Scrap Wood Whale Sign

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.

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