diy wedding memento {driftwood frame}

Yep, we’ve been officially hitched for over 2 years now. Time sure flies when you’re living on a Caribbean island having fun. :)  A couple years earlier my brother got married, moved out of state and had a baby.  So, in an effort to try to up him, in 2009 I got married TWICE (to the same guy) and moved out of the country.

State to state move, whatevah, I’m movin’ to an island.  Booyah!

But, I personally think all of my nephews and nieces pretty much Trump everything else on this planet so I guess Brother=1, Me=0.  Boooo.  ;)

But, I did end up with a pretty rad husband and too many wonderful memories to count so it all seems to have worked out for me.
A couple of pics from wedding #1 on display on our beautiful wedding #2 day.

And these were our “what the heck did we just do?” faces.  :)
Hmmm, the hubs face seems a bit more natural than mine…

Anyway, when I was procrasti-cleaning and got sifting through my bag o’ stuff, I got all warm and fuzzy when I came across our wedding stuff.  Or, was it just the heat from living 12 degrees from the equator?  ;)

See, we knew we were moving to Curacao toward the end of the year in 2009, so we had thought that after 10 years it might be a good year to make it all official.  You know, for all the unromantic reasons – additional security in case anything were to happen to either of us abroad, visa status, etc.  The reality is we choose to share our lives together day after day for all the mushy, romantic reasons. That’s just how we do it around here.  You know?!?

Hello youngness!  This pic was taken in 2002 and yes Deanna, I still have (and wear) that shirt.

As it turns out, I smile a little on the inside every time I refer to him as my husband.  One lucky lady I am!
Since our weddings (Yep, after 10 years 1 wedding just wasn’t enough, or was it that our planned wedding for family wasn’t early enough to process all of our paperwork for our move as a married couple?  Details, details!) were quickly followed by a move out of the country I tossed all of the memorabilia into the grab bag, until now.  I was actually looking for something for an entirely different project but I got distracted inspired. I ended up making a wedding card ornament in December from cards we got at wedding #2 and then gathering items from wedding #1.

I had forgotten that I had kept my napkin from dinner after wedding #1.  Unlike Sherry from Young House Love, I had kept mine intentionally, I never made any attempt to return it and I never for a moment felt bad about it.  Not sure exactly what that says about me, but I’m not all that worried about it.  :)  When I rediscovered it, and my other mementos my creative juices started flowing.

Here’s the scoop with the 2 weddings.  The evening Joel told me we were getting married that summer proposed was perfect.  We shared dinner with great friends and Jayne made me an engagement ring out of a paper straw cover.  :)  I immediately called my mom and was happy to let her organize the small wedding of her my dreams.  (Totally kidding Mom!)  We decided it would be in Maine (where I am from and most of the fam still lives), we picked a date, coordinated travel plans with Joel’s family to fly out from the midwest and preperations were in full swing.

Then, we got a little call, saying there was a little problem, that all of the little details for our paperwork needed to be organized by a date a little sooner than we had realized. Bring on wedding #2, which actually was wedding #1 since it happened first, but planned second.  Got it?

It turned out absolutely perfect.  We were living in Maryland at the time so we asked 4 of our favorite local couples to join us, asked a local restaurant owner we knew to marry us (he had become a legal wedding officiant to officiate another wedding before), knew of the perfect location to make it all official and had an absolute ball!  With our compact little group I had just the right amount of mementos to create something that will remind me of each and every part of that day and the people we shared it with.  Love.
You can just pretend that house in the background is not exactly between our heads.  ;)

Here’s the skinny, I had been in the middle of my driftwood Christmas tree projects so I had the idea to make a frame out of driftwood and somehow make some kind of memento that would represent everyone who shared our day.

I started with the napkin and thought it would look neat to put a layer of the tulle I used for my veil over it.  Truth be told, I only wore the veil at wedding #2, but I went with it anyway.
I used a very strategic mathematics (is mathematic without an s not really a word?) formula to decide on just the right size.  I folded the napkin in quarters.  :)

Turns out I had a couple pieces of driftwood that appeared they would work well as a frame with this quartered size.  So I got out my compounding miter saw hand saw and little carpenter’s triangle and headed out to my workshop patio table with my supervisor Marley.
One of the pieces had a few rusty screw heads showing and the other had a rusty nail coming out of it so I just worked around that when cutting.  I wanted these details included in the frame if possible.

