During one of my trips to Los Angeles I picked up a beautifully laser-cut piece of wood from street vendor Venice Woods (IG: @venicewoods) on Venice Beach. I figured I’d use it as a symbol of my love for Southern California, and it was only $5! As usual, I bought it with no plans in mind. I knew I’d figure it out eventually. Fast-forward almost a year later and I’ve finally figured it out! Another trip to the dollar section of Target inspired me, where I found a $3 wooden art board just begging to be stained. Here’s what happened next …
I decided to stain the wooden board and use it to mount the California cutout. This project involved:
- Wooden board
- Something you want to mount, in my case a wooden cutout
- 4 thin nails
- Wood stain
- Matte varnish (not shown above)
- Hot glue gun (not shown above)
- Steel sawtooth ring hangers (not shown above)
Step 1: Set up your area and stain the wood.
Set up an area outside with newspaper to stain your wood. You’ll need a well-ventilated area because paint stain reeks and the fumes are probably not the best for your health. Wear clothing you don’t care too much about. Paint stain has a way of getting onto your clothes if you’re not super careful. And if you’re anything like me — you’re not super careful. Now go ahead and stain the piece of wood. Apartment Therapy has a great tutorial on how to stain wood here. Now grab a cup of coffee and a podcast, and let it dry. Don’t forget to use a coat of varnish or sealer when it’s done drying! (Then wait for that to dry too.)
Step 2: Mark the back of the wood for your metal hanger (optional if you don’t want to use rope to hang it).
The piece of wood I got from Target hangs from the wall by a piece of rope. I wasn’t feeling the rope, so I removed it and decided to add a metal hanger on the back of the board. This will allow me to hang it on the wall like I would a painting or a frame. To do this, turn the wood over, about two inches from the top find the center of the board, and mark off that space. You’ll apply the metal hanger later. If you’re cool with the rope, then skip this step. Alternatively, you could use the back of an old picture frame (the part that allows the frame to stand up) and clue it to the back of the board. That would let you stand it up on a desk or table.
Step 3: Drive nails into the wood.
I was afraid of driving nails into the wood only to realize they’re in the wrong place. To prevent this, I outlined the wooden cutout first on a piece of paper, placed the paper on top of the wood, and drove the nails through the paper into the wood. This way I could be sure they’re in the right place. I really felt like a genius.
Get creative with your placement. It doesn’t have to be right in the middle like mine. Think about mounting it more to the left or right and then painting or writing a quote on the other side. Lots of possibilities here!
Step 4: Attach the metal hanger to the back of the board (optional).
If you’re going the metal hanger route, flip the board over and glue the metal hanger to the back of the board using a hot glue gun. The wood I’m using is super light so I wasn’t worried about using glue. If the wood was heavier I would have nailed the hangers to the wood instead. I’m not really keen on the sound of artwork falling off of my wall in the middle of the night.
Step 5: Glue the wooden cutout to the nails.
Now, apply a drop of hot glue to the top of each nail. Move quickly so the glue doesn’t cool before you can apply the wooden cutout. When you’ve got glue on each nail, go ahead and carefully place the wooden cutout on top.
Step 6: Rejoice!
You’re done! Put it on a wall. Give it to a friend. Do something with it! Take a look at the last photo below to see how I took it a step further with an upcycled picture frame.
I was happy with the final product as it was, but I quickly realized I had no place on my wall to put it. Ack! So, I took a frame already on my wall, removed the photo and glass, used the burlap I bought in the Los Angeles Fabric District (read about my trip here), and made a new big piece of art for the frame gallery in my entryway. By the way, I snagged this frame at a local thrift store, cleaned it, and spray painted it chrome (see the original here). Here’s a picture of the final product. As you can see I was doing a little California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day. (See what I did there??)