DIY Abstract Art

Hey friends! I hope you had a great holiday weekend and all you east-coasters faired well during hurricane Hermine! You know when you have a project that you’ve been wanting to try forever but you just never make the time for it? This DIY Abstract Art is that project for me. I’ve been wanting to make my own for probably the better part of a year.
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Ever since I made this DIY oversized wall art with plywood, I’ve been scheming other ways to use plywood. It truly makes a great canvas. It’s pretty cheap, The Home Depot will cut it to the dimensions you’d like and you can get multiple projects from a half sheet. We almost always have some plywood pieces hanging around the garage now since we’ve been doing more wood projects. So, when I needed a piece of art for our recent bathroom makeover, this DIY abstract was the perfect solution.

Here’s how I did it:

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  • Piece of 1/4 inch birch plywood cut to your preferred size (mine was 24×24)
  • 4-5 paint colors (varying in color – I decided on three light colors and two contrasting colors)
  • Paint brush
  • 6′ 1×1 board (for the frame)
  • Drill (love my Ryobi drill with the ONE battery – so nice having interchangeable batteries!!)
  • Drill bit
  • Screws
  • Minwax Classic Gray Stain

Abstract Art Step by step

Step 1: I mentioned, I used a scrap piece of wood we already had. I quickly sanded it and wiped it down. If you are creating a custom-sized abstract piece, you’ll have to cut your plywood first. If I have a project in mind, I almost always ask my friends at The Home Depot to cut the pieces for me. Such a time saver!

A note about paint colors: I used colors I had in the garage – if you are selecting paint color specifically for this project, consider where it will be hanging and think about using a couple of those colors in the piece. I used the same color that’s on the wall in the bathroom for this abstract and I think that works well.

Step 2: Brush your base color onto the board. I used Pure White as the base. I used the paint sparingly. The brush was not sopping wet with paint, just enough to get a bit of coverage. You don’t need a lot of paint because you want to see brushstrokes and you are putting on multiple layers of color.

Step 3: Brush on your next color. This was a contrasting color. I used a gray (Still Gray – same color as my cabinets). Instead of brushing the entire piece, I just made random strokes all over, still using a fairly dry paint brush.

Step 4: I went back to a light color. I used the same color that’s on the walls in my bathroom, Oyster Shell by Ben Moore. It’s a blue-green gray that’s very light. Again, I made random brush strokes all over. Covering some of the gray but still letting it come through.

Step 5: Another contrast, this time, I used a navy blue.

Step 6: I went back to the Oyster Shell color and covered portions of the darker contrasting colors.

Note: Allow the paint to dry between steps. Since you are dry brushing, the paint should dry fairly quickly

I repeated these steps until I was pleased with the look. The best thing about an abstract is that it doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect. It’s your interpretation of art. And since I can’t even dry a stick figure, I’m happy that there is a form of art just for people like me 🙂

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I enlisted Matt’s help with the frame. He cut two pieces the full length of the piece (24 inches) and then cut two more pieces two inches shorter than the full length of the art (22 inches). These were just straight cuts. I think it gives it a more weathered/handmade look than mitered.

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He painted a coat of white paint over the wood, dry brushing it. Then he sanded it to roughen it up a bit.

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After that, he rubbed on a coat of Minwax Classic Gray stain.

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To assemble the frame – we decided to frame out the plywood by attaching the frame directly to the top of the wood. Matt did that by pre-drilling a few holes with a drill bit slightly smaller than the screw size.

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Then he screwed in the screws. He used three screws for each side (which is probably more than necessary but hey, better safe.).

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And that, is pretty much that. I’m filing this baby away as a CHEAP + awesome project! The actual cost of this for me was just the price of the frame which I think was about $7. After we hung it up in the bathroom I wanted to make about five more DIY abstract art pieces to hang all around my house. Would that be overkill? Maybe like an abstract gallery wall? It’s just too easy!

Here’s a similar DIY abstract art project but this time on an oversized canvas that you can DIY from a drop cloth.

I hope this inspires you to go do one of the projects that you’ve been wanting to do… it’ll be worth it!

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“How about making your own abstract art from PLYWOOD! Cheap, easy, beautiful! I gotta try this!

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