Tuesday, November 8, 2011

DIY Wall Art

DSC00373Happy Tuesday everyone, I hope you are all having a beautiful Autumn filled day. Today I wanted to share a little DIY project that’s been in the works for awhile now ‘round these parts. I have no problems starting fun projects but I’m really bad on that pesky following through part that’s so pivotal to the reveal of said project. Alas, this DIY was finally completed and I’m quite pleased with the outcome.

DSC00376 I was struggling to find the right piece for above my couch after months of looking and buying things only to return them later. I wasn’t satisfied with anything I found and was getting really sick of my plain empty wall so I decided to give up searching, roll up my sleeves and just make what I wanted.

DSC00377 To create this for your home it’s a few steps but they are so easy it’s well worth it. I did this entire project on the cheap too; in total it cost me about $40 start to finish. Here’s how it came together:
DSC09961 First thing I needed was supplies of course. We bought an MDF board from the local lumber store for $10.
  DSC09964We bought a rubber mat commonly used on the outside of your door for $10.
  DSC09965And we bought some spray in the colors we wanted to do our stencilled artwork in. We went with a chocolate brown and bright white but any color combo would work if you wanted to customize it to your home’s color palette.
   DSC09953 After we measured out three boards to the size of the rubber mat we gave each one two coats of the brown spray paint as the base color.
  DSC09959It takes about 20 minutes for the spray paint to fully dry (or at least ours did, check your bottles at home) I suggest propping them up on scrap pieces of wood so the wet sides never come into contact with anything. Any time you see a piece of MDF laying flat we have it propped up to avoid mucking up the sides.
DSC09979When it’s all dry it should look like this. Not very exciting, just your average piece of brown MDF.

DSC09980We used our trash can layered with newspapers as the pedestal for spray painting the pattern which worked like a charm. The sides will need to be taped off to avoid being sprayed with the white paint.
DSC09982Take care to not put the tape too far onto the MDF so it won’t interfere with the stencil.
DSC09985Lay your mat flat and evenly on your MDF. The mat will stay put because it’s pretty hefty and meant to be non-slip so it does the work for you.
   DSC09995Spray an even layer of white paint on top of the mat and let it dry. Then repeat the process.
   DSC00002Take extra special care to get into all the teeny crevices and holes with the white paint to be sure they show up when the mat is lifted.

DSC09996 Let all the white paint dry completely before you touch the mat because if you need to add some of smudge it then you’re in trouble. These types of things never go back in the exact spots they started from.
  DSC00007The funnest part is the reveal! Peel the mat back slowly and put on your wow face.

   DSC00033Repeat these steps as many times as you like depending on the number of pieces of artwork you want. We went with three but it can be done hundreds of times if you like….. and have the wall space.
   DSC00259You can leave it as is and have a really defined stencil look. We went the other way and sanded the pieces to have a rustic weathered look. This also really helps to blur the little imperfections bound to happen.
  DSC00261Here’s a closer look at what sanding it down looks. Be careful not to overdo it or you will start to lose the pattern which sort of defeats the whole purpose.
   DSC00263This is a shot of the completed MDF post sanding.
    DSC00269To seal the paint and give the boards a more finished look we topped them off a coat of clear finish Varathane in satin.
  DSC00270Doing this makes the boards look a bit more professional and it will also make them much easier to clean.
         DSC00289Now for the hanging process. Since this was just a piece of MDF we had to come up with our own way to hang the boards.  We went with some scrap pieces of wood to give the boards some definition from the wall. The biggest piece got a hole cut into it for the little teeth hanger to go across. To attach the the pieces of wood we used wood glue and screws.
   DSC00279Here’s a close up of the pieces of wood we used. The little guy is for the bottom of the boards so it hangs evenly from the wall.
DSC00277Pretty straight forward stuff once you’ve got your pieces cut. We attach the teeth hanger and added some cushioned wall protectors so it would sit softly against the wall.
DSC00278The little pieces were screwed in and also got the cushion treatment

DSC00274This is how the finished board looks with all the attachments.
DSC00369 And now for the best part, which is sitting back and enjoying the fruits of your labor!

DSC00378You can get a sense of the definition from the wall that we attempted by using the small wooden pieces here which went well with our raised trim work below.
   DSC00383 And there you have it my pretties. I hope you found this tutorial entertaining and useful. Please feel free to share your thoughts or DIY ideas you’ve used in your home too!


