Shou Sugi Ban Picture Frame

10 Materials
3 Hours

I spotted this method on Pinterest awhile back and was so taken with the results I just had to have a try. To keep it simple I chose to do a Shou Sugi Ban picture frame as my first project. I have a bad habit of diving in feet first and biting off more than I can chew, so I kept it simple. I was looking for a new picture for my bedroom and having lived in South Africa most of my life, I love the African bush. So my idea was to have an African bush scene that is framed in burnt wood. If you have never heard of Shou Sugi Ban it is a method of burning wood. There are a few ways to do it such as leave the wood all charred, black and cracked. Or you can remove the black and have a natural wood colour.

I used scrap wood that was leftover on a construction site so mine is not matching. And believe it or not, I did not notice it until I was finished with the project. So my frame has a two-toned colour.

To burn the wood you will need a suitable blowtorch. I would highly recommend a blow torch like the one used in the image above or bigger. I started at one end and burnt the wood evenly until I noticed the wood start to char and crack like the image below.

To get the same effect as I got, you need to remove all the charred wood. Using a wire brush is the quickest way to do this, rubbing with the grain of the wood. I must add that this step is super messy and better done outside.

The image above is how the wood will look after you have brushed off the charred layer. The idea now is to dig down past the charred wood to get back to the natural wood colour. The grain will stay black giving you a lot of contrast between the two colours. You can either keep the natural wood colour or you can add some coloured stains. For this project, I am keeping the natural wood natural, but I have some great projects coming up to show you the coloured Shou sugi ban. To get back to the natural wood colour you can keep using a wire brush but I found it too much hard work. You can use one of these coarse nylon flap brushes that you can attach to a drill.

You need to hold the coarse nylon flap brush over the surface going with the grain. You can do as much or as little as you want here, going deeper for lighter wood. The grain seemed to stay black no matter how deep I went.

It is hard to tell from the image below, but the lighter wood is at least 3mm deeper than the darker wood. So you have some great texture on the surface.

I used different planks for this project, but if you can find wood with more grain the effect is so much better as you can see below.

I measured the canvas and cut the wood to size at 45 degrees angles using a drop saw. My original idea was to box the canvas into the frame. But as I was laying the frame around the canvas, I changed my mind. I loved the look of the canvas sitting slightly higher than the frame.

To join the sides of the frame together I used a portable pocket hole jig. This allows you to get a tight joint on the corners. I did add glue before the corners were screwed together for added support.

To give this Shou sugi ban picture frame a more unique look I added some leather laces to the corners. Use a drill to drill holes where you want them. I added shoe eyelets to make the holes look more defined. When you drill the holes you need to choose the correct size drill bit for the shoe eyelet. You can then use multipurpose glue to glue the eyelets in place and wipe away any access glue.

I sealed the wood with some clear wax. I applied it with a brush and wiped off the excess with a cloth.

You can now thread the laces through the holes and staple the ends to the back of the frame.

Add back supports

Because I did not box in the canvas I needed a way to hold the canvas in place inside the frame. I used some scraps of aluminium that I screwed in the back.

This cool corner shelf is great for small spaces and doubles as a Christmas tree in December.

This patio cooler was made from mainly recycled materials and would be a great addition to any party.

Completed Shou Sugi Ban picture frame. For a more detailed tutorial with all the tips and tricks I have learnt, jump across to my website listed below. My cost for this project was very low because I used all recycled materials and had the rest at home. Your costs will depend on what items you have.

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


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