Rustic Yardstick Bottle Opener

Father's Day will be here soon and I'm sharing a DIY project that would be a perfect and easy gift for the dad in your life.

To get started, here are the materials you'll need:

  • Piece of scrap wood (we used a 2x8 piece of pine)
  • Yardstick 
  • Bottle opener 
  • Metal letter
  • Steel wool grade #0000
  • Tea bags
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Foam brush

Triple Threat started by cutting the piece of wood for the back of the bottle opener to 6” x 20”.  

Next, using his Dewalt planer, he ran the board to thin to ¾ inch. The two side boards, which would be used as a box to hold the bottle caps, were cut to 4” x 4” and the front to 6” x 4”. 

In order for the yardstick to be channel set, Triple Threat routed a groove across the center of the front and side pieces. 

When the box pieces were complete, Triple Threat used glue and brad nails to attach the sides to the back and the front to the sides.   

The yardstick needed to be cut to size for the pieces needed. Triple Threat placed the yardstick in each grove and marked where to cut for a perfect fit. His miter saw made these cuts easy with front piece first and then the two sides. 

Notice the Job Prep, Paint, and Clean Up sections of the yardstick are centered on each side. I love that he purposefully put the PAINT front and center.  

The base was built from a scrap piece of ¼” plywood. For a perfect cut, Triple Threat placed the assembled box on the plywood and marked the dimensions of the base. Next, using his Saw Stop table saw he cut out the base and then used glue and brad nails to attach it.

I wanted to personalize the bottle opener with this tin letter.  However, it was corrugated and needed to lay flat.  So, we gave it a little 'hammer time' treatment until it was almost smooth.  I applied Modern Masters Metal Effects to the letter to add some patina and rust. Simply mist on with a spray bottle and watch the magic happen.

I decided to use the tea, steel wool and vinegar method of staining to give it an authentic rustic appearance.  Plus, I didn’t want to cover all the measurements and numbers on the yardstick, so this method of staining was a perfect choice.  I put a piece of grade #0000 steel wool in a mason jar, filled with white vinegar and let it marinate overnight.  The solution gets darker the longer it sits so I only soaked the staining solution for about 8 hours. 

Before I was ready to apply the steel wool and vinegar solution, I brewed a small pot of tea using two family size tea bags.  After steeping for about an hour, I painted tea all over the piece with a chip brush.  Tea contains tannin and pine wood lacks it, so the steel wool and vinegar combo reacts with the tea and darkens the wood through a chemical reaction. I applied a through coating of tea and made sure to get in every nook and cranny.  Let the wood sit until completely dry.

When it was dry, I painted the steel wool and vinegar solution onto the wood using the same chip brush.  The wood seems to get dark quickly but I promise as it starts drying, it will be lighten up.  If you want a darker finish, you can always apply additional coats. For me, one coat of the tea and vinegar solution was exactly the finish I wanted.

For the finishing touch, the bottle opener and rusty letter were attached with small screws.   

Ready for its inaugural bottle of root beer. Cheers!  

Even though Triple Threat built this bottle opener, he doesn't know it was for his own Father’s Day gift.  I have something else planned for him too but I’m sure the bottle opener will get LOTS of use in his workshop.  

Thanks for stopping by and I hope I inspired you with a Father's Day gift idea!