I love it when I can combine woodworking and geeky things. Today I’m sharing how to build a giant Mario pixel wall art. This was a really fun (and really tedious) project that I created for the Modern Makers Podcast’sTwo 2×4 Challenge. The objective of the challenge was to create something using 70% of two 2×4 boards. The classic Super Mario Bros was my introduction to video games, and thus 8-bit Mario will always have a special place in heart.
Tools and Supplies
I used the following tools and supplies to create the giant pixel Mario (affiliate):
- Table Saw
- 14" Bandsaw equipped with the Wood Slicer Resaw blade
- Router with a 45 degree chamfer
- Bench cookies
- Brad Nailer
- FeatherDuo (This is a handy tool)
- Microjig Grr-Ripper (This is also a really handy tool)
- 2x4 - 8' (2) or you could skip the resawing step and purchase 1x4 - 8' (4)
- Red food coloring
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Light brown wood stain (Watco Danish Oil - Medium Walnut)
- Dark brown wood stain (ECOS Paints Woodshield - Special Walnut)
- CA Glue (I used DAP Rapid Fuse Wood Adhesive. This stuff is legit.)
- Wood glue
The project cost me about $10 in supplies. I had to purchase the two 2x4s and CA glue.
Step 1: Resaw and Mill the 2x4s
Cut each 2x4 in half and resaw boards on the bandsaw. The goal here is to stretch the 2x4s by turning them into 1x4s. (Or you can skip this step and just buy 1x4 boards.)
Alignment is critical. You want to ensure the boards are square on each side. Start with a jointer and flatten one face, followed by an edge. Move to the planer to flatten another face and mill all the boards down to the same thickness.
Step 2: Rip and Cut the Lumber Into 2" Squares
On the table saw rip the boards down to 2" strips. Save the leftovers. You will need them later.
I didn't do this when I made my Mario, but I seriously regretted it later: Equip a router with a 45 degree chamfer bit. Route the along the edges of the strips. (I waited until after I cut the strips into individual squares to begin routing. I don't recommend that.)
Cut each strip into 2" squares.
Step 3: Route Each Edge of Each Square
Step 4: Stain the Squares and Assemble Mario
Sand each square to prep it for a finish.
I used a mixture of dyes and stains to color the squares. For the red squares, I created a dye from red food color and rubbing alcohol. The tan squares were stained with Watco Danish Oil in Medium Walnut. The dark brown squares were stained with ECOS Paints WoodShield stain in Special Walnut.
Glue each square together to form Mario. Use a straight edge to ensure proper alignment. I used DAP Rapid Fuse Wood Adhesive (and when I ran out of that I used the All Purpose version).
For added support and durability, strengthen the backside of Mario with the leftover strips from ripping the 1x4 boards. Cut the strips to size and install with wood glue and nails.