DIY Yakisugi Shutter Frame and Junk Birds
We’re big fans of turning junk into custom wall art. From forks to seed pods and bent bicycle wheels, if we can hang it, we’ll use it. So it seemed only natural to add some rusty, junk birds to the mix. There was only one problem. Those birds needed something to perch on if they were going on the wall. Which is why we decided to make this Yakisugi shutter frame to complete the picture (pun intended 😉 ).
The shutter frame is unique and it provides the perfect perch for my junk birds.
Aren’t they just sooooooo cute?
The shutter frame and the junk birds take about 1/2 hour to make and it’s my contribution for this month’s International Blogger’s Club (IBC) challenge which is “Walls and All”. You’ll be able to see all the other amazing submissions at the end of this post.
What You Need
For the Yakisugi shutter frame
- Wood scraps
- Drill and jigsaw
- Wood screws
- 4 small barrel hinges
- 4 L-shaped brackets
- A hot coal fire or blow torch
For the junk birds
- Wood scraps (the thicker the better)
- Craft paint. I used Unicorn SPiT
- Rusty junk
Right, before I share the tutorial, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. And don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll never miss a post!
Right, let’s get to those tutorials. We’ll start with the shutter frame and then I’ll share how I made the junk birds. Both the birds and the frame have been Yakisugi-fied 😀
What is Yakisugi (Shou Sugi Ban)
Yakisugi, also known as shou sugi ban in the West, is an ancient Japanese wood preservation technique that entails burning or charring softwood to make it more resilient and enhance the color and the natural beauty of the grain. The Japanese word Yakisugi means burnt cedar. Traditionally three to five planks are placed in a teepee shape over hot coals.
The softwood grains fuse as the wood burns, making the wood stronger and more durable.
If the wooden planks are too long to stack safely into a teepee, they can also be burnt flat. Just remember to turn them regularly so they don’t burn too much.
If you’re worried about starting a fire in your backyard, use a blow torch instead. We’re South African and never need an excuse to light a fire. It’s a messy business, but someone has to do it 😉
For Yakisugi, light, porous wood works best. Cedar, Pine, Larch/Tamarack, Cypress, Fir, Spruce, and Redwood are all good choices. After charring, the wood is left to cool before the burnt, flaky bits are removed with a wire brush and/or sandpaper.
While burning or charring the wood does make it stronger, it is still advisable to seal it with natural oils or a clear polyurethane sealer.
Once all the wood has been burnt and prepped, we can start making the shutter frame.
Making the shutter frame
My frame is 32 cm wide and 41 cm long (12.5″ x 16″). The two shutters on either side are 18 cm wide and 27 cm long (7″ x 10.5″). Feel free to adapt the measurements to suit the width and thickness of your wood. I’ve included a rough plan below based on my measurements.
If you’re going to use your frame to display something, like junk birds, make sure the frame bottom is wide enough for them to park their pretty butts on comfortably 😉 To join the frame together, I used L-shaped brackets and wood glue. If you have one of those fancy Kreg things, you’re welcome to use that.
To join two shutter planks together, I used a crossbar that’s roughly as long as my two shutter planks are placed side by side. IMHO, the crossbars add character to the shutters. If you’re not a fan of the look, you can use a butt joint instead.
Measure and mark where the shutter crossbars should go and drill pilot holes. I made two holes per plank since my crossbars weren’t the same thickness all the way across.
Screw the shutter crossbars from the back using the pilot holes as a guide.
Attach the shutters to the frame with two hinges.
I’m completely in love with how beautiful the wood is after burning.
Just look at those rich, fire-infused colors.
Okay, enough of me admiring the Yakisugi effect. Let’s move on to making those junk birds 😀
Making The Junk Birds
The two little junk birds sitting in the Yakisugi shutter frame are a whole bunch of fun to put together. There’s no right or wrong way to do it, so feel free to experiment with whatever junk you have lying around. Start by drawing and cutting a thick piece of wood into an oval blob shape with a square bottom.
Grab those rusty, scrap metal bits lying around to get an idea of what you can use to give the junk birds some character. I used copper wool, light fittings, tin ceiling tile scraps, and two small bulbs from an old radio.
Make a hot fire and place the blobs on the grid, turning them every now and again so they’re burnt all over.
Remove the blobs and leave them to cool. Use a wire brush to get rid of the soft, charred wood.
