Tuesday, February 10, 2015

States Artwork

I've been hanging pictures and art on the walls of our house lately. We've only lived here almost four years, so it was about time.... Some art we had, but I'm making other pieces to fill in some of the blank spaces. I saw some states artwork here awhile ago and thought it was a cute idea that I could easily replicate.

Of course, I did things a bit differently, but followed the basic idea of the original. I only made four pieces, focusing on the four states we've lived in since getting married. I used 1x4 furring strips that I purposely chose for their "rustic" look, i.e., natural imperfections and roughness. Mine ended up being about 22" by 24", but I probably should have gone a little smaller.

After cutting each piece to length, I arranged them how I wanted them to look, then flipped them over.

I applied some wood glue, then used our nail gun to staple scrap 1x2s to the back to hold all the pieces in place.

 A few minutes later, I had all four pieces ready to go.

I first stained them with weathered gray stain, but it wasn't quite gray enough for what I had in mind.

I layered some Kona stain on top of the weathered gray, which gave me a better finish.

A few minutes outside with the palm sander, and each piece looked nicely weathered. I was surprised at how the gray stain ended up being more visible than I thought it would be. The picture below is the best example of it. (and a gratuitous adorable toddler photobomb)

After sanding the wood, I found some state outlines online and enlarged them to use as stencils. Colorado could have been a little smaller, I think. It didn't need to take up quite so much of the wood. Oh well.

Despite my efforts, some paint still seeped under the edge of the stencils. This one isn't too bad, but there were several spots on each state that were too obvious to leave as-is.

After some thought, I decided to outline each state with a silver paint pen. I found a wide chisel tip pen that worked really well and gave a nice wide outline.

Depending on the light, the silver isn't super noticeable, but it does make the edge look a lot better. I lightly sanded each state and then called it good. Overall, I'm happy with how it all turned out, though if I had it to do again, I would make the changes I mentioned earlier (smaller pieces and smaller Colorado outline).

This is a fairly easy, inexpensive project. I only bought a few 1x4s, the weathered gray stain, and the silver paint pen. I had the kona stain, the white paint, the scrap 1x2s, the screws, and the wire.

I put a couple screws and some wire on the backs of each piece.

And then hung them on the wall. This is where I realized I really should have made them a little smaller. I wanted something nice and big to take up that big empty space, and they are nice and big, but I'm not sure about the current arrangement. And Colorado really should have been smaller. Too late now though.

I really can't lower them any since they'd be too close to the level of the mattress then. I almost hung them in a line straight across, but there'd only be an inch or so in between each. I may still do that though.

What do you think? Leave as-is or rearrange?

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