Burn Baby Burn: Wood Burning 101
Confession: We are having a total love affair with our brand new wood burning tool. We first started to swoon over it while creating our Wood-Burnt Serving Board Kit, a collaboration with Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge. Now, we can’t help but find ourselves burning every piece of wood we come across, especially in the Brit HQ kitchen!
For today’s #31DaysofDIY project, we’ll take you through the basics of using a wood burning tool. It couldn’t be simpler — don’t be surprised if you end up with a LOT of custom cutting boards, wooden spoons and more after you see just how easy it is :)
No idea what #31DaysofDIY is? It’s a brand new tradition here at Brit + Co that’s all about kicking off 2015 right. We’ve challenged ourselves to make or learn something new every single day for the month of January, and we’re inviting all of you along for the ride. From DIY basics like Sewing 101 to learning to design and laser cut our own stencils, we hope this month of making inspires you to make all year long.
– wood burning pen
– wood burning tips
– wood burning alphabet bits
– wood objects
– wood practice board
1. Let your wood burning tool heat up.
2. Try out each of your bits on a wood practice board. To switch bit attachments, turn off your burning tool and let it cool down completely before unscrewing and replacing bits.
3. Plan your design in pencil on the board if you like.
4. Follow along your pencil design using your wood burning tool.
5. Remove your pencil lines with a good eraser.
6. That’s it! Hand wash your wood-burnt objects in between uses and treat with mineral oil for a lasting design and sheen.
We stocked up on a bunch of kitchen goods like wooden spoons, a utensil holder, a cutting board and napkin rings.
We’ll start with some simple line art. You can create stripes, chevron patterns or pretty much anything that involves straight lines.
The arrow is definitely our favorite.
The whimsical leaf pattern is a beauty, and never fails to impress. Use it on the handle of a wooden spoon or to add a touch of personality to a cutting board.
That napkin ring looks legit!
And now for some alphabet bits! Alpha-bits? :)
Press your letters into the wood objects, and you’re good to go. Yum!
What’s cookin’ good lookin’? A whole bunch of wood-burnt awesomeness.
Finally, we used the point tool to create itty bitty polka dots on one of our wooden spoons.
And just like that, we’ve got a whole collection of personalized wooden things! How easy was that?
What will you try wood burning? Share photos of your creations to Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr or Twitter using the hashtag #31DaysofDIY. We’ll feature our favorite projects and makers throughout the month of January here on Brit.co.
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com