In this episode of Dwell Made, Chris Salomone of Foureyes Furniture builds and installs a minimalist picture wall that's ideal for displaying artwork and photographs.
¾" hardwood, softwood, or plywood of your choice
10" x 10" pre-cut mat board
Note: You can use any size boards, or cut them yourself. Try to stick with a consistent vertical dimensions.
Step 1: Cut Board to Length
Start by cutting your piece of wood to the finished length you would like. I used 64", but you should pick a length that makes the most sense for your wall. You could do this with a table saw and a cross-cut sled, with a chop saw, or with a hand-held circular saw.
Step 2: Cut Board Into Strips
I cut my board into pieces that were all 1 ½" wide. Again, you can do this to whatever size you like design-wise, and cut as many pieces as are necessary for your wall. I needed four total for my design.
Step 3: Cut a Groove
Next, cut a grove into the top and bottom edge of each of your strips. To cut my grooves, I set my blade so that it was protruding about 1/8" above the table top of my table saw. Next, I set my fence so that the groove I cut would be located towards the back of my pieces, but not completely along the back. Once you’ve cut the groves, test fit a piece of your mat board. If it fits in, you’re done. If not, slightly adjust your fence to widen the grooves.
Step 4: Sand and Finish
I sanded my pieces with 80 grit, 120 grit, and finally 180 grit sand paper. Then I applied a coat of wipe-on Polyurethane finish. You could use just about any finish for this piece.
Step 5: Install
Spend some time planning and marking how you want your picture wall to be installed. Once you’re happy, use a level to make sure that the first (or bottom) piece is installed as level as you can get it. I used a couple of finish nails to attach my pieces to the wall. Once the first piece is in, use a couple of mat boards on either end to perfectly space the second piece—nail it to the wall and repeat until all pieces are installed.