If you’ve ever embarked on the challenge of decorating your home, whether it’s a tiny apartment or a large space, you know what a challenge it can be to find large pieces of art to hang on the wall. That’s not to mention that artwork can be expensive! As any DIYer knows, however, there’s always room to try your hand at some DIY wall art! With just a few materials and some time, you can create large pieces that are sure to create a striking focal point in your home.
I created these two large paintings, combined to make a diptych, with just a couple of supplies and some creativity! Find the full step-by-step instructions below for this DIY wall art project.
For this project, I used the following materials:
- Drop cloth
- 3/4 in. 2 ft. x 4 ft. birch panel (cut in half for me at a Home Depot store)
- Paint can opener
- Paint thinner
- Wood stain in dark walnut
- Rust-Oleum’s Painter’s Touch paint in Gold
- 180 grit sanding sponge
- Paint brush
- D-ring picture hangers
- Picture hanging wire
- Painters rags for staining
- Tack cloths
- Small mixing cup or bucket
- Putty knife
- Electric drill
- Painters tape
- Self-adhesive vinyl pads (for backs of panels)
- Marking pen or pencil
Begin by sanding down your pieces of wood. Be sure to sand with the grain of the wood, and don’t forget to polish up the edges.
When you’re done, be sure to use a tack cloth to wipe down the wood before you begin staining.
Once you’ve finished sanding and wiped the wood clean, you can begin staining. Use either a staining pad or a clean cloth to wipe the stain on the bottom two inches or so of the wood.
Work the stain into the wood with a cloth, then wipe it off with a clean cloth.
To create the ombre effect, I used paint thinner to lighten the stain. First, I used the original stain on the very bottom of the board, then as I worked upward, I gradually added more and more paint thinner into a cup of the stain to gradually lighten the color.
You can see here that I worked the stain (diluted with paint thinner) into the wood, creating a gradual lighting.
Once you’re satisfied with the gradations in the color, you can move onto the gold.
I employed the same method for the gold as the stain, adding gold in its original form to the top of the wood, then gradually adding paint thinner as I moved toward the middle. Because this Rust-Oleum paint is oil-based, you can use paint thinner to dilute the paint. This method means that the paint has the same color, it just goes on thinner, creating a lighter finish. Gradually move toward the middle of the board with the diluted gold paint to create your ombre finish.
Important note: Before painting with the gold, be sure to read the directions, which discourage you from working too much with the paint or adding a second coat.
Here, you can see that the gold is extremely thick at the bottom, but gradually lightens as it moves toward the middle.
Let the wood dry for several days before moving onto the next step.
In order to give my paintings a finished look, I decided to use a patching compound on the edges.
I tackled this step once the stain and paint dried completely because I didn’t want any patching compound to get onto the board pre-stain. This would create lots of discoloration when the stain was applied to the wood. I knew that if I applied the patching compound after the stain, I’d be much more careful, and I’d immediately be able to spot any flecks of compound on my canvas, and I could quickly remove them. Either method would yield similar results though.
You can use a putty knife or hammer end joint knife to create a smooth finish along the edges. You want the patching compound to be as smooth as possible, but you will be sanding the edges once the compound is dried, so it doesn’t have to be completely perfect.
Once the patching compound is completely dried, sand the edges with a fine grit sanding sponge (I used 180 grit).
Wipe off all the sanding dust from the edges and any that may have fallen onto your canvas with a tack cloth.
Once it is smooth, begin painting with your gold paint.
This doesn’t need to be perfect, but again, follow the directions on the label, and don’t work with the paint too much or re-coat.
Once the edges are all painted and dried, it’s time to hang your diptych!
To hang the paintings, I chose a simple pair of D-rings for each painting, then connected them with picture-hanging wire. The picture hanging wire is optional, as you can also just use two different nails for the D-rings if you prefer.
I used a simple straight edge to measure where I would add the D-rings. You could also use a tape measure if you prefer. Because I decided to connect the rings with picture hanging wire, it isn’t necessary for the rings to be precisely level, as the wire will naturally level the painting.
After marking on the wood where your D-ring will go, you can use a drill to attach the D-rings.
Important note: Before drilling into my board, I made sure the included screws in the package of D-rings wouldn’t be too long for the board (meaning they wouldn’t pierce through to the finished side). Double check before drilling. You definitely don’t want to puncture a hole in your artwork!
Once the D-rings are in place, fasten the picture hanging wire using tight loops.
In the photo below, it’s hard to see the picture hanging wire stretching between the D-rings, but it is there.
Now you’re ready to hang your diptych!
My favorite method when hanging two frames at the same height is to add a piece of painter’s tape to the wall. Then use a level to make sure the tape is perfectly even. Then, you can use the tape as a guide so that you hang the nails at the same height.
You can see that I simply hung the nail just below the painter’s tape, then hung my first painting. It came out perfectly level.
Now you can hang your second painting, and simply peel the painter’s tape off the wall behind the painting! Voilà!
You’ll also notice that the finished sides all the way around give it a much more expensive and polished look. You may also want to add some rubber stoppers to the bottom corners of the pieces to protect the wall from scratches.