TIP!!!  When using a hand saw first score a line all the way across your wood along your desired cut line so then when you end up sawing at the natural cutting angle your cut line will follow your scored line and end up where you want it.  It can so easily get out of line, why can’t my pen mark just work as a saw magnet?!?

Also, I marked on the backside of the wood because I knew I wasn’t going to be doing any painting or anything that would cover up an arrant pen mark if my cut line didn’t cut along my pen line exactly.  This may have resulted in cutting just one angle the wrong way.  Drats!

TIP!!!  #2 – Measure, remeasure, turn your wood around to make sure your line is drawn at the right angle to actually create a mitered frame, measure one more time, then cut.  :)

Once I had my 4 pieces cut, I set them up to see if any trimming or angle sanding was necessary.  All the angles actually looked pretty good but, what became my bigger problem was that the thickness of the two different pieces of wood (I was able to get 2 sides for the frame out of each of the 2 pieces of wood I used) was not the same.
See the top and bottom pieces?  (Kind of a rhetorical question.)  But see how the top piece is stacked on a too thick shim and the bottom piece is too thin?  My plan was to use L brackets along each corner to attach it all together because I didn’t want any of the hardware showing.  But, in order to do that my thicknesses had to be the same if I wanted the frame to be flat in the front, which I did.  Make sense?

Soooo, I just tried a few different things.  I actually screwed in that too thick shim first. You know, ’cause I can mussel that sucker and screw it in so tight that it will end up the right thickness.  Yeah, let’s just say that didn’t work out.  And now I had awesome little screw holes that prevented my screws from holding tight on the next go ’round.  Deep breaths…or was it cursing under my breath…I don’t remember exactly.  ;)

But, I just so happened to still have a pile of sawdust lying around from my adventures in driftwood Christmas tree making (here, here, and here) so I went with a little ol’ woodworking trick.
Now, some might mix in a bowl or measure quantities even.  But, my theory is always “why dirty something I am just going to then have to clean?”, and my hands were already dirty, and I didn’t need so much that I thought measuring was necessary.  Some might also take their wedding bands off if mixing glue in their hand but whatevah.  :)

So, I filled the screw holes and while the putty dried I found a paint stir stick I thought might work for shims and cut it into about 3 inch long pieces.  I played around with different thicknesses and finally picked a combination of different shims and stir stick pieces that I thought was the best match.  I actually also used a few pieces of a thick card stock type of material, just to try to get the thickness just right.  You never know when your dog bone box inserts are going to come in handy.

Having to come up with creative solutions to overcome the imperfections of aged, weathered and otherwise not brand new and perfectly sized pieces is of course an inconvenience.  But, the huge upside in using these materials is the character in the end result.  Give a little, get a little I guess.

I actually had 4 previously used, weathered and otherwise not brand new and perfectly square L brackets I decided to use to attach the frame together.  They had held an old project together that I had recently disassembled so I just had to use our wonder bar (yes, I think wonder bra every time I say that) and a hammer to pry the L brackets off since the screws holding them in were rusty and stripped.
When I got them off they all looked a little wonky, but I just hammered them into our concrete patio a few times and they straightened right out.  Some might choose to use a more careful approach as to not risk ruining a concrete patio, or even buy new L brackets (Blasphemy!) but this worked for me.

So, then I just lined up the L brackets along each corner of the frame and screwed them in.  A couple things to point out here:

  • I would have loved to have had driftwood piece with the rusty screws along the top of the frame, but since that was the thicker piece of wood and didn’t need any shims, the only way to hide the shims I did have to use was to put the thicker wood along each side.  This is, of course, assuming that people don’t crouch underneath or climb on top of the memento to get a closer look.  From the normal, eye level angles the side view will be just a nice thick piece o’ driftwood.
  • If you’re using shims, make sure your screw is not only long enough to attach the L bracket to your frame but also to your shims, BUT NOT LONG ENOUGH TO COME OUT THE FRONT.
  • Drilling pilot holes slightly smaller than the diameter of your screw (AND SHORTER THAN THE DEPTH OF YOUR WOOD) will help in the L bracket attachment process.  It will prevent your screws from sliding out of place and moving the location of your L bracket when you’re screwing them in.
  • Please especially adhere to all advice in ALL CAPS ABOVE.

