Months before Christmas, Andrew’s mom sent us a picture of a hanging wood art from Pottery Barn that cost hundreds of dollars that she really liked. When it came time to start figuring out Christmas gifts, we remembered the picture and decided to make her a DIY wood art.
We had lost the picture of the Pottery Barn one and had to go off of memory. Our memory was a little off, but we still ended up with a really cool simple wood art!
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Alright, let’s start DIYing!
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What You’ll Need
- 1x2x8 common pine boards (or any type of wood) The number you need will be based on how large of a wood art you want to create. We used about 9 1x2s for ours.
- 1/4″ plywood (we used this 2×2 project panel)
- Wood glue
- Paint and/or stain (we used Minwax Early American, True Black, Dark Walnut, and Special Walnut stains)
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Step 1: mark your plywood
Draw two lines on your plywood: one marking the halfway distance vertically and one marking the halfway distance horizontally. Make sure to double-check your measurements! Our plywood wasn’t actually square.
Step 2: draw your design
Cut the end of a 1×2 at a 45-degree angle.
Line the angled edge of the 1×2 up with your vertical line. Trace either side of the 1×2 using your pencil. Keep tracing the 1×2, lining up the angled side with the vertical and horizontal lines and the side of your 1×2 with the traced line you just drew.
Note: tracing the sides of your 1x2s will result in drawings that are larger than your 1×2, but it will give you a great guide and understanding on how many pieces you need. Don’t be discouraged when you start placing all of your 1x2s on the plywood and they don’t align exactly with your drawing!
STEP 3: decide on stain colors
Label which stain colors you will use on each piece. I started by making the center “x” all a dark colors, then I tried to alternate light/dark without it being a consistent pattern.
Step 4: cut your 1x2s
These don’t have to be cut exactly to size yet. We will trim the excess with the circular saw later. When you find a size that works well and minimizes waste for a particular piece, cut 8 of them and place them on your plywood where they belong.
Note: you might have 4 very small gaps along the edges at the end. Rather than trying to cut two tiny pieces to fill that space, cut the 1×2 at a 90-degree angle. Don’t worry, the pieces are so small that it won’t make the wood art look asymmetric.
Step 5: stain
Once you have all of the wood pieces cut and laid out, move them off of your plywood. Keep them organized by section and in the right order.
Start staining your wood. Look at the notes you made on the plywood about which pieces get stained which color. It’s easiest to go through and stain all of one color and then move onto the next color. When staining, be sure to keep all of your wood pieces in order!
Typically, you’d want to sand before you stain, but we wanted this piece to have a little more character and rough edges so we opted not to.
Plus, not sanding will result in your stain taking differently on different pieces, which means we got even more color variation even though we only used 4 colors.
Step 6: Glue
It’s time to start gluing! We’ll glue 1/2 of the wood art at a time. Put a generous amount of glue on the plywood, making sure to apply glue all the way to the edges. Place your pieces on top of the glue.
Move quickly because you want everything in place before the glue starts to set. Once you finish one half, apply a generous amount of glue and quickly repeat with the other half.
Save the 4 very small pieces that are on the edges of the wood art until the end. Apply glue to the plywood where they will go and then add glue to the edge of the wood piece to secure it to neighboring wood pieces.
Place something heavy on the wood art while it dries. Be sure to place it on directly from the top. Don’t place it on at an angle or it might cause the wood pieces to slide around.
step 7: cut the excess
Once the glue is dry, it’s time to make the piece fully square. Break out your circular saw and cut along the edge of the plywood to remove the excess pieces. You can add a piece of blue tape along the back to reduce splintering.
Step 8: make the frame
First, we need to measure. Place a 1×2 on its side and mark how long you need to cut it. Cut all 4 pieces and then stain them.
Attach your frame using glue and nails.
There you have it! Now you know how to make a simple DIY wood art! You can get more creative with the patterns by cutting some of the boards partially and staining or painting them different colors.
As always, we would LOVE to see your photos. Send us (or tag us in) a picture of your wood art on Instagram and feel free to reach out with any questions!