DIY Wooden State Art

Last week I posted about a DIY Wedding Guest Book Alternative (here), and this week I’m following up with a little DIY gift I made the bride and groom… but it’s totally something you could just make for yourself and frankly I probably will make one for myself because it’s freaking awesome.

I used cut and stained plywood as well as a painted canvas to make a very cute piece of art:

DIY plywood state art- rhode island

I don’t have a ton of in process pictures because I had no idea if I could successfully make those cuts, but let me break it down for you…

Create your state:

  • I googled “Rhode Island outline” and then brought the image I chose into my Silhouette Cameo and cut the shape out onto paper to create my template. (You could also just print and cut out the design yourself if you don’t have a Silhouette)
  • Trace the template onto your plywood with a pencil, then use a Jigsaw or Skillsaw to cut it out. Holy cow is tough- but you will feel like a superhero once you’ve succeeded. I used a jigsaw and very slowly and very carefully cut this out in sections. Please be careful not to cut your fingers off and also wear safety goggles. I am literally the worst at safety precautions but you need to be careful when a power saw is inches from your precious fingers.
Jig Saw settings- black and decker

Note: I did not use a “scrolling” blade because it kept bending, the plywood was too thick for it. I used the “10 TPI smooth” blade with my saw set to “curved” and that worked much better. There are different blades to switch in and out of your jigsaw to help you cut different materials and achieve different edges.

  • Once you’ve cut it cut out, sand down all your edges and wipe it with a damp cloth
  • Stain with your desired color! Pictured is Minwax Special Walnut, one heavy coat.

Paint your canvas:

  • As you can probably tell, I am not an artist (sorry, lower right section of the canvas), but I thought the ombre look would be perfect for this. I used a test size of Behr’s Smokey Blue and feathered it on with a bristle brush, mixing in a little bit of pure white paint at each layer.
  • For some reason I added a little water to the paint because I thought it would be too thick, and that was a bad idea. So, if you use wall paint instead of actual painting-a-canvas-paint, don’t water it down. It’s fine.
  • Let it dry completely!

Once your canvas and stained wood are dry, it’s time to bring them together! I used Gorilla super glue to adhere the state to the canvas… and this is trickier then it sounds because you want to press the wood and canvas together while it dries. Your canvas is wrapped around a frame, which means when you place the canvas down the edges sit on your surfaced and the middle is suspended… so toss a book under there, then glue your state where you want it, and then put a weight or another big heavy book over the state to sandwich it together while it dries. Perhaps this doesn’t make sense? Let me know if you have questions!

Anyway! Voila!

wood and painted canvas state art

This piece isn’t perfectly sanded smooth, but I kind of like that because the edges of the state aren’t perfectly smooth either, you know? Also, it’s hard to sand in those little grooves and the wedding was like 12 hours from when I started this project so I was kind of in a time crunch. 🙂

personalized state art gift- a DIY project from Sandpaper And Glue

TagsDIY wall artjigsaw wood artplywood project