Using plywood & scrap wood to make a geometric art piece

Using plywood & scrap wood to make a geometric art piece

Using plywood & scrap wood to make a geometric art piece

When my brother and his girlfriend, Jess, decided they were going to move in together a few months ago, I offered to make them a housewarming gift. They admitted they didn’t have much in the way of pictures or wall hangings, and since creating something from scratch (especially when I have a lot of “scratch” lying around my house – in this case, scrap wood) is one of my favorite things to do, I offered my services.

The problem was, I had no idea where to start. All they gave me in the way of direction was permission to make it large – they were hoping to fill the space above their sectional sofa – and a general, neutral and serene aesthetic. So needless to say, creative direction was in my hands.

Lucky for me, I am ALWAYS pinning inspo pics of things I love. This 3-piece artwork from West Elm was one such pic.



I loved the geometric, modern lines, and I especially loved that it “looked” like something I could maybe re-create, or at least use as a starting point for my own artwork.

And that’s really how this piece all began. In the end, I decided on 3 pieces, just like the West Elm piece, but instead of making one smaller than the others, I started with 3 pieces of equal size. I was going for balance and symmetry. Plus, I really wanted a substantial size for their wall, so making them all big, helped.


Decide on your base.

I used standard plywood as the base, and had it cut down to 2ft x 2ft at Home Depot.


Determine your design.

I really liked the straight lines of the two bigger pieces in West Elm’s art, so I decided I would do something similar to two of mine. The problem was, what to do with the third board? I turned to my scrap wood pile for inspo. Interestingly, I had a few scrap triangles lying around from a previous project my husband did, and they sparked my interest.


Get to gettin’.

The octagons on the West Elm piece were too time-consuming for me, so triangles were the perfect compromise to still align with the geometric aesthetic, without tackling something I didn’t feel comfortable with. Here’s how it started to look:



I decided to perfectly align the triangles horizontally across my board, but it didn’t prove easy. So to help myself out, I drew myself some lines to follow. This way, I knew exactly where to nail my triangles. I should also note that for all 3 boards, I didn’t just use nails, I also used wood glue to ensure they’d never budge. Better safe than sorry, in my book (especially when the piece is for someone else).




Here she is with all the triangles glued and nailed in place.




Fill the nail holes.

This part is simple; just takes a little time. I used a standard wood filler and really made sure I was generous with the amount per hole. That way, there would be no trace of nails once painted.




Lightly sand everything.

Once the wood filler had time to dry, I lightly sanded it to make sure I covered every hole (thankfully I did), and I also did a light sanding on all the edges. Some were a little rough – after all, I’m no master sawer 🙂


Repeat steps for other two pieces.

The other two boards were pegged to have straight diagonal lines (instead of triangles), but the steps I took to accomplish them were basically the same as for the triangles. The most time-consuming part is definitely cutting all the pieces and aligning them on the boards. Just like with the triangles, I made sure to draw myself some follow lines for accuracy.






Saw edges.

This was my first time using a circular saw (Ryobi brand, which we love), and I have to admit: I’M HOOKED. As long as you’re OCD about going slow, and following your edge, it’s really pretty easy. Here’s another look at the before pieces, with wonky edges:





Here’s what it started to look like once I trimmed two sides:



And here’s the finished product, pre-paint, of course:




It’s painting time.

Once all the pieces were put together, I loved the dimensionality of it. They were so visually interesting (the geometric design, that is) that I didn’t want to take away from that with a fussy paint finish. That’s why I decided a perfect white/linen finish was the way to go. In the beginning, I thought a distressed look would be nice, but I wanted the focus to be on the art, not the weird paint job. So a couple of coats with my paint sprayer is all it took, along with a lot of prep work, and dry time in between. I love the result.





Add hanging hardware, hang & enjoy!

We used standard picture hanging wire and hardware, and it did the trick. Plus, it’s so much easier to hang when each piece only needs one nail/screw! My husband and I delivered it to my brother and his girlfriend in Minneapolis and hung it for them. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s a statement piece.




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Morgan Hanson

360-degrees of DIY-bliss. Read about my kooky ideas, creations, kids and general chaotically beautiful life. Get inspired. Learn from my mistakes. Steal my ideas. Be merry :)
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