Making a STATEment-DIY Bookends

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One of my new favorite handmade items to make are these wooden bookends.  This idea started last year when I was desperate to come up with a gift for Jim that was both rustic and personal.  The personal touch came by adding the state we were both born in, and then the state we both moved to and met in, but really these bookends can take on any shape and meaning that you want!

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I will give you a quick rundown of how I make these items.

First, I start with whatever wood I have lying around, this can be pallet wood, or in this case, thick plywood.  I then cut out the six pieces.  For the bases my cuts were around 6″ by 6″, with the middle smaller pieces at 5″.

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It is important to give the wood a good sanding and wipe down before any staining can begin.  I also like to give the bookends a rounded edge, I do this simply by using the sander as well.

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For the outline of the states, I went to the internet and just traced the state outline onto a plain sheet of paper.

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I then cut out that shape and traced it onto some scrap pieces of wood.

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Then it was time to use the scroll saw! I must say, this is quickly becoming one of my favorite tools to use!  It is a slow and intricate process, but it is the step I enjoy the most in building these bookends.  In fact, I look forward to the challenge of making other states or shapes all together!  Just try me!

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The last step before assembling the bookends, consists of staining.  I have used various shades of stain but some of my personal favorites are antique walnut and dark walnut by Minwax.  Although, I think with my next order or creation, I will paint the state with acrylic paint, and maybe even add a tiny heart where the city they are from is located!  The possibilities with these are endless!stain

After all staining and sanding is complete and dry, the bookends are then assembled with both wood glue and small finishing nails.  However, I use only the wood glue when attaching the states to the back, and secure them in place overnight with a clamp.  They will certainly be dry before then, but I always like to give it that extra time.

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After all the steps are completed, you have a thoughtful, handmade gift that is both decorative and useful!

Below is a set of bookends I recently made from an order on my Etsy page.  These were given as a wedding present!

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But the options for customization are many, as they could take on animal shapes and colors for a children’s room, or something to reflect a favorite hobby etc.

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What would you customize your bookends with?

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