This Scrappy Saturday is brought to you by a fun project from about a year and a half ago. We were in the thick of a top to bottom home renovation. The main floor was mostly complete and we were about to start dry walling 1200 square feet of space in the walkout basement. Our son was 21 months old and our daughter 7 months old. Eric was working at an incredibly stressful job, and I was teaching college part time. With all the stress factors going on at the time I wanted to do something just for fun, and the scrap pile from tearing out a couple badly designed closets in the master bedroom beckoned. I loved the idea of repurposing wood from our own home rather than letting it go to the landfill.
I eventually settled on trying my hand at some popular Pottery Barn art – their large paneled USA map. It is a beautiful piece with a price tag of $499.
The original piece has staggered pieces of wood, so I started with long planks of varying size, then cut them up a bit using the miter saw and the table saw. I added a few nails on the front for decorative purposes.
The Pottery Barn piece is 79″ x 54″. That is freaking huge. Mine is about 76″ x 46″ and it is a beast. For stain I used steel wool soaked in apple cider vinegar. The freshly ripped lumber aged nicely this way and blended well with the more worn wood.
We decided as we worked to create a map of the world rather than just the United States. After considering our options for projecting an image I decided to go the cheapest route and just hand sketched it. My training as a history teacher came in handy here, though let’s just say there is some creative liberty involved! (Sorry, India!)
After painting the land masses with two layers of white paint I gave them a light sanding, then coated the entire thing in two layers of poly. Then I cut it in four using a circular saw. After cutting we reinforced the back where some pieces no longer had support. I used a french cleat system to attach the pieces to the wall.
The total cost for this project came to under $10, which as I recall was the apple cider vinegar and steel wool pads. The piece hung in the office of our home, which also doubled as a nursery for our younger child. When we put the house on the market we moved the office furniture out but kept the map up.
It was fun to have a piece of the house that would otherwise have been garbage become something we could enjoy and take with us when we left. Though we eventually sold that piece (we kept a smaller art piece also made from scrap from the reno) it was a great experience and was really one of the first scrap projects I did that led to so many others.
Thanks for reading!