The beauty creating a piece of art using wood slats is that no two pieces are alike. The pattern, wood grain, and finish make each assembly completely unique.
For this project, I will be using a bundle of wood lathe. The pieces are a quarter-inch thick and 1 ½-inches wide.
Steps for Making Wood Wall Art
1. Miter the Pieces
- Using a miter saw, cut the end of each slat at a 45-degree angle.
2. Layout the Planks
- Mark two center lines on a piece of ½-inch plywood sized to the desired dimensions. (Note: I wasn’t entirely certain how tall I wanted my pattern to run, so I left my plywood long and will cut it at the end.)
- Lay the slats onto the plywood, aligning the cut end along the centerlines. You can think of this design as four arrows or eight quadrants.
- Move the pieces around until you’re happy with the layout. I also chose to add some thinner ¾-inch slats made scrap ½-inch-thick plywood to vary the look of the pattern.
- Flip each slat and mark its location.
3. Mark and Cut the Design
- Mark and cut the pattern.
- Remove matching pieces from each quadrant and cut them together to keep the pattern symmetrical.
- At this point, it’s okay if the slats run long because they’ll be trimmed at the end with a circular saw.
4. Apply the Finish
- Next, apply the finish to the pieces. I’m using a charred wood accelerator to make the thin slats look like they’ve been scorched with a flame, and an aged wood accelerator to make some of the slats look even more rustic.
- Finish the remaining slats with white stain, or paint and polyurethane. If you have the room, I highly suggest laying the pattern in place, spaced out, as it dries. This helped me to visualize the end result, and make changes as I worked.
5. Attach the Planks on the Plywood
- Once the pieces dry, apply glue to the back of the four main pieces. Take your time adjusting and getting their location perfect, as they’ll set the lines for the rest of the installation.
- Once adjusted, nail the pieces in place. I’m using 5/8-inch pin nails so I hopefully won’t have to fill and touch up the finish at the end.
- Continue laying the pattern until all the pieces are glued and nailed into place.
6. Trim the Edges with a Circular Saw
- To trim the edges, clamp a straightedge onto the assembly.
- Run a circular saw along each edge to trim the slats, and in my case, finalize the height of the design.
7. Attach the Frame and Hanger
- Glue and attach a slat on an edge along each side to create a frame.
- Flip the piece and attach a heavy-duty french cleat.
- Lastly secure the remaining side of the cleat to the wall to hang your new, unique piece of wood wall art.