How to Give Wood a Realistic Jagged Edge
Don’t you just hate it when you want to make something, and you can’t find the right materials? Case in point, I’ve been meaning to make a keychain for our little round beach house for ages. It’s our go-to place for recharging and getting away from stuff. I knew exactly how I wanted that keychain to look but couldn’t find the right piece of wood. Everything we had in our stash was too perfect. I wanted a piece of wood that looked worn and rustic and had broken uneven edges. So, I came up with a 4-step technique to create my own realistic jagged edges.
And I’m beyond happy with the results. It looks so natural, don’t you think?
This simple 4-step technique can be used on any softwood, instantly transforming straight edges into something that looks like they’ve been tossed around by Mother Nature and survived to tell the tale.
In this tutorial, I’ll show you how I transformed those straight ends and turned the finished piece into a rustic keychain. But, before we get to the tutorials, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. And don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll never miss a post!
What you need
To create a natural jagged edge:
The key to giving wood a realistic jagged edge is to make sure you have the right tools for the job. I used my Dremel scroll saw. Man, I love that thing. It comes in so handy for small, detailed work. You can also use a normal jigsaw.
Besides a jig saw/scroll saw, you’ll need the following:
- a flat screwdriver,
- small hammer
- 60 to 80-grit sandpaper
- Wire brush (optional)
To make the heart keychain
- A beautifully “worn-in-minutes” piece of wood 😉
- Air dry clay
- Jump ring
- Split ring
How to give wood a realistic jagged edge in 4 easy steps
The amount of time this project will take depends on what shape you’re cutting out and how wide the edge is. It could take anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours, depending on your skill level and desired finish. Creating jagged edges on two newly cut pieces took me under an hour. This is what I started with. It’s beautifully worn, but the edges still look too straight.
And even if I could live with the slightly worn edge, it was waaaaay too long for a keychain. If I trimmed it to the right size, I’d end up with new, super straight, clean cuts.
This was more the look I wanted.
And this video will show you how I did it in 4 steps.
Once you’re happy with the jagged edges, you can sand, stain and use the piece of wood to create anything you imagined.
Things to keep in mind
- Softwood like pine, cedar and fir are best suited for this technique.
- The more random the V cuts, the more realistic the end result will be.
- Big V cuts will create a bigger break or nick in the wood.
- Follow the grain of the wood when making the V cuts.
- Lots of small random cuts on the edges make it easier to chip away with a screwdriver.
- A wire brush makes getting rid of small splinters a breeze.
- When cutting the wood at an angle, don’t put pressure on the blade. It could snap and cause a nasty injury.
- On that note, wear the appropriate safety gear. Goggles are a must. Wood chips will fly.
Making the key chain
I’m going to turn this beauty into a key chain.
She fits perfectly in our hands, and I won’t lose her in my handbag 😉 Making the key chain took about 10 minutes. Drill a small hole in one end of the piece of wood.
Grab a jump ring and a split ring.
Push the jump ring through the hole and close it off with a pair of pliers.
Depending on how big the gap is between the jump ring and the piece of wood, you may need to add a small chain.
And finally, add the split ring.
So simple, rustic, and perfect for our holiday home.
I made a clay heart to add to my keychain, but feathers, beads, or a seashell would look gorgeous too.
This “jagged edges on wood” trick allow you to create something unique without worrying about finding that beautifully weathered piece of wood. You can control the whole process.
It’s a great way to create something new and exciting with your woodworking projects and is perfect for beginner woodworkers (that would be me).
What would you make?
If you like the idea of giving any piece of wood a realistic jagged edge, don’t forget to pin it for later.
Sharing is caring 😉
BTW, if you’re looking for some of the things we used, we’ve got you covered. Disclosure: Clicking on the links below, means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry, it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us make more amazing crafts to share with you 😉
And if you prefer to buy rather than DIY, then maybe these beauties will appeal.
And as always, wishing you a wonderful, crafty week filled with lots of love. Thank you for popping in for a visit.
14 thoughts on “How to Give Wood a Realistic Jagged Edge”
This looks so time worn and perfect. It would make a perfect Valentines gift. When I look at it, it makes me think of a worry stone, I would love having it hanging in my pocket. Simply beautiful as always. Pinned
That’s the word I was looking for, Leanna; worry stone 😀 The shape and size of the key chain fits perfectly in my hand and my thumb is constantly stroking the sides and grooves.
Well, you certainly fooled me thinking that was a real chunk of driftwood! Adore the key chain SO much, but boy you sure have this jagged edge technique down! ADORE the outcome!
Thanks so much, Donna. It’s such a easy thing to do and makes a big difference too.
Wow that is really cool! Perfect for a beachy key chain. I did not even know that Dremel made a scroll saw. Loved the video! One of these days I will have to give that a try too!
That scroll saw must be one of my favorite tools ever. I don’t even bother packing it away anymore 😉
I’m so happy I found this tutorial. I often get an idea in my head and then have to shelve it when my wood off cuts don’t work and I have no patience to wait either. This one is a lifesaver.
And I’m so happy you found the tutorial useful, Gretha. I must admit, it’s been a game-changer for me too. Have fun making all those beautiful ideas in your head.
I love everything about this project it looks like the real macoy. How did you get the cool grooves down the middle of the wood? I have an old wooden gate I replaced that is sitting outside in the sun to get this effect. I will have to help it along.
Mother Nature created those grooves all by herself, but you can help her along by putting the wood offcuts in the fire or using a blow torch. A good sanding with a wire brush drill attachment will also help.
This has tiny beach cottage written all over it!! Love it.
That’s exactly the look I was hoping for. Thanks, Kim
A. MAZ. ING! This is jaw dropingly good! Who knew you could fake it so well?
Thanks, Sara 😀 This is the one time where faking it pays off. I love using this technique.