Get Outta Here!

Hey friends! I had just spent hours writing this post and then THE INTERNET EXPLODED OR SOMETHING and the post disappeared and it made me really sad. So, I took a break and watched and episode of 30 Rock and now it’s time to give it the ol’ College Try one more time. Anyway, so, I took a few days off because I was fighting a gnarly cold and couldn’t sit up, much less do something interesting enough to post about. But I’m back now!

Well, well, well…what do we have here? Another DIY(H) project? You don’t say! This one, I had been working on just a little bit at a time and I finally wrapped it up last week. Then all I had to do was hang it, take photos, write this post, format everything, lose the post to an Internet explosion, re-write and re-format everything…

Enough dwelling!

Alright! So, you know when you move into a new place and it takes you some time to settle in and, therefore, time to hang up art? You want to make sure you like the furniture where it is and sometimes you have a lot more (or a lot less!) wall space, so you have to work around that. Back when I was trying to decide on art pieces for our last living room I had the idea to do something with words. Not an ~inspirational quote~ because that’s not really my style, but something more like an obscure line from a popular 80’s rap that you can’t quite place until someone sings the first part of it for you. So, I had a list of quotes already. And, for this project, I let Dave have the final word.

How do you turn that into art? Well, I saw what Young House Love (one of my most beloved blogs) did with a yard sale painting (traced and painted ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE over it) and there it was – inspiration! And since we’re Ballin’ on a Budget over here – I had a goal of spending $20 or less. Let’s see if I did it!

Here’s the space in question.

After we hung the mirror up, above the dresser (which we face when we’re in bed) we could see the big empty space in the reflection. Annoying!

So, how do I fix it? There were so many decisions about which direction to take with the art. What I did know is that I wanted it about as long as the width of the bed (just under 60″) and around 20″ high. My first goal was to find a painting from a thrift store that could work. I couldn’t find anything, obviously, that would be too easy! I even went to Talize! Everything was either made to be hung vertically, a cheap and uninspiring print or something made by Anne Geddes. Not going to happen. I had to figure something else out and here’s a breakdown of the train of thought I went through over the next week:

  • Instead of a pre-made painting, I can use poster board or cardboard and paint it, use watercolors or melt some crayons on it. The Pinterest-possibilities were endless!
  • One day at the dollar store, I saw they had foam core (36×20″) for $1.25 each. Sold!
  • Since I would need 2 of these, I would have to wrap it so that you couldn’t see the seam.
  • White wrapping paper could work! But I couldn’t find any that was matte. If it’s shiny, it would probably be slippery and therefore would be difficult to work with, besides.
  • Tissue paper wasn’t big enough.
  • Contact paper! I had some at home, leftover from when I lined the kitchen shelves when we moved in.
  • It was only 17.5″ wide, so I would have to make that size work.
  • I found some inspiration in Ikea fabric and the light switch plate that I made before. That had a lot of orange in it and was watercolor-y.
  • I decided not to paint it; I was worried that after I went through all of this prep to make the canvass the right size, if  I painted it and didn’t like it (which was likely, as I’m not very artistic in that way) it would all be ruined.
  • I was still willing to do watercolors but I couldn’t find a set ANYWHERE. Do kids still use watercolors?
  • While at the dollar store I found a wall of tissue paper in lots and lots of colors. I thought I could cut flower petals out and Mod Podge a design and buy a silver marker to outline it all. I purchased the tissue paper, but they didn’t have orange so I had to keep looking.
  • I was at the SuperStore (a local grocery store) looking in their gift wrap but I didn’t see any orange paper. As I was walking away, I went through the clearance section and this happened:

For $1.97 a package, in the perfect colors and no painting or hand-cutting out flowers? I was sold! Now I had a basic direction for this project – woo for me!

Step 1: figure out how high and how wide it should be. The green tape on the bottom shows where the length of the contact paper would end, so it can’t be any taller than that.

Then I put it on the floor and measured it.

I added some letters in to see how I liked them in relation to the size. These are all of the same letters in the phrase we ended up using, but they are in the wrong order. It’s like a riddle!

Once I figured that out, I marked the top and bottom of the one that needed to be trimmed and connected those marks with a line using my tape measure as a straight edge.

Then I sliced it with that box cutter.

It didn’t cut all the way through. Rude!

I flipped it over and sliced the back.


Then I had to figure out how tall I wanted it. Here it is lying on top of the contact paper, so you can see what I was working with. I settled on 16″. That way, I would have enough room to wrap the paper around all of the edges.

