Monday, May 23, 2011

DIY Art Reveal

Custom art can be pretty pricey and the bigger the piece, the higher the price tag.  Luckily, there is no shortage of great DIY art ideas and tutorials online.   So when I decided to replace some framed vacation photos that have served as artwork in our family room for the last 5 years, I took to the internet in search of inspiration.  

I knew I was interested in making something myself but I was a little apprehensive about whether I’d actually be able to create something worthy of hanging on the wall.  Like a lot of people, I am my own worst critic and I have a nasty tendency to overwork things in pursuit of perfection.  “If I just add a little more here….maybe a little more there.  Uh oh, now it’s total crap.”  

This time around I decided to just let go and enjoy the process without worrying so much about the end result.  It was a scrap piece of wood after all and if I ruined one side, there was always another side.

I began by sanding smooth the rough edges on my 30” x 48” sheet of wood.  Next I set to work distressing the surface by gouging some dings and dents with a screwdriver and banging up the corners with a hammer so they didn’t look so perfect.  Looking back, one thing I would have done differently is spend more time on this step.   Those pockmarks, scrapes and imperfections will add loads of character once the stain is applied.

I applied Minwax’s Dark Walnut stain (easily my new favorite!) over the entire surface and the next day, turned my dining table into an art studio.  First, I sketched the general design with a pencil and filled in the trunk with cream acrylic paint.  Next, I used a sponge (the small, round one for stencils) to create the leaves with bronze and gold metallic paint.  I did this just by freehand. It was a lot of fun to go with the flow and let the leaves appear.  

The right side was looking a little heavy so to balance it out visually, I added a couple more branches…

And came up with this:

 I have to say, I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out!  It’s got a rustic yet modern feel and is a striking focal point for the room.  The only thing I’m contemplating now is maybe sanding the paint here and there to distress it just a little more.  

There I go again.  Some people just can’t leave well enough alone!  

Sanding….should I do it or just stop already?


  1. Leave it. It's perfect. Sarah, your next endeavor should be DIY classes. Maybe at SCC or something. You'd be awesome. I would certainly sign up for a class.

  2. Ok, I promise not to touch it! Thanks for the feedback everyone.

    Rachael, I would absolutely LOVE to do some sort of DIY classes one day. It's an idea that has crossed my mind a few times over the last few years. Maybe it's time to take some action, thanks for the nudge! :)

  3. Wow! I just found you through Tip Junkie. What a beautiful piece of art! Leave it alone - I think it's perfect.


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