DIY Upcycling

Making Signage From Letter Stencils: Part 2

Making Signage From Letter Stencils: Part 2

by Carolyn Hasenfratz

Tools and Materials
*Indicates items available at Schnarr’s
Assorted scrap cardstock
X-Acto Knife and Blades
Self-healing cutting mat
*Letter stencils
*Acrylic paint
Acrylic medium
Paint mixing containers
Architextures™ Parchment Rub-Ons by Canvas Corp – Build
Assorted decorative papers with hardware related motifs
Bone folder or burnisher
*Modge Podge (available at our Ladue store)
Scrap corrugated cardboard
Fabric scissors
Paper cutter
*Nuts and bolts
Old wood yardsticks
Metal ruler
*Masking tape
*Mounting tape

My design for in-store signage for use on an endcap at Schnarr’s Hardware store in Webster Groves, MO was influenced greatly by my love of stencils. I had recently used stencils to make signs for another store. I was happy with the results and eager to try similar lettering techniques with a different look.

I took a set of chipboard reusable letter stencils that I got from Schnarr’s and used them to trace letters for the words “DIY Classes” on pieces of scrap cardstock and thin chipboard. I cut out each letter by hand using an X-acto knife, metal ruler and self-healing cutting mat.

My next step was to give each letter piece a wash of white paint mixed with matte medium and water. After the paint was dry I used some rub-ons burnished with a bone folder to add hardware and building imagery over the white paint wash around the cutout letters. Then with a small brush I outlined the letters and edges with a painted-on line of non-watered down white paint.

I cut out pieces of black cardstock slightly larger than my letter pieces and placed one behind each to add a frame and make the letters stand out. With an awl I poked holes in the four corners of each letter piece and fastened the layers of paper together with brads, using a variety of washers from my stash here and there with some the brads for extra variety and interest.

After making my letters, I measured the space available for my sign and took stock of what materials I had on hand. I knew I wanted a lightweight sign that would harmonize with the vintage imagery in the rub-ons, look good with the store’s color scheme and suggest the types of mixed media techniques I teach in the DIY Classes I’m promoting.

I decided to decoupage paper imagery all over a piece of foamcore and paint over the paper pieces with a wash of red-brown paint so that the designs on the papers would show through and not be too dominant. Most of the paper I chose was by the company DCWV. I looked for paper designs with things on them like vintage letters and numbers, rulers, keys, hardware, aged wood and brick, clock faces, vintage machinery and the like. I used Modge Podge to glue the papers over the foamcore and I mixed matte medium with the paint to make a translucent wash.

The finished foamcore panel was a bit smaller than the space I needed to cover so I made a frame out of cardboard covered with burlap to mount it on. First I cut out 8 pieces of corrugated cardboard, 2 for each side of the frame for extra strength. I bound the pieces of cardboard together with masking tape then I covered the cardboard frame sides with burlap, securing the burlap with tape on the back side. I poked holes in the burlap covered pieces and in the front foamcore piece with an awl and I used nuts and bolts with washers to attach the layers together.

I laid out my letters on top of the cardboard/burlap/foamcore assembly and saw that the second line, “Classes” was a bit too wide to fit onto the foamcore and was going to have to overlap the burlap edges to fit. I decided to bolt on a couple of old yardsticks to provide a surface for attaching the second row of letters. This emergency adaptation turned out to be a happy accident because in my opinion the rulers added great interest to the design and looked terrific with the images and colors I was using.

My last step was to attach the letters to the sign with mounting tape. I love this stuff!

Stop by Schnarr’s Webster to see the finished sign. On the endcap below it you’ll find samples of projects for future classes I’ll be teaching along with assorted art and craft supplies, some offered at clearance prices!

DIY Home Decor Ways With Wood

Upcoming DIY Class at Schnarr’s – Stenciled Letter Blocks July 19, 2018

Upcoming DIY Class at Schnarr’s – Stenciled Letter Blocks July 19, 2018

Stenciled Letter Blocks – $20.00 Class

Join us at Schnarr’s Hardware in Webster Groves to decorate wood blocks with paint, stencils and mixed media to create fun home decor. Spell out words, make initial blocks. house numbers or dates to enhance a festive occasion. All supplies included.

Thursday, Jul 19 2018
05:30:00 PM
Price: $20.00

For More Class information or to Sign Up – Click here


DIY Home Decor Upcycling Ways With Wood

Upcoming Class at Schnarr’s: DIY Shadow Box on June 21

Upcoming Class at Schnarr’s: DIY Shadow Box on June 21

by Carolyn Hasenfratz

Learn how to make a shadow box from an old drawer
Learn how to make a shadow box from an old drawer

It’s easy to turn an old drawer from an unloved piece of furniture into an attractive and functional shadow box that fits your decor. Learn how from artist and designer Carolyn Hasenfratz at Schnarr’s Hardware in Webster Groves. Most materials are included, including the drawer. If you want metal feet on your box we have some along with some extra decorative hardware available for purchase.

What’s Provided
Drawers, fabric and board for backing, paint, essential hardware, glue, sandpaper, decorative papers

What You Can Expect

  • Learn how to make a functional background for tacking
  • Learn how to attach feet or hangers to your box for display
  • Get decorating and mounting ideas for your favorite keepsakes

Schnarr’s Hardware – Webster Groves
40 East Lockwood Ave.,
St. Louis , MO , 63119


DIY Home Decor Ways With Wood

Schnarr’s Hardware is now offering DIY Classes!

