Happy Tuesday, bloggies! It is a four-day week for me (loving my new Alternate Work Schedule, which gives me every other Friday off! Oh, the joys of working for the government), so this morning marked the halfway point of waking up to an alarm, something I despise (still) with every fiber of my being. I am also reuniting with UVa friend, first-year roomie, and tremendous swimmer Mei tonight, which I am so excited about. So, all in all, it really is a Happy Tuesday.
I had a very relaxing weekend, aside from the waterfall of tears I shed for the end of Harry Potter, with a big success coming from my very first Do-It Yourself apartment improvement project. I live in a studio, so it’s been tough for me to find wall art that goes with everything in my apartment. I also have a vast amount of white wall space that saddens me with its emptiness, so I have had quite the conundrum for the past 9 months on how to appropriately decorate.
I saw this stunning chevron rug on westelm, and I really loved the cool, modern zig zags that had both movement and the potential to subtly enliven a room. Unfortunately, I have no need for a new rug, so I searched the Blogosphere for other chevron options. I found these sophisticated and simple chevron canvases on Make Under Your Life, and I set out to recreate.
Alas, I am not an experienced DIY-er, so I was very unfamiliar with the kind of supplies I would need. First, I think I bought the wrong kind of painter’s tape, and I definitely did not buy the best paint for the job. More on these issues later, though.
I started with two plain, stretched 24×36 canvases from Michael’s. (20% off with my handy coupon!)
After clearing my work space (the floor) and putting on my favorite Pandora station (a Dave Matthews/Adele mix), I got started. I had printed out a bunch of chevron “stencils” at work, and I layed them out on the canvas. Then, to mark the lines, I put pushpins through the canvas at all the corners.
This was a pretty time intensive process–don’t let the pros on Make Under My Life fool you! I didn’t have the necessary 900 pushpins, so I kept having to reuse the ones I’d already stuck in, and I forgot which holes I’d already pricked. It was a bit of a pain. But once I finished this step, I endeavored to fill in all the skinnier lines of my stencil with painter’s tape.
This was also an incredibly time intensive procedure. I had bought Scotch brand tape, which was all that Michael’s carried, and it was about 1/2 an inch too skinny to fill the whole line. Thus, I had to use two strips of tape for every zig-zag section–and it took forever. Also, for whatever reason, the tape wasn’t sticking very well to the canvas, which forced me to sneak in an extra step to my DIY process: push down all the tape with a credit card.
I don’t know if Scotch brand is just not optimal for canvas, or if all painter’s tape in general is inadequate, but my naivete in this was a big point of frustration. Even after getting all the air bubbles out, the demonic Smurf tape refused to lay flat.
I had bought some cheap acrylic paint in “metallic ombre,” mainly because I couldn’t find any metallics in the expensive brands. I had two small bottles, and it took me an entire bottle for each canvas. If I could repurchase the paint, I would have gotten a third one to do a light second coat on each canvas.
I let the paint dry for a little over 20 minutes before taking off the tape. It should have dried longer I think, but I was worried about the tape drying to the cavas and having trouble pulling it off. Once the tape was off, I left it out overnight to dry completelty. I think the finished product turned out pretty well:
When the light hits it right, and you’re standing a good distance away, these look really great. But when you get closer, the streaks and unevenness of the paint is obvious, as is the evidence of the non-sticky tape. I tried to clean some of the blotches up with q-tips, but had to abandon that effort when it just smeared instead of removing.
As an amatuer, I’m not sure what measures I could have taken to prevent the paint problems–maybe a different tape? Anyways, while my project did not turn out as perfect as I’d planned, I’m really happy with my final end result. The paintings really brighten up the vast expanse of wall behind my bed, and they are visible from the couch without insistently drawing one’s eye to them. In the spirit of me trying to make everything in my apartment go as opposed to match, they highlight the yellow tones of my “living room” chairs without being the exact color. The whole project cost me $53.57 from Michael’s, way cheaper than something I would have bought. (The westelm rug was $300!!) I also have the satisfaction of bragging to visitors that I made them myself–and hopefully getting their nods of approval instead of upturned noses of disgust. First reaction is forthcoming.