Sunday, June 26, 2011

Wall Art

Whew.  Well that was an interesting few months.  So we finished moving and I got a full time job.    How does this relate to the blog you ask?  Well the job means I'll have less time to blog :( but moving means I have some new projects to work on :)  First off... Wall Art!

This section is mostly finished!

Time: An estimated 8 hours (very little of it actually diligent work)
Cost: $35
Would I do it again: Absolutely.

Well, since I'm hoping to live in this place for at least a year, I figure it would be worth my while to actually decorate it.  Those lovely pictures on Etsy of elaborate wall art in [photoshopped] kid's rooms were always taunting me and my bare walls.... but the price made me wary of even mentioning the idea to my husband.  So, per usual, I wanted to DIY it.  Quick googling led me to find that it's just contact paper cut out and stuck to the walls.  No problem, right?  I'll just head to... wait, where the heck do I find contact paper?

Well a few months of hunting and I discovered that if I want to be particular about colors, which I did, there really wasn't anywhere local I could buy it.  After a bit more researching, I discovered regular 'shelf liner'/contact paper was not what I wanted.  I mean, I really do want this stuff to come off cleanly when I move.  Orical 631 was the answer and it's not at all hard to find when you google it by name (or google craft vinyl).  I bought it from, and they seemed to have a good price on them, when you include shipping.

Before I ordered the vinyl, I wanted to have some idea of what to order.  So I started making a prototype in Inkscape of what I was thinking about doing.  Below is my 'Esty' shot - the digital art mashed with a picture of the room.  (Cough, Cough, Ignore that huggies wipes bag...  we did just move, ya know!)

Photoshopped prototype of what I was thinking of doing in this room.

If you've never used Inkscape before, it's a great program for making vector graphics.  Best of all - it's free and open source!  Anyway, I used it to figure out the colors and ballpark the amount of craft vinyl I wanted to order.  Once my order arrived I decided that printing the tree piece by piece would both waste time and ink.  So first I scaled my image in inkscape using the dimensions I measured in the room.  I decided to go a little smaller just to be conservative with my vinyl.  I really didn't want to run out mid-project.  Then I mirrored my image, and converted the grid to centimeters so as to match the back of the Orical Vinyl.  I used the grid method and a bounding box scaled to the size of the sheet of vinyl to transfer the big parts of the tree to the paper backing.  When I needed to start on a new sheet, I rotated the tree in the drawing to line up with bounding box.

Most of the branches that used the grid method.
The tree with all the branches
Once I finished up the main tree branches, I didn't bother using the grid method anymore.  I just printed an outline of the tree and cut out the little branches to match the drawing as I went.  My little helper (as shown in the picture above) was great.  She did most of the pressing and pulling off the backing of the leaves and little branches.  She had a blast doing this project with me and really was beaming the whole time.  She really wanted to do some leaves the first night, so I let her put some up before all the branches were done.

I printed out several sized and directions of the leaves (8 different leaves total, I think) on card stock and my little helper and I traced those onto the back of the paper.  I cut them out during a movie (see what I mean about diligent work).  Once the branches were in place we put on the leaves.   I took care to try to make the leave point to the outside so that they looked like they were blowing in the wind.  I also printed out the mirrored images of the birds and squirrel (he's modeled after "Jumpy Squirrel" from Curious George) and traced those out.

The Finished Tree!
After the animals were up I decided to add a little more color to the tree and put up some dark green leaves.  It definitely made it look more professional.   I didn't need to be conservative, I had enough to do the bigger size.  The tree took 3 12"x24" brown sheets and 2" 12x24" lime green sheets.  The rest of the colors came from the 12" 12" sheets of vinyl I bought. 

My daughter is still insisting on some butterflies over her bed, and we were going to put in some flowers around her side of the room, but most of that section is finished....  but there's still a lot more room to go!  Sorry if this is all very confusing - I'm typing in hurry!