Moving away from home, out of your cozy room that you spent your entire life personalizing and into a tiny dorm or apartment sounds less than glamorous. There is nothing special about plain white walls and a tiny bed in the corner that many before you have called their own. It’s not you-it’s not unique. That’s why decorating is CRUCIAL when it comes to adding your own flare to your college living situation. When I started looking for wall art, picture frames and plants to liven up my small apartment bedroom, I was gifted an adorable wooden picture board that I fell in love with and used as a main attraction for my room. It allowed me to keep pictures of people most important to me on my wall in a special way. However, 12 pictures later, I ran out of room with a handful of pictures left to hang. So, with help from my efficient and crafty boyfriend, I was able to reconstruct a wooden picture board for cheap just like the one I was gifted but with even more personalization since I had part in assembling it myself. Here’s the steps we took to create a rustic, wooden picture board.

What you will need:

Photo by Lea Thompson
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Circular saw (with wood blade)
  • Eight (give or take) wood slabs
  • Wood glue
  • Hook and nail
  • Close pins/string/metal clips
  • Pictures
  1. First, we took measurements of the original. Altogether, the product was made up of eight 2”X32”X21.5” slabs of wood. The number of slabs you use can vary according to your preference of size or how many pictures you wish to hang.
  2. Once we had the measurements, we set out on a mission to find slabs of wood for free so we could complete this project without breaking the bank. It wasn’t hard to find slabs of wood lying around. I got lucky and found a pile in my garage that was left over from a remodeling project. This won’t be the case for everyone but old palettes are easy to find if you keep your eyes peeled, or you can purchase wood slabs specific to your desired measurements at Lowes.
  3. When gathering your planks of wood, make sure to look for one or two particularly sturdy pieces to use as a mounting board or the backbone of the entire project. We took two sturdy pieces of wood, cut them at 28” long and ran them parallel to one another in horizontal positioning. These pieces are here to support and hold together the eight boards and will not be seen. This will also be where you attach a hook or some other way to mount the picture board on your wall.
  4. Next, choose how large you wish your board to be to determine how many slabs you will need to cut to a 2”X32”X21.5” measurement. Use a pencil to make markings to indicate where to cut your slabs and use a circular saw to cut the slabs accordingly. The slabs do not need to look perfect. Uneven edges are what gives the finished product a rustic, antique look.
  5. With the back boards running horizontally and parallel to one another, brush some wood glue onto the middle of the boards. Wood glue is very thick and a little bit goes a long way.
  6. Place the eight (or so) boards side by side, staggering them however you prefer. When I look at my picture board, it sort of reminds me of an old, crooked picket fence to help visualize (picture attached).
  7. Leave it to dry for at least six hours. Once the slabs have had time to dry to the back board, you can glue on your hook (or other preferred method of mounting) to the backside.
  8. Now, each and every builder has a bit of freedom to customize their project. These boards can be painted or stained to the color that best matches your unique personality, or you can leave the boards bare for an untouched outcome.
  9. Then, you must attach your preferred method for hanging pictures. The original product was made with metal clips but when my boyfriend and I reconstructed this product, he suggested we string close pins across the top, middle and bottom of the board to allow maximum picture space. This step of the project also allows for some flexibility depending on the person’s style and preference.
  10. Lastly, pick a spot on your wall, hammer in a nail and mount your finished product! Once you’ve got it in place, it’s time to add pictures of your friends and family to the board to personalize it even further. This project is easy to complete while also being cost efficient and completely able to customize to your unique style.


This piece was featured inside Living Guide