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The holiday season is upon us and I have a great DIY gift idea for you! It’s something that pretty much anyone on your list will love and appreciate, and it won’t cost you too much to make 😉
The only problem with this DIY wood wall art is that you might end up loving it so much that you have to make one for yourself as well!
Alright, let’s start DIYing!
P.S. If you’re interested in more DIY gift ideas, check out these 10 other ideas!
What You’ll Need
- 2’x4’x.25″ plywood project panel
- 6 – 1x2x8 common boards
- 5 – 3/8x2x4 pine boards
- Wood glue
- Tack cloth
- Clean rags
- Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner
- Minwax Oil-Based Wood Finish in True Black, Dark Walnut, Honey, Special Walnut, Early American, and Puritan Pine
- Minwax Polycrylic (we chose Ultra Flat)
- Krylon Brilliant Metallic in Gold Leaf spray paint
- Purdy XL brush
Note: We made this desk out of common pine because we wanted some knots throughout the wood. You can use any type of wood on this project.
How to Make Geometric Wood Wall Art
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There are two main methods to making wall art like this. The first is to cut the pieces down to the correct size on the miter saw like I’ll be showing in this tutorial.
The second option is to cut the pieces generally to size, but to keep them longer than needed. Then at the end, you can cut off the excess using a circular saw. If you’re interested in this second technique, we used it in another DIY wood wall art blog post.
STEP 1: SAND YOUR 1x2s
Before you start cutting, knock out the majority of your sanding. Common boards are notorious for their imperfections, which means they require a bit more sanding along the way.
Rather than try to sand a bunch of small pieces later, sand your 8′ 1x2s with 80 – 220 grit sandpaper.
STEP 2: CUT YOUR PLYWOOD
Using your circular saw and track, cut your project panel down to 36″, then cut it in nearly half. Rather than cutting at 12″, cut your line at 11 15/16″. This will account for the width of the saw blade so that you have two equal pieces.
If you tried to cut your plywood right at 12″, you would end up with 1 – 12″ piece and 1 – 11 7/8″ piece instead of two equal sized pieces.
Once you have two rectangles, it’s time to turn them into long hexagons.
Measure and mark 6″ down on each side. Then mark the center of both the top and bottom. Draw a line connecting the two points.
Adjust your miter saw to 45-degrees and cut along the line.
This size is too wide for most miter saws to cut all the way through normally. To get your miter saw to be able to cut a little bit wider, place a 1″ board underneath your plywood. a 1×4 or 1×6 would work great.
If you don’t want to cut and waste your space board, position it so that it is supporting the majority of the plywood, but not in the path of the saw blade.
I know it seems weird, but this will let your miter saw cut just a little bit farther through the board.
Once you have the first piece cut, use it as a guide for the remaining corners. Line it up with the corner, trace it, then cut along the line.
STEP 3: CUT YOUR 1x2s
We’ll start with the bottom and the top pieces since the pattern reflects. The bottom and topmost pieces will be lined up with the tip of the bottom and top points.
Line the pieces up accordingly and mark where the plywood ends on the other side of the board.
Rotate your miter saw for a 45-degree miter cut and cut along the line you marked. Clamp the bottom and top boards in place so that you can cut the remaining boards based on having these in the correct location.
Now line up the next board and repeat, then repeat again. These three pieces on both the top and bottom will be stained the darkest color (Dark Walnut).
Next we’ll switch directions and cut 4 pieces. These will be stained in Honey.
Continue cutting your boards to complete the pattern.
The pieces in the middle will be 90-degree cuts on both sides and should measure 4 13/16″. Don’t worry if your pieces aren’t this exact measurement–cut them however long they need to be to connect the top and bottom sections of the wall art.
Repeat to create the second piece of wood art.
If cutting each piece to exactly the right size seems a little too tedious, you can see the alternative method in action here.
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STEP 4: CUT THE FRAME
Now that we have the main piece of art finished, let’s frame it out using the 3/8″ boards. You can also swap these 3/8″ boards out for something thicker if you want a more substantial frame.
