Suburban Pioneers

The Adventures and Misadventures of Homesteading in 21st-Century America

Lauren: How to Turn a Stick into a Work of Art February 18, 2013

There’s an empty space on my dining room wall that’s really been bugging me. I had wanted to hang a work of art in that space–a somewhat abstract portrait, possibly done with oils. So far, I haven’t been able to find the picture in my mind’s eye, at least, not one within my budget. After almost five years of an empty space, it was time to execute a backup plan.




Supplies Needed:


Clothespins (amount depends on length of stick)

Wood Finish Stain

Polycrylic Protective Finish


hooks, nails, or fishing line

Step One: Procure a stick. Luckily, our tree in the backyard sheds sticks whenever there’s a thunderstorm. . . and on windy days.

Step Two: Scrape, peel, rip, and/or sand the bark off. My stick had been sitting outside for a while so half of the bark came off very easily. The other half I had to work for.  Have I ever mentioned that our power sander is my favorite tool. of. all. time.


Step Three: Wipe off the dust and dirt with a cloth. In the direction of the grain, apply wood stain with cloth or brush. I bought my stain at a Habitat for Humanity resale shop for $1. I did about three coats. (Follow directions on stain can to see how long to wait between coats). Stain clothespins as well.

You could enlist a helper at this point, but beware that wood stain. . . stains. And that helper might just rub it all over his face.


DSCN1477 DSCN1478


Step Four: Apply the polycrylic (another $1 Habitat purchase) onto stick and clothespins. I did another three coats.

Step Five: Attach clothespins onto stick using superglue with the spacing you desire.

Step Six: Hang onto wall (or get a handy man to do it for you). We hung our stick with white hooks on our crown molding and fishing line and by “we” I mean my husband. Sometimes its very convenient to be married to an eagle scout who remembers how to tie weird knots and stuff.

Clip up pictures, children’s art, or anything else that you want displayed.

And there you have a functional work of art for super cheap!

Total Project Cost:

Stick: Free!

Clothes pins: $1

Wood Stain: $1

Polycrylic: $1

Superglue: $3

Fishing Line: $6

Total: $12


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