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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My Dollar Store Hack: Zen Rocks In A Shadow Box


 My favorite writing spot happens to be among the giant coastal Redwoods of California and on the cold and overcast beaches of the North Coast. I can't tell you how many times I've dipped half a leg in the freezing waters of the Pacific, paper and pen in hand. There's something about the calming, never ending roar of waves breaking on shore, the bubbly hiss as the waves retreat away from glittering silica sands that just puts you in a Zen-writing frame of mind.

I've spent uncountable hours of my life hiking among the moss covered, fog-drenched fern canyons, backpack full of writing necessities: pen, paper, sandwiches, and the occasional Capri-Sun. I used to hike all by myself, and since I'd familiarized myself with many trails, it was one of the most stress relieving activities ever. The forests are void of the sounds of an urban atmosphere, but are by no means quiet. The redwoods seem to have a life and breath all their own.

 I've been on a crafting kick lately to make stuff for my bare, white walls. (Did I mention that they're asylum-white?) I want to make stuff as cheaply as possible because a) I rent and do not own my house, and b) I'm a cheap bastard with expensive tastes who ultimately has to pay the rent on the aforementioned abode.

That's why I took several trips to surrounding Dollar Stores and tried to get inspired. Now, I've seen those happy-go-lucky designers on HGTV and whatnot wandering around a store in glee as they get great ideas, gasp in excitement over their shabby-chic find, and generally act like the crap they found is the Greatest Find in All History. Their ideas just "come to them." (That's what she said.)

My idea was less like a volcano of insane happy and more of a "huh...could be fun."

I came across one of the Zen Garden sets at the old Dolla' Store. I think these things have the right idea, but are ultimately messy and kind of lame.

I decided to make a Zen Stacked River Stone shadow box out of them.

Materials: 4 Zen Garden sets (Dollar Store), Large river stones (Dollar Store), hot glue gun, clear spray paint (you can get the cheap stuff at Wal-Mart), and a sawtooth hanger (also Wal-Mart).

 

Here is one of the Zen Garden sets. I took out the tray parts from all four sets that I bought and hot glued the corners together.

 

As you can see, the tray part is on the inside of the box. (Ignore the zebra-print snuggie in the background).



I hot glued together the rocks. The hot glue seems to adhere well, but it was easy enough to pry apart a rock or two if I didn't like the configuration. I suggest stacking them without glue before hand. In hindsight I would spread out the glue so it was thinner, so it wouldn't show quite as much (in the right light). Then I added three coats of clear spray paint to make them shine.


I started hot gluing the lighter colored rocks to the base, making sure to overlap a little so no holes would show through.  



Aaaaand you're done. Well, I put a sawtooth hanger on the back of it, but I have yet to hang it up. It doesn't seem so heavy that it'll fall off the wall, but we'll see. Right now it's on the mantel.



And the best part is that it cost around $5. Hope you like it, kids!

2 Comments:

At March 23, 2012 at 12:08 AM , Blogger Carmen said...

You're a freakin' genius!

 
At March 24, 2012 at 1:01 PM , Blogger B.C. Matthews said...

Thanks!

 

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