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Jan 10, 2018

DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art


I have been waiting anxiously to share this project with you but couldn't until after Christmas as it was a gift for my sister. She is part of a dog rescue group and I knew it would be perfect for her.

DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art

We started with four 1x10x4ft pine shelf boards, and cut them down to 37" each. I wanted the sign to be square and 10" boards are actually only 9-1/4" wide, so four together are 37" total.

The boards would only be glued together (Oh, to have a biscuit joiner!), so we wanted to reinforce the sign to add strength. Tom clamped the 4 boards together and cut two channels down the back of the sign, crossing each of the boards. He then cut two pieces of scrap wood to the same size and length of the channels.

DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art
DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art

Once the boards were glued and clamped together again, he glued and stapled the strips of wood into the channels. A couple of the shelf boards had a bit of a bow to them so they didn't line up perfectly.
While the glue was still wet we clamped them tightly together at the ends and they dried flat and level.

DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art

I gave the glue a couple of days to really dry, then sanded the entire front and edges of the sign, first with 60 grit sandpaper, then with 150 grit paper to finish. A few knots also had to be touched up with wood filler and sanded once dry.

I stained the entire sign with Minwax's Jacobean brown, then brushed over it with watered-down white paint, to give a weathered look. I considered waxing the wood afterwards, but I was afraid that the paint for the letters wouldn't stick. Waxing also removes some of the whitewash - it was exactly the shade I wanted so I wasn't going to mess with it.

DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art

I use a Silhouette Cameo cutting machine to cut my stencils these days.  I used to cut them freehand, but it is slooooow. Here are a few projects I've done with stencils - fold-down patio bar, cottage sign, Christmas song sign, and personalized dog bowls.


Because of the size of the sign, I had to cut the words out in small sections. The font on all of the words except "Love" is Lucida Handwriting. Love is written in Times New Roman (except the paw of course.) Excuse the different vinyl colours - I ended up using all of the vinyl I had on hand.

DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art

Once I got to the point where I was ready to lay down the stencil I started to get stressed about keeping the words lined up. Tom came up with a great trick: We have a small level with a laser at one end. He clamped the level to the rafter above my work area (I was working in the basement) so that the laser pointed down towards the floor. The laser beam can be either a point or a line, so he switched it to "line" and it made a perfectly straight line across my sign. I could then move the sign around as I worked, always having a reference line for the words.

DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art

The letters are painted in Benjamin Moore's Edgecomb Gray (i.e. my bedroom wall colour). The secret to sharp edges on your letters is to do multiple thin coats, brushing away from the stencil edge as much as you can. Once you have a few layers down, you should have a pretty good seal around the edges and you can brush all in one direction to keep a uniform look.
DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art
DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art

After peeling off the stencil I did some touch ups with a razor scraper and a tiny artist's brush.


The final step was to add a French cleat to the back for hanging. A French cleat is a wonderful way to hang items. It's made up of two horizontal pieces - one attached to the back of the item to be hung and one mounted directly to the wall. The two pieces hook into each other and keep the mounted item extremely secure. The cleat can be made from just about anything - pine, plywood, or metal. We bought a metal cleat - it also came with all of the necessary screws and a mini level.

DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art



French cleat

And so, the finished product! I'm really happy with this. I kind of want to keep it for myself.

DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art

DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art

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