Schnarr’s Hardware is now offering DIY Classes!

by Carolyn Hasenfratz

I hope you can join us for our first class at Schnarr’s Hardware in Webster Groves – Make a Picture Frame from Scrap Wood!

make a picture frame from scrap wood

Schnarr’s employee Carolyn Hasenfratz will show you how to use reclaimed wood pieces to make a frame that fits an 8 1/2 x 11-inch picture. This size frame is a good size for award certificates and other common documents that you might want to display. Tools and materials will be provided. You will learn techniques that you can use to design and build your own frames from your choice of wood scraps. Save a ton of money by gaining skills you can use by making your own unique frames for your home decor while gaining the satisfaction of saving materials from the landfill.

Class with Carolyn Hasenfratz – Make a Picture Frame from Scrap Wood
Date: February 22, 2018
Time: 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Location: Schnarr’s Hardware in Webster Groves, 40 East Lockwood, St. Louis MO, 63144

The cost of the class is $20. To register please go to this url:

What’s Provided
Wood, tools, metal, chipboard, hardware

What You Can Expect
Learn to build simple picture frames
Learn to design frames from reclaimed wood
Learn to fabricate hardware for the back of the frame using simple tools
Learn how to recycle wood pieces
Learn about sources of low cost reclaimed materials for your DIY projects

For Carolyn’s complete teaching schedule, please go to:

DIY Ladies' Night

Hardware Store Jewelry – Easy, DIY Faucet Handle Bracelet

Julia Christensen will be one of the guest DIY bloggers at our upcoming Ladies’ Night on April 30, 2015. Come enjoy demos of fun projects, plus discounts, door prizes, refreshments and more! One of the projects Julia will be sharing is a faucet handle bracelet. Read her bracelet tutorial on her blog, Oh, Julia Ann.

Faucet Handle Bracelet Tutorial
Faucet Handle Bracelet Tutorial
Ladies' Night at Schnarr's Hardware on April 30
Ladies’ Night at Schnarr’s Hardware on April 30

Keep an eye out for more hardware store jewelry DIYs, and remember to RSVP for Ladies’ Night (on Facebook and via email []) on April 30th.

DIY Home Decor Lighting

Make an Insulator Votive Candle Lantern

Make an Insulator Votive Candle Lantern

Insulator Lanterns
Insulator Votive Candle Lanterns

Do you collect glass insulators? I often see them for sale in antique shops and there are several web sites with information for insulator collectors. I’ve always found them  attractive looking and I thought they’d be even more interesting if made into something functional. Flameless votive candles are a lot of fun (and safe) to incorporate into your decor. In this project I’ll show you how to make a glass insulator into a flameless candle lantern.

What you’ll need:

Glass insulator
Strong long-nosed pliers
Flameless votive candles – we sell LED battery powered votive candles that include a 4 hour timer

Optional – additional chain, ceiling screw hook, toggle bolt or ceiling hanging kit for hanging, swag hook, decorative bracket, Stick-Um candle adhesive

Items for making the insulator lamp
Items for making the insulator lantern

Choosing the right chain for this project is important – it should be sturdy enough for the links to support the weight of the insulator, but not so strong that you can’t bend the links with pliers. At Schnarr’s the weight rating of each chain is indicated on the spool.

1. Select a length of chain just long enough to fit around the “waist” of the insulator. Don’t worry about cutting the chain to size – just pull a link open with the pliers to separate. The links will last longer and close more neatly if you open and close them with a side-to-side motion. With the weight of chain I chose I was able to hold a link on one hand and open with pliers held in the other hand, but if this is difficult try gripping the chain with pliers in each hand as you open and close the links.

2. Wrap the chain around the “waist” of the insulator and link together, re-closing the link to fasten the chain in place.

Attach chain to insulator
Attach chain to insulator

3. Decide at what level you’ll want your lantern to hang and prepare three pieces of chain of suitable and equal length. Attach one chain to a link anywhere on the “waist” piece.

4. To figure out where to attach the other two pieces of chain so that they are spaced evenly, count the chain links around the “waist” and divide that number by three. Attach the other two pieces that many links away from your first piece. For example, if your “waist” chain has 15 links, attach the hanging chain pieces every five links.

5. Link all three pieces together at the top by stringing the last link of each onto an S-hook. If you buy an open S-hook, you can let gravity hold the chains in place, but if you want extra security you can squeeze the S-hook closed with your pliers. If you buy a closed S-hook, just open and close with a side to side motion the way you did with the chain links.

Insulator Lantern
Insulator lantern with light

6. Now it’s time to decide how to hang your lantern. If you want it to hang straight from the ceiling, you can use a ceiling screw hook, toggle bolt, hanging kit, swag hook or decorative bracket of the type commonly used for hanging plant pots. Weigh your insulator lantern to make sure you don’t exceed the weight limits of your chosen hanging hardware. If you want to hang your lantern outside, some of the hanging hardware previously mentioned may help or another option is to drape an additional length of chain over a rafter or tree branch and link the lantern to it with an S-hook.

7. Switch on your candle and place it in the lantern. The style and size of the insulator will affect how deeply the candle sets into it. If you have trouble stabilizing the candle, try some Stick-Um candle adhesive.

Available at Schnarr’s:

Swag Hook

Swag Hook


S Hook
S Hook

Long Nose Pliers

Long Nose Pliers
Votive Flameless Led Candles

Votive Flameless Led Candles

Decorative Swivel Hanging Plant Bracket
Decorative Swivel Hanging Plant Bracket