Step 1: Source
This project requires untreated hardwood. Maple, walnut, cherry and hickory are nice tight-grained woods that work well for this project. They are high-density varieties that are not scored easily when cut upon. This keeps bacteria and moisture out for a cleaner, longer-lasting board. Hardwood can be sourced from local lumber suppliers as well as big box hardware stores. Look for a piece that is at minimum 6 inches wide. Adjust your width and eventual length according to intended use and personal preference.
Step 2: Cut
You have a couple options here. If you don’t have access to a saw, some lumber suppliers will make simple cuts for you. If you have a saw in your tool library, carefully make your measurements and cuts at home. The length of your board is up to you—but again, you might consider the end use of this piece before making a slice. For a decadent cheese plate or a whole baguette, it might be nice to have a longer board. If you like variety on your table, you might prefer smaller boards to mix and match.
Step 3: Sand
Sand edges and surfaces of board until absolutely smooth. Start with a coarse grit and work towards a fine grit for a nice finish. When completely smooth, wipe down with a damp cloth to remove any dust.
Step 4: Paint
Decide how much of you cutting board you want to be painted. You might want just enough for a grip, or you might want a larger section for more visual impact. PlastiDip is food safe, so any part of the board can be painted. Measure, mark and tape off area of the board to paint. To protect the portion of the board you don’t want painted, wrap in a plastic grocery bag up to the taped off paint line. Secure in place with tape. Lay out old newspaper to protect working area. Apply several thin coats of Plastidip, making sure previous coat is completely dry before beginning again. Once dry, carefully score along edge of painters tape so it doesn’t pull up paint as it’s removed.
Step 5: Seal
Avoiding painted end as best as possible, coat unpainted end with mineral oil and rub in. Allow to absorb and dry completely before using. As normal wear and tear occurs, you can reseal with mineral oil.
Frankie Schneckloth lives and works in Iowa City. This article originally appeared in Little Village issue 187.