Tag Archives: wall art

Play with Color! Jazz up a canvas with a paint scraper


This project is a great one to (re)create a a canvas into a fun bit of wall art. All you need is some paint, a paint scraper or putty knife and an old (or new) canvas -you know the one that you bought at the discount home decor store that is outdated? Or the juvenile print that your teenager has rejected?

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  1. For this bit of “art”, I had a ton of fun playing with color.  Rainbows were a favorite of mine long before they became symbolic of anything other than a promise and this project combined an image I love – a tree by a stream -with the beauty of a mosaic style background.  It felt reminiscent of my childhood days when I could squish my fingers into plates of  paint – and brought about a ton of joy as I played with the color.

The supplies are pretty simple – Acrylic paint in the color of your choice, gel medium (I recommend matte) to keep the edges of your paint raised, a paint scraper/putty knife measuring the width of the squares you would like to create and a standard paint brush to create the tree trunk and leaves.  A large plastic tray works well as a palette for mixing the color, but you could easily use disposable plates.

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First things first: choose your color palette.  The beauty of this style is that you can choose almost any color.  Blues (imagine water, sky and clouds!), greens (a deep forest, or a wide open meadow) or your favorite colors, swirling and rolling across the canvas.

Next, plan the placement of your focal point, if you have one – and the outline of how you would like the colors to lay. Sketch them lightly on your canvas with a pencil for reference.

Now, roll up your sleeves and get ready to have some fun!

Start with the lightest color, mix 1 part gel medium to 2 parts acrylic paint. This will create a paste like paint that will be slightly more opaque than it will appear when dry.  Load the putty knife’s edge with the color and beginning in the center of where your focal point will be,  lightly stroke down for one square and then stroke to the side for the second.


Next, without cleaning your putty knife, pick up a bit of the next color and stroke on the paint palette to blend the color slightly.  As you work across your canvas, you may need to pick up some of the previous color along with the current color.  Remember to stroke the paint palette to blend the color ever so slightly on the putty knife.


Continue  to work through the design, laying down the background in the same “stroke down, stroke across” pattern. The gel medium will give your paint body, and the edges of your squares will be slightly raised.

Once you have completed the background mosaic, allow the paint to dry completely. Because of the added gel medium, this will take a little longer than standard acrylic paint.

When the background has dried completely, begin to paint your focal point.  A field of flowers? A boat? A silhouette of a child?


For added interest, you can add a significant amount of gel or modeling paste to the acrylic paint for the final details of your focal point.  For my tree, the leaves were quite raised.  The pedals on a flower stem, or the sail on a boat would also look quite interesting.


Go ahead and give it a try! It might just take you back to your childhood as well.


Because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – A Family Tree for the wall

Because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – A Family Tree for the wall

I grew up listening to my grandmother recount all kinds of facts about her extended family – Great Aunt So and So who loved fine china and Great Uncle So and So who grew hops out in the country.  It was a blur of names combined with interesting stories of days gone by.  These days, it is my mom who is busy researching her family tree – and she has been pretty successful.  It certainly will make passing family history down a lot easier for me (Thanks Mom!)

This year, as a little token, I decided to make Mom a little family tree for her wall.  Not generations and generations, but just her offspring – because one day we will be not just a little sapling, but a grand old oak.


I dug into my stash of salvaged cabinet doors.


I loved that they easily convert to a “preframed” surface just waiting for something fun.

After a quick primer coat of paint on the front and back, it was a pretty simple process. (You can totally do this!)

Here are the items that are needed to complete this project:

  • 1 salvaged cabinet door  (mine was approximately 12″ x 24″)
  • Paint brush for base coat (1 1/2″ works well)
  • White primer spray paint
  • Painters tape
  • Black chalkboard paint (or black paint with a flat finish)
  • Acrylic paint in your favorite color (for the “frame”)
  • White acrylic paint pen
  • Clear Matte finish coat

Step One:  Prepare surface by applying a thin coat of white primer spray paint to the front and back.  This makes any type of cabinet surface paint-able. Nothing is more disappointing that putting time into something to have it bubble up or slide off!)


Step Two: Paint the frame and back. It doesn’t take much paint, so a small bottle of your favorite color purchased from a local craft supply store will give you more than enough to put down two good coats. (hint: prevent “oopsies” by taping off the “chalkboard area” with painters tape)

Step Three:  Base coat the “chalkboard”. Two coats will give you a good surface, but if you have a quality paint, one coat may just be all you need! Again, it helps to tape off the portion of the surface that you don’t want to paint – in this case, the freshly painted frame.  Make sure the paint on the frame is completely dry before you tape, or the tape may lift off the paint.

