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Scrap Wood Wall Art & How to Make Your Own Natural Wood Stains

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hey there! I'm monica 

I pride myself on making amazing style and design accessible for everyone, regardless of location, budget, or ability! My design philosophy is rooted in authenticity + attainability - If I can do it, you can too! My work has been featured in countless publications, but I take the most pride in homeowners that have been personally inspired by my DIY ideas and have tried something in their own homes!

learn more about ME + MY BIZ

  One of my favorite makeovers we’ve done this year was our Urban Inspired Sunroom on “Knock It Off!”  The homeowners were super cool- like the kind of cool where they’re not trying at all, but are 100 times cooler than me and Jess!  They were really eco-minded and wanted our design to be as green as possible, so we pushed ourselves and came up with projects that fit their way of life!  This scrap wood wall art is made with DIY natural wood stains and it pretty much rocked my world!  It was incredible to use old flooring and other scrap wood, some ingredients from the kitchen and have it turn into something you’d pay big bucks for!  Check it out!


Pretty awesome isn’t it?  Jess and I totally felt like it was something you’d find at Terrain or Anthro, but it cost us next to nothing to make.    Wanna make your own?  The design options are endless!  Here’s how we made ours.

1. Gather Scrap Wood & Cut Down to Consistent Size

We had a bunch of flooring that someone had ripped out of a house they were renovating and asked us if we had any use for it.  We weren’t sure at the time what we’d do with it, but we knew it would be useful someday!  (My husband isn’t a fan of me always accepting materials like this, because 99% of the time you can’t walk through my garage without tripping over some DIY project or materials! Oops!)  The wood was in various sizes and not all of it was from the same house, so it was different types of wood as well.  We used a table saw and ripped it down to 1/4 inch thick strips that were 1 inch wide.  Once your wood is a consistent size you can mix and match to your heart’s desire!

Scrap Wood Art DIY Project East Coast Creative

2. Stain Your Wood Varying Color Tones (we made our own natural stains!)

The wood we had did vary in color on it’s own, but we wanted a certain vibe from our artwork.  We also spent a bunch of time researching foods that could act as natural dyes so we wanted to try our hand at making our own natural wood stains!


Here are the recipes we came up with- and sorry in advance, we didn’t measure a blessed thing. I just tossed the ingredients together and added more of certain items until I achieved the color we wanted.  It was kinda fun!

Rich Brown Stain:

About 6 cups of boiling water

1/2 jar of instant coffee

Mix well

Light, Natural Stain:

4 cups of hot water

2 cups of vinegar (warning it kinda stinks!)

15 tea bags

Combine water and vinegar

Steep about 15-20 tea bags in water/vinegar mix for 15 minutes

Redwood Stain:

2 cans of beets (undrained)

3 handfuls of spinach

1/4 c. instant coffee

1.5 cups of water

Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth

Warm over medium heat until boiling- remove from heat

Natural Stain Beet Stain East Coast Creative

Each of these stains produce rich, vibrant colors and can be applied and left alone or to really preserve the colors, you could seal them with polyurethane (but that’s not the most eco-minded, so we didn’t seal the wood for this project).

Naturally Stained Wood

3. Cut a Piece of Plywood to Size & Arrange Your Design

We used a scrap piece of plywood and just cut it to size on a table saw.  The plywood serves as the base for the artwork- you’ll never actually see it, so it doesn’t need to be pretty.  I chatted with the homeowner about a few different design options, and thankfully he is a legit artist, so together we were able to just make up a cool pattern as we went along!  We began with some vertical pieces in the light wood, and then got to work on some geometric shapes.

For each piece of wood, we used some wood glue and attached to the plywood with our nail gun fitted with finishing nails.  You could totally do this by hand as well, it would just take a bit more time.

DIY Artwork East Coast Creative

To make a triangle shape, cut the ends of two pieces of wood at 45 degree angles- making sure that you cut one in each direction, so when they meet together they make a clean 90 degree angle.

Organic Artwork

The easiest way to measure and cut the triangle pieces so they fit perfectly is to start with your two 45s and create the triangle shape.  Hold them in place and mark on the wood where you need to make your cuts.  Make the straight cuts with a chop saw and then attach to the plywood.  This means you’ll be measuring, cutting, and attaching each layer one at a time, but it’s worth it for perfect cuts and goes pretty quickly!

DIY Woodworking projects

For the horizontal pieces we again cut one end at 45 degrees and made a straight cut on the opposite end.  You can cut the end pieces all at once using a circular saw once they’re all attached to the plywood.  That seemed like the quickest, easiest way. We used more of our scrap pieces to add a border around the entire piece and then stepped back to look on the epic art we’d made.  Gah- I still love it!

Wood artwork East Coast Creative

We loved how the scrap wood art contrasted so well with the white brick walls we’d painted.

Green DIY projects

The art pieces on either side of our DIY artwork came from a few different local thrift stores.  I felt like we’d hit the tribal/southwest jackpot one thrifting excursion!

Southwest Style Design projects

Urban Sunroom Wall Art

And just because it made me laugh… look how ginormous I look next to the homeowner Adrienne.  Seriously, I felt like Shrek the entire time!  I’m tall, but I’m not that tall!!  Geesh!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

If you missed the other amazing DIY wall project in this sunroom, you can check out the Vertical Garden Wall tutorial here.

diy garden planter wall East Coast Creative

DIY Wall Planter 600x338

So, what do you think of our Scrap Wood Wall Art??  Have you ever made your own natural wood stains?  Thinking of giving it a try?  I’d love to know!!  

The comments +

  1. Peter says:

    Heyo folks. I’m currently carving a piece of driftwood and I wanted to stain it. I didn’t even think of natural stains until I came across your site. I’m interested in that darker coffee stain. When you say a half jar, how big was the jar? Like one of the massive ones or one of the more mid size ones?

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