You know that feeling when a project turns out exactly how you envision?! The gallery wall that sits in between the stairs gives me those vibes and I love it. However, the shopping trips to find all of the elements I wanted were kind of hectic. Combing aisles of Hobby Lobby, Target, and a million other stores in search of that perfect element is not my favorite thing to do. When I get a vision stuck in my head, I would rather just make it than hunt it down. That isn’t always possible, but the wooden arrow in my gallery wall was definitely in my vision and I knew it would be easier to make than find one the exact dimensions and color I needed.
- 1 wood board that is not warped at all. We cut a 1 x3.5 board from some of the scraps we have around.
- A pocket hole system (like this one) OR mending metal plates to screw to the back
- Screws (½ inch if using mending plates)
- Wood Glue
- Velcro Hangers like these
I have an oversized sketchpad and I drew this out for my husband to make. Gosh, I am so demanding. Well, he thinks so! The center rod can be as long or short as you need. My original drawings had both the front arrow pieces and the back arrow pieces at 7.5 inches in length on their longest sides. However, we ended up cutting the rear arrow flaps down to 6.5 inches because it seemed unbalanced.
To attach the wood pieces together, there are a couple of ways to do it. First, use a bit of wood glue in all of the attaching seams. For Christmas, hubby got a jig to make those pocket screw holes you see in the above picture. The arrows show the direction that the pocket screws were put in. If you do not have a jig, use mending plates in the much the same way to reinforce all of the joints.
Ok, now the painting! For this project, I wanted a weathered, beachy look to the wood but not heavily distressed. I wanted to create some texture in the paint. For this treatment, I used two products. The first was some walnut stain that we had leftover from decking samples, and I used a sample can of Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint in Old White. You read that right, I used Oil-Based Stain and Chalk Paint. It’s like the cardinal sin of painting and I broke it with gusto!
So basically the steps went like this:
- Stain the board. I prefer to stain by rubbing the grain with an old t-shirt rather than a brush because it gives me more control. Let dry completely.
- Paint the entire arrow with the chalk paint. Mine literally dried in about 10 minutes.
- I used a mixture of 300 grit sandpaper and very fine steel wool to gently remove some of the layers.
At this point, I love the rustic, very weathered look of the wood arrow but it was a little too weathered for what I had in mind. So, I repeated steps 1 and 2 again but instead of completely covering the arrow with paint, I lightly dry brushed it in the spots to keep the texture I was looking for. Normally, brush strokes are someone people avoid but I used them to keep that textured, aged look.
Finally, I took my paint brush and dipped it in the stain. I wiped most of the stain off the brush so that there was only a hint of color. I used that to dry brush the edges of the boards.
We hung the arrow using velcro tape to keep it smooth to the wall and easy to remove if necessary. I honestly think it took longer to write this tutorial than it did to make the arrow. And since we used scrap wood, it was completely free! I love free. However, I love the way this wall turned out even more. What do you think?
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