I have been looking for the perfect piece of wall art to hang over my couch but had been having a hard time finding the right one. Recently, I have been seeing a lot of great colorful wood wall art pieces and fell in love with them. My dad happened to have a pile of wood strips from an old project doing nothing but collecting dust so I offered to take them off his hands.
Priced anywhere between $600 and $1100, these beautiful statement pieces can be done with some time, lots of painting and patience for under $150.
Photo: Claire Ferrante of Little Dog Vintage
-2 pieces of MDF 30 inches x 24 inches and 1 centimeter thick which equals one piece that is 60 x 24. I bought two pieces because I assumed when I attached the wood strips, they would end up being heavy and it would be easier (and safer) to hang them next to each other as two separate pieces
-approximately 100 pieces of wood various sizes and depths
-7 paint colors. Here is where you can really have fun. I chose colors that matched my living and threw in a few colors for contrast. You could even do variations of stains if you didn’t want to use color. Great Tip- ask the paint department if they have any returns or mistake cans, they are colors people didn’t like or were mixed incorrectly, they mark them down very low and I ended up getting a can in a great color for 50 cents!
-bag of sponge paint brushes
-Liquid Nails (this stuff is pretty amazing)
-table saw. If you don’t have access to table saw, you could definitely use a hand saw to cut the pieces though it would take some time.
This is definitely a time consuming project. I was working on it only 3-5 hours a week and sometimes had a couple of pair of helping hands (bribe your girlfriends with wine, it works). Also, I had to do 2-3 coats of paint on each stick depending on the color and type of wood. As for the placement of the pieces, you could do this for hours alone! I messed around with it until it felt right. Even when it was done and on the wall, I still added a couple of pieces to add some more depth. After completing, I completely understand the retail price of these pieces.
paint- 7 / 7.25ML cans of paint -$24
2 pieces of MDF- $24
sponge brushes- $5
Liquid Nails- $3
sand paper- already had some
wood strips – free! If you aren’t as lucky as I was to have access to free wood, try Craigslist. I did a search on Craigslist multiple times and found people getting rid of similar wood strips for free and some even willing to deliever. Also, just reach out to friends and family; you never know who could have some salvaged wood lying around!
Total Cost: $56 for materials (I was lucky to not have to pay for wood. Assuming you would have to buy some, depending on the type of wood you used I would add another $50-$75 to the project.)
With the help of my wonderful father and his table saw, we got to cutting the strips of wood.
We cut enough pieces that were 24 inches long (to fit the whole length of the board) to cover both boards. We placed them all on the boards, turning them and trying them in all different directions until they fit without overlapping on the edges. Then we cut random small pieces to add depth. We didn’t plan it out; we just cut randoms and decided to figure them out later throughout the process.
Below are both boards covered with the wood strips. The project had to be transported from my parents house to my apartment 30 mins away. Surprisingly, wrapping it with masking tape held it intact!
Now, on to the painting of the sticks. If needed, sand down the rough pieces before painting. I live in a small apartment in the city. This project took over my living room for over a month. Painted sticks of wood littered my living room, leaning on coffee tables, magazine racks or whatever surface I could lean them against.
Friday nights with the girlfriends became “wine and stick painting” nights.
Me, contemplating the layout and color placement.
Nights alone watching American Pickers were coupled with painting sticks until finally– they were all done!
Enter Liquid Nails. This stuff is exactly what it says it is. You only need a tiny amount and it really holds them in place.
I applied small dabs of Liquid Nails on the sticks, enough to cover but not too much that it would seep out the sides when placed on the board. If it does seep out, scrape the excess right away before it starts to dry with a metal spatula or with a wet wash cloth. It will dry white and you will have to paint over your mistakes if you have any when it dries. After about 20 minutes after applying the adhesive, they were really stuck on but, just to be sure, I let them sit over night.
After a couple hours and I was done! Both boards, all pieces glued down, now it is ready to hang!
I am extremely happy with the end result. Even though it was time consuming, it was fun. The project also gave me a great excuse to hang out with my awesome Dad and my great girlfriends Claire and Ev.
Here are a few different angles to show the differences in depth of the wood strips.