by Texas Homesteader ~
I made a cross collage using arrowheads. It was placed in a shadowbox frame that was previously just an old (and ugly) repurposed key box. The wood frame was painted white and lightly sanded to distress the finish just a touch. I love the way it turned out!
Homemade Gift-Giving Quandary
I wanted to make a very sentimental gift for my mother. Y’all know I always prefer to make my gifts homemade. But I’m not really the creative type. So I struggle mightily with being able to figure out the perfect gift.
But this time I think my gift was just right. You see, my brother – an accomplished flintknapper – had recently passed away.
So I took some of the arrowheads that my brother had flint-knapped years ago and arranged them into a cross collage for her. Come see how I was able to fashion this gift using only supplies I had at home.
Using Supplies I Already Had At Home
I knew I needed a shadow-box frame. But I didn’t want to go shopping for one since we were still in a shelter-in-place situation at the time. Plus, as you you know I’m a huge fan of #UseWhatchaGot thinking.
So I rummaged through my crafting supplies and found an old, dusty, hinged key box. (When did I even get this thing?)
It had a shadow-box frame front and contained a nautical theme displaying plastic seaside items, seashells, etc.
The front was hinged and had a clasp closure. You could open the box to store keys inside.
But today I’ll repurpose this ugly box. I’ll fashion it into a beautiful yet sentimental gift straight from my heart.
Reworking A Shadow Box Into A Frame
RancherMan removed the hinges and the latch. Then we separated the two sides of the box.
We’ll want to use the glass-topped frame section for this gift for my mom. So we sat aside the boxed key section & focused on the frame.
NOTE: I ended up using that second half of the box to make the same type of Arrowhead Collage gift for my father using my brother’s hand-made arrowheads. (see below)
Making The Cross Collage
We removed the wooden back of the frame to open it up. Ugh, all of those little plastic nautical themed trinkets were attached to the backing.
Luckily I was able to easily peel away the trinkets along with the paper they were attached to. The paper and all the plastic trinkets came off in one piece. Yea!
I contemplated covering the backing with denim for a nice contrast for the arrowheads. (NOTE – I did just that for my father’s arrowhead collage – see above)
But I loved the leatherish look the back of this shadowbox frame already displayed. So I decided to mount the arrowheads directly onto the wooden back cover.
Painting The Frame
The brown wood color of the outside frame itself was not what I was after since mom’s favored décor is more farmhouse style. So I wanted to paint the frame white and distress it.
Now it would have been great if I had some inexpensive flat paint already waiting for me in RancherMan’s shop. I’ve used this kind of paint for distressing projects in the past and it was easy & worked out beautifully.
But all I had on hand right now was some white heavy-duty high-end exterior metal fence paint. Its whole purpose is to have staying power! So it will be hard to distress, and will have a gloss sheen too. But it’ll have to do.
I added the first layer of white paint haphazardly onto the frame. It took two days for the paint to dry! Then I added a second coat, being sure to make ‘messy strokes’ with the paint. Again I allowed it to dry for a couple of days.
How To Distress The Paint
Now that the paint is dry it was time to attempt to give it the distressed look. I’ll sand sections of white away showing the darker wood color beneath. Hopefully this will give the flat, white distressed-wood look I’m after.
So I took some sandpaper and roughed up the paint. But remember, this is high-end fence paint. It sure didn’t want to come off easily.
So I got a heavier grit sandpaper and really put some elbow grease into it! I finally got some of the corners and edges to distress. So I worked with the sandpaper until I was happy with the overall look.
The sanding also took the gloss off of the paint’s finish. That resulted in the flat white paint look I was after. Yes! I like the way it turned out.
Finally we installed a hanger on the back so mom could hang it on the wall when it was complete.
Designing The Arrowhead Cross
Now it’s time to focus on my arrowhead collage. My brother was an accomplished artist. He would shine at whatever art form he happened to be interested in. Years ago he became interested in flint knapping and he worked to perfect his technique.
He’d flint-knapped lots of arrowheads. Of course he’d etched his signature mark into each one as is protocol to distinguish them from actual artifacts.
But they’re all stunning – so artfully made! So these arrowheads are both beautiful as well as sentimental.
I gathered several of them, some large ones and some small ones too. The bird points and the spear points. Different kinds, different sizes and different colors.
One by one I arranged them on the wooden backing to see which was the most pleasing layout. Do I make the cross two arrowheads wide? Three arrowheads wide? Only one layer?
I ended up deciding to make the cross design two arrowheads wide. I arranged them until I was pleased with the result.
Carefully Affixing Arrowheads To The Mat
Now came the super-duper stressful part. My brother’s gone now, so these arrowheads can’t be replaced if they’re damaged! (Ugh, no pressure now!)
So I carefully pulled an arrowhead out of its arrangement and ran a hearty line of hot glue on the back. Then I quickly pressed the arrowhead firmly back into place.
One by one I repeated this until I had my arrowhead cross collage firmly glued down. Then I took a look – yeah, it’s PERFECT!
RancherMan helped me reattach the backing holding the arrowhead design onto the back of the frame that we’d painted and distressed. A few tiny brad nails held everything firmly in place.
Mom loved her gift. And I’m thrilled that I was able to fashion my brother’s arrowheads into a lasting piece of art for her.
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