Sep 12, 2011 | Post by: janine rose 99 Comments

Painted Wood Wall Art | Via Salvage Love

I have been looking for the perfect piece of wall art to hang over my couch but had been having a hard time finding the right one. Recently, I have been seeing a lot of great colorful wood wall art pieces and fell in love with them. My dad happened to have a pile of wood strips from an old project doing nothing but collecting dust so I offered to take them off his hands.

Priced anywhere between $600 and $1100, these beautiful statement pieces can be done with some time, lots of painting and patience for under $150.


          Photo: Claire Ferrante of Little Dog Vintage


-2 pieces of MDF 30 inches x 24 inches and 1 centimeter thick which equals one piece that is 60 x 24. I bought two pieces because I assumed when I attached the wood strips, they would end up being heavy and it would be easier (and safer) to hang them next to each other as two separate pieces

-approximately 100 pieces of wood various sizes and depths

-7 paint colors. Here is where you can really have fun. I chose colors that matched my living and threw in a few colors for contrast. You could even do variations of stains if you didn’t want to use color. Great Tip- ask the paint department if they have any returns or mistake cans, they are colors people didn’t like or were mixed incorrectly, they mark them down very low and I ended up getting a can in a great color for 50 cents!

-bag of sponge paint brushes

-sand paper

-Liquid Nails (this stuff is pretty amazing)

-table saw. If you don’t have access to table saw, you could definitely use a hand saw to cut the pieces though it would take some time.


This is definitely a time consuming project. I was working on it only 3-5 hours a week and sometimes had a couple of pair of helping hands (bribe your girlfriends with wine, it works). Also, I had to do 2-3 coats of paint on each stick depending on the color and type of wood.  As for the placement of the pieces, you could do this for hours alone! I messed around with it until it felt right. Even when it was done and on the wall, I still added a couple of pieces to add some more depth. After completing, I completely understand the retail price of these pieces.


paint- 7 / 7.25ML cans of paint -$24

2 pieces of MDF- $24

sponge brushes- $5

Liquid Nails- $3

sand paper- already had some

wood strips – free! If you aren’t as lucky as I was to have access to free wood, try Craigslist. I did a search on Craigslist multiple times and found people getting rid of similar wood strips for free and some even willing to deliever. Also, just reach out to friends and family; you never know who could have some salvaged wood lying around!

Total Cost: $56 for materials (I was lucky to not have to pay for wood. Assuming you would have to buy some, depending on the type of wood you used I would add another $50-$75 to the project.)

With the help of my wonderful father and his table saw, we got to cutting the strips of wood.

We cut enough pieces that were 24 inches long (to fit the whole length of the board) to cover both boards. We placed them all on the boards, turning them and trying them in all different directions until they fit without overlapping on the edges. Then we cut random small pieces to add depth. We didn’t plan it out; we just cut randoms and decided to figure them out later throughout the process.

Below are both boards covered with the wood strips. The project had to be transported from my parents house to my apartment 30 mins away. Surpisngly, wrapping it with masking tape held it intact!

Now, on to the painting of the sticks. If needed, sand down the rough pieces before painting. I live in a small apartment in the city. This project took over my living room for over a month. Painted sticks of wood littered my living room, leaning on coffee tables, magazine racks or whatever surface I could lean them against.

Friday nights with the girlfriends became “wine and stick painting” nights.

Me, contemplating the layout and color placement.

Nights alone watching American Pickers were coupled with painting sticks until finally– they were all done!

 Enter Liquid Nails. This stuff is exactly what it says it is. You only need a tiny amount and it really holds them in place.




I applied small dabs of Liquid Nails on the sticks, enough to cover but not too much that it would seep out the sides when placed on the board.  If it does seep out, scrape the excess right away before it starts to dry with a metal spatula or with a wet wash cloth. It will dry white and you will have to paint over your mistakes if you have any when it dries. After about 20 minutes after applying the adhesive, they were really stuck on but, just to be sure, I let them sit over night.

After a couple hours and I was done! Both boards, all pieces glued down, now it is ready to hang!

I am extremely happy with the end result. Even though it was time consuming, it was fun. The project also gave me a great excuse to hang out with my awesome Dad and my great girlfriends Claire and Ev.

-Janine Rose

Here are a few different angles to show the differences in depth of the wood strips.


99 Comments to Painted Wood Wall Art | Via Salvage Love

  1. Cam
    September 12, 2011 8:43 pm

    Absolutely LOVE this Janine!

  2. jennifer
    September 13, 2011 12:25 am

    What a great idea! Looks beautiful!
    one question how did you hang it? It must be pretty heavy!

  3. Tonja
    September 13, 2011 6:55 pm

    So impressed lady! I should have hired you for the nursery…

  4. Jodi Molloy
    September 13, 2011 8:30 pm

    I absolutely love this! You are amazing!