The pieces will be cut with 2 different angles. Any part that touches one of the 4 side angles will be cut at 22.5-degrees. The parts that make up the top and bottom points will be cut to 45-degrees.
So the top and bottom pieces will each have one end cut to 22.5-degrees and one end cut to 45-degrees, while the two side pieces will be cut at 22.5-degrees on both ends.
Line your trim up with the edge of the plywood and mark where it should be cut. Then grab your speed square and continue the line across the entire board.
When cutting on the miter saw, line the saw blade up with your mark.
Cut one piece at a time, checking the angle and the size as you cut each piece.
STEP 5: SPRAY PAINT THE CENTER
Based on the actual width of your 1x2s, you might be able to fill in your center with a 1×2. Some of my 1x2s were slightly wider than 1.5″, which made my center too narrow for a 1×2 to fit.
Because of this, the very center of my art isn’t going to have a piece of wood. Rather than leaving it blank, we added some metallic spray paint to let it shine. We just sprayed two coats of Krylon Brilliant Metallic in Gold Leaf to the center of the board.
STEP 6: APPLY PRE-STAIN WOOD CONDITIONER
Now that everything is cut and dry fit, it’s time to turn this plain wall art an ombre-esque beauty!
Before we dive into staining, we first need to apply some Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner.
This step is especially important since we are using common pine, which is a softwood. Softwoods are notorious for absorbing stains unevenly, resulting in streaks and blotches if you skip the pre-stain.
So don’t skip the Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner😉
It’s super simple to apply. Brush it on, let it sit for 5 minutes, then wipe off any excess using a clean, dry rag. Then you can stain as normal.
Since we’re using oil-based stain, make sure to grab the oil-based pre-stain.
STEP 7: STAIN
As you’re staining, make sure to keep your pieces in order so that you don’t find yourself having to solve a puzzle to put back all the pieces later.
We used 5 different colors (listed in order of darkest –> lightest) : Dark Walnut, Honey, Early American, Special Walnut, and Puritan Pine.
Since only one side of the wood is going to be seen, there’s no need to stain the sides or back of each piece. Focus on the front.
The exception is with the center pieces that are stained Puritan Pine. You will be able to see one of the sides of each piece, so be sure to stain the proper side of these pieces.
Open up your stain can and stir it up. Stirring ensures that the color pigments are mixed throughout the stain and aren’t stuck at the bottom.
To stain, dip a clean rag (or brush) into the stain, wipe it on and let it sit for 5-15 minutes. I opted for 5 minutes on this project.
After allowing the stain to penetrate for 5 minutes, wipe off any excess with a clean, dry rag.
Overall, the staining process took 20 minutes and I barely made a dent in any of my cans of stain, which means: more projects to come!
STEP 8: ASSEMBLE
After you’ve let your stain dry for 2 hours, it’s time to assemble!
Grab your wood glue and apply a generous amount of wood glue to the first section of pieces that you’ll position.
Then spread your wood glue so that it’s an even coating all the way across and so that it reaches all the way to the edges. I like to use a basting brush to spread it.
Place your wood pieces onto the plywood, making sure the edges are lined up with the edge of the plywood.
Continue working in sections, adding glue, spreading it, and placing your wood pieces. As you add more pieces, double-check that everything is still lined up around the edges.
Work as quickly as possible during this step. The faster you can get your pieces into the position, the stronger the glue bond will be.
Let your glue dry for at least an hour and then add your frame using glue and a few nails on each piece.
STEP 9: SEAL
After assembling, apply 3 coats of Minwax Polycrylic to your wall art to seal and protect it. I opted for the Ultra Flat finish because it doesn’t add any additional shine to the wood.
STEP 10: HANG
You can use a variety of different methods to hang your wood art, but today we’re going to use sawtooth hangers.
We’ll place ours 6″ down from the top of the wood art and screw it in.
Once you have the hanger attached, find the perfect spot and hang it on up.
There you have it! Now you know how to make some ombre wood art! It’s a fun pattern, but I feel like the multiple stain colors really takes it up a notch.
So now the question is: are you going to give this as a gift to someone else or gift it to yourself??
Get inspired with more Minwax finishing ideas.