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DIY Wood Wall Art

I was inspired one day to refresh my girls’ playroom. They were spending the weekend at memaw and papas’ house (my parents), so it was the perfect time to do it uninterrupted.  And let’s face it, I was kinda bored without them home anyway. (See the full refresh with before and after pictures here).

A few months ago, I was perusing one of my main sources of ideas and inspiration, Pinterest, I stumbled upon these beautiful works of art with various tribal and chevron prints.  See how pretty?!…

Photo Credit: http://www.aleksandrazee.com/portfolio via Pi nterest

These were just a few that I saw, but…Holy mother of the decor gods!! They were amazing!! And I wanted one!!  I though it would be a fun wall art piece to include in the playroom. 

To my scrap wood pile I went (I always check the scrap first before purchase new boards/materials).
I had a couple of 1×4 boards, and ¾”x 12 inch plywood.  Surely I could use these to make something, right?  

I’m a visual learner, so I went on another search to see if I could find visual posts that maybe shows how something like this would be made.  While looking closely at some of the art pieces, I noticed they were all made with your commons shapes; triangles, trapezoids, squares, parallelograms etc.  I came across one picture that had “dog eared” 1x4s and the rest were all just triangles. Sweet!  I can do that!

This project was a kind of “figure out as you go”, type of thing for me.  So, I don’t have exact measurements for some of the pieces.  You’ll even see in some steps I had to go back and adjust cuts to make things fit. My goal in most of my post is to give you the good, bad and ugly so that you can see that mistakes do happen. It’s part of the process. Hopefully, as I get better at this craft, I can make these DIY posts easier for you guys to follow.  Anywho…

Materials I used:

1×4 common board

¾”x 12″ plywood

1×3 whitewood or pine board

1 1/4 Brad nails 

 Brad nailer

Miter saw

Painters tape 

Paint 

Stain 

Measuring tape 

Pencil

Box cutter (this was used to score the painters tape.  Any sharp object should get the job done) 

The Process:

I cut all of shapes first.  Starting with four main pieces.  Each originally cut at 15 inches and dog eared at 45 degrees.  I said originally because I had to cut them all down about 2 inches and dog ear them again since they were way to big for my 12 inch wide plywood. But, nonetheless, I wanted them longer that the plywood. You’ll see why soon.  But these are the final cuts…


Be sure not to throw away those dog eared triangles that were cut.  Those will come in handy later.  

Because I had to cut my dog eared pieces down a couple of times I had many small triangles scraps.  If you get your dog eared pieces to your liking the first time, you may have to cut additional triangle pieces .  You should have a total of 16 small-medium sized triangle pieces. 

As stated before this was a “figure it out as I go” project and I was using all scrap pieces of wood.  Some were from a previous project, some were from this project. So, none of my triangle pieces were the same size.  I had to cut some of the bigger pieces in half. 

For the plywood backing, I’d had some ¾” plywood ripped to 1ft (12 inches) for a previous project, so I used that.  I wanted my wall art piece to be 12″x 12″. But,  I cut the length to 14 inches.  You’ll see why shortly. 

Next, you’ll want to make a grid to mark the center of the plywood.  Even though the plywood piece is cut to 14 inches in length, I made sure I measured the middle point for a 12″x 12″ backing, which was 6 inches in from one side. You can see in the below pick; my middle point is a little off centered. 

I placed the dog eared pieces in each quadrant so the the tips of  one end of each touches the middle point. I ignored those pieces that were hanging off the edge.  We’ll handle those later.  The important part is to get the center lined up.

Now, start filling in the triangle pieces. Like I stated before, mine were all different sizes, so I started with be bigger pieces toward the middle and fit in the smaller ones on the edges.  This step was kind of like a puzzle.

If the pieces were slightly hanging of the edge or a tad too small, I didn’t worry.  I had a fix for that, coming up. 

After the “puzzle” was put together, I used my brad nailer and nailed the pieces into the plywood. 

After the pieces were nailed, I had to get rid of the excess from the plywood and larger pieces hanging from the edges. 

I turned the entire thing over, measured 12 inches in  length on the back of the plywood (because I wanted a 12″ x 12″ wall piece).  And marked my cut line.


I cut the excess off with my miter saw.  I started with the excess geometric pieces hanging from the edges on each side.  From the back, I just lined my blade up with the edge of the plywood and cut the excess off. 

Then, I cut the excess plywood using the line I’d drawn on the back as a guide. 

And this is what it looked like after. No hanging pieces! Perfect square.

Now for the frame. My mistake here was cutting all of the frame pieces beforehand.  I’ve learned, for most builds, you should always cut as you go. Especially for mitered cuts. So, needless to say, it took many tries to get these right. But, I cut each frame edge to size, and mitered the ends at 45 degrees. 

Then brad nailed them to the plywood, leaving about ½ inch of space toward the front.  A few of my edge triangle pieces were a tad too small and left gaps when I added the frame.  I just filled those gaps with wood filler. 

I sanded the entire front and sides , focusing on the wood filler to get it flush with the other pieces, to prep for staining and paint. 

I stained the entire front with Miniwax special walnut and let it dry for about 4 hours. 

Now it was time to tape off my design using painter’s tape.  I used the box cutter to score off the tape from the cuts and the edges so that it was easier to peel off leaving a straight cut. 


After I taped off my design, the went over the painter’ tape with the “butt” of the box cutter to make sure it was securely taped to the piece to avoid any of the paint bleeding through, compromising straight lines. 

Then came painting. 

And the finished product! (It looks a tad different from what I taped off.  After removing the tape, I was indifferent about the design and modified it a little by add g more white paint.  And never mine my half sanded wood filler 🙈.)

I added a sawtooth hook on the back for hanging and displayed it in the playroom.  Look how pretty! 

(For details and links on where to purchase  some of the decor items in the playroom, check out the “Playroom Refresh” post here

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