Motivation can come in the strangest forms. My most recent bout of it came when I was 40 weeks pregnant and not so patiently awaiting the arrival of baby #2. I’d started my maternity leave, and after a few days of extreme binge-watching I got a sudden urge to pick up some power tools. So I decided it was time for a Scrap Wood Challenge!
I tend to be a bit of a hoarder when it comes to scrap wood. Every so often I purge my stock with a self-imposed “challenge”. Complete a project using only the materials on hand. No money invested. So that’s what I did.
My parents needed something to put on a blank wall in their beach house. I did some Pinterest browsing and settled on a whale. I picked a photo I liked to use as an outline for the whale’s shape.
Since I planned on only using scrap wood from my garage, the dimensions of my project were determined by the availability of materials. I had a large piece of plywood that I cut down to 2′ x 4′ with my circular saw.
It was in rough shape from being used as a workbench for a prior project so I decided to just put a layer of white paint on it.
Using the photo that I printed from Pinterest, I drew the whale shape on a large sheet of paper and cut it out. I rummaged through my (very large) pile of scrap wood and pulled out several pieces that were all the same thickness. I arranged them next to one another until my whale cutout could fully fit on top of them. Since my plan was to cut the pieces out with a jig saw, I did keep in mind that none of the pieces should be too small.
I traced the outline of the whale onto the wood.
Then I used my jig saw to cut along my drawn lines. This was the hardest part of the project. It would’ve been much easier with a band saw, but I do not own one of those. So I used some clamps and my workbench to keep each piece in place while I carefully cut them out.
I sanded down all the edges and tops of my pieces until they were smooth.
I had a few different paint samples to choose from in my garage. I chose a Valspar color called Mystic Sea because I thought it was beachy looking.
I painted each wood plank, but I wasn’t thrilled with the result.
The color was just too light. So I painted over it again with another random paint sample I had on hand that was darker.
I was much happier with the second color. I let the planks dry and then I sanded over them to give them a weathered look. Both layers of paint showed through and it looked really good!
I decided that the white plywood needed some sort of border around it to make the whale really pop. Once again, I went through my scrap wood pile and pulled out some thin pieces that I could use as a border. I cut them down to size using my miter saw.
I decided to stain them instead of paint them. I’d painted enough of the project already. I wanted to make sure some of the wood showed through. So I chose a Minwax Classic Gray that I already had.
I used a sponge brush to give the wood one layer of stain and let it dry overnight.
I used a hammer and some brad nails to secure the wood border to the plywood.
Once the border was secure, I added the whale planks to the plywood. I arranged them in the middle and used wood glue to glue them down. I put some paint cans on top of the pieces and let the glue dry for several hours.
Scrap Wood Challenge = Success!
My mom was very pleased with the result. She hung it on the blank wall in the beach house and I plan to visit it the first chance I get.
Motivation breeds motivation. Now that Baby #2 is here, I think I will plan a few more challenges for myself. Plenty more blank walls in that beach house to fill.