I absolutely love the rustic look of wood slices. When I first saw them popping up in stores a few years ago, I couldn’t believe they were charging $20+ for one! However, after making some on my own, I can understand the cost!
This is a multi-step process, so you definitely need to start this at least a month before you want them.
First of all, you need to either cut your own slices from a fallen tree or have a great father who will do it for you! You will want to cut several more than you need. This is because of the next steps.
The second step is to wait! The wood slices need to dry out completely, so put them in a place where they can dry out for several weeks to a month. DO NOT stack them up to dry out – this will cause them to mold over (I learned this the hard way!). You could put them on a cooling rack, or what I did was lean them up against my garage wall so that air could circulate over both cut sides.
As they dry out, some of your slices will crack, and a large majority of the slices will separate slightly from the bark. You should be able to salvage most of them, but some may be too cracked to use, which is why you want to start with more slices than you need.
Here is a selection of the slices to show you what you can expect after they are dried out. To fill in the gaps, I used wood fill and worked it into the gaps between the bark and wood. I also used it to fill in any holes.
Once the wood filler has dried, you can begin the process of sanding. I highly recommend using an electric sander for this step. Even though you may think that the slices are cut pretty smoothly, it takes a lot of sanding to get them truly smooth. I used a bench sander for mine.
In the picture below, you can see the white wood filler that I used for the gaps.
Now is the really quick and fun part! You can finish the slices in several ways.
For three out of the four slices in this picture, I simply used Emmett’s Elixir for Cutting Boards. This product works really great, and I love that it is food safe, so I don’t have to worry about eating food off of these slices.
For the board below, I actually stained the whole thing, but I have to say, the color wasn’t that much different than using just the wood conditioner. For future wood slices, I don’t think I am going to bother with staining the wood.
Another useful tool are these stain pens. They are just wood stain in a marker form, so they are great for precision application. I used them to color in the white wood fill.
I also used the pens to draw this laurel pattern – I love that it is wood stain that makes the pattern!
As you look at the proportions of each individual wood slice, you can get an idea of what to do with it.
A fun thing you can try is to add feet. I used three corks, which I painted with the stain pens, and glued them to the bottom of one of the thinner wood slices.
For a big impact, you can group them together.
This is a really fun project, and I can’t wait to think up more things to do with them!