DIY Wood Shim Artwork

diy wood shim wall art mountainmodernlife.com

DIY Wood Shim Artwork

Last week I decided it was time to figure out a way to hide this hideous metal door (HVAC vent?) on the hallway of our apartment. It was only minutes after I told Eric, my boyfriend husband, that I needed to find some artwork to hang over it that I was inspired to create my own from this post on Pinterest. This post uses coffee stir sticks but I had 3 packs of wood shims I purchased a few weeks ago when I thought I was going to use them for this mirror, but didn’t. I knew the wood shims would be perfect and more to scale for what I needed. You could always use scrap wood, paint stir sticks, etc. Update: Don’t worry about the vents either – there was a gap between the wall and the wood shim art when it was on the wall – so the vents were not being covered up from the frame and the air was still getting out 🙂

Originally, I was going to head over to Michael’s or JoAnn’s Fabrics for a large frame and use one of their 50% off coupons, but miraculously found this amazingly HUGE, wood frame at Goodwill for $26 that someone had made. The artwork in it was pretty interesting, but not my style and I knew I would be able to use it for my project.

Why is it that I get so possessive like a mama bear protecting her cub when I am at thrift stores and think someone else it eyeing my treasure? I actually tried to pick this thing up and walk it to the front but it’s nearly as tall as me and I could barely get it an inch off the floor since it was so heavy. Luckily a sales associate saw me and was able to make me a tag for it before I broke it or hurt myself.

Love this idea! Paint wood shims different colors and then glue them down to create an interesting piece of wood shim artwork! upcycledtreasures.com

I was also inspired by this piece of furniture from HomeGoods which I really want to try on something in the future:

Love this idea! Paint wood shims different colors and then glue them down to create an interesting piece of wood shim artwork! upcycledtreasures.com

DIY Wood Shim Artwork

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Below is a list of the materials needed for this project. I already had all the supplies except for the frame so this project cost me less than $30, woot woot!

The first thing that I did was lay the wood shims on top of the frame to make sure I would have enough..

Love this idea! Paint wood shims different colors and then glue them down to create an interesting piece of wood shim artwork! upcycledtreasures.com

Then it was on to deciding my color scheme, which I already had in mind, and start painting away. This can be tedious but the TV was on in the background so it wasn’t too bad and went by rather quick.

Love this idea! Paint wood shims different colors and then glue them down to create an interesting piece of wood shim artwork! upcycledtreasures.com

I then arranged the colors in the order-ish I wanted them to be in. As you can see I had also picked out my favorite wood shims with character to put in the mix as well.

Love this idea! Paint wood shims different colors and then glue them down to create an interesting piece of wood shim artwork! upcycledtreasures.com

I let the sticks dry overnight (I started it pretty late as it was) but then painted over them with a black wash which was 50% black paint and 50% water, let that soak in for a couple minutes and then washed it off with water. I did this because I wanted to give them an aged effect and add another layer of interest. In the future I may let the wash stay on a bit longer for a bigger impact or maybe even try a white wash instead. While the sticks were drying my boy-toy helped me take the frame apart so I could start gluing the sticks down.

Love this idea! Paint wood shims different colors and then glue them down to create an interesting piece of wood shim artwork! upcycledtreasures.com

Here it is without the white frame and before we removed the wooden head silhouette thing(??).

Love this idea! Paint wood shims different colors and then glue them down to create an interesting piece of wood shim artwork! upcycledtreasures.com

After the sticks were dry I started sawing them in random spots for my subway tile effect (we were actually able to screw the miter box down into the wooden background of the frame because it was so thick and I was going to be gluing on top of it anyway). This was my first time using the saw and it was much easier than I thought it would be, and less scary. I have a crazy fear of sharp objects, especially knives and swords but think I got over that a little bit today, haha.

Love this idea! Paint wood shims different colors and then glue them down to create an interesting piece of wood shim artwork! upcycledtreasures.com

 

After all my pieces were cut it was time to put the puzzle together, which took some time trying to get the colors where I wanted them but the time was well spent and well worth it. After I arranged the pieces where I wanted them to go I then went back and glued each piece down with the glue gun.

Love this idea! Paint wood shims different colors and then glue them down to create an interesting piece of wood shim artwork! upcycledtreasures.com

Love this idea! Paint wood shims different colors and then glue them down to create an interesting piece of wood shim artwork! upcycledtreasures.com

 After the pieces were all glued down I screwed the white frame back into place and my DIY wood shim artwork was completed! Now I need to figure out a way to hide the thermostat…

Love this idea! Paint wood shims different colors and then glue them down to create an interesting piece of wood shim artwork! upcycledtreasures.com

I know this may not have taken a whole lot of skill but it was fun and I just LOVE the outcome! I later re-arranged our apartment and moved the wood shim art into the living room. If you look in the mirror reflection you can see the art I moved from our bedroom into the hallway where the wood shim wall art was.

