Weekend Painting: Chevron Rug

As if painting a magnet board and making a piece of art wasn’t enough, I decided this was the perfect weekend to start mission rug redo.  I bought a jute rug from a local thrift store recently and decided this would be the perfect chance to paint a rug.  Martha Stewart did a segment on painting stripes on a sisal rug, so I used that as a starting point.

First, I created a template to use as a guide for my design.  Starting in the dead center of the rug, I used painters tape to mask off a chevron design, placing my template down and taping around it.  I also made a second template to use as a spacing guide.  After I had my design completely taped off, I used the handle end of a screwdriver to rub the edge of the tape down.

I sent Ben off to the hardware store to get a quart of white oil based paint.  He came back with this:

I started by ‘pouncing’ along the taped lines, just like stencling, to prevent the paint from seeping under the tape.  Then Ev started crying, so I took a break to feed him.  I let my first area of paint dry and peeled back part of the tape to check my lines.

Happily, the paint didn’t bleed under!  So, I painted, and painted, and painted.

Then, I ran out of paint, so I bought a gallon.  I returned home, full gallon in hand and painted some more.  This was by no means a speedy process.  It took about 4 hours to get everything painted.  I let everything dry for 24 hours before removing the tape.  Definitely do this outside, as the dry paint flakes off the tape, making one big mess.

I like the bold pattern.  I think it’s just what this room needed.

In all honesty, I love the look of the painted rug, but not the feel. The paint does dry crunchy, BUT, a jute rug is never squishy and cushy, so it’s not that different than the unpainted rug.  This would be much better in an outdoor setting, like a doormat or ourdoor living area.  Until I can find a plush rug I can afford, this will stay in the boys’ room.  I do think it will make an appearance outside at a later date.

Weekend Painting: Custom Artwork

After spray painting a new magnet board for Vincent, I started creating a painting for our main bathroom.  I looked in our garage and found a 13 inch by 31 inch scrap of 1/2 inch thick MDF.  I really wanted something that was 12 by 36, but it was close enough.  After a quick cleaning, I applied a coat of primer to all sides. 

This is going in our bathroom, and I don’t want the MDF to swell in the humidity.  Priming and painting all sides will seal the MDF, preventing any swelling.

I was inspired by the shadow of leaves the afternoon sun casts on the walls in our house, so I went out to take a picture of our tree. 

After my primer and white paint dried, I began drawing leaves onto my ‘canvas’, using my photo as a guide.  I lightly drew some of the leaves with pencil.  Some areas where the leaves are more clustered together were difficult to recreate, so I took artistic freedom and drew some leaves as I liked.  After 10 minutes or so, I had half of my template complete.

I mixed up a custom ‘greige’ color using a small amount of black, tons of white and some yellow.  Then I started carefully filling everything in.

It was a little time-consuming, taking about one and a half hours, but I actually doing things like this.  Call me crazy, but I’d rather spend an hour or so creating free art than buying something.  Now we have a custom, one of a kind piece of art in our bathroom.

I like the long, rectangular shape and size.  It definitely makes more of a statement than the smaller items that were there before. 

How many of you make your own art?  Whether it’s a painting, drawing or something else.  Do share!  I would love inspiration!!

Weekend Painting: Magnet Board

We’re in painting moods lately!  Last weekend, we repainted our dining room and over this past weekend, a little more painting took place.  On Saturday, I painted a magnet board for Vincent’s room. 

Before I had my office in the basement, I was using our little desk upstairs to run my stationery shop.  I used this board to keep papers and track my current orders.  Now that I have a magnetic backsplash, Vincent needs this board more than I do.  He has been using the side of the refrigerator to play with his alphabet letters, but many of the letters get kicked under.  Enter, the new magnet board.  Here it was before I painted.

I picked up Valspar’s  Bumblebee Spray paint to use on the frame and used a can of flat white spray paint to paint the metal.

I made a little set up of 5 gallon buckets outside and got ready to paint.

Pass about 10 minutes and I had one coat on the steel and frame.

After letting everything dry for several hours, I popped the steel back in the frame and hung it in the boys’ room.  Vincent loves having this in his room and has proudly displayed some of his art.

I do have some more painting to do, so stay tuned for that.

How To: Update a Room with Trim

Over the weekend, a few readers asked about our trim and how we make it.  Well, it’s your lucky day, because I’m here to do just that.

I’m going to explain my how to with the dining room as my example, but it’s almost the exact same for each room.

First, determine the design you would like to have.  In our case, we needed a plate rack and that determined the 67 inch height of our trim.  We already had our 5 inch tall baseboard installed, so we left those.  Ben had installed chair rail, so we removed that.  We decided to place the top of our horizontal piece at 36 inches from the floor.  We measured the length of our wall to find the center.  Once the measuring was done, we bought our trim and got started.

Most of the trim we use throughout our house is MDF (medium density fiberboard – pretty much sawdust glued together).  I will note where we have used real wood.  We use MDF for several reasons.  1.  It’s cheaper than wood and we know we’re going to paint it anyway.  2.  MDF is very flexible, especially compared to wood, so it’s easy to work with.  3.  Because MDF is mostly sawdust, it’s a green material.

