I’m so excited to share one of my favorite projects with everyone today: DIY reclaimed wood wall art! When I started gathering ideas for my sister-in-law’s vintage sports theme baby shower, I came across beautiful wood art being sold on Etsy for about $50 each. I loved the rustic look of the reclaimed wood but I wanted have a series of 4 or 5 together. It would get pretty expensive for decorations, so I thought it would be an easy enough DIY project to try instead. After a little trial and error (+ a lot of patience), we think they turned out awesome! I can’t wait to make more now!
Here’s the step-by-step tutorial, if you want to try too!
- Wooden pallet or any reclaimed wood
- Sawzall Reciprocating Saw
- Acrylic paint
- .5″ wood strips
- Sanding block
- Tape measure
- Wood glue
- Sawtooth picture hangers
- Gather old wooden pallets or reclaimed wood. We had access to a few wooden pallets from Jeff’s cousins that own a family plumbing/heating company. They gave us a few leftovers from the warehouse and we had at it.
2. We thought the hardest part would be taking apart the pallets, but again, Jeff’s cousins came to the rescue. They brought us their Sawzall reciprocating saw, which cuts through just about anything. We were able to cut straight through the rusty metal nails like butter – but be careful because they go flying!
3. Once we disassembled all the pallets, we needed to pull out any remaining bits of nails and sharp edges that were left in the boards. These would be hanging in a baby’s nursery, after all!
4. Next step was to cut all the boards down to size. I wanted the final product to be squares, so we cut them each to 16” length. Each set had 4 boards, measuring 16”x16”. We were able to get 5 complete sets out of 2 pallets, with a few extra boards to spare.
**Anticipate that a few boards might be broken already or crack while disassembling the pallets.
5. We used strips of poplar as the bracing pieces along the back because we had it leftover from another project. We cut it to about 14″ or just narrower than the final overall width.
6. After all the wood was cut, we used a sanding block to lightly go over all the boards to get rid of any potential splinters and rough edges. We didn’t want to lose the texture of the reclaimed wood because we wanted it to be rustic, but you can sand as much or as little as you’d like.
7. At this point we washed all the boards because they were covered in dirt and cobwebs….we were working with recycled pallets from a warehouse, after all. 😉 Let them dry overnight.
8. To assemble, we first used wood glue between the edges to hold them together and then glued the strips along the back. Then we used an electric nail gun to nail the boards to the strips for extra strength. We used 5/8” brads in an electric staple/brad nail gun because that’s what we had around the house. However, we also needed to reinforce some of the boards with regular nails because they were a little warped and refused to lay flat.
9. Assembly complete. Time to paint! Since these were being used as decorations for a sports-themed baby shower, I decided on the following designs and then painted the background color accordingly. For mine, that required 3 white backgrounds, 1 brown and 1 orange.
- Golf ball
- Soccer ball
The hardest part for me was free-handing the designs. I did the best I could, but relied on a little help for the soccer ball. I enlarged a soccer ball pattern I found online and printed it so we could trace it instead of replicating all those lines by hand. MUCH easier.
10. At the baby shower, we displayed the reclaimed wood wall art on easels. In order to hang them in the baby’s nursery though, my father-in-law added sawtooth picture hangers to the back afterwards.
The most time-consuming part of the whole reclaimed wood wall art project was the detail painting. While I do not consider myself a great artist, I’m really happy with the final product. Admittedly, I had to paint over a mistake or three and try again, but I figured it out eventually! One tip I wanted to pass along…for the baseball stitching detail, I used red acrylic paint to create the seams and stitching, then outlined it with a black sharpie. That simple extra step really enhanced the overall look. It was by far everyone’s favorite.
And finally, as an optional last step, you can take the sanding block and run it over the edges after everything is completely dry to create a more rustic/vintage look. Added bonus: it helps hide any imperfections by intentionally creating an old, beat-up look. 😉
Hopefully this project doesn’t seem too overwhelming because it definitely was not that difficult. Once again, if I can do it, you can do it!
What DIY projects have you guys created lately? I’d love to see your ideas and final projects! Let’s inspire each other.