A One of a Kind Floral Cow Skull Tray/Wall Decor

7 Materials
$25
8 Hours
Advanced

I’ve been on a kick creating stencils lately of farm animals on my Silhouette machine. My latest project has become my favorite! 🙂 I also tried a new staining technique on this one. I will definitely be using this technique again.

Preparing the Board

I started with a plain new pine board. Danny, my husband and partner in our world of painting and creating, had previously cut a long pine board into 9 x 11 1/2” boards, sanding and rounding the edges. Some we will make into cutting boards, but this one I wanted to make a tray that could also hang up and be used as a wall decoration.

My idea was to give the board a natural, white washed look. I created a coffee stain with used coffee grounds, vinegar, and a steel wool pad. Here’s the tutorial I used:  https://www.familyhandyman.com/woodworking/staining-wood/how-to-stain-unfinished-wood-with-used-coffee-grounds/?_cmp=stf

This worked well to darken the wood and bring out the grain. I would have liked for the wood to have been a little darker. When this dried, and after 3 coats, I still thought it would be a little darker but it was fine. I let the solution sit for 24 hours after I mixed it. The next time, I think I would let it sit several days. 

After drying, the board was ready for the white wash, I mixed our brand of chalk-style paint Missouri Limestone Paint Company (MLPC) “January” with a little water, painted it on, then used a damp rag to rub it in and wipe it off. I let that dry well and it was ready to stencil.

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Video of Coffee Staining/White Wash Process

This step by step I did on a sample board gives you an idea of how I achieved the look on my project board.

Obtaining the Image

I found an SVG image I loved on Etsy from HeyLena Arts and purchased it. 


https://www.etsy.com/listing/744390593/cow-skull-svg-floral-wreath-svg-boho-svg?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=floral+cow+skull+svg&ref=sr_gallery-1-3&organic_search_click=1&pro=1 


I uploaded the SVG file to my Silhouette machine, traced it and cut it out, using Contact paper. I find this is a cheap and easy way to cut stencils. The Contact paper adheres nicely and is easy to remove. I also use clear Contact paper to transfer the stencil to my project. Press n Seal will also work as a transfer medium. 

Creating the Stencil

I uploaded the SVG file to my Silhouette machine. I have the Design software do O am able to do this. I had to be sure to choose all files, so it would find the SVG file.

Settings for Paper Size, etc.

These are the settings I used for

my Silhouette Portrait machine.

Tracing the Image

I then chose to trace the image for cutting.

Settings for Cutting

These are the settings I used for cutting my stencil on Contact paper. I sent to my Silhouette machine and it printed it out.

Time to Stencil

Then I did all the “weeding” (picking out the areas of vinyl) for the dark area of the skull. I stenciled those areas with MLPC “French Roast”, a dark brown.

For the flower area, I decided the best way to finish that would be to hand paint it, so that’s what I did. I am no artist, but I did learn to pretty much stay in the lines when coloring in elementary school. ☺️


The MLPC colors used: Crepe Myrtle, Farmhouse Green, Cornflower, Radio Flyer, Sour Green Apples, English Bluebells, and MO Buttercup.

Sealing the Tray

Once all the flower area was dry I sealed front, back, and sides with Varathane water-based Crystal Clear Polyurethane in Satin Finish. I used 5 thin coats for durability. This piece may be used as a tray so I wanted it to stand up to hard use. (It was so pretty out I did the sealing on my deck. I had my book and coffee handy and read while my sealer dries. It only took about 10 minutes for each on this day.)

The Leather Handles

Now it was time for the handles. I remembered seeing a DIY on Pinterest for creating handles out of strips of leather. I happened to have the perfect belt made of genuine cowhide that I thought would be perfect! I had purchased it at Goodwill some time ago to create handles for a suitcase dresser, so used it for this project instead. I cut two strip of 8” each and we attached them to the edges of the top and bottom of the board using vintage wood screws.


Final Reveal

This beautiful, floral cow skull tray/ wall hanging decoration is now complete! I absolutely love how it turned out!

Suggested materials:

  • Pine board  (Lowes)
  • Stencil  (Etsy)
  • Silhouette machine  (Already had this)
See all materials

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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