Tags: art

Quick Art from Photos in Books

I was staging an empty home in the trendy, yet vintage part of Austin recently on a VERY limited budget.  When finished I felt I really needed one more piece of large art.  That wasn’t going to happen, so instead I used a few small pieces to create the look of a large piece.

Thank goodness, my sister-in-law and I went out on a recent hunt for old books with beautiful photos.  The books look great as accessories and the photos can be used as inexpensive art.   It’s a very old trick I learned long ago.  We found some of the best ones at Savers for about $2-3 each.

I used these books, some garage sale frames that I had and a few mirrors which I had on hand as well (all but one) to create a gallery wall for this home.


First, I arranged the frames on the floor.  Then, I opened the books and found suitable images with similar colors to the space.


Side note – see how flipping dirty those floors are?   Maybe not, but you surely did now.  Eek.  I can’t keep up with these shedding rugs.  We’re vacuuming and cleaning floors daily.

Back to the art.  No matting, nothing fancy.  Just books.  Next, I cut out images to fit in the frames.


After I placed them in the frames, I knew the bottom middle one needed some sort of matting.  This is a vintage home, so let’s not be shy about making it look collected.  I simply used white duct tape to create the look of matting.


And, here it is hung in the room.  Cost?  $6.50 for the frames, $6 for the books, plus the additional mirror which I won’t count.  If you don’t count the mirror in the middle, it cost $12.50.

You know what the really cool thing is?  Those books still have a lot more photos in them!


Not too bad for a collected look.  Simple and fast!  And, think of all the kinds of books out there.  This works great with kids books as well.

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It also works well with calendars, as seen in the last photo above.

Don’t overlook old books and calendars with great photography and/or drawings in them!


DIY Painting – A Bit of a How-To

I posted my diy family room art yesterday and by request, I’ll explain a bit about how I created it today.  However, since I did not take photos throughout the entire process, this won’t be too much of a tutorial.

What I love about art is that it’s never wrong.  And, it’s always fixable – you can just paint over it.

Here is the art I painted as it dried.  I went with a medium gray called Chimney Sweep (Valspar) for the sides of the canvas.


And, here is the painting sitting on the floor, with the sunshine right on it.   It’s tough to see the texture, but there is texture.


Since it’s tough to capture color just right in photos, I decided to show both photos.

Phase 1 looked a bit like a water color.  It was a thin layer of blended colors.


I worked on an old industrial cart with acrylic and latex paint, a water bottle, a squeegee and a run of the mill paint brush for most of the painting.

For this first phase, I just brushed on color as a base, without letting anything dry.  I continually spritzed the canvas with water and blended until my brush had no more paint on it.  Then, without cleaning the brush, I went on to the next color, while keeping them all wet throughout the process.  It’s that easy.

For the next two phases, I simply squirted on paint (a ketchup container works well or even an old glue bottle.  Then, used our shower squeegee to “comb” it down and even across.  So, the outcome was very angular.

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Just keep doing whatever until you are happy with it.  My hint here is to have a very rough image in your mind – I pictured a lake with some trees hanging over it.

Next, once I got an idea of colors and how I wanted it to look, I added texture.  I used spackle and Martha Stewart’s texture (comes in a small can at craft stores).

I then painted on top of that texture once it was dry.  I tend to like texture on a canvas.


Next, I added blue with a dry paint brush, just a little here and there to soften the blue side.  I added a bit of green as well.  Then, more dark blue again.

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And, next, I just tweaked with some whites and yellows and so on.  This time I spritzed with water as I painted the lighter colors, so they are almost just a wash.  I followed that with drizzling on some ceiling paint (latex) from my family room for added texture and interest.

And, lastly, to finish it off, I painted the sides of the canvas gray.

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And, straight on.

I still need to do a clear coat, but I’m making sure I’m really done, first.  You never know!

Pretty simple!  I’m not an artist by trade, but hopefully this is up to par for diy art.  I hope that all made sense.    If you are thinking about making a piece, go for it!   Do it however you want.  Play around.  I look forward to trying a different technique on my next piece.


Working on Some Art

I decided to try making some diy art for our family room.  I bought a 4 ft by 4 ft canvas a few weeks ago and finally unwrapped it and started painting it.  If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve seen some of the progress.  If not, here is the art I’ve been working on.

In the next post, there are the phases of the art and a little about how I created it in case you want to do the same.

Here is the painting so far without the edges painted yet or the painting itself sealed.  So, still not quite done, but almost.


For all of you real artists out there who are cringing, I am no professional artist.  So, have mercy.  I’m not saying this art should be in a gallery or museum, but in lieu of an inexpensive print, it may be a decent option.  It’s custom, unique and ties in the colors in my space.  And, it’s affordable.

I hope to show you the final piece hung in a week or two!   I’ll use it, at least for a bit…  until I’m ready for a change.


