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A belated secret Santa gift for a Texans fan

Updated: Apr 23, 2021

Editor's note - Nova Labs member Scott Smith created this mixed-media gift as a secret Santa present. He was kind enough to share photos and some of what he learned on our #show-us-what-you-got Slack channel.


Many of you may have seen me around the woodshop working on a very late secret Santa gift. I’m happy to report it’s FINALLY done! Imgur album HERE, along with the work-in-progress album HERE.

  • Mixed media, combination of

  • 3D printing (PLA)

  • Woodworking (bloodwood and I think maple, but I can’t really remember)

  • Resin work

  • The design was all marked with the laser cutter then cut out by hand (roughed with the bandsaw, used the scrollsaw a bit until it broke, then just a coping saw and sandpaper).

  • The design came from this Item which was on the recipient’s wishlist, I thought it would be more fun to make it.

  • I added sawtooth hangers on the back so it can be hung on the wall. The backing is a piece of 6mm baltic birch leftover from previous projects that I cut out on the bandsaw then shaped with the belt sander.

Lessons learned:

  • I didn’t need nearly as much thickness as I thought I would, so next time I’ll make it thinner so it can be fully cut by the laser.

  • Potentially learn the CNC router to cut it out.

  • Bloodwood is horrible. It splinters easily (I pulled a .5″ splinter out of my finger while sanding), and the sawdust dyes other woods easily. It’s very dense… but I still like it, the color is great!

  • Even if the epoxy looks blue in the cup, it’s not and it’s lying to you; use more dye.

  • If you’re doing hangers, care more about how straight they are on the back than whether the nails will show in the epoxy. All of the small nails are behind letters, but after I finished nailing them on I realized there’s a discrepancy between their heights. A ruler and pencil would have solved that, I was just dumb.

  • Projects take longer than you think. I estimated three weeks to do this project, I bought the wood on 11/29.

I have to make an “Arkansas Razorbacks” one for a friend that I agreed to when they saw this one before I knew how much work it was going to be. I’m also planning to make my dad a “Washington Redskins” C-Table using a similar technique. Good lessons learned though – hopefully it’ll go faster next time.

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