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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

{seasonal style} Fall in Love Canvas Art

I am really enjoying working on some DIY projects to bring some touches of fall in to our home, and I'm having fun playing with different color combinations. Today I have a fun art project tutorial for you! I created my art to specifically to tie together the fall color palette that I selected for our kitchen, but it can easily be adapted to fit any color scheme and style.

In the past, I haven't really decorated for fall because the traditional fall colors don't fit my style. But this year I decided to think outside the box, and last week I shared a post with 10 non-traditional color palettes for the fall. The color combo I picked for our kitchen this fall is inspired by peacock feathers.

My kitchen has teal walls and we have a few royal blue accents throughout the room, so the blue and green shades of peacock feathers seemed a natural fit for the space. To tie these colors together with a felling of autumn, I decided to add in some touches of golden yellow.

I decided to create a piece of artwork using all of these colors that could serve as the focal point for my fall kitchen decor.

Before I get to the tutorial, here's the complete supply list for this project:
  • Stretched canvas (I used 16x20)
  • Scrapbook paper in your choice of colors/patterns
  • Paper cutter OR ruler and scissors
  • Mod Podge
  • Small paint brush
  • Adhesive backed vinyl OR letter stickers
  • Cricut or Silhouette cutter (OPTIONAL)
  • Sand paper
  • Spray paint

I started by scouring the scrapbook aisles of my favorite craft stores for papers in papers in shades of teal and gold. I even managed to find some gorgeous peacock feather paper at Michaels.

I used my paper cutter to measure and cut 4 half-inch wide strips from one page of each scrapbook paper pattern. {I sat the uncut portion of each paper aside for use in another project.}

Once all of my strips of paper were cut, I started to lay them out on my canvas. All of my papers were in shades of yellow/gold and teal, so I decided to have the start with the yellow tones on the left side of the canvas, and end with the teal shades on the right side.

Each strip of paper was only 12 inches long {except my peacock paper, which was only 11 inches long}. Since the canvas I purchased was 16 inches tall, I knew I would have to piece multiple strips of paper together to cover the entire canvas. As I laid out the strips across the top portion of the canvas, I made sure to only use 3 of the 4 strips in each pattern, and I sat the fourth strip of each to the side for use in filling in the bottom of the canvas.

Once I had laid out paper strips across the entire top of the canvas, and was happy with the arrangement, I pulled out my Mod Podge and a paint brush.

I used the Mod Podge as glue. Starting on the left side of the canvas, I picked up the strips of paper one by one, brushing the back with Mod Podge, then placing it back on the canvas and smoothing it down. I continued this way until all of the strips of paper were affixed to the canvas.

I then took the extra strips of paper {the ones I had sat aside a couple of steps above} and cut them into four inch pieces {the length needed to cover the bottom portion of the canvas}.

When gluing down these short strips, I matched them up with the strips on the top of the canvas as closely as possible. For the chevron patterned papers, it wasn't always possible to line them up just right, but I got close enough to make it look pretty good.

After all of the strips were glued to the canvas, I proceeded to put a sealer coat of Mod Podge over the entire paper covered canvas. The reason for this is that in the next steps I would be placing vinyl stickers on to the canvas, which I would later need to remove. I was concerned that the stickers might tear the paper when removed, so I used the Mod Podge as a sealer to protect the paper.

While the sealer coat of Mod Podge dried, I got out my Cricut and cut letters to spell out the phrase "Fall in Love" {my attempt at a cutesy play on words for the fall season}. I cut the letters from some white adhesive backed vinyl that I had left over from various past projects.

Next, I used my mom's Sizzix die cutting machine to cut three leaf shapes from the vinyl as well. {I really need to get my own so that I can quit borrowing my mom's!}

Once the Mod Podge sealer coat was dry, I pealed of the backing on my vinyl letter stickers and placed them on my canvas. I selected the placement of my letters to minimize the number of places that they overlapped the "seams" between the top and bottom strips of paper. As you can see in the photo, I ended up with only the "l" in "love" overlapping a seam.

With the stickers in place, I was ready to paint the canvas. I have heard this process referred to as "reverse stickering " The idea is that you paint the entire thing, then remove the stickers revealing the pattern below only in those areas that were covered.

