DIY Wall Art

by Shelley SmithJune 28, 2012

For my last DIY project of the month, I thought we’d go in a more decorative direction with some custom wall art! We’ve been slowly chipping away at our master bathroom makeover this past year, and finding the perfect piece of artwork for the blank space behind our toilet has been a challenge.
Decorative Tile wall art Tutorial - thehouseofsmiths
We knew we wanted to maintain a spa-like feel in the space, with clean, simple decor, so when I found these rustic wood tiles at World Market, I knew they would look great in our space!
Decorative Tiles from World Market -
At this point we don’t have a lot of color in our bathroom, just some pretty mint colored towels. So I wanted to bring a little bit more of that color into the room, by mounting the decorative tiles on a piece of distressed wood. Here’s how I did it:

First we bought a piece of over sized lumber from the hardware store that we knew would be able to accommodate all of the tiles, once they were spaced evenly apart.
Master bathroom wall art -
Because the wood was too large, we had to cut it down a bit. We marked our points with a T square, to keep everything straight, and then using a guide, some heavy duty clamps and a circular saw, we cut our lumber down to size.
Decorative Tile wall Art -
Once our board was cut to the correct length, I took my palm sander and gave the wood a light sanding along the edges, and the top. Once that was done, it was time for paint.
Custom Wall Art -
Since I knew I was going to be distressing the piece, I wanted a darker color to come out from under the lighter color when I sanded it, NOT the natural wood tones. So instead of just using the mint to begin with, I chose a flat gray paint that I had leftover from our pantry makeover (Flagstone from Olympic), and simply mixed it with a bit of black craft paint, to darken the color down a little.

TIP: Make sure to use a slightly damp cloth to wipe down your sanded wood surface BEFORE you paint, freeing the board of any dust or sanded pieces that may interfere with achieving a smooth painted surface.
Decorative tile wall art - the house of smiths
This coat of flat gray paint acted as sort of a primer for the mint color as well.
Mixing Paint -
Once my Flagstone Gray was dry I applied 2 coats of my mint colored paint on top, again, using a non-textured roller. This paints color name is called Tranquility from Valspar. I bought this color in a sample size, so it only ran me about $3.00 or so.
Painting layers for distressing -
TIP: Wrap your roller in cling wrap between coats to keep the paint from drying out and making your roller hard.

Next was the sanding process. I used a few different techniques for this, because I wanted a worn, weathered look. I used a 3M sponge sanding block for the edges, a piece of 120 grit sandpaper for the surface, to get some deeper scratches and then a vibrating multi-functional tool with a smoother 200 grit sandpaper on it, to get some smudges on a few different areas, where the gray paint came through a little more. After that was all done, I sprayed the entire board with Rustoleums crystal clear coat enamel.
Which sandpaper to use -
I was really happy with how closely the tranquility paint matched our new towels. (also from World Market)
Master Bathroom wall art 1 -
Because this piece of wood was quite heavy, we used a Hangman brand picture hanging system. I love this product because it comes with a built-in level, and lets whatever you’re hanging stay very stable and flush against your wall.
How to Hang heavy art -
To adhere on the decorative tiles I used the small Command picture hanging strips; one on each side at only the tops. The tiles weren’t heavy at all, so the small strips worked perfectly.
Picture hanging strips
Once everything was assembled, this is how it turned out!
Master Bathroom Wall Art - the house of smiths blog
I love this custom piece of art, because it’s dramatic and takes up the whole wall but also, because it brings in a cool texture and natural element, around all the more modern fixtures we have in the space.

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Shelley Smith

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