DIY large shim wall art

July 30, 2014

So I’m not a big art-from-the-store kind of girl. I love having pieces in our home that are one of a kind and better yet, reflect us personally. I’ve purchased plenty from stores so it’s not like I’m an art snob, I just prefer to create pieces that are just right for certain spots in our home.

There was a spot in the “old” family room that needed large artwork so I decided to knock off some wood plank art I saw on the Pottery Barn website:

Pottery barn art knock off

Back then (I can’t believe that was two years ago already!) I was using a lot of blue tones and some pops of red in the family room, but I’ve gone to a more neutral pallet since.

I’ve had that art hanging in the room even with the softer colors in the room and it’s stuck out like sore thumb to me. The red and aqua colors were too much, and I wasn’t a big fan of the dark wax look anymore. I wanted something simpler and cleaner, but loved the look of the wood planks.

So. I decided to repaint the whole thing, but to do that took some time (more time than I imagined). I started by sanding the whole thing down really well:

The dark wax I used won’t take on new latex paint well so I tried my best to get every surface as sanded down as possible.

The wax gummed up my sanding pads quite a bit so it was a job to get it prepped:

I wiped it down really well with a wet cloth before I started taping off the strips. I used painter’s tape to tape off each board:

Taping them off really doesn’t take that long, especially the first couple of colors. If you don’t get the line perfect early on it’s easy to paint over down the line with a later color.

The time in this process came in the sheer number of those little bitty wood pieces and the drying time. Gah. SO. many. pieces. I don’t remember this taking this long when I first made this thing!

Once you get the first color done you’ll want to be careful taping over what you’ve already painted. For the next couple of colors I used a mix of regular green FrogTape and their yellow delicate tape:

taping off planks

Both work great – I actually use the delicate more than the regular over all because it works so well. I know I don’t have to worry about it pulling up any paint.

I did have a few spots lift up but those were areas where I hadn’t sanded well enough and there was still wax. I had a few of those. ;)

A couple hours later (that drying time dragged this project out longer than I thought it would take) and five colors later and I had finished artwork in much more soothing tones:

DIY wood strip artwork

I used paint colors I had from previous projects for the whole thing – hoarding paint pays off folks! ;)

The colors are Agreeable Gray (from the powder room) for the light beige boards, Rhinestone (lightened 50 percent) for the nearly white ones, Whitestone (from the master bedroom) for the light gray, Marina Gray (from the basement, lightened 25 percent) for the mid-gray and Storm Cloud for the darkest one. I’ve had that color so long I have no idea what I first used it on. I just grabbed what I had and I love how they look together!

I plan to hang this in the family room again but with the trimwork it may not work vertical like that. I actually like it better horizontal anyway:

DIY wood artwork

I left the nail holes on purpose – I kind of dig them. I plan to take a toothpick between some of the boards to get a more even look…but I couldn’t get to the toothpicks in the kitchen. ;) More on that in a minute.

Here it is hanging horizontal just to show how it looks – I LOVE the colors! It went from country looking to a lot more updated:

DIY wood plank artwork

It’s hanging too high in this spot, but it’s the only open wall I could get to today – our house is a total disaster. I’m not like, oh, ha ha, our house is a disaster! I’m like, seriously, never before has it been like this ever EVER disaster. The reno is coming to a close this week!!

Over the past week the floors in the family room and kitchen were patched, sanded down and then restained.

This is what it's really like behind the photo:

That isn’t even the half of it. :) Tonight we can start moving things back into the room and by the end of this week all the contractors will be DONE. Whoohoo!! I’m hoping to paint a fireplace this weekend!!

So there’s how I reworked one of my DIY art pieces – it took longer than I thought but the result was worth it! It looks totally different!

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  1. Love the new colors and that you could repurpose it. I actually like it hung horizontal as well. I have not had much luck with the green frog seems to pull the paint off!

  2. At first I thought, "But it's such a pretty color palette, rather close to what I have" then I saw the finished, and it's just gorgeous! I can never get over what a huge difference a bit of paint can make! The old colors wouldn't have even looked modern hanging horizontally, but the grays absolutely do. Fantastic! I'm with you on the store bought art, the more I build and paint my own, well, everything, the more I appreciate personalized, handmade art on my walls - no matter how simple. I'm just finishing a gallery wall with vintage bird coloring pages (thank you to whomever did NOT color all those pages!) and frames from Dollar Tree. Painter's tape to the rescue, because the hangers on those cheap frames are all over the place, haha! I taped off a grid, and centered the frames in each one. Good grief, your dog food tray up there - I've thought about that project almost every day since you first posted it, and still have not made one! It is one of my favorite simple, awesome projects, that would help my hallway SO MUCH. I can't wait to see your whole new space!!

  3. I love reusing an art piece like that to fit your current scheme (though it was pretty as is too so win win either way!) I'm currently redoing our space and reusing major pieces and smaller pieces including frames and just updating them with paint so we can stick to a big impact for as little money as possible. This is right up my alley! :-)

  4. Mmmm...I like the original better. This one seems kind of boring and muted.

  5. Curious what you used and how you did the frame.

  6. Nice artwork! I love the soothing colors. Definitely keep it horizontal. Thanks for writing a great blog. You are fun to keep up with.

  7. I'm always amazed by how much you manage to accomplish each week! I know you probably see all that needs to be done, but really, give yourself a pat on the back for how much you get done! I like the artwork both ways, but I really loved how the colors worked together in the original. But if the new version works better in your home now, more power to you! Looking forward to seeing the continued progress in the family room -- I've been enjoying the transformation! Cheers!

  8. I like how you did it both times. It really depends on the colors in the room and the feel you are going for. In both cases you succeeded. And I especially like the fact that you already had everything you needed the second time to make a "new" piece without anything actually being new.

  9. I found your blog last week and love your aesthetics. The artwork looks beautiful and fits well with your neutral style. Thank you for detailing how you achieve results and referencing paint colors and other products you use. Love your work!

  10. As many of commentors replied the original art/colors was great but I love the new way, probably cause those are colors in our living room and part of kitchen now. Hanging it horizontally, with new colors makes it look like brand new art. It goes so well with your wall and wainscoting style also.
    I too enjoy making my own art now, much more than buying. I like making so I can have what I really want, not what I might have to settle for if what I would want to buy is way over my budget. I can look at things I made, feel like I accomplished something, saved money and used what I already had. To me that's more enjoyable when I look at what's on my walls.
    Enjoy your new awesome art, it's fantastic. Happy summer days

  11. So beautiful post having lovely wood designs. It is so creative and lovely post.

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