northstory + co

DIY Wood Slice Art

Back before Halloween we found a fallen tree branch at the side of country road near us that we brought home and turned into a scary tree for our front porch as part of our Halloween decorations.

Initially I was going to re-use the tree for Christmas decorations outside but decided against it. In order to make some really great use of the branch vs just placing it into compost or the firewood pile, I picked up a manual Mitre Saw at Lowe’s. The Footprint Tools one to be exact. It cost $14 CAN.

via: Lowe’s Canada

This little mitre saw box is a great inexpensive tool to have for small wood crafts around your house.

From that branch we sawed a whole stack of wood slices. And while technically the following was a Valentine’s Day gift that I made for my husband, it’s completely applicable to everyday art that you can make for yourself.

The idea behind this was to create a small family tree. So each wood slice would have each family members birth date stamped on it.

I gathered up my supplies including my beloved TEKTON metal stamp set, some velcro tabs and used the very popular IKEA RIBBA shadow box frame.

wood slice art (5)

I stamped each of our birth dates onto one wood slice and attached a velcro tab to the back.

wood slice art (6)

wood slice art

And it wound up like this.

wood slice art A

wood slice art (4)

The velcro tabs serve two purposes.

The first being that they add a three dimensional effect to the wood slices so it looks like they’re floating. But more importantly the long term plan for this is to be able to create it into a larger family tree. So that with additional family members or grandchildren that come into the photo, you’re not wasting a wood slice and can just peel it off the velcro backing the slice is attached to, and move it to a new frame as your family and your family history grows.

Now I come from a very tiny family. All my parents siblings had one child each and I am an only child as well. So I just wanted to make this for my husband for our immediate family members that live in our home. But I thought it would be a great inspiration for anyone out there who comes from a large family to ask their family members to get a branch from their area or their property if they were to do this and incorporate their branch slices (both physically and metaphorically) to the family “tree”.

That way a piece of their land, their history is always captured together. How awesome would it be to have different types of wood, different barks surrounding each other in a big collage in a frame with each family members birth dates and names stamped on it. I didn’t do names on this one because I liked the simplicity of the birth dates but for a larger project I can see me doing otherwise.

The TEKTON stamp set is great for this because it’s small enough that you can fit more details onto the wood slices (the sliced I used were approx 1.5″ wide). But if you don’t have a metal stamp set (the metal in the name is misleading, I stamp everything with this), you can use a regular rubber stamp set as well.

Here’s an example of a wedding card I recently made for our friends with their wedding date on it, stamped with a simple stamp set I picked up at Michael’s.

DIY wedding card (2)

DIY wedding card

You can hand write on the slices if your handwriting is exceptional, but what I find with general ink markers when you write on wood is that the dye from the markers, no matter how fine their tips are, tends to spread throughout the wood grain very quickly. The dye from a stamp pad however prevents that from happening. I did the dots between the date numbers with a fine tip marker and I barely touched the wood and it was like dropping food colouring into water.

James loved his present and for the time being we placed it in our living room. I really like how the metal stamp set gave the birth dates an almost embossed feeling to the wood and it’s really cool to see the depths of the date imprints change in different light.

wood slice art (7)

No wood burning tools needed. Who knew?

wood slice art - ikea picture ledge

PS – Do you not agree that these little wood slices would make some excellent personalized gift tags? I’m working on that to show you soon!


        Osie Moats

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  • Reply
    February 22, 2013 at 7:56 am

    I LOVE this idea! Very creative.

    • Reply
      February 23, 2013 at 11:03 am

      Thanks Janet! I started stalking you on Twitter. I swear it’s like reading morse code.

  • Reply
    the home tome
    February 22, 2013 at 8:43 am

    I just want to comment with a thousand exclamations!! I will stop myself at two. 🙂 This is beautiful, creative, funky, woodsy…etc. Really great idea and fab post. The frame is perfect, the stamps work so nicely. I am definitely filing this one away (little afraid of what might happen with me and saw…but I could be careful for once, right?)

    • Reply
      February 23, 2013 at 11:03 am

      Do it!! I am already scouring for more branches for future project ideas. In all honestly stamping the wood is a thousand times easier than stamping metal.

