Introduction: Patriotic Mosaic Wood Mountains

I really enjoy making wooden flags and I've been wanting to do something a little different than I hadn't seen before so I thought it would be a really cool idea to combine my wooden flag with some mosaic mountain art. They seemed like they would go together well geometrically.

If you can believe it, I made this entire project out of scrap material and other supplies I already had. Nothing additional was purchased. However, I've provided a step by step process for you if you would like to build your own beautiful patriotic mosaic mountain art.




  • (1x) 1x10x8
  • (1x) 2x4x8
  • (1x) 1/4" plywood backing 24x48
  • Minwax Navy blue stain
  • Minwax Crimson red stain
  • Minwax Bombay Mahogany stain
  • wood glue
  • 1" brad nails
  • Rustoleum Satin Clear Coat spray can


  • Miter saw
  • table saw
  • razor blades
  • foam brushes
  • Brad nailer
  • Sander
  • Sandpaper
  • safety glasses
  • mallet
  • clamps
  • speed square
  • combination square
  • propane torch
  • butane torch lighter
  • tape measure
  • Dremel (rotatory tool) with flex shaft
  • Dremel carving bits #106 and #107
  • 50 star template

Step 1: Design

For the design, I wanted to incorporate an American flag, wood, uniqueness, and be beautiful to look and at the same time, it would still have that WOW factor. So this is the design I came up with in AutoCAD, and you're welcome to use it if you'd like or come up with your own design and I can just walk you through how I constructed mine.

Step 2: Cut Material

  1. Start by cutting the 1x10x8 into 3 equal sections. Each piece should be apx. 32" long.
  2. Now sand each of the 3 boards. I just used 120 grit.
  3. Using the table saw, rip each of the 3 boards into 1 1/2" strips. You need a total of at least (13) 1 1/2" strips, but it doesn't hurt to have extra.

Step 3: Burning the Wood

  1. Select 7 of the 32" pieces and use a propane torch to create a burn pattern onto your wood
  2. Start by going left to right, moving at a slow but steady pace, and lightly burn the wood. Don't hold the torch too long in one spot, but just long enough to bring out the wood grain pattern. As a preference, I like mine to be just kissed with fire not scorched. Think of it like roasting marshmallows. I like mine golden brown with a hint of toastiness.

Step 4: Cutting Miters

  1. I've attached a cut list and a DWG file for you to use if you would like to follow my exact pattern. All angles except the obvious 90s are going to be at 45 degrees. If referencing the DWG file, use a miter saw and first cut the pieces to their overall length and then miter the corners off according to the drawing. The design is symmetrical so if you split the design in half, both halves should mirror each other and measure exactly the same. However, when making a mirrored cut you will have to flip the wood over or adjust the angle on the miter saw so as not to get the "wrong" or "bad" side of the wood.
  2. Start with the burned pieces first. This should be the first 6 rows, (top to bottom), and work your way down
  3. For the two small 7/16" triangle pieces, I used a band saw. This can also be done using a jigsaw or hand saw for these two pieces.

  4. Move onto the base of the center mountain.

  5. Once all burned pieces are cut to size and shape, move unto the non-burned sections.
  6. To make things easier, label the back of the piece after you cut it to help keep track of it and its location

Step 5: Test Fitting

    Test fit all the pieces and make sure they all fit together well. Your overall dimensions should be 15 3/4" x 30" For this step, I built a temporary frame with scrap wood pieces to help enclose the pieces together.

    To make the temporary frame, I brad nailed 3 strips of extra wood I had into a wooden work surface to create a partial frame, (two sides and the bottom), and then clamped a 2x2 to the top, and squeezed it together. This allowed me to see what kind of adjustments and final trimming needed to be done.

    Once you are satisfied with the fitment, layout your star template and line it up with the top left-hand corner and draw a line at the edge of the template. It should only go all the way through the first two boards a tiny bit through the third.

    Step 6: Staining

    People often ask me how I get nice clean and crisp lines when doing two stains on the same piece of wood and the answer is... razor blades.

