After our son Judah was born, we started creating pieces for his room to help tie in multiple stain colors. This was the first piece of wall art that Sydney created and added to his room. You can see some of the other pieces of his room at our other blog post about his nursery. We will share the materials that we used as well as some alternative options you may consider.
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Lauan - this is 3/16 in thick plywood that is often used as underlayment. We wanted this piece to be light, so we chose to use a thin plywood.
We went into this project with a vision but did not make any designed plans as we started, so we ended up learning a lot along the way. Sydney first used the table saw to cut down the lauan plywood to be 2 ft by 4 ft. Sydney prefers to use the table saw for this, but you can also use a jig saw or circular saw beside a straight edge to make this cut.
In hindsight, Sydney should have measured the width of the sticks so that the height of the plywood backboard was a multiplier of that width. Instead, Sydney had to cut the plywood again later. We'll share more about that near the end of the project.
Next, Sydney used the table saw to cut off the handles of the paint stir sticks. For this project, it was okay to make cuts by "eyeballing it;" however, it would have been better to use a stop block that is clamped to the miter saw to make each paint stick a consistent length.
We laid out the sticks on the board to get an idea of the pattern that we liked. We used a pencil to draw lines where we'd like to place the sticks. Then, we sorted the sticks into piles with various amounts so that we could apply stain.
We wore gloves and used the stain pads to apply the stain based on the instructions included on the can. Each brand of stain is a bit different, so check your instructions too.
Once dry, we applied wood glue to the back of the sticks one at a time and laid them out on the board. Sine the sticks are light and laid flat, we did not need to clamp them down. However, for the sticks on the edges of the backboard, it was helpful to apply weight since there was less surface area holding onto the backboard. We just used the cans of stain to put on top to hold the pieces down.
Since we only had a 1/4 in plywood as a backboard, we only used wood glue for this project. With a thicker backboard, you can also use a brad nailer to nail each paint stick to the backboard. We also considered some brass nails for this project but decided that it was not the look we wanted as it felt too busy."
Once the glue was dry, we noticed that the pieces did not fit squarely on the board since the height of the backboard was not a multiplier of the dimensions of the paint sticks. We used a straight edge and jigsaw to cut off the excess and smoothed it out with sand paper. You won't need to do this if you follow the instructions in the beginning of this post.
So, once the glue was dry, we sprayed the piece with polyurethane and followed the instructions on the can. With typical stain projects, we like to do a 220-grit sand between each cot of poly. However, we did not do that with this project since we only sprayed on one thicker coat and this is wall art rather than a piece of furniture. You can do multiple coats if you want more durability. You can also do 800-grit wet-sand at the end for an ultra smooth finish if you wish.
Last, we added a picture hanger and it was ready to go.
Josh and Sydney are life adventurers that love to learn and create. We are exact opposites and enjoy gaining new perspective. Our home is where our varying personalities shine, and we use it to gather our friends and family together.