Challenge your loved ones to a rousing game of tic-tac-toe this Valentine’s day on this Pottery Barn Inspired Tic-Tac-Toe Wall Art. It’s a double duty piece that serves as an adorable piece of décor and a magnetic tic-tac-toe board for 33% of retail price.
I love Pottery Barn! I was recently watching the Friends episode where Phoebe hates PB but Rachael keeps buying more and more piece for their apartment at the trendy retailer. Phoebe rages about how everyone buys PB an, I can easily pick out the PB pieces at my friend s homes but that doesn’t stop me from falling in love with items in every single catalog!
This Valentine’s Day I spotted the whimsical XOXO Wall Art and thought it would be a nice accent piece for our family room. Then, of course, I spotted the price tag of $119 and was jolted back to reality. An MDF sign with magnetic letters for $119, really PB? Good design can be worth the cost, but I have trouble paying more than $100 for what boils down to an engineered wood frame.
I put on my thinking cap, visited my local home improvement store, and came up with a nearly identical piece of decorative wall art for about one-third of the price! All you need is a square frame, some steel panning, basswood, and a little creativity!
Tic-Tac-Toe Wall Art Supplies
- 1 – 18 in. x 18 in. square wall frame – My frame was a damaged piece of wall art I purchased at a clearance store f. The frame does not need glass or a back.
- 1 piece – 16 in. x 35 in. Galvanized Steel Panning (whatever size fits the back of your frame) – Steel panning is used in home ventilation systems. Find it at your local home improvement store in the heating and air conditioning section.
- 10 – ¼ in. x ½ in. x 24 in. Basswood Strips– You will need 8 strips to make the tic-tac-toe board, you need 2 more to make the X shapes.
- White, black and red – Flat Latex Paint
- Paste Wax in Java or Mahogany
- 220 Grit Sandpaper
- Super Glue
- 15 – ½ inch Disc Magnets
- 12 – ½ in. – ¾ in. inch wire nails –(The tiny nails you might use for hanging pictures.)
- Tools: Drill with small bit, Hammer, 4 in. and 2 in. Hole Saw Attachment for Drill (to make the O shapes),
Tic-Tac-Toe Wall Art Directions
1. Remove the art and backing from your frame. You will not need these any longer.
2. Cut basswood strips to the correct length and glue them around the inside edges of the frame. This makes the frame slightly deeper to hold the Xs and Os.
3. Cut the basswood pieces to length (to form the crossed game board).
Use a hand saw and small chisel or X-acto knife to cut notches from one strip where the pieces cross.
This notching allows the wood to lay flush when crossed. I used basswood for this project because it is very soft and easy to cut. Glue the cross pieces into place using super glue.
4. Measure and cut the galvanized steel panning to the correct size. Score the metal with a box knife (use a ruler to make sure the line is straight) then bend and break it on the line or use a tin snips to cut the metal.
5. Pre-drill nail holes in the metal to attach it to the back of the frame. This prevents the nails from splitting the soft basswood. Lightly scuff the metal with sandpaper for better paint adhesion then paint the steel panning white (front side only). I used a foam foam roller on the metal to prevent brush marks. Allow to dry.
6. Paint the frame and cross pieces white (front side only). If your frame has a very shiny finish you should lightly scuff it with sandpaper before painting for better paint adhesion. I used a foam brush to prevent brush marks. Allow to dry.
7. Gently nail the metal to the back of the frame using the pre-drilled holes and small nails. You want to be careful not to split the basswood.
9. Use sandpaper to weather the finish (this is how you get the famous Pottery Barn distressed white finish). Concentrate on the edges of the frame, this is how the PB piece looks. Don’t worry, if you sand off too much paint you can always add more latex paint. Rub wax paste over the scuffed area of the frame using a soft rag. Wipe off excess. Allow to dry. (You can also use brown latex paint.)
10. Decide if you want to make you X and O shapes or purchase them. (I could not find correctly shaped letters in any local hobby shops, but you can order letters in Arial or Futura font on Etsy and eBay. They cost about $2.20 for one 4 inch letters.) You need five X shapes and five O shapes. I made my letters to save money and use up the basswood scraps.
11. To make the letters you need to cut the basswood into 4 inch strips and notch the centers (like step three). Glue the pieces together with wood glue. The Xs are two pieces of basswood wide. To make the Os, use a 4 inch hole saw to cut the outer edges out of basswood, next cut the center out using the 2 inch hole saw. Sand the letters to smooth the edges.
12. Paint the X letters black and the O letters red. Allow the letters to dry and then scruff them up with sandpaper, concentrating on the edges. You can rub on a bit of paste wax if you would like to darken the edges. Mine are simply sanded.
13. Attach magnets to the back of the letters, mine were peel and stick with adhesive or use super glue. I used one magnet in the center of each X and 2 magnets on each O (one on the top and one on the bottom). You can now stick the letters into the frame, the magnets will cling to the steel panning.
14. Hang and enjoy your tic-tac-toe board. It looks great as a wall hanging, and can also be placed on a coffee table or the floor for easier game play. If you plan to use the game on a wooden tabletop you should glue felt pads or a piece of felt to the back of the metal. This will prevent the edges of the metal from scratching your wooden surfaces.
Tic-Tac-Toe Wall Art Costs
- 1 – 18 in. x 18 in. Square Wall Frame – $10.00
- 10 – ¼ in. x ½ in. x 24 in. Basswood Strips, $1.20 each – $12.00
- 2 – ¼ in. x 3 in. x 24 in. Basswood Pieces, $3.00 each – $6.00
- 16 in. x 35 in. Galvanized Steel Panning, $6.78 (used 2/3) – $4.50
- Latex Enamel Paint (white, black and red), $9.30 per quart (used 6 oz) – $2.04
- Sandpaper, $2.70 for 5 sheets (used 1/4 sheet) – $0.14
- Paste Wax in Java or Mahogany. $8.50 for 12 oz. (used 1/4 oz) – $0.20
- Super Glue, $5.97 (used 1/4) – $1.50
- 15 – ½ inch Round Magnets, $0.20 each – $3.00
- Total Price = $39.38
My tic-tac-toe board is a $79.69 savings (67% off of the original price). I LOVE those savings even more than playing tic-tac-toe with my family!
I hope you try making one of my knock off decor projects and see how easy it is to save money on your favorite decorative items.
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