Love this idea! Paint wood shims different colors and then glue them down to create an interesting piece of wood shim artwork! upcycledtreasures.com

Love this idea! Paint wood shims different colors and then glue them down to create an interesting piece of wood shim artwork! upcycledtreasures.com

Update: When we moved into our {rental} home the glass on the frame broke {boooo}, but I actually like it better now in a strange way. Here is an updated photo of it on our living room gallery wall. 

Love this idea! Paint wood shims different colors and then glue them down to create an interesting piece of wood shim artwork! upcycledtreasures.com

You may also want to check out:

DIY Gilded Wood Shim Art

72 Comments
  • beautiful…love the colors together…xo

    May 17, 2013 at 9:21 pm
  • I L O V E THIS!!! It looks super expensive….this is my kinda DIY. Great Job!

    June 27, 2013 at 10:50 am
    • Thank you so much Stacey! I actually just bought some more wood shims and I plan on making some similar projects, but on a smaller scale and possibly with patterns 🙂 Thanks for stopping by 🙂
      ~Katie

      June 27, 2013 at 3:38 pm
  • Lovely! Great color combo for your shim artwork. Thank you for sharing.
    Toodles,
    Sara

    July 4, 2013 at 2:38 pm
  • I love the colors to this! so pretty

    July 4, 2013 at 4:38 pm
  • This is so cool! I absolutely LOVE it. Thanks for sharing it on Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop!

    July 4, 2013 at 11:14 pm
    • Hi Sinea! Thank you for hosting and for stopping by! Have a great weekend 🙂
      ~Katie

      July 5, 2013 at 9:02 am
  • Hi Katie! I love everything you create!!! You where featured today on The Inspiration Gallery, spread the word, your art is AMAZING!!!
    Have a great Saturday!
    Jen

    July 6, 2013 at 7:39 am
  • This is so cool! Looks like it’s a lot of work the the result is so worth it! Pinning for sure!
    Hope you come by and link it up to the party, it just opened 🙂

    July 6, 2013 at 7:38 pm
  • Jenny S
    Reply

    Love the wood shim artwork. What did you do with the head piece? I love that too! I am sure you will figure out something creative with that, too!

    July 8, 2013 at 11:10 am
    • Thanks Jenny! The head piece is sitting in our storage closet for now until I figure out what to do with it, lol.

      July 9, 2013 at 10:37 am
  • This is awesome! I love it!! 🙂

    Thanks for joining the Link Up this week!

    July 9, 2013 at 10:55 am
  • Stephanie S.
    Reply

    Wicked- I so love it. A wonderful job and thanks for sharing. I need a miter box and saw.

    July 9, 2013 at 10:58 am
    • Thanks Stephanie! I actually picked up the smaller wood shims recently so if you grab those you could probably avoid the sawing all together 🙂 I plan on making a pattern version for our bedroom here soon 🙂

      July 10, 2013 at 4:15 pm
  • Turned out great!! I love it!

    July 9, 2013 at 11:46 am
  • Seriously, this is SO clever! I LOVE this!

    July 9, 2013 at 12:34 pm
    • Thank you so much for stopping by Therena and I’m so glad you like it 🙂

      July 10, 2013 at 4:16 pm
  • Katie,

    I love these colors. You did an amazing job and you’ve inspired me to try a similar project. I would love it if you would link up to my 1st Clever, Crafty & Creative Linky Party!

    http://dorothysueandmillieb.blogspot.com/

    Suzie

    July 9, 2013 at 4:10 pm
    • That’s awesome and I will definitely be linking up, thanks for the invite!

      July 10, 2013 at 4:16 pm
  • This turned out awesome! My husband always has shims around, so maybe next time he’s not looking I’ll “help” him with the leftovers. He he.

    July 9, 2013 at 4:11 pm
  • This looks fabulous! Pinning!

    Ritchil
    http://chengand3kids.blogspot.com/

    July 9, 2013 at 6:07 pm
  • What a gorgeous piece of art work and so creative. Thanks tons for joining Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

    July 9, 2013 at 7:37 pm
  • Absolutely love this!! I thought at first glance you used paint sticks…I have never heard of wood shims, but they may just be one of my new favorite things!

    July 9, 2013 at 10:54 pm
    • Hi Shelly! Paint sticks would definitely work too but I didn’t have enough to cover this bad boy. I definitely love them too and and can’t wait to find more projects to use them on! Thanks for stopping by!
      ~Katie

      July 10, 2013 at 4:21 pm
  • I love this! Pinning! I’m also a new follower 🙂

    July 10, 2013 at 9:44 am
  • Piece of art…that is what that is! Wonderful! love it Katie! Thanks so much for sharing on Project Inspire{d}:) Pinning!
    Nancy

    July 11, 2013 at 11:45 pm
    • Thanks Nancy and I appreciate you popping over to check it out 🙂

      July 15, 2013 at 7:11 am
  • Love your end result – pinning!
    As for the thermostat, here’s a pin idea I saved a while back – http://pinterest.com/pin/8585055510624190/ – you could even use more of those shims!
    Best,
    Rita

    July 14, 2013 at 6:14 am
    • What a great idea, thank you so much Rita! Have a great week 🙂
      ~Katie

      July 15, 2013 at 7:12 am
  • I featured you today here: http://www.settingforfour.com/2013/07/10-make-create-and-decorate-summer.html Thanks for sharing your creativity at Project Inspired!

