Tag Archives: wall art

String Art – a “How [not] To”

Here lately, I’ve been doing this thing on Fridays that I call “a craft + a craft”, where I do a craft while drinking a craft beer. As evidenced here: a cuff bracelet + a Dogfishhead 60 Minute IPA.

a craft + a craft

It’s a nice little way to unwind from the work week.  Recently it inspired a friend of mine to post a craft + a craft of her own: string art and a Goose Island Bourbon County stout.  Which in turn inspired me to do some string art of my own.  Ah the circle of life.  Or something like that.

Anyway if you’re on pinterest you’ve seen, like, a fazillon string art pins.  I feel like maybe its a diy blogger hazing technique right of passage to make one of these bad boys.  So here’s the story of the first (and likely last) time I made string art.

diy string art

Supplies

  • scrap pine wood
  • wood stain (I used Varathane American Walnut)
  • cloth to apply stain (old, clean socks work wonders)
  • paint (I used latex, but acrylic would work too)
  • sponge craft paint brush
  • hammer
  • like, three 2 oz boxes of wire nails (I used size 1 x 17 which refers to the length in inches x gauge)
  • embroidery floss
  • Alene’s fabric fusion glue

Oh, I know I say this a lot, but one thing you really need for this project is patience.  I am super happy with my string art, but it took several days to finish.  I really didn’t consider how long it would take to hammer 321 (yeah, that many) nails into a board, close together, in a specific design.  It’s tedious work and can be really tiring on the eyes.  And I happened to make a grand total of seven tiny-huge mistakes while making this dern thing.

huge mistake

That being said, if you wanna know how it’s done, read on friend.

First, I took a scrap piece of wood I had and stained it.  Incorrectly (mistake number one).  You know how the can says shake well?  Do that.  Or you’ll end up with this.

diy string art

diy string art

I tightend the lid back on the stain and shook the heck out of it.  Then opened her back up and stained the board correctly.

diy string art

If you’ve never stained wood before, trust me, it’s easy.  Make sure you read and follow all instructions (including the ones for safety) but the gist of it is that you liberally apply stain to your wood, let it sit for a few minutes to penetrate and then wipe off the excess.

diy string art

The next thing I did was to paint the sides so they didn’t look sloppy with stain.

diy string art

diy string art

I also painted the back.  I know no one is going to see it, but if it were left unfinished, I would know and it would undoubtedly drive me nuts.

diy string art

I used latex paint leftover from my stripey art (Valspar Delightful Moon if you’re curious) and did it standing in my living room (mistake number two).  When it dropped onto my couch and got wet paint on two of the cushions, naturally I started spewing four letter words and skittering around my kitchen in a panic.  The fella hooked me up with a wet rag and I think we got all the paint up.  The fella is pretty cool under pressure.

diy string art

A couple of days later, the paint was dried and I was emotionally prepared to come back to this project – or so I thought.  I used regular computer paper as my template and a yard stick as a guide to be sure everything was level.

diy string art

I chose the phrase “BE BOLD” because evidently, I like my wall art to be bossy…

dream BIG

Media Stand Entertainment Center DIY

SI. OUI. YES.

diy rustic wood sign

carpe diem

DIY Floating Glass Frames and Smart Phone Art

I taped the template to the board and got to work with my nails.  I worked from each letter’s corners inward so I could be sure everything was spaced evenly.  Did that even make sense?  Here, look at this picture.

diy string art

I did that for like an hour plus.  Until I got to this point and ran out of nails.  Always make sure you have enough nails (mistake number three).  It looked like I had so mannnny when they were in the box, y’all.

diy string art

I went to the hardware store to get more, without bringing one of them with me to compare (mistake number four).  I grabbed a few boxes of 1 x 17 wire brads and made my way home.  But I didn’t need wire brads.  I needed wire nails.  And the difference between the brads and the nails is that the head of the brad is much smaller than that of the nail, meaning what I bought didn’t match what I had already used.  More four letter words.

Does it get easier?  I wish the answer were yes.  Once the brads had been exchanged for nails I kept hammering away.  I hammered in the mornin’.  I hammered in the evenin’.  All over thi… sorry I’m getting off track and realize that my Mom is probably the only person reading this who will appreciate those last few sentences.

