Friday, January 13, 2012

Between U & Me: Pallet Wood Word Wall Art - {Tutorial}

Pallet Wood Word Wall Art, say that 5 times fast. ;) Nevermind, let's just make some instead.

Hi everyone! It's Karah here again, from the space between. Thanks so much to Courtney for having me back. I'm like that last party guest who just. won't. go. home. ;) But, since you're here, stick around to see another pretty simple project I did with a pallet and some paint.

I've have been wanting to make some kind of word art forever, but have just had the hardest time deciding what I want to say. And, I have been collecting pallets here and there for awhile. They just always seem to be lying around this island. So, when I found this perfect little pallet I thought I might finally write something very profound, errr, I mean make some Pallet Wood Word Wall Art. 

Here's the beauty in her original glory.

I loved the aged grey color and I loved the width of the slats on the pallet, it's almost like they were aged down to a narrower size. Perfectly irregular.

I actually lived with the pallet awhile because I seriously considered just adding some wording to it as is. Maybe cut off the top and bottom of the pallet, but keep the slats where they were. I liked the spacing, but it was reeeeeally big. Talk about needing to be reeeeally profound. ;) Apparently "Now pump it up, and back it up like a Tonka truck" as sung by Pitbull in the J Lo song On the Floor was out. Bummer.

And, I don't know, the more I looked at it, the more I worried the end result would be too much like guessed it...pallet. Uhh, yes, this took me some time to figure out. Not so smart sometimes. :/

But, in my defense we have had trouble taking pallets apart before. When we tried the ol' wonder bar (no, not wonder bra, but I could use one of those too!) and hammer technique to pry the slats off of the pallet they would crack or splinter or otherwise render themselves unusable. And, I was so much in love with the perfectness of these slats I was worried they would suffer the same fate.

I don't know if it was the long time I let the baby sit in the harsh sun and often pelting rain, or just the nature of the beast, but these slats came off like buttah. 

To back up just a minute, I had to use a small spackle knife to remove some stuck on spackle (oh, the irony) from the pallet. I had picked it up at a construction site. On a rainy day the blobs of spackle loosened right up a bit and then I just scraped away.

Then I diligently cleaned left the pallet out in the rain a few more days.

A few days after that I took it all apart and laid the slats out to see what I was working with. 

I ended up with 8 usable slats but decided to go with just 7. I liked the more rectangle shape only 7 made. And, as an added bonus, it also gave me one extra slat in the

unlikely event I screwed any of them up. Always thinkin' I am.

I debated cutting the slats down, so they weren't quite as long. But, I liked the weathered edges and the nail holes and I didn't want to create clean cuts, so I just left it.

So, let the wording begin.

I used these stencils to trace all of the lettering. 

I did a rough eyeball of how many letters would fit on each slat to help me decide on exactly what I was going to say. I determined that each line had to be less than 30 spaces, including all letters and spaces in between words. I also determined that I didn't want them to be all the same length because I wanted more of a jagged edge look in terms of where all the lettering started and stopped.

I may or may not have decided I liked the jagged edge look because it made the project easier by eliminating the need to make sure the wording on each slat was lined up. I will never tell. ;)

Sooooo, this is what I came up with:

slat 1 - love wholeheartedly slat 2 - be true to your word and soul slat 3 - do what inspires you slat 4 - laugh often dream big slat 5 - believe in forgiveness slat 6 - plant a seed take chances slat 7 - leave only your footprints

Now, just to make it happen. Easy peazy like.

I learned along the way to not crowd my letters. I knew I would be tracing and then painting, so I would want to paint over all of my pencil marks. I didn't necessarily make the letters bigger with the paint, but I definitely liked it best with a good amount of space, especially in between each word. Just my personal style though.

Also, even though the stenciled letters had different parts of certain letters that didn't connect, when I did the painting I just made all of the letters connect. See the stenciled B? When it came to painting I just connected all the dots, so to speak. 

Winning! I was able to do all of the stenciling and painting without any major screw ups. I came close to a slat that said "be true tour word and soul" and one with "leave only your footrints" but caught my almost errors in time.

TIP!!! Check, double check and check again after each letter!

Timing wise, it took me about 45 minutes to do all of the stenciling and then about 30 minutes PER SLAT to paint. Those of you who are super crafty and artsy can probably either skip the stenciling part all together, or just use your paint directly with your stencil. I just didn't trust myself to go either of those routes. :(

Once all of the lettering was done, I just needed to get it all put together and hung. I had originally thought that I would use some of the other pallet wood from the same pallet and nail the slats back on just a little closer together than they had started. But, then I got the idea to weave some wire through the nail holes. I liked this option for two main reasons, 1) it added another element of rustic and 2) weaving wire seemed easier than lining up and nailing all the boards. :)

The first step to this plan (that I would have had to do with both options) was to remove all old nail remnants to create an open hole for the wire. I used a nail punch and hammer. These little nail punch thingys are most often used to set nails into wood so you can putty over them before painting and be none the wiser where the nails are. 

My first wiring attempt went in and out every single hole. So, each slat has 2 holes and the wire was just weaving away. I started at the top, got to the bottom and as soon as I started to go back up I knew it was a bit toooo wirey for me.

So then, I decided to have the wire go in front of the slats in between the two holes on each slat and behind the slats in between each slat. So, if you're starting at the top you would start behind the slat and bring the wire up the first whole and then down the second and continue like this until you went down into the bottom hole of the last slat.

Then I just looped the wire through the two holes in the bottom slat again and brought it up to the next slat.

So, it goes like this: up the second to bottom hole, down the bottom hole, up the third to bottom hold, down the 4th to bottom hole, up the 5th to bottom hole and so on until you get to the top.

This way you have two lengths of wire showing on each slat and nothing showing in between each slat. Like they're being held up by magic. ;) And, not too wirey I say.


What's up with wirey not being a real word?

After I did the first side I just brought the wire across the top leaving some slack for hanging and then eyeballed how much wire I would need, cut it off my spool and repeated the exact same steps on the second side. Oh, and I didn't plan on any specific spacing between the slats. I was going to, but once I got wiring I just pulled as tight as I could and new the whole piece would settle a little under it's own weight and create spacing.

I just wrapped the ends, end over end, around the main piece of wire to secure it all together.

Honestly, I'm not 100% sure this wire is the right gauge to hold this piece. I don't know how much it weighs but she has a few pounds to her. But, not enough that there would be serious injury if she were to fall on someone's head. I've weighed the risk and whoever was sitting on the couch if, by chance, this beauty came crashing down might only get a bump and some scrapes. And, the hubs is usually on that couch so my risk is reduced even more. ;) I'll keep you posted though.

What do you think of the final product?

Beautifully rustic, I think. I like the addition of the wire, albeit, not too much wire. I like the grey of the wood and the cream color of the paint. I just mixed a few paint colors I had together. It's very similar to the color I used to paint the words on my Mapped Dresser.

I wasn't sure the stencils were just what I wanted when I bought them but I think they ended up just right. They are uniform enough to not look sloppy, but irregular enough to have some character. And, they were the only items I had to buy for this project. It was actually a package with 3 other smaller sized stencils as well for just a couple bucks. I had all of the other supplies on hand. Not bad, a pretty good sized art piece for about $2, and if you already have stencils or are crafty enough to freehand this baby is totally FREE. :)

I'm in love. You?


Thank you so much, Karah, for sharing this wonderful tutorial! I just love the creativity you possess! 

On Tuesday, Karah shared with us a great tutorial on how to make your very own Anthro Zinc Letter. Click HERE to check that out!

I hope you're having a spectacular day!


Post a Comment