Reclaimed wood makes my heart happy. So I made a heart out of reclaimed wood. That was so much fun that I made more. And all that love made me feel like sharing with you how to make them, too.
So go wrangle yourself up a pallet, pick up those free boards you saw along the road on your way to the grocery store, or tear a couple pieces of wood off your neighbor’s fence, because you got this. I’m kidding, don’t steal.
How to make a quilted wood heart
Reclaimed wood (pallets, etc.)
a small piece of 1/4″ luan plywood
paper and printer (for template)
jigsaw (a bandsaw would also work great)
miter saw or band saw
pen or pencil
It would be really upsetting to me if someone cut off a finger while following one of my tutorials. It would also be upsetting to you. Please remember to always take proper safety precautions when using saws. For this tutorial do not cut pieces smaller than you are comfortable cutting out. Keep those appendages well away from the blade and don’t take chances. And, of course, always wear safety glasses and ear protection.
The how to part
First, if you skipped the safety part go back and read it. Shame on you.
Print out a heart. Any heart. Whatever shape and size you want. Trace said heart onto 1/4″ plywood. I used a piece of scrap that wasn’t so pretty. No worries, that will be covered. Cut out the shape with a jigsaw.
I’m actually going to make two hearts for this tutorial. The two top hearts are some finished ones just for reference.
Don’t overthink this part. My wood scraps are already in lots of sizes and shapes, so I start by grabbing a smaller piece and simply gluing it down. That gives me a base for everything else. Play with what looks good. If you get stuck just go cut a piece of wood into strips of various sizes and choose one to go on next. If angles seem overwhelming skip them.
Vary the texture and shades of wood for visual interest. When I find a piece I want to use I hold it up to the heart and mark very roughly where it will hang over the edge. Then I cut it so that not too much is hanging over. That makes for less to cut off in the end, and it makes it easier to cut.
One tip is to use thinner pieces of wood, if you have them, for pieces that are smaller and located near an edge. Softer woods like cedar also work great there because they cut like butter, and not fighting through the edge pieces helps ensure nothing will fall off when you are cutting the final shape. Another tip: You can simplify the bottom piece of the heart by tracing the shape onto the wood and cutting it out to fit exactly.
Glue as you go. Be generous. Let the heart dry for a day or so before attempting to cut the shape out. Yet another tip: if it’s chilly out in your garage or shop or wherever, bring them inside while the glue is drying.
Flip the heart over and use the plywood template as a guide to cut out the shape with a jigsaw. It’s possible that a piece or two might pop loose. Go slow, and don’t sweat it if that happens. Just re-glue and pop it back on. Rushing the cut will break pieces off. I like to set them on a scrap piece of plywood and use it as a sacrificial board so I can keep the pieces really supported while cutting. Like so.
Sand the edges just a touch to smooth it all out.
You can leave your beautiful reclaimed wood heart natural, or color it up. Whitewashing is also a fun option because it highlights the saw marks and grain patterns.
You can also add a little water to some paint (latex or acrylics work just fine) and add some fun color, which I’m kind of all about right now.
That’s it. Now give the heart to someone you love. Or put it on the mantle. Or add a hanger and put it on your wall. Whatever works for you.
Pin it so you don’t forget it!↓
And if all of that sounds like too much you can always head over to my Etsy shop, where all of the hearts pictured and more are waiting for loving homes.