We made DIY botanical wall art using layered photos of leaves and flowers printed on three separate transparencies, layered between four sheets of acrylic, and framed on the top and bottom with wood and brass hardware. In total it cost under $40 but you could do it for less if you used a less expensive wood or fewer layers of acrylic. It's a pretty flexible project in terms of materials (lots of ways to customize it! Different hardware colors, different types of wood, different sizes) but below is what we used.
Tools & materials:
- 18x24 (1/16” thick) acrylic sheets (or size desired)
- Acrylic cutting blade
- Botanical prints on transparencies
- Brass thumb screws
- 1/4" 20 bolts (to go with the thumb screws)
- D ring holder or sawtooth hanger
- Thin pieces of wood wide enough for your acrylic
- Miter saw
- Countersink drill bit set (optional)
- Wood oil (or whatever finish you prefer)
Step 1: Design Botanical
We used stock images of leaves and flowers with white backgrounds and opened them up in Photoshop, arranging them on different layers (with the layer mode set to Multiply so the white backgrounds essentially became transparent).
You could also grab leaves and petals from your yard and use those, take your own photos of them against a white background, or use free printables you find online.
We took our botanical graphic and split it into three different layers so that we could print it on three different sheets of transparency (most printing places will do this for you cheaply). We loosely cut around each of our transparencies with an exacto knife so that the edges of the three didn’t line up perfectly/obviously.
Step 2: Cut Acrylic to Size (optional)
This step is optional, because you might find acrylic sheets in the size you want. For us, it was half the price to buy a larger size and cut them in half with an acrylic cutting blade. To do this, we clamped our acrylic and a straight edge to our work surface and scored along the middle of the acrylic to make sure it was perfectly in half. Note that the blade has some thickness to it, so make sure to account for that when lining up your straight edge.
Run the blade over the acrylic til you have a solid groove. Then clamp the acrylic to the edge of your work table so that the groove is just over the edge, and press down on the overhanging piece of acrylic to snap it.
Step 3: Cut Wood to Size
We used a thin piece of walnut we found in the scrap bin of our local hardwood store, but any wood will work as long as it’s wide enough to make four pieces to go across the top and bottom of your acrylic sheets (two on the front, two on the back). It should also be relatively thin so that it doesn’t stick out too far from the wall.
Step 4: Drill & Add Hardware
Stack your acrylic sheets and wood, and clamp them together. Then drill through all the layers at the same time to ensure they all line up correctly.
If desired, then use a countersink bit so that your screws sit flush with the back of the wood.
Then add your hanging hardware to the back. We added both d-rings (for wire, rope, twine, or leather hanging) and a sawtooth hanger (for nails) because we weren’t sure at the time which we wanted to use.
Once you’re done with this step, it’s also a good time to go ahead and finish your wood with wood oil or whatever finish you prefer.
Step 5: Assemble
Flip everything over so that the side of the wood that is counter sunk is facing down, and place your bolts through it (so that they’re point up). Then begin assembling your layers, making sure to keep them in the correct order and orientation.
- Two back pieces of wood with bolts through them
- Back piece of acrylic
- Back transparency
- Another piece of acrylic
- Middle transparency
- Another piece of acrylic
- Front transparency
- Top piece of acrylic
- Top two pieces of wood
- Thumb screws to secure everything
Make sure you get any little sawdust or dust that gets in between the layers of acrylic as you go, you don't want to have to disassemble to get them later!
Step 6: DONE!!
Now you’re all done! Hang in on your wall using a nail, some wire, a decorative rope, or whatever you think looks best and marvel at your glorious botanical.
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