For quite some time now I’ve been admiring alternative wall decor. You know the stuff; weaving, macrame, and my personal favourite, abstract geometrics made from wood. Considering almost every piece of artwork hanging in my home was handmade by me, I knew it was only a matter of time before I attempted this style on my own. I have to say that I AM HOOKED. Instead of being satisfied and moving onto to another venture, I am dreaming of every design I can come up with. This piece is quite small (finished dimensions being 12″ x 15″) but I cannot wait to bring on the power tools and do this on a large scale!
WOODEN ART SUPPLIES
This project was totally free for me because I had all the supplies sitting around my house taking up space. Unexpected bonus: Cleaning up clutter:)
- An 11″ x 14″ stretched canvas (the size is up to you but the canvas shouldn’t be too large as it might not provide adequate support. The 11″ x 14″ canvas worked perfectly for me)
- A piece of paper to make a template. Ensure it is a bit bigger than your canvas size. (I have large rolls of art paper for my kids but you can easily tape a couple of pieces of regular paper together if you don’t)
- A straight edge ruler & a triangle ruler
- Pen or pencil
- Cutting board
- Box cutter (this is where I’m going to substitute for power tools whenever possible. Box cutters are dangerous and it is very easy to slip and hurt yourself so be careful!!! Also, the cuts from a power tool are MUCH more accurate and clean.)
- Varying sizes and thicknesses of Balsa wood. I purchased mine awhile back from Michael’s (for another project) and had enough leftover pieces that I could do this project. Balsa wood is pricey BUT it is extremely lightweight and SUPER easy to cut. When I start on my large scale pieces, I’ll likely be using pine or spruce.
- Fine grit sandpaper. I used 400.
- Acrylic paint! For my piece I used paint I already had on hand, likely also purchased at Michael’s, or Walmart. For the green shade I mixed up a few of these until I reached the colour I liked.
- Artist paint brushes. I had a pack of varying sizes so I used the small ones for detailed touch ups and the larger ones to cover more area when needed.
- Adhesive. I used my mini glue gun.
- A piece of white chalk (optional)
- A water-based clear coat. I used a satin gloss.
To start this project I had to come up with a design. I traced my 11″ x 14″ canvas onto my paper and then divided the rectangle into 3 parts randomly. You can make your piece symmetrical or asymmetrical. For this starter piece I chose asymmetrical. Then, alternating widths and thicknesses of the balsa wood (cutting the pieces for varying widths and lengths), I laid out the pieces making sure they stuck out beyond the canvas edge. Once I had a layout that I liked, I traced each piece. I made sure to letter each piece of wood (on the back) and the corresponding spot on the paper for reference. I also very gave a light sanding to each piece.
For colours, I had 4 total. The paints I used were DecoArt Lamp (Ebony) Black, DecoArt Snow (Titanium) White, DecoArt Seabreeze, & FolkArt 954 Fresh Foliage. I also planned on using the natural colour of the wood as one of my “colours”. All in all, my finished colours were black, white, the natural wood colour, and a dark sage green (made by mixing the 954 Fresh Foliage, Seabreeze and a tiny amount of the black). Starting with black I assigned colours to each piece of wood. I wanted my pattern to be random, just like how my shape was asymmetrical. If I had a symmetrical design, my colours would likely follow suit.
Now that I had a design I loved, both in shape and in colour, I was ready to start assembling. I painted my canvas black in case there happened to be a sliver of canvas visible. Then with white chalk, I marked my 2 first starting lines (that divided the canvas into 3 parts). Using the template as my guide, I glued the first piece and just kept going until all pieces were secured into place. I actually placed a book (roughly the same thickness as the canvas) underneath it as an added support while gluing. I then flipped my canvas upside down, and using my box cutter (very carefully- and never cutting towards myself), I cut the wood pieces that were hanging beyond the canvas. This is where having access to a table saw would have been nice. Once I finished cutting off the end pieces, I flipped the canvas back around and made sure things looked ok. My lines definitely weren’t perfect but I was satisfied. I sanded down any splintering that I saw and gave the whole thing a light sanding. I took my paints out and painted the cut ends and any small touch ups that were required. Once the paint dried, I did a light clear coat over the whole thing. Aside from the frame, I was done!
The frame I made for this is really basic. I did straight edges (not mitered) and using glue, tiny nails and every scrap of patience in my body, I attached the 4 pieces (painted black) to the artwork. Voila! Complete!
This whole project probably took me 4 hours start to finish, although it was over 2 days. I think it could have taken half that time had I not been watching my 2 boys race around like tiny monsters while completing it- hence the two days… Anyhow, I’m really pleased with the final result and I know I’ll being doing more variations on this art style in the near future… if my micro-distractors (Marlowe and Rhys) allow it;)