Wednesday, July 11, 2012

One Room Challenge, Week Three, Part 2: splatter art over the fireplace

We have a gas fireplace in our living room. The fireplace is made of a weird fake concrete and is rather unattractive.  I would love to refinish it.  Unfortunately, since we rent, there is little I can do to the fireplace--I can't paint it, resurface it, or anything the fake concrete stays.  (I tell you this in case you are wondering why I haven't beautified the ugly fireplace in this relentless quest of decorating.) 

We also have twenty foot ceilings.  This means that I have a ginormous space over the fireplace to fill. Yesterday I discussed all the different art we considered for the space.  However, we really like abstract art, and we wanted to try doing it ourselves.

On Mother's Day weekend, I bought a 48 x 60 canvas.  I bought the kind of canvas with the thicker edges, not the cheaper thin type.  I think the thicker edge really makes a difference in giving your art more of an "arty" presence. (The thinner ones are significantly cheaper, though.) Having learned from my chiang mai dragon mistake, I gessoed the canvas with two coats, and then painted three coats of navy blue left over from the blue lionhead dresser.  After that dried, I laid the canvas out in the backyard on a tarp.

I bought six empty ketchup-type squeeze bottles from the supermarket, and a lot of jewel-toned acrylic paints.  I bought red, yellow, white, blue and green; each tube was about $3.  I put a dollop of paint in each squeeze bottles, and filled the squeeze bottles with water and shook them up.  We started with trying to squeeze straight paint, but it came out all gloppy and thick.  When we added water to the squeeze bottles it had a better consistency and better splatter.

I gave each kid a bottle, told them to walk in a circle around the canvas, and squeeze.

We kept giving each kid a different color, and saying "march in a circle! Keep moving! Keep moving!" in order to distribute the color evenly.  After about twenty minutes, the canvas was full of color.  We let it dry overnight.  FYI, if you stand it up before its dried, some of the paint will run.  I liked the runs of color, but if you want splatter only then let it dry laying down.

If you do this with your kids, use a big tarp, wear painting shoes, and dress your kids in something you won't mind being ruined with paint (we used undershirts and pajamas).  Your feet and the ground around the canvas will look like a paint factory. (Or a ketchup and mustard factory, if you use yellow and red.)

I am rather pleased with how this project turned out.  I get a piece of REALLY BIG ART with colors expressly matched to my living room, it was made by my kids, on Mother's Day no less, and it was fairly inexpensive.  Woot woot.

You can see in the above picture where someone got a little overexcited with the green paint, and it got a little gloppy.  The beauty of this kind of painting is you can just pick up another bottle of paint, spray some more on top of it, and it looks like you did it on purpose.

All in, this project was under $100.  I splurged on the thick canvas, which was $90, but I just happened to walk into Michaels on a day when the canvases were on sale for 50% off, so it was only $45.  The paint was also on sale for $3 a tube ($18), and the gesso was $10.  The squeeze bottles were $12, and the blue background paint I already owned.  So...arg, math....$85?

This was my first attempt at a splatter painting. (You can see the second one we did here.)  It was a really fun time with the kids, an inexpensive way to get a large piece of art, and I am thrilled with how it looks.