crown moulding wood art

Wall Art | Home Decor

The process isn’t always as pretty as the result.

On any given day, with any given project, it can happen.

I’m talking, everything’s fine, clear skies, quiet calm and humming along as you work…

then BAM!!!  You’ve entered another dimension, and nothing is going how you pictured it would.

Yes, that’s what happened here, with this project.

Things got ugly, laundry got ignored, and I had to deal with that part of myself that hates to fail.

I found myself stuck in a process that was nothing like I had rehearsed in my head.

wood art

I’ve kept scraps of wood moulding in varying lengths and styles, (crown moulding, chair rails, floor trim, window casing, etc…) with the intention of creating a cool piece of wall art.  (Big surprise, I kept scraps.)

Off and on for close to two years, this idea has been floating in the back of my brain waiting patiently for the right time.

Finally, the stars aligned and I got started.  I had no idea the process wouldn’t play out like it had in my head for so long.  (cue ominous music)

Right out of the gate, I made my first mistake.

I realized I had not collected enough moulding for the size of wall art I wanted.

After rolling my eyes at myself, I headed down to my local ReStore (Habitat For Humanity) and found some random lengths and styles for $1.00 a piece.

(If you’ve bought this stuff new, you understand why I held onto my scraps for so long.)

wood trim

Next, I doubled up on saw duty and used two miter saws set at both 45 degree angles to save time.

I had to alternate after each cut, and that’s a lot of adjusting-of-the-angle on one saw.

miter saws

(Don’t make eye contact with the mess above!!!  Look away!!!)

Here’s another shot:

miter cut

I knew I wanted different sizes of squares in my art piece, so using different widths of moulding strips achieved that.

Oh, how foolish I was.  This was my second mistake.  (But more on that in a bit…)

Moving on, I used some 1/8 in plywood to glue and clamp my triangles onto.  (This square is tiny!)

glue triangles

NOTE:  When the wood surface is smooth, I use regular wood glue (Gorilla Glue) because I don’t need the “expanding action” that normal Gorilla Glue has.  I save that for the older, more porous and rough wood projects when I don’t have smooth contact between the surfaces.

Clamping comes next, no need for nails.

mini wood clamps

When glue is set, I caulked up some seams.

caulking wood

Wipe off with damp rag.

wiping caulk

After doing a lot of these squares, I started laying them out to see what took shape…

wood square pattern

Sigh.  This is where the reality sets in for me.

I stated earlier that made a second mistake, and I sensed the storm clouds on the horizon.

When I decided to use random sized squares, I set myself up for a lot of rearranging, turning, and more cutting of even smaller squares to make it all fit right.

I ended up doing a lot of last minute cutting, to fill in even smaller spaces.

arranging wood squares

But let me back up a minute.  I decided to paint the squares before I actually glued them down onto a big plywood backing sheet.  (1/8 in)

Third mistake.

What happens when you arrange a pattern, then un-arrange it, without taking any pictures?….

(You see where I’m going with this, don’t you.)

I forgot the layout I decided on.

Wait.  It gets worse.  I wasn’t thinking about what color I wanted each tile.

This brings me to my next point: my fourth mistake.

When painting random colors on random sizes of squares BEFORE you glue them down… well… that’s going to affect the pattern you put them in, and that throws all the size/color/placement balance off.  (My head hurts just thinking about all this.)

What follows is a picture montage of painting, staining, re-painting, etc. of these squares during those stress filled hours.


I tried colors that were all wrong…

paint red wood

I couldn’t remember what size went where….

painted squares

I wiped paint on…

blue paint

I wiped paint off…

wipe white paint

I used some stain over paint…

stain over paint

Then I tried to make the process less ugly…

applying stain

And I took a pretty comparison shot of with and without stain….

stain and paint

And I took another picture showing oil based stain over paint…

stain over paint

I painted some grays…

gray paint

And I painted by candle light, way too late into the night.

close up of paint

Gorilla Glue Wall Art

I finally reached a point where I decided to paint AFTER I glued them all into place.

Imagine that.  Genius, huh?  Yeah, I felt smart coming up with that idea,    w a y   t o o   l a t e.

Let’s just fast forward to after I glued and clamped the squares down on big sheet of plywood, and after I painted them one last time.

square wood pattern

To get perfectly straight edges, I ran the piece through my table saw.  (And I wore my safety glasses!)

dewalt compact table saw

Using the Kreg Jig my husband gave me last Christmas, I built the frame.

using a kreg jig

I attached the blocks to the backing, so I could then use the Kreg screws to attach the box frame.

anchor blocks for kreg jig

Like this:

building an art frame


It’s over.  (sigh.)

I’m not gonna lie.  This was tough for me.

Over time I had built an image of this wall art in my mind and when the day came for me to put my idea into motion, I realized I should have had  a better plan.

The interesting part is, I’m a “figure out a way” type of person.

I love finding different paths to a destination and I love the challenge, but this time, it felt too much like math.

And math, is located in a whole different part of my brain.

In fact, when I venture into that part of my brain, I use the buddy system:

I say things out loud like:  “hmm…what’s 1/3 of 64…?” and I look like I’m thinking real hard…

In reality, I’m just waiting for my buddy to answer. (And she always does.  Thanks Dani!)


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