  • Reply
    February 22, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Oh! What a great idea!! It looks fantastic and completely do-able. You are about 80% on the way of convincing me to get the metal stamp set… I love all that you do with it.

    • Reply
      February 23, 2013 at 11:04 am

      Cheryl it’s the best $13 I have spent on a craft supply. I have used it on everything – paper, dough, metal, wood – it’s endless.

      • Reply
        February 23, 2013 at 12:20 pm

        Wait… it was only $13 dollars? $13 dollars CANADIAN?? That’s NUTS!

  • Reply
    Pillows A-La-Mode
    February 22, 2013 at 9:01 am

    How beautiful! I just love everything about it.

    • Reply
      February 23, 2013 at 11:05 am

      Thank you so much! I have a sewing project I need to post about. You will die if you see what my inside stitching looks like. LOL

  • Reply
    Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
    February 22, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Wow. I LOVE this. Pinning it to my “crafty sh*t I may want to attempt in my next life” board. I think you have more creative thoughts between when you wake up and have coffee, than I have in an entire month… I am genuinely like—how did that even occur to you??

    I love the colors. The dark bark… against the white. Makes the inside color of the branch very rich somehow. I guess because it’s so simple you really notice the detail… LOVE it!

    • Reply
      February 23, 2013 at 11:09 am

      Oh I do not have creative thoughts today. I keep thinking about how much laundry there is to fold upstairs and if I can make a robot to do it for me.

      It’s the stamp set. I swear I look for excuses to use it.

      I’m glad you like it lady b/c Craftgawker told me the photos weren’t lit well. I am like it’s wood. On white. What else is it supposed to look like? As much as I love that site I seriously feel like how much photoshop it is going to take?!

  • Reply
    February 22, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Super cool Alex! It “leaves” me with so many ideas…. I could totally “branch” out with.

    You have come up with so many wonderful projects using that stamp tool. Totally worth whatever you paid for it because it has sparked so much creativity. And it looks so darn pretty… perfect little numbers and letters.

    It’s got a real nordic/natural/modern feel… and I know you love that. ME TOO! So pretty in the white frame. Any way you “slice” it… this one is a winner, lady! 🙂

    • Reply
      February 23, 2013 at 11:10 am

      Stacey you’re hilarious! You are such a writer for media. I am telling you, $13. I am now scouring for ones that have different font alphabets on them.

      I am way too obsessed with Nordic decor. I feel like I am a social outcast in Canada.

  • Reply
    February 22, 2013 at 11:40 am

    They would make great coasters too! So is YOUR family tree going to expand??? (wink, wink!) Definitely a good PIN to add….

    • Reply
      February 23, 2013 at 11:12 am

      Lalalalalala I can’t hear you!
      Right now I am trying to figure out what my next career should be. Any suggestions oh lady of wonder who makes awesome cakes?

  • Reply
    Sue Schlabach 129twigandvine
    February 22, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Somewhere I have a mitre box. AND stamp letters and numbers. AND a hammer. This is so creative and adaptable to many a project. Love it!!

    • Reply
      February 23, 2013 at 11:13 am

      Can you imagine the endless ideas? Gift tags, necklaces, bracelets, art work, family tree projects, kids craft projects, garland, ornaments. It is so much easier to stamp the wood too with this kit.

  • Reply
    February 23, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Oh I love natural wood! The Etsy shop I’m working on building embraces my love for natural wood, simplicity and inspiration!

    I will admit, I have a mitre box (the yellow one you pictured) but found to be really cheap. But I also got it on sale because the saw was missing (which I didn’t want the saw anyway). I wanted a saw with a bit more grip so now I just use my foot, an old pallet and my saw. hehe It works but I couldn’t use it for smaller projects like this, or I don’t think it would turn out as well but I might try! One day I’d like to get an electric saw.

    • Reply
      February 24, 2013 at 11:00 am

      How did I miss that you’re opening up an ETSY store? I’ll have to look for it! That reminds me I need to re-create my ETSY Love page button for the sidebar. It’s on the endless “blog fix up” list.

