How-To: Art Blocks

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Welcome to How-To Art Blocks! We’re going to show you how to jazz up your space with a simple, fun afternoon project. It doesn’t cost much and its very simple to get a stunning look. There are many shapes and sizes you can create; so you’re sure to find the perfect spot to place or hang an art block. We’ll be using ours to display some of our fabulous handcrafted jewelry in the shop.

List of Supplies:

  • Wood Blocks
  • Buffer/ Sanding Sponge
  • Foam Paint Brushes, 1-3″
  • Painters Tape
  • X-Acto Knife (optional)
  • Acrylic or Exterior Paint or Stain
  • Clear Protective Finish (somewhat optional)

To get started, you’ll need to obtain some wood. First, find an empty spot you’d like to beautify and take some measurements. Think about how many blocks would look nicely in that area. Maybe one large piece? Two or three of various sizes? Take this info with you to your local home improvement store and head to the lumber area (lumber area? section? aisle?). We spotted some lovely poplar available in different sizes of sheets and posts. We asked the lumberjacks to cut them into various lengths and sizes, although this is likely beginner level saw work and you could do it at home if you’re the adventurous/ tool owner type.

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Once you’ve got your blocks, start by sanding them. We sanded the flat surfaces to help the paint adhere, and also took a bit of the corners down for a smoother look.

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Next, make a plan. Feel free to steal- borrow- any of our designs pictured here or make of some of your own. You could sketch them ahead of time, or just start experimenting with some of the painters tape on the wood. Even a simple geometric design- just wrapping the tape around the block- can have a nice effect. We went ahead and cut the tape into various widths with an x-acto knife to up the ante a bit. Even some nice stripes would be beautiful!

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Now it’s time to paint. We’re using some left over paint samples from boss lady Amanda’s new house- and wouldn’t recommend using the interior paint pictured. Acrylic paint can be easily purchased at a craft store in small quantities in a variety of colors. If you are more persnickety about colors or wanting to match decor, you could buy sample sizes of exterior paint at the hardware store and have them mix custom colors for you. We didn’t try this, but suspect that using gray or white wood stains instead of paint would give a beautiful, more neutral look.

Once the paint has dried, peel away the tape. The X-acto knife might help you release some of the smaller pieces at this stage as well. Once you’ve done one color, try taping the block again and topping with additional colors. The sky is the limit. We also painted ours with a clear protective finish (note the paint recommendation) because we noticed they would stick to each other a bit even after dry. This coating also gave a nice finished look as well, but you may not need it with another type of paint.

And all thats left is to display them!

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It was so fun to mix and match displays with these pieces. I imagine I would be moving them around the house all the time, enjoying new arrangements whenever the mood stuck me. If you want to hang any of the pieces, you can purchase hanging kits pretty much anywhere and just nail them to the back.

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Here are some trial runs with jewelry displays. We’re so excited! Be sure to stop by soon to see it all finalized.

Be sure to share photos of your finished work and tag @homespunindy with #howtohomespun. We love to see what you do!

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