These all caps might lead you to believe that I made this mistake.  Oddly enough, I didn’t. I know, I’m surprised too.  :)

I was just very aware of this because 1) I wanted the natural wood frame and knew I wouldn’t be able to cover up this mistake and keep the look I wanted and 2) I didn’t have any other driftwood on hand that would work if I screwed this first frame up.

So, I checked my screws a few times.
And then I actually attached my drill bit to only expose the depth of the drill bit I wanted to use so I couldn’t accidentally drill all the way through when making my pilot holes.
You could also use a piece of painters tape on your drill bit to designate when you should stop drilling.  I personally needed something just a tad more fool proof.

This handy little container made the move to Curacao and I was able to find the 16 screws I needed in the right lengths to attach the 4 L brackets with 4 holes each.  I just went straight to my “flat top” labeled section.  Yep, I say, if you’re going to keep random odds and ends you might as well have them labeled in a way you can actually find them when you find an opportunity to use them.  Dork!
Then I just drilled each hole and attached.  I went one corner at a time, so I drilled the 4 holes for one L bracket then screwed them in, then reset the frame to make sure it was where I wanted and moved to the next corner.  This took more time, switching out the drill bit and screwdriver bit for each corner, but worked for me.

Ok, seriously, this post is over 2100 words long and we haven’t even gotten to the pretty part yet?

But alas, we have a frame.

From this view you can see the shims as attached on the backside.
Just to be clear, I didn’t attach the shims to the back of the frame pieces separately from the L brackets.  When I drilled my pilot holes I drilled through the shims and frame where necessary and just used the one screw per L bracket hole to attach all of the layers together.

You can also see the box I used.  I just traced the inside of the frame and cut out a flat piece of cardboard as the base for the insert of my finished project.  Yes, there really is going to be a finished product, I swear.  :)

From this front view you can see how the mitered corners look attached.  As you can see the bottom right corner gave me a little trouble.  It is actually the top right corner in the end – I had plans for that rusty little nail – but I just couldn’t get it to attach flush.  I fiddled with it a bit, unscrewed, puttied, re-screwed a few times and then just decided I was OK with it since I couldn’t seem to make it any cleaner looking.

Ok, I am going to let you all ponder what has been the awesomeness of driftwood, mitering, drilling, screwing, puttying and cardboarding.  Hmmmm.  I’m not sure how I feel about it either, but at this point I kinda feel like I’m just holding you all hostage.

Before we go, here’s just one more little tid bit of what became our Wedding #1 Memento.

Any idea why that’s included?

Have a grand day everyone!  Final results of Wedding #1 Memento to come soon!  And, don’t forget to sign up for our little challenge.  Did you see what little exceptional progress I made in the first week here?

the space between

I am sharing this project here, here, here and here. Check ‘em out!

Comments

  1. says

    Karah,

    What an awesome story and ya’ll make such an ADORABLE couple! Thanks for the driftwood inspiration. Do you have access to lots of driftwood? If you do….you are so lucky!
    blessings,
    karianne

  2. Deanna says

    I really think you should have followed up the 2002 picture in that stylish shirt with the one of you on your (2nd) wedding day in pearls and the river driver shirt… you can take the girl out of Maine but you can’t take Maine out of the girl! :)

  3. says

    I read this in my inbox this morning and you really had me cracking up! That was a cute story! And, I can’t wait to see the rest of the details!! You really left a cliffhanger for us!! :)

    Thanks for linking this and the pallet art up my party today!!

    Emily @ 52mantels.com

  4. says

    Congrats on your two year wedding anniversary. Just found you at the 5 days 5 ways linky. Can’t wait to see more pics of the final results. You are a beautiful couple. If you ever want someplace else to link to, I have a weekly party fri-monday. I am also hosting a Valentine contest, hope you will stop by.

  5. says

    Wow, that looks like a serious project! I’m intimidated when power tools come in the picture! What a sweet idea, though, I’m glad you shared it at Shine On Fridays! Hope you’ll be back tomorrow!

  6. brooke says

    Cute blog!!! I found you on a link party!! I am your newest follower!!! I would love it if you would check out my blog to and follow me back, that would be great!! I would love to feature your blog sometime!!

    -Brooke
    For-the-luv-of.blogspot.com

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