Select boards that are straight. Tip: Pretend the board is an arrow on a bow and look down the length of the board to see if it is straight. Tip: For added character, select straight boards that are rustic in nature with imperfections, cracks and knots. To save time, have the lumber store cut your boards as directed in the cut list. Work on a clean, level surface large enough for the project, and always wear safety glasses and ensure proper ventilation when painting.