Stalks of ornamental grass serve as the pattern used to create this colorful piece of art you can enjoy all year long.
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Choose the most attractive face of each board and sand it smooth along with the edges and ends. Then place the boards face down on a drop cloth and stagger the ends as desired. Use a T-square or a carpenter’s square and straightedge to draw a line across all six boards about 2 inches below the top end of the lowest board as a guide for installing hangers later. Mark the boards 1 through 6 to keep them in the same order.
The staggered arrangement of the painted boards on a wall mimics the mixed heights of actual grass.
Working in a well-ventilated area and wearing breathing protection and goggles, flip each board over and spray-paint the sides, ends, and front of each board the background color (Buttered Toffee shown). Add a second coat as needed -- two thin coats are better than one thick coat.
On a protective piece of paper, place the boards side by side in order with the pencil marks facing down. Tip the boards slightly one by one so you can stagger them until the pencil lines on the back are aligned. Collect long trimmings of ornamental grass and practice laying out the trimmed pieces on the six painted boards until you have the number and size you want. Then lay the grass off to the side in about the same arrangement.
Taking one stalk of grass at a time, flip it upside down from the pattern and spray the underside with repositionable adhesive according to the label directions. Wear disposable gloves as you position the grass flat against the boards and press it down firmly. Repeat for the remaining stalks of grass.
The spray adhesive will stick to your hands as well as the grass. If the grass sticks to your gloves more so than the boards, change gloves and continue working.
Hold the can of top-coat spray paint (Radiant Red shown) about 12 to 14 inches above the surface and spray straight down in light, quick movements. Continue until you have a light and mostly even coat of paint. Immediately go to the next step while the paint is still wet.
Holding the can too close can cause the grasses to move slightly, destroying the delicate pattern left by the tops of the grass. Maintain a consistent distance from the surface.
Starting from the bottom of the stalk, carefully lift off each strand of grass before the paint dries. Allow the top coat to dry overnight.
Flip a board over and lightly nail a self-leveling hanger at the center of the pencil line. Repeat for the remaining boards.
On the wall where you’ll hang the boards, place a mark near where you want the center of the arrangement at a height where you want the nails for the self-leveling hangers. At that mark, apply a level horizontal strip of painter’s tape about 48 inches long with the top of the tape even with the mark on the wall.
Mark the tape strip where you want the center of the arrangement (Grass Art Installation Guide), then measure and mark the tape 18-3/4 inches to the left for the far left mounting nail. Measure 7-1/2 inches to the right and mark the tape for the second nail. (This spacing leaves a 2-inch gap between boards.) Repeat for the remaining four boards until you have six marks each spaced 7-1/2 inches apart. At each mark, drive a #17 x 1-in nail at a slight downward angle and leave about 1/8 inch exposed. Remove the tape and hang the boards in order.