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Like most projects i end up doing, this began with my wife seeing this at a store and deciding that i could make it for her much cheaper.

Looked like a fun and easy project so I accepted.

Step 1: Buy or Gather Materials

I wanted to make this as cheap as possible.

Went to my local home depot and scouted the lumber aisle.

Ended up getting (3) 6 foot fencing boards that cost about $3.50 each. Also grabbed a few simpson steel straps for about $4 each.

Step 2: Cut and Assemble

I measured, marked and cut the boards with my sawzall. I didnt bother being neat since the idea was to end up with a rustic look

After cutting the wood i cut the steel straps and started fastening the boards to each other.

Step 3: Sand and Stain

I did a little bit of sanding and put on some stain.

Since these are cheap boards they need lots and lots of sanding or even planing for them to end up nice and smooth. Well i dont have a planer and didnt want to sand much since my wife had ordered a "rustic" looking finish.

As it turns out, no sanding made it "too rustic" according to the boss so i had to go back and sand it smooth.

After lots of sanding with my sander, 60 grit, then 100, i went on to the stain.

Staining is upfront and simple. I always just follow the application instructions on the can.

I did 2 coats of stain to try to get it as dark as possible.

Step 4: Adding Your Artwork

After the wood planks are sanded and stained its time to paint your artwork on it.

My wife wanted a map of the Unites States.

I printed a map on 5 or 6 sheets of 11x17 paper and cut and taped it all together.

I then traced the map with a pen pressing as hard as i could to create an indentation on the wood.

As a lefty i should have started on the right coast to avoid smearing paint, but i screwed up and went backwards.

I used enamel paint from a hobby shop and a small paint brush.

Came out pretty nice.

Step 5: Finish and Display

Heres is the finished product ready to hang.

I am considering adding some polyurethane for a nicer finish but have not decided yet.

I had salvaged a hanging wire from and old frame so i screwed that on.

Final step is signing and dating the piece on the back.

- Edit -
** I should note that these cheap boards tend to warp and bow in all different directions with any temperature changes or moisture. I set mine in the garage and the temperature changes caused a little bit of warping.

If i had to do it again i would sand and stain the boards individually first, let them cure for a week, then assemble them together, then paint the artwork.

Cheers
<p>Nice and looks like a pretty simple project too! Very cool.</p>
<p>One of my favorite projects I've done in a while, made for a really nice present.</p>
And a quick tip, a brown sharpie works great to hide any paint smudges
That looks great! Good work!
thanks for the idea! just finished mine
I work with wood a lot and you should check out a gloss varnish
great idea for a cnc routed version. especially if I can find a .dxf file of the state borders.
Nice!
I love it!!
Looks good dude!
Hahahaha! Sorry seamster
I was looking at this, and the wife walked over and said &quot;Oooh, I like that.&quot; <br> <br>...So now I have to make one. Thanks a lot.
Simple, but gorgeous. You did a great job. I'll be doing something similar soon. Thank you.

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