For better or worse producing the coasters, HOME signs and other decor items for my business Cheltenham Road creates a lot of scrap wood. I do my best to use every piece but sometimes the random bits pile up.
While perusing a Pottery Barn catalog the other day I saw this piece of wall art:
I let the idea bounce around in my brain (there's space) and it kind of morphed into making a piece of dimensional DIY wall art that reflects the places I'd called home over the years – New York, Ohio, California etc.
You may be thinking “that's nice for you David but I don't have piles of wood scraps lying around.” But I assure you, a quick trip to Home Depot and their leftover lumber pile would provide you with all the pieces for this project for just a few bucks.
I started off with a backer board that measured 26×10″ and then just played around with random pieces of wood until I found an arrangement that appealed. Here is what I ended up with:
- Backer Board: 26″x 10″
- Random bits of plywood of various shapes
- Some smaller scrap pieces to use as risers
- 1″ Square dowels: Two measuring 28″ long and two measuring 10″ long for the frame
- White Paint
- Mod Podge!
- Wood glue
- Electric Drill
- Electric Sander (sandpaper and elbow grease would also be fine)
- saw (I had to trim a couple of the pieces of wood the the framing dowels)
- sharp craft knife
First I arranged all my scrap pieces on the backer board to make sure everything still fit together.
Once I was sure everything fit together I decoupaged the graphics onto their respective scraps of wood, let them dry and then trimmed the edges of any overhanging bits of paper. To give a bit of distress I used my electric sander to gently sand away the edges of the panels to expose a bit of the wood.
I reassembled the design and then played a bit with what I wanted each level to be by placing the smaller scrap wood risers under the panels with the graphics:
Once I had it the way I wanted it I used wood glue to attach the spacers to the back of the graphic panels and then to the backer board. A hot glue gun would work here too but my encounters with hot glue guns inevitably end in the smell of burning flesh and swearing so . . .
While everything was drying I laid out the frame around the edges. I decided that I wanted a basic, rustic look so I planned on simple butt joints rather than mitered corners.
I did mark where I wanted to drill pilot holes for the screws that would hold the frame together. I also marked and drilled holes where the frame would attach to the backer board.
(the pilot holes are key – when you're drilling into the end of a piece of wood pilot holes will prevent the wood from splitting when you screw in the screw.). Once all the various glued pieces were dry I screwed the frame into place.
My original idea was to leave the frame unfinished but after I put it all together I decided it should be white and did a quick, light, paint job.
And, finally, I sealed all the images with a coat of Matte Mod Podge.
Thoughts and Ideas
As with all my projects, once it's done I think of a million different options.
- I used plywood because that's what I had on hand but anything sturdy would work for the graphics – even mat board or foam core if you didn't want to deal with lumber.
- I thought it might be cool to do this for a child – to show their life – you could use photos, report cards, school projects/drawings, favorite book covers (all laser copies of course).
- I left the edges of my graphic panels unpainted but they might look nice painted black – just to emphasize the dimensionality a bit more.
- If you didn't want to deal with sawing wood you could design the pieces to overlap which I think would look really cool!
If you have any questions or if anything is unclear don't hesitate to ask – I will monitor the comments section.