Do you love DIY Scrap Wood Wall Art? But can’t find the right colors or patterns in the stores. Follow these steps to build it!
I am always drawn to wood wall art in the stores, like this amazing abstract chippy wall art. But even if I love it, the colors or design don’t seem quite right for the room I want it for. So, as a power tool junkie, I decided it was time to make my own. And of course, I had to share this DIY Scrap Wood Wall Art with you!
This tutorial focuses on the steps you can follow to design your own pattern and paint job to make your own.
And if you do, I’d love to see it! You can always tag me on Instagram to show me what you’ve made.
Which Wood to Use for DIY Wood Wall Art
When I make my Geometric Wood Art, I usually use scrap Select Pine because I tend to use it for a lot of my DIY Furniture Build Plans.
You can use different widths or types of wood for your design. Pick the wood that you like for your build. If you’re painting the pieces, go with Select Pine since it’s usually the most affordable.
I like to use Select Pine over Common Board or Whitewood for DIY Scrap Wood Wall Art because it’s generally very straight, smooth-textured and knot free.
Oak and Poplar boards work just as well. But they are more expensive. So, only use those when you’ll be staining the wood and want to show off the wood grain and tone. Also remember that Oak will have a textured grain, instead of a smooth feel.
The Cedar boards you find at Lowes or Home Depot can work too. But they tend to be rougher than the other dimensional lumber. So, carefully pick out the straightest boards with the least amount of imperfections.
You can find more design inspiration for geometric wood art and table tops in some of my other tutorials. Check out this beautiful Poplar DIY Geometric Wood Table Top.
Wood Used for this Tutorial
- 1/4″ Plywood or Luan Base – I had 5mm (about 1/8″) plywood leftover from my Master Bedroom Ceiling Update.
- 1″x2″ and 1″x3″ Select Pine Dimensional Lumber
Tools & Supplies Needed
- Brad Nailer and Brad Nails
- Miter Saw
- Circular Saw
- Clamps, I used this great Bessey Angle Strap Clamp
- Power Sander and 150-grit Sandpaper
- Wood Glue
Watch the DIY Scrap Wood Wall Art Build Video
If any of the steps below are confusing, check out this quick video for a better look at each step of the build. Sometimes seeing something done makes it easier to understand.
Build Steps – Cut Your Frame and Pieces
Design Note: I only used nails on my outside frame. But you can nail and glue each piece in place, if you like the look of the nails.
Or, if you’re using scrap wood that bows and really needs the nails to keep it flat against the surface. I would use 1/2″ plywood for the base, in that case. Be sure to pick brad nails that aren’t too long.
Decide on the best size DIY Scrap Wood Wall Art for your space. I went for 3 – 18″ x 18″ pieces for a large wall. Cut your plywood base to size. Remember, the outside frame should be 1/2″ wider than the plywood base.
Keeping the plywood smaller will keep it out of sight when you hang it on a wall.
Next, I used a straight-edge to mark corner to corner and across the middles. Those marks just helped me make sure the design stayed centered.
Each of my 3 DIY Scrap Wood Wall Art designs, started with an outside frame. Clamping those together made it easier to hold the inner pieces in place while I worked on the design.
Each piece has to be cut to the exact same length to get a perfect square. I usually use the first piece as a cutting guide for the rest. Just clamp the piece to the top and line the blade up with the edge on the top piece before cutting the bottom piece.
Once the outside frame is cut and clamped in place, you can start cutting the inner pieces for your DIY Scrap Wood Wall Art. You can use my designs as a guide or pick your own. Instagram and Pinterest are full of inspiration.
I decided that I didn’t want to make cuts along the length of any boards, to avoid using my table saw. So I worked my way from the outside to the inside, using 2″ or 3″ wide boards to give more variation and interest to the design. I also stuck with just 45-degree angle cuts.
Use as many full width pieces as possible. My small triangles in each piece are the pieces that needed cutting on the width and length of the design.
