It’s that time of year for a fresh start – something new – but without having to spend all our vacation money on redecorating. So here are some ideas for your crafty DIY side! Have fun, and if you do any of these or have some ideas of your own, we’d love you to share them with us.
- String Artwork
To make this tree-motif string art piece, coat a piece of plywood with black interior latex paint. Sketch a tree lightly in pencil. Begin pounding 1-inch white nails into the plywood along the design at random intervals. Tie nylon cord to the lowest, left-most nail and begin looping the cord around the surrounding nails. Keep the nylon taught at all times. Work your way up the tree and extend out to each branch, ending at the top. Tie a tight knot at the top-most nail. Finish by tying 2-inch pieces of color cording to a few nails at the tips of the branches. Display in an oversize frame, or cut and miter molding to border the plywood.
- Keyed In
Unlock the secret to creative wall art with this quick and easy project. Apply white acrylic paint in vertical brushstrokes to the entire surface of a stretched canvas. While the paint is still wet, add a few thin gray lines and blend using vertical brushstrokes to create a striated appearance. When the paint is dry, use twine to tie a vintage key to the front of the canvas.
- Travel Documents
Keep vacation memories fresh with this easy and inexpensive wall art project. Cut a map to standard printer-paper size (8 1/2×11 inches). Use a word processor to create words, phrases, symbols, or photos that remind you of the special places you’ve traveled. Print your design on the map. Use spray adhesive to affix the map to a store-bought art canvas. Brush on two coats of decoupage medium, allowing the canvas to dry between applications to seal it. To give a newer map a weathered look, soak it in extra-strong coffee or black tea for an hour, then hang it up to dry.
- Gallery-Inspired Display
A stenciled wall treatment creates a spunky backdrop for a collection of crisp white-painted frames in this living space. Several of the frames were outfitted with shelves to create display space for art and other treasures. Purchase floating shelves with keyhole screw backs, or cut lengths of medium-density fiberboard shelves to size, then secure with blind shelf supports. For quick wall art, print a favorite lyric or quote on letter-size veneer sheets – available at most crafts stores – and frame.
- Hand-Drawn Wall Art
Even if your art skills are elementary, doodle on! With a marker in hand you can create one-of-a-kind wall art and unexpected updates for basic home decor in a matter of hours. Write a favorite quote, song lyric, or poem on a fabric scrap then frame, and enjoy. Draw a simple picture, then employ a blending technique to make it something truly special.
- Love Letters
Practice your A, B, C’s with this quirky art piece. Prime a piece of scrap wood and paint the background the color of your choice; let dry. Scour a junk drawer for small- to medium-size items that could work as letterforms. Disassemble or rework the items as needed to create new shapes. Remember, once the pieces are painted the same color, the form will be much more recognizable. After the pieces are selected, prime and then spray-paint them with a contrasting color; let dry. Apply a second coat and, once dry, attach to the background using contact adhesive.
- Sharpie Wall Frames
It’s hard to miss the writing on the wall with these showstopping frames sketched in black marker. Model the frame shapes after ornate versions of the real thing, using antique portrait frames for inspiration. Add diagonal lines at the corners to suggest depth. To highlight the differences in dimensions between your frames and art pieces, hang a three-dimensional sculpture or vase within one frame.
- Wall Decals
Perfect for a dorm room or rental, wall decals are a fun – and removable – way to add interest or define a space. This floor lamp and bookshelf decal gets a personalized touch when the book spines are embellished with bits of pretty scrapbook paper, held in place with double-stick tape. Decals work best on smooth walls. For a large decal like this one, begin applying the decal to the wall at the bottom of the design and work your way up. Follow package instructions for smoothing out bubbles and sealing edges.
- Embroidered Canvases
Thick yarn in natural colors makes this botanical wall art a standout piece. Use crafts paint and a foam brush to paint a store-bought canvas. Sketch a botanical design into card stock. Position the card stock in the dry canvas and lightly tape the edges to secure it. Use a heavy-duty needle to poke evenly spaced holes along your design through the canvas. Remove the card stock. Thread an embroidery needle with yarn. Beginning at the back of the canvas, use the existing holes to embroider the design. Use a thinner yarn or different color to highlight various areas of the design. Frame the canvas in a weathered-look frame to continue the rustic nature theme.
- Paint Chip Sunburst
This simple star burst can be recreated in a matter of hours. At a home center, select free paint chips in colors that coordinate with your space. Cut them into 1/2×2-inch strips. Use a compass to draw a 2-inch circle in the lower left-hand quadrant of a stretched canvas. Draw a 4-inch concentric circle around the first one (these will be your guides for applying the paint strips). Beginning in the upper right-hand quadrant of the canvas, adhere the strips to the canvas with a decoupage medium. They should appear to radiate out from the center of the penciled circles. As you work your way toward the circles, begin adding the darker strips. When you reach the 4-inch circle, attach only one end of the strip, allowing the other end to pop off the canvas to create depth. Finish in the center of the 2-inch circle with the darkest color.
- Photo Block Collage
Get favorite photos out of the attic or off of your digital camera and onto a wall with a photo collage. Choose images from a special vacation, shots of your garden in bloom, vintage family photos, or any other images you enjoy. Mount the photos to colorful blocks using spray adhesive. Lay out your desired pattern on the floor (we chose a heart) and use picture hanging strips to hang the blocks onto the wall.
- Twiggy Canvas
Using black acrylic paint and a thin paintbrush, paint several vertical twigs and birds on a stretched canvas. Find a real twig that roughly matches the size of your hand-painted ones, then paint it with a bright color (we chose fiery orange). Hot-glue a bird, painted the same color, to the twig, and then hot-glue the twig to the canvas.
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