Introduction: Limited Tools Tree Silhouette Wall Art
Video link below, for some reason video link above doesn't work on mobile. I'm new to instructables so I might be doing something wrong.
This is a limited tools project. All you need is a jigsaw, drill, and clamps. I don't include Personal Protective Equipment as part of the tool requirement because you could still make this without safety glass or ear muffs or a respirator but I would strongly suggest you do wear safety gear. Good safety gear is pretty inexpensive and well worth every penny.
This project has a lot of bang for the buck. If you have a large wall and don’t know what to hang on it you can make a huge impact with this wall hanging. You can paint it any color to match your décor or add a backing to it with an accent color. I say you get a lot of bang for your buck because a 5/8in. by 4 foot by 8 foot sheet of MDF cost less than $30 and you only use half sheet. You can ask the employees at the home center to cut the full sheet in half for you when you purchase it. The jigsaw I use is one I purchased several years ago for about $30-$40 it’s not the best, but for MDF it’s more than enough.
I got the inspiration for this while at a craft store. I found the mini-tree I show in the beginning of the video in a three pack and really liked it the first thing that popped in to my mind was this needs to be bigger. So I scanned it and then enlarged it. I printed out the sheets and taped them together to make the template. The great thing about this project is that it is an organic shape which lends itself to irregularity. In other words it doesn’t have to be perfect you don’t have to cut exactly on the lines. Any imperfections only add to the final piece. I even changed the shape of the leaves from rounded ends to pointed ends because they are easier to cut out with a jigsaw. So if you have never used a jigsaw before then this is a good beginner project any mistakes can be hidden by the organic shape of the leaves and the tree. The only time you have to follow the line is when you cut the circle or you could just make it a large square and forgo that part.
Also you should know that MDF is extremely dusty so it’s best to work outside if possible and either wear a dust mask or if you have it a respirator. This project can be completed in a weekend or in one day if you start early. It took me about 2 hours to cut out all the shapes and that was with a few rest breaks in between. I really liked the way the final piece turned out. I’m not sure if I will keep it or give it away. I hope you all enjoy the video and it inspires you to create your own version.
Here I am taping together the large print out. I printed this out from MS Paint. When printing from the "Paint" program there is an option to print the piece on multiple pages (File>Print>Page Setup> Fit to:.) which will automatically enlarge the picture. You just have to choose how many pages you want the piece to print on as in fit to 2x2 or 3x3 or 4x4, etc., so a 4x4 print will yield 16 pages you have to tape together. The image I used I scanned, but you can use any image you have or find.
There is also a little math involved when you are trying to figure out the size of the final piece before you print it on multiple sheets. If the original image is 5 inches wide and you print it 4x4 or 16 sheets then your final enlarged print will measure 20 inches across. Were as a 5 inch wide image you print on a 2x2 or 4 sheets will measure 10 inches across
You can also increase the size of your image in MS Paint. First you want to go to the "View" tab and check the rulers box. This will let you see how big your image is and will give you an idea of how big you want to make the final image. Then you go to the "Home" tab and resize the image. You can increase the size here by entering a number greater than 100% in the horizontal and vertical boxes. This does take a little trial and error sometimes to figure out how big you can go. The rulers will help you see what size the image is after you enlarge it.
I usually try to make the image as big as possible on a 8.5x11 inch file in MS Paint since that is what I will be printing out on. The more space you take up on the 8.5x11 sheet of paper the more efficient your printing will be.
This is the image all taped together, you might notice the two corners are missing that is because nothing was printed on them so I didn't include them in the tape up.
Now you are ready to cut out all the leaves and trunk. I use a cutting board under the paper so I don't mess up my table.
I purchased a 5/8" x 4 x 8 foot piece of MDF. I cut it at home but you can ask to have it cut at the home center, usually for free, where you purchase your MDF.
In this step I traced all the cutouts on to my MDF. You should secure the template on to the MDF so that it wont move around on you while you trace the images. I also made a large compass with a scrap piece of MDF, a screw and a pencil. You can also use a screw or nail and a piece of string with a pencil attached to draw a large circle.
Next I pre-drilled holes in all of the areas I would be cutting out. This is to allow the jigsaw blade to be inserted in to each section for cutting. The second picture shows all the holes after drilling.
MDF can be very dusty its important to wear a face mask or a respirator if you have one. I also worked outside so I wouldn't have to worry about cleaning up. It took me about 2 hours to cut out all the pieces and that's with a couple of breaks to let my arm rest. A jigsaw, or at least my jigsaw, vibrates quite a bit.
Here is the piece after cutting out all the shapes and after sanding everything smooth. I used 80 grit, 150 and 220 on the outside edge. I used 220 on the top part of the piece. This was all prep before painting.
I used a black spray paint as primer and then a "hammered texture" spray paint for the top coat. But you can use what ever color you prefer that's the great part about making your own stuff. The second picture is a close up of the hammered texture.
This was the inspiration for the piece its about 4 inches round. The finished piece measures just under 45 inches round.
This photo is for comparison. The small circle on top of the finished piece was the inspiration piece.
And finally the finished piece. Which I will be giving to my Mom for Christmas. She saw my video and loved it so this will be going over her fireplace mantle. I hope this inspires you to make your own.