After all the words were nailed in I carefully ripped my paper template away from the nails.

diy string art

diy string art

There were still a few scraps stuck to the nails, but they came up easily with tweezers.

diy string art

It was at this point that I realized that I hadn’t yet attached my saw-tooth hanging brackets to the back (yes, mistake number five).  So I clenched my teeth, flipped the board over in my lap and hammered in the brackets while the words BE BOLD dug into my thighs.

diy string art

I used two brackets, one for each corner, since I noticed way too late (mistake number six) that my board was slightly bowed in the center.

I flipped it back over and got started on the border nails.  I used washi tape as a guide to make sure my line was straight.  I again used the technique of starting in the corners and moving to the center.

diy string art

Then the labor was over!!!  Lies.  But this last part goes fast, I promise.

I used five different colors of embroidery floss and decided to go in rainbow order.  I tried to keep a sunburst pattern going the whole time and each time I finished with a color, I tied the string off and then dabbed fabric fusion glue on it to make it extra secure.

diy string art

diy string art

diy string art

diy string art

diy string art

diy string art

Oh and the seventh and final mistake?  I missed a spot and had to tie an extra bit of orange on.

diy string art

All in all, I LOVE my string art.  It looks super cute.  But will I be trying it again any time soon?  Hell no, that’s what Etsy is for.

diy string art

Did I convince you never to make your own string art?  Or maybe you’re ready to take it on and prove me useless in this avenue of crafting?  Do tell…

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Hablas Español? Parlez-vous Français?

Baxter!  You know I don’t speak Spanish!

Actually, I do speak a small amount of Spanish and an even smaller amount of French but I think we all know what si and oui mean, no?

Here’s a cute little rustic sign I made for my Wall of Wanderlust.

diy rustic wood sign

When I made my mid century nightstands (more on that here), I used a wood scrap to color test my Danish Oil.  It sat in my scrap pile for months, until I got a wild hair to make it into a little sign.  One of those use what ya got projects, ya feel me?

diy rustic wood sign

The process here is pretty basic.  I used a sponge pouncer with white acrylic paint over a stencil to paint my letters on my scrap wood.

diy rustic wood sign

Here’s a fun little gif of the process.

diy rustic wood sign

To speed up the drying process since my stencils had to overlap, I used a hair dryer on the cool setting to dry each letter for about a minute.  As you can see in the gif, I used some washi tape to hold each letter steady while I dabbed my paint.

Then I painted the sides white, since there was a bit of finish overlapping onto them.  After doing the top side, I taped down the rest of the sides to make my lines more crisp.  I don’t have the steadiest of hands, guys.

diy rustic wood sign

diy rustic wood sign

Since the sides were bare, dry wood, they only took a few minutes to dry.  I flipped the board over and attached a sawtooth hanger (after measuring and marking the center of my board).

diy rustic wood sign

diy rustic wood sign

Then a quick tap-tap with my hammer and a nail on my wall and boom, this guy was right at home on a wall with French and Spanish postcards and maps and stuff.

diy rustic wood sign

I may decide to seal it at some point with polycrylic or something similar, but I kind of like the matte look it has.

Not bad for a little hour-long “I’m bored” project on a Sunday morning, oui?

Anyone else making multilingual wall art?  Por favor dime…

MORE Wall Art?!

Yep, I have more wall art to talk about!  We have LOTS of wall space too, so this is definitely not the last post to be written on the subject here at Jamie’s Home Blog…

Between the mixture of bachelor and bachelorette furnishings that my fella and I combined when we moved in together, and the lack of wall decor or even a headboard, our bedroom wasn’t much to look at.  As I’ve said before, apologies for the muddy iPhone pics…

Bedroom Before

One day, while I was not at all sitting in a meeting, I doodled this:

Doodle of Dream Bedroom

Recognize the bench?  That drawing was the idea I had for our room.  Simplicity with a touch of mid-century.  And this is the story of the wall art in that doodle. One face-melting hot sunny Texas day, my Mom and I went garage sale hoppin’.  Well, first we went to this great little hole in the wall fabric shop that had no air conditioning.  We were basically surrounded by fabric insulation in a smallish room on a 100 degree day… and it was only about 10am at this point.