We went to a local home improvement store and bought several pieces of 3 1/2 inch wide by 1/2 inch thick square style trim.  This trim does not have any decorative cuts, but does have slightly rounded edges.  We also got one piece of MDF crown moulding , 2 pieces of wooden symmetrical trim for the horizontal center, one piece of 3/4 inch wooden quarter round moulding and one sheet of 3/4 inch thick MDF.

As I said before, we left the existing painted MDF baseboard.  We knew we wanted the reveal (the amount on each side of the symmetrical piece) of the horizontal piece to match the width of the verticals.  Our vertical trim pieces are 3 1/2 inches wide, so we doubled that and added 1 1/2 inches for the symmetrical trim spacing.  So, Ben cut an 8 1/2 inch piece from our 3/4 inch thick MDF sheet.  Then he nailed that piece at 36 inches from the floor, making sure to nail into studs.

Ben cut another piece from our MDF sheet for the top horizontal, to be almost completely covered by the crown moulding.  To determine the size of this piece, measure the height of your crown moulding and add 1 inches.  Secure the trim to the wall 3/4 of an inch lower than your final height.  Nail your crown moulding in, making sure the top of the crown is even with the top of the MDF piece.  Cut another piece from the MDF sheet 1/4 inch deeper than the crown moulding and MDF backing.  Secure this piece on the top of the crown, leaving a 1/4 inch overhang, completing our ‘shelf.’  If you choose to display plates or rest other items on top of this, add your quarter round trim.  Keep the quarter round flush with the edge and nail it into the 3/4 inch MDF piece.

After completing the plate rack portion, Ben started installing the vertical trim pieces.  First, he placed one in the very center of the room.  If you can’t locate a stud, angle your nails toward the center of the piece, helping keep the trim on the wall.  Next, place verticals in the corners as shown on the diagram below, leaving a dead space.  This will leave the same reveal of the corner pieces.

Depending on the length of your wall, you can place additional verticals centered between the middle and corners or break it up in to thirds.  Our verticals are 12 1/2 inches apart.  Do this to the entire room and you’re ready to fill and sand about one million holes.  Caulk all the seams and smooth out.  Prime and paint all the trim pieces as well as the wall.  The end result will be a seamless panel look.  Stand back and enjoy the view.

Additional Notes:  Measure the depth of your trim.  It is much easier to create a wall of trim if your depths a slightly different (1/2 inch and 3/4 inch).  If you use all of one depth, you may have uneven joint that will require sanding until smooth.

If you don’t already have baseboard, it may be easier to install square stock.  This will allow butting the verticals right up to the baseboard, rather than notching out the baseboard to accommodate the verticals.

If you have any questions or need clarification, please ask!

How To: Add a Personal Touch

I have already given some ideas on how to add a personal touch to framed photos, and now I have some ideas to add personal touches throughout the home.

1.  Add monograms or your family name.  Monograms are a quick and inexpensive way to make a room your own.  Michael’s and Hobby Lobby are great places to look.  The letters on the picture rail hail from Hobby Lobby and cost $9.99 each. 

I had some scrap fabric lying around, so I made custom monogrammed pillow covers for each of our boys.  You can’t really tell, but the painting in the photo above has their monograms, too.  If you don’t want to spend $10 on monograms, craft stores also have cheaper MDF and paper mache versions, like the ones in my office. 

Just add a few coats of paint and you’ve got a custom art piece.  We also have a few monograms in our living room.  I recently picked up some Power Ball-esuqe monograms from Pier 1.

You could also use monogram hooks in an entryway or bathroom to keep each family member’s items separated. 

2.  Choose prints and art with personal meaning.  I also create custom prints if I am in need of a personal touch. 

I love this bird print we have in our entry way because it shows our little family, wedding date, names and the colors are specifically coördinated to our room. 

Another easy DIY project to inject a little more of you into your space are custom silhouettes.  When I make our silhouettes, I take photos of each person in complete profile.  Kids can be much more difficult, but with digital cameras, just keep taking pictures and eventually something will work.  Then I open my photos in Photoshop and trace the outlines.  Then I print right on to my colored cardstock and cut them out.  Simply tape the silhouette onto another piece of cardstock and frame. 

Don’t limit yourself to silhouettes of your family.  The process is the same for making anything, so choose your favorite flower, tree, whatever and make another design.

Choose prints that have a meaning to you, not just something that looks pretty.  Again, I make my own prints, but my I Love You This Much print began as something I say to my boys.  Other typographic prints could look great, too.  Choose a favorite quote, song lyric or phrase.  Translate a phrase to another language for a less obvious, but still meaningful print, like the Je T’Aime (I love you in French) print above.   A great place to start your search is Etsy because you can talk to the seller and ask to have something customized. 

3.  Spruce up a box store item.  Don’t be afraid to spray paint something to take it from the big box store look to fit your home.  Spray paint frames, sculptures or figurines, even furniture.  It will definitely become more personal with little time, effort and money.