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.

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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:

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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).

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

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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.

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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.

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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:

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

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

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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.

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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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