I have been looking at the empty space on the wall above the mirror in the dining room ever since I put the mirror up, and I have been contemplating options for placing the text of Bread Blessing in that space.
We sit at the dining table under that mirror every Shabbat and break bread, so the text of the Bread Blessing was a logical choice. The only problem was that the wall was too narrow to fit the complete blessing in a single line of text and still maintain a readable size of characters. One of the contemplated options was to have a wooden sign of the blessing made for us. I searched high and low, and could not find anyone who made wooden signs with Hebrew text in a style that I liked. The next option was to have a stencil of the blessing custom made for us. I contacted stencil makers who I purchased other design stencils from, but they couldn’t make anything with Hebrew text.
In my mind it was either Hebrew of nothing, so I contacted some larger stencil manufacturers and inquired about a possibility of a custom order. Yes, they said, we could do it if you send us the text, but then, when the quotes for the project arrived, all of them were way, way out of our budget. Just as I was ready to give up, an acquaintance from Israel told me, “Why don’t you make a stencil yourself, out of cardboard?”
Why didn’t I think of that myself? Such an easy solution! But, how can I write uniform and properly formed letters of Hebrew alefbet (alphabet) when I do not speak, or read, or write Hebrew? I started scouring websites with Jewish educational materials, and lo and behold, I managed to find decently sized plastic stencils of Hebrew alphabet for one hundredth of the price I was quoted for a custom made stencil of the whole Bread Blessing. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity to do another creative project.
Since tools are very important for any project one undertakes, after stencils arrived in the mail, I made sure to purchase proper tools: an Exacto knife and a sheet of thick watercolor paper.
I decided to go with the portion of the Bread Blesing that translates, “Who brings forth bread from the earth.” The length of the Hebrew text (“hamotzi lechem min haaretz”) was perfect for the spot I needed it for. First, I looked up the exact spelling of this blessing segment, and then, letter by letter, traced it using the purchased Hebrew letter stencils onto the watercolor paper. Next, with the help of Exacto knife, I very carefully cut out the letters.
Now, don’t think I was cutting right on top of that counter. Oh, no! I wouldn’t scratch it or mar it even though it will eventually be replaced, once we can afford to do a kitchen makeover. I placed an old towel between the countertop and watercolor paper thus avoiding any possible accidents.
Once all letters were cut out, I positioned the stencil on the wall using Frog Tape for delicate surfaces. I am sure regular Frog Tape would have been fine, but I wanted to be extra cautious lest I pull off pieces of paint from the wall together with the tape.
Using a stencil brush and my trusted Valspar paint in Hotel Churchill Vanilla, I carefully applied the text to the wall. Now, you can probably see the reflection of my washer in that mirror. That is due to the fact that I haven’t had a chance to make any curtains or drapes for our house yet. Our washer and dryer reside in an alcove off the dining room, just opposite that mirror, and the opening leading into that space will eventually be blocked off by a floor length curtain. So for now, just imagine that the curtain is there…
After the paint dried sufficiently, I removed the stencil and the tape, and voila! Our own stenciled Bread Blessing was there.
Now, off to plotting, I mean planning another project…