DIY “No Cut! No Nails!” Rustic Barn Window Bulletin/Art Display Board

Disclaimer: If you’re a master crafter, this tutorial is going to bore the heck out of you!

This was such a fun and easy project that required no sawing, no drilling and no hammering! Amazing, right?

I’ve been trying to figure out a creative way to display the bountiful amounts of beautiful artwork that come home from school with our kindergarteners every day. They both LOVE to draw and make crafts and I wanted something a little bit prettier and more visually appealing than just a plain old bulletin board in our kitchen. We used to have a 12 foot line of twine strung from one end of the kitchen wall to the other that we used to hang artwork with clothespins. Unfortunately we lost our “art gallery” with our recent kitchen remodel so we needed somewhere else to showcase our masterpieces. The fridge door just isn’t cutting it these days.

I love to do crafts but tend to shy away from most power tools because I’m a wee bit accident-prone. (As a teen babysitter, I once had to call the parents of the child I was babysitting and ask them to come home so I could go to the E.R. to get my thumb stitched up after badly cutting it with scissors while making paper snowflakes. True story!)

So aside from my staple gun, electric sander and a small drill, I leave the big, scary tools for those who can use them without injuring themselves.

Let’s get started!

You will need:

No More Nails wood glue/any strong wood glue of your choice

2 x 1/2″x2″x4′

2x 1/2″x2″x 2′

Wood stain of your choice

Twine

Measuring tape

Scissors

Clothespins

After measuring the space that I would be hanging my art display board, I decided that I would be making one that is 4 feet long x 2 feet wide. I headed off to Home Depot intending to find the cheapest board I could find and ask the Home Depot staff to cut it for me… but since I really wanted this to be a “no cut” project, I was super excited to stumble across various pieces of hobby lumber that were already cut into 2 foot, 3 foot and 4 foot lengths! Jackpot!

It took me a little while to decide on which wood to use. I wanted a wood with some texture and character so that it would look nice once I stained it but I also didn’t want to break the bank by using thick oak pieces. I also wanted to maximize the amount of space that I had for displaying artwork which meant I didn’t want my frame to be too thick. I decided on 1/2″ thick, 2″ wide poplar. The 2′ pieces were $2.10 each and the 4′ pieces were $4.80 each. So my total cost for lumber was $13.80 plus taxes. Not bad!

I literally inspected each piece of each size so that I could handpick the pieces I wanted. Again, I was looking for cool texture lines and any potential wood knots in order to maximize that rustic feel once I added stain. Don’t be afraid to lay your frame out on the floor to make sure it is working for you and that the sizing is right. (Two-year-old dancing in the middle is optional!)

Once I had selected my boards, I picked up a tube of “No More Nails” for approximately $10. This stuff is so amazing and I know I will be using it again and again for all kinds of projects. This is literally the glue that will hold this frame together.

I took a while to look for silicone for another project. My 2 year old feels the exact same way as I do about shopping for supplies that aren’t for crafts. Snooze…

We got home and I took some light grit sandpaper and lightly sanded the edges to ensure they were smooth. Since we had purchased hobby lumber, they were in pretty good shape but the last thing we want is for one of our little artists to get a splinter while hanging his/her artwork.

Then, I laid the boards out on top of a “crafts only” table cloth. Once I had them laid out the way I wanted them, I applied a generous amount of No More Nails wood glue to the end of each 2′ long piece and glued it to the end of the 4′ piece, applying pressure for a minute or two each time.

The most difficult part of this entire project was waiting 24 hours for the glue to fully dry and hold the boards in place.

The next day, I checked to make sure the frame was glued in place and then I started working on the twine “window panes.”

There are lots of different types of twine out there. There are different colours and thicknesses. You could even use ribbon if it would suit your project better! I opted for a thin, natural coloured twine to stick with my rustic theme and to not have the twine overshadow the artwork on display.

There are also lots of different ways to lay out your twine. You can run diagonal lines, horizontal lines, a mosaic-like design of random lines. Think about what you want your project to look like at the end and then choose a style/pattern for you. I decided to run my twine in both horizontal and vertical lines to make 3″ squares of twine.

Use your measuring tape to measure out where your twine needs to go and then mark each spot with a pencil. You should end up with evenly spaced dots running along the boards that will have twine. In my case, all 4 boards have dots since I want to make mine look a bit like an old window with panes.

After you have marked all of the places that your twine will be hung, measure your lengths of twine and start cutting the number of pieces you will need. Be sure to leave extra twine on each end in order to make sure it is properly adhered to the board. We can always trim these later! I measured a length by holding the twine across the board and then used that first piece as my reference for cutting the others for the horizontal pieces and then the vertical.

Once all of your twine is cut, run a strip of “No More Nails” across each pencil dot. No More Nails can be tampered with for 15 minutes before it starts to dry and harden so this will give you enough time to apply your twine and save you having to switch back and forth between twine and glue as you install it. Pull the twine tight before laying it across the glue to ensure it sits tight once it dries. You may want to sit a heavy object on the excess twine as it dries.

After I finished gluing all of my twine, I ran a few beads of Hard as Nails across the top of each piece of twine to give it some extra reinforcement.

When you have finished gluing all of your twine, your frame should look like this:

While the glue for the twine was drying, I decided to start staining the inside of the wood so that I would only have to do the front of the frame once it could be flipped over. For the inside of the frame, I used MinWax Gel Wood Stain in Chestnut and applied it in between the twine with a paint brush.

Once the glue had dried (approximately 25 hours later), I flipped the frame over and stained the front with the same MinWax Gel Stain in Chestnut.

After it has dried, I simply snipped the excess twine from the frame with a pair of scissors and got ridiculously excited to hang it!

I recruited the help of my hubby to hang the frame with proper plugs and screws, anticipating that this poor frame will be feeling some tugging from excited artists anxious to display their masterpieces.

Voila! Our rustic barn window art gallery frame is complete! And for under $20 total! That’s my kind of project!

If you try to make your own, please let me know in the comments! 😊

Happy crafting!

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