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Fool-Proof DIY Painting

UPDATE: Welcome Pinterest visitors!! This post has recently exploded with views from Pinterest (23k so far!) and I'm so glad you are here. Get to know me, see my DIY projects, and tour my house by clicking on the tabs above. And thanks for stopping by! 

Warm Fuzzies
I get to tell you about something awesome that happened to me! If there's one thing I love more than creating DIY things for me to enjoy in my home, it's making something for someone else to enjoy in theirs! I haven't had that opportunity very often, but it's a ton of fun when I do!

My friend Elena was over at my house and loved the set of canvases I made for the living room. You can see more shots of these paintings in my "living room after" post here.

She liked them so much she asked if I would do a set for her house (brave lady! :) 

I was honored, a little nervous, and a lot excited to try another set of these paintings. And since I did the ones on my wall before Clever Nest was up and running, I have the chance to show you the process here now!

I Ain't No Picasso
First of all, let me say, I AM NO PAINTER. And my drawing skilz are embarrassing. I haven't messed with paint and brushes since 6th grade, and I wasn't hot back then either. I'm the most surprised of all that these turned out ok the first time, let alone a second time!

Let's say it this way, if I was held hostage by Evil Doctor Von Artsy, and forced to paint a flower to save my life, I might have to order my last meal.

But these paintings I CAN do, (no drawing required) and you can too! Impressionistic color bands and lots of blending. No sweat.

Painting Supplies:
  • Canvas (I used two 24x30 Gallery Wrapped style)
  • Molding Paste and trowel
  • Paint, in at least two shades of each main color, the more the better!
  • Paint Brush (mine was a rounded tip, size 8)
Step 1. Apply Ze Paste
Molding Paste that is. This product gives the painting a rich, 3D effect. An 8oz. container of Golden Artist Colors Molding Paste was more than enough to cover both canvases.
 It's best to scrape the paste on in thin layers, no more than 1/8 in. thick.

I should just go out and buy one of those stupid little plastic trowels, but since I don't have one, I used my pie server (don't worry, I made sure I washed it good afterward).

I made lots of short horizontal strokes in the same direction I wanted to apply my paint, so it would kind of look like my paintbrush had made all those ridges. You could get the same textured effect by using paint with a thicker body (just don't say "thicker body" to their face, they can be easily offended), but those are more "pro" quality paints and can get expensive if you're not planning to invest in a career of Picasso-ing.

So I applied my paste and let things dry for 24 hrs.

Step 2. Chose the Colors 
Elena wanted to put these in her living room, and chose white, aqua, and beige to match her decor. I bought 4-5 shades of each color. Each one was about $1, so I spent about $15 for all the shades. It's a mix of American and Craft Smart brands. I didn't use a whole bottle of any color, they stretched pretty far.

Step 3. Paint, Paint, Paint
I worked in sections, painting each band of color separately.  To get rich multitones (I realize multitones is not an official word, but since I'm not an official painter, I think it stands), dip one half of the brush in one color and half in another, and let them mix as you brush them on the canvas.

Multitones: noun. What happens when you dip your paintbrush in two different colors and slather on a canvas. "I got rich multitones following Alyssa's tutorial." 

 I made fat "x" strokes to blend things together. As the bands of color change, add more or less of each color on the brush.

Here is how mine looked after I finished the beige section

Step 4. Done!
I love using paint because if I don't like the way it's looking, I can simply paint over it to tweak things as much as my heart desires. I must have redone the whole thing at least 3 times! After much tweaking, here is the final look. You can see how much of the dark beige I tweaked out, comparing the pic above to the ones below.

Kind of reminds me of water and sand at the beach : ). The style is so "impressionistic" and whatever, that it's almost impossible to mess up.
Close up of the texture:

The paintings I did originally were inspired by the vibrant colors of Can Cun, where I took this shot on our honeymoon. *sigh, peaceful.

I couldn't believe how blue that water was!

Aww, us on our honeymoon :) Kissy face.

Impressionistic translation:

Here's the breakdown for this project:
$40 for 2 24x30 Canvases, from Michael's, with a 40% off coupon
$15 Paint
$13 Molding Paste
($6 Brush, already had one)

Total: $68 for two totally custom, "yeah, I painted that!" art pieces.

I'm so proud of myself for taking on the scary painting project, and am feeling so empowered that my "skilz" are actually repeatable! Ha ha, I am no longer intimidated, Dr. Artzy, bring it on.

Are you painting/drawing inept like me? (if not, just say yes to make me feel better) Do you think you'll give this a try?
<3 Alyssa

Click to:

Living room and stairs After!

It's Time for the Big Reveal!
We've been working so hard redoing our stairs, adding wall molding, and painting that this has been the biggest home improvement job we've tackled since moving in! 

I've lamented my unsafe and ugly stair railing it seems forever. One of our biggest "To Do" projects this year was to take out the old rusted railing and replace it with safer, higher half walls before Munchkin figured out how to stick his head through the bars. While we were at it, (and while my living room was a disaster zone) I decided to move forward with one more big project near to my heart-

de-beige-ing the living room.

I Have A Beige Problem
I seriously needed to undo the matchy matchy madness I had created in my living room.
 Let's remember the previous state of affairs:

Somewhere along my quest to create a cohesive living room, I went terribly wrong.  I ended up with the same EXACT shade of tan on the wall, couch, furniture and rug. That's 3 dimensions of beige if you were counting.

I could try to defend myself, and explain how I had just over a week to pull this entire house together, picking flooring, couches, and paint for the first time in my life, on a budget. Shall we say, I played it safe much?

But what is done is done, and it is high time I subdued my Beige Palace and brought some contrast and life and COLOR!!

