Tag: wall art

A New Sofa and a Fortuitous Wall Art Find

A while back I saw a crazy barrel shaped couch and love seat set on Craigslist. After taking a while to decide finally, that the reaction I had to them was love and not hate, we bought them. However they really weren’t cutting it in the new sitting room:

Old Sofa Set fix

Way too big and bulky, although a unique set and quite comfy for watching TV. Soooo we bought a much more proportional sofa a few days ago. Again I was browsing Craigslist, and this little mid century gem had just about everything on my wishlist, wood frame, light colored upholstery, and minimalist lines.

New Couch fix

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1 Roll of Painter's Tape, 1 Giant Piece of Wood, and Some Paint =

A while back I bought this display stand at Savers:

I’m not sure what it was used for, it’s got narrow shelves with grooves for holding whatever it used to hold.

I wanted to use it as an easily changeable display of postcards and pictures and other small things, but on the wall it didn’t look right, far too big and commanding. So I broke off the back panel and ripped the narrow shelves apart (they were all held together with staples). I am going to hang the shelves up in my project room but I had a giant piece of very thin wood left over. We recently painted our kitchen orange and red and a large neutral piece of art was just the thing it needed. So I used painter’s tape to mark off areas of wood that had a nice grain pattern like so:

Then I used some leftover white latex paint we had and applied it with a roller:

And voila, a large piece of abstract art for my kitchen that cost no extra money since everything I used I already owned.

Obviously this could be done with just about any surface. For instance you could use three paint canvas and painters tape in the same pattern on each but with different colors to create a very interesting triptych to adorn your walls. Another option would be to use painting tape in an abstract pattern on the wall itself!

UPDATE 2/5/2012: This project was featured here, on Hugmyndir Fyrir Heimilid which I believe translates into Ideas for the Home. Thanks!

Miniature Book Wreath Tutorial

The idea of taking book pages and turning them into a wreath has turned up all over the web lately:


From left to right (click pictures to visit their origin site) 1. Vintage Ivory French Text Paper Wreath Sculpture from Etsy seller SimpleJoysPaperie 2. livingwithlindsay.com 3. card-blanc.blogspot.com.

Some months ago back when I lived in Wisconsin I made a large page wreath that was modeled after the middle picture from Living With Lindsay. Unfortunately moving wasn’t kind to the wreath, it had so many delicate edges that it was too banged up to be saved in the end. A few days ago I needed something to fill a spot in a wall grouping I wanted done before I had my family over for Christmas dinner and figured that a little book wreath was just the thing. If you click on the Living With Lindsay picture you can go to her tutorial on how to make one. Below is the rather more low-tech version that I used, when completed my wreath was around 8 inches in diameter.


  • Book pages, obviously you can alter this to your liking by using sheet music, dictionary pages, medical text books, illustrations, etc.
  • Cardboard for the base, many other versions use a styrofoam wreath form, for a small wreath cardboard works fine but a large one will need added support.
  • Scissors, and a hot glue gun
  • Optional supply that I don’t use: Paint to color the edges of the pages (should be done before tearing the pages out)

For my wreath form I took a 6in x 6in sheet of thin cardboard, cut a circle out and then cut a circle inside to make a wreath shape. I didn’t measure or trace a form, since the cardboard will be all covered eventually it doesn’t need to look all that nice.

Next up I took my book pages which where about 5 1/2 by 9 1/2 and cut them into quarters (I prefer clean edges but an interesting effect could be achieved with the torn edges facing out). I rolled the quarters one at a time like so:

I continued to glue on rolled quarters to make up the first layer:

For the second layer I turned the wreath over and began gluing again, this time folding the ends under to conceal them.

For the next layers I cut the book pages into 8th so they fit better and continued to glue.

I ended with 4 layers of pages. I constructed a hanger out of a quartered piece of book folded over horizontally which you can see in the left hand picture below and hot glued it on (don’t forget to hold the wreath up to decided which side you want to be the top before gluing on the hanger):

There you have it, one miniature book wreath done and ready to hang.

It’s easy to see why these wreaths are so popular, in every variation they look stylish and are simple to construct… I watched Kill Bill for the 12th time while I made mine, plus there are so many options like size, page choice, edge color, torn or straight edges, and layout that the possible variations are just about infinite.

UPDATE April 6, 2012: My sister, probably in a fit of jealous over my beautiful wreath made her own lovely book wreaths, I love the second one, less of a wreath and more of an old book pom-pom.

Small Metal Frame Display

As I previously mentioned I have collected all the small metal frames I see at thrift stores in preparation for this project. I wanted to display a line of these cheap little metal frames on the strip of wall next to my living room closet. I actually ended up with a couple more than I needed, I am sure I will find something for them to do. Anyway these frames are meant to be propped not hung so a little modification was needed.