  5. Kara
    September 14, 2011 2:27 pm

    AWESOME. This is GREAT.

    Also, where’s your couch from? It’s perfect :)

  6. Laura
    September 14, 2011 2:32 pm

    This is totally awesome. I can’t wait to visit my dad and see if he’s got a secret stash of extra wood lying around so I can make one too. Thanks!

  7. Michela
    September 14, 2011 3:53 pm

    Is wonderful!!! Fantastic idea, thanks for the tutorial, it’s a bit of time looking for something special to my house and I think this is perfect :)

  8. JMay
    September 14, 2011 4:02 pm

    Thank goodness for Pinterest because it brought me here! I saved two big ‘ol mirrors from the trash and knew I wanted to somehow frame one of them to then hang on a dining room wall. Your idea of using reclaimed wood is PERFECT for making a really cool frame around one of the mirrors. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    • janine rose
      September 14, 2011 5:41 pm

      Gotta love Pinterest! That sounds like a great idea with the mirrors, please share with me when you do it :)

      Thank you!


  9. Clara
    September 14, 2011 4:44 pm

    This is really cool. I have a big pile of salvage wood that would be PERFECT, and I think it would look awesome in my kitchen. You have inspired me to create wall art!!!

    • janine rose
      September 14, 2011 5:38 pm


      Thank you and I am so glad to have inspired you!

      I would love to see your kitchen wall art when you are done!


  10. Donaville
    September 14, 2011 5:25 pm

    Beautifully done! Definitely an eye-catcher.

  11. Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
    September 14, 2011 5:30 pm

    Seriously inventive! This project is gorgeous.

    If you don’t object, I’d love to feature this project on my blog – with a link to your fabulous instructions, of course.

  12. Liveacolorfullife
    September 14, 2011 6:13 pm

    This is one of the best DIY projects I have seen in a long time. I am definitely making this.
    P.S. I came here from How About Orange.

  13. Mandy
    September 14, 2011 6:20 pm

    What the what? This is ah-mazing! Um, guess who has a dad that has his own woodshop?? This girl! Oooh, can’t wait to talk him into helping me do this. I have a HUGE wall in my living room that needs this.

    • janine rose
      September 14, 2011 8:02 pm

      Haha Thank you! Your dad sounds just as awesome as my Dad! Have fun doing this and please share with me when you finish!

  14. Lissa
    September 14, 2011 8:21 pm

    I really like this! One thing though, you said your mdf was 30×24 and with 2 pieces that gave you Final dimensions of 60×48. Did you use four pieces? Or is your final size 60×24? Can’t figure it out. Sorry!

  15. Karen
    September 14, 2011 9:00 pm

    Absolutely fantastic!

  16. Miriam
    September 15, 2011 2:38 pm

    Came across this on Pinterest, and it is amazing! Did you prefer one paint finish (flat/semi-gloss/eggshell) to another, or did you incorporate several different ones?

    • janine rose
      September 15, 2011 3:15 pm

      Thank you! I used all flat paints and halfway through i started to regret not using a semi-gloss but, in the end I don’t think it mattered. It would be fun to mix all the different finishes though!

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  18. Michael Burt
    September 16, 2011 5:30 pm

    Really like what you’ve done here and thanks for sharing the process. It’s really inspired me to have a go doing something similar perhaps to be used outdoors as garden art. As a garden designer and landscaper I often have offcuts of all manner of timber so it would be a great way of recycling the leftovers. Well done. M

    • janine rose
      September 19, 2011 10:50 pm

      What a fantastic idea! I would love to see it incorporated into an outdoor piece, please share with me if you do something :)

      Thank you!

  19. Genesis
    September 16, 2011 7:27 pm

    This is fantastic! I have a pile of old scrap wood sitting outside my house right now. It suddenly looks very beautiful! :)

    Thanks for sharing!

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  22. Rachel
    September 17, 2011 11:52 pm

    What a great idea! And the best part is that it can be customized for any room with any color scheme! I think I’ll be making one for my daughter’s room!

  23. Erin
    September 18, 2011 1:24 pm

    I saw your project on How About Orange last week. And then I was watching the premiere of Christina Applegate’s new TV show and in her office she has the same piece hanging above her desk! Different colors but a great DIY project!

  24. Kim Serpico
    September 18, 2011 8:47 pm

    Gorgeous!!! May need to snag this idea, we are in desperate need of some art in our new house.

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  27. Michael @ Blue Velvet Chair
    September 22, 2011 9:50 pm

    Love this! Had to feature it over at Blue Velvet Chair today. Subscribed to your e-mail list so I can keep an eye on your creations.

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  30. Lissa
    September 24, 2011 6:44 pm

    This really inspired me for school project! Thank you so much!

  31. Kevin - Diy Dorkm
    September 26, 2011 5:14 am

    That is so cool! I love the shifting colors… good eye on that. Bonus points for designing & making while watching American Pickers. I do that all the time too. haha

  32. mevr. Snoeshaan
    September 30, 2011 12:20 pm

    I love this, it’s absolutely stunning!

