How to do marquetry pictures with wood

Marquetry is a method of creating inlaid designs out of pieces of wood veneer chosen for their contrasting colors and grains.

To do it, you’ll need a crafts knife, white glue, assorted veneers, and a cutting board of plywood covered with linoleum. Veneers are available at hobby stores and from companies that sell woodworking supplies.

For your first effort, choose a simple design. Use carbon paper to transfer it onto the veneer you have selected as the background. Place the sheet of veneer on the cutting board and carefully cut out one of the outlined features with the crafts knife. Then slide a sheet of contrasting veneer under the first sheet so that it is visible in the opening. Transfer the shape to the piece that shows through by carefully scoring it along the edge of the opening. Remove the scored piece and cut out the shape. Apply glue to the edges of the opening and press the new piece into place, rubbing it flat with the handle of the knife.

Repeat this procedure until all the outlined features have been replaced with patches of contrasting veneer. For best results, work first with larger background elements, saving the foreground and finer details until last. When the design is finished, trim the edges square; glue long wood strips around the edge to make a border.

Attach the finished marquetry to a mounting board of smooth plywood. Apply a thin film of glue to the board and place the marquetry on top. Cover with wax paper and another piece of plywood; then weight or clamp the pieces to distribute pressure evenly while the glue dries.