Get the Look of Reclaimed Wood With a DIY "Gratitude" Wall Hanging

  • 01 of 08

    How to Make a Wooden Gratitude Wall Decor Plaque

    reclaimed wood gratitude plaque
    Rita Shehan

    According to Google, the definition of the word gratitude is "the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness." Gratitude is something that should be a part of our daily practice but is often forgotten. During autumn and the approaching Thanksgiving holiday season, we are especially reminded to give thanks for all of the good things we have in our lives. Gratitude helps us focus on what we already have as opposed to what we want.

    Some people are dissatisfied with their lives and often feel that the next material possession will bring them the happiness that they desire. They believe that a bigger house, more money, etc. will make them feel whole, complete and ultimately happy. They are often disappointed.

    There is a science of gratitude! Robert Emmons Ph.D.  is a psychologist at UC Davis who has done extensive research on this topic and has discovered that gratitude improves both emotional and physical health as well as improves our relationships with our community and the world.

    This holiday season make a gratitude wall plaque to display in your home to remind yourself and your family just how much you truly have. This craft is quite easy to make and mimics the reclaimed wood decor that is currently very much on trend. Make one for yourself and make some to give your friends. They will love it and be grateful that you are a part of their life!

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  • 02 of 08

    Gather Your Supplies and Materials

    wood plaque kit, finish and brush
    Rita Shehan

    You will need:

    • Craftwood ready to decorate wood plaque kit
    • Die cut file download ( files included are: eps, ai, dxf, SVG, and pdf)
    • Paintbrush or foam brush for stain
    • Rags
    • Plastic drop cloth
    • Minwax Special Walnut colored penetrating stain wood finish
    • Die cut machine vinyl or contact paper
    • Light beige colored acrylic craft paint
    • Stencil brush
    • Electronic die cut machine
    • One sheet coarse sand paper
    • Matte finish ModPodge
    • Foam brush for ModPodge
    • Scissors
    • Latex gloves
    • Bone Folder
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  • 03 of 08

    Stain the Wood

    stained wood plaque kit
    Rita Shehan
    1. Using a paintbrush or foam brush paint one side the top portion of the plaque and the three bottom squares with Minwax Special Walnut colored penetrating stain wood finish. Make sure to use a left to right motion following the grain of the wood. The wood is extremely porous and should soak up most of the stain. Use a rag to wipe away any stain that remains.
    2. Turn over the wood plaque pieces and brush the back side with Minwax Special Walnut colored penetrating stain wood finish.
    3. Allow the wooden pieces to dry. They should be ready for the next steps in approximately one hour.

    Tip: It is a good idea to wear latex gloves when working with wood stain. They keep your hands clean and stain free, and also protect your craft item from fingerprints.

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  • 04 of 08

    Paint Over the Stencils

    stencil on wood wall plaque
    Rita Shehan
    • Download the free electronic die cut files provided with this tutorial. Unzip the folder and save the folder somewhere on your computer that you will remember.
    • Cut the word gratitude, the maple leaf, acorn and pumpkin from adhesive die cutting vinyl sheets or contact paper on your electronic die cutting machine.
    • Remove the inner sections of the stencil and place onto the wooden plaque parts using the above photo as a guide.
    • Use a bone folder to burnish the vinyl stencil firmly onto the wood. Make sure that all of the stencil edges are adhering without any gaps to the wood plaque pieces.
    • Squeeze some beige acrylic paint into a bowl or plate and dab with a stencil brush.
    • Using an up and down motion, place bits of beige paint onto the stencils covering the open areas with paint.
    • Allow the paint at least one hour to dry.
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  • 05 of 08

    Remove the Stencils

    removing stencil from plaque
    Rita Shehan

    After the paint has dried, gently remove the stencil with an upward motion. Don't forget to remove the little pieces of vinyl inside of the letters.

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  • 06 of 08

    Create a Weathered Effect

    painted wood plaque
    Rita Shehan

    The words and pictures on your plaque parts should be visible and have clean edges. Although the sign looks good just as it is, you can take it a step further and add a weathered touch to your piece.

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  • 07 of 08

    Sand the Plaque

    sanded painted plaque
    Rita Shehan

    To give your plaque a weathered, and distressed look, take the sheet of coarse sanding paper and sand the wooden parts. Make sure to use a left to right motion following the grain of the wood, which helps to give the wood a realistic distressed look. Don't go overboard with the sanding! You just want to make your plaque look as though it has been around for awhile. Don't sand so much that there are obvious gouges in your sign.

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  • 08 of 08

    Protect the Plaque With a Mod Podge Finish

    finished gratitude plaque
    Rita Shehan
    • Use  a foam brush to apply a coat of matte finish Mod Podge to seal and protect the wood.
    • Let the Mod podge dry and apply a second coat.
    • Cut the hemp string provided in the kit and connect the wooden plaque pieces together using the above photo as a reference guide.
    • Your beautiful Thanksgiving wall decor is now ready to hang and enjoy!