But before I painted the canvas, I started to worry about how well the paint would stick to the somewhat glossy Mod Podge finish. I didn't want to have to use primer, so I instead grabbed a piece of fine grit sandpaper from the workbench, and lightly sanded the entire surface of the canvas. I was carefully not to press hard enough to sand through the sealer and scratch the paper, and I was carefully not to catch and peel up the edges of the stickers. I sanded the surface just enough to rough it up every so slightly, giving the paint a little something to grip.

I then carried the canvas outside and prepared to paint the entire thing in a shade of blue somewhere between royal and navy.

I worked slowly and in light coats until the entire canvas was covered.

As soon as the blue spray paint was dry, I brough my canvas inside and slowly started to peel off the vinyl stickers. I was releaved to see that the stickers had provide a good seal, stopping any paint from bleading under, and that the paint did not peel or tear as I removed the stickers.

As I removed the stickers, I started to get giddy about the awesome result! I just love the look of all those strips of patterned papers spelling out the words on my canvas!

With all of the stickers removed, I stood back to admire my work. My husband acted surprised at how much he liked the finished project {appearantly he was doubting my plan as he watched me work on this art project. But the finished art canvas got his stamp of approval!

I have totally fallen in love with this easy work of art... BaDumChing {sorry... couldn't help it!} I am so excited about the way this work of art ties together my fall color scheme of blue, teal and gold!

Be sure to come back next week when I'll be taking part in a fall home tour with a whole bunch of other, crazy talented bloggers. That's when you'll get to see how this DIY canvas art fits in with all of the other fall decor in our kitchen! You won't want to miss it! {HINT: it also involves those metallic wine bottles vases that I shared last week!}

Monday, September 15, 2014

{seasonal style} Pumpkin Tic Tac Toe

Today I've got a fall project that's fun for the whole family!

A couple of weeks ago, I took you on a tour of our living room and showed you our kid-friendly coffee table styling that includes a tic tac toe game I purchased at Z Gallerie.

As I began making plans to bring some touches of fall to our living room, I originally assumed I would put the tic tac toe board away and replace it with some kind of fall decor. But then, as I was browsing the aisles of Hobby Lobby, I came across these inexpensive pumpkin picks and thought that they might make perfect replacements for the Xs and Os. Best of all, they were half price! So I picked up nine of them and brought them home, crossing my fingers that they weren't too big. 

The size of the pumpkins turned out to be just perfect, so next up I had to decide how to paint them to make them distinguishable. I though about leaving some orange, and painting the remainders white. But since they would be sitting in the black game board, I thought this color scheme would look to Halloween specific. I wanted the pumpkin tic tac toe game to be part of our fall decor from September through Thanksgiving, so I instead decided to paint them in two different metallic tones to make them a bit classier, and less theme-y.

In order to use the pumpkins as tic tac toe pieces, I was going to need to remove the sticks from the bottom, but I knew they would be easier to paint with the sticks in place - so I opted not to remove them just yet.

I only wanted to paint the orange part of the pumpkins, leaving the stems their natural brown color, so I covered the stems in aluminum foil to keep the spray paint off of them.

I set up a spray paint station by turning a cardboard box upside down and pushing the pumpkin sticks through the bottom of the box.

This set up made it easy to spray paint the pumpkins {including the bottoms} without touching them. 

I used two different brands of spray paint because that's what I had on hand, but I was much happier with the metallic finish of the silver paint {Montana Gold Acrylic brand of professional spray paint purchased from a specialty art supply store}.

Once the paint was dry, I removed the aluminum foil from the pumpkin stems, and then set about removing the sticks. 

I though I might have to cut the sticks of with wire cutters, but I was pleasantly surprised that all it took was about 10 twists of the each stick and they pulled cleanly out of the pumpkins.

All that was left was to put the metallic painted pumpkins in to the tic tac toe game board and challenge someone to a game.

My new pumpkin tic tac toe makes a fun and unique addition to my coffee table, and best of all, it's fun for the whole family. Because the pumpkins are made from a light weight material, I don't have to worry about the kids dropping them.

Obviously not everyone has a tic tac toe board around the house, but there are plenty of ways that you can create your own. I think it would look fabulous for fall to simply stain a board and paint on the perpendicular lines in a color that matches your decor.

