Repurposed Wood Scraps as Home Accents

Gray shelves above wood chair
Those wood scraps in your home center's cast-off bin are actually decorative gems in disguise. It's hip to be square!

Coaster Cuts

It doesn't take much to turn a 4x4-inch wood block into a collection of striking coasters. Use a chop saw or a handsaw plus a miter block to make straight cuts down the block (varying the widths of the cuts is a nice touch). To make coasters of your own, sand the edges and corners and apply a coat of natural wood stain and sealer to draw out the grain. Once dry, stick cabinet bumpers on the four corners of each of the bases to keep your surfaces scratch free.

Pencil Pusher

Think of this as a stylish knife block for your writing utensils. Start with a length of 4x4-inch wood and, once sanded, paint the top a color of your choice. Cut away the bottom at a funky angle (this will be the base). Then, like measuring out wrapping paper for a present, determine the length of decorative paper needed to cover the sides. See next slide for Step 2.

Pencil Pusher: Step 2

Soak the paper in water to make it pliable, then use a thin layer of watered-down Mod Podge to evenly attach the paper around the block, starting with two sides before moving on to the other two. Line up the paper with block's painted top; if the paper's too long at the other end, make a neat wrap around the base. Seal the paper with a top coat of watered-down Mod Podge. See next slide for Step 3.

Pencil Pusher: Step 3

Measure and mark pencil holds in an even pattern. Using a drill with a ½-inch drill bit, drill holes into the top at a 90-degree angle.

The Hang Up

Add stature to a plain garment hook. On a thin piece of sheet metal, trace around the face of a 1x4-inch sanded wood block. Use metal snips to cut the metal just slightly inside the lines, then glue the metal to the block. See next slide for Step 2.

The Hand Up: Step 2

Once dry, rub sandpaper in small circles across the metal to add texture, and attach the hook by drilling screws through the block and into a wall stud. Because of the added width of the block, you may need longer screws than those that came with the hook.

Stamp It

Can't find a stamp that suits your style at the crafts store? Make your own! Any size wood block will do, although the softer the wood the better (basswood is the best, while pine is usable). If you want distinct wood textures in your print, aim for a rough stretch of wood; for smooth, clean prints find a smooth block. See next slide for Step 2.

Stamp It: Step 2

Draw your design on the block or transfer it via carbon paper, then use cutting tools to carve away the negative space. Tip: Words need to be carved backward, and always push your tool away from your hands and body. See next slide for Step 3.

Stamp It: Step 3

After carving, use a brayer to spread paint or ink over the design, then stamp the block on a piece of paper cushioned by a dish towel (the give of the towel enables you to make an even print). After pressing down for a few seconds, hold the paper immobile and lift the block straight up. Now you have a print fit for framing, plus a bonus decoration in your inked stamp.

Off the Wall

Here's a slick, unobtrusive way to add new shelving space using 4x4-inch wood blocks cut to your desired lengths. After sanding and priming all visible surfaces, paint the block the color and sheen of your wall, then use hardware hooks to hang the block flush against the surface.

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