Outdoor Herringbone Shim Art

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Glidden® paint through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Glidden paint, all opinions are my own.
I’m starting to see the teeniest bit of light at the end of the tunnel for the back porch makeover. I’ve worked on some seating and a new grill but I still needed something for those bland walls. Paint is the easiest way to remedy blandness but since we are renting, painting the actual walls was out of the question. However, I knew I could add some color there in a temporary way with paint, creativity, and some DIY craftiness. 

Since budget is always a concern and I didn’t want to spend a bunch on art, I looked at materials I could either get really cheaply or free. Pallets are a good option but I thought they would be too heavy to hang on the wall. The next best option for me was shims. Shims are strips of slightly wedge-shaped wood used in building. They are really cheap and readily available at home improvement stores.

For the paint, I purchased 2 quarts of Glidden paint in a flat exterior finish. I love their simplified color palette. It really makes choosing colors easy and quick when you don’t have to sort through 50 different shades of almost the same blue. For the worn ocean ombre look I was going for, I chose Glidden paint Peacock Blue and Glidden paint True Turquoise. I think it took less than 10 minutes to pick out the colors and have them mixed. Super easy.

Love this combo! I’m already thinking of other things I can paint.

So lets get started.

· Paint – 2 quarts of Glidden paint (I used exterior flat finish)
· Shims – you’ll need a couple packs (I used about 80 total)
· Scrap wood for the back
· Wood Glue
· Various tools/hardware

Step 1:
Paint your shims. Line up the shims side by side to make them easier to paint. You’re going to want to paint on a drop cloth or plastic… it’s a little messy. Then, to get the gradient or ombre look, I started with the darker color and gradually transitioned to the lighter color as I went. There’s no right way to do this. Just go at it, blend as you go, and have fun. 

I worked in batches and it went really fast. To get the beachy weathered look I was going for, I kept my brush pretty dry for the most part so you could still see the wood coming through.

Lay them out to dry.

Step 2:
Build a base. For the base to glue all my shims to, I used 3 pieces of scrap wood I had in my garage, and fastened them together. This is ¼” plywood and it’s really light. Of course using one large piece of wood would have been easier but I didn’t have one so I improvised.  :) They are glued and nailed together using, you guessed it, more scrap wood.

The 1” x 1” pieces on the back will also hold the whole thing out from the wall a bit giving it more dimension.

Step 3: Attach your shims. I drew one line from top to bottom near the left side of my base and followed that to attach the 1st row. Once you get the 1st row straight, the rest will line up with that.

I just used wood glue and worked from left to right, darkest to lightest.

Keep going!

Step 4: Trim your shims. Once your base is covered wait for the glue to dry and flip the whole thing over.

Then trim everything into a neat rectangle. I used a circular saw to do this.
Once everything is neat and rectangular, I glued some leftover shims around the edges as a boarder.

Step 5 (optional):
You could be done at this point but I chose to add a few “candle holders”. These small metal round things are actually part of the plant chandelier I took apart a few weeks ago. I just drilled small holes in the side and attached with screws. Not really sure I’ll be lighting these larger candles (tea lights might work better), they are more for decoration. Small succulents or air plants might work too. I just love the little pops of color they provide.

Now hang it up and admire the rustic beachy cheeriness.
So give it a try! Paint is such an easy and inexpensive way to add some punch where you need it. Even if blues aren’t your thing, check out the Glidden simplified color palette and see what inspires you.


  1. I love the colors you chose and the art looks great!

  2. What a great project! I need outdoor wall decor too. Love your color selection.

  3. That makes a huge impact without a huge investment and those paint colors are GORGEOUS!

  4. Oh my goodness - - what a stunning piece! I love the different shades of that bold blue and the weathered look you achieved with your painting techniques. Another homerun from you, Sarah!

  5. This is SOOOO fantastic!! I have to try this. Pinned!

  6. I LOVE THIS! Thank you for the idea :)