Rustic Twig and Barnboard Box

Make your own Shabby and Rustic Display

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This DIY tutorial shows you how to make this rustic box - change the parts to give even more variety.


Use more twigs, paint the twigs, wax them, use weathered driftwood, or even paint them to just look like driftwood or barnboard (like this one). 

There are so many options. 

This is only the beginning.

To start this project, you'll need three pieces of barnboard or old fence boards.  Generally, these are well weathered, but often, they aren't evenly aged. 

That's where the painting comes in.  Use acrylic craft paints, which come in all kinds of colors. 

If you don't have a dollar store handy, they are available online, like these from Amazon;

Recommended Paints and Accessories:

Generally, I start with a lighter color, like the silver and white, with maybe a bit of the darker colors dabbed on.  This is the base coat.

See the progression of the different layers here;

Painting the old fence boards...
...takes a lot of coats...
...of the acrylic craft paint...
Each color layered over the one before...
Letting them dry between...
And then sanding with fine grit sandpaper to remove the burrs
Until, finally, it looks finished...
And ends up looking like this;

I do a total of about three to four coats (or even more), gradually using darker colored paint. 

The trick is to use two to three colors that are not really mixed together, but left in the individual colors to blend together.  There are no rules with this, although I find that it's really easy to go too far.  Stop before it looks like you have overdone it.

Don't mix the paint together, let it happen as it will...

In total, I used four different sized brushes for this project.  Each one adds yet more detail until you have the look you want to achieve. 

Find your favorite brushes - here are four of mine

Now the pieces are nailed together, being careful not to split the 'barnboard' - there are two ways to avoid splitting; either drill pilot holes where the nail will go using a drill bit a tiny amount smaller, or bounce the hammer off the point of the nail. 

This dulls the point making it work through the grain of the  wood rather than trying to go through it.

Barnboards and old fence boards are quick to split so use caution

The pieces of twig are cut to length and these absolutely have to be pre-drilled.  Here I've used amelanchier twigs - one of my favorite types.

Pre-drill pilot holes in the twigs before nailing

There are lots of tools that you might prefer.  Here are some that I keep in my toolbox;

You'll need these;

Next, choose your favorite piece of driftwood for the handle.  This is an old weathered root, washed up on the shore after a long time in the ocean.

Driftwood handle - the more gnarled and twisty, the better

Wiring the handle on only takes a minute or two using my typical pigtail twist;

Twirl the wire when you attach the handle

Other things to add to make your twig and barnboard box completely unique are bead feet; here's a picture of the ones

I've used in a super simple way; simply nail them on to the bottom of the side boards. If your boards happen to be a little less than perfect, use the feet to make the box level.

Bead feet - these are saved from one of those bead car seat covers

And that's it!  Use your really rustic twig and barnboard box to keep your craft supplies in, for shampoo and rolled up hand towels in the bathroom, or to tote picnic supplies to your al fresco dining table under the apple tree. 

Bet you won't be able to stop at just making one!

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