Artwork is always tricky for me. I love a good gallery wall, but I also hate gallery walls. I’ve hung a handful in my lifetime, and while I always love the finished product, the process is annoying. I’m not one for imperfection, so everything has to be spaced just so, and be perfectly balanced. If it’s not, I can’t relax in the room until I fix it.
So I don’t have to aggravate my Type A tendencies, I’m drawn to large scale artwork. You only need one of them for a wall to look complete and it’s easy to straigten! Problem is, large artwork can be really expensive. To avoid the high cost but still take advantage of the relative ease in execution, I’ve taken it on myself to create a few pieces of DIY large artwork. One of which is the large scale, graphic mountainscape I painted for Eli’s room. I wanted something that looked outdoorsy, but I didn’t want to look like I was making his room into an adventure/camping theme. The first step was to head to Pinterest looking for inspiration.
This piece is by Ester Stewart, and is amazing – as is all of her work. The sophistication and simplicity of this painting matched what I was looking for. If Eli had been a girl, I would have made pretty much an exact copy of it. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right??
The landscape above is a wall hanging Land of Nod used to carry. I really liked the mountains, but the boat and moon made it less abstract than I was going for.
Then I ran across this nursery mural from Emily Henderson. The use of only triangles to create the mountains seemed super easy to execute. Plus, she provided a tutorial on her blog that I followed to create my own version.
Above is my finished product. I merged the horizontal lines from the Esther Stewart painting with the mountains of the wall hanging and mural. Eli already had some mustard yellow things in his nursery, so I knew I wanted to include a pop of yellow. I also wanted to bring in the grey of his dresser, and the dark grey color of the accent wall in his original room in Cincinnati, which I used to paint the second mountain from the right. We hung the painting on this accent wall, and it looked awesome above his white crib (unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of that room.)
I don’t have pictures of the entire process, but I can give a simple (because this is SO SIMPLE) run down of what I did and the materials I used.
- Large canvas – I bought mine at Micheal’s. They regularly have sales on canvases. I think this one was 60% off, so it cost something like $14. You can’t buy a painting this big for anywhere close to that.
- Paint – I used a mix of acrylic paint from Michael’s and leftover indoor paint from Home Depot in various shades we used in our Cincinnati home reno, including white wall primer.
- Painters tape
- Yardstick (or anything that has a long, strait edge, because you don’t need to measure anything)
Check out the tutorial on Emily Henderson’s site for more details, because I pretty much followed what they did on a much smaller scale.
- Paint the entire canvas with white wall primer, or any white paint. We had leftover primer so I just used what I had. I painted in all directions and in varying thickness to add dimension. Let dry completely
- Draw your design on the canvas using your straight edge (yardstick) and pencil. If you want, sketch it out on paper beforehand.
- Use your painters tape to block off your design (see above).
- Start painting! Again, I varied the direction of my paint brush and the thickness of the paint. Adding dimension in this way makes it look more professional and less DIY, in my opinion. I started with the horizontal areas on the bottom, then blocked off a few mountains at a time. Make sure you let the paint dry completely before you tape over it to paint another section.
- You’ll see in the picture above that I painted in phases, taping over sections I’d already painted to finish the other sections. You don’t necessarily need to do this, I think Emily Henderson just outlined everything with tape, painted inside, ripped off all the tape, and then painted where the tape outline had been.
- Make sure you also paint the sides of the canvas, unless you’re planning on framing it. (Here’s a good tutorial for making your own frame.)
- Let the paint dry completely before ripping off the tape.
- Go back over the lines with a small brush to touch up any imperfections.
- That’s it!
I’m pretty proud of how it turned out! It’s my quasi-abstract landscape that suggests adventure but isn’t too childish. Now that we’re in a house with white walls, I’ll probably frame it so it stands out more. Maybe one day I’ll get around to actually hanging it up…
Have you created any DIY artwork in your house? I’d love to see it!