If you are like me, you are always looking for gift ideas.  I became inspired while walking around a big home store where I saw these cute, rustic plaques.  I thought, wow, I can make something similar myself just using supplies that I already have on hand. If you're looking for an easy gift idea, read on for the how-to! 

The great thing about these plaques is that you can customize them to each person by the color choices you make, the stencil patterns you use, and the word choice that you add.  The other big two big bonuses (especially around the holidays) is the very affordable price and how quick they are to make.

The first step is to cut your wood into strips that will give you the size plaque that you want.  I chose to make my plaques 11 x 14.  You may choose to make yours another size and you may also choose to not have each plank the same length.  That’s the beauty, make it your own!  If you need to purchase your wood to make your planks, they run anywhere from about $2.97 to $4.97 depending on which type and how “rustic” you want it to be.  I got two 11 x 14 plaques out of one 8-foot length of wood.

Planks and backer boards cut and ready to assemble

Planks and backer boards cut and ready to assemble

Once you have your planks cut, you are going to want to use wood glue to secure your planks to a backer board of some type to give them stability.  I happened to have some Masonite on hand but if you need to buy some, it runs about $5.00 for a 4 x 4 piece.  You obviously will be able to get multiple backs out of one sheet.  Take your cut planks, sand away any splinters and using wood glue, fasten each one down to your backer board.  Allow to dry for several hours.

Planks are glued to backer board

Planks are glued to backer board

After your glue has set up, you can move onto the next step of finishing your wood.  I did one here with a light stain and one with a darker stain.  Once your stain has dried thoroughly, you can now add your decoration to the plaque.  For this step, craft paint, brushes, and possibly stencils will be needed.  I chose to use stencils but if you have good artistic skills, you can just free-hand your designs and wording onto your plaque.  Think creatively here.  The colors and words you can choose are boundless.  You can do inspirational words, kids’ names, and about anything else you can think of!  For decorations, you can use floral, animals, geometrics, and the list goes on and on!

Starting to layer on the artwork

Starting to layer on the artwork

Once your plaque is dry, you may choose to sand the edges to give it a more rustic look.  After you have achieved the look that you want, it’s time to seal it with a coat of matte polyurethane.  This will protect your hard work and keeping it looking great for years to come!  For your final step you can either add eyehooks to the top of the plaque and run wire or twine from one to the other for hanging, staple your twine to the back, or just put a traditional picture hanger on the back.

Finished plaque ready for hanger

Finished plaque ready for hanger

Now, what will you do next to love where you live?

 

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