It’s All About Donating! #6: Rustic Intarsia

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Blog entry by justoneofme posted 08-13-2019 02:19 PM 980 reads 2 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Rustic Intarsia Part 6 of It’s All About Donating! series no next part

Warning! This blog is a long one … but it’s the last in this series. So I hope you enjoy a favourite beverage while reading or just looking at these photos :)

Remember I said something about having an idea I hoped would work? Well … it did!!

Never having dabbled in ‘rustic’ painting before now, my methods may seem somewhat unorthodox to those who know better. And truly … I did experience a few inner battles between simple rustic and intricate realism while tackling this stage of the Intarsia!

Thankfully, fresh acrylic paint wipes off easily with a damp cloth. So … if things went sideways, it was comforting to know I could always go back to the lacquered surface previously applied, and start again.

White was the first layer of paint applied to the entire exposed design … actually the first two layers! You can tell the difference between coats in the photo. This effectively neutralized the varied shades of cedar. From that point onward, it was just a matter of applying multiple coloured layers until I was content enough to stop!

And while I was doing that, it was also time to do the final bits of elevation. After weeks of pulling apart and putting together, it’s almost second nature to do a final ‘tweaking’ with the design. Lifting a leaf’s pointed end up here and there, and adjusting the height of various petals helps achieve maximum effect.

As you can see there are different ways to approach elevation at this stage. Either applying to the underside of the piece, or gluing the elevation block inside the opening. Whichever is easiest!

When an outdoor ornament looks old and weathered, you notice various degrees of worn colours peaking out from past years of paint. Following the rustic theme with these flowers, leaves and stems took me on a journey of accumulated years crammed into a few hours to make thing look old :)

Shocking … I know! But then a coat of pink covered that ‘grabber’ blue, with a smidge of red slapped on haphazardly …

And now for the rustic touch! A dab of water, and scrub-a-dub-dub with a small square of fine sanding sponge does the trick!

The stems were next ... layers of green, pale plum, and a final coat of rich dark plum.

Once dried and put back in place, I marked where stems overlapped, as these were the areas especially needed to highlight by rubbing off colour to expose the cedar beneath. But I was careful not to fully expose those particular cedar joints where their contrasting shades would show.

The leaves got their turn with extra layers of colour and rustic rubbing.

When everything was to my liking, I secured these colours with another spray of lacquer … preparing for the final stage!

As messy as this looks, softly sanding to accept a rubbing of darker hue over various pieces helped give added depth …

... and the rewarding effect pleased my realistic side! Another coat of sanding sealer was sprayed to fix this last coloured application.

Finally! Glue up time!!

Everything was removed for the very last time! ... but it’s a slow process. Double-checking for perfect elevation is done one last time, then each section is carefully removed so as not to disturb the location of that elevation block. A pencil scribes its location before gluing in place. Pressing these small pieces into the glue creates suction, so no added pressure is necessary.

Then it’s onto the next section. Repeat, repeat, repeat until all the design pieces have been set aside while this glued elevation dries overnight.

And then … the heart-thumping final glue-up begins!!

Of course I know everything fits, but the intricacy of the stems means (in some cases) one glues in place before another can. Just being aware of that thought process can be nerve wracking enough.

White glue has a 10 minute window before repositioning becomes a very difficult situation … especially in these confined spaces. That timeframe is usually plenty. BUT EVEN with all the extra care taken, one stem shifted out of place and wasn’t noticed (while securing a flower in place) ... until I tried to glue a transecting stem that just wouldn’t slip in! Talk about sweating bucketloads while wedging a screwdriver against the end of the offending stem to force it back!! It was only a fraction of one blocking free passage of the other. But if I hadn’t been able to budge it, a chisel would have been the next tool used. I was too busy with that nightmare-in-the-making to snap a photo!!

That tape-marked stem indicates it had to be glued in first. When glue is applied, small paint brushes are used to push the glue up along the walls of each opening, before inserting whatever piece(s) necessary. Toothpicks are used to help force individual pieces against their outer wall if needed. They’re left in place for 1/2 hour, making sure nothing shifts once removed. Seldom do I have to glue between the individual pieces, as the bottom and sides are enough to secure everything in place.

It took a very long 2-1/2 hours of intense continual gluing before I was able to breath easy again! The Intarsia design will sit for a week while the glue completely sets up … and I tend to other workshop projects. Then the Intarsia goes through rigorous ‘wiggle-and-giggle’ abuse just to make sure everything has stuck!

The last bit of ‘repair’ work to be done before final spraying, is to fix both side edges. Those stem end gaps will be filled and camouflaged to blend them into the finished edges.

That’s it! Other than attaching the hanger wire and signing this “Rustic Intarsia” … it will soon be ready for delivery!! I’ll post a photo of the completed art piece before it’s sent off to hopefully earn (in some way yet determined) a good penny’s worth for our new Hospice House. The ground breaking ceremony took place 2 weeks ago … and a year + from now this facility for Palliative Care should be in full service.

