Upcycle your workbench into a unique piece of artwork
Turn a piece of plywood into a bespoke artwork using your power tools and a few other items from the hardware store.
Gather your supplies
• 1200 x 600 x 18mm plywood
• Plaster base coat compound
• Black oxide
• Picture wire and hooks
You’ll also need Circular saw; scrap plywood saw guide; various hole saws; router with guide; straight cutting router bits; drill; drill bits to suit router guide; wide broadknife; belt sander; random orbital sander; painting pad; water-based clear coating in a matt finish
For you to note
When using power tools, wear all safety gear required and refer to your product instructions.
STEP 1 Set your circular saw to cut a few millimetres deep then, using a saw guide made from scrap plywood, make multiple cuts randomly across and along the plywood.
STEP 2 Use hole saws of different diameters to make circular cuts a few millimetres deep in the plywood.
STEP 3 To make larger diameter circles, use your router with the guide attached. Drill a shallow hole in the ply to suit the locating pin on your router guide. Then with a straight cut bit in your router, rotate it around to cut a circle a few millimetres deep. Use bits of different diameters to create even more variety. STEP 4 Mix plaster base coat compound with water to a toothpaste-like consistency. Add oxide to the mix, then blend thoroughly until the colour is uniform.
STEP 5 Pour mix over the plywood and spread using a wide broadknife. Make sure the mix fully fills all the holes and grooves in the plywood. Leave compound to set. STEP 6 Use a belt sander fitted with a fine sanding belt to remove the excess plaster compound on the plywood until you get back to the timber. If you don’t have a vacuum for dust extraction do this outside, as it will be very dusty.
STEP 7 Switch to a random orbital sander, which is less powerful, to further smooth the timber and compound filling all the cuts and grooves. Remove dust.
STEP 8 Use a paint pad to apply 3 coats of clear coating to the plywood, leaving it to dry after each coat.
STEP 9 Attach picture wire to the back of your artwork, then hang using a hook system to suit your type of wall – brick or plasterboard. MAKE A BOW SANDER Need to sand shaped work or get into a tight corner? A handy tool to have when these jobs pop up is a bow sander, and you can make one in just a few minutes. Take a short length of 42 x 19mm pine, then glue and screw a short block to each end. Cut a strip off a sanding belt, place it over the ends of the blocks and secure it by screwing 2 more little blocks into the end blocks. FOR PROJECT SUPPLIES, SEE OUR STOCKISTS PAGE