Sunday, October 2, 2011

Old, Angry Guitar ---> POOF! ---> New, Happy Clock

Okay, so, confession time: While I am a board-certified music therapist and dance instructor by name, I have a strong wannabe complex when it comes to visual arts. I would never call myself an artist, but I somehow feel more...alive when something evolves in my hands. Sewing, painting, quilting, baking, collage, graphic name it, I'll try it. Not that things always go smoothly - remember when I sewed my finger last Spring? Ouch. Seriously, ouch. But less than a week later, I was back behind the wheel (of my sewing machine) and ready to create again. Major crafty nerdiness, right here, people!

The seed for this particular project was planted back in June via this picture I found on Pinterest. Gorgeous, right? But where to get guitars no longer
worthy of playing but totally worthy of upcycling? [Sidenote: Aah! First non-clothing upcycle project! Exciting :-D] I kept my eyes open on Freecycle and Craig's List for the next few weeks, scouring the 'burbs of DFW for an old, angry guitar, but came up empty-handed. Huh, I thought. Guess I'll have to wait for this project. And I shelved the idea (pun somewhat intended) and moved on to other things, like, ooooh, I don't know, being offered and accepting a new job, packing up the entire family and moving 2,000 miles back to the Pacific Northwest? Yeah, that pretty much kept my mind off my crafting guitar-less status.

So imagine my surprise when, several weeks ago, my amazing boss asked me to oversee the inspection of five old guitars with a repairman, hoping that two of them would be worth fixing up to be used as spares in our clinic. Hmmm...whatever shall we do with the three others? I wondered out loud. Trade-in, donate, recycle...yes! Recycle! I'm in! After getting the go ahead from my boss, I called my Dad and informed him, "Power up the power tools!" Yes, I totally said that out loud. I'm nerdy like that :-D

So here's the old, angry guitar on our kitchen counter, waiting to be loved on... well as a display of the tools of the guitar-upcycling trade - clock mechanism kit, AA battery, strong wooden ruler, and a box cutter. Fancy, yes?

So first I removed the broken strings

Looking pretty naked without the strings, huh?

That's me, loosening the bridge with a butter knife. Oh yeah, we keep it high-tech at our house!

Then Dad flipped over the guitar...

...I marked a rectangle in Sharpies (key for removing the screws holding in the bridge and installing the clock mechanism)...
...and Dad drilled some lead holes.

Several slices across the varnish to cut out a rectangle...this looked like so much fun, I totally swiped the boxcutter from Dad pretty much as soon as I put the camera down, hee hee!

Ooooh, aaaah! Like a tiny door into the music-making magic ;-)

So then it was time to deal with the ugly, varnish-less mark where the bridge used to be...

I'm not gonna lie, using the power-sander was super-fun, but a little hard to control. I ended up going with the old school hand-sanding method. Exciting, I know ;-)

First coat of paint on...

...and after the second coat, we have a golden guitar, courtesy of Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Metallic Acrylic Craft Paint in "Copper"

Golden guitar, freshly varnished...still a little gooey, though

I wanted to come up with something pretty and guitar-ey to accent the numbers. I nosed around and found some origami paper within the boxes of still-unpacked office supplies, borrowed a guitar pick from my Dad to trace, grabbed some scissors and, voila! Paper "guitar picks" - colorful and free!

Glue sticks are so useful for things like 1st grade art collages and attaching paper accents to guitars...

Clock mechanism installed, guitar picks attached...
...numbers attached...
...and another coat of varnish for like-new guitar clock shine!

Next, it was time for test placement for the flourishes
...yup, even up on the fingerboard!
The flourishes seemed a little...stark, so they got a fresh coat of Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Metallic Acrylic Craft Paint in "Rust" to make them blend in a little more

Finally! It's done! (and my room needs to be cleaned, clearly)
So here's the final product, mounted above the door of one of our offices. Have I mentioned that we are housed in a building that's about a century old? Sooo Portland vintage!
Here's a pic to give you a little more perspective. Nice, right? Okay, so maybe pretend that the white cabinet has been cleaned out and the little CD stand isn't actually there...
The view from below...those extra nails will be removed once I figure out a better way to attach the neck of the guitar to the wall...any ideas?
Oooh, did I mention the best part? There are still two guitars patiently waiting to be upcycled - stay tuned for Parts 2 & 3 of this upcycling adventure!

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