I walked into Home Depot and I headed straight for the lumber section. I made it to that section in seconds, however the time it took me to actually pick out and purchase the wood, seemed like hours.
You might be asking why I was in the lumber section to begin with? I am doing a networked learning project for one of my MAET courses and it requires us to learn how to do something using only YouTube videos and online help forums. I headed straight to my Pinterest board for inspiration and chose to learn how to make a piece of wood wall art.
The first thing I needed to do was use my online resources to get my supply list together. The main resource I am using is a blog called Shanty-2-Chic. I am attempting to recreate this exact sign. This resource is easy to follow and the step by step pictures make it extremely user-friendly. I am definitely a visual learner when it comes to this project. One downfall is that on some of the steps, I wish it went into a little more detail. For example, it says you need “furring strips”. Maybe this is common knowledge to some, but I had NO idea what furring strips are. Naturally, I Googled to find out. Crisis averted.
Shanty-2-Chic also talked about needing a nail gun. This girl does not own a nail gun, so I searched for other alternatives. I found a YouTube video and Craig says if you don’t have a nail gun, you can use a hammer and finishing nails. Second crisis averted. This video has played a key role in my learning on how to actually put together the sign. Although Shanty-2-Chic shows the process in pictures, it was very helpful to me to watch and rewatch someone work through the process.
As a learner, one difficulty I found is that there is so much information on the internet about making wood signs and different techniques to use. As Danah Boyd wrote, “Becoming literate in a networked age requires hard work, regardless of age” (Boyd, 2014, p.177). A simple Google search will return thousands of results. I had to learn how to weed out the good tutorials from the bad. Eventually, I had to tell myself that I’d looked at enough and to go with the blogs I found most helpful. Sometimes, you just have to jump in.
After all my searching, I finally had my supply list and was off to Home Depot (which is where my story first began). Wandering among aisles and aisles of wood, I finally found the furring strips and felt a bit relieved. I got those cut to size and then found the rest of my materials; wood glue, finishing nails, and stain. The lady at the checkout wished me luck with my project.
I got started right away. I laid out my boards and they looked fabulous. Following Shanty-2-Chic, I took one of the back supports and glued it on. Epic fail. The wood glue did nothing but make a mess. The boards were a little uneven, which is not good when you are trying to use wood glue. In the YouTube video I found, Craig does not use glue at all. Therefore, I decided to forgo the glue and just use the nails. Third crisis averted.
With that decision made, I began hammering the boards together. It was difficult at first to make sure everything lined up. However, with each nail in, I was feeling more confident and my project was coming together. Currently, this is where I’m at. Next comes the staining process. This is quite the adventure, and I have learned that projects are never as simple as they appear online.
Boyd, D. (2014). It’s complicated: the social lives of networked teens. New Haven + London: Yale University Press.