Inlays : Shapes in Wooden Art Hangings




Chevron wall hangings are gaining in popularity and one way to add another dimension and distinguish your piece might be to add an inlayed shape.

Step 1: Routering Your Shape

I choose a triangle for my shape, but I've also made star shapes, geometric diamonds and circles in the past. The more complex, the more time you'll spend measuring angles and fitting all your pieces in.

Depending on what you have access to, a CNC router or a regular router, you'll make your shape in various ways.

I choose CNC, finding it a really quick way to get the precise shape. I made a triangle in Illustrator, brought it into VCarve and then ran the shape on a Shopbot.

However, if you were to do this step by hand, as most might and I often do when I'm working from my studio, you would first draw the shape onto the wooden canvas, using rulers and guides to make your lines as straight as possible. After this careful score the line with a scoring knife.

After this set your router to the desired depth, I set mine for 1/4 as the material I was using was 1/4 thick.

Begin routering away the inside material, getting close to the scored line. Once you've taken away the inside material, you can use a chisel to knock out the last little bits, using the scored line for registration and easier chiseling.

If you've canvas is not perfectly flat, the router plate may knock into parts. Turn the router off, readjust to that plane and continue routering carefully. If this results in unevenness, readjust the height so the inlay is flat.

If your canvas is not perfectly flat however, the best method is to make a template so when your router is traveling it is traveling on the flatness of the plywood. I found this Instructable recently that might be useful!

Step 2: Assembly Your Materials!

I love using lath, thin flat strips of wood that were used to form the foundation so plaster could be applied for wallsmuntil the late 1950's.

Lath can be found at a number of salvage lumber yards or online on sites such as Craigslist.

Lath is usually a 1/4, already at a great thickness for inlaying, and just needs a bit of sanding with a 120 grit to get dusted off and primed for use.

However any thin, scrap wood you have is of use!

Step 3: Measuring

Measuring your angles and sizes is the next step.

I love the look of my Shinwa Mini Protractor, but I've recently started using a standard bevel gauge and the ability to lock in an angle is so helpful! After getting the angle from the routered triangle, I'll transfer it to the lath, mark a line and cut with a Japanese saw. Japanese tooling often cuts on the pull stroke giving more control over any cut you might make.

Step 4: Fitting and Adjusting

As I cut each piece I'll often use a small plane and rough grit sandpaper to create a better fit.

I'll make every piece fits snugly as I go, often they fit so well that they wedge together and reinforce themselves.

Step 5: Apply a Finish and Glue

At the end it's time to apply a finish! I love to use Bioshield Hard Oil and Monocoat Pure as eco-friendly yet beautiful finishes.

With a small amount and a rag I'll apply the finish and let to dry.

I'll use glue to secure all the pieces, applying just a line on the lath and a bit on the routered surface.

Step 6: And Hang!

Apply screws to the back of the frame and I often use black coil and conventional picture hooks to hang.



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    8 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Wow! Love it <3
    How did you do the base ? i mean on what the first boards are fixed =)

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Hi there, great to know you're interested, gives me the encouragement to make a Instructable on that as well! I made the base by mitering the boards at 30 degrees angle and gluing them down on a plywood frame that I had already made.


    3 years ago

    Looking great! Thanks for the know-how!


    3 years ago

    True beauty! Thanks


    3 years ago

    Nice looks amazing but ILLUMANTI CONFIRMED


    3 years ago

    Cool and simple. I love it.