P.S.  Tweaked it a tad more.  To see that, the phases of the art, and a bit of a how-to, go here.

Quick and Easy DIY Art

We have several nooks at our new house.  I decided to make some inkblot art for one of them.  Framed in multiples.   Most things framed in multiples to make one larger piece of art look nice.   It’s a good rule of thumb if you can’t find that just right large piece for a space.

I simply used the ceiling paint from the family room, since the nook is in the hall adjacent to that room.

Dripped it onto some thick scrap booking paper.


Folded it and let it dry!


I put four of them up in matching frames that I’ve had for a while.  Woolah, there is art.


I could give all my guests the Rorschach test and test their perceptions of these meaningless ink blots!  :)  Or, make each add their own piece on their visit, so it’s always changing.

I may redo some of them, but first I’m going to live with them and see what I think.  But, easy enough to redo should I want to!  And, this art was free!

Since I’ve shown photos of the kitchen last, I’ve also added some items on the countertop.


I got the lantern at Homegoods and the old Ford sign at Wimberley’s Market Days, which is a hill country town market that happens once a month in Texas.

Loving the blue in the new house!  Are you?


Kara Paslay

I promised more on Kara when I talked about headboards last week.

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Kara played pro basketball for a year after college and then went into interior design.  She is self taught and is a diy genius.  She does projects in such a way that screams stylish, yet inexpensive.  I wanted to share a few highlights.

Check out this feature wall that she made out of foil tape.  Pretty sweet, huh?!  I would like to try this… somewhere.  Hmm…  behind our tv stand (dresser)?   I’m not sure yet. But, what an impact for two hours and $10!


And, that inspired Pam at Simple Details to do this nail head treatment on the ceiling.  Amazing!!


Another fabulous project is her paint chip art.


I LOVE the photo she and her husband took with it as a backdrop!


Not entirely different is her fish scale wall.


Be sure to check out more of her fabulous diy projects on my headboards post and on her blog!


Color My World Series – Week 2

This week is the week for using your new color in décor for the Color My World Challenge.

Keep in mind, we’ll be using our new color in decor, paint, and fabric. The final week, May 1st, will be a wrap up and a blog hop where you can link up a post showing how YOU added a new color to your home too.

Examples of Navy in Decor – Tuesday, April 3rd
Using Navy in Decor – Tuesday, April 10th
Using Navy with Paint – Tuesday, April 17th
Using Navy with Fabric – Tuesday, April 24th
Show all three elements and say if you liked the color or not – Tuesday, May 1

My color is navy.

This week, I’m taking two old pieces of lighthouse art that we used when we first got married way back in 1996.  I saved them hoping that one day I could use the frames which happen to be navy.  The matting is also another shade of navy, bordering on violet.

Here is the before and after (with matting).

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You’ll need:

- Paint of your choice
- Something to paint on
- Frames
- Painters tape
- Paint brush
- Water
- Paper towels to clean up

1.  I sat the old art with the back facing up on our breakfast table (first glimpse of it).  You can see, there is a backer on it.


2.  I ripped off the backing.


3.  To get the print off the matting, I used a hair dryer.  That loosened the glue to help it to rip less, thus saving the matting.


You can see it off here.  There is some damage, but this is fine, as long as the front of the matting is still intact.


4.  Now what to do with the navy frames?!  I could use paint chips and create some fun art!


I could antique some paper and create sketches of things like states we’ve lived in or birds or flowers.


Then, these could get pasted on in rows of three.  I made my first one from paper with some wood stain on it.  You could also make them from paper bags.


You can begin to see how my brain works as I formulate what I want to do.

In the end, I chose to paint the cardboard that was already in the frame holding the print in.

5.  Just slap some paint on.  Layer it.  The more you layer it, the better.

I have chosen to include these colors throughout my house – navy, green, teal, and neutrals such as gray and ivory.


I’m looking to see how it will look with the matting.


6.  I cut pieces of painters tape in 4 inch strips.


7.  Put the tape on roughly in a chevron patter with 90 degree angles at the joints.  I didn’t worry about being exact, as I was going for a messy look.  In fact, it didn’t really stick because the paint was still damp, but that’s what I wanted.


8.  Paint over what is showing with white paint.


9.  Peel off painter’s tape.


Wipe over the white while it’s still wet with a damp paper towel.  Be sure to go all in one direction.

10.  Do the other one the same.



11.  Let it dry.


12.  Then, I sanded them a bit to make them more rustic, almost like an old sign with no real template.  Spray a quick coat of poly on them.

13.  And, finally, I put them in the frame and hung them!

It is hung in the half bath.  It’s rustic, imperfect and one is slightly different than the next, on purpose.

So far, navy isn’t too bad!    And, it was free!   What do you think?

