Painting on Jersey Shore

Um, not the show Jersey Shore that I refuse to watch for fear I’d have three brain cells left.  Or even the geographic location of the Jersey shore.  I’m talking about a little painting project the boys and I did yesterday that vaguely resembles modern sports jerseys.  Back when we still lived at our first house, I made magazine ad artwork for the boys’ bedroom.

Great colors, fun animals, and free, in a word, love.  But neither of my boys are babies anymore.  Vincent is Rubik’s cube loving, movie quoting, bike riding five-year old.  And Everett’s a jump on/off/to everything, dirt digging, Matchbox car racing two and a half-year old.  The baby-ish artwork didn’t match their personalities anymore.  Five cluttered looking frames weren’t working for me either, so I set out to make free, personalized art involving the kids.

I found two still in the package 16 by 20 inch canvases in the basement, begging to be used.  Then I opened Photoshop and typed 21 and 25, Vincent and Everett’s birth dates and changed the fonts until I found one I liked best.  Museo Slab, if you’re wondering.  To make the art look less like a jersey, I decided to overlap the number slightly for a more artistic look.

I considered tracing the numbers, taping off everything and letting the boys paint, but that seemed like too much work.  Instead, I flipped the numbers to make a mirror image, printed on card stock, and cut them out.

The boys each painted their number using acrylic paints.

Once the paint dried, I flipped the numbers over and stuck plenty of rolled tape on.  In another attempt to make these look less like sports attire, I placed the numbers in the bottom left corner, rather than the center.

V stuck with greens and yellow for his.

Then went color crazy by adding various blues to the mix on E’s number.

I like that these are personal and were as easy as printing, cutting, and painting numbers.  And we can just as easily pull the numbers off and paint something on the canvases if we get bored.

I might use stronger tape though because the thick card stock is kind of warped from the paint.

If not for my free goal, I would have preferred square canvases, perhaps 24 by 24 inches.

Like I said, we can easily change this down the line.  For now, I’m really happy with the white space versus painted design.  And fonts/numbers are always good in my book.

Now I’m curious, what do you have as art over beds?  Whether kids, yours, or a guest bed.  Do you prefer single larger pieces?  Or a grouping of smaller ones?  Perhaps, you’re a font/number geek?  Let’s unite!

P.S.  In response to our recent survey (which you can still fill out here), several commenters suggested bigger, brighter pictures.  For larger pictures, click on the photo.  Are these brighter/bright enough/too bright?

Art with Heart

For too long, er, the past five months, our bedroom has looked like this:

Ugly paint, minimal furniture, and no art on the walls.  Come to think of it, the whole house looks like that.  Well, I decided I had enough.  Time to take matters into my own hands.  When Jenny mounted a cheapo Kinko’s print to foam core, I thought it looked cool.  Then Katie did it, too.  And then a light bulb went off above my head.  Hellooooo, we pulled foam insulation out of the wet bar in the pool house.

So I measured, hoping the foam was at least two feet wide.  Hooty hoo!  The foam was exactly 24 inches wide by about 4 feet.  I had already gone through our wedding photos and chose two of my favorite ‘we’re not posed smiling at the camera’ shots.  Sure the first one is blurry, but I like it that way.  A little more artistic and unexpected.  I love that it’s sort of a ‘moment in time’ capturing the emotions we felt that June day.

After sizing and editing the photos in Photoshop, I saved the files, headed to FedEx Office (I still call it Kinko’s) and had ’em printed.  For $4.50 each, I got two 24 by 36 inch prints.  I headed home and started cutting the foam.  Well, tried to cut it.  The utility knife didn’t work on my 2 inch thick foam.

If something doesn’t work, I call Ben to ask for his ideas.  He suggested using the table saw.  After a little begging, he agreed to cut the pieces for me when he got home.  He did and it worked like a charm.  Just to be safe, I had Ben cut the pieces at 23 1/2 by 35 1/2 inches.  With the sides straight, I mixed up a little, okay a lot, of kelly green paint.  Because I hate being careful when I don’t have to, I painted the sides first, then mounted my photos.

Speaking of mounting photos, I started by using ModPodge, which was a mistake.  It bubbled up and I had to work with it a lot.  After one short edge, I searched the house, knowing I had spray adhesive somewhere.  Ah ha!  Found it.  Outside, I lined my print up, peeled back a small bit, sprayed, then pressed it into place.  With that first edge stuck down, I sprayed the rest, working in smallish lines, pressing the paper down, and smoothing it from the center out.  Because I did this along (and thought getting it to lay straight would be more difficult) I didn’t trim my paper before mounting.  I had a little paper overhanging the edges, so I flipped the pieces over and carefully cut along the edge using a utility knife.

