This particular project was a birthday gift for my boyfriend and since it’s the gift giving season, I thought this would be the perfect time to share with you how I made it! Not only did I get to use one of our favorite photos from a trip to New Mexico, but the underlying message of, “Hey, I risked getting Tetanus from rusty barbed wire to make this for you.. that’s how much I love you.” really came through here. Which reminds me.. this is a PSA for you all to make sure you’re up to date on your Tetanus shot. I managed to make it through this creation without incident and loved that I was able to capture a bit of that rustic Old West feel that we experienced on our trip.
Scrap wood (pallets work great)
Needle nose pliers
Aluminum craft wire (I used black which blended in better)
Photograph (I used a 5″ by 7″)
Inspiration photo from our trip
*Amount and size of screws will vary based on the size of pallet art you’re creating and how thick the wood is. For my particular project I used 12 screws that were 1 1/4″ inches long. The thickness of the two pallet pieces together were 1 1/2″ inches thick. You want to make sure you’re leaving about 1/4″ inch of space so your screw doesn’t stick out on the other side.
**Since we live in the country, barbed wire is pretty much everywhere. We cut some from a fence that had fallen down on our property. Please source yours LEGALLY and SAFELY. You can always buy it brand new from a hardware or farm store and paint it to create the authentic rusty look.
(1.) Use a pencil to mark your measurements and then carefully saw off the pieces you need. I cut three pieces measuring about 11 inches in length and two smaller support pieces for the back measuring 8 1/2 inches in length.
(2.) Hold planks together tightly and carefully screw support pieces to the back.
(3.) Flip the pallet frame over and now start to work with the barbed wire. This is wear some heavy duty work gloves come in! With your hands and/or with needle nose pliers, carefully bend the barbed wire into the “frame” or shape that you want. You can cut off the extra or bend into a spiral like I did. Tuck the starting end underneath.
(4.) To help keep the shape of it before attaching it, cut a few inches of aluminum wire off using wire cutters. Wrap the wire around your frame to hold it’s shape. I also placed a photo in the middle of it temporarily to get an idea of how I wanted to frame around it.
(5.) Set your wire frame where you want it attached to the pallet and using a pen or pencil, make tiny marks on both sides of the barbed wire. Two sets on the top and two sets on the bottom. Remove barbed wire frame and set it aside. (6.) Using a small drill bit, drill holes all the way through the pallet where you just made your marks. (7.) Using wire cutters, cut four 5″ inch pieces of the aluminum wire. (8.) Bend them in half, creating a hair pin like shape.
(9.) Place your barbed wire frame back on top of the pallet and feed the “hairpin” pieces through the holes you drilled. (10.) Twist the ends of the wire together tightly using needle nose pliers to pull the barbed wire close to the wood. Tuck the ends of the aluminum wire down so they’re not sticking out.
To create the burned edge effect on the photo, you’re going to do exactly that.. burn the edges! Do this outside and have a bucket of water or something handy in case you get a little crazy with your burning. Using a lighter, move it around the edges of the photograph to create the effect you want. I suggest experimenting with a photo you don’t care about first so you can get an idea of what you want to create on the finished product.
Let any smoldering edges cool, apply a generous amount of glue to the back and place it in the center of your barbed wire frame. Lightly press on the photo to adhere, wipe away any excess glue, and keep flat until completely dry. Once the glue is set you can hang it up!
Alright I hope you all made it through without getting a rusty barbed wire cut or burning up the house! 😉