Monday, March 18, 2019

The Journey

There is great hope that Spring is just around the corner! If only we could get the winter boom out of the way! Still, we can look ahead to warmer days, and days spent on the water. To celebrate that ever-inching possibility, I have created a canoe and paddle using basswood and some fabulous stencils. The canoe is a great gift for the canoe aficionado or the outdoorsman. But, hey, don't limit it to just the men in the household. Women are aficionados and outdoorsy, as well.


StencilGirl® Stencils:

Journey by Roxanne Evans Stout 
ATC Mixup #2 by Mary Beth Shaw 

Basswood 3/32 x 8 x 24 inch  (Balsa Wood is also fine, but it needs very gentle care as it breaks easily.) 
Box cutter
Sanding block
Rust-Oleum® Wood Stain Tube (This is what I used) or Minwax Wood Finish
Acrylic Paint in your chosen colors
Leather Cord (about 1/8” wide or slightly smaller than the hole you punched)
Clear Gorilla Glue
Air dry clay
Crop-a-dile or other hole punch that can go through wood.

1.       Start your project by drawing the sides and bottom of your canoe on the basswood. My version has 2 inch by 13 inch sides and a 1.5 inch by 9 inch bottom. 

2.     Lightly sand the edges so that they are smooth.
3.     Mark where you want your holes for the leather insertion on the tops and edges of the canoe. Ensure that the holes are not too close to the edges to avoid forcing the edges to snap. Punch the holes.
4.    Glue the canoe together using Clear Gorilla Glue. I place a stapler on one side and a heavy item on the other side of the canoe side to keep the side in place while drying. Allow to dry at least 24 hours.
5.    Soak the entire canoe in hot water so that the wood softens. You can then tie some of the leather cord (in a color that you don’t like) around the ends and leave it to dry completely. The canoe will be easier to shape that way. Be sure to put something in the middle of the canoe to help keep it open and rounded. I used glue bottles.

6.    Remove the leather cord from the ends when the wood is completely dry. Depending on the type of wood stain you use, you will now either stain and then stencil on top of the stain (Rustoleum), or you will stencil and then stain (Minwax). Let dry completely.
7.    Place a glue bottle in the interior of the canoe (or something wide enough to prevent the canoe from folding in on the top) and lace one end of the canoe. Start at the bottom. When you get to the top, wind the leather around the tip and tie it into a knot. Lace the tie the other end. (This photo does not show the stenciling. Hang tight. . .it's coming!)

8.     Roll out enough air-dry clay to make the paddle. I suggest a piece about four inches long and one inch wide. Impress the small leaf from the ATC Mixup #2 stencil onto the bottom portion of the clay piece. Cut the paddle design out and allow to completely dry. Paint it to match the color that you used for the stencil design on the sides of the canoe. Conversely, you can paint it brown and fleck it with some patina embossing. When dry, glue the paddle in the canoe at one end or the other.

Now that you have the canoe all put together, place a complementary piece of tissue paper into the canoe and add some of your guy’s favorite candy, cookies, brownies or jerky. This is an excellent birthday, Father’s Day, or summer get-together gift.

Design tips:
·         You can change the design and color so that this same creation can be gifted to a female. Unicorn Spit would be great for this option!
·         A printout of plane tickets or vacation reservations can be rolled up and secured with a ribbon and placed inside the canoe.
·         Instead of the canoe paddle, you could add a leaf or feather.
·         Remember that although this is made from wood, it is very thin wood and can break. Handle with gentle hands.
·         For an added effect, emboss the bottom edge with embossing powder to give the canoe a “used in the water” effect. You can also emboss parts of the paddle for the same look.

Anne Marie
MSS Blog 
or email me at

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