Here is the typical back of one of the frames:

The flap that props the frame up needs to be removed to allow the frame to sit flush to the wall. On this one I was able to pull the flap off but on others I had to use pliers to remove the metal hinge connecting the flap to the backing. To create a hook I took thin wire cut in 1-ish inch pieces and bent them into U’s. To attach to the backing I applied hot glue, pressed the U’s ends into the glue and then added a little more on top. This is what I ended up with:

Because the frames are all varying colors of gold, different shapes and sizes I decided to fill them with black and white photos to give the display unity.

I printed all the pictures myself, but I had some problems. Since they were b&w I didn’t think I needed to have a color cartridge (I usually don’t buy color ink) but the first couple pictures came out weirdly pixellated and grainy. After running the print utility, cleaning the cartridge nozzle and messing with the print settings I looked up my problem online. My printer like many others uses the color cartridge to produce grayscale, so I bought a color cartridge and the pictures turned out great.

To finish up I took each frame apart and cleaned the metal and then used Windex on the glass. To insure that the frame, glass, picture and backing stay together when hung up, I stuffed the back of each with filler cardboard.

The easiest way I have found to hang pictures is to trace the frame on the wall, measure where the hook will be and transfer that measurement to the wall. Drive a nail or picture hook or whatever on the spot you marked, then wash the pencil marks off.

Here are the finished pictures, it was impossible to get a good shot of the overview. The light is always wrong right there and the couch casts such a shadow, but you get the idea… it looks really good in person.

The top one has a glare but it’s Matt in front of Cloud Gate in Millennium Park in Chicago. Then it’s me and my sister Bailey on our road-trip to Durango, and you can also see the top of Matt’s head in the next frame.

The first picture is of Matt and I inside the Sears Tower Skydeck also in Chicago, and the one below is a duckling Matt had when he was in high school.

The top one is obviously Todd, and below that is Bailey again, in Silverton.

I love the display but since it is in a high traffic the frames kept ending up crooked. So I used Zots (adhesive dots, usually used for scrap-booking) under each to keep them straight.

A Nerdtastic Vintage Stamp Display

When I was little I loved to read, and one day I came across a list of hobbies for children, one of which was stamp collecting. I loved it, I stapled together a bunch of grey construction paper and started gluing stamps into it. Eventually I progressed to a more sophisticated method of storage. Around the middle school high school transition I lost my zeal for such a nerdy hobby, and got rid of most of my stamps. I kept one stock-book of my favorite stamps and have had it in a box since then.

About a year ago while looking through my old stamp album, I realized I am still totally interested in stamps. I love the history behind them. Anyway I went onto ebay and bought a stock-book full of random old U.S. stamps to start collecting again. The pictures above and below are pages of that book.

Now that I am trying to get my living room decorated and I have plenty of empty picture frames, I thought a little stamp display would be the perfect thing.

I love the pages of this stock book, it puts me in mind of an old man’s study full of dusty books and green glass lamps. So I used a page cut to the size of the frame to hold the stamps.

The stamps I chose aren’t all technically postage stamps, most are actually revenue stamps. They look like postage stamps but were actually used to pay taxes on everything from checks, documents, tobacco and perfume. Almost all the ones I have here are from the early to mid 1900’s and were for documents of one kind or another, most have handwritten cancels. Revenue stamps aren’t generally worth much without the document they were attached to and are considered “back-of-the-book” or least interesting to a stamp collector. I however find them fascinating. (Source)

The 4 red stamps in the upper left hand corner are postage due stamps. Which were stamps added to a letter with insufficient postage to record the amount due by the recipient. (Source)

Here is my completed display, it took no time to put together once I had selected which stamps I wanted to use. (I used the rest of my collection as a background as I am so tired of using my aqua living room walls or my floor in all the pictures I take)

I will be hanging it up in the living room along with the Faux Terrarium, Blue Platter, and Meters I previously wrote about in an eclectic wall grouping which I hope will get done tonight!

Tiny Faux Terrarium

About a year ago a friend of Matt’s was moving out-of-state and had a pile of home decor items his family didn’t want anymore. Knowing I am always up for a new project he grabbed a bunch of the stuff for me to mess with including some white mini shelves, several sets of sconces, and an assortment of picture frames including this one:

It’s just a little shadow box, around 6 by 6 inches, but it is very generic looking. I always planned on changing out the faded flower but didn’t know what to replace it with. Then when I was going through some keepsakes I found this little cutie.

I have had this little camel figurine for many years and I thought he could look cool sitting inside the shadow box. I also had on hand decorative pebbles and several small fake plants. I thought I would make a little camel habitat. However once I took apart the frame l really liked the look of the shadow box part without the frame. I decided to ditch the frame and glue the glass on instead. Without a way to reopen the box I would either have to glue the camel down or risk him falling over. So I left him out, I’ll have to find him a different home, but he had given me the idea for a faux terrarium which I decided to go ahead with.

Here is the box with the frame removed:

And here are my rocks and plants. The plants are actually for an aquarium, Matt and I are in the process of setting up a live plant tank and so no longer need these fake ones.

