DIY Baby Wall Art

by Kim on April 22, 2012

Let me just preface this post by saying that I’m absolutely NOT a talented DIYer. Believe me, I have tried.

My most recent DIY project was this fake flower arrangement:

I’d apologize for the crappy photography work, but I’m kinda pleased with how the blurriness and poor lighting hides some of the blatant flaws.

P.S. How about that killer bird?? (Carefully positioned to further help hide flaws.) TJ Maxx Home Goods, baby!

So the plan was: buy some fake flowers, cut them to the right length, stick them in a vase, add some fake water (like this), and let it set. Simple, right?

Well, leave it to me to find difficulty in this. First, the stems were next to impossible to cut, even with a wire cutter. Then, I realized that when you pour the fake water into the vase, any solution that touches the sides will stay there. No matter how much you scrub it, it’ll just smear and look weird. (Along with that realization came the related realization that the plastic bowl I’d used to stir up the fake water was now doomed to the trash. Bah.) Finally, there was the problem of the flower arrangement…to get the flowers to stand exactly where I wanted them, I’d have to hold them there until the fake water finishing setting. Ha! Not happening.

Granted, the end result wasn’t TOO horrible, but when I added up the cost of the materials (the flowers alone cost $8 each!), I realized it would have been about as expensive to just pick up a pre-made arrangement from Pier 1. Fail!!

Anyway. Lots of lessons learned for the next time I create one of these, which will happen around the third of never.

Despite that whole depressing adventure, one of my goals for this blog is to push myself to become a better DIYer. (If you’ve read my whole uber-wordy blog manifesto, you know that I consider home improvement projects as part of healthy nest building.) So, back when I was pregnant–which, by the way, feels like about a hundred years ago (until I look down at my stomach anyway!)–I created some wall art for Mason’s nursery.

My inspiration was this Etsy gallery, where you can find wall art that’s approximately 900 times cuter and better crafted than what you’re about to see here. But when I saw those prints, I thought “hm…can I do that myself?”

(Plus, there was the real reason for DIYing it: I’d already bought a bunch of white frames from Ikea about six months earlier that I was determined to use, and the Etsy prints didn’t come in the right size for them. Nevermind that the frames were like 2 bucks each…I proudly support anti-frame-waste.)

And so, many hours, craft store trips, and tears (not really) later, I ended up with these:

(I have to admit that this wall art is not technically on the wall yet, per se…I was still trying to figure out how to arrange them when Mason arrived and the whole project got very suddenly and dramatically deprioritized…)

 The Process

1. First, I headed to a fabric store to grab materials. I ended up with a collection of those cheap fabric scraps, single-yard cut fabric pieces, and some quilting squares (which just happened to be the perfect size) in various browns, greens, and blues.

2. Next, I free-hand drew the shapes I needed on paper, using a quilting ruler board to make sure they were about the size I needed for my frames.

3. I cut out the paper shapes and used them as templates to cut the fabric. Even the little eyes are pieces of fabric, since marker bleeds through (um, yes…I tried a marker first). Then, I arranged the fabric pieces on cardstock rectangles I’d cut to the right sizes for my frames.

4. Since some of the fabric pieces were creased, I ironed them flat. (Obviously, not while they were on the cardstock…I’m not sure why I photographed them that way here…)

5. Next: assembly. My original plan was to use hot glue to attach the fabric pieces to the cardstock, but the glue dried too quickly and you could see the ridges of glue right through the fabric. Fail.

Then, I considered using some kind of seam tape to simultaneously finish the rough edges and attach the fabric to the cardstock, but I didn’t like the fact that every fabric piece would then have an outline around it. I like my fabric good and naked.

I finally settled on double-sided fabric tape, applied as below, and it worked like a charm. Since the fabric’s only job is to hang out in a frame forever, never being touched or moved, I decided it didn’t really matter that the edges were rough, or that the fabric wasn’t super secured to the cardstock.

Et voila.

(I did do the bird legs in a Sharpie. I just made sure the lines didn’t touch the fabric so they didn’t bleed.)

Again, nowhere near the level of awesomeness going on in the Etsy gallery, but considering my DIY history, I thought this was fairly successful.

Say it with me:

I will be a DIY Goddess.

I will be a DIY Goddess.

I will be a DIY Goddess.



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