In the hands of artisans, wood can be an intricate piece of decoration. However, if you are more of a beginner, simple DIY kinds person, it will be easier to stick to rustic styles which tend to be easy on the eyes and easy for the hands! These DIY ideas can give your home a rustic touch, perfect for those who are aiming for the style.
1. Pallet Photo Frames
Remember those ice-cream stick photo frame projects you did back in elementary school? Well, while you can totally decorate your house with them as an adult, let’s be honest that ice-cream sticks are not very sturdy especially if we are making big frames. Fortunately, you can make a frame with a similar style and sturdier material – pallet wood!
Since pallet woods are easy to find and work with, the craft-level of this project is pretty much the same as the photo frame in your childhood. First, put a few pieces with similar height together and paint them thinly (that’s how you get the ‘rusty’ feel.)
Then, set them together by gluing another painted piece on the top and bottom. Lastly, staple yarn at the back and screw a bulldog clip to the front and you are done! If buying a whole board seems wasteful, ask for leftover cuts from shops or woodworkers in your area for free materials.
2. Wood Art Plaque
Think the frame idea doesn’t scream enough ‘rustic’? You can display your photos by casting them onto the wood itself! For the best look, use round wood pieces or old wooden objects you already own – as long they have a flat side, casting should be easy. There are two methods – the tattoo or the mod podge method.
If you are using the tattoo method, print the picture you want to display on the glossy side of a tattoo paper first. Then, stick the adhesive sheet onto that side of the glossy paper. After smoothing out the air bubbles, peel the adhesive part then stick it onto the wood you wish to use as the ‘frame’.
Wet the paper with a damp towel then peel it off and the picture will be cast on the wood. If you are using mod podge, just stick the picture on the wood and brush mod podge on it. You can hang the project with yarn (attach with staples) or glue a stand at the back with wood glue.
3. Slab Coasters
Sometimes, nature itself gives us some material to work with. If you have dried branch hanging around, that’s when you know the nature calls. Surely, branches are thin and brittle, but as long as you can dry the thicker parts (about 3,5-inches at least) without cracking, you can cut them about ½-inch thick for some nice coaster.
In fact, you can use the slabs right away and let the wood collect condensation and water drips from the glasses, developing unique patterns. But, if you prefer the coaster look as is, sand and brush some clear varnish onto every side and let dry before using.
In case you are keeping the bark around the coaster, treat the slabs gently to prevent cracking on the bark. Make sure to varnish the bark as well to preserve it even further. Besides personal use, they also make for versatile gifts on most occasions.
4. Rustic Tabletop
If you can acquire a bigger, natural slab, you may want to try making a table instead. Of course, this calls for big slab diameters – 13-inches is good for a nightstand and barely enough for a coffee table, for example. So, other than the occasion that you have a slab big and sturdy enough for the table you need, skip this idea. But, if you do, then the steps are super easy.
First, get the slab size you need – besides the diameter, make sure you have enough thickness as well since we are going to drill it a bit to fasten the legs (an inch should be enough for small tables.) Then, sand the surface until smooth. Just like the coaster idea, treat the bark carefully if you are keeping it.
Varnish all the sides to your liking including the bark and let it dry. Get metal legs (three to four depending on the need) in the desired height and position them on a side of the tabletop to create equal footing. Mark the screw holes with markers then drill each of them. Finally, screw the legs onto the tabletop, flip it over, and we are done!
5. Towel/Blanket Organizer
Sometimes, crafting doesn’t have to be a project made from scratch. Reusing old items are just as fine of a project, if not more eco-friendly. For one, we can use old wooden ladders as towel or blanket organizers. Since more people are using aluminum ladders these days, it’s not hard to find wooden ladders abandoned in someone’s shed (even yours). We can repurpose these ladders and save them from rotting away.
You can use the ladder immediately, but we need to cut the ladder if it’s too tall to enter the house. For your consideration, a household probably only use one to three blankets at once, while people at least use one towel for every member of the house so cut around those numbers in mind. Then, brush dirt and dust away before applying paint (if desired) and varnish. Let dry before using them.
In cold seasons, it’s best to put them near the fireplace or heater to warm the towel/blanket. Otherwise, lean them to a wall anywhere convenient.
For example, you can put the towel organizer in the bathroom or somewhere with good sunlight exposure. Meanwhile, blanket organizer is best in or near bedrooms. However, if your family likes to hang in the living room, you may want to put them there during winter.
Some ideas need more skill than the other, but these DIYs are simple enough for beginners overall. So, there’s no need to hold back on trying them! With little pieces of leftover wood, you can create dozens of unique rustic decorations for your home.