrait or scroll saw art. Now you can see a little of how your work will look when it's completed. Hold it up to a black background to admire all your hard work. Clean up the "fuzz" on the back side of the scroll saw art with fine sandpaper. Be careful not to break the portrait. Use a matt or semi-gloss style clear spray finish on the face of the scroll saw art, making sure to get finish on the inside of the cut areas to create a finished look. Let the scroll saw art dry overnight. Now it's time to set it in the frame. A frame with glass or plexi-glass is recommended, as it makes the scroll saw art much easier to clean and dust later. Cut a backer board from wood, particle board or cardboard to fit your frame in back of the scroll saw art. Spray a light coat of spray adhesive on the backer board, and apply your dark or "black" backing material to it. I like to use black felt purchased at the fabric store, as it creates very dark negative space in your scroll saw portrait. Let it dry and add it to the frame in back of your portrait or scroll saw art. Insert the frames back and you're done! Now that you've spent 10, 15 or even 20 hours creating this heirloom quality art in wood, it's time to hand it over to your customer, loved one, or hang it on your own wall. Enjoy it, be proud of it, it's truly one of a kind, especially if you used your own photo or image. And it took a long time to create. You now know how to create great scroll saw patterns as well as portraits in wood. Take a look at some of the highest quality scroll saw portraits at www.LoneTreeCreations.com
About the Author
Pete Jansen is one of the Southwests number one scroll saw artists. Creating scroll saw portraits, portraits in wood, art in wood and other beautiful creations. Pete shares some of his secrets and techniques with other woodworkers in his articles that have been published world wide.
Friday, February 1, 2008
I'm always on the lookout for great patterns to add to my cut list. When I saw the patterns created by Scrollin4Fun, I knew I was in the right place. I remember coming across his patterns on MyPhotoAlbum. I asked him if it would be OK for me to point my readers to his wonderful patterns. He said to hold off for awhile, as he was looking for a better solution to distribute his patterns. Well, it looks like he found that solution. He is now distributing his patterns via Blogger. He has a handful of patterns already moved over. They are presented in JPG format for easy scaling. You can still find some of his older patterns on his MyPhotoAlbum site. Check them out. I'm sure you'll add one or two or 10 to your cut list!