This statement-making wood wall art features colorful painted blocks and makes an easy weekend decorating project. Hang it with your gallery wall for a three-dimensional display.
artwork made with painted square dowels

Try this Pinterest-worthy wood wall art for your next home decor project. Made from dowels cut into blocks, this mosaic adds texture and dimension to your walls. Varying the height of the blocks increases visual interest. This project can also be customized to suit your style. Create an abstract geometric pattern or arrange the blocks into a specific design. Use different shades of wood stain or paint the blocks in a color scheme of your choice. We painted our blocks various shades of blue and glued them to a 24-inch x 30-inch backing board, but you can make yours as big (or small!) as you want—just adjust your amount of dowels and the size of your plywood base. Once finished, display the piece as a stand-alone stunner or to add texture to a gallery wall.

  • Working time 5 hrs
  • Start to finish 2 days
  • Difficulty Kind of Easy

What you need


How to do it

Part 1

measuring wood to create dowel backing
measuring lengths for dowel cuts
Step 1

Cut Wood Pieces

First, make all of your wood cuts for the project. Measure and cut a 2x4-foot piece of plywood to 23¾ x 30 inches to serve as the backing for your project. If you choose to create larger artwork, you'll need to start with a larger sheet of plywood.

Measure and cut the dowels to various lengths. We cut 1-inch, 1¼-, 1½-, and 1¾-inch pieces using a chop saw. To fill our board, we needed 29 dowels, but you may need more or less depending on the size of your artwork. You'll also need to cut the screen bead that will form your frame. Cut two 30-inch pieces and two 23¾-inch pieces, mitering both ends so they will form a square around the plywood once attached.

How to Use a Miter Saw
Play Video
How to Use a Miter Saw

Familiarize yourself with using a saw for this project.

using fine sandpaper to smooth dowels
Step 2

Sand Dowel Edges

Once you've cut the dowels to size, sand all edges smooth. This will prevent any sharp corners from sticking out of your artwork. Sanding also helps paint or stain adhere better. Wipe away any sawdust with a tack cloth. 

Related: How to  Choose the Right Sander for Your Project

using brush to apply paint to dowel blocks
Step 3

Paint Blocks

Paint or stain the blocks as desired. To mimic the look of our blue artwork, dilute acrylic paint with water in a 1:1 ratio to make it more transparent. Vary the amount of water for a lighter or darker shade. We painted a few blocks a diluted white, then painted the remaining blocks in one of four shades of blue. Let dry.

making a pattern out of painted dowel blocks
Step 4

Plan Design and Glue It Down

Lay out all of the blocks on the plywood to create a pleasing arrangement of colors and heights. Once you are happy with the look, carefully slide two or three rows off the side of the board. Push over the rest of the rows slightly to make space to work. Working one row at a time, remove the blocks and apply a generous line of wood glue to the board. Return the blocks to their position. Press each block down firmly. Let dry completely, referring to manufacturer's instructions for drying times.

attaching frame for dowel block art
Step 5

Add Screen Bead Frame

Once you have all of the dowel blocks glued down, form a frame with pieces of mitered screen bead. Align the 30-inch pieces along the long sides of the plywood and glue in place. Tack with a nail gun to secure. Repeat with the 23¾-inch pieces along the short sides of the plywood. 

securing shiplap wall with nail gun
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How to Use a Nail Gun

Use a nail gun safely with these tips.

using drill to attach d-rings
Step 6

Attach Hanging Rings

After the wood glue has dried, flip the board over and attach D rings to the back for hanging. A drill or screwdriver works for this step. Finally, hang your finished wood art in desired location. The artwork will be quite heavy, so be sure to locate wall studs or use wall anchors.


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