So now that my partner's received, it's safe for me to post this! As part of the Back to Hogwarts swap, one of the requirements was to do a craft on your partner's favorite class. Billiemarie listed Ancient Runes as her favorite, and I decided to go big or go home and make it my large! I saw a similar runes set on her wist and went for it.
First, I found an ugly, unfinished wooden cigar box at Michael's. I mostly liked it because the quality of wood wasn't bad, and because it had nice hinges. That got sanded down about fifty times with varying qualities of sandpaper until it felt like velvet.
Then I went to Home Depot and got a few feet of flat, plain wood molding. There were so many designs that were carved or rounded on one side that it was a little difficult! I'm fairly certain it was pine, but not 100% sure. I used a mitre box with a razor saw and made a little jig to chop up a whole bunchful of little pieces to the exact same size. They ended up being an inch and change long and just under an inch wide. It made a nice domino shape. I cut out 26 pieces - 24 for the Elder Futhark runes, and then two extra blanks just in case billiemarie needed to replace some.
Each rune piece was sanded down on all of its sides to make it smooth, then I went through and sanded down the corners of them at a beveled angle so that 1) there weren't any sharp edges, 2) they would flip and fall better when she cast them.
After that, I had all of my wood prepped to woodburn! I drew a birch tree onto the front of the box with a little banner that said "Yggdrasil," which is the name of the Nordic Tree of Life. I woodburned those in - that took forever, but it was fun! Then I drew out the runes on the individual rune pieces and burned those in, too.
At that point, I had a box and a bunch of pieces of wood with designs, but they were still raw, unfinished wood. I went to Home Depot again and bought a can of combination polyurethane-stain in Classic Oak Satin 370 by Minwax Polyshades. After painters-taping the inside edges of the box, I stained/poly'd that heartily for three coats, sanding with a steel wool ball in between coats.
Staining the rune pieces was a little more difficult. What I ended up doing, on my father's brilliant suggestion, was pricking the top of each piece with a safety pin and using the pins to dangle them off of the poles of an old oven rack. That way, I could paint all of the sides at the same time and hang them to dry safely. I did a few coats on those, too.
Finally, done! I am so, so proud of the final result, and I'm glad billiemarie seems to be enjoying them!
(The runes don't have quite as much color variation as the picture would imply. There is some natural change in how the wood grain soaked up the stain, but mostly in the picture it's just awkward shadows making some of them look super dark.)
Happy to hear comments/criticism/anything!To the mods: If this is posted in the wrong place, please let me know! I didn't see wood crafting in any of the other boards. The closest I could find was toys, and this really isn't a toy. ETA:
Oh, wow! Thanks so much for the Featured Project, guys! That's incredibly flattering.