The last couple of pieces may need to be cut carefully with whichever saw you are comfortable using for the job. You can find 4 Tips for How to Safely Cut Small Wood Pieces on a Miter Saw in another post.
Be sure to follow safety rules for the saw. For pieces that are just a bit too long for the space, only shave small amounts off until you get a tight fit. I’ve wasted too many boards over-cutting pieces in the past.
Do not get your hands anywhere near the blade. Start with a long enough piece of lumber to keep your hands away. Cut the angle you need on one end of the board. Then cut off the end to complete the cut.
When you have the whole design finished and set in place to make sure you have nice tight miters, pick a few boards to raise with 1/4″ scraps, biscuits, mdf, etc. I went with 1 pattern in each piece to raise.
Now you can sand the boards with a medium grit sandpaper, like 150-grit. But make sure you remember where each piece goes. I sanded the top and sides of each board. I also sand down all corners a bit to give it a rounded, finished look.
You can see what I’m talking about in the close up. It’s a bit like creating a Chamfer edge with sandpaper. So, it’s not perfect but I love the look.
Finishing Your DIY Scrap Wood Wall Art Pieces
Now, before assembling all these pieces, I apply the finish. Pick whichever acrylic paints, chalk paints, latex, and/or stains will work with your design. You should use a good nylon paint brush or foam sponge brushes to get a smooth finish on the pieces.
If you have a latex paint you want to use, I highly recommend using this DIY Chalk Paint Recipe from Latex Paint to turn latex paint into quick drying and easy to use chalk paint. Chalk paint is easier to sand and dries harder than latex.
Let’s get into the steps for finishing those pieces.
Wipe off all dust. Apply the paint and stain colors you picked for your DIY Scrap Wood Wall Art. I played around with colors and looks for a while before settling on mine. I also used layers of acrylic with my homemade latex chalk paint to create layered looks.
I used Elmer’s School Glue to add a crackle finish to most of the pieces. I was hoping it would mimic an aged wood look and give the piece more character. I ended up going with a similar design and color scheme to the one I used on my DIY L-Shaped Backyard Bench.
After painting and staining all of the pieces, I lightly sanded the edges on all of the pieces to add more character and extra dimension to the look. Finish by applying a matte poly top coat over each board.
Once dry, you can glue everything in place. I started by gluing the surrounding outer boards (from step 4) in place first. Then placed them inside the Bessey Strap Clamp again. To hold them in place while the glue dried.
Then, I added the other pieces one by one, using plenty of Elmer’s Wood Glue as I went. Press every piece tightly in place. Let this fully dry before gluing and nailing the frame on.
Attach a large Sawtooth hanger or hanging wire to the back and hang in place. Wood art can be pretty heavy, so be sure to buy the right anchors or hanging hardware for the weight of your design.
That’s it, you’ve built your own DIY Scrap Wood Wall Art. Give yourself a pat on the back.
UPDATE: After a couple years, I decided to give this wall art a new look so that I could use it in another room. Check out how I gave this a makeover in this Simple Scrap Wood Wall Art Tutorial.
If you’re ready for another wood art project, you can see all of my Geometric and Scrap Wood Videos in this Playlist on YouTube.
Try this Wooden DIY Barn Star Art for your next build.
Here’s another great way to use Scrap Wood. Check out this DIY Scrap Wood Table Top Tutorial.
Looking for cute and crafty decor? Try this Easy Wood Slice Wall Hook DIY.
Or, have a look at how to faux paint 20 different metal patina looks.
I love this beautiful DIY Acrylic Paint Pouring Wall Art tutorial.
Feeling inspired? Get out there and make your own DIY Scrap Wood Wall Art. Have fun and let me know if you have questions. Don’t forget to sign up for the Abbotts At Home email newsletter to get DIY, Remodeling, and Crafty ideas in your inbox.