Just look at how amazing the wood looks after a hard scrub. At this point, I seriously considered leaving the junk birds in all their natural Yakisugi glory.
But decided a little Unicorn Spit wouldn’t hurt?
To make the legs, bend some rusty nails and glue on scrap metal feet. We have a whole bucket of nails that we’ve used in so many of our craft projects.
Drill two small holes at the bottom of the junk birds to attach the legs.
Bend a rusty metal in a beak shape and glue that on. Add the eyes on either side of the beak. Pull the wire wool apart and screw it to the top of the junk bird’s head to finish off.
The junk birds look so cute sitting in their frame…..
Or perched on our distressed
melamine metal cabinet.
What do you think?
If you like the idea of making some junk birds, then don’t forget to pin it for later.
Or if you need a Yakisugi (shou sugi ban) shutter frame to add to your gallery wall, this one is for you.
Pssst, don’t forget to see what the rest of the IBC have done with their “Walls and All” challenge below.
- Celebrate fall in style with recycled wood tile wall art made by Marie from Interior Frugalista.
- Anita took the art of shou sugi ban to a whole new level with this gorgeous barn quilt.
- A one-of-a-kind air plant clock created by Sara from Birdz of a Feather.
- Meegan took her inspiration from nature and made beautiful wall art.
- Junk birds and shutter frame by your truly.
Oh, and 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 come up with more amazing craft ideas to share with you 😉
Or if you prefer to buy rather than DIY, then one of these beauties may appeal.
And as always, wishing you a wonderful, crafty week filled with lots of love. Thank you for popping in for a visit.
24 thoughts on “DIY Yakisugi Shutter Frame and Junk Birds”
I love your owls! so creative.
Thank you, Rebecca.
Oh my goodness… these sweet salvaged birds can fly on by to my house anytime they please! They are DARLING! And how you’ve mounted them, equally so! This was a feast for this junker’s eyes!
Sooooo happy to hear that, Donna. I must admit my junking heart had so much fun putting them together.
Wow! So creative!!! You did a great job. This is so adorable.
Thanks so much, Virginia. I had loads of fun putting this one together
I’ve seen projects with wood burned using a torch and always thought that was sooo cool! But haven’t tried it myself yet. But I’m good at starting fires. Love the junk birds! Sooo cute!
You’ll love playing around with this technique, Linda and I bet you’ll put your own unique spin on it too.
So cute! The way you have them presented is just darling, as well. My sister’s last name rhymes with owl, so she has a collection as you can imagine. I need to share your pretty post with her.
😀 Owls are such amazing creatures. We have a spotted eagle-owl that comes to visit every now and again. She’s so majestic (well I think she’s a she?) and when she makes that hoo-hoo-hoooe sound it feels like she’s talking to your soul. So incredible.
You KNOW how much I love these whimsical birds! You are amazingly creative. I definitely need to try the Yakisugi technique soon. What a fun way to add texture and depth. Thank you for inspiring so many creative juices.
Always a pleasure, Meegan and thank you for all your support.
You have such a clever mind wish I had half of your imagination
Thank you so much, Maria, I really appreciate that.
You are just so creative it never stops. The birds are adorable and the shutters so clever.
Oh, I’ve seen all the beautiful things you make, Claire. You knock creativity right out of the park with your crafts.
Seriously girl, these birds are ADORABLE! Those eyes are just too stink’n cute for words. Same with the feet and copper tufts of hair. I LOVE the green contrast with the burned wood and rusty bits. But then to have them mounted on a rustic open shutter window – you’re creativity never ceases to amaze me, Michelle!
Their crazy hair is probably my favorite feature. Kinda reminds me of mine every morning 😉
Those junk birds are so awesome (and you know how I love birds – lol)! Makes me want to fire up the Barbie to cook some of my own. Wouldn’t hubs be surprised – lol? Great decision to use the Unicorn Spit; they’re so lovely with your cabinet!
😀 Oh I can just picture your hubby’s face if you put a few blobs on the Barbie 😀
Your imagination never ceases to amaze me. You always come up with such great characters in your projects and those birds are the bomb. I would love to have a frame like that under my pergola. I did feel for your blobs when you decided to braai them. lol
If those blobs had eyes before we put them on the braai I wouldn’t have been able to do it ? ?
Those birds are adorable. xo Laura
Thank you, Laura