Tell your story with this unique scrap wood art! Use your favorite graphics from places you’ve visited or lived. Very easy to make!
Skills Required: Intermediate. You’ll potentially be cutting wood to fit a backer board, so you should have some experience with tools. You should also have experience with Mod Podge so you can attach to wood pieces without wrinkles.
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:
and being me, rather than thinking “I should buy that!” I totally thought, “I should make that with all the scrap wood!”
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 scrap wood craft project for just a few bucks.
I started off with a backer board that measured 26″ x 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:
Scrap Wood Wall Art
- Backer board: 26″ x 10″
- Random bits of plywood of various shapes
- Smaller scrap wood 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 for the framing dowels)
- Sharp craft knife
First I arranged all my scrap pieces on the backer board to make sure everything still fit together.
I had, in MSWord, resized my graphics to fit on each piece of wood. My graphics are just old postcards, maps and even a quick internet download of the poster from my favorite movie.
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. I planned on simple butt joints rather than mitered corners for this reason.
You’ll mark where you want to drill pilot holes for the screws that 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. 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 on my Scrap Wood Wall Art
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. Anything sturdy would work for the graphics, even mat board or foam core.
- This might be cool to do for a child – to show their life. You could use photos, report cards, school projects/drawings, favorite book covers (all laser copies of course). It would also be very meaningful Father’s Day gift.
- I left the edges of my graphic panels unpainted. They might look nice painted black – just to emphasize the dimensionality a bit more.
- If you don’t want to deal with as much sawing of wood, you could design the pieces to overlap.
- Backer board - 26" x 10"
- Plywood - random scraps
- Scrap pieces of wood for risers
- 1" square dowels - 2 (28") and 2 (10")
- Graphics of your choice
- Wood screws
- Acrylic paint - white
- Mod Podge
- Wood glue
- Craft knife
- Computer and printer
- Pen or pencil
- Cut the backer board to size, as well as the scrap wood pieces to exactly fit the board. Arrange to make sure the pieces fit.
- Print out graphics to fit each piece of scrap wood. Trim to fit.
- Decoupage the graphics onto the wood blocks, one by one. Add Mod Podge to the wood, smooth down the paper on top, and let dry for 15 - 20 minutes. Then apply a top coat and let dry.
- Give all blocks another coat of Mod Podge and let dry.
- Distress edges of the blocks with a sander, gently.
- Reassemble the design on the backer board. Leave flat or place wood pieces as risers under some pieces for interest.
- Use wood glue to attach all pieces, including the risers, to the backer. Let dry overnight.
- Grab the square dowel rods and mark where the pilot holes should go at the end of each piece. Drill pilot holes.
- Attach the dowel pieces to the frame using the wood screws.
- Paint the frame with white paint and let dry before hanging or displaying.
Ideally you can print the graphics on a laserjet printer. But if you only have inkjet, print them out and spray both sides with a clear acrylic sealer or hairspray. Let dry overnight before decoupaging.
If you have any questions about this scrap wood art, leave me a comment! I’d also love for you to check out the following projects: