DIY Maker Interview: Amanda Stores
We love hearing the stories of DIY Makers like Amanda and the projects they're working on! If you'd like to share your story give us a shout.
DIY: Tell us a little about you - how’d you get into making in the first place?
Amanda: I have always loved doing any type of art, but found my passion in wood when I started wood burning. Wood burning isn’t exactly the first hobby people run to, or know much about, which is why I love doing it. It explores the possibilities of using a type of sauntering iron pen with various tips onto the many different types of wood. I didn’t know that each wood would respond to the wood burner in unexpected ways. Sometimes the pen burns quickly over the surfaces of cedar and basswood, but it might take longer to burn oak or maple. Not only the type of wood, but the wood piece itself could make my pen drag along the grains differently. It was just a matter of time before wood scraps started piling up in our garage.
DIY: Where do you do most of your work on your DIY projects?
Amanda: When we moved into our home, I realized that my husband and I would finally have a place to practice our woodworking, and for me to have a place to do my art. Our garage is covered in sawdust, but it brings us enjoyment to do projects together. My art room is where I do the intricate details.
DIY: What was your first “big tool purchase”?
Amanda: My first big tool purchase was probably a sander. For my wood burning projects, I had used my husband’s tools from before we were married and knew that I needed the surface of the wood to be smooth in order to woodburn on it, so I invested in a sander.
DIY: What was the first DIY furniture project you ever made?
Amanda: Any lessons learned to share with people from that? The first DIY furniture project I did by myself was an 8 ft x 3 ft long art desk. I needed a place to land, and this desk could fit in a cubby in my art room perfectly. There was only one problem, I was in my second trimester of pregnancy. My husband will tell you that there is no stopping or changing the mind of a pregnant mama. One morning, I went down to our garage and just started using our miter saw to chop boards into parallelograms and triangles. The pattern started forming, but nothing was quite touching the right way. I finished the pattern on one side and then realized that it would drive me crazy if the other side of the desk was different than the first. That prompted me to keep chopping and placing pieces together until the patterns met in the middle. I didn’t finish the desk until I was 36 weeks pregnant. The funny part was that I had our baby one week later.
DIY: What inspired you to create this project?
Amanda: I honestly needed a place to my art projects. We had done the dreaded apartment life for three years while my husband finished school, and my art crowded up our dining room and balcony. We are now blessed with a home, but now there wasn’t a desk to fit that huge space. All the typical desks at stores were flimsy and scratched easily. I was wanting something made by my own hands, which is why I made the desk.
DIY: Why’d you pick hairpin legs for this project?
Amanda: I know I could have cut legs out of wood, but I wanted something visually feminine for my art room. I also love promoting small businesses whenever I can.
DIY: What was the most complicated part of this build?
Amanda: It was probably being pregnant. I had to take so many breaks and then I was frustrated with the fact that not all of the pieces didn’t touch perfectly.
DIY: What was your favorite part of this project?
Amanda: My favorite part was staining it. Staining this project, or any wood burned project is the signal that it is completed.
DIY: IF you could only share one Instagram channel for DIY inspiration who would that be and why?
Amanda: I would say @werrellwoodworks. I watched how their quilted wood designs always looked so unique and beautiful, and their work inspired me to make a pattern out of wood. It definitely didn’t turn out the way I expected, or anything like what they do, but I love my desk.
DIY: Anything else you’d like to share with our followers on the blog?
Amanda: I would say to just try and expand on what you already love doing. When I started wood burning, I thought that is where it would stop. I loved working with wood and wood burning, and now I am starting to love the art of woodworking alongside my husband. If you want to see more about this project or my other art projects, please take a minute to check out www.amandastores.com.