Cut Out Map

Personal art is something I love having in my home and something I really enjoy making.  Last year, I made a cut out map of Savannah, Georgia, where Ben and I honeymooned.  Patricia from PVE and I traded art, and she requested a map cut out of New York.  Well, I’m at it again, this time with our home town.  It started when I decided to clear some of our junk from the basement.  After hanging the Savannah cut out in the living room, I looked around at our bare walls.  Specifically, these matching bare walls on either side of the dining room doors.

Wanting to prominently display my hard work, I decided to make the Savannah cut out a set.  I complied images from Google maps to map out our town.  After piecing the pages together in Photoshop, I adjusted the size until I had my design perfect.  To save ink, I made a street overlay, which is just a new layer that I trace the lines over.

If you want to make your own cut out, it would be easier to take your map to a print shop (even Kinkos, now FedEx Office), enlarge it to the size you want, and print it on plain paper.  Basically, I’m lazy and cheap, so it is easier for me to make the overlay, divide it into 8 by 10 print sheets and tape my papers together, like this:

I use that printed design as a template by taping the edges on top of my nice paper.  Then I cut.  And cut.  And cut some more until my fingers hurt and my hand cramps.  If that doesn’t make you want to try this, I don’t know what will.  Haha.

At first, the boys colored next to me while I worked.  When they get bored, I’ll take a break to play with the kids or clean up the house and come back to it.  Honestly, I don’t know how long this took because I worked on it when I felt like it and when if was convenient.  Maybe six hours total for a 14 by 18 design?

Once my design is completely cut out, I carefully peel back the template.  Because I already had one framed map, but not another frame to match, I bought two 22 by 28 inch plain wood frames from Hobby Lobby for 35 bucks thanks to a 50% off sale.  Not the prettiest frames, but spray paint can fix that.

While at HoLo, I bought two sheets of mat board to cut a new mat for each frame and a sheet of dark gray paper to back my map.  And here’s the newest art addition in our abode.

With Savannah flanking the other side of the doors.

Eventually we’ll need a dining table to make the space look more like a room.

For now, I can admire new art in a substantial frame and mat.

V loves to point out some of the roads and knows where our house (and the old house!) are.  Which means he approves of the art.

What art have you made lately?  Cut out designs?  Perhaps a painting?  Feel free to share, I’m always needing art.

One Percent {P}inspiration: The Artful After

Well friends, it’s been nine days since my pals Ashli, Sara, and I announced our Pinterest art challenge.

After some deliberation, I decided to put my own spin on the Wild Herringbone art from Cozamia.

I just loved the clean, colorful, graphic design.  And, I recruited some help on this project.  To start, I grabbed plain white card stock out of my printer, hauled my craft paint box out, and tossed one of Ben’s shirts on each of the boys.  I let V choose the colors he wanted and he started painting.  E was hesitant, but got a few strokes on the paper.


V made several paintings, E, only one.  I made a few for fillers, too.  Using my handy paper cutter, I cut each sheet in half length wise, then into 1 1/2 inch wide strips.

I have a large roll of white paper, so I tore a sheet off to use as my backing.  A few pieces of double sided tape on the back of each strip to hold in place and I started arranging.  To keep things straight on the first row, I used a ruler to line up the edges.

I made sure to mix the paintings up to spread the colors throughout.

After about twenty minutes, I had covered the paper and had to fill in the edges.


Here she is, edges filled and trimmed, ready for a frame.

So I popped it in, hung it up and took a few steps back.  That’s when I realized I didn’t like the pink V had used.

While E took his nap, V and I painted more.  This time, I limited his color palette to blues, greens, yellow, and silver.

I followed the same steps, but loved the result this time.

The pop of color in this corner is perfect.

And, I love that it’s not kitchen specific, so it can travel around the house if we ever tire if it in here.  The best part, this art was made using everything we already had in our home!

Now it’s your turn to share your Pinterest inspired art project with us!

Giddy Gallery Wall

I’ll admit, Goodwill shopping wasn’t the only thing Jen and I did together while in Minnesota.  Before heading to Goodwill for the meet up, Jen stopped by my sister’s new house to help with a gallery wall.  Ash wanted us to work on her master bedroom, requesting an asymmetrical gallery wall above these two chairs.

I cut mats and framed the art she already had the night before.  When Jen arrived, she and I started arranging the frames on the floor.  That’s tip number one if you’re planning your own gallery wall.  Lay the frames, with art inside, on the floor to arrange and rearrange until you like the layout.  Before hanging, take a picture of the arrangement for reference as you go along.  From there, you can go about hanging two ways.

The most fool-proof method is tracing the frames on paper, taping the templates to the wall, nailing through the paper and then hanging the frames like we did for our basement gallery wall.  We didn’t do this.  My sister loves free form designs, so we started by hanging the largest frames at the center of the group and working our way out.  Which brings me to my second tip; arrange the largest frames first then fill in with smaller frames.

