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Some of the best things in life are natural. Wood – with its knots, grains and imperfections – is definitely one of those things. There are many great projects you can do with planks of wood. Here are three easy DIY projects that you can do this week to incorporate this organic resource in your home.
One of the most basic projects you can do with a plank of wood is creating a shelf. To ensure stability, make sure your piece is at least 2” thick. From there, choose how far you want the shelf to extend from the wall. Some popular choices are 2”x6” and 2”x8”. Once you’ve chosen your wood, measure out the length you want and cut accordingly. After cutting, sand it to get rid of any rough surfaces.
If you’re going to stain the shelf, do that now. The right stain can enhance the natural markings in the wood. With an abundance of stains available, you can match your existing home’s accents or decide to go in a completely new direction.
Once your shelf is sanded and stained, the way you mount it to your wall is completely up to you. For a fun and effective DIY solution, attach the shelf with pipe fittings. Small pipe fittings are inexpensive, attach to each other easily, and give the shelf a unique look. Floating shelves are also popular and brackets are available to help you achieve this modern look.
Why not add some functionality to your pieces by making a tray that can be used for serving or to display your favourite coffee table books? This is a simple project that only requires a few pieces of wood, wood glue, two cabinet handles with screws, stain and sealant. 1”x3” wood is ideal for this project.
Cut one piece of wood 20” long. Repeat this process until you have four pieces with the same dimensions. Line up all four pieces parallel to each other and measure the width. Cut two more pieces of wood this size. At this point, sand all six pieces of wood until they are smooth and free of burrs. After the pieces are sanded, you can stain them.
Line the first four pieces next to each other again. Place a bead of wood glue along the inside of the four pieces of wood where the seams will be. Push them together gently and brace them with something heavy to keep them in place (or C-clamps if you have them). Make a 2” wide trail of glue on the long ends of the tray. Set the second set of pieces on top of the glue and line them up with the ends and sides. Brace these pieces as well and follow the glue manufacturer’s instructions for drying time.
Once the glue has dried, apply a wood sealant if you plan to use it for holding any kind of liquids. Last, place a cabinet handle in the middle of each end of your tray and screw it into place. Now your tray is ready to use for serving or as a centrepiece!
The shelf and tray combine functionality and style, and so is this next project: a custom picture frame. Because you’re making it yourself, you can choose any size you want, which is useful if you have a photo or piece of art in mind that doesn’t fit standard frames. For this project, we will do a 16”x20” frame for a photo.
For this project, you need:
Cut four pieces of wood on a 45° angle. The inside length of two of the pieces will be 19” and the inside length of the other two will be 15”. This leaves an inch of overlap on each side so that when a photo is mounted on the back, it has something to keep it in place. Once the pieces are cut, sand them.
After sanding, lay the four pieces out and arrange them into the shape of your frame. Attach the four corners together by laying the flat corner braces on top and screwing them down onto the back of the frame. Ensure that the pieces of wood fit snugly together under the brace to keep all four corners consistent.
Spray the adhesive onto the foam board and carefully lay your photo on top of it. Once it’s dry, use the craft knife to cut the foam board an inch wider than your photo. Place the foam board onto the back of the frame with the photo facing out the front. Carefully press small nails through the back of the foam board and into the frame. The size of these nails will depend on the thickness of the wood you used – make sure they don’t pop through the other side!
Once the foam board is held in place, the last step is to attach framing hardware to the back of your frame. Decide which orientation you want your frame to hang on the wall and attach the hardware along the back of the frame accordingly. Hang it on your wall with the nails included in the framing hardware kit and you’re done!