To hang these big guys, I decided to just poke a hole in the back for a nail.  First, I measured a few inches down, then centered.

Ben suggested adding small pieces of pipe, just to prevent the nail tearing the foam.  What a thinker.  He cut two small pieces of copper pipe (which we were about to take to the recycling center).

With the copper tube centered in my cross-hairs, I pushed down.  I couldn’t get the pipe flush unless I pulled out some of the foam.  A needle nose pliers pulled it out and the pipe stayed wedged in the foam.

I hung the pictures on either side of the big window.

Finally, something on the walls!  Two big somethings.

Better yet, these prints have meaning to us.

Walking into our room doesn’t make me cringe anymore.  Rather than focus on the terrible wall color, I see pretty prints that remind me what a wonderful man I have.

And it only cost nine bucks because I had the rest of the materials.

A pop of green is another fun touch.

Only three more walls to get something on, including this giant one.  Oy, that blue.  Hopefully we can scrape the popcorn ceilings and repaint this fall/winter.

I don’t know which is worse, the awful blue or the burnt red in the bathroom.  No wait, the red is much worse.  At least there’s something pretty in the room now.

What do you think of the most recent additions?  What art have you added to your home?  Oversized prints?  A custom painting?  Blurry photos that you love?

How’s it Hanging?

As usual, when back in Minnesota, Ben and/or I try to help my sister with something on her house.  Over our Christmas vacation, Ben refinished her stairs and built an awesome bookshelf.

Of course Ben’s skill set grossly out does mine, so I decided to do what I do best.  Hang a few pictures.  Ash gathered up her frames and art to take this wall from blank to beautiful.

Ten framed pictures later, we’ve got a super simple gallery wall.  To simplify the hanging process, I held up the pictures, asked for opinions, then marked the wall to hang using this method.

For the arrangement layout, I tried to follow the line of the stairs.

As they accumulate artwork, this wall can be added to and rearranged to fit large and small art.  But it makes their home feel more lived in and cozy.

What have you been up to lately?  Hanging pictures?  Going on a vacation?  Helping your family with a house project?  Getting help for a project?

Un Homme & Une Femme

As I mentioned yesterday, the main bathroom isn’t finished, but that’s not stopping me from working on finishing touches.  I could resist making art for the back wall.  A large piece of art at that.  For bathrooms, I try to stay away from anything with eyes, because that just seems creepy to me.  Who wants to feel watched while doing your private business anyway?  So, I thought up bathroom appropriate art, but nothing felt perfect.  I didn’t want anything frilly.  Nothing too fancy.  Nothing to compete with the patterned shower curtain.  But something bold, simple, and most importantly, fun.  Then, it came to me.  Why not make an over sized version of the classic man/woman signs to mark commercial bathrooms?  It’s bold.  It’s simple.  It’s fun.  And bonus, it was easy to make. 


I started with a 2 foot by 3 foot frame I had sitting in the basement.  For my background, I painted a large piece of paper I had on hand navy blue.  An internet search gave me photos of the signs, so I made a design in Photoshop, printed it to plain paper, and used the designs as a template.  Then, I cut a man and a woman from card stock.  A few piece of rolled tape on the back held my people in place.  Popping it in the frame instantly made it look more chic and cheeky than the standard bathroom sign.

It certainly adds a dose of fun to the bathroom.  Best of all, it cost me under five bucks for materials!

Would it be too much to hang one of each of these vases over the toilet?

In other breaking bathroom news, Ben grouted the shower.  Crisp white grout is nice to see.  Once we, ah hem, Ben installs the faucet set, we can shower in here.  Yippee skippy. 

One of these days, I should wash that mirror.

So there ya have it, cheap, funny, eyeless bathroom art.  What do you think?  Too commercial feeling?  Just the right amount of kitsch to add personality to the space?  What do you have on your bathroom walls?

Baby You’re a Firework

Readers in the US know the Fourth of July is coming up soon.  In honor, I have a free 8 inch by 10 inch sparkler print design in six Americana colors to get you geared up.  Fourth of July is such a nostalgic holiday.  Along with our local parade, we enjoyed barbeques, fireworks, snaps, and sparklers.







Print away!  While you’re printing, care to share your plans for the Fourth of July?  Barbeque at your house?  Fireworks?  A vacation?