Now you can get going on your woodwork’n day … or have a nap! Many thanks good buddies for such supportive comments as you’ve followed along :)

-- Elaine in Duncan

14 comments so far

View GR8HUNTER's profile


8536 posts in 1833 days

#1 posted 08-13-2019 02:46 PM

WOW this piece not only is very beautiful … but also has a GR8 cause behind it … since the color it really brought it out to GR8 life GREAT JOB :<)))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View shipwright's profile


8730 posts in 3918 days

#2 posted 08-13-2019 02:51 PM

Your attention to detail is amazing Elaine. I can understand how you get so involved in the smallest nuance to be sure everything is ….. just right. I tend to be that way a bit myself. The upside is that if we ever get something to a point where we are happy with it we will never have to worry about anyone else finding a flaw.
This piece has been a long journey but well worth the time and for a very good cause. I hope that it does well for the hospice fundraising program but would have been happier to see it on the wall to add a little joy to the patients time there.
Well done
...... I really have to do a hide glue intervention with you….

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View justoneofme's profile


859 posts in 3600 days

#3 posted 08-13-2019 03:10 PM

Super-duper Tony … you always leave such GR8 comments! Many thanks!!

Yes indeed Paul … you and I are finicky when it comes to detail! Thanks for your comments, and I agree that it probably would be nicer to have this art hanging on a wall inside Hospice House. Actually that idea hasn’t been completely ruled out. P.S. A visit to your shop is definitely a must, even if not for hide glue intervention :)

-- Elaine in Duncan

View ~Julie~'s profile


623 posts in 4154 days

#4 posted 08-13-2019 09:25 PM

Very artistic, you did a great job with mixing and layering all the colours!

-- ~Julie~

View DocSavage45's profile


9049 posts in 3963 days

#5 posted 08-13-2019 10:40 PM

Well Done, and it’s complete!

Now hoping that others value it as much as we do.

Patience is a “P” of woodworking I’m working on, but “to in a hurry”.... to nurture?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View sras's profile


6175 posts in 4249 days

#6 posted 08-14-2019 12:22 AM

This is an awesome piece! Thanks for taking the time to share your work with us!.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View MrWolfe's profile


1602 posts in 1244 days

#7 posted 08-14-2019 12:29 AM

Beautiful, artful, masterful and even playful!!!
What an inspiration!

View justoneofme's profile


859 posts in 3600 days

#8 posted 08-14-2019 01:38 AM

Thank you Julie! I revere you as the ‘queen of rustic’, so your comment on my attempt at rustic is greatly appreciated!!

Thanks Tom! You really have to relax … lol! Only then will you find an element of patience :)

Steve and Jon … many, many thanks!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View Celticscroller's profile


1286 posts in 3193 days

#9 posted 08-14-2019 04:04 AM

Beautiful!!!!!! I love the colours and the way you mixed them together Elaine. I’ve learnt a lot from following your blog. I hope you still have it when we drop by in September. I’d love to see the original. :)

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View justoneofme's profile


859 posts in 3600 days

#10 posted 08-14-2019 02:23 PM

Lol! ... I’ll hang onto it just for you Anna!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4454 days

#11 posted 08-15-2019 11:21 AM

In Awe of your creative and craft abilities to produce this wonderful piece of art Elaine and the fact that it will also serve a very good cause makes it worth even more in my eyes.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View justoneofme's profile


859 posts in 3600 days

#12 posted 08-15-2019 02:24 PM

Thank you Mike!! Let’s hope it’s worth something, as every little bit helps the cause!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3655 posts in 4833 days

#13 posted 08-19-2019 04:04 AM


I’m rather late to the party . . . but just got back from visiting Dad for a week and celebrating his 100 and 21-month birthday with him. (After 100, he started over—like a newborn—and celebrates each month!)

So, I read your first paragraph and before I continued I retrieved the $.25 bag of Pumpkin Spice Brittle I just bought to munch instead of a beverage this late at night. (I’m glad it didn’t take too long to read or I might have consumed all 1140 calories.)

I’m totally amazed at how you can add a few colors and make something look so realistic. Your fence and flowers look authentically old and rustic.

Just as Doc said, I really hope others appreciate it (and all the work that went into it) as much as we do and that it brings an exceptional donation for the new hospice facility.

I’m anxious to see it on the Projects page.


-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View justoneofme's profile


859 posts in 3600 days

#14 posted 08-19-2019 02:04 PM

Yummm … pumpkin spice brittle! What’s a few calories, eh?! And I love your dad’s attitude too!!

There’s always workshop projects keeping me otherwise entertained, but I’ll get back to posting the final photo soon. I’m in no rush as it’s ‘fate’ has yet to be determined. Besides … Celticscroller wants me to hang onto it long enough for her visit to the island … lol! And just maybe Shipwright will find time to pop over too … hint, hint!

Many thanks for tagging along the Rustic path with me L/W … and your wonderful comments!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

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