DIY Abstract Copper Artwork

DIY Abstract Copper Artwork - student project

*Even updatier update! I found time to re-photograph the steps of the project and ditched the corkboard background. The cork seemed like a great idea at the time, but it reads really grainy and it's been bothering me ever since I published the project here and to my blog. Now everything is white and bright and pretty. Also, some of my text has been edited.

*UPDATE! I recently discovered the power of step-by-step collages for myself on my blog, so I am taking Brittni's advice and doing that from now on! Also, I've edited the photos, improved the sharpening, and added text to one for extra Pinterest-seduction.


My home needs more artwork. But I’m broke, and my drawings look like the work of a particularly untalented 3-year old.

Also, I really like copper.

The obvious solution to these dilemmas: DIY Abstract Copper Artwork. Custom inexpensive art, drawing skills not required. Woo!

DIY Abstract Copper Artwork - image 1 - student project

What You Need:

DIY Abstract Copper Artwork - image 2 - student project

  • copper wire in different gauges/thicknesses
  • 1/8″ thick sheet of balsa wood, cut to the size you want (mine is 5″x7″)
  • fine sandpaper (not pictured)
  • wire cutters
  • small pliers
  • E6000 Spray Adhesive (not pictured)
  • triangle hanger, or other picture-hanging hardware

What You Do:

DIY Abstract Copper Artwork - image 3 - student project

>> Lightly sand the balsa wood to smooth it up a bit (not pictured). You don’t have to go crazy with this, just get rid of any rough spots on the wood. Make sure to wipe it down afterwards so you don’t glue sawdust to your artwork.

>> Begin cutting lengths of wire and laying them on the balsa. The wire pieces should be longer than the balsa wood by roughly 1/4″ on each side. Using the small pliers or just your hands, bend the wires into abstract curves or whatever shapes you want. Have fun! Just try to keep the wires mostly flat so they can be attached to the wood.

>> Grab the E6000 bottle, give it a good shake (per the instructions on the back), and begin adhering wire pieces to the wood. I found it was easiest to work with 3-4 pieces of wire at a time. Spray a heavy coat of glue on the wood itself, and on the wires. Don’t worry, this stuff dries completely clear! Position the gluey wires onto the gluey wood. It will take about 30 minutes to begin setting—it’s best to leave it alone during this time.

>> Once the wires have set enough to stay in place, add another batch of 3-4 wires. Continue to work in this way, cutting, shaping, and gluing, until you are happy with your piece. Allow to dry completely overnight.

>> After all the glue has totally dried, gently bend the excess wire over the edge of the balsa and snip off the ends. This prevents the ugly snipped bits from being visible from the front of the piece. Be careful as you bend—lightly use your hand to hold the wires down from the front while bending the wire with your other hand (the glue holds well, but it’s not cement you know).

>> Flip the balsa wood over, and, using the same glue method as above, adhere the triangle hanger to the back of the wood. Since it takes a while to dry, you can tape the hanger down with masking tape so you don’t have to hold it in place the whole time.

And that’s it! Your fabulous artwork is ready to hang. This is a super versatile project due to the ease of working with the wire. You could make geometric shapes (triangles!), or even wire words. I decided to just let the copper guide me. That is officially the most ridiculously artsy-fartsy phrase I have ever uttered.

DIY Abstract Copper Artwork - image 4 - student project

DIY Abstract Copper Artwork - image 5 - student project

Bonus picture: Champ was curious what was going on behind all my propped-up pieces of foam board, so Alan gave him a birds’ eye view of my photoshoot. Look at his little face!

DIY Abstract Copper Artwork - image 6 - student project

What do you think, readers? Are you inspired to make your own DIY abstract copper artwork? Do you ever make art to hang instead of buying it?


That's the project! I used a mix of vertical and horizontal photos. I do like making collages of all the steps as Brittni suggested in her videos, but I have also read that this can sometimes keep Pinterest users from clicking through to your blog, since they can see the whole project in one image. Maybe this is only true for small blogs or for projects that are easy to interpret from just the visual steps? Either way I compromised by making a collage of only a few of the steps. 

I've been playing with a Photoshop action that emulates the VSCO-Cam filters but I can't decide how I feel about it. What do you think? I like the look but can't decide if it's appropriate for a project tutorial. 

Brittni, I just loved your styling tips! Also, using flower frogs to hold the foam boards is genius. Here is my set up, with my boyfriend and cat chilling in the background:

DIY Abstract Copper Artwork - image 7 - student project

I posted my project to my blog, Feel free to stop by there to give me some traffic love. :) I've also submitted it to Craftgawker and Dwellinggawker, posted it to my Facebook and Twitter accounts, and am going to post it to my Instagram account.

Do you guys have any feedback for me?