pursuing simplicity, creating humbly, loving furiously

DIY Adoption Wall Art

I am so excited to finally post this project!  I have been thinking about it for a few weeks and finally got the time to put it together this week.  The cost for the whole project – a whopping $2!  The only thing I had to buy was the small piece of wood in the back that holds it all together.  Everything else was either free or I already had it on hand.

I have to tell you that in person it is stunning.  Every time we walk by it in our house we love it more!  It is so simple, but it says so much and really speaks to the heart and beauty of adoption.  We used Africa (because that is where our kiddos are from), but it would work with the outline of any country, even the good old USA.  Honestly I LOVE it so much that we have been thinking about selling them on ETSY, but alas 4 children 5 and under, homeschooling, housework, and 1 spectacular husband doesn’t leave much time for ANOTHER venture.  SO for now a tutorial will have to do….

Alright, so here is the nitty gritty of the project.


  • 1 pallet board ( I got mine on the side of the road!  It had staples in it that we had to pull out, but I just loved the weathered age look of it)
  • wood stain of your choice (I used a dark espresso)
  • a pencil
  • a small paintbrush (like your kids water-color brush)
  • your stencils printed and cut out on cardstock
  • wood glue and/or a small piece of plywood to staple, nail, or screw it all together.
  • sandpaper or electric sander
  • a saw to cut the wood
  • exacto knife to cut out stencils
  • optional: polyurethane to seal it, ribbon to hang it

Step By Step:

1. Remove any staples that are sticking out of your board.  Or in my case have your husband do it!  And while you’re at it have him do the next 2 steps too!

2. Then cut it into thirds so that you have 3 pieces all the same length.

3. Wood glue the boards together on the ends.  The glue held it together on its own but in my crazy house I wanted more support for the long-term so he stapled a thin sheet of plywood onto the back so everything was nice and secure.

4. Sand everything to your liking.  I only did a light sand because I really liked the rustic character and didn’t want to sand it off.

5. Print out the templates at the end of the post.  Cut out Africa and trace it onto the wood with a pencil.  Also cut out the word chosen (I used an exacto knife) and trace it as well.

6. Use your paintbrush and fill in with the wood stain.  I treated it just like paint.  But be aware that it is stain and so it will bleed a little.  I used just a tiny amount on the brush when around the edges so it didn’t seep way outside my traced outline.  In the middle you can be a bit more liberal.  Keep in mind IT WON’T BE PERFECT, but that is kind of the point with this one, it just adds to the rustic charm.

7. For the text I filled in the outside and left the inside of the letters raw wood.  It gave it a more substantial feel.

8. Spray with a coat of flat polyurethane spray.

9. Staple ribbon onto back and hang!

You could personalize with the name of your child or use ribbon that matches their room. I am sure there are tons of possibilities.

Here are the templates for tracing:

Chosen text template

Africa Outline Template





  1. brenda white

    This is so fantastic! where did you hang it in your house? I love it!

  2. Moriah

    This turned out awesome!

  3. Wendy

    This turned out so beautifully! Awesome job!

  4. Pingback: 17 DIY Rustic Wall Art

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