I love using this type of wood since they are cheap, and I don’t have to spend hours taking apart pallets, pus they give the look of old wood.
For fall I decided I wanted a giant leaf on my mantel, but I didn’t want to do the traditional stenciling method I’ve shared with you a bunch of times. I was thinking something more along the lines of my chevron Easter Egg project, and so the giant leaf silhouette idea was born.
This project is pretty easy to make, since the only tool you need is a jig saw. (You could do this on the scroll saw too, but you don’t really need that much precision)
SUPPLY LIST:Reclaimed boards (I used these fence boards that are less than $2 each. Mine were actually slighted warped so they were 75% off in the cull lumber section. I needed 3)
Plywood or other backer board
Jig saw (You can see a review of my saw in this post)
Wood Stain (Optional)
Nail gun or Wood Glue
Paper Leaf Silhouette at actual size (I used the image below, blown up to 35 inches tall which fit my mantel well)
Step 1: Print Out Traceable SilhouetteThis is always a sticking point for people since unless you go pay to have it printed on large scale paper, it is difficult to get a printout that is big enough. But I discovered the trick.
-Get your image correctly sized in your photo software.
-Set your PRINT AREA so that the entire image fits (I use a ‘custom’ paper size of the final size of the image)
-Save that large single sheet of paper as a PDF
-Open in Adobe Acrobat (or whatever PDF reader you have) and print from there. The adobe print window gives you the “Page Scaling” option where you can have it Tile Large Pages” and it will take that large image and split it up for you.
You will have to put those pieces back together like a puzzle and tape them together, but it is still a much easier method than making a run the office supply store for an expensive print.
Step 2: Transfer Image onto BoardsI lay out my boards on top of my image at first to make sure they are all long enough.
Next I use a pen to score the line though the paper onto the boards, and then go back and trace over that scored line with a pencil. REMEMBER YOUR BOARDS ARE LOOSE SO MAKE SURE NOTHING SHIFTS WHILE YOU ARE TRACING!
Step 3: Cut along lines with a Jig SawBecause the boards are separate this is actually pretty easy to do.
Some of the turns are really sharp, but because you are close to the edge of the board, it is easy to come in from multiple angles.
Many boards will end up having multiple pieces cut out from them.. So I used the original silhouette to keep track of where everything went.
Step 4: Stain Pieces and Backer Board (Optional)With my boards, the cut edges were a different color than the front, so I went over all the pieces with some wood stain (I used Red Mahogany by Minwax) sot the cut edges wouldn’t be as obvious, but this is all personal preference. If using truly old lumber, the cut edges may be pretty left as-is.
Step 5: Attach Silhouette to Backer BoardI went back and forth deciding if I wanted to leave small gaps between the boards so it was obvious they were their own board, or if I should squeeze them together as a single silhouette. I decided on keeping the gap, especially after staining them, since i wanted it to look like a leaf from boards, not from a solid piece of wood. I used a nail gun to attach them, but you could just glue them to the backer board as well. They are only decorative, so they don’t have to be on there super tight.
I am pleasantly surprised how great this project turned out. It only took me a few hours one afternoon and I have quite the statement piece. It has my creative juices flowing for all the other silhouettes I could create!