Monday, September 20, 2010

DIY Ballard Design Acanthus Plaque

While I’m off in NYC, my friend (in blogland and in real life) Beckie is guest posting for me. She’s sharing one of my very favorite projects of hers – enjoy!!

Hello Thrifty readers!  I am Beckie, from Infarrantly Creative

I am a red-headed, left-handed, frugal-living, roadkill-rescuing, furniture revamping, creative-minded, spray-painting, fun-loving Midwest girl living in the land of corn and the Colts.
I came to share a thrifty project with you.  Just like Sarah I love perusing through catalogs for inspiration.  Ballard Designs catalog is at the top of the pile. I saw the Acanthus Cut-Out Plaque from Ballard’s about a year ago. Isn't it gorgeous? I looooove it. Did you see the price tag? I haaaaate it. So what does one do?
Recreate it of course for 3.54% of the price (yes I am a math nerd)! IMG_0922
Their version is made out of tole metal. Unfortunately, I am not a metal fabricator, nor do I pretend to know what tole metal is. However, I do have some wood and a jigsaw.
1. I got a piece of 1/4" luan plywood cut to the size of 24" x 36". They sell a 2’ x 4’ piece for $5.47 at the Home Depot.
2. Then using a pencil and my catalog for inspiration I drew the design on the wood. 
3. Then I got out my electric drill and using a large bit I cut holes into each of the scrolling vines as a starting point for my jigsaw.
4. Then I took a jigsaw and using a new scroll blade I followed the lines and cut out my pattern. IMG_0906There were a few pieces that broke off that I had to use wood glue and wood putty to fix. Don’t be intimidated by a jigsaw.  Of all the saws they are the easiest to maneuver.5. Then I got my Dremel tool and used a sanding bit and sanded down the cuts to make them smooth.  You could also use a sanding sponge.
6. I wanted to cover some of the blemishes give the piece some texture. So I thought and thought about how to give it a little texture with the supplies I had on hand. about Mod Podge? So I went and got a test piece of wood and a sponge and pounced Mod Podge all over it.
I liked it...
7. Since the Mod Podge sealed it I didn't need to primer it so I spray painted it Canyon Black. It still needed something. I used a glaze mixed with some brown craft paint and painted it on and then used a damp paper towel to remove some of it. It gave it the depth of color that I was looking for and almost resembled the “tole” metal of the Ballard’s one.IMG_0927 8. Then using a $5 miter box and saw I cut molding to frame it out, spray painting that also.
Then I nailed everything in place.  I love how the blue walls show through the vine cut outs. 
Note: Next to the Acanthus Cut-Out is 2 blank canvases with fabric stapled to them and also trimmed out.
What do you think? If I would have ordered one it would have cost $253.95 with shipping. This cost me $9! Move over Thrifty Decor Chick ;-)
I would love for you to come visit me at Infarrantly Creative.  If you like this process I will give you a sneak peek of a new project that I am working on…IMG_0914
You will have to come to “my house” to see the rest.  See you there!


  1. That blew my mind!! Makes me want a miter saw... My hubby would love to see me with power tools!

  2. This turned out perfectly.
    I like my jig saw, but love my scroll saw :)

  3. Super creative and beautiful! I hope to one day be able and brave enough to try a project like that. It seems simple in your tutorial but I'm still a bit intimidated. Great job!

  4. I love, love, love this. Wish I was as handy with a saw as you are. From one math nerd to another: good job!

  5. Very cute Beckie!!! And I can't wait to see your quatrefoil project. It looks fabulous!!


  6. Ahhh!!! I wish I had the guts to try something like this! :) You are A.MAZ.ING!

  7. That is so beautiful! Stunning, fantastic, .....I don't think I could do it, though... :(
    Now I have two more tolls on my wishlist. Maybe with some practise...
    Grea job, and 'm heading over to your hous as we speak..

  8. WOW! I have a hard time making a circle with my jig saw, let along this sort of pattern!! And it's so pretty!
    And, if you made a 2nd, you could use it as a stencil!

  9. Wow, that looks all sorts of amazing. I now officially need a jigsaw :)

  10. Beautiful! I love it! She is so fantastically creative!

  11. Oh, I LOVE that! Isn't it crazy what it would have cost you from the catalog?? Way to go!! Thanks for the idea . . . I'll check out your blog for more wonderful ideas.

  12. wow! You're getting really good with that jigsaw! This looks fabulous Beckie!
    ps hope sarah is having a blast!

  13. wow. She did an amazing job. I love when someone is able to DIY so much cheaper than the store. yippy

  14. Too cool! LOVE IT! I wonder...could you get the same effect from a piece of foam core board? Hmmm...I may have to try it and see...:)

  15. Love it!! I have two art niches begging for something like this. Bookmarking it for later! :)

  16. design looks great-very fresh--and boy did you give me an idea for the dremel tool!!!!!

  17. That's so pretty and you make it look so easy! I want a jig saw and a dremel!

  18. I am very impresses. I wish I wasn't such a chicken when it came to power tools.

  19. Wow, that's fabulous! I love it!

  20. FANTASTIC!!!! this is just lovely :)

    ~Emily N. from "too Blessed to Stress"

  21. I love the whole thing! I have to know, what is the name of the fabric pattern and where did you get it? It goes perfectly with the cut out!

  22. Hey, Girl! Love the guest post - and the project. In fact, I think I want a jigsaw for Christmas.

    Ha! I bought a Rotozip a few years back and that thing had a mind of its own. Since then, Hubs wouldn't let me near anything with power that cuts. Think I could handle a jig saw though.

    The painting is perfect, too, btw.

  23. I love it. We will have to get us (me) some power tools. :) Thanks so much.

  24. Gorgeous. I do wonder how you use the same frames when the wood has got to be much thicker than the fabric?

  25. you did a great job! lovesss it!

  26. If I get over my fear of power tools, I would totally make this! You are a creative genius!

  27. I think I'd struggle to cut anything other than a loose curve with a Jigsaw! Not sure how you managed the more intricate bits but well done anyway. Looks great.

  28. That's some great use of a powertool :) I've tried working with a jigsaw, but I can't say I did it well.

    I've been getting inspiration from your blog for a while now, so I thought I show my face a little. Thank you for bringing inspiration and motivation and feel free to go to my blog :)


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