    1. Start with your (2) 30" pieces and using a mallet, hammer in the razor blades into the wood where you drew your line. One side of each of these pieces will be blue. (The slightly shorter side) It might help to label each piece with a B, R, or W in pencil to know which color stain to use. Just remember to erase them before you start staining.
    2. Using a foam brush and a small amount of blue stain, apply the stain going with the grain, only on the blue sides.
    3. Continue staining all the blue pieces and set them to the side
    4. After staining all the blue pieces, move onto staining all the red pieces and set them to the side.
    5. Notice that there will be a few pieces that do not get any stain at all.
    6. For now, only stain the base of each mountain brown. This should consist of 14 pieces. Do not stain any pieces with the snow tops yet.

    Step 7: More Staining

    1. Using a combination square and the razor blades again, mark and divide the non-burned wood pieces as shown in the drawing. These marked lines will be at a 45-degree angle so using a speed square will help with this step
    2. Use the propane torch and burn only the appropriate sides of the wood using the razor blades as a separator. The brown side gets burned.
    3. After burning is complete, stain the newly burned sides brown

    Step 8: Framing

    For this step, I took what closely resembled a 2x2 and ripped it down a little bit on all sides to give it a nice clean and smooth look. I ripped it on the table saw to apx. 1 1/8" x 1 1/4"

    1. Start by cutting the 2x4 into a 30" piece. This will be your top and bottom
    2. Now square it off by removing the rounded edges on each side with the table saw.
    3. Now rip the 30" piece on the table saw into (2) 1 1/4" wide pieces
    4. Continue ripping the boards' thickness to the desired depth if you'd like. Mine is apx. 1 1/8" thick
    5. Layout your top and bottom frame pieces appropriately with the rest of the pieces and measure from outside to outside to get your side frame pieces length. It should be about 18 1/4" depending on the size of your frame.
    6. Now cut the two side frame pieces to the length repeating steps 2-4 for the side pieces and test fit it.
    7. Measure the overall length and width now, including the frame, and make note of it. This will be your measurement for the backing
    8. Burn and stain all sides of the frame pieces brown.

    Step 9: Backing and Gluing

    1. Using a table saw or circular saw, cut the 1/4" backing to size. The size of the backing should be the overall length and width that you just measured in the previous step.
    2. Apply wood glue to the underside of the bottom frame piece and right frame piece and line it up with the edge of the 1/4" backing to create the bottom right-hand corner.
    3. Using 1" brad nails, brad nail the frame pieces in place from the backside of the backing.
    4. With the corner created with both frame pieces, apply a liberal amount of wood glue with a foam brush to a small area, and begin placing pieces according to the design layout.
    5. Working quickly going from right to left, bottom to top, apply generous amounts of wood glue in small sections at a time, and insert appropriate pieces.
    6. Apply left-hand frame piece using the same method as before.
    7. Once all pieces are in place, excluding the top frame piece, clamp and squeeze the pieces together using a clamp.
    8. Using a rubber mallet, hammer down any pieces that may have pushed up. Several clamps may also be necessary
    9. Let glue dry per bottles instructions.
    10. Once the glue is dry, the final frame piece can be added using the same method as the others.

    Step 10: Carving the Stars

    1. Layout the star template in the upper left-hand corner and begin tracing the stars with a pencil. You only need to trace the stars and the parts of the stars that are in the blue portion.
    2. Using a Dremel or rotary tool with a flex shaft, use Dremel bit #106 and begin carefully carving out the outline of the stars. I like to start with all of the same lines of the stars first and then move on to the next until the outline is complete
    3. Finish outlining all of the necessary stars and then use Dremel bit #107 to carve the inside of the stars blowing off the dust as you go.
    4. If you'd like, you can go back with the #106 bit and sharpen up the points of the stars and clean up any rounded edges.

    Step 11: Final Touches

    1. For the final touches, I like to take a small butane torch lighter and gently hit each star and "age" it a little.
    2. If you haven't already done so, apply brown stain to the edges of the 1/4" backing.
    3. To make the colors more vibrant and give it a nice clear coat finish, I apply 2-3 light coats of Rustoleum Satin Clearcoat and do a light sanding between each coat. This step really brings out the colors.
    4. Attach appropriate mounting hardware if you'd like according to the hardware's instructions.
    5. Hang on your wall and enjoy your new beautiful patriotic wood mountain mosaic artwork!
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