Breathing in Some Life

As you can see, I didn't eradicate the beige completely. I'm still a fan of neutrals since my color preferences change often and it's so easy to swap out accents and accessories for a completely different look. Furniture, floors, and fixtures, not so easy (or cheap).

Now I have just the contrast and pop of color I so desperately needed with lighter walls, bold diy art, and a darker rug and furniture.

The Deets
Here's how I waged the Beige Wars.

  • A fresh coat of  Behr paint in Brown Bread on the lower portion of the molding. I used an egg shell finish.
  • Swapped out old furniture for an Ikea Kolsvic coffee table (they've been discontinued), a $20 find on Craigs List. I love that the top slides open and there's a hidden compartment for extra storage. Brilliant!

  • New (to me!) dark end tables for free from my gal pal Denay, who was also changing up her living room. Small world :)
  • Entry table, $79.99 from Ebay, with fun accents in turquoise, lime, and orange.

  • New Gorilla Shag Rug, $120 from Bed Bath and Beyond, after 20% off coupon. By the way, did you know BB&B honors expired coupons? :) . This lovey has a 1 1/2 inch pile, and me and Jason loooove it. It's soft enough to sleep on, (I had done it), and great for Andrew now that he's semi mobile. If I can't strap a helmet on that kid, this rug at least helps break his falls.
  • A fiddle leaf fig tree, or as he shall be known, Mr. Figgy. $45 from Armstrong Garden Center. I love the leaves, just right for my style. Not too beachy like a palm tree might be or too oriental like I think of bamboo. The shades of light and deep green bring more dimension and life (pun intended) to this room! He still needs a pot, poor naked tree.
  • Two gray and tan pillows, $13 each on clearance at Tar-jay (blue one I bought from Walmart a while ago). I needed something that would bring together the cream and gray tones going on and tie things nicely together. These guys do the job and are super comfy too.
  • Shoe storage basket, $39 from Tai Pan Trading Co. No more soooper attractive pile-o-shoes by our front door!
    • Lamps. I kept my old side lamps, but spruced them up with a fresh coat of Rustoleum Anodized Bronze (looks like charcoal to me) to match the new color scheme. 

    I'm incredibly stoked by the way this room has turned out! I've never had an "officially finished room to show off before! :) Now let's see how the stairs and molding turned out.

    Re "Stairing" Order
    Let's remember (or let's not) how bad things started out.

    Suffice to say it was NOT what we wanted at all. Now, I can dwell happily on this sight.

    A huge difference! The new walls are a full foot and a half taller than the old railing. See how much less of the office door is visible on the second floor? We also love the privacy it offers upstairs. Guests used to be able to see into our bedroom from the living room couch! That wasn't awkward : /.
    By the way, RIP gallery wall : (. It bit the dust in the painting process. But that's ok, this way I'll have a chance to redeem myself and maybe learn from my mistakes and do things right this time.
    sniff, sniff... ok moving on.
    Our new molding wraps all the way around the room.

    We love how the lighter paint brightens up the whole space, and the new stairs and molding bring a heap more sophistication to the room. *happy dance*

    What Did It Cost?
    Total for this project, not including construction work-
    $50 Paint
    $20 Coffee Table
    $0 End tables
    $80 Entry Table
    $120 Rug (after coupon)
    $45 Fig Tree
    $26 Throw Pillows
    $39 Shoe Basket

    $380! Definitely the most expensive redo to date at Casa de Wine, but well worth it. One final look at the old. Goodbye old!

    Have you ever gotten yourself into a form of matchy madness? What have you done to change things up? 
    <3 Alyssa
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    Sharing this at Funky Junk Interiors

    Pinterest Winter Challenge: Nursery Art

    It's time for the Pinterest Challenge again! In case you've never heard of it, this quarterly DIY event is the work of four lovely ladies: 
    and created to motivate all us serial Pinners out there to get our butts out of that computer chair and go make something!!
    I made this framed ABC art for Andrew's nursery. This was a great project because it is so cheap ($4 per frame) and fast (I finished in less than an hour). 

    • Colorful children's illustrations
    • Scrap book paper in desired colors
    • Glue stick/ scrap booking sticky tabs 
    • Picture frames
     I pinned these pics from a nursery designed by Joye Dicharry of The Joyeful Journey a year ago, when I was a few months preggo and getting my nursery ideas together. I was in love with the bright red frames and vintage inspired ABC art.

    I bought Flora McDonnell's ABC book used from Amazon for about $7. I heart her illustrations!

    I chose a few I liked and for .30 each, had my local copy shop print off color copies. You could just as well print them out yourself, but my printer is iffy at best, and I wanted top notch quality. I cut out each picture, mounted it on a colored piece of scrap book paper with scrap book sticky tabs, and glued that onto white scrap book paper.
    I bought some Wal Mart $3 frames, and sprayed them a nice red with Rustoleum spray paint. Lickety split, shabang, the art was in the frames, and the frames went up!

    I'm long overdue to show you Andrew's Nursery. 

     And Munchkin pics, for good measure :). I can't believe this kid is 6 months old, 17 lbs, and such a happy and healthy little kiddo. (I'm working on a Munchkin tab where I can show off more proud momma pics. Should be up soon.)

     We like reading about our ABC's!

    "Get in on this Mom!" lol

    Totaling up this project, here's the break down (I'm not counting the book, since I love the pictures so much I would have bought it anyway!):
    $0.30 Color Copy
    $0.40 Scrap book paper
    $3.00 Frame

    About $4 per picture. Not bad, not bad I say.

    It's not too late to get in on the fun. Do you have a pin turned reality craft to show off? Let me know! Do you do Pinterest at all? What do you think of it (time waster, total inspiration)?
    <3 Alyssa

    Click to:


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