Monday, July 29, 2013

DIY - Coordinate Wall Art

Mr. "Owl" and I were married for 10 years before we had our twin owlets in 2011. Needless to say our lives changed drastically on April 13th of that year. We always swore that we wouldn't allow them to take over our house. Yeah RIGHT!!! That didn't happen! From the day we brought them home they have completely consumed our main floor. When we would sit down at night after the owlets went to bed we couldn't rest looking at all the kid "stuff".  Most people set up a playroom for their kids, if they have an extra room. We decided to finish our basement, but not as a playroom for the owlets. This is OUR sanctuary. A place we can go and escape each night after the wee ones have turned in for the night.

There are two things we love to do more than anything and that is watching movies and reading. So we made ourselves a movie theater and a home library. We only finished half the basement so there are two rooms, a hall and a full bath. The bathroom has a nice large shower that has a rain shower head in it. On days we work out (our home gym is in the unfinished side of the basement) we can take a nice relaxing shower before heading back up to the chaos that is the rest of our house.

I have been slowly decorating the spaces. Check out the scrabble tile wall I made for the theater room. Now, the DIY project for the library is now complete. I wanted to do something that showed all the places Mr. Owl and I traveled before we had kids. I liked the idea of a map but then I realized I had a pallet outside from the construction phase of our basement remodel. I had left it outside so it could "weather". I decided to make a coordinate wall of all the places we have been.

This is how it turned out....

 Here is a closer look....

Now for how I did it....

 STEP 1: Take pallet apart.

I think this was one of the hardest parts of this project! Leaving pallets out to weather naturally gives it a nice patina but it also makes the nails rust and very hard to remove. My suggestion would be to take it apart and cut it to the size you want, THEN leave it outside to weather. The reason I say to cut it is because when I cut mine the places I cut did not have the weathered look of the rest of the board. My lesson learned is your knowledge gain.

Here is the picture of the boards after I took them apart.

STEP 2: Decide what length you want.

Make a list of all the places you have traveled and find the coordinates for each location. If you look up each location on Wikipedia it gives you the coordinates for that particular location. We have been to 24 places from the time we got married until the owlets were born.  I decided that I wanted 3 rows of 8. So I calculated the boards should be 18 inches long. I then printed the coordinates off on a piece of paper. I used the font American Typewriter - Condensed and the font size was 150. It was a lot of trial and error but this is what worked the best for the space on my boards. I used a circular saw to cut the boards.

STEP 3: Trace Coordinates onto Boards

Here is where I hit another snag. On my scrabble tiles, I used a method of rubbing the backs of the letters and tracing them onto the wood. Let me tell ya!!! This does not work on weathered wood!! So, since I do not have a fancy die-cut machine (yet!), I had to improvise. What did I do, you ask? Brute force, that's what! I used a lot of pressure with the pencil and traced the letters on the wood. My hands were exhausted!!!!

You can barely make it out but do you see the 44?

 STEP 4: Hand Paint

I used craft paint I had on hand to paint the boards. Mr. Owl is getting his Ph.D. from Georgia Tech so I have decided to use their school colors for decorating the library. My inspiration came from some coasters I purchased last year. I think they are so cute!

I had gold and white that were perfect but the blue paint wasn't quite right. So, I mixed it with white and black paint until I got the blue I wanted. The places that have the gold direction letters are the places we LOVED and would like to go back to. Everywhere else we loved but not enough to go there again.

Excuse the mess of my kitchen in these photos.

When I was done I thought it was missing something so I hand painted the locations on each one. Not perfect, but hey, rustic was the look I was going for anyway.

 Here are some more pictures of the final project. Hope you like it. I plan to do another project of all the places we go as a family for my boys to enjoy upstairs.

I hope I have inspired you to do your own take of the coordinate wall!


  1. I was looking for ideas for a coordinates wall I wanted to do in my living room.

    Thank you so much for the inspiration! I love this!

  2. Hi, any chance you make these coordinates to sell?