I had this idea last week while playing with my kids at a local playground. As I chased my kids on the playground, I kept seeing these smooth short sticks and wondering what I could do with them. I came up with this DIY Stick Heart Wall Art.
It really wasn’t hard. It has several different steps, but don’t worry, I am going to show you how to do it!
First off, my parents gave me some tongue and groove bead board they had left over from completing their porch ceiling. I knew it would come in handy for something! I had enough boards to cut them in half (about 20″ long) and make two square pieces that I am going to refer to as my wood canvases.
If you have used tongue and groove boards, you know they fit together like a puzzle piece. In order to have them stay together more permanently, we used wood glue and scrap wood strips to create a permanent bond.
Do this by cutting some small scrap pieces of wood just a little shorter than the length of your wood canvas. To be like mine, use wood glue to attach to these scrap pieces to the “shiny” side of the tongue and groove boards. I wanted the rougher side to use for my project, but you can do it which ever way you like best. I really liked how the grooves are much more narrow on the rough side of the boards.
Simply put a strip of wood glue along each scrap piece of wood and use clamps to keep them pressed tightly together. We used four pieces of scrap wood per my wood canvases. Three across the center to secure the boards, and one strip of scrap across the top to serve as an easy wall hanger. (See picture further down)
Once our boards were clamped and the glue was drying, we let them sit that way for over 24 hours before we messed with them.
After the wood glue was good and dry, we released the clamps and sanded the edges of the square wood canvases so they were ready to be painted.
I painted my two wood canvases (one pink and one teal) and let them dry. Once they were dry, I gave them each another good sanding to add the vintage effect that I love so much. Depending on how aged/vintage you want your canvas to appear, there’s no need to make sure your paint job is thick and even, because that will make the sanding job harder.
I went ahead and painted the back of my piece as well. I had enough paint and because this piece sticks out from the wall a little bit I wanted to make sure all the visible sides and edges would appear finished.
Once they were sanded, I was ready to stain. I hate staining. My brother is a wood worker and does it by profession right now, and I don’t know how he does it everyday! I love the results of staining, but the process drives me crazy.
First, you have to cover your canvas with a pretty heavy coat of stain. I have found that a sponge brush does the best job of retaining the stain for an even, heavy coat. Note: Because I used beadboard the small indentions in my canvas were hard to make sure the stain got fully down in the grooves. I pressed my brush down and let the “excess” stain run into the groove.
The longer you leave the stain on, the darker your results should be (depending also on the base paint color you choose). I let my stain sit on until the whole board was covered with stain. Probably a little over 5 minutes. Using an old t-shirt or rag go back to the area you stained first and start wiping the stain off.
All that is not a big deal and is quick and easy. Here is the step that makes me hate staining. One wipe of the stain is not enough. You have to keep wiping until there is no more stain “seeping” up and leaving ring marks.
This process can take a while. Once I wipe and think it is done, I come back ten minutes later and there is more seepage. It probably took about a dozen wipes to fully catch all the extra stain, so it didn’t leave rings or spots on my piece. This piece had more wipe downs than most projects because of the grooved wood that had excess stain collected in it. It’s more annoying than hard, especially if you are like me and struggle with patience! Once the seepage stopped, I let my wood canvases sit for about 24 hours just to let everything completely dry.
If you are wondering if this staining step is worth it, look at the difference in these two pictures.
To me the depth and beauty is worth it, and that my friends is why I do that annoying step. I love the deep darker tone it adds to a piece. Staining makes a piece look more finished or professional. It is more timeless in my opinion.
Next, it was time to start assembling the stick heart. I plugged in my hot glue gun and started laying out my sticks in what looked like a heart on my wood canvas.
After I had what seemed like a good size heart, I used my ruler to center the first stick in the middle of my canvas. I also used it to measure the open teal space between the first stick and the edge of the wood. It measured to be three inches.
I wanted my heart to be centered, so I made sure the top had a three-inch margin as well.
The next step was to start gluing the sticks down. On each stick, I put a strip of hot glue and then pressed the stick down for a few seconds to allow it to set on the wood.
This step was kind of tricky because the sticks are not perfectly round. The bumps and different widths mattered. Do the best you can to put the glue on the side you think will sit the most flushed against the beadboard.
Once your heart is created, stand back and take a look. My heart seemed to have lots of holes and be a little distorted. I decided I would go back and add more sticks into the cracks and openings to create a more filled in, sold heart.
I really like the more solid look of the heart, but I ran out of sticks. It has been raining like crazy here in the ATL. You might have seen on twitter that I was going to gather more sticks yesterday. They were still drenched last night. So, I am currently drying sticks out on a towel in my house.
Once the sticks are done drying, I will go back and add even more to my heart.
I think this piece will end up in my daughter’s room at some point, but for now it is hanging out in my living room. I love it and the simple heart is such a huge symbol of love, and that is what we want our family to be all about.
I love the contrast between the grooves in the wood being perpendicular to the way I layed my sticks. I love all the texture and the difference in the stark teal paint color with the natural wood sticks. What do you think? Can you see yourself making this Stick Heart Wall Art?
Thank you so much for stopping by today! Have a great weekend!
P.S. Are you wondering about my pink version? It is not done, but I am going to finish it and it will be for sale in the coming weeks. You might remember I had a little art show at Roux on Canton last year. They are too kind and have asked me to come back and do another sale. I will be giving more details soon. If you are in the ATL area, Roux is a really fun place to eat and maybe my craft sale will put you over the edge to stop by. 🙂
Linked up at Nest of Posies