Sunday, January 15, 2012

Paint Chip Mural

Let me just start by saying that my favorite thing about this project was it's price. FREE!

And this week, or at least until payday next Monday, Free is my BFF.

Let me also say that I RARELY come up with my own cool ideas. It's true. I'm sorry if I just crushed someone's heart. Usually I just take someone else's idea and adapt it a little so it works for me. This project is a prime example.

So I came across a really cool project here quite awhile ago. It's a paint chip mural. Here's a pic from the blog I found it on. 
Awesome, right? Color inspires me. I love having lots of colors around me and so I thought this would be a fun way to incorporate some into my bedroom, which is mostly blacks and whites. Oh, except for my quilt. That has lots of bright, fun colors. Anywhoo...I thought the idea was sooo cool and wanted to do it, but it had been relegated to the "some day, maybe" pile.

Not anymore. [insert mischievous laugh here] ;)

I've had these three canvas panels for several years. I got this really cool idea for doing a three panel painting and hanging it up to take up a large spot on my wall. Problem is that I lost steam with it and am not happy with the way it's turning out.

Seriously, the painting has looked like this for almost two years and has mostly sat in the back of my closet. I'm not too proud to admit that it is awful looking. I've worked on a bit here and there, but I'm just not happy with it. The colors are drab and I hate how the rocks turned out (my roommate aptly put that it looked like a large pile of poo. Gee, Thanks.). So now it's time to do something with them. I've had a few ideas here and there, but nothing that just screamed, "YOU NEED ME!" to me.
Hey, guess what?! This mural thingy does! Except with different colors. And in a 3 panel painting kinda way.

So here are the materials:
  • acrylic paint (a custom blue color that I mixed up)
  • TONS of paint chips that I picked up at Lowe's. I calculated that I would need 108 2"x2" squares. Now, this is evidence that my math skills, ummm...leave something to be desired. I actually needed 216. Good thing I got over 250. (Now what to do with the leftovers?....hmmmm....)
  • Mod Podge
  • 3- 12"x24" canvases
  • spray adhesive

The first thing I did was cut the paint chips down to 2"x2" squares (which took hours). Then I laid them out in a pattern I liked. The cool thing about the paint chips I used is that some of them have different textures and finishes and some are metallic. I like the variation in the colors/textures. :)

I numbered the backs so that I made sure I put them in the right order when I put them back on to the canvas. Not that it really mattered though; the pattern was random.

So then I I thought I could just use mod podge to adhere them to the canvas. Then I discovered that it wasn't really sticking very well to the canvas (the corners wouldn't stay down) so I just used the spray adhesive. It worked better. 

For the edges of the canvas, I tried to "wrap" the paint chips around it, but when I tried it, it didn't really work. So I painted the edges using a medium blue with a bit of white.

Here's how it looked when all three were covered:

Once all the paint chips were adhered, I decided that I wanted more of a distressed look. Well, I really wanted to throw glitter all over it, but then I didn't want to turn my bedroom in to 1) a giant snow globe with glitter flying everywhere, or 2) a six-year old girl's dream room.

I decided against the glitter and found this wood stain in "Red Mahogany." I wanted a darker color than a dark red, but since this was in my garage and it was free, I rolled with it.

I forgot to take pictures of the staining process, but it was easy. All I did was paint on a layer of the dark red layer. 10 minutes later when I wiped it off, I decided that one layer was enough. All the lighter cream chips had turned a bit pink.

When the stain was completely dry (I let it dry overnight, just to be safe), I put on 3 layers of mod podge. On the last layer, I tinted the glue with a bit of silver paint to make it bit sparkly.

To hang up the canvases, I discovered that the 3M removable hooks (the small metal ones) were exactly the right size to hook on to the back of the wood on the canvas. Brilliant! Best part is that I could move around the hooks without putting tons of holes in the walls--obviously I don't own a level and so this was necessary. And still necessary... :)

Huzzah! Lovely, isn't it?! (P.S. The right answer is yes!) This is the view of my room when you stand in the doorway and look to the left.

I like it. The only thing I would probably change is the red stain (I would use something darker) and using not as much silver. I think the silver clouded up the colors too much. But it was free, so hey, I can't complain. :)

All in all, it was a fun little experiment with some new materials and techniques. And I finally did something with the canvas. Yay!

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