THE ARTISTIC LIFE – Living the creative life in everything we do

Posts tagged ‘do it yourself’

Easy Chalkboard DIY

After being inspired by a lot of craft and home organization projects on Pinterest, I’ve been rushing home from work lately to try to fit in my own little creative projects. One of these projects is my DIY framed chalkboard. I’d been browsing Pottery Barn and Ballard Design catalogs, and both companies offered a very classy framed chalkboard for displaying the menu of the day or household to-do lists. Of course these were very costly. Here’s my own DIY version for a fraction of the cost.

1) Buy a small can of chalkboard paint at your local Home Depot, Lowes, or other home improvement store. You can also look online for a recipe to make your own paint.

2) I found an empty frame I had lying around the house. The size was perfect for my pantry wall, to replace the ratty old dry erase board we had there.

3) I found a flat piece of cardboard and trimmed it down to fit in the frame I found.

4) Using acrylic gesso, I primed the cardboard.

5) Once the gesso was dry, I painted 2 coats of chalkboard paint onto the primed cardboard, letting it dry for a day between each coat.

6) I fit the painted cardboard into the frame with the frame backing and used industrial strength adhesive-backed Velcro to attach to wall.

7) (optional) We had this little container that we also Velcro’d to the wall. This is to hold the chalk and eraser. If you use a frame that has a bit of a shelf or lip, you can keep your chalk there.

Note: I also saw Magnetic Paint next to the Chalkboard Paint at Lowes. Another option would be to create a magnetic board instead, or even layer the magnetic paint underneath the chalkboard paint to make this a multi-purpose magnetic blackboard!

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Homemade (and Free!) Christmas Wreath

This weekend has been spent eating turkey and decorating the house for Christmas. We are expecting 55+ people at our house for our neighborhood annual progressive dinner, so wanted expand our usual holiday decor. But I also didn’t want to spend a lot of money. So, I decided to try my hand at an evergreen wreath (picture to come shortly).

Tips for making a free homemade wreath for your door or wall:

1) Use old coat hangers for the base. I used three old metal coathangers, and, using pliers, twisted them into a frame onto which to attach the greens. I kept the hook of the first  hanger to  hang the wreath when it’s complete. I then twisted the triangular hanger shape into a rough circle. I intertwined the other two bent hangers around the first hanger, to create areas where greens can be attached.

2) Use greens from your yard, Christmas tree, or even a home improvement store. We found FREE Christmas tree greens in a bin at Lowe’s. Right after Thanksgiving is probably the best time to find these freebies, because the Christmas trees have recently been delivered to the store, and there are lots of branches cut off the trees when they are packaged for sale. Various types of greens can be used, including pine, fir, and holly. Find holly with the red berries, for some pretty red accents on your wreath.

3) Use nuts or pinecones, also available from your yard. These can be wired or glued on, once the base of the wreath has been finished.

4) Use any wire or string you have laying around the house to attach each branch to the hangers. Keep the branches flowing in the same direction (clockwise or counter-clockwise) when attaching to the wreath. Look at your wreath in progress for any gaps or unevenness in the greens and add branches or twigs as necessary. Continue until the wreath is equally full on all sides.

5) Complete the wreath with a bow of ribbon or fabric used from last year’s gifts. I usually keep any good quality ribbons on gifts that are presented to me. I can then recycle these for future gifts or crafts.

How I Made a Homemade Photo Box

Studio setup for homemade photobox for microstock photography

My studio setup for homemade photobox for microstock photography

I recently posted about taking photographs for microstock photography using my new homemade photo box. Here is how I made mine, using only materials that I had on hand:

How I Made my Photo Box:

1. I found a fairly large box, roughly 14x18x16. This box can be different sizes, but you don’t want it too small. A roughly square shape is desirable too.

2. I located a roll of rice paper and duct tape. Other materials can be used, such as white tissue paper, light white fabric, etc. I had rice paper sitting in my closet, so that’s what I used. Of course, masking tape can be used instead of duct tape.

3. With the box opening facing me, using an Xacto knife I cut an opening into the left side, right side, and top, leaving about a 2 inch frame around each opening. I was not very particular with measurements – I did this freehand.

4. I cut rice paper large enough to cover the 3 openings.

5. I used duct tape to secure the rice paper over each opening.

6. I cut the cardboard pieces off of the box top (which is the front opening of the photobox), except for the bottom piece.

7. I cut a long piece of rice paper and taped this to the back inside of the photobox. This is used as the white background for photographed objects within the photobox. This piece of rice paper can always be replaced if it develops any wrinkles, stains, or other imperfections, as you will not want to remove these imperfections with Photoshop every time.

8. I am experimenting with various desk/portable lamp combinations. You will need a combination of lights angled from the top and side(s) of the photobox to achieve the lighting that you want.

9. I’ve also learned the trick of placing a square of clear glass (I used a piece of glass from an old picture frame that I wasn’t currently using) on the white rice paper backdrop (the part that extends to the bottom of the photobox). This adds that subtle reflection that is popular in some stock photography. Of course, the addition of this glass is optional, depending on the look you are trying to achieve.

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