This is one of those projects where, after you complete it, you realize you probably could have done it in 30 minutes instead of 3 hours if you’d only planned the process better. But, as often happens, I got an idea in my head and just ran with it rather than making a plan first. Lesson learned. Again. So I went ahead and made a second one with my learnings from Round 1 (and took better pics of the process!)
In case you’re wondering, here’s how the first one turned out:
Despite the fact that I had to make this arrow twice, I really do love it. There were several areas in the house where I considered hanging it, but for now it’s residing in the kids’ playroom (
which is still not 100% done…grrrr. Finally done!!).
16 – 8 1/2 inch pieces
6 – 7 inch pieces, cut on 45 degree angle (see pic)
2 – 13 1/2 inch pieces, cut on 45 degree angle (see pic)
2 – 11 inch pieces, cut on 45 degree angle (see pic)
2 – 8 1/2 inch pieces, cut on 45 degree angle (see pic)
2 – 5 1/4 inch pieces, cut on 45 degree angle (see pic)
2 – 2 1/4 inch pieces, cut on 45 degree angle (these are essentially triangles – see pic)
1 – 32 1/2 inch piece (for assembly)
2 – 7 1/2 inch pieces (for assembly)
Here are my sketches. Again, not an artist.
For this project, I used lattice strips which can be found at both Home Depot and Lowe’s. They’re about 8-10 feet long and a little over an inch wide. Sometimes they sell them in packs of 10. If you’re efficient in your cutting, you’ll only need 4. When selecting your lattice strips, try to find some with some character (e.g. knots, interesting grain, etc.)
First, cut all of your pieces. Seriously, don’t just do a few at a time. It may seem like a lot of cuts, but just knock it out and get on with your project! I used a miter saw for this project, which is highly recommended.
Next, assemble your pieces into the arrow pattern, as shown. Make sure to put the side of the wood you like best face down, as you’ll be assembling from the back. As you can see from my pictures, my cuts weren’t super precise…that was somewhat intentional (and somewhat lazy), as I wanted it to look a little rustic.
Once you’ve got your pieces situated, lay the 32.5″ piece down the middle of the arrow. I made sure it was about 1/2 inch from each end of the arrow, as I didn’t want to risk seeing it. Use the other two 7.5″ pieces to affix the tail. Using wood glue (no nails!), put glue on the long piece and a little bit also on the individual slats of wood, as shown. Do the same with the two tail pieces. Press it down and then put something heavy on it (e.g. books, weights, etc). Let it sit for 30-60 minutes.
As you can see from the pics, I glued on the tail end of the arrow after the first part was assembled. In retrospect, that really wasn’t necessary.
Once dry, it was on to the staining stage. I used the weathered gray stain, which we’ve used in several previous posts (here and here).
I knew I wanted the arrow to be yellow, but I wanted some dark spots to show through. Rub the stain on with a rag and let dry for a couple of hours. Finally, lightly paint on your desired paint color. I love to pick up those little sample colors that Valspar (and others) put out every so often. They’re usually fun and stylish colors and I don’t have to commit to a whole can.
Once your paint is dry, selectively sand different areas of the arrow to give it a more weathered look. (I will acknowledge that both Steph and I have an unnatural obsession with weathering and distressing wood).
For now, the arrow is resting on my kids’ desk, but I’ll use picture hanging hardware if/when I hang it on the wall.
Hope you love it as much as I do!