Handmade Home Decor 10

Crafting Rustic Home Decor with She Likes Letters

As fall dawns, many are turning to a warm, rustic look for home 
 décor. Those interested in this unique style of decorations need to look no further than Bethany and Jonathan Walters of She Likes Letters, who have become local experts in custom, do-it-yourself ornaments, cupcake toppers and wall hangings. Demand for the pair’s designs is booming, with sales coming directly from their Etsy site. Although their wood-carved decorations combine tasteful design with natural simplicity, the process for making them is far from basic.

Jonathan starts the process at the source: the forest. After gathering wood, he stores it near a furnace, so it dries out. In addition to the quality of wood, the type of wood is important for the final products’ designs.

“We’ve found that oak is not a good medium because it is dark,” Jonathan says. “I try to select a wood species that I know is going to be good for (Bethany’s) work.”

After drying the wood, Jonathan takes branches to his woodshop, where he saws timber into a variety of sizes. After sawing each piece to one of his preset sizes using a makeshift measuring device, the wood is sanded to provide a smooth surface for marking.

Next, Jonathan hands the wood canvases off to Bethany. First, she examines the pieces for spits and cracks. After choosing quality pieces, she drills a hole in the outer edge of the carvings. At this point in the process, the creation step depends on the product. To make her renowned cupcake holders, Bethany takes a dot of glue and places it in the freshly drilled hole. Then she inserts a toothpick in the glue-lined hole, fastening it to the wood canvas.

Prior to assembly, Bethany’s artistic skills really come into play. She uses markers or paint to freehand designs on each wood canvas. Her drawings usually depend on the unique requests of customers.

“I always do the artwork first because it’s hard to do it straight if the eye-screw is already on it,” Bethany says.

For decorations and ornaments, Bethany also freehands her designs. When she is finished, an eye bolt is fastened to the wooden slab. It is important to make sure the size of the hole lines up precisely with the size of the screw to avoid slipping or damaging the base.

“Our whole process of developing these projects to where they are has very much been through trial and error,” Jonathan says.

Finally, twine or ribbon is connected to wall hangings through the hole of the small eye bolt. Bethany ties and cuts the ribbon or twine, the pair packages their custom crafts and they are shipped off to their final destination. The final product is a unique, trendy homemade product, adding a natural flair and rustic feel to desserts, Christmas trees and homes.