I can also still just flip the painted part around and go with the sketch idea in the future.

What color are you adding to your home?

Stop by and see how the other bloggers who are participating in this series are incorporating new colors into their homes.

Ange – The Blooming Hydrangea
Anna – A Newfound Treasure
Carmel – Our 5th House
Cassie – Primitive and Proper
Jadyn – Dutch.British.Love
Jessamie - Bird and Branch Redesign
Julia – Black Tag Diaries
Julia – Pawley’s Island Posh
Kristy – Hyphen Interiors
Lisa – Shine Your Light
Lisa – Trapped in North Jersey
Maury – Life on Mars
Shaunna – Perfectly Imperfect
Shelley – Crazy Wonderful
Suzy – Saved by Suzy
Tiffany – Living Savvy
Tiffany – Worthwhile Domicile
Vashti & Jamie – Like me Some…


3D Printing

Gorgeous accessory, huh?  This may come as a surprise to you, but it was actually printed in 3d.  That’s right.  Printed.


3d printing is a process where a three dimensional object is actually created by laying down successive layers of material.

It has been around since 1988, but many breakthroughs have occurred since such as full color HD printing.  This printing technique has recently been growing as the cost of 3d printers slowly decline.  Watch this short video to get a better idea of how it works.

Classic application includes reconstruction of bones, creating models for CAD designs, replicating artifacts, and so on.


Though it has been used in a variety of industries.

3d printing is even being researched for possible use in tissue engineering applications where organs and body parts are built using inkjet techniques.  Crazy huh?  Layers of living cells would be deposited onto a gel medium and slowly built up to form three dimensional body parts.   (The image links to a video with more information.)


3D printing can already produce a personalized hip replacement, with the ball permanently inside the socket which is not otherwise possible.  It would use a cat scan and MRI to build a precise fit.

It all starts on the computer.  Below is a 3d model shown on the computer, and freshly printed dragons sitting on that computer.  Most of these printers can print plastic or metal.


I’m waiting on it to produce food.  You know, like on the old cartoon, The Jetson’s.   It actually looks like they are working on that at Cornell University!  In fact, that puppy can make things out of cake frosting (look out Ace of Cakes) and play dough.

Most recently, 3D printing technology is being used for artistic expression.  And, that is what I want to highlight here – how it can be used for the home.   It may be a new source for an original piece in your home.  Or, perhaps you could even make your own.

Each image is a link to the listing.




This is a spiral Christmas ornament.  That’s right, also made by using 3d printing.


A lamp shade.



A variety have been designed on iMaterialise and posted on Flicker.  You can get more information by clicking on individual images on the Flicker page.


Napkin ring.


Pencil bowl.


Pencil holder.





Art.  Perhaps for Halloween?


Door handle.


And, even shoes.


There are also examples of jewelry out there if you search.  It’s quite the versatile technology.  But, each print does take quite a bit of time – 2 hours for a bracelet, for example.

How much do these printers cost?  Well, they aren’t really intended for the home market, so they are pricey.  They started at around $20,000 on average years ago and are now $2-5,000 on average, depending on what you need it to do exactly.


Some companies such as Shapeways and iMaterialise offer a 3D printing service. Users upload their own 3D designs to the company website, then the designs are printed via industrial 3D printers and then shipped to the customer.

What do you think?  Would you ever use a product like this?  Have you?


12 Great DIY Art Ideas

Art can be expensive.  If you are on a tight budget, it may make sense to do-it-yourself.  Here are some inexpensive and fun ideas for diy art.  All can be found on my Pinterest account.  Or, click on the image to be taken to the source.

Not all of these are meant to be diy projects, but I think they can be!

1.  Made with bamboo.


2.  Can be created from scrap wood.  There are endless possibilities here.  This particular one is sold in an etsy store, but you sure could also make this with time and the right materials.


3.  Have an old guitar and some pottery that you can smash up?


4.  Made from PVC pipes.  You could even paint them!


5.  How fun does this look?   It’s from an etsy shop.  But, you could do it yourself. Check out the Pinterest page for the finished product photo.  What if you did this on a spinner?


6.  Make your own version of a juju hat.


7.  Made from rolled magazine pages.  I’m not sure how easy it’d be, but it’s great to look at!


8.  Isn’t this silhouette art extra cool?  I adore the “fun” blog that posted this image.  I love her improv videos.  She’s a girl after my own heart!


9.  Paint chip art.


10.  Have some paint and bubble wrap?   You can easily do this as a craft project with your kiddos.


11.  This was created with washers.


12.  Thumbtacks on an old globe.


Not to mention, all the many many fabulous diy sunburst tutorials that are out there!  There is so much you can do.  Check out my Pinterest folder for more ideas!

Feeling a little crafty?

What are your favorite diy projects (here, in my folder or elsewhere)?