A Crafted Passion

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Make a Rustic State Map Wall Art with Free Printables

Create this rustic state map wall art using pallet wood and a wood burning kit. Click to get the free printable included!

Remember that giant stack of old wood I got a few months back and I’ve been slowly DIY-ing the heck out of them? Well, I am so excited to show you another fun project I made using an old fence gate I was given. You could totally use an old pallet, I was just too impatient to wait for my hubby to break apart another pallet for me. So I want to share with you this stunning DIY rustic state map wall art!

My hubby and I are both born and raised in Oregon. We both attended Oregon State University (Go Beavs!) and don’t plan on ever living anywhere else than here. This is home! So of course, why would we not need some fun art to show off our home roots. I’ve had this project in my mind for months so I’m excited I finally got a chance to put it all together last weekend. And yes, this project can be done in an afternoon, minus drying time if you choose to stain your finished project, like I did.

Wooden wall art shaped like a state image.

 

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So let’s get started. Here’s what you’ll need.

SUPPLIES

Old wood
Printed state map (stay tuned for a freebie at the end of this post)
Sand paper
Wood stain
Stain applicator
Picture hanging kits

TOOLS

Planer
Chop saw (or hand saw)
Micro pinner
Band saw
Wood burning pen

CUT IT
Start by using a planer or sander to clean up your wood. Then cut your wood to the desired thickness and length. I knew I wanted my state map to go on our gallery wall at the top of the stairs so cut my boards a little larger than that size using the chop saw. You can definitely use a hand saw though too if that’s what you have. The boards I had were wider and that didn’t fit the look I was going for so using the table saw we cut the boards in half width wise to make them thinner. I’m so glad we did because I love the look of our finished state art!

Wood standing on end next to a saw image.

Wood being cut image.

Once you have all your boards, you’re going to need the outline of your state. At the bottom of this post I have included a free outline of all 50 states for your use. Download that file and print the state you would like. If you want your map larger than an 8.5 by 11 paper than you can enlarge it in the print settings and tile it to print on multiple pages. After printing your state, cut it out and tape it upside down on your wood. This is important to make sure you don’t get to the end and realize your state is flipped.

Shape of a state on paper image.

Paper shape of a state with painter's tape on top of wood image.

Now, using a micro pinner attach two boards to the back to hold all the boards together. If your boards are thin, be sure to use short pins so they don’t pop through the front. I just did this right on top of the paper to hold it all together. Besides, no one is going to be looking at the back anyways.

Next, take a sharpie and trace around your outline just in case the paper shreds some during cutting then you still have your line.

And now the fun part! If you’ve never used a band saw before, find one for this project! It’s seriously so fun to use and I am totally hooked. I feel like I’ve been saying that will all my projects now, like the first time I used a planer, but I think this might actually be my favorite tool. Who knows. Ask me in a few weeks!

Saw blade in wood image.

If you have never used a band saw, don’t be intimidated! I promise you it’s super easy to use. I have two words of advice for you…

1. Keep your fingers at least a few inches away from the blade at all times.

2. Don’t try and make curves too quickly. Your blade is more likely to bend and snap. (No ladies, not like Elle from Legally Blonde.)

Okay, moving on.

So take your time and cut out your shape. For the tight corners, cut in at different angles until you get the curve you need. Just to prove that yes, I did in fact cut out this project myself, I asked my hubby to take some pictures as proof…pink fingernails and all.

Woman sawing wood image.

SAND IT
Once your state is cut out take some fine sand paper, 150-200 grit, to sand all the edges down. You’ll see with the band saw that it can leave some pretty rough edges, especially with us newbies at the machine. A little bit of light sanding and it looks great and ready for the next step.

Wood in the shape of a state image.

Wood planks with rough edges image.

BURN IT
Take a pencil and draw out where you want the “I {heart}” and turn on your wood burning pen to get nice and hot. I use this wood burning pen that you get for less than $10 here. It comes with multiple nibs. For this project, I found it easiest to use the rounded nib.

Once your pen is nice and hot you can start burning your wood. I love the rustic effect this has on the overall look!

Hand using a wood burning tool image.

STAIN IT
Once you’re happy with your wood burning, grab your favorite wood stain and stain the whole thing. Be sure to get the edges while you’re at it. The ladies over at Shanty2Chic recommended these wool stain applicators and I am officially in love! I can’t believe I am just now finding out about them! If you don’t have them, go run and grab them asap. They will save your precious kitchen towels from becoming stain rags.

Wood stain image.

HANG IT
After your stain dries, flip that bad boy over and using some picture hanging wire and eye hooks turn your wood boards into a lovely wall hanging!

Picture hanging wire image.

Now, maybe you all know this, but I have saved so much time since I realized you can use pliers to hold the tiny little eye hooks to make it easier for screwing them in. Genius and total time saver!

Pliers adding hooks to wood image.

There you have it! A personalized, DIY rustic state map wall hanging perfect to remind you of home. This would also make a perfect gift for someone who is moving away!

If you make your own state map wall art…

I’d love for you to tag #Iheartmystate so I can see it.

Rustic wooden wall art in the shape of a state image.

Wooden wall art in the shape of a state image.

 

Wooden wall art shaped like a state image.

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6 comments

  1. I love this! I don’t live in the US, but I think this would look great with our country’s outline. Now I just need to learn to use the tools ;)

  2. Hi Amanda and thank you for this idea. Could you please tell me how you where able to print out your state in four different sheets? I am from Florida and would L-O-V-E to make one of these for myself. Thank you in advance for your time and response :-)

    Brenda

    1. Hi Brenda! Depending on what program you’re using you should be able to change the size in the print view. I would suggest starting around 200% and see if that’s the size you need. It will automatically tile to different pages.

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