Paint Stick Pallet: Valentine’s DIY

This paint stick pallet is a great way to use up those extra paint sticks. This decor item is suitable for any time of year but with Valentines Day sneaking up so quickly after New Years, it’s a cute upcycle to gift your significant other.

Of course, when you make your own Paint Stick Pallet, you’ll use your own personal artwork to make it unique to you! Dig out a great photo of your and your significant other that’s buried on your Smartphone so it can be enjoyed!

Paint Stick Pallet Design – Dig Out a Photo!

In this tutorial, I’m using a caricature we commissioned for our wedding – superimposed with a  puzzle piece heart and the the words ‘you complete me’. It’s the perfect sentiment for any soul mate and exactly how I feel about Hubs!

If you’re a visual learner, watch this quick two-minute video below to see how easy it is (and subscribe to our YouTube Channel while you’re at it!)

I used adobe software but if you want to add some wording to your picture too, there are many free photo editing sites on the net like Fotor and PicMonkey.

Start by printing your picture or design on regular 8 1/2″ x  11″ paper as I did here:


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For this project, you will need:

Starting the Paint Stick Pallet

First line up some paint sticks side-by-side to determine how many paint sticks you will need to fit your 8.5″ x 11″ print-out. For the purpose of this project, I found ten to be the perfect number in width. As you’ll see later, I had to cut some off the length.

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Then take the packing tape and apply three strips across the back of the paint sticks (the side without advertising) to keep them all together.

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Flip it over to the right side.

Decoupage the Paint Stick Pallet

Mix a ratio of 50:50 glue to water. In the event that you don’t have craft glue, there are other options. If you have some leftover glue from a hardwood floor installation, for instance, just use that (glue only has a shelf life of about one year).

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Use a foam brush to lay down a thin layer of the glue mixture on the paint sticks.

Here’s a trick to keeping paper from bubbling when you decoupage. Keep the application of glue thin and let it dry a bit until tacky. Then lay down the paper and smooth it out.


After the glue is dry, to disguise the white boarder of the paper, outline around the edges with a blue marker. Make sure the marker is a permanent one. Otherwise, it may bleed after applying varnish in the next step!

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Brush on the first coat of water based varnish. Before applying a second coat to seal and protect, let it dry overnight.

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Once the varnish was dry, I cut away the excess wood around the picture on my bandsaw. A jigsaw will work too. Remove the packing tape on the back of the paint sticks, then cut each individual piece apart with a utility knife.

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Assemble the paint sticks and add spacers in between (using another paint stick as shown). Once that is done, you can measure for the length of the 1″x2’s”.


Glue Down Individual ‘Planks’

I cut three pieces of 1″ x 2″ and turned them on their sides. Glue the paint sticks on top leaving a gap in between (again using the paint stick as a spacer) until they are all glued onto the lumber.


Weigh the whole thing down with whatever you have on hand until the glue dries. Here, I’m using some vintage irons from my collection.


Beef up the Structure

Once dry, I measured and cut 4 more paint sticks. Attach them underneath the ‘pallet’ with fine 1″ – 1.5″ finishing nails.

I was going to add the finishing nails onto the face too. But I couldn’t bear to detract from the picture. As an option, if you want the look of nails on the surface of the boards, you could take a silver sharpie and add two little dots to each board to mimick the nail heads.

On the back, I added picture hanging wire between two screw eyes to hang it up. I can’t wait for Valentines day to arrive so I can give it to Hubs; I hope he likes it!

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Think your significant other might want to keep this at the office, but doesn’t have wall space? Get a stand for it; it’s really cute to display on a desk too!

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20 thoughts on “Paint Stick Pallet: Valentine’s DIY

    • Thanks Linda! It’s a fun piece to display instead of a picture. We never did get around to framing the real one – lol.

  1. What a gorgeous caricature of the both of you. It’s so special and your idea of turning it into a pallet is just brilliant. Such a unique gift idea. I love everything about it.

  2. This is just so unique! I love how they look like little pallets so cute!

  3. What a very cool project, looks great. And I am super jealous that you have 3 of those old irons. I would be happy to just have one. lol

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