I’m back again – how cool is that? Well at least it is for me . I love being listed among so many talented and downright awesome ladies. So for those who may be new around here, here’s a small run down about who I am. Mommy of the Janester, wife of hubby d., lover of toasted sour dough bread, Pad Thai, and Napolitano style pizza (pizza Naples style). I’m also a photographer who is having a love affair with Photoshop – don’t worry the hubster encourages it. Check out my work and my saaaweet giveaway (oh yes you read right) giveaway going on now! Just click on the logo below for a direct link or go to erindphotography.blogspot.com.
As the hubster and I are still in the “student” phase of our lives money is tight & cheap apartment living is what we do. I recently had the opportunity to paint the nursery for my newest nephew. It was my gift to him and his momma. I loved the way it turned out, it made me long for the day when I can paint my own walls and employ whatever designs I’d like.
Since actually being able to do this in my own home is somewhere in my (very) distant future, I had to compromise with my apartment living. I had a baby girl due in January of 2009, and there was no way she was going to have drab walls if there was anything I could say about it. So several months before her debut I began searching for a way to spice up her room.
BTW: This is not my image, fun colors though right?!
I wanted to incorporate her name somehow, but I didn’t want to hang letters on the wall, for the maternal fear that there would be a freak earth quake and one of the letters would fall and impale my daughter (seriously though… if there was an earth quake, I think the letters on her wall would be the least of my concerns…). My first thought was to go with vinyl, but it was so expensive and I couldn’t find the right colors I wanted in town. So I continued to think and search until I found my solution! Thanks to a few tips from the good ol’ internet I had a plan and I executed it (and had a lot of fun doing it I might add)!
Here is how you too can non-permanently “paint” the walls of your apartment or home.
Supplies you will need to do what I did:
A Regular Pencil
A White Colored Pencil
A Pencil Sharpener (to keep that white pencil sharp)
A pair of Sharp Scissors (fabric scissors) – if they aren’t sharp they will ruin your fabric
Paint Pan (I just used a pie tin)
First decide what you want your design to be. I based mine off of my daughter’s bedding. (I chose this bedding because it was on clearance for $30 at Walmart.com and it didn’t have jungle animals all over it – yay for the clearance section!)
Then decide where on the walls you want to place your images and measure about how big on the wall you would like them to be. Write down your measurements. I found that thinking about my image in a “frame” so to speak & measuring a square area helped me get the most accurate measurements I was looking for.
Then start sketching your design on regular paper. Once you know what you want, draw it bigger – to the size you’d like on pieces of poster board – this may take several pieces to get the right size, depending on how large your shape is. It also may require you to divide up the pieces of your “shape” on different parts of the poster board – a leaf here, a petal there, etc. (I hope that made sense).
Then cut your “shapes” out of the poster board. You will want to make sure that any pieces that require a different color are cut out separately (for example with my tulip type flowers I traced the stem and leaves of the flower [which would be green] separate from the bulbs of the flowers [which would be pink]).
Now go to your favorite fabric store and buy the colors you will need (you obviously can do this before hand if you like). I am not a seamstress, so bare with me here… I bought thinner fabric, it felt like my bed sheets, and I am pretty sure it was 100% cotton (this was nearly 2 years ago, sorry for my lack of details).
I am pleased with my final results but I think you could go with even thicker fabric if you’d like maybe even a light flannel for a softer/thicker effect on the walls. Note: DO NOT wash your fabric.
Once you have your poster board stencils cut and your fabric purchased, trace your stencil upside down on the fabric with the white pencil. You want to trace it upside down so that your white pencil doesn’t show through on the front. You also want to use a white pencil because it won’t show through the back of the fabric once it is on the wall.
Then cut out your shapes using very sharp scissors – mine weren’t sharp enough so I went to the store and bought a new pair. My old pair was tearing the fabric rather than cutting it – yucky. I found tracing and cutting the most time consuming part of the process.
Once you have your shapes all cut out you are ready to start putting them up on the wall!
Pour some of your liquid starch into a pie pan/paint pan etc. Now dip in your paintbrush and lightly paint the wall where you are wanting to put your fabric cut out. This light amount of starch will help you stick your fabric to the wall and get it on nice and straight. Then paint over the top of your shape with a good helping of starch, smoothing it onto the wall and pressing out any air bubbles under your fabric as you go.
If you are layering on your shape, like I did on my red flower with the pink center, now is the time to add your different layers. Place them on top of your starched shape and then starch over the top of the new fabric, again smoothing out any air bubbles as you go. If we have a boy one of these days I’d like to try my hand at making a blue rocket ship, with a red tip and wings and a bunch of cute little grey windows rimmed with green – daring I know. They don’t call me Darrington for nuthin’.
Keep an eye on your shapes, they may bleed a little from the starch and you will want to use a paper towel to soak up any color that may be running.
When I did my daughter’s name on the wall, I was glad I had my mom and my sister’s help. My sister gave me an extra set of hands to help me put it on and straighten it out, and my mom was our extra set of eyes who could stand back and tell us if we had it on the wall straight.
Let your shapes sit untouched for 24 hours or so so that the starch can fully dry and fuse to the wall. Just run a fan in the room and touch it occasionally to check its progress.
I love the way my daughter’s room turned out. It was a simple way to decorate her room without violating my contract with my landlord and without exposing my pregnant self to the danger of paint fumes. I love how it matches her bed set and anytime someone sees her room they always remark with “That was nice of your landlord to let you paint in here”. Then I explain how amazingly witty and clever I am, which always leads to their bowing and groveling before my incredible genius (ahem… moving on).
To remove your “paint”, just get it wet. If you have a wall paper steamer I bet this would work wonders. However, do know that for a month we had a humidifier constantly running in my daughter’s room and the shapes never bled or peeled off the wall (yay for that).
Know that you could also essentially “wall paper” a room this way. If your son loves Toy Story, find some Toy Story fabric and put it up on one wall, you’d probably want to use a roller brush for the starch. But then a year later when he prefers Lightening McQueen, just use a wet sponge, peel it off the wall, and put up your Cars fabric instead. Wash the Toy Story fabric and make some pillowcases… or whatever it is you crafty seamstress women can think up! Boom Bam Baby.
Please do continue thinking about what a sexy pregnant woman I was, I know you simply can’t resist.
I hope this tip helps you apartment dwellers spice up your walls and get creative. I also hope that it helps you home dwellers get creative in your children’s rooms with their ever changing minds about their favorite things. I am looking forward to maybe putting some damask style shapes above the head of our bed in our room… I can feel my creative juices flowing!
Again don’t forget to sign up for my give away at erindphotography.blogspot.com or the Or So She Says give away. There are some great things to be had!
- Erin D.