Can you believe we are into March already? I can’t! I love the month of March though for a couple of reasons. One being that it means that Spring is right around the corner. Yay!!! March is also the month we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. We like to have fun with that holiday around here with a lot of green! I always like to do a little decorating for the big day, but this year I wanted my decorations to be more subtle. This year I wanted to do a shabby chic theme and I thought making something out of wood shims would fit in perfectly. I found an unfinished mdf shamrock at Hobby Lobby to decorate with so I decided to make a DIY wood shim shamrock.
Besides looking cool, wood shims are really inexpensive so they are a great choice to use for a project. Another bonus is that you can finish them different ways, by stain or paint. In this instance, I decided to do both. I wanted to give the wood shims a weathered look and I also wanted to vary the shades of green and white in the shamrock.
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For this project you will need:
- Wood shims (I picked some up at Menards, they are much cheaper there!!)
- MDF shamrock (or just a piece of 1/8″ MDF to draw a shamrock on)
- Acrylic paint (I got mine at Walmart, again much cheaper, colors shown in picture below)
- Wood glue
- Paintbrush (we like the Purdy brand for painting, however you can use any old paintbrush for this project)
- Foam brush
- Steel wool
- A piece of ribbon
- Router with flush trim bit (optional)
- Dremel with 561 multipurpose bit (optional)
- Clamps (if needed, these are an updated version of the ones Mr. W uses)
Using a foam brush, I first stained one side and the edges of the wood shims with a DIY weathering stain made out of vinegar and steel wool. We also used this stain on our DIY tobacco basket, check out that tutorial for pictures and details on the stain. We had some of this stain leftover from another project that we had made the week before. This ended up staining the wood shims a little darker than I initially intended it to, but in the end I am glad it was darker. After applying the paint, they looked great. This is what they looked like initially after staining, they darkened considerably more after drying completely.
The next step was to paint them. Like I said before, I wanted the shims to have a weathered look, so I decided to dry brush the paint on. This way, you can still see the stain underneath and it looks like old painted wood. I used an acrylic paint in a cream color (Antique White) over all the wood shims first. I squirted some of the paint on a piece of card stock and barely dipped my paintbrush into the paint. Blot your paintbrush off a couple times on the card stock then brush across the wood shim. You don’t have to be precise at all, this was super easy. The goal is not to cover the whole shim in paint as you want the stain to show through the paint. Make sure to dry brush the edges and ends as well.
I varied the amount of paint on the shims so some looked more “worn” than others. After they all dried, I painted the green over the white. I used several shades of green. I first painted about 3-4 shims with the lightest color, the celery Waverly paint. Then I tried the Mossy Green but I decided I wanted it to look a little more olive green to match the DIY Magnolia Wreath (I will be sharing that tutorial with you soon!) that I made, so I mixed in some Golden Sunset (the mustard yellow color) with the Mossy Green. This ended up being perfect. I did not wash my brush between colors, I figured there were going to be some shims with several shades on there anyway. Lastly I added the darkest color, the English Ivy Green. I just experimented with the colors on the shims, there was no real pattern. Some ended up lighter and some darker, it almost ended up with an ombre effect, which would be cool for another project in the future! 😉
This time however I wanted to mix things up. I laid the shamrock out on the wood bench and covered it with the wood shims. If you are not familiar with wood shims, they are wedge shaped, one side is thicker than the other because they are used as spacers. I tried a couple different ways of laying them out but decided I liked the look of the varying heights. I thought it gave the shamrock more texture doing it this way. After I got them placed where I wanted them to go, Mr. Wonderful glued them all down using wood glue. You will want to add some weight on top to help the glue adhere to both surfaces. You can use extra wood shims to balance out the heights and lay a couple of heavy books on top of the whole thing.
After it was dry, Mr. W used a jigsaw to cut a rough shape around the shamrock. He used a flush trim bit on his router to finish cutting it out so it was the exact shape of the shamrock. Next, he used a Dremel with the drum sander attachment to get into the tight corners where the flush trim bit would not reach. He wasn’t completely happy with that though, so using the Dremel again with a 561 multipurpose cutting bit, he was able to get into the tightest corners. However, if you wish to make it easier on yourself, you could use the shamrock itself as a guide and cut it out totally with the jigsaw. Mr. W is just a little bit of a perfectionist sometimes 🙂 However, he wants me to add that those tools are helpful and useful for many different projects. A couple of the shims came unglued in the cutting process, so he just glued them back on and clamped them.
We drilled a hole to match the one already in the shamrock so we could hang it up. I used a ribbon I had on hand and we hung it on a blank chalkboard. We just put a command hook on the back of the frame to hang the ribbon from.
I love how it turned out. It fits in perfectly with my shabby chic mantel which I will be sharing with you soon. This project could be made into any shape really, just using a piece of 1/8″ mdf and drawing the shape on the mdf, then cutting it out after gluing on the wood shims.
I will be back soon to share more aspects of my St. Patrick’s Day mantel. Hope you have a wonderful day!