DIY – Photo Blocks
I am definitely not a carpenter. I am so not a carpenter that when I tried to fashion my own picture frames a few years ago, I caught two of my fingers in a table saw.*
So when I decided that I wanted to follow the new wall art trend and mount a few new pictures to a blocks of wood, I preceded with much caution. I also did everything I could to have the guy at Home Depot do the woodworking for me. I was almost successful.
I have this narrow wall in my home that is near our front door, right between the kitchen and a hallway. I wanted to hang some pictures and install some decorative wall hooks under them to create a nice, homey entryway.
We live in a rental house, so we are inundated with white walls. The bedrooms are painted in some light pastels, but even these look white most of the time. For a person who loves decorating and bright colors, this is just torture.
Since I did not want to overwhelm all of those white walls with millions of picture frames, but I still wanted to fill the space, I decided to go with photo blocks. They are visually more interesting than picture frames, and they have a matt finish and no glare.
Then, I just had to figure out how to do it…
Picture (I love the square look, but it can be any size.)
Wood cut to the same size as your pic, or slightly larger (I went with a quarter inch border on each side.)
Sand paper, or other sanding device
Wood stain or paint
Painting materials: brush, sponge, paper towels, etc.
Photo mounting glue
Mod Podge or varnish (I did not actually use this on my blocks. I wanted the matt look, but I would certainly recommend it to keep the pictures secure and free from damage.)
1. The artwork: I found these adorable bird mixed media prints from Urbanbird, and trimmed them so that there was no white border.
2. Then, I headed to Home Depot for my materials.
I used a wood plank that was 6 inches wide. (Note: Wood is actually half an inch shorter than the dimensions say, so I ended up with a plank that was 5.5 inches in width. I did not know this the first time I headed to buy materials, and ended up with rectangles instead of squares that were shorter than the width of my pictures. Back to the store I went to repeat the whole process.)
They may be able to cut the wood into square blocks for you at the store. It really depends on how small you want the blocks. The place I went to could not cut them as small as I needed, so they cut them to 11 inches and I had to cut in half.
3. Sand the edges of the blocks smooth. I would love to know better sanding tips. I just used regualar old sand paper. Since I’m just using them for my own home, I was not too concerned with beautifully rounded corners.
4. Coat the blocks in whatever wood stain or paint that you choose. I used two coats of black wood stain.
I did not even paint the backs of my blocks because I knew I wanted to hang them. Many people love to put these on a desk or shelf. If this is you, it would be better to paint both sides.
5. Spray the back of your photo with mounting glue, and carefully adhere the photo to the block of wood.
I did not spray the wood blocks, only the picture. Spraying the blocks would have left a messy film on parts that the picture did not cover.
7. If you choose to coat your blocks with varnish or Mod Podge, complete that step next. Like I said before, I opted not to do this.
8. Attach hanging apparatus to the back of the blocks.
Make sure you measure carefully if you are hanging multiple blocks. I needed the hook in the exact same place on all four blocks so that they would be level and even when I hung them on the wall.
Those of you who know more about woodworking may want to drill a hole in the back of the wood for easy hanging. This is beyond my ability, but I would love to know how to do it!
9. Hang pics!
Things I Learned and Near Disasters:
1. Wood is actually a half inch shorter than the demensions would lead you to believe! How frustrating.
2. Do NOT try to rinse out your paint brush covered with wood stain in your bathroom sink. I came dangerously close to permantly staining the sink black.
3. Black wood stain will eventually come off your skin, but it will be eventually.
4. You must overcome the fear of a saw before you use it, or you will lose a finger, possibly for the second time.
5. I probably should have just bought the wood blocks from FauxKiss! Projects always seem to end up costing me more money than it would be just to buy the dang thing.
Good luck, and let me know how it goes! Also, if you have any tips, I would love to hear them.
*This actually happened, but thankfully, I only nicked the ends of my ring and middle finger on my left hand. Everything grew back normally, despite my fear for the loss of my wedding ring finger. Who would ever want to marry some girl with half a ring finger!?!