Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Trying to find my inner artist

As a next step in my bathroom beautification efforts (starting with the medicine cabinet and then painting the walls), I knew I needed something for the wall behind the toilet/opposite the vanity. We previously had a metal sculptural piece on the wall, but I wasn't loving it and we needed something to fit the new blue color scheme anyway.

(sorry for the partial view, but you get the gist...and a lovely view of my toilet)

So, I decided to try my hand at making some art. Which is definitely not my specialty. But I turned to pinterest for some inspiration on abstract art that I thought I might actually be capable of doing. I came across a number of possibilities:

(Source: artwork by Jeannie Mills, as seen on ish & chi and MadeByGirl)

(I really love this one, from my favorite bloggers ever Young House Love, but they had it hanging in their bathroom and were using the exact color scheme I wanted, and I just felt like I couldn't 100% copy them...gotta try to be at least a little bit original)

(Source: Cozamia. She has some truly beautiful artwork.)

After mulling over the various ideas, I decided to give the last one a try. I actually came across someone else who had tried her hand at a DIY version of it as well:

I picked up a large canvas and some paints at Michael's, deeply discounted using a 40% off coupon for the entire purchase (it meant going during the exact 4-hour period that the coupon was active, but it was so worth the $22 saved).

I started by just applying different colors to the canvas, somewhat randomly. At this point, it was not looking so hot (I was more talented as a 7-year old, Exhibit A).

After letting it dry, I taped out the chevron pattern. I was a bit nervous about how/if it would work, but I convinced myself it would be fairly straightforward if I just cut a bunch of strips of tape the exact same size and then layered them on correctly. This was an exercise in understanding negative space, so I wasn't 100% sure I was doing things correctly but I just went with it.

I used a highly advanced measuring system...ie I taped a ruler to the coffee table and just sat there measuring and cutting a bunch of tape strips all the same size.

I started in the middle, taping down my first row (I used a book corner to make sure my first two pieces met at a 90-degree angle, and then just eyeballed it from there):

Then I just added to it until the canvas was full:

I actually really enjoyed this part -- I'm not so talented at the creative artsy things, but I'm super good at tedious and detail-oriented tasks so an art project that leverages these skills is right up my alley :)

Lastly, I removed a handful of the strips to leave larger white space like in the inspiration painting.

Then I painted the whole thing with three layers of white paint (this photo is just after the first layer, which is why it's still a bit splotchy in places):

And lastly, the ultimate test where I removed all the strips to see if things turned out the way I thought they would. Here's the final product, hanging on the bathroom wall:

It's probably not everyone's cup of tea, but Sam likes it (evidenced by the fact that when I asked if he liked it he said "yes!" instead of "it's interesting"). It looks a little small in the photos, but when you're in the space it feels like a good size because the bathroom is so small and there's very little wall space. I wasn't so sure about the yellow at first because it's a bit jarring, but I like that it ties into the shower curtain and the yellow flowers next to the medicine cabinet (photo toward the end of this post).

And, funnily enough, I noticed this brick pattern as I was walking near my office today:

Weirdly reminiscent, right? And yet I won't claim that I was struck by flash of genius and came up with the idea myself.


  1. Hi Sage,
    I just found your blog and spent a relaxing Sunday reading all of it. I rent in Havre De Grace, MD. (As well as own a home in WV but work is better in MD.) I was bemoaning the fact that this lovely apt. that I live in does not feel like my home even after 1 year. Now I think I can make it fit me better. Thank you. Oh and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Bathroom Chevron Art. (I would have paid money for that but thank you for showing me how to make it.) Keep blogging. I enjoy reading about your ideas!

    1. Sheila,

      Thank you so much for your encouraging and kind comments! I hope you enjoy the process of making your apartment feel more like home -- it can be a struggle in a place that you don't own, but I think it can be done! I really appreciate your sweet note!