      That’s too bad that it didn’t work for you. The saw seemed ok from what I know but I am not a saw expert by any stretch. I agree with the electric one. We’ve been saving up to get a 12″ Mitre Saw so we can start on our basement framing. They’re so expensive.

  • Reply
    February 23, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    absolutely fabulous!! and you’re not alone in your love of all things nordic up here in Canada!

    • Reply
      February 24, 2013 at 10:51 am

      WOOHOO!! I thought we were a mythical creature. Let’s spread the word that there are more out there.

  • Reply
    February 24, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    I have nominated you for an award- check out my blog!

    • Reply
      February 25, 2013 at 12:13 pm

      Thank you very much!

  • Reply
    Time With Thea
    February 25, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    This is really a wonderful idea Alex. Well done! I pinned it on My Craft Board.

    • Reply
      February 27, 2013 at 9:07 am

      Thank you Thea!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Life By Lindsay
    February 26, 2013 at 2:46 am

    Oh I love it!!! I have a friend who is having a little boy and her baby shower theme is kind of Rustic – I think I will make something like this for her!!!
    Thanks so much for sharing the idea!

    • Reply
      February 26, 2013 at 12:10 pm

      That’s a great idea! Maybe something with his name and add in a future one for his birthdate after he is born.

  • Reply
    February 26, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Alex your wood art is amazing! I have stamps that are collecting dust! Perfect way to display special dates! Would love for you to share at the party! xo bridgett

    • Reply
      February 27, 2013 at 9:06 am

      Consider it done Bridgett! I am having a bit of trouble linking up your Party Button code. Is there any other place I can find it on your blog?

  • Reply
    February 27, 2013 at 9:49 am

    I LOVE this idea! re-pinning this post right now. Came from OsieMoats link-up party.
    I too love wood slices, and I really want one of those manual miter saws now haha. I made coasters out of my christmas tree this year:

    Thanks for sharing!
    Bridget from

    • Reply
      February 27, 2013 at 11:31 am

      Love your coasters! I need to go find some more wood branches now.

  • Reply
    Laura - Make Life Lovely
    February 27, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    I love these little wood slices! I’m currently working on a couple wood slice projects, too! Love your idea, thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    February 27, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    This is a fabulous idea! I love the simple style but meaningful details to this project. Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    February 27, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    This is awesome! I’ve got some old typography letters I want to do a project with, and this is the perfect inspiration! (I posted about the letters here:

  • Reply
    March 1, 2013 at 12:20 am

    Finnnnallllyyyy getting to read this. This is a really cool project and I didn’t want to skip it. I love all the things that you do with metal stamp set; it makes me want to get one. Such a crisp and clean way to capture your family and the wood is going to get better with age. Speaking of which… who has the April birthday? We’ll be celebrating (almost) together. 🙂

  • Reply
    Bobi Jensen
    March 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    I love wood slice projects!

    I have a weekend Link party if you’d care to join:

  • Reply
    Marianne @NordicBliss
    March 4, 2013 at 10:31 am

    This is one of the best and easiest DIYs I’ve seen in a long time. I am definitely saving this! Such a great idea Alex!

    • Reply
      March 4, 2013 at 4:05 pm

      Thank you Marianne!! I love your blog so coming from you that makes my day. 🙂

  • Reply
    Lauren @ The Thinking Closet
    March 6, 2013 at 2:11 am

    Somehow I missed this post! But Mark and I are on a wood craze these days, so you get bet I’ll be pinning this and sharing this with him to say, “Please, oh pretty please, can we remember to do this when we have kids?!” It looks great in the white shadow box, too. Another project well done, my friend.

    • Reply
      March 6, 2013 at 10:41 am

      Wood arts and crafts are so addicting! We just got the Dollar Tree here and they have a huge selection of stuff that we never could afford before. And when in doubt go find branches and slice. Free is always great!

  • Reply
    Kim Woodward
    October 14, 2013 at 8:47 am

    This is TOO COOL! I love the stamped dates and I’m borderline obsessed with the card. Wish I had seen that last week, I attended a wedding Saturday.

    I actually have a bunch of slices of wood that would be perfect for this project. Thank you for the inspiration. Stopping over from Kelly at View Along the Way.

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