Obstacles of Fabric

Fabric Store

But I digress… At one of these garage sales we visited I came across six 8.5″ x 12.5″ frames priced at $2 per.  I offered up $10 they were mine!  I’m sure I could have haggled her even lower but I had a $10 on me so that made it easy.  The art wasn’t my style but that hasn’t ever stopped me from purchasing useful frames for sure!

Frames / Weird Flower Art

I lucked into finding some Krylon Coral Isle at my local Jo-Ann.  I’m not sure that color is regularly sold in my area.  I looked for it at several locations of a big retailer that carries Krylon (you know, the dreaded “W”) and didn’t find it!  So you better believe I bought all three cans that were on the Jo-Ann shelf!  I demonstrated my love for the color with this fancy Instagram.

Krylon Coral Isle on a Frame

You know how the process works… Spray a coat of primer (I prefer Zinsser BIN) and several light coats of paint.

Krylon Coral Isle on Frames

Then it was time to make the art!  I still have tons of leftover Allen + Roth basketweave textured wallpaper from my dresser project.  I affixed it to poster board with spray adhesive and then cut it to fit my frames, using the original art as my template for size.

Creating Wall Art

I had some trouble deciding what color these wallpaper / posterboard “mats” should be.  I’m a very visual person so I did the below “mock up” to give myself an idea of what the final product should look like.  Don’t worry, the twine taped on the paper makes sense in a minute.

Wall Art Color Decision Making Process

The peachy coral in the center at the bottom was the winner!  I mixed acrylic paint with water (and a little mod podge for some sheen) and used a simple sponge brush to paint it on.

Acrylic Paint, Water and Mod Podge

Paint Mixture on Wallpaper

Once they were dry, I hot-glued pieces of twine equal lengths apart in the middle of each mat.

Twine on Textured Wallpaper

Now the fun part!  I popped them into the frames and hung them over our bed using a laser level.  Please excuse the poor lighting in my poor iPhone pics.  A photographer, I am not.

Bedroom

To be honest – I wasn’t that crazy about them at first but they’ve really grown on me.  They have a sort of calming and serene quality – perfect for a room where we mainly rest!  I’m feeling good about my progress thus far in this room, that’s certain.

Bedroom Progress

Is anyone else getting good deals at the thrift shop?  Who has made something that they didn’t like initially, but have come to love over time?  Do tell…

Herringbone Happiness

I wish I could decorate my house and play around on this blog full time, but like everyone else, I have bills to pay.  Luckily, I absolutely love my nine-to-fiver!  I don’t love, however, that I spend it in a cubicle that is beige, grey and greige.  But with a little effort and very little cash, I injected some happy into the space in which I spend most of my week!

I already had this sweet little console table in there, but it needed some love.

Console Table

On a post-work trip to IKEA one night, I picked up a few simple decorative items to style the table.  I bought the TOLSBY 2-sided frame ($0.99), four little MÅTTFULL candles ($0.79 ea), a FEJKA plant ($3.99), and a plant pot ($1.49 – can’t find the link).  That’s a grand total of $9.63 pre-tax, y’all.  Cute, right?

Things

For the TOLSBY, I used some of the leftover Allen + Roth basketweave paintable wallpaper from my media stand project as the matting.  I used colored pencils to do an ombre effect on the wallpaper and then just taped a couple of my favorite Instagrams of my pup to the ombre’d matting.

Frame

Now here’s where the herringbone comes in…  This pin is constantly showing up in my pinterest feed.  And it makes me swoon.  I had to make one.  I used the concept and put my own little spin on it.  With all of the beige, grey and greige in my cubicle, I needed brightness in there.  I taped off the edges of my canvas (bought at Hobby Lobby for about $8.50 with their weekly coupon) since I wanted them to stay white.  I picked some loud, funky colors and started laying them down randomly.

Herringbone Wall Art

Then, I let the whole thing dry overnight.

Wall Art

I probably didn’t have to do that before this next step but I wanted to be extra careful.  Also I wanted to watch the season finale of So You Think You Can Dance…  Don’t judge me.  So the next night I started the herringbone pattern.  To create the design, I cut up strips of frog tape.  Lots of strips of frog tape.  For like two hours.  It was the most tedious part of the project, but it was totally and completely worth it.

Frog Tape Herringbone Pattern

Frog Tape in Herringbone Pattern

I picked a few spots that I wanted to remain white and removed the tape.

Frog Tape Herringbone Pattern

Then I painted the whole thing with white acrylic paint.

