Introduction: Wood Scrap Honeycomb Wall Hanging

About: I enjoy woodworking, gardening, cooking and cycling, or any combination thereof

I love hexagons. Having recently built a pair of wood hexagonal end tables, I had a bunch of small, odd shaped hardwood scraps left over. What to do with them? Make more hexagons!

Now blessed with an abundance of time and needing to minimize trips for materials in accordance to our state's COVID 19 shelter-in-place directive, I made this wall hanging in the spirit of "use what ya got." I also tried a new woodworking technique on the frame, so it was satisfying to pull off something new.

OK, let's dig through the scrap box and get going.


  • Wood scraps - I used mainly mahogany and sapele, but also some walnut and poplar for color and grain contrast. Any mix of wood will do, but if you don't have access to a thickness planer, try to use scraps of the same thickness, in my case about 7/8"
  • One .75"x3.5"x24" wood plank or about six feet of .75-1" thick and 1-2" wide wood trim for the frame
  • 18" by 24" piece of chicken wire. If you prefer, you could use plexiglass for the backing
  • Carpet tacks
  • Wood glue, I used Titebond II
  • Wood finish, I used Danish Oil
  • Tape
  • Sandpaper - 220 grit
  • Wood screws and washers or panhead screws


  • Band saw
  • Table saw
  • Miter saw
  • Benchtop belt/disc sander
  • Random orbital sander and/or oscillating multi-tool
  • Band clamp
  • Router
  • Razor saw
  • Hammer, wire cutters, pliers, nail sets
  • Drill, screw driver

Step 1: Making the Honeycomb

To cut all those little identical hexagons, you'll need to find or make a template (unless you have a 3D printer or CNC router, but what fun is that?). I happened to have a hexagon from my kids' block shape game, but you can make a template using a compass and ruler - here's a good animated tutorial:

I traced the template onto my pieces of 7/8" thick scrap wood and rough cut them using a band saw. I finished shaping them to the pencil lines using my benchtop belt sander. The pieces should be as faithful to the template as possible to minimize gaps when you glue them up - I spent a lot of time comparing the pieces to the master and going back to the sander to fine tune the angles and sides.

The honeycomb requires 37 hexagons, but make a few extra so you can play with the colors and grain. Most of my pieces are reddish mahogany and sapele, but I added a few walnut and poplar pieces for color and grain contrast. Once I had them arranged in a pleasing pattern show-side up, I taped them in rows and flipped them over so the show side was now facing down, which results in a flat show surface and less sanding after the glue up.

Applying Titebond II glue liberally, I assembled each row and glued it to the next. Titebond II gets tacky pretty fast, and I was able to squish each block and row together and get it to hold, though you could also use tape for more clamping force. Again, taking care in cutting your hexagons to the master and fitting them together in advance will ensure fewer gaps and goofs during the glue-up.

After letting it dry overnight, I flipped my honeycomb over and sanded it with my random orbital sander, progressing from 80 to 120 to 220 grit. After removing the sawdust with a tack cloth and rubbing alcohol, I applied a Danish Oil finish, which really lets the grain and figure shine through.

Step 2: Building the Frame

Yes, another hexagon! To make the frame, I ripped a 3/4" thick cherry plank into 1" wide strips, which I then cross-cut into the six side pieces. I cut a rabbet of about 3/16" by 3/8" on the back edge of each piece - this recess is where the chicken wire will be attached. Setting my miter saw at 30 degrees, I cut each piece 10 1/2" long on the outside face. This is about as big as I could make the frame while still fitting the 18" wide chicken wire scrap I had.

I used a 1/8" round-over bit on my router to ease the front facing edges of piece before gluing it all up. I used a nylon band clamp to press it all together and let it dry overnight.

Because there's relatively little area for glue at each joint and end-grain joints are generally weak, I decided to reinforce each joint using splines. You could use dowels, biscuits or a pin nailer, but I wanted to try visible splines, so I built a jig for cutting the dado at each joint on my table saw. I made the jig using scrap MDF to ride against the fence and a 120 degree angled cradle to support the frame and keep my fingers out of harm's way while making the cuts. Each dado is 1/8" wide, the kerf of the table saw blade. I used 1/8" wide scraps of walnut for the splines, cut flush with a razor saw after gluing.

I sanded away excess glue using the random orbital sander and my oscillating multi-tool and finished with 220 grit by hand. I like the color contrast with the cherry, and the frame is now strong enough for the next step - stretching and attaching the chicken wire.

Step 3: Putting It All Together

I flattened my pretty badly curled scrap of chicken wire by clamping down one edge and rolling over it with a metal pipe. I then laid the hexagonal frame over the chicken wire, marked it with tape and magic marker and cut it to approximate size with wire cutters.

I attached with chicken wire to the rabbets on the back side of the frame using carpet tacks, pulling each side even and taught so the hexagon pattern of the wire isn't distorted. Be prepared to spend a fair amount of time re-twisting wires and pushing pokey strands flush. Pliers, nail sets, and a recent tetanus shot are all helpful.

Once the chicken wire was attached, I applied a coat of Danish Oil to the frame and let it dry overnight. I then attached the honeycomb to the chicken wire using a few screws and washers, pre-drilling the screw holes.

The last step was applying a coat of Howard's Feed-N-Wax to the honeycomb and frame, which suitably contains bee's wax, and buffing it out. I'm very happy with how it turned out, the rich colors of the wood suggest honey and it sort of looks like a deconstructed beehive. Bonus, I was able to use up some otherwise too small to be much use wood.

If your wood pile or scrap box is overflowing, I encourage you to make something fun, maybe a surprise gift for a relative or friend. Hopefully, you'll learn a new technique on the way like I did.