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Crafty: Owls on a Stump

By 15:59:00 , , , , , ,

I realized the other day that I have not done a 'crafty' post in ages, but then I have not really made as much this year as other years either. A week ago I made these little fellows, and took some photos of the process. So here is how I made and how to make a little owl on a stump.

You will need: A bit of wood, preferably some soft-ish kind of wood and cut straight from a dead stump or fallen branch.... (real wood to give it a nice texture.) Also a pocket knife of some kind, a file, sandpaper, a tiny paintbrush, black paint and linseed oil. Possibly some band-aids too and fingernail cutters.....

First, cut a length of wood that is around the right length.... which is as long as you happen to want it, I think mine are around 10-14cm. I first attempted to make my owls out of a bit of gum tree.. the wood was far too hard and I only succeeded in needing a band-aid on one finger.... With the second owl I made I actually started whittling off the bark and into the wood while it was still attached to the tree, making it much easier to hold.... actually I did not have to hold it at all. So you could do it that way too. I left some bits of the original bark down the bottom. 

It is also easier if you cut the bottom straight when you cut it from the tree/stick, which I did not do, so I had to do a lot of filing to make it stand up and not just tip over. I would also suggest you cut your fingernails, to avoid snapping them off in painful ways.... see my thumbnail... yes it is not really attached (except by one tiny corner), and by that time I had also acquired another band-aid. I think that cut came from my finger scraping along something else sharp as I was whittling my bit of wood.... (three fingers down... actually I only hurt three that day but I have managed to injure a fourth since then.... and the first one again by stabbing a pin into it).

The next thing to do is cut into the wood, deeper in some places, to give it more texture, so that it looks like this.

The ear tufts come next. For my first owl I just used the knife to scrape out the dip in between them, but the second bit of wood was much more stubborn. So I used the bench drill and a very small drill piece to drill a hole in the top of the owls head. Then I cut away the bit around the top of the hole. 

Next I cut flat places for the eyes, and cut the wood away from under the beak. Oh and filed the bottom for a very long time.... a really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really long time until my little owl would stand up and not just tip straight over.

Then I cut into the sides of the owl to make wings. I filed them down a bit too. Then lightly sanded the whole thing... a bit more than lightly in some places, and only extremely lightly over the original bark... obviously I did not wish to sand it off.

Then I cleaned off the dust (sawdust, not sitting around dust) and painted it. Which took a while... one tiny stroke at a time, and constantly dipping the brush back into the paint. And I also managed to drop it onto the scarf I was wearing..... a black scarf... so at least no one can tell where it was painted, but likewise I could not tell where to wipe the paint off from...

Last of all I painted the 'stump' that the owl sits on with linseed oil to darken it, and also part of the eyes. With the first owl I had painted the whole bit of wood, but that made it harder to see the owl.

The finished product!

The second one I made was so much better! It stands up better too....

I am not sure what the name of the wood I used was, but in this photo the owl is sitting in amongst the leaves of the tree I freed him from. Annoyingly the linseed oil crept up onto the 'owl' too, but at least not very far. I painted it so carefully only onto the stump.... and ruined a paint brush doing it too... I mean it will never not smell of linseed now.

These two next photos are of the finished owls sitting on the stumps they so recently vacated. And I used to crash my knee and head into in the chook yard.....

And in the mulberry tree. 

Have you ever made something from a stick/stump or lump of wood?

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  1. Oh, man, this looks so frigging cute! I love owls, even though I have never seen one... living in the city sucks sometimes because you're so out of tune with nature! When I go back home to the province, I'm so trying this one out. We have a mango tree right in our backyard and I can put them there :D Might even appease the tree spirit (if you believe in that kind of stuff... we kinda do hahaha)

    Faye at The Social Potato

    1. Thanks, I am quite happy with my cute little friends. You should try it, and they would look cool in a tree, as long as they are not too small to notice. I do not believe in tree spirits though, but Jesus Christ, God incarnate who has taken the punishment for all my sins instead to me having to, and that is such a good thing!!!

  2. OMG THEY ARE SOOOOO CUTE. the most I do with wood is, um, I don't even know...trip over it?!? I've never tried carving!! And, as always, your photos are GORGEOUS. Omg.

    1. He he he trip over it, right! Maybe also burn it to keep warm....