Then I carefully peeled a corner up and laid down my first piece.

And then the second piece.

And folded the edges around, to make one big piece.

It didn’t feel like the most sturdy thing in the world, it was still a little bendy. I decided to take one of the extra pieces from trimming and hot glue it to the back, to keep it flat. I thought I should put some thread through it before I did that, to make an easy way to hang this piece when it was all over (that’s one less thing I had to worry about later!)

I poked two holes in it with the end of a scissor, and tied this string on it (leftover from another project). I hot glued the knots, so they wouldn’t slip out and hot glued the whole thing to the back.

Then it was time for the fun (and terrifying) part! First, I figured out that the patterns wouldn’t line up. I laid the napkins out a few different ways but I wasn’t very happy with what I was doing (over thinking.) Dave suggested that I start in the middle and randomly overlap them. It was perfect! It looked like “I meant to do that” instead of “Why is that crooked?”

My supplies – ready for action.

I poured the Mod Podge in the middle section, painted it on thinly with my sponge brush and laid one napkin down at a time.



Then I had to let it sit for 12 hours before I could touch it. That felt like FOREVER.

In the meantime, I cut my letters out (about half an inch bigger than the previous ones.) Hello Cricut, I have missed working with you!

Once it dried, I flipped it over to secure the back before doing a top seal.

First I trimmed the long pieces, which you can tell here by the flat tops.

I decided to use packing tape on the back, instead of wasting any Mod Podge on something that wouldn’t be seen.

Then I flipped it back over, poured Mod Podge on it and spread it around, making sure to stick the edges of the napkins down.

Done! Here’a blurry picture to prove it. This time the drying step actually did take days, so I gave it a nice long time to cure properly (through Thanksgiving weekend.)

During this part – the worst thing happened. I ran out of Mod Podge! Nooooooooooo. The most expensive art supply and here I was, with an empty bottle! I didn’t think those bottles got empty! I had to replace it, because I wasn’t even done with my top seal just set. $10.

While it was drying and curing, I was able to brainstorm what I was going to do to “frame” it, if anything. I thought about buying actual framing pieces from a home improvement store, buying dowels and painting them, using scrunched up tissue paper and hot gluing it or -and here’s the winner- using some leftover gold ribbon I had from a Christmas card design from last year. Free option? Sold.

Alright – let’s get to framing:

These were my options. I liked the one on the right the best, the one with only 1 roll left. So I had to measure to see if there was enough for the whole piece.

There was!

Now it came time to hot glue it onto the edges! I got better as I practiced, the last edge is the only one without visible bumps from the glue, but that’s one of those things that I think only I would notice. My main technique was: squirt a dot of hot glue, press it down gently, slide it to make sure it’s straight and press down with the edge of a tape dispenser (I learned that after getting burnt a few times.) It worked pretty well! I didn’t get many in-progress photos of this part because, well, hot glue is hot and it cools down (therefore becoming unusable) quickly.

Squirt a dot! This later changed to “squirt a dot and then push it around so it’s not a big bump.”

Done! I had the top and bottom edges hang off a little so that the edge of the piece underneath couldn’t be seen.

And now for the next step: the words! The first thing I did was tape each letter down using green painters tape, then I moved them until I liked the spacing.

My tools.

Then I would flip each letter over, take the tape off, put Mod Podge on it and place it back down.

After I did that with every letter, I painted Mod Podge over the whole she-bang one last time, nice and thin.

And, that was it! It took days to dry and then I was sick. On my last full day of being sick, I had Dave hang it up and then I had him move the nail and re-hang it because it wasn’t centered and then I took photos! Then, when I looked at those photos the next day, I hated them. So I waited until I felt better, I washed all of the bed linens (because I wasn’t sick anymore!) re-made the bed, remembered to use white balance and re-took the photos.


The other angle.

Close up.

My budget breakdown:

  • Foam core: $2.50
  • Napkins: $1.97
  • Mod Podge: $9.99

Everything else I already owned! Grand total: $14.46. That’s a budgeting success story. If only I didn’t have to buy that Mod Podge! Curses! Well, at least I’ll have lots and lots leftover for my next project.

Well, what do you think? I love it! I like looking at it in the mirror reflection. The best part is that the possibilities are endless with the different sizes/colors/paper/words you could imagine as a combination together. It was fun, but I’m glad it’s over. And I’m even happier that we have something filling up that white space above our bed. Now, if only I could figure out this curtain situation.

Do you have any DIY project ideas filling up your head? There always seems to be a few knocking around upstairs, for me.

Until next time,



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