Storm Trooper Wall Art From Reclaimed Materials

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I have a long list of project ideas that I work off of. One of the things that has been on my list for quite a while was simply noted as "storm trooper art piece". This past weekend we visited our local Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, which if you are not familiar with that, it is kind of like a thrift store for building materials, furniture, etc. While we were there we found out that they had a few pallets of 1/4" plywood they were giving away for free. They were about 2' x 4' pieces. Some were in rough shape some were... okay. I decided, since they were free, that I would take some. Amy and I loaded up about 20-30 small sheets and hit the road. Once I got home and started thinking about what I wanted to do with them, the storm trooper art piece was one of the first things to come to mind.

Materials for this project:

  • 1/4" plywood (reclaimed if possible)
  • 1 piece of maple hardwood flooring (reclaimed also)
  • Pattern (free on our website)
  • X-acto knife (or something similar)
  • Full page shipping label (or standard paper and spray adhesive)
  • Spray paint
  • Tools - saw, sander, clamps
  • Wood Glue
  • Spray Finish

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Step 1: Check Out the Video

Often times a step is more easily understood when you can see the whole process. Take a couple of minutes and check out the short build video that we have included. It shows a lot more of the entire build.

Step 2: Applying the Pattern

If you would like to make this project exactly like we did, you can get the free pattern on our website.

A really useful material we discovered recently that we have been using for applying templates is using full page shipping labels. They are super cheap on eBay and work great for patterns or templates that you need to stay in place for an extended period. Print the pattern onto the shipping label, remove the backing and stick it down. We placed ours onto a partial piece of one of the pieces of reclaimed plywood we got from the Re-store. Another option is to use standard paper and a spray adhesive.

Step 3: Cutting Out the Pattern / Stencil

We used and X-acto knife to cut out all the negative space where we wanted the paint to show through. This can be tedious and time-consuming. We suggest hitting play on your favorite playlist and just enjoying the ride. It took about an hour total to cut out the stencil. I takes a combination of cutting and carefully pulling up the pieces you want to remove.

Step 4: Painting Over the Stencil

Once we had the stencil completely cut out we grabbed a can of flat black spray paint and sprayed to the whole piece with a generous coat. We kept the can far enough away so that the paint wouldn't pool up or run.

Step 5: Removing the Remaining Stencil

Once the paint had dried, we removed what was left of the template. This process went much quicker since we didn't have to be as careful and there was nothing to cut. All we had to do was lift a corner and peel. This is the fun part... the payoff, where you really get to see it come together.

Step 6: Cutting the Plywood to Size

There was probably a better way to cut this out, but I trust my accuracy on a band saw to a certain degree. That was enough for me to run it through to trim off the excess material where the over-spray occurred.

Step 7: Making the Frame

The frame was also made from reclaimed materials. It is made from a piece of maple flooring that was removed from a home that was renovated back in 2016. I removed the tongue and groove sides by running it through the jointer. I also passed the face and back through a few time. Once I had it planed down to where I wanted it, I cut it into 3/4" strips on the table saw. I then measured the recently finished storm trooper and mitered 4 pieces to fit in their respective places around its perimeter.

Step 8: Final Assembly

The mitered frame gets glued into place with wood glue. We were careful with the placement of the glue so that it wouldn't squeeze up and out onto the art. Once we had them in place, we clamped the whole piece together using a band clamp.

Step 9: Finishing

Once the glue had dried it was time for sanding. We used a combination of hand sanding and the random orbital sander. We got it sanded to a smooth surface and then coated then entire piece with a standard spray semi-gloss finish.

Step 10: All Done!

That's all there is to it. It is an incredibly simple project. It does take a little time because of the pattern, but if you are a fan of Star Wars and you want some storm trooper art on your wall, it is well worth it.

We hope you enjoyed this DIY project and the video that goes along with it. If you have any questions or comments please let us know, we'd be more than happy to help you out. Thanks for checking out this Instructable.

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    12 Discussions

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    SgtGutta

    2 years ago

    how did u make that pattern? I want to do the same thing as you but with a different pattern.

    1 reply
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    waylightcreateSgtGutta

    Reply 2 years ago

    I used Inkscape (a free software) to make the pattern. I have a couple of tutorials on how I make patterns if you would like to see if they would help you out. Here's the link - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLlXsqAWo0V6LACPB-nW1xG1YL-nSGBtrY

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    Jwb1322

    2 years ago

    I can't wait to try this. I've really wanted to do some Star Wars art, but wasn't sure what to do that would be good for a beginner. I'm excited to give it a try. By chance do you have a link to any other images besides the Storm Trooper?
    Thanks for the post.

    1 reply
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    waylightcreateJwb1322

    Reply 2 years ago

    You are welcome. And no, I'm sorry, this is the only one that I made.

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    wemja

    2 years ago

    Looks really cool, I just have some improvements for other people who want to make it.

    You should be careful with a solid wood frame around a solid wood panel, if the wood starts to expand/contract due to moisture the frame may crack.
    Using plywood in the center or making it a loose panel in between the frame could prevent that from happening.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frame_and_panel


    3 replies
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    waylightcreatewemja

    Reply 2 years ago

    Good advice and very true. That is why we chose the 1/4" plywood panel for the art and a hardwood frame.

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    wemjawaylightcreate

    Reply 2 years ago

    Woops my bad, must have missed the part where you said it was made from plywood.

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    urban wombat

    2 years ago

    Guys, put a few strips of masking/painters tape on the bare wood first, anything on top peels off a dream.

    Great art dude, I need to give this a try.

    1 reply
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    waylightcreateurban wombat

    Reply 2 years ago

    Yeah, I have had a few people mention that on other forums. I use that method with scroll saw patterns quite often. I wasn't sure if the painter's tape would seal the edges good enough for the paint not to seep through though. It probably would have worked fine. I was just being overly cautious. Thanks for the kind words too.

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    MisterHighway

    2 years ago

    Nice project! I'll be trying out the full page sticky sheet as I seem to always have an issue removing the paper when I use spray adhesive. Maybe I just use too much *shrugs*.

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    waylightcreateMisterHighway

    Reply 2 years ago

    This stuff isn't the easiest to use either, as far as peeling off, but it most certainly is better than some spray adhesives I've used.