Fresh Fruit Wall Art


Fresh Fruit Wall Art

Embrace cooler weather with this colorful ode to the harvest

By Anatoly Obelets

Celebrate the earth’s bounty by shaping and dyeing a four-panel composition that looks good enough to slice up for breakfast. This project is a great way to practice texturing and tinting, even if you’re new to the scroll saw. Jump in and experiment with the hues you love best. 

Getting Started

For this project, choose wood with a pronounced texture and grain; I used pine. Measure and mark the dimensions of the backers on a 3/4″ (1.9cm)-thick plank. Then apply the patterns for the fruit on a 3/8″ (1cm)-thick plank. I used graphite transfer paper and a pencil, but you can save time by attaching the design directly. Cover the wood with blue painter’s tape and stick the pattern to the tape with spray adhesive. Drill the blade-entry hole in the bottom of the pear.

Cutting and Shaping

Step 1

Cut the fruit. Use a #3 reverse-tooth blade or one of your choice. (I used a Pyrosegmentator—a cutting tool of my own design—but you can use a scroll saw.) Leave the inner vein details on the leaves uncut, as you will woodburn them later. The stems should all exist as individual pieces.


Step 2

Rough shape the fruits. I used a utility carving knife and sandpaper, but you can use a round inflatable sander to contour the edges, if desired. Note: Always wear a carving glove and thumb guard. The photos were taken without them to clearly show hand and knife positions. Round the edges, adding ripples on the surface to enhance the fruit-like shape. For fruits that are touching, such as the two pears, bring down the edges of the piece that is farther away so that the fruit in front sits higher and appears closer. A 5/16″ (8mm) #8 gouge, or one of your choice, can be helpful here.



Step 3

Add the leaf details. I burned in the veins with a writing nib in a variable-temperature woodburner.



Step 4

Texture the fruit backers. I create dramatic texture with a technique called wood brushing. Use a metal scratch brush with medium bristles to rub the surface of the wood aggressively, working with the grain. Then cut the plank into squares with a table saw, compound miter saw, or the scroll saw with a #7 blade.


Finishing and Assembling

Step 5

Add color to the fruit backers. To do this, first wet the surface of each panel with a little water. Then apply the stain of your choice to the wet surface. As soon as you’ve applied it, rub the surface vigorously with a clean rag.



Step 6 

Tint the fruits. I blended alcohol stains and watercolor paints to create a slightly mottled coloring across the surface of each piece. In each case, make sure to wet the surface of the wood before applying color. Once dry, lightly sand each piece to smooth the raised grain. Sand more vigorously in sections where you’d like to impart a little “shine”, such as the high points on the cherries and apples.



Step 7

Assemble the panels. Glue the fruit pieces on their respective backers, one by one. Apply a clear varnish once dry. At this point, add store-bought frames, if desired.


Step 8

If desired, add a backer. You could display the pieces individually, but I prefer to unite them with one tempered hardboard backer. Orient the panels on the backing material as desired, trace around them, and cut the backer accordingly. Cut the scrap wood spacers and stain as desired. Glue and clamp the panels to the backer and let dry. Add a hanger to the back and display. 



• Wood, such as pine, 3/4″ (1.9cm) thick: fruit                 backers, 5 1/2″ x 31 1/2″ (14cm x 80cm)

• Wood, such as pine, 3/8″ (1cm)
thick: fruit, 5 1/2″ x 31 1/2″ (14cm x 80cm)

• Tempered hardboard, approx. 3/16″ (5mm) thick:       project backer, 12 5/8″ (32cm) square (optional)

• Wood scraps, 3/8″ (1cm) thick: spacers, 4 each 3/8″           x 3 9/16″ (1cm x 9cm) 

• Frames, 1″ (2.5cm) thick: 4 each, sized for panels         (optional) 

• Graphite transfer paper (optional) 

• Pencil (optional) 

• Tape: blue painter’s 

• Spray adhesive 

• Clean cotton cloth

• Sandpaper: assorted grits to 220

• Alcohol stains, such as Minwax®: daffodil, golden       oak, Ipswich pine, red mahogany

• Watercolor paints, such as green and purple 

• Glue: wood

• Finish: clear matte varnish

• Hanger: sawtooth


• Table saw or compound miter saw (optional) 

• Scroll saw with blades: #3, #7 reverse-tooth

• Drill with bit: 3/64″ (1.2mm)-dia.  

• Carving knife with disposable blades 

• #8 gouge: 5/16″ (8mm) (optional) 

• Sander: round inflatable with assorted sleeves (optional) 

• Brush: metal scratch

• Clamps 

• Paintbrushes: assorted 

• Woodburner with nib: writing

About the Author

Anatoly Obelets of Kherson, Ukraine, has been engaged in intarsia work for over 15 years. One of his favorite subjects to portray is sunflowers; his friends jokingly call him the “Ukrainian Van Gogh.” Find more of Anatoly’s work at

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