Monday, June 02, 2008

My New Artwork

I fell in love with this wall art from Crate & Barrel. However, I did not love the price tag, especially since I wanted more than one.

So I decided to recreate it with my own little twist. Not in "triple ply sheet iron" of course. My materials were less exotic, but much cheaper and didn't require tools like a plasma cutting torch.

I had everything except the finishing color and top coat done when I found out I was pregnant with Chickster. Since oil-based chemicals and peas-in-the-pod don't mix, I decided to put the last part on hold until Chickster arrived and got settled.

But I hung them on the wall anyway, much to Husband's dismay. It wasn't my favorite thing to do with them either, but I didn't have a good place to store them where they'd be safe. Plus, having something ugly on the wall was better than nothing. At least that's what I thought at the time.

So the unfinished artwork hung in our living room for over a year, looking very, well, unfinished. And I was reminded of this not only every time I looked at the crappy stuff, but by Husband many, many times.

I am proud to say that a couple of weeks ago, I finally finished. Yeah, they're a bit different than the Crate & Barrel version I originally fell in love with, but that's ok. They were much cheaper and I think they look just as good.


I made these long before I was obsessed with taking pictures of everything for the blog, so there are no step-by-step photos. What was I thinking? But, I can tell you how I did it.

1. I purchased canvases from Hobby Lobby (on sale, of course). This was the biggest expense of the whole project since they were large.

2. I had an artsy friend make a stencil for me. I do not draw. I trace, I color between the lines. But draw? Nope. He free-handed the design on a piece of matboard for me in the same size as my canvases. I could've also used a projector to trace the design, but I didn't have one and probably didn't think of that at the time anyway.

3. I painted the canvases with a background color. I used "Powell Buff" from Benjamin Moore as the base color and sort of a burnt-orange color I had leftover from another project to lightly streak over it. Not much, just to give it a little depth of color.

4. I bought some drywall plaster in a giant bucket for about $10. I had no idea how much it would take to plaster these things. In the scheme of things, it was about *thismuch*, so it would be a great idea to see if someone has some left over from a project. I still have the bucket sitting in the garage and with all my grandiose plans to use it for something else, I haven't.

5. Using a popcicle stick, a putty knife, and a few other random things, I slathered the drywall plaster on around the stenciled area. This took a lot of time and patience, and I couldn't perfectly follow the lines. But I like that no two are exactly alike.

6. As I said above, these hung on my wall in this state for about a year while I was busy having a baby and stuff. You can totally skip this step.

7. I used my Universal Decorating Tool, Heavy Bodied Glaze from Mohawk in Van Dyke Brown, to finish off the color. I tested a few spots on the drywall plaster before I started to see how it would absorb/wipe off. After I figured out how I wanted to do it, I just used foam brushes and cheesecloth to get to the desired color and texture I wanted. It was really easy.

8. After I let them dry for what seemed like forever (Really, what's 2 days after them hanging naked on the wall for a year?), I sprayed them with a coat of clear Polycrylic finish to protect them from dust and hopefully keep them from chipping, etc. I prefer Polycrylic to Polyurethane because it doesn't yellow as much over time. Plus it's water-based (in case you make a mess) and doesn't stink as badly.

I made three of these - one of them hangs in my entryway, so that's why it's not pictured. I already had the glaze (which is around $20-$25), so without that expense I spent about $60 for all three. Much better than $299 each. I get compliments on them all the time, and even after them hanging in the living room for over two years, I am still in love with them. It's definitely a project worth doing. Now, if I can just figure out what to do with the rest of that drywall plaster.

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  1. I love these! I loved them from afar, but I double love them in the closeups! How'd you get your paint so...goopy and chunky? Yes, I know you can tell I know all my professional painting terms!

  2. Very cool! I might have to give something like that a try.