Paint Over Frog Tape Herringbone Pattern

I didn’t wait to take the tape of before it dried.  I just used tweezers to carefully and quickly pull off each piece.

Frog Tape Wall Art Herringbone Pattern

I also painted the edges white to make it look more finished.  You can sort-of tell in the above photo, right?  Look at my pretty, pretty herringbone art.

Herringbone Art from Frog Tape

The wood frame of the canvas rests perfectly on two cubicle clips.  You wouldn’t believe how happy I get every time I walk into my cubicle now!

Herringbone Art in Cubicle

Anyone else doing anything to their workspace to jazz it up a bit?  Do tell…

Worldly Wall Art – Part II

In my last post I talked about some frames that hung around for a long time that finally got some love and attention.  Those postcards that I framed have some company!  Lindsey at Better After recently wrote about some goodies that she got from Map My State (did this sentence have enough links in it for you?).  I fell in love!  I ended up purchasing two prints.

Map My State Prints

Texas and Michigan are close to my heart.  I was born in Kalamazoo, MI.  My whole family is from various cities in The Great Lakes State.  From Holland to Dearborn and beyond, we have Michigan covered!  We moved away when I was young, and I totally wish I could go up and visit more often.  I have lived in Texas suburbs in the DFW Metro Area since I was six years old.  And that mega handsome boyfriend of mine was born in Dallas and grew up in the DFW suburbs too.  Many of our memories were made here, and we both consider the area our forever home.  Suffice to say, Michigan and Texas are pretty special places to the fella and me.  So adding high-quality, visually beautiful prints of both of them to our little “travel wall” seemed like a no-brainer to me!

All we needed were frames.  I love going thrift shopping.  I was out on one of my thrift-shop-hops with my Mom (my favorite thrifting partner) and found two frames whose shapes were nearly identical.  Seriously, I think one of them is maybe one millimeter shorter than the other.  The funniest part is that I found the first one – an espresso finish with gold – and said it would be perfect if it had a twin, and before I even finished my sentence I found the same shaped frame with the same gold detail on it in a walnut finish.  Praise the frame gods!  AND they were $1.98 each.  Praise the thrift gods!

Fraternal Twin Frames

I got ’em home, gave ’em a light sanding and wiped ’em down with a cloth to prepare for my favorite part of the process: spray painting!

Frames Prepped For Priming

They got a coat of my go-to primer, Zinsser B-I-N.  Seriously, that stuff sticks to air.  And then this happened:

Primer Fingerprint

It was one of those “Oh no, there’s a particle on it, get it off!  Oh shouldn’t have touched that…” moments.  There’s a reason the can specifically outlines a “dry to touch” time, folks.  File that under DIY Duh… Or Primer Problems.  So I sanded and did a quick re-spray on the spot that I messed up and then let it dry for the appropriate length of time.

I followed up with Rustoleum American Accents in flat white to match the other frames on the wall.

Flat White Painted Frame

And after my least favorite part – the 48 hour dry time – I brought them inside and was reminded that one of them was missing the hanging hardware.  Luckily, I had some sawtooth hangers on hand, so I just measured to find the center and attached the hardware with the provided nails to the back of the frame.  Sidebar – I really love my tools, especially the mini ones…  Hold me closer, tiny hammer.

Tiny Hammer

Then the frames got all dressed up with their new prints!

Framed Texas and Michigan Prints

I used my usual method for deciding where on the wall these guys would hang: paper and tape.  A piece of ruled paper was close enough to the size of my frames and did just fine helping me visualize what they’d look like in their final state.  I tried a few different formations before I landed on my favorite.  As you can see, Turkish Pup was happy to help…

Frame Gallery

I don’t think frame galleries always have to be exactly symmetrical but it worked best for these prints.  That may change if I find myself adding to this group later on, who knows.  For now, they look great where they’re at!  Now me and the fella are reppin’ our favorite states with style!

Worldly Wall Art Frame Gallery

Worldly Wall Art Frame Gallery

Oh and I’d like to give a shout-out to the folks at Map My State!  I never received a tracking number when my order was shipped, and when I emailed to inquire about it they responded in less than 30 minutes!   They were super helpful and sweet, and my prints came out great!  Overall a fantastic experience with this company!

Who else is showing love to their favorite states with prints or an art project?  Do tell…