Of if you are interested in purchasing a tic tac toe game board, Z Gallerie currently sells two versions nearly identical to mine. They are a bit pricey {I bought mine on clearance}, but I can attest to the fact that they are well made and look very nice even in a more formal space. I also found a fantastic rustic modern, wooden tic tac toe board for sale on Etsy for only $10!

We are having so much fun with our pumpkin tic tac toe, and it looks so great on our coffee table, that I am already thinking of swapping the pumpkins out for something else come the Christmas season!

Friday, September 12, 2014

{five minute friday} DIY Luggage Tags

Happy Friday, friends! Today I am excited to a super useful idea from my friend Melissa of A Prudent Life.

Melissa has been traveling quite a bit this year, so she came up with a quick and cute way to make personalized luggage tags in just five minutes.

I am always scrambling to fill out an airline luggage tag while standing in line at the airport, so I definitely need to make myself some of these adorable tags. How fun to be able to personalize them any way you want. And as an added bonus, these colorful tags would make it easier to tell my black suitcase apart from all of the other black suitcases as they come around the carousel at baggage claim.

Head on over to A Prudent Life for all the DIY details!

Thanks, Melissa, for letting me share this great idea!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

{decorating with style} Metallic Wine Bottle Vases for Fall

Are you a fan of the gold trend? I am still more of a silver girl at heart - and there is a lot of silver in my home - but I am trying to embrace the gold trend by incorporating some gold here and there. Both gold and copper make me think of autumn, so I've been having fun mixing metals in some of my fall decor projects, including these shiny, happy wine bottle vases.  

I recently purchased some peacock feathers and some cotton branches that I wanted to incorporate in to my fall decor, but when I tried arranging them in any of the many vases in my kitchen cupboard it just didn't work. I needed something with a very narrow opening, and even the smallest of my existing vases was too wide. 

I knew that wine bottles would work perfectly for my vases, but we don't drink a lot of wine {despite what the wine rack console table in our kitchen might suggest}. I wanted to turn three wine bottles in to vases, but knew that we wouldn't be drinking three bottles of wine any time soon. So instead I called one of the restaurants in our neighborhood, and they happily gave me a few of the wine bottles that they would otherwise be dumping in the recycling bin. I like that these bottles are not all the same shape of height - giving more of a collected look.

Since I planned to paint these vases, I first needed to remove the labels. This was the part I was dreading - but I found an super easy method that made it totally pain free! I boiled water in the microwave, then poured the water into the bottles to just above the level of the labels {I sat them in the sink to prevent any mess from accidental spillage}.

I waited just a couple of minutes, then {with the bottles still full of water} I slowly peeled the labels off. All six labels - the front and back of each bottle - came of with absolutely no tearing!

I had no use for these labels, so I just recycled the paper - but this method would also be perfect for any project where you are wanting to save the label!

It only took me a couple of minutes to remove all of the labels, then I used my favorite product to clean off the glue residue. I wish I could tell you to run out and buy a bottle of Thoro, because it is truly the best product I have ever used for removing anything sticky {even gum from hair!}, but sadly Thoro is no longer made. I have two bottles in one of the drawers under my sink and I treat them like liquid gold! It will be a sad, sad day when I eventually run out. All that said, Goo Gone or your adhesive remover of choice should do the trick.

With the labels and adhesive removed, I washed the outside of the bottles with a little dish soap to get them ready for paint.

I've had mixed results in the past spray painting glass without primer, so I decided to go ahead and prime the bottles to avoid any potential problems.

Once the primer was dry, I spray painted each bottle in a different metallic color - one silver, one gold, and one copper. I used three different kinds of metallic spray paint {because that's what I already had on hand}.

Finally, it was time to turn these bottles in to vases. The cotton branches were a bit too tall, but I didn't want to cut them down in case I want to use them in a taller vase in the future. Instead, I used a pair of pliers to bend the ends of the thick branches.

Since the necks of the wine bottles are so narrow, I was concerned that the bent ends of the branches would act like anchors, going in easily, but then catching on the neck when I tried to take the branches out later. To solve this problem, I simply wrapped a rubber band tightly around the bent up ends of the branches.

This grouping of metallic wine bottle vases will be a perfect addition to my modern kitchen for fall! I love the simple, minimalist look - but with a touch of bling!

Be sure to come back on Thursday, September 25th to see my full Fall Home Tour!

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