DIY: Distressed Wood Wall Art

This little project is probably topping my list of easiest DIY ever. 

I've seen a lot of cute distressed wood cut-outs in decor shops and online sales like One Kings Lane, but knew it would be just as easy to make my own and have it exactly how I wanted it. We had a bit of a dead space in out bathroom above the towel bar, and since we already have art and floating shelves on the other wall, I needed something different. With our bathroom decor feeling like a cloudy day at the beach (the only way I can describe it), I knew a little wood whale would be perfect.

I purchased the cut-out whale from Nana's Little Nest on Etsy – it was a pre-cut item but Cindy also does custom work, so you can get exactly what you're looking for. The rest of the DIY is almost too easy.

Once you have your cut-out, you'll paint it whichever color you want (I used acrylic paint). Since we wanted ours to be white with the natural wood showing through in the distressing, we just painted it white, but if you want to do a two-color look, you'll paint the first layer one color, and the second layer your most dominant color. You'll basically just be lightly sanding away the top coat to reveal what's underneath.

Your paint doesn't need to be perfect – as you can see in the photo, I didn't even paint it solid white – but you do want to follow the grain of the wood. Let it dry overnight before sanding it.

Use a few different sizes of sandpaper to gently sand away sections of the surface. Again, follow the grain. I started with a fine sandpaper, then roughed up some areas more with a higher grit to really bring the wood through. I also sanded the paint off the edges for a bit more wear and tear, as shown below:

After it's finished, you can mount it to the wall using double-sided mounting tape. We had some cork furniture pads laying around, so we used those to give a little more dimension, and keep it from looking flat on the wall.

The entire project cost about $5, no joke. Now I'm debating another one...just have to figure out where to put it! It perfectly solves for the awkward space on the wall, when you don't want to just throw up more pictures in frames. How do you typically solve wall decor challenges?