Step Four: Free hand draw, or transfer an outline of a tree.  There are many images online that work well – and you can follow a simple method such as the one used here- to transfer it onto your surface.  While you are at it, you can also free hand or transfer printed text – perhaps your family name, or “Family Tree” – or your favorite quote. (search “curly tree” for inspiration)

Step Five: Outline the transferred image with a medium tipped paint pen.  These pens work great if you are patient.  Shaking them, then pressing the tip onto a piece of scrap paper brings the paint to the tip.  Once wet, it flows pretty smoothly, giving a nice steady line. Add the names of each of the people that branch off the family “trunk” – children on the main branches, and grandchildren on the smaller branches.  Add a sweet pink heart to the trunk of the tree using either a small amount of acrylic paint, or a pink paint pen


Step Six: Top coat to protect the painted surface.  Make sure that your work is completely dry before application.  One or two coats of a matte finish varnish or acrylic top coat provides scratch protection as well as some moisture resistance.

Final Step: Attach hangers – such as the ones shown below –  to the back of the plaque.


Display your Family Tree with pride, because one day, your great-great grandchildren will thank you!

Little touches that take up big space- Guest Room Wall Art

Little touches that take up big space- Guest Room Wall Art

My husband has a favorite hotel. It’s one where he stayed many times when he traveled for business. When he arrives, they speak to him as if they know him personally; the cook at breakfast remembers the way he likes his eggs; and when he walks into his room, he is greeted with not only a comfortable bed and chair, but a little box containing some refreshment and a newspaper.

Now that my children are (mostly) grown, I have a guest room! This brings me all kinds of happiness because I love having guests. It is important that they feel welcomed and a part of our family.  And it’s the little things that makes this happen.

One little touch I made for this room- that actually takes up quite a bit of space, is the wall art I made for above the bed.


The process wasn’t too complicated at all and required minimal artistic effort.

First, I cut 4 boards to the same length. I have to confess – I’m “that lady”  who approached the work crews who were working on installing new siding to several houses in our neighborhood. Those long pallets were just so appealing! 20131104_143756

After sanding them smooth, I screwed a brace across the pieces to join them together. Depending on how long the boards are, a few may be required to hold it together firmly. All the nail holes and chipped edges added to the rustic carefree feeling I wanted for this sign.

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Next, a base coat of my favorite DIY chalk paint was applied. A light sanding makes the finish so smooth.

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The wording looks great and is so simple to do, thanks to my computer. I simply printed the letters out on my pc, and using transfer paper, traced the outline onto the boards. Once painted in, there it was! Beautiful text!                                           (Here is a helpful hint: outline your text with a paint marker for a smooth clean edged  letter). 


Like the nightstand I painted for this room, I wanted to give it a slightly aged look, so I dry brushed and rubbed a stain into the nooks and crannies.

As a final touch to compliment my sentiment on the sign, I painted a sleeping bluebird and wrote out a favorite verse. 20131111_125209

To finish the sign, I rubbed it down with finishing wax and added some saw toothed hangers to the back.

A sweet sentiment which now defines the room as a place of rest.


What do you think?

Autumn! I’ve fallen for you!


Deep inside of me, somewhere under the hardworking business women and responsible mother, lies a pensive little girl, who gets giddy at the sight of a tree full of yellow, red and orange leaves – who cautiously looks around before running pell-mell into a pile of leaves and whose mouth waters at the thought of cinnamon spiced apple cider and pumpkin bread.

While I can easily ignore the urge to decorate my porch during the summer – once those leaves start to turn, it becomes a constant hum in my imagination. A hum that can easily turn into a melody that just demands that I hum along!

With that said, I say WELCOME!  to Autumn – to my friends – to my family who make my life a beautiful heap of color.

Welcome sign

While this particular sign is happy on my porch, I am taking orders for any who might be interested.  Made from repurposed pallet boards, this welcome sign has a rustic charm.  It measures 6″x30″ and has a saw tooth hanger at the back, so you can display it in your favorite place. I’m asking only $30.00 each, but will have a limited number that I am able to make.  You can expect the finished product to be ready for delivery or collection 4-5 days from order.