Coastal Whale Wall Art

Coastal whale wall art, say that one ten times fast! ha!

Okay, so, today I have something I've been working on all week. If you've been following my Instagram, then you've had a little bit of a sneak peek.

I picked up a couple of pallets the other day with the intent of taking them apart and using them as planks to make a cut-out whale silhouette for the wall behind our couch. After carefully disassembling one of the pallets, I stood there staring at it for a very long time, unconvinced. I decided that I actually didn't want to make a cut-out whale after all, go figure.

I decided that instead of cutting out the whale and having a silhouette on my wall, I wanted a plank made up of pallet boards with a whale stenciled in the middle. So, off I went!

I instantly thought back to a few tutorials I'd seen floating around using wood stain as "paint" for world maps. I decided it was perfect for what I was going to do. I toyed with the idea of using chalk paint and distressing the wood but I wanted more of a modern feel for the room so I ultimately decided on the stain.

Here's what I did:

I started by picking through the planks to find the pieces I liked the best. I sanded them smooth on all sides using a hand sander, and then fit them together in a way that looks effortless but literally took me an entire day to decide on. 

I started looking for a template for my whale. I just googled "free whale colouring page" and after talking myself off of a little bit of a Narwhal ledge, I settled on this bad boy. I printed the size I needed, cut it out and then taped it together to make my pattern. Voila! Look at that handsome devil! Doesn't the painter's tape just make his eyes pop? I think so too. I centered my pattern on the boards, and traced around it with a pencil.

Once I had my pattern on my wood, I broke out the wood stain. For this project, I used Minwax dark walnut water based stain. I applied it with an old rag and used a q-tip closer to the edges of the pattern to get a straight line.

I varnished the whole thing with one coat of Varathane semi-gloss wood finish; I followed that up with two more coats on the front and the outside, visible edges of the boards.  I Let the varnish dry completely and used a fine grit sand paper to lightly sand the varnish by hand in between coats. You don't want to sand the varnish off completely, you just want to give the next coat something to grip on to.

Now it was time to assemble. I cut one of the leftover pallet boards in half to use as bracers to attach the boards together. I laid my finished boards down perpendicular to the bracer boards and used gorilla glue to glue them on to keep my pattern perfectly lined up. 

After my boards were glued securely together, I flipped the boards over and started nailing the bracer boards into the planks. I used 2 nails per plank, per side.

Now to hang this sucker. I used a screw and a washer and I screwed it into the back of the bracer board, about 4 inches from the top. After the screw was in halfway, I wrapped picture wire around the screw, under the washer, 3 or 4 times and then screwed it in the rest of the way. I repeated the process on the other bracer board. I kept the cord pretty tight, just giving it a very little bit of slack.

And here it is, Ta-da! Hope you like it! Enjoy! 

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