  33. amanda
    October 4, 2011 8:31 pm

    OMG i absolutely LOVE this I’m in the process of buying a home and im going to try this for sure since my husband works ad a wood shop i can get it for really cheap or we have scraps yay so excited thanks for sharing

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  35. Jessica
    October 24, 2011 6:34 pm

    Oh wow, this is A-mazing! It would go perfectly in my living room, and would be a great way to showcase the accent colors. I hope I can do your example justice!! Thank you for the thorough tutorial.

  36. Macedonian wood carving
    November 21, 2011 10:37 pm

    Great piece of art!
    Will make one for my woodcarving studio for sure.

  37. Pingback: Painted Wood Wall Art | Marla's Art Page Blog

  38. Heather
    December 2, 2011 10:55 am

    Thank you for this inspirational piece of art! I am currently making one myself. It’s been quite the fun project thus far and I cannot wait to see the finished piece! It’s amazing what you can do with just a jigsaw, sand paper, paint and some creativeness!

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  40. Nicole
    December 25, 2011 8:40 pm

    LOVE the idea!
    Couldn’t find wood at first, but then one of my cousins broke their door, so now I am using the pieces!
    I was just wondering,
    How did you hang the two pieces on your wall?

  41. Ayesha
    February 4, 2012 5:25 am

    It is absolutely stunning, we are going to try it at our place. Looks like the colors you used would look perfect in our living room. Can you please mention the 7 colors you used in this project and what brand?


    • janine rose
      February 4, 2012 11:32 pm


      Thank you!

      The colors are used were Behr:
      Falling Leaves
      Creme Bruele
      Brown Eyes
      Rocky Mountain Sky
      Solar Flare

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  43. J B B urns
    February 28, 2012 10:22 am

    I have owned a Adrian Pearsall couch (2408-s) for as long as I can remember.When I saw
    your absolutely perfect wall piece for over my couch.One of my spare bedrooms is my
    art room/woodshop.All I need is some white paint to mix my acrylics.I was looking for peel and stick murals on google images.I love the net!Thank you so much!Your a true gem!
    I’ll be back! 2ndegree

  44. Kelly
    February 28, 2012 7:50 pm

    I don’t know how I haven’t known of your blog until now, but I absolutely adore it! Definitely using this project as inspiration to create my own.

    • janine rose
      March 2, 2012 4:57 pm

      Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by! Please share with me your project when you are done!

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  48. Jessica Taufer
    May 21, 2012 1:35 am

    I love this craft idea! Great DIY tutorial!! It is featured as the craft of the day on One Good Craft:! Congratulations!

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  50. HammerLikeAGirl
    September 11, 2012 12:16 am

    I’m late to this great project, but just wanted to tell you how much I love it! Thanks for sharing!

  51. andrea
    September 26, 2012 9:15 pm

    I just finished making a similar project using your tutorial and wonderful idea. My husband and I had a party and someone asked me where I got the artwork. I told him I had made it and he said “oh, is this your piece?”Cool, I made a PIECE!

  52. tonya
    December 6, 2012 11:05 am

    a big WOW!! i am sitting here thinking of all the possibilities… throw in some diff size dowel rods or left over pcs of trim or do one with all dowel rods.. one person above mentioned adapting this to use as framing.. the possibilities here are mind boggling… so glad i came across this… i don’t like cluttered walls but still want something to break up the blahness of empty walls… this is for sure a future project for at least the living room and possibly also the bedroom!!! thank goodness i have a handy hubby….

  53. Eileen
    February 20, 2013 1:04 am

    I LOVE this and plan to make something similar this summer! GREAT idea! Do you think you could use plexiglass as a backing to keep the weight down? Just wondering…



    • janine rose
      April 3, 2013 11:58 pm

      Eileen- I apologize for the delay in response! The weight is honestly not that bad, about the weight of a large mirror. You need a backing that is strong and sturdy enough so it doesn’t bend because the wood pieces can be heavy.

  54. Janice
    February 21, 2013 5:45 pm

    Hey! Janine I found my way to your blog by way of itallstartedwithpaint. I really appreciate you sharing your ideas. I look forward to checking out the rest of your blog…. and searching through our lumber stash for supplies to make a particular wall art project that is the perfect answer to our totally bare living room wall! Have a great day!!

  55. Shimyka
    February 24, 2013 7:58 pm

    Are you interested in making other pieces for potential buyer? If so, what will be the cost.

  56. Jade
    March 25, 2013 3:30 pm

    Love this. I too was looking for art for above my couch(mid modern) and found these beautiful pieces on etsy. You did a great job and the instructions are great.

  57. Vida
    May 21, 2013 3:49 pm

    This is really a magnificent piece of art~ Congrats!! and thanks for this tutorial.

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