January 22, 2016 When selecting wood for do-it-yourself home improvement projects, most of us don’t think of plywood first. Plywood has gotten a reputation for being that other wood, the material we use to underlay or support the beautiful real wood finish of our projects. We think that reputation is undeserved. Plywood is versatile, durable, easy to work with, economical, and can be finished in a variety of beautiful coatings. Check out these five surprising ways to add beauty and function to your home with plywood. 1. PLYWOOD FLOORING Plywood is no stranger to being underfoot, though until recently it’s typically been used as sub-flooring. But more creative homeowners are opting to save time and money by using plywood as a main flooring material—without sacrificing style. Plywood can be cut into wide planks for a rustic look, cut into squares with alternating stain patterns for a mid-century modern feel, or applied in large sheets then washed with colorful stains to resemble ultra-modern concrete floors. 2. PLYWOOD ART MOUNTS Traditional framing for large pieces of wall art can be expensive. Custom frames for vintage posters, maps, and other over-sized pieces can run into the hundreds of dollars. If you’ve got a stash of rolled-up vintage posters waiting until you win the lottery so you can visit the frame shop, it’s time pull them down. With a circular or large table saw, a plywood blade, and a can of spray adhesive, you can easily mount posters, maps, children’s art work, and just about anything else on a piece of nicely-finished plywood for a fraction of the cost of framing. Leave a 1/4-inch border around the piece and match the stain or paint color to a color in the artwork for an extra polished look. 3. SHAPELY OR PATTERNED PLYWOOD SLAB TABLE TOPS Spend any time browsing woodworking boards on Pinterest or similar web sites and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with ideas for beautiful DIY furniture projects. Many of these, like custom tables shaped like everything from favorite countries or states to sections of rivers, or intricately-patterned to turn an average kitchen table into a work of art, appear to require an investment in fine woods that may put them out of your budget range. Some crafty woodworkers have figured out that you can achieve the same effect using plywood. Take a look at this beautiful example from Tim Delger in Nashville [link: https://www.behance.net/gallery/Plywood-Slab-Table/6961187], patterned after a wedding silhouette. Using plywood saved him hundreds over what he would have spent using the redwood he initially considered. 4. PLYWOOD DRAWING BOARDS If you have kids in your home, chances are high that you have at some point had to refinish a surface—a wall, a desk, a floor, a kitchen table—they happily used as their own personal canvas. Paper is fun and convenient, but kids go through it quickly, and it generates a lot of clutter (and waste). And besides, what budding artist doesn’t love a large surface to work with? A couple of sanded pieces of plywood coated with chalkboard paint and a bucket of chalk is the stuff kids’ creative dreams are made of. 5. PLYWOOD STUDIO OR GUEST SPACE Innovative architects and designers are experimenting with ways to build fast, affordable, and even portable homes for everyone from lovers of the tiny house movement to disaster victims, and many have found plywood to be a versatile material perfect for the job. You don’t have to have an architectural degree to take advantage of these ideas when building the extra space you need—only a few basic building tools, one of the hundreds of free downloadable shed plans available online, a free weekend, and the guidance of a friendly, local lumber shop like Reno Lumber. Let us help. Give our lumber pros a call today at 775-329-9663.