Personalized Pizza Peel

4 Mar

Hi guys, my first Guest Post (yay!). My sister Kim, who lives in Denver, has made us some great gifts over the years and this Christmas was no exception. Enjoy!

Stacy asked me to guest blog about the personalized pizza peel that I made her for Christmas. I found the wax paper transfer idea on Unexpected Elegance while blog hopping one night and became obsessed with giving it a try.

Wax paper, ink jet printer, credit card and an old cutting board–I had it all lying around. I grabbed a cool French graphic over at the The Graphics Fairy and was on my way.

A Google search found pizza peels at Bed, Bath and Beyond for $9.99. With a 20% off coupon in hand, I decided this was an even better gift then I originally thought–cheap.

I really liked the shape and size of the peels but the colorless pine was begging for a bit of stain. Staining something designed to serve food? Wasn’t so sure about that. I searched around a bit but no one seemed to have a solid answer. So I did what I always do when I can’t find comfort in the World Wide Web, I called upon the expertise of strangers working in the real world. I called one of the local woodworking (insert conundrum here such as plumbing, antique, etc) stores in town. I always keep my fingers crossed to get an experienced-sounding person on the phone, perfectly willing to give lots of, in this case, woodworking advice. And if his advice doesn’t start with “You need to get your husband…,” I drink it all in.

According to Howard, all stains are non-toxic once they dry. I didn’t double and triple check Howard’s factoid but I wasn’t overly concerned since no one on my gift list has a home wood-burning pizza oven. I’m assuming that my peels would be more decorative than functional, but I wanted to be more safe then sorry. So I set up shop on the pool table downstairs and stained both sides with some Golden Oak we had left over. Since I’m sure the peels are cheapo pine, I used a wood conditioner first in hopes to get the stain as even as possible. I gave each side two coats of stain with a light sand between. Make sure you do both sides so you have an alternative blank side if your first transfer doesn’t work.

While I loved the graphics, I wanted to personalize my gifts with the recipients’ last names. Using PowerPoint, I gave it the same look and feel as one of the antique French graphics that I liked. I found myself drawn to the foreign word examples, and since it’s a pizza peel, I created mine in Italian. Using an online translator to figure out the specific words and spellings, I came up with this:

It says “Murphy Family Restaurant, 88th Street” in Italian or close enough.  Once you finalize it, print it out on plain paper, line it up on your wood and mark the corners lightly with a pencil. Before you print on the wax paper, reverse the image (in PowerPoint, check the Mirror Image” check box under Print, Properties, Finishing tab). I had the best success printing in the “Normal Fast” Print Quality. The ink often smeared inside the printer when printing in the slower, “Best” Print Quality option.

The original instructions said to feed the wax paper through carefully but often mine jammed the machine. I made several of these and found taping to wax paper to sheet of card stock worked better.  I cut the wax paper the exact same size with a paper cutter and taped it to the card stock on all four corners, and it fed through without issue. (I was freaking out a bit, because had it jammed and ruined my printer, my cheap little peels would be one expensive gift.)  Here’s how I taped it:

Make sure your graphic prints reverse.

Seems simple I know, but when it comes out of the printer, the ink is sitting on top of the paper so you have to handle it carefully. Taping it this way allowed me to quickly run an X-acto blade between the wax paper and card stock without damaging the ink. Once you free the wax paper, carefully flip it over and line the right corners (or left if you’re a south paw) on your pre-marked corners before you touch anything to the wood. Working from right to left or left to right, use a credit card to burnish (rub) the wax paper over the wood. It’s a very similar process to applying shelf paper (or a protector cover to your iPhone if you are not an anal shelf paperer like me), but you only have one chance to get it down even.

Do not move the paper or the image will smudge. If you want the ink from your image to be darker, lightly wet the wood before applying the transfer. I rubbed my peels down with a barely damp cloth, after I cut the tape and right before I flipped the transfer to apply. To polish them up and make them look more authentic (and provide a little protection from potential toxins), I applied a few coats of food grade bee’s wax. Overall I was very happy with the way they turned out.

Me too! Have a good week, All. Thanks to Kim for this post!

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