Next step in my minor bathroom reno? To go with my old-made-new light fixtures I decided to make a wood wall hanging to go above my bathtub.
I wanted something made with wood for sure and after I went to a really wicked terrarium workshop at FaBLOOMosity in Edmonton last Thursday I also knew I wanted something I could incorporate some succulents into. They can grow vertically which is way cool and they’re really hard to kill – right up my alley. Check out my new terrarium!
For the wall hanging, I originally was thinking round wood discs so I started out looking around the farm for logs that would be the right size to work with. I found a few but they were a bit older than I was hoping for so they didn’t have the best bark on them. I contemplated buying a few logs from someone local that sells firewood but he thought I fell off a turnip truck the day before and wanted to charge me $20-$40 a log. Nice try.
So the Farmer and I were outside hanging gates Friday afternoon and we have these 6×6 pieces that we buy from a local rig matting place in the fall for our fireplace because they make great firewood. As I was standing there holding the gate and the farmer was drilling holes in the post I thought to myself, why not make it using square pieces of wood?! They’d go together easier than round and I wouldn’t need to get a special saw going to cut them. My table saw blade would work perfectly if I used a mix of 6×6 and 4×4 pieces.
The next morning I was waiting for the Farmer to come home to go repair fence so I walked around the yard and collected my wood. I remembered seeing a really long 4×4 piece in the shop (turns out it was an 8′ piece) then I headed to the woodpile to get some of the 6×6 pieces too. As it happened, my Pops drove in in his pickup just as I was collecting so he gave them a free ride back to his shop where my table saw is set up.
This project really is made from scraps, I bought nothing new to make it. The Farmer Sr. and the Farmer’s Mum gave me a beautiful clock for Christmas that came attached to a long piece of masonite board and when I was throwing out the packaging, I left it aside because I’m a hoarder like that. Came in handy for this! The plants were already planted in my garden, I robbed them from there, the wood was in my shed and the hardware I have around the house already. Upcycle is my fave! I love making new beautiful things from old trashy stuff, it makes me feel like I adopted a stray dog and turned him into a prize canine.
When I got to the shop I laid out the masonite, started cutting pieces off the 4×4 and just set them down at random. I knew I wanted to have candles on it so I had to have at least three different sizes of blocks – the shortest would go beside the tallest making a shelf and the middle size would be used to even out the pattern.
I started cutting 1″, 2″ and 3″ and those sizes worked out perfectly. The 4×4 I had was really weathered with a few cracks so it was a light shade of grey on the outside but on the inside it was still a natural wood colour which gives it a nice variation.
There’s really no reasoning to the way I laid out my blocks. I just started putting them down and moving them around until I came up with a pattern I liked. Alternately, you could lay them in a perfect square or rectangle, I just wanted more of a random pattern so I laid mine like this. It made a little more work with the jigsaw but c’est la vie.
Once I had all my blocks laid out where I wanted them, my Pops and I stood there for a second trying to figure out the best way of cutting the backing out to make it invisible behind the blocks while retaining the pattern I just made. He suggested I draw an outline around all the blocks and then number each block individually and set them aside in the same pattern. So that’s what we did. My father is such a smart man, he amazes me every single day of my life STILL. I love working on projects like this with him because he likes to participate with me and we make things together; there is no other feeling like it.
After the outline was drawn and the blocks were numbered, Pops got the jigsaw out and cut the outline out with it while I got the tube of PL400 ready (my job was WAAAAY easier here haha). PL400 is just a fancy number/name for a strong adhesive used for wood mainly, it comes in a tube like bathtub caulking and you need a caulking gun to apply it. You can find it in the hardware store, it’s super common.
After the backing was trimmed out, we covered the back of the blocks about 75% with the adhesive and glued them down. END OF DAY 1. The glue has to set for at least 24 hours to make sure it gives a super strong hold so that was all the work we could do yesterday.
I headed over there this afternoon and found out Pops had gone down and trimmed a little more of the backing board off on the edges that were cut a bit big. The glue was holding well so it was time to figure out how to plant the hens and chicks on there!
Usually when you make a vertical garden, you would make a sort of a box frame with chicken wire between the boards to hold the plants in. You fill the box portion of the frame with dirt and then plant them between the wires to keep them in place and let them grow. I didn’t really have that option because I don’t have 4 sides on a lot of these blocks so I needed to come up with something different.
I set the hanging in the back of my car and was just about to go get my daughters who were playing with Nana on the swing set when I spotted some of Nana’s black plant pots from the annuals she’d transplanted. Perfect. They’re the right size, black and thin so I would be able to cut them to fit, problem solved!
I attached two D ring clips to the back of the hanging in order to mount it to the wall and then I flipped it back over, cut the tops off the plastic pots and attached them with one screw in the centre into the block they’re in front of.
I set the hanging horizontally in my workshop and put a bit of dirt in the bottom of each of the cut down plastic plant pots. I laid in my succulents (I used hens and chicks and sedum) and very gently pressed them into place. They’re pretty hearty but they are also very fragile. Their fronds break really easily so don’t push down too hard. Once they’re planted in place, I used my staple gun and attached a piece of wire around the front of each one to keep it in place until it (hopefully) roots itself in there.
Up close you can see the wire clearly but from a small distance away it’s not noticeable at all. After this the only thing left to do was measure out the centre of the wall, drill in my studs to hang it up and then hang it!
Perfect. Perfect addition to my bathroom. So relaxing and natural. I just had a chance to light up the candles in the semi-darkness too and I can’t wait to get in the tub.
Buenas noches readers. Aloha, Kim.