Monday, August 5, 2013

Champagne Taste on a Barefoot Budget

So I've got all kinds of empty walls in this house.  Big walls, small walls, sad walls.  We've been here nearly seven months now and the lack of decor is making me batty.  This place is roughly 11x the size of our old place (ok, I'll settle for at least 2x) and I don't want to make the same mistakes as before and rush through the decorating process.

I subscribe to all the fancy decorating catalogs and create a hard-copy version of Pinterest by tearing out pages and then trying to recreate all the things I love.  Well I stumbled across this gem in the Home Decorators Collection catalog and seriously fell in love. 
Current price is $329
I don't know what it is about these, but they really struck a cord and I knew I had to have it.  The problem was, even with coupons, they're about $300 more than I wanted to spend AND it wouldn't match anywhere in my house.  It was crafting time.

The HDC version is 22"x20" and I decided I wanted these for my "big" wall in my dining room.  The color palette in that room is mostly teal and brown, with small pops of burnt orange.  Just trust me on that one.

I started this endeavor by venturing the wood department at Home Depot (which ironically owns HDC).  I found these 24"x24" plywood pieces for $6 a piece.  I probably could have saved a few bucks by buying a larger piece and cutting it, but sometimes I don't mind paying for convenience and this was one of those times.  I chose to do these on wood because I wanted the texture and grain to show through.  If you'd rather a smoother texture, I'd say to buy a couple pieces of foam board (available at Dollar Tree).  Since this was just plywood and not a fancy (see: nice) piece of wood, it would be light enough to hang using hanging teeth and I'd probably be safe enough to not have to use anchors.    The package of hanging teeth was $1.25 for three.  To play it safe, I decided to put two hanging units on each piece of plywood.  My total cost was up to nearly $15.00 (slow down there, girl!  Just kidding).

Wood in the raw.  Don't be a perv.
That 6' piece that is sharing the table is for my next project that I decided needed to be done simultaneously.  Hah.

So I used the remaining paint leftover from my ceiling medallion adventure because I wanted it to match the rest of the space.  The paint dried super fast and I could still see the grain through it when it was dry.
When they were done, I was feeling crazy so I decided to use the rag that I was using to stain my OTHER project with to give it a weathered/antiquey look.  I was taking a complete shot in the dark here, but I am really happy I tried it.  Beginners tip:  apply your stain all in the same direction at random.  
The one on the right has a little sumtin' sumtin' extra.

Closeup of the antique madness
Now came the fun part.  I don't have a fancy press printer to make home decor items, so I knew this shit was going to be quite labor intensive.  I figured my options were stencils, stickers, or stamps.  So, like the deep thinker that I am, I packed my children up and went to Michaels.  If you have children, it is important to bring them for this part because their rash, outlandish behavior will make you make quick, irrational decisions.  

After wandering the aisles looking for inspiration (or motivation?), I stumbled upon 1" vinyl letters in a decent font.  It wasn't cost effective to buy scrapbook letter stickers because of how many I'd need (and the fonts weren't quite what I was looking for), but I found the vinyl letters in the wood crafting department.  It came with over 500 letters and I gave it an educated guess and bought three packs.  I had a 20% total purchase coup, so these stickers were less than $5 a pack.

Current cost: $28 and some change

So I came home and got to work.  A reasonable person might have laid out some sketches or did some planning, but I have two kids running around and, as Sweet Brown said it, "ain't nobody got time for that..."

Wouldn't you know that three lines into the FIRST plaque (picture?)(piece?) I RAN OUT OF LETTERS.  Well when life hands you lemons, you get your X-acto knife from 2002 and make a goddamned stencil.  Shit was about to get real.

I'm aware that beggers is spelled wrong.  That's how HDC had it on their version so I just kept it that way

I decided that some inconsistencies would give it character.  Husband came outside and said it looked like a ransom note, but I assure you that's NOT the character I was shooting for.  I kept at it whenever I had free time.  To fill in my makeshift stencil, I used an oil-based Sharpie paint pen.  It dries shiny and sort of looks like vinyl.  Or something like that.  I ran out of 99% of my stickers before I even finished the first one, so I decided to stencil the 2nd one and use what little stickers I had left just to use them.  I considered buying another three sets of stickers just for uniformity, but I was going for that whole perfectly-imperfect shit so I didn't.  And I'm cheap.

Using a hammer and a paperclip (fo' real), I attached the hanging teeth on the back of each picture.  I used the paperclip to hold the iity bitty nail in place while I HULK SMASH'ed that shit.  Seriously, those nails are small.  I suppose you could spray some kind of clear coat if you want, but I didn't.

The wall I put these on is approximately 150 inches wide.  I found the mid point (75 inches, y'all) and then used that as my guide to put these up.  I am going to need to put more on the wall (considering these only take up roughly 33% of the space), but it was a good place to start.  Before I started, I thought about doing that thing where you put all the stickers on, paint it, and then peel them off to reveal the base color, but I wanted it to be more blue than black (or whatever 'dark' color one would choose).  I'm also glad I didn't because I ran out of stickers and to do the whole thing in stickers would have cost WAY TOO DAMN MUCH.  (But seriously, even if you did the whole thing in stickers, it would still be significantly less than what the ones from HDC cost).

So my finished product:

I obviously got the spacing down WAAAY better by the second board (plaque? picture? piece?) and considered redoing the first one, but for now I'm going to leave it.  Considering I already had the paint and stain, these babies are a straight up WIN in my book, costing under $30 to make TWO 24"x24" pictures...plaques...pieces.  Whatever.

More interestingly enough, these are just random sayings...some of which I didn't know the meaning.  While I was hovering over a table in my garage spelling each one out WORD for FREAKING word, I got to think about each one and, not to get all cray cray on you, it made the project that much more enjoyable to reflect on.

...Although I sure as shit am NOT making hay while the sun shines.



No comments:

Post a Comment