    July 15, 2013 at 9:11 am
  • I love your shim artwork! You were one of my picks for features this week at Give Me The Goods! Come by and grab a feature button!

    July 15, 2013 at 10:35 am
  • CELEBRATE! ♥ YOU’VE BEEN FEATURED! on the BeBetsy BRAG ABOUT IT No. 13. http://bebetsy.com.

    Grab a featured button here http://bit.ly/11S2wN1. Our next party starts at midnight tonight so find something cool to BRAG ABOUT and link it up.

    Sharon and Denise
    BeBetsy ♥

    Follow us:
    Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Bloglovin ~ Pinterest

    July 15, 2013 at 10:40 pm
  • Just wanted to let you know that I will be featuring you tonight on Will Cook For Smiles! (the party starts at 8 🙂
    Thank you sharing!

    July 20, 2013 at 5:50 pm
  • Twisty
    Reply

    Looks great, but I really liked the face. Would have loved to have seen the face layers painted in the same colours and placed on top of your shims with no glass. Then no one else would have that artwork.

    July 21, 2013 at 7:29 am
    • Yes, that is very true, I honestly just wasn’t a huge fan of the face, lol.

      July 21, 2013 at 7:32 am
  • sharon
    Reply

    Love the project. Love it.
    I just have one safety question. If this is indeed a “HVAC vent?” as you think it might be, doesn’t this have to be uncovered as it has to vent?
    Reply

    July 22, 2013 at 12:32 am
    • Hi Sharon! We hung this up just above the metal vent door and I don’t know if it’s because the frame was solid wood and really thick or what, but it actually didn’t press right against the vent so it was all good. I should have taken a side view {it’s now moved to a different spot in our house}, but you could see the vents and feel them too.

      However, when I tried to move a different, large piece of framed art from our bedroom to that spot instead, it sucked up against the vent. That was definitely not gonna fly so it’s actually propped up on a shelf and leaning against the wall rather than being hung up {think triangle shape so there is a gap where the vent is}. So now the vent is visible from the sides and the air can be felt 🙂

      July 22, 2013 at 10:57 am
      • anna
        Reply

        That vent is your ‘cold air return’. Your a/c and forced air heater systems will not work correctly if those vents are covered. Glad that you uncovered it.

        July 22, 2013 at 10:41 pm
        • Hi Anna! Yes, there was a gap between the wall and the wood shim art when it was on the wall – so the vents were not being covered up from the frame and the air was still getting out. I had it up there for about 6 months and just recently decided to rearrange some stuff so it was moved into our living room. The new art I put up didn’t leave the gap like the wood shim art frame did, which is why I have it leaning against the wall with a gap for the vents 🙂

          July 22, 2013 at 11:17 pm
      • sharon
        Reply

        Thanks so much for replying. I see you already had thought about the safety issue and your heating/air conditioning working safely and correctly. Much appreciated .

        July 23, 2013 at 2:02 am
        • I appreciate you bringing it up because it made me go in and add that info to my post. I would hate for someone else to do something similar, but then end up completely covering up their vents. Thanks for stopping by!

          July 23, 2013 at 2:54 pm
        • Oh yeah and my dad called me immediately after I had posted this back in February to make sure I was being safe, lol.

          July 23, 2013 at 2:55 pm
  • Fabulous!

    July 22, 2013 at 3:08 am
  • Andrea
    Reply

    I absolutely, totally, am in love with this. I’ve been eyeballing a wood block version from PotteryBarn for months. I am absolutely not paying $350 for it though, especially when I could make it for $12 myself! (Hubby has a saw, I’ve got quite the paint collection 🙂 and I have an old frame I can use.)

    I never even thought of using wood shims (and I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know what wood shims were…). Is it heavy though? That was what was holding me back from attacking the 2×4’s in my garage leftover from last years backyard fence project. It would’ve be too heavy to hang up.

    Anyways, love it. And your site too (found you via Pinterest)

    August 8, 2013 at 8:41 pm
  • Jamie
    Reply

    Wow, that looks amazing! I’ve been looking for artwork to hang in my living room/dining room but after seeing this I think I may just have to try it (I love a good project) !! Thanks for the inspiration and love your site :)!!

    October 23, 2013 at 11:05 pm
  • This turned out super! I need to make a piece of artwork like this! I get that way too…a couple of Christmas’ ago I found a nutcracker book that I been stalking for weeks, but it had gone missing. One day I spied it on a shelf and unknowingly I hunched over and darted my eyes around (no one was in the store) and ran over to grab it! LOL

    March 2, 2014 at 2:10 am
  • Katie,
    I love the texture and colors that you used. A fabulous new piece of art!
    Thanks for sharing at our Girlfriend’s DIY weekend party!
    ~Tami

    May 3, 2014 at 9:06 pm
  • Lynn F.
    Reply

    Great ideas.

    May 7, 2014 at 9:50 am
  • Pingback: The Makers {link party 29er}
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