My wife and her friend wanted to make some pallet signs this past weekend, my job was to assemble their “canvases”. Luckily I had plenty of pallet wood after recently spending over 5 hours dissembling pallets. Since I had such an abundance of pallet wood planks, I decided I would make one as well.
Each board is connected with a handful of pocket hole screws and reinforced with 3 3″x1/4″ wood strips. The thin wood reinforcements run perpendicular to the pallet slats and were slathered in glue and nailed on with my brad nailer.
The only plan I had when starting out was that I was going to torch the crap out of it first. I had no other plans of what was going to come next and figured I would just let it take me where it wanted. Using my borrowed weed torch, I burnt it to a crisp for a few minutes until it was sufficiently charred.
Take notice of the burning log in the second picture above. After a short period of time, some of the cracks in the boards burnt through and the log behind the sign caught fire. This log came from a giant car sized piece of eucalyptus. It was large enough that I would need at a friend or two to actually pick it up. Since it wasn’t really near anything, I figured I would just let it burn itself out which in my experience usually doesn’t take long on giant logs like this.. Well in this case, the log smoldered for over 48 hours and now the only thing left is a pile of ash. Crazy.. just crazy!
Instead of letting the sign smolder and slowly disappear, I moved it to the grass and sprayed it down with a mist from my hose. Thanks to my stupidity, I also found out that it’s not very smart to pick it up without gloves.. This thing was so hot that my lawn still has a dead mark where it sat for 30 seconds before spraying it off..
After seeing how deep the black in this sign was, I could only think of one thing that needed to go on it. Star Wars! I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I’ve seen Star Wars but for some reason it just popped into my head and that was that. Since my wife and her friend were going to the crafty store, I asked them to pick me up a sheet of silvery grey vinyl. While impatiently waiting, I scoured the internet for images of a Death Star, Tie Fighters and X-Wings that would work. I had everything ready when my wife got back with the vinyl so I quickly threw it in the Cricut Explore and got it all cut out. It took a while to remove the extra vinyl from the Death Star but it was worth every minute!
I originally put two clear coats on top of the charred surface hoping that it would lock in everything but boy was I wrong… I made the mistake of putting on the death star first which didn’t stick at all. Some of the charred pieces actually came back up on the vinyl and made it more of a a pain the second time around. I ended up sanding the entire thing to remove the severely charred surfaces but as you can see, that didn’t really change the end color much since after applying the vinyl, the few clear coats I put on darkened it back up.
I honestly didn’t have a need for a Star Wars sign but I know a friend at work that is a Star Wars fanatic. As soon as this sign was finished I sent him a text to tell him to stay put because I was bringing him something awesome. He posted the picture above on Facebook a few moments after I dropped it off.
- Maybe this lesson isn’t learned because I always do it and maybe I’ll never learn.. Fire is hot! After the sign was sitting there (not on fire) for a minute or so I went to pick it up and burnt my thumb. (Still marks after 3 days..) Both sides of this sign were hot even when wearing gloves!
- Vinyl doesn’t stick to a charred surface very well… But it will stick to a previously charred and then sanded surface!