So I've used a LOT of tools over the years and feel comfortable with all of them. But I still get intimidated when I use a new one! (The tile saw made me sweat the first time, till I realized how easy it was to use!) If someone is interested in learning how to use a new tool I tell them to do two things -- do a ton of research (blogs are a GREAT resource 😉) and take your time and "get to know" the tool before you use it.
When I'm trying something for the first time I take my time unboxing it and putting it tougher, and read all of the paperwork that comes with it. This helps to ease me into it and makes me feel more comfortable. I also look up videos to see how people use the tool.
Recently the folks at Dremel asked me to share a DIY project using their Dremel Maker Kit and I was honored they asked...but nervous to try something new!:
I laugh when I think about that because I feel totally comfortable using my huge compound miter saw but these little Dremel tools were intimidating me. I think it happens to everyone -- and I think it's a good thing because you don't want be overly confident when you use a tool for the first time.
This maker kit comes with three tools -- the Dremel 200 rotary tool, which can be used for a variety of DIY projects. The Dremel engraver is for engraving stone, metal and wood. And the VersaTip soldering torch, which I was most excited about, is for burning into wood, soldering or cutting:
I had a project in mind and I knew either the engraver or the VersaTip would work:
I worked in the garage on a large scrap piece of wood and started trying them out (after reading all the materials on operation).
I tried the engraver first and it was so cool and incredibly easy to use:
I knew right away this wasn't the look I wanted but I am thinking of ways I can use this one on metal or glass in the future.
I really wanted to give this project a burned look so I decided to try the VersaTip instead. You need to fill the tool with butane -- we already had some for filling our candle lighters. You flip the tool upside down and then press the butane nozzle into it. It only takes a few seconds to fill it up -- you'll feel the canister getting cold:
You need to let the butane warm up a bit and then it's ready to use!
It was incredibly easy to operate -- there's a safety switch but once you flip that up it's just like a lighter. You'll hear the torch start burning and you'll see it as well:
You can smell the butane a bit -- that's another reason you may want to try this project outside. It's not overpowering by any means. This tool comes with a bunch of tips for different projects -- from cutting to soldering to burning. I found this one above to be the easiest for this project.
On a side note -- I was thrilled to learn that I can use this tool for caramelizing foods as well. I've always wanted to try making creme brûlée at home and now I can! :)
Once I was comfortable with using the tool, I printed out what I wanted to burn into the wood. A friend of ours is getting married later this year and I thought this would be a cute addition to their gift. I LOVE adding a handmade or personal gift for weddings or baby showers and used to do it a lot. I'm trying to get back to that. :)
I found a package of wood slices at Michael's for this project and taped the image onto the wood:
Then I traced the letters with a pen to transfer the image to the wood like I showed you how to do here.
On some of them I found it was helpful to trace the imprint with a pen before I started with the tool. I took the paper off (don't leave it on there with a flame!) and started burning the shapes into the wood:
This is not a quick project -- you'll want to take your time and be methodical about it. I started with a lighter hand to get my shape and would go back over it to get the darker burnt look.
I think they turned out SO cute. I'm kind of in love with them. In my head I made these planning to gift them as coasters so I added a couple layers of wipe on polyurethane:
But really, they could be used in so many ways!
I added some felt stickers to the bottom of each one so they don't scratch:
I tried to do wedding-type images -- their initials, the heart (like one you would see carved into a tree) and the Roman numeral for the day they're getting married and the year:
I think they'll make great coasters! But they could be used in so many other ways too -- I could see them as super cute ornaments if they decide to drill a hole into the top of each one. I also think they'd be fun as art in a shadow box or placed on top of a black background in a frame. They could also be used as small trivets for dishes -- there are so many uses!
I just think they're plain cute and I smile when I see them. The bride and groom are a fun young couple and I hope they'll enjoy them too:
I'm so glad I tried this tool and got over being intimidated by something new. Of course after I used it I realized how easy it was! We have a Dremel cutting tool that I've used in the past but this set is more for precision crafts and items where you want to add more detail. I highly recommend it if you are interested in doing those types of projects.
Have you tried this tool for any crafts or DIY projects? I though it was fun and it wasn't nearly as intimidating to use as I thought it would be. I felt comfortable with it within minutes of trying it out and burning the wood was fun. My mind is swimming with ideas for future projects! Now I'm off to make creme brûlée! ;)