Making Upcycled Music

Updated: Oct 26

I like unusual things. I think they call my name—they inherently know that I can do something with them. This summer I was at an auction. It was one of those insanely hot days with the heat index in triple digits—and I had just loaded 19 wooden table leaves in my car. I thought about leaving, but there was one item that had not come up for auction yet. It was calling my name so I stuck it out. It was this beauty.

Now I don't know anything about musical instruments, but this is a very rough hand-carved piece of wood in the shape of a bass. I don't know anything about it's history. It could have been a template for an actual instrument, the beginnings of an instrument or just some other sort of project that was started and never finished. I really liked the hand carved wood and the rough cut form. Of course, I bought it and brought it home.

It had been in a barn for a while so it was extremely dusty and dirty. I scrubbed it with soap and water and a scrub brush to get all the dirt out of the nooks and crannies. I let it dry for a few days.

This is the back of the piece. There was a block of wood on the back. I left it on there to make it easier to hang on a wall.

I coated it with Varathane Ultimate Crystal Clear Satin. I hadn't gotten a chance to work on it until Fall came around, but there was a reason for that. A couple of weeks ago, I got this box at an auction. The estate was a former music teacher for a high school.

This is a box of marching lyres. They attach to musical instruments to hold sheet music. I had been planning to hang a wreath on the wooden form, I just had not figured out how I was going to hang it. This box had the perfect solution!



I selected this one to attach to the board to hold the wreath. There was one obstacle. The pin was bent in two places and I just needed the right angle.

I needed to cut the tail off of this. Fortunately I have a Dremel tool and had just the right attachment to do the job.

Don your safety glassed if you attempt this! Sparks will fly and so will small chips of metal! It trimmed the tail quickly.



I drilled a hole in the board a bit smaller than the rod so it would be a snug fit. I used a few drops of e6000 glue and a mallet to pound the marching lyre into the board.

I made a stencil with the words, "Behind every favorite sone, there is an untold story." I used royal gold paint on the stencil. It matched the marching lyre pretty well. After it dried, I removed the stencil, distressed it and sealed it with another coat of the Varathane poly.


Stenciling on this uneven board was a challenge, but I think it turned out well.

I found the perfect wreath at the end of August at an estate sale. So I ended up with three items, from three different estates combined to make one fantastic piece.

The marching lyre was perfect to hang the wreath.



I was thrilled with how this turned out. Each part has it's own history—it's own "untold story"—that is why I chose this saying. It fit well with the music theme and the overall piece.


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Whether my junk is from a garage sale, estate or farm auction, flea market or the side of the road, I love to find it, fix it, clean it, sell it or keep it. So come along the backroads of Indiana with Junk is My Life (me), let's find something vintage and do something cool with it! Formerly Junk Journal.