Armed with a layout Jen and I loved, I eyeballed the placement, asking Jen to stand back and tell me that she thought.  Then, started hammering nails and hanging frames.

Because I wasn’t measuring or using templates, the spacing is slightly different.  Spacing the frames one to two inches apart keeps the grouping of mismatched art and frames unified.  In my opinion this is the biggest mistake made when hanging a group of mismatched frames.  The spacing is crucial to make the arrangement look thought out and planned.  If gaps are four inches or more, it looks like frames were thrown up at different times, so keep the group tight.
A little under an hour later, arranging, chit-chat, hanging, and adjusting included, we finished the gallery wall.  If you’re working on a gallery wall above a piece of furniture, incorporate it in the layout.  See how the center frames dip down toward the lower table?  Not only does that add interest, but working around furniture gives your layout definition.
As you can see, the art in the frames is a variety, but most have a natural element.
Wondering where Ash got the art?  Check out these Etsy shops: Mai Autumn, Siiso, Miles of Light, and our shop, Our Humble A{Bowe}d.
Vincent and Everett painted the abstract watercolors.  See, even kids paintings can look like real art behind a classic white mat and glass.
After completing the wall, we invited Ashley back in to see what we’d done.  Luckily, she loved the layout and that she could build on the design in the future.
For the back row, here are my tips and tricks to create a gallery wall:
  • Arrange the frames on the floor or make templates to move things around before you start pounding holes in your walls.
  • Start with larger frames then fill in with smaller items.
  • Don’t leave too much space between frames.  1 to 2 inches is perfect.
  • Use the same colored frames to unify different styles.  And mats make anything look like art.
  • If hanging by or around a piece of furniture, arrange the frames to follow the furniture silhouette.

That’s the way the cookie crumbles.  I had so much fun chatting with Jen, and I think she even learned a few tricks and tips.

P.S.  One of my 2012 resolutions is enjoying more family fun events and sharing them.  Check out our newest blog and latest adventure.

A Flock of Cranes

You all know I’m crazy, right?  Well, I am.  I spend a lot of time on little projects because I’m too detail oriented.  I see the trees and Ben sees the forest, so we’re a great team.  Sometimes, I care way too much about the trees, though.  So, I take on little, time-consuming projects like this origami crane shadow box that is currently on the recently refinished bookshelf.

A side note:  If you like the alphabet painting, you can buy print versions for $15.00 in my Etsy shop

Back to the topic.  To create a flock of seagulls paper cranes, first cut thin paper into 1 inch squares.  I used light weight scrapbook paper, but you can use anything that will fold well.  Use an origami crane tutorial like this one, to learn how to fold the cranes.  If you don’t know how to make an origami crane, you may want to practice by making several larger cranes before you go onto small cranes. 

Create 25 small paper cranes in the colors of your choice.

Cut a piece of cardstock to fit in your shadow box.  My frame is from IKEA, but I can’t find it on their website.  It measures about 6 inches square.  Using another sheet of paper, draw the spacing of your grid.  Then, use a thumb tack to poke small holes at the intersection of your lines.  Place this template on top of your cardstock and draw a dot inside each poked hole. 

To keep the cranes flat against the paper, I cut off the back wing.  Use small pieces of foam adhesive to attach each crane to the cardstock, centering over the dot.  I think it would look really cool to create a grouping of cranes as if they were flying, too.  Attach all cranes and place in your frame.

See what  I mean about being crazy?  To add to the crazy, I even made a 1/2 inch paper crane.  Notice the little blue one?  Yep, I might be committed soon. 

If you like the look, but don’t want to make the cranes, you can buy some from this lovely Etsy seller.  Speaking of Etsy sellers, Thrifty Little Blog is hosting a handmade gift giveaway, including one of my prints, so check it out. 

What is the craziest, most time-consuming project you’ve tackled?  Am I alone in this?  I can’t be.  Please make me feel a little normal.

You + Me = Art?

Some of you may know that I create custom prints.  Well, I was working on the Carved Initials print for an order and a light bulb went off!  What if I made a ‘sculpture’ of a carved initials tree for our home?  So, I went out back to our woodpile and found a small log without bark.  It was just what I wanted.  Ben cut it down to size; it’s tough (not to mention unsafe) to work a circular saw with a six-month old in hand.  Then he scrubbed off the dirt and the last bit of bark.

Then I quickly drew a heart with B+A inside. 

 Ben used a Dremel tool to ‘carve’ the heart and initials.  If you don’t have a Dremel, just do it the old-fashioned way.

 The carved areas didn’t show up from far away, so Ben used a soldering iron to burn in the areas, but brown paint or stain would work just as well.  After it was burned in, it looked like this:

Overall, this piece is about 12 inches tall and 4 inches in diameter. 

It hasn’t found a permanent home, but it’s on the entertainment center for now. 

I love that it is personalized, interesting, easy and quick to complete and FREE!  Where do you get your inspiration from?  What little things do you do to personalize your home?