Heron Silhouettes on Live Edge Birch for the Master Bathroom

5 Materials
6 Hours
I am absolutely in awe of herons - they're such a majestic, pre-historic looking bird! Every heron sighting at the lake is like Christmas morning for me and my family. We miss our weekends at the lake in Winter. Here is a way I found to enjoy these beautiful creatures all year long! The cost for this project was under $20! Hope you get inspired to paint some silhouettes of your favorite things!
Here is my inspiration. This photo was taken on a beautiful Summer day at the lake this July. Herons really look like pterodactyls don't they?
My neighbor owns a sawmill. I purchased this beautiful birch live edge lumber to make a table top for our outdoor patio set. The patio set is still waiting on the honey-do list - just too cold to get started. My lumber cost $14 a piece and comes in various widths and lengths. The birch is used to store in between all the more expensive woods. The pieces that I'm using for the bathroom are remnants from my table project that is waiting to be assembled.
Here is my bland little bathroom. I need a new tub but it's just not a priority. I'm just going to try and pretty it up. It's a 29 year old jacuzzi! It's quite the challenge!
Home Depot was having a sale on this beautiful wooden backsplash at 1/2 price. I had to pick it up to add a little bling to my dated bathroom. I sealed it with Watco Butcher Block sealer.
Now, for those herons... Some very basic supplies... This black acrylic paint is from the Dollar Store. I used a fine, medium and large brush.

I looked at various patterns of herons that I have made over the years. These are some metal ones that my husband cut for me with his skill saw and a special metal blade.
You can find patterns in several ways: gift bags from the Dollar Store, greeting cards, posters or search for some images online, print and make a template tracer on bristol board. Trace the image in pencil before painting. Remember to respect artists' copyrights if you intend to sell any of the items. You can easily project most images directly onto any surface with an LCD projector, then trace the outline just like the silhouettes we used to do in elementary school. I'm looking for a perfect picture of my boys fishing off the dock to do next.
I didn't seal the birch before painting the herons because I like the look of natural wood for my blah little bathroom. My bath doesn't have a shower so water damage isn't an issue. I strongly suggest that you seal the project first if this is your first attempt at painting because any black drips will be soaked up into the wood and become very difficult to remove. By sealing it first, if you make any mistakes, you can quickly wipe them with a damp cloth. Whatever paint you're using will determine what sealer you should use. I suggest a matte finish for this project.

Here's my completed pair of herons. It's as easy to do as coloring book pages.
Once the paint was completely dry, my husband put some eye hooks in the lumber.
I described my projects to the fellow at Home Depot and this is what he recommended it be hung with. I wouldn't want one of those herons to fall on me while soaking in the tub!
We used 50 lb. hanging wire to secure the back of the birch slabs. My husband used pliers to cut the wire. He suggested that this was not the best tool for cutting but the garage was freezing! -26 today, neither of us felt like searching for a better choice of cutters!

We used 50 lb. picture hangers to secure the birch slabs to the wall.
These herons aren't going anywhere!

I hope that you will get inspired to paint some silhouettes of your own. Paddles and oars are great surfaces to try if you're into the nautical theme. Old tin, reclaimed lumber, pallet wood and found objects are some other ideas to consider. Happy new year and painting!

Suggested materials:

  • Birch live edge slab   (sawmill)
  • Black paint   (Dollar Store)
  • Eye hooks   (on hand)
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3 of 51 comments
  • Itsmemic Itsmemic on Feb 04, 2018
    great job ! And who knew? Seal the wood first so it doesn't soak up the paint and mistakes...this advice alone is worth a million !! THANKS !!
  • Martha Martha on Jul 07, 2020

    These are BEAUTIFUL 💜💜💜

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