I used hot glue to attach the plants to the back of the box, and added the rocks. To see how high I wanted the rocks I held the glass over the frame like in the picture below.

I used some more hot glue to attach the glass to the frame, and I had one very small faux terrarium done!

Broken Platter Project

Matt and I received tons of awesome stuff when we got married two years ago. Unfortunately moving tends to be hard on delicate things and we have moved four times since receiving this gorgeous Crate&Barrel platter. When I picked up its box I heard a rattling sound and knew something had gotten smashed.

I couldn’t bear to just throw it away, it’s so pretty. I figured with a little help it could be a display plate. By using a bit of superglue it was easy enough to re-attach the missing side piece. You could still see the crack line and the chip off the top was not replaceable.

I had some bright shocking blue enamel leftover from another project and decided to try it out on the plate. I think it turned out good, it hides the crack and the color looks great with the living room wall. The enamel is meant to dry for 21 days or be baked in the oven. I didn’t know what effect baking would have on the superglue though so I just let it air dry.

This is the way the platter has looked for a couple of weeks now. I could not figure out what to do about the chip. I thought about covering it with a flower or a bow, but both looked quite underwhelming on the plate. I ended up with this idea:

One large bulldog clip solves the chip problem and is a good way to hang the platter on the wall. I used hot glue on the inside of the clip and more all over the back to ensure a good hold.

Together the clip and the plate have an interesting contrast. It definitely has a schoolroom vibe thanks to the bright primary blue and the homework project feeling the clip gives off.

I think it’s going to look great in my living room, and I’m glad I don’t have to toss it. Ideally it would still be milk-white, covered in doughnuts and sitting on the kitchen counter, but this is a good second choice. I just hope next time we move the matching large platter and dessert plates don’t have to join it on the wall.

Another Round of…

I went to the thrift store today looking for some specific stuff for our new house, furniture, and some small stuff like jars and picture frames. I did find three jars that worked but no furniture. I am always shocked how much thrift stores want for picture frames, I think it would be cheaper/easier to buy them new. I did find a couple other items worth taking home:

A stack of what internet research tells me are Wildlife Treasury Cards.

When I was growing up there was something similar, little booklets about animals you could subscribe to. They would send you one for free with a bunch of information on collecting (paying) more, so I had the one about tigers. These cards were all printed in the late 70’s, and apparently there are over a thousand different cards to collect. (Source)


The stack I bought has over 200 cards, with no repeats (that I have found). I think they are going to look great hanging up covering a wall… pending a green light from my husband to geek up the house. I think it would be a high impact very low-cost display. My only question is: which side, picture or text?

On one hand showing the picture sides would be a colorful, eye-popping, attention-getting installation, but on the other hand I love reading the information on the back plus a large display of text would be easier to work into a room. At the whopping cost of a dollar fifty, whatever I do with them will certainly be cost-effective.

I also bought this very feminine shabby chic little mirror:

It was only three dollars and on the back someone wrote this:

When you look in this Mirror… Don’t ask for beauty, it is not truth. Don’t see what Dorian saw don’t cry out like Kurtz or shatter like Donne. Paint a picture like Leo, or Rembrandt or Rafael put Vasavi to shame You make Mic look like Ike.

I tried to google it to see if it was from something but I didn’t find anything… and I am not entirely sure what they were trying to say anyway.

Side note: It is very difficult to take a picture of a mirror without having the reflection ruin the shot. I took a hundred pictures trying to get just one that didn’t have part of my hand or the trash can reflected in it.

Thrifted Book Turned Wall Art

A few months ago, once again hanging around the thrift store, I happened across a book on Impressionist painters. It had lovely reproduction of many well know paintings in all different sizes. It looked like the perfect candidate for an art display like these featured on one of my favorite blogs Apartment Therapy. 

Although I would have loved to frame them, even with cheap Wal-Mart or thrift store frames, it would have been much more than I wanted to spend. So instead I decided to mount each print on foam board, just to give the paper some weight and stability, and hang them up like that.

That same day I purchased white foam board, spray adhesive, and thin picture hanging wire. I really wanted to get the prints on the wall both because I was excited to see them up and so the idea didn’t end up on my never-ending list of projects.

After cutting out all the pictures I choose 19 I wanted for the display, and put the rest in a folder for future projects. The construction was far easier than choosing which to use. I simple sprayed the foam board with adhesive, laid out the prints and smoothed them flat. This was my first time using spray adhesive, and I have to say I loved it. I used 3M’s General Purpose 45 Adhesive Spray it holds great, no wrinkles, no warping, well worth the 6 or so bucks a can. By the time I finished using it on the prints, I was looking around the house trying to think an excuse to use more.When they were dry I cut them out with a utility knife, took a couple of inches of wire hooked both ends up into the foam board, being careful not to poke through the print. To arrange I laid them out on the floor and pushed them around until I liked it. I had planned on doing a random, eclectic grouping, but I didn’t like how messy it looked. In the end I made a large rectangle and arranged the prints inside it.

And here they are hanging on my wall: