Wood Shim DIY Wall Art

2 Materials
1 Hour

I've been learning about the importance of texture in a home, and I've been trying to find more ways to incorporate it into ours. I came across this wood shim art and decided to give it a try because shims are pretty inexpensive! If you've been here a while, you know I love a good, cheap DIY.

It took me 5 packs of wood shims to cover my 2x2 plywood, but obviously the quantity you need will vary based on the size of your art piece. This whole project cost me less than $15, but you may be able to do it cheaper if you don't go with the precut plywood (and again, of course depending on the size).

What I used:

2x2 pre-cut plywood

Wood shims (8 in)

Liquid nails (wood glue would also work)

Step 1: Decide on layout

I played around with a few different orientations until I was happy. I tried herringbone, one arrow, and stripes. I laid out the pieces exactly as I wanted them to be. I tried to spread out shims with similar colors, widths, and lengths. I also tried to vary where I had the seams to give it a more "random" look.

Step 2: Cut shims

I used a miter saw to cut my shims. My project worked out so that 3 shims fit perfectly across the board (8 inch shims, 24 inch plywood). Because of this, after each cut I marked both halves of the shim with the same number. This was so that when I glued my shims down, I could place both cut portions in the same row, keeping a full 24 inch row.

Step 3: Glue

I glued mine down using liquid nails because I had some on hand, but wood glue would also work just fine.

Step 4: Hang (optional)

I added a saw tooth hanger which I pulled off of an old frame I wasn't using. I screwed it into the back of the art, and hung it up!

You can also paint/stain your pieces. I've seen cool examples where some shims are stained a different color randomly throughout the piece. I'm still debating on doing this. I'm also thinking about making a frame for it to give it a more finished look, but that’s all TBD.

This was a great way to add some more interest and dimension to a room, and all for only $15!

Resources for this project:

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Barbara Watkins
    Barbara Watkins
    on Sep 23, 2020

    Could these be glued right onto vinyl behind countertop as a backsplash?

    • Flipturn
      on Oct 8, 2020

      Agree with S that these pieces near a sink or vanity would be hard to keep clean and sanitized the way a bathroom need to be maintained. Even if the surfaces received a coat of sealant, the little gaps would be magnets for lint, hair, product splashes, and germs.

Join the conversation

4 of 18 comments
  • Mo
    on Sep 24, 2020

    Now I know how to frame the cheap little mirror in my powder room. thank you

  • Mcgypsy9
    on Sep 28, 2020

    Very cool! I love the entire project! My husband is always trying to throw my scrap wood away, I don’t think so! I have bought packages of shims and added them to my scrap pile just in case they are needed.

    I personally would have stained them differently for my own use. I’m actually working on a wall that is behind my fireplace and doing the wall in tobacco sticks. Some of them are over 100 years old and very crumbly. I am painting some of them but those are not really paintable so I will oil or stain those particular ones. I can’t wait to get this finished but it’s coming along slowly as I’m not that young anymore and things take more time.

    Again, love your project, very cool!

    • Mcgypsy9
      on Oct 2, 2020

      I will show it to you when I finish. I just got the stain I was waiting for which is actually called tobacco...lol...and using boiled linseed oil for some too. Also going to paint only here and there a black few and then a gold few and work them in.

      I already did a wall in wood that I stained and painted which I will try to add here.

      ok found it...well I can’t get it to post it keeps saying error. I will try again tomorrow.

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