I love the look of old educational wall hangings with the wooden dowels across the top and bottom, and I’ve been trying to find a cheap way to display my work around the house. Here’s my tutorial on how I recreated that vintage look.
- 1 1/8″ moulding (mine was 12′ long for $7)
- 1/4″ Rare Earth Magnets (you’ll need eight)
- Wood stain (I used Jacobean by Minwax)
- Sponge brush
- Drill with a 1/4″ bit
- Drill stop
- Dowel center transfer plugs
- Hand saw
- Speed square (like this one)
Cut four pieces of moulding slightly wider than the poster/print you’d like to hang. Two for the top, and two for the bottom. The print will be sandwiched between them and secured with the magnets. My overhang was a 1/4″ on either side. I used a speed square and Olfa blade to mark my measurements. A blade is much more accurate than a pencil and it severs the wood fibers to cut down on splintering.
If you find that with all your care your cuts aren’t perfectly square, just match the ends of the same cut together and no one will be able to tell.
Then stain your wood. I used Jacobean, which is very dark, and there was no need to let it sit. I just wiped it on, then wiped it off again.
Mark where the magnets will go. I came in 2″ on either end. I only marked one side of each pair of mouldings and I’ll tell you why later. Drill part of the way through the wood.
I have a set of drill stops that came with my doweling kit, but you can buy them separately, too. This is important so you don’t drill all the way through. If you don’t have a drill stop and don’t want to buy one, just be very careful. You will be very sad if you drill through to the other side. You may need a tissue.
Also with my doweling kit came this handy little tool for marking the place of holes that need to be matched precisely. It’s called a dowel center transfer plug. You just stick it in the hole you drilled and press the pointy end into the other piece of wood. Make sure the edges are all square, flush, and plumb before you do that. Now you know exactly where to drill on the other side. Alternatively, you could just measure really carefully.
Cut your string or twine long enough so you get a pleasing isosceles triangle when you place the ends in your drilled holes. Tie knots in both ends.
Fill the drilled holes with glue and put the ends of the string in, followed by your magnets. BE SO CAREFUL WITH THESE MAGNETS. If you have children or pets and they swallow two of these, the attraction is so powerful that they will tear through your child’s/pet’s insides. Let’s not have that, shall we? I keep these hidden well out of reach. Also, when you place the magnets, remember there’s a positive and negative side and opposites attract. You need the poles facing the same direction in the sandwich. After placing the magnets in the holes, I glued a little scrap of paper over them, then I put the sides of the hangers together with plastic wrap in between to dry overnight. I did that because I wanted to make sure that as the glue dried, the magnets were flush with the surface of the wood.