Shabby Chic distressed wall art on wood

How to Distress Wood & Create Wall Art

My wife and I made this custom piece of wall art back in our apartment days. We recently purchased our first home and as we decorate it, this is still our favorite thing on the wall and the one that gets the most comments.

A couple years back, one of our New Years resolutions was that it would be a creative year. My wife & I wanted to try new ways to have fun and create together. We’ve had great opportunity when we moved to a new apartment. It was like a blank canvas, begging for color. We have some amazing friends of ours paint a bright blue to give our living room some life.

The blue looked great up against all our furniture but the wall over the couch was bare. So the race was on to create something for that wall. As it was, it was like a giant blue monster threatening to devour us all.

So to Pinterest we went for all our shabby chic wall art needs! We collected ideas and I researched how to beat the crap out of wood to make it looked distressed and we were on our way. It was a lot of fun to search through together and pick out the styles/approaches we liked. We had decided a while ago that we wanted our wall art to say “Nothing Is Impossible”. We wanted it to be a constant reminder to us to always have hope and to trust God for our dreams.

So here’s a few photos of our crafty adventure and the steps we took:

Our weapons - We had a lot of fun on our balcony driving the neighbors crazy by hitting the wood for quite some time.

1. Beat the Crap Out of Your Wood

We went to Home Depot and bought six 1″ x 6″ wood boards and used various forms of weaponry to bang it up, making it look older and worn. Don’t hold back here. Get out your aggression for the best results.

We started with a base of gray paint we had leftover from painting our foyer. Then we did a light layer of white, allowing some gray to come through.

2. Attach the Wood Planks Together and Paint

We laid our boards on the ground and staggered the edges and screwed 2 strips of 1″x2″, a screw in each board, to hold them all together. We also bought 2 hooks that we screwed into he top of the 1×2 so we could hang it on the wall. If you want to get the distressed, shabby-chic look, you can do that with two coats of paint. For our wall art, we used some leftover gray paint as the base coat and let it dry. Then we took white paint and randomly brushed it over the gray, giving it the look you see in the photo above.

We printed out the font and then used tracing paper to apply it to the wood.


3. Print Out Your Design and Trace

The next step probably involved the most thought. I used photoshop to design a layout of our words that we liked. Once I had the layout, I started a new Photoshop file that would be 8.5 x 11 inches, and then increased the size of the design. The goal is to print out your design, 1 page at a time, so you can trace it large enough onto your wood. You’ll want to allow for some overlap of the letters so you can trace it correctly.

We laid out the pages, lined them up and taped them together. Then we went over them with the tracing paper.

Transferring the design to the wood

4. Trace onto Wood and Paint

Use the tracing paper and a pencil to transfer your design to the wood. Then paint the letters in.

Finished Nothing is Impossible Wall Art


5. Hang it and Enjoy!

We used some wall anchors to make sure it would stay secure on the wall. It has a decent amount of weight to it so make sure to properly secure it!