Lend dimension, texture, and the warmth of wood to a room with this decorative wall treatment you can make in a weekend.
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Download and print the Wood Block Layout Diagram as a guide. Measure the height and width of the wall you plan to accent with the wood block treatment. Use a table saw or circular saw to cut enough 17-inch x 17-inch plywood squares to fill the wall.
The assembled wood blocks for each panel overlap the plywood backing by about 1/4 inch, creating a rough finished dimension for each full-size decorative wood panel of 17-1/2 x 17-1/2-inches.
For a standard 8-foot wall height, you'll probably need five full-size panels and a partial panel for a single column. For the partial panel at the top or bottom, make a plywood backer panel to hold two rows of five blocks. Adjust the number of full-size panels and fillers to suit your wall height, but avoid any combination that requires cutting partial blocks. Using only full-size blocks gives a unified look to the wall. If you end up with a strip at the top that's narrower than 3-1/2 inches, fill it with cedar trim strips cut from 3/4-inch-thick boards.
To help cut sections of the posts to equal lengths, first unplug your miter saw and apply painter's tape to the right fence. Lower the blade and use a tape measure to mark the tape 1 inch, 1-1/2 inches, and 2 inches from the side of the blade. Extend your marks up the fence using a square. Then plug the saw in again.
Before cutting the blocks, lop 1/2-inch off each end of the posts to remove the rough factory end. Cut more off if you need to remove cracked portions.
For each plywood backer, cut the 4 x 4 into blocks of the following quantities and thicknesses: nine at 1 inch thick, nine at 1-1/2 inches thick, and seven at 2 inches thick. Then cut a pair of spacer blocks about 4 inches long and label them on one end.
Sand the tops and sides of each block to remove sharp edges. Stain the tops and sides of all the blocks (shown in Cabot Stain, Vermont Barnwood).
Using the diagram as a guide, dry-assemble the wood blocks on the plywood panel to create the block pattern shown with a roughly 1/4-inch overhang each side. Use the spacer blocks as substitutes for the blocks you'll add after installing the panel.
Working in rows from the bottom, apply construction adhesive to the back of each block (except the spacers) and press it back in position on the panel. Reuse the spacers to repeat the process for each remaining panel.
In the center of each blank space left by the spacers, drill a 9/64-inch countersunk hole so the heads of the mounting screws will rest flush or slightly below the plywood surface.
Working from the bottom of the wall to the top, position the first panel at the floor (or on a filler strip as needed) and mark the location of the top edge of the panel on the wall.
Use a level and a pencil to mark a level guideline for the top edge of the panels along the bottom row.
Align the panel with the guideline on the wall, hold it in place (or have a helper hold the panel) and mark the wall with the locations of holes at the center of each empty space. If there's no wall stud beneath each mark, add a wall anchor. Secure the panel to the wall. Repeat for the remaining panels in the row and the rows above it.
Note: Check with a Lowe's associate for advice on mounting screws and wall anchors to suit the wall.
Use a small amount of construction adhesive to adhere the two remaining blocks in the empty spaces on the panel. Repeat the process for each panel. (Lightly gluing the final two blocks to the panel makes them easy to remove if you decide to disassemble the wall treatment.)