(Photo credits property of Reckless Bliss

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Decorating For Our First Halloween

DSC00170Well, Halloween ‘11 is over and it’s time to start moving on to the next holiday but before that happens, I wanted to share with you our first Halloween as home owners! We’ve only ever lived in apartments and basement suites so there’s never been a point to decorating but it’s always been something that I wished I could partake in so this year I was pleased as punch that I could finally scratch my spooky decor-itch.
  DSC00223Budgets are always fairly tight around here but it’s amazing what sort of deals you can find if you look at the right places and times. My greatest tip to share is go out to the stores on Oct. 30th and you’re more than likely to find all the ghoulish decorations at least 50% off in a last ditch effort to clean house. Also, never under-estimate the value of a dollar store. It’s amazing how neat some of the stuff can be from those stores and you would never know where it came from. My feline friend shown above was purchased from such a store. We also strung some ghost shaped lights at the bottom to illuminate the scene.

DSC00192 This shot is a little blurry due to shivering hands and leaning backwards on a railing but you get the idea. Some classic ‘Beware’ tape and a skull door knocker were dawned on our front door. That knocker is deafeningly loud, it’s basically an instant headache; luckily only one trick-or-treater even bothered to use it rather than just knocking. Is it just me or does there seem to be a huge decline in the number of kids trick-or-treating nowadays compared to the nineties? I remember the streets filled with other kids when I was a youngster but we only got about 20 kids/teens total. Don’t kids like candy anymore?!
DSC00194Our front basket got filled with some green webbing and baby pumpkins to give it a miniature haunted pumpkin patch look.
  DSC00206  These creepy buggers look too real for my liking.

DSC00178Once the strand of pumpkin lights going up the railing were lit this is how the haunted basket looked. Baby pumpkins are so dang cute!
DSC00209   I also had some fake rats hanging out and keeping an eye on things for me while I kept warm inside.
      DSC00177    The strand of pumpkin lights really helped with the lighting because were trying to keep it dark enough to feel spooky but light enough to avoid lawsuits from injured kids parents. In the background here you can see our row of milk jug "jack-o-lanterns." I read about this little DIY project and it seemed like such a good alternative to buying a delicious pumpkin then having to toss it out afterward. Anytime I have to throw away food it makes me think of the old, “people are starving in Africa!” line you got when you didn’t eat your broccoli. Plus, it felt really earth friendly and better yet…FREE! My favorite. Keep reading for instructions on how I made these super simple DIY milk jug pumpkins.
DSC00180   This pumpkin however, is not made from a milk carton but he is still fake. It’s made of some sort of fiber glass material and with a few batteries it performs a multi-colored light show in the front and back (the back being bats flying around). He’s one of my fave decorations because I adopted him from my mom’s house so it feels like a nice symbol of when I was a youngster at Halloween.
  DSC00187Lastly, I picked up this sticky “Beware” blood looking decal the day before Halloween on sale for $1. It worked like a breeze and I could even store it in a freezer bag to make an appearance next year.

  Milk Jug Pumpkin DIY:DSC00229Making these guys are so easy peasy. We started saving all our milk jugs since around the end of July (if anyone’s interested, we used 7 jugs of milk between mid-July to Oct. but that’s only one milk drinker since my soy milk comes in smaller cartons). Make sure you give them a thorough rinse and store them somewhere dry. First thing I did was draw on whatever spook-tacular face came to mind with a sharpie. I wound up with a vampire, some jack-o-lanterns, a bat, a cat etc. Get creative and draw whatever you would otherwise carve. The one seen above is an incomplete tester jug I snapped a quick pic of for this tutorial.

DSC00226 Next, cut a small hole in the front of the jug where the label is. The smaller the better so more light stays inside the jug and can’t escape through the hole. As for lighting, you can go a couple different ways: we used those flame-less tea lights that are battery powered ($1.25 for two at the dollar store) or you could also use a string of battery powered Christmas lights if that’s something you already own.

DSC00189When you’re finished just line your jugs up and flick on the lights. I got a lot of moms saying, “What a neat idea!” and a few older kids saying they, “liked my jugs”…. I prefer to think they’re talking about the milk cartons and nothing else.

Inside our house got the Halloween treatment too. Here’s a few quick pics of some of the decor:



I hope you all had a really fun and safe Halloween!
(Photo credit property of Reckless Bliss)