Wood Shim Wall Art
Upcycle some wood shims! This wood shim wall art is made of ordinary 16-inch construction cedar wood shims glued together.
I’m back from vacation and ready to make more furniture and decor! Let’s get to it!
- 16 inch wood shims
- Titebond 3 (or another wood glue)
- four bar clamps (length depends the length of your shim wood art)
- polyurethane (or another finish)
The 16-inch cedar wood shims I used for this project commonly come in packages of 42 at home improvement stores. I bought four packages (168 total shims) at Menards, but I didn’t use all of these. After I opened the packages, I sorted them into “keepers” and “other.” My “other” pile included any shims that weren’t as wide, as well as shims with soft wood or missing pieces. After sorting, I had 70 shims to use for my wall art. The 70 shims made a piece that is 15 inches long, so if you want yours longer or shorter, adjust your number of shims accordingly.
After sorting, I arranged the shims by taking groups of about 6 shims and placing them in one direction. Then the next group of about 6 shims I positioned in the opposite direction. I didn’t count any of the shims when I was arranging them–I kept it kind of spontaneous. After I got done arranging them in this way, I went back and moved a few around to get a pleasing mix of lighter and darker shims. (The colors vary from dark reddish to light yellow.) Then, I measured the length of each side of the shims (see photo below) and rearranged by flipping the orientation of some of the shims until both sides were the same length. When you do your measuring, press the shims together to get a more accurate measurement of how the shims will be when they are glued and clamped together.
I used Titebond 3 wood glue, but any wood glue will be fine. One reason I used this glue is it has a longer “open time” than other wood glues, about 10 minutes. “Open time” refers to the amount of time you have between when the glue is applied to the wood to when the wood needs to be clamped to ensure a good bond. When I started gluing, I set my timer and stopped at 10 minutes.
To apply the glue I used a small paint trimmer, but a finger will work too. After I got the glue spread on a shim, I pressed it next to the previous shim and went on to the next.
After 10 minutes, I stopped applying glue to shims and got ready to clamp. Before you do any clamping, get the wood shims as square as possible. You can use a construction square, or even a standard piece of paper. Set the square on a corner on top of the wood shims and push them into position. Also, before you clamp, ensure that the shims are flat. You might notice from the next two photos, for the first batch, I set the wood shims up on the bar clamps. For the second batch, I kept them up on the floor. Either way will work, but I think keeping them on the floor was a little easier. My bar clamps are 24 inches long from Harbor Freight. You might need longer or shorter bar clamps depending on how many shims you are gluing and the overall length. After clamping, I waited overnight for the glue to cure.
Then the next day, I unclamped and continued as before, adding the next batch of shims to the first glued set. I finished in two batches. If you are fast or have help, you might get all of your shims glued up in one batch.
I let the second batch set up overnight again, then cut the long sides straight using a jigsaw. After this, I sanded with 150 and 220 grit sandpaper by hand, then finished with Minwax polyurethane, clear satin.
Here are a few more photos.
I hope you are having a great day! Stop by again for more furniture and decor tutorials.
August 6, 2016 @ 2:39 pm
It’s beautiful! I love this project!
August 6, 2016 @ 3:00 pm
Thanks so much, Gail!
February 6, 2017 @ 9:00 pm
This is a very pretty piece of work. Could you use this for a cutting board and if so how would you fix it for as cutting board? I love to do crafts. I am handicapped and retired and have nothing else to do. I live with my niece and nephew and they have all the powered tools that I can use because I watched my father use all they have got.
February 6, 2017 @ 9:44 pm
Sandra, the wood shims are too “soft” for use in cutting boards. They just would not hold up. But you can use a similar process to what I have done–glue some suitable wood pieces together then sand flat. If you have a planer, that would help get the top surface flat, but is probably not necessary. I have many other craft projects you might be interested in. Take a look at the “Project Gallery” on the home page. Thanks so much for stopping by and asking the question!