DIY Herringbone Metallic Artwork: Easy & Cheap

So I don't know if I've said this before, but my husband and I are currently building a house. Well, we're not building it (I'm not that crafty... hot glue has its limits), some nice young men we pay are building it. We are, however, among other things, funding it.  Let me translate: we're broke for the next year or so. Needless to say, that scenario leaves no budget for current rental-house decor. And I thought that was fine when we first moved into this dirty white box. 7 months later, the walls are now beige (because I couldn't stand the dirty white box) and the great expanses of nothing-ness on the walls are starting to make me antsy. This is how the "Herringbone" Metallic Artwork came about. (I know it's not technically herringbone, but it kind of looks similar).

• Metallic Paint (I used Rust-Oleum spray paint)
• Some other colors of paint (I used whatever I had leftover from other projects)
• Canvas or something to paint on
• ScotchBlue Painter's Tape (Mine is 2" wide)

This is what I started with.
I bought this in a parking lot 8 years ago when we were first decorating our old house.  It's been moved around quite a bit and now I've just outgrown it.  I wrestled a little with painting over a perfectly good painting. But since I no longer find it beautiful, and it does not serve a function, it was either time to make it beautiful or get rid of it.

Step1: Paint some of the canvas with the metallic paint.  I tried to keep all my paint going in an up and down motion.

Step 2: Blob on some color and spread it around again.  Leave unpainted areas. My 3 year old did most of this. I helped him keep it going up and down.

Step 3: Blob on some other colors and keep going.

Step 4: Pick up older child from Pre-K... wait, I mean let it dry once you're happy with the colors.

Step 5: Start taping (and put on some Phineas and Ferb to keep children in trance-like state).
I started with that piece in the corner and just lined up the tape based off of that one.  No real pattern, just tried to keep the spaces even between each piece. I didn't measure anything. This may require 2 episodes of Phineas and Ferb.

Step 6: Paint over the tape with the metallic paint.

Step 7: Peal off the tape (we did not wait for it to dry).
I like that you can actually see him saying "whoaaa!" in this one. They thought it was very cool how the color showed up when you pulled the tape off.

That's it, you're done.  Hang it up!  I put it over my dresser in our bedroom. We now have at least one thing on that giant beige wall for the cost of tape and a can of spray paint. :)

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Moroccan Wall Stencil FAQ

Well, turns out, lots of you want to jazz up your walls... cheaply.  Is there any other way?  haha Seriously, my DIY Moroccan-Style Wall Stencil Tutorial got lots of attention and as a result, I got lots of questions.  So, I figured I'd gather them all together and get the answers all in one place. Here we go. These are the steps that worked for me.
*Keep in mind, I work on a mac and I have Acrobat Professional.

  • How did you get your shape to print out so big?

    • Click here for the shape.
    • Right click on it and Save Image As. Pick a place to save it on your computer.
    • Go to the file you just saved, open it. Go to File, then Print.
    • When the print menu pops up, it should look something like this.
    • In the lower left corner, click PDFSave as PDF. Again, pick a place to save it.
    • Open the PDF you just saved and again, go to File, then Print. Still with me?
    • In this print menu choose Tile All Pages from the Page Scaling drop down. Set your Overlap to at least .25" so some of your design doesn't get cut off in the margins.  And, if it still looks like the shape is printing out small, adjust your Tile Scale (mine is set to 150% here).  The preview on the right shows that the shape is going to print on 4 sheets of paper.
    • Finally, click Print and tape your shape together!
  • How did you get your lines so even?
    • I used a small craft brush with short bristles.  If your bristles are short, no matter how heavy or light your hand is, the bristles won't spread out too much.  This will give you an even line.  If you can't find a brush with short bristles, cut one down to about 1/4". (PS. my lines aren't really that even... haha)
  • What color paint is that?
    • The background beige is "Bonjour Beige" by Glidden from Home Depot.  The lighter beige is the same paint with some white mixed in I think. :)
  • Are your walls textured?
    • Nope... just some light "orange peel". But, lots of you told me you were going to try this on a giant canvas.  Great idea if your walls are too textured.
  • How did you do the corners?
    • I used the paper I printed out and folded it into the corner.  It was easier than folding cardboard.
  • Did you paint on the inside or outside of the pencil line and did it show through?
    • I painted right over the middle of the pencil lines and they did show through a tiny bit. But, I don't think anyone would ever notice.  It's pretty light.
So I hope that helps if you were having trouble.  If I get more questions, I'll be sure to update. Remember, it does not have to be perfect.  The impact here comes from all of the lines meshed together... not each individual line. Let me know if you try it!


My Second Quilt

I finished my second quilt. Woo hoo.  And, it looks exactly like the first one I made... just with different colors. Hey, once you find a good thing, go with it, right?  Actually, I really loved the first quilt I made but it was a gift for my sister, so when it was time to make one for me, I decided to make the same thing... a little larger.  I started this project here.  Yes, July 5, 2011. One year and 6 months ago.  I didn't say I was fast.

This quilt is 5' x 5'.  I made it almost the same way I made the first quilt.  (the tutorial is here) This time I added a cream boarder on all sides before the binding.  I googled, like always, to figure out how to do that. If you're wondering what the quilting process looks like at my house... here ya go. (Yes, I iron on a tiny ironing board crouched on the floor).
Since I didn't have a good picture of trimming the squares in the last quilt, I took one durning this quilt.  This is the back of one of the squares. (you can see the green leaf scrapbook paper under the ruler). Just line your ruler up with the edge of the paper, and cut. Once you do all 4 sides, you have a perfect square.
All of my finished squares lined up on the guest room bed. The paper is still on them in this photo.
I used old scrapbook paper as the templates for each square.  Which, didn't end up being the smartest idea in the world.  You see, scrapbook paper is quite thick.  To try and rip it from my sewed strips was almost impossible.  After almost ruining 2 of them, I came up with the genius idea to soak my squares in the sink (for maybe 5 seconds).
Worked WAY better!  Soaking-wet paper rips quite easily you know. :)  After the soaking and ripping (and explaining to my husband wtf I was doing) I strewn the squares on every flat surface I could find in the kitchen and laundry room to dry. In hind sight, a spray bottle might have been the better option... but this way was kind of fun none the less.

Here's one all ripped off. The little white bits of paper still left don't matter.
After everything dries, layout your squares again in an order you like and start sewing them together.  Bottom two rows are sewn in this picture.

Keep going.
After sticking your quilt sandwich together (back, batting, top), start quilting.  I did free-motion again this time and it was a bit harder with a bigger quilt.  That's a lot of material to shove around! 

Also, I got the tutorial for the binding from Red Pepper Quilts if you're wondering.
So it's done!  I have no idea what I am going to use it for yet... I just like looking at it. :)  I originally thought I would bring it to the beach to sit on but after the amount of work I put into this sucker, I don't want it getting grungy.

Here's the back.  I made this pattern 100% from necessity. I was running out of fabric and this is what I came up with to cover the whole 5' x 5' square.  haha Seriously, that is what happened.

Hope you like it!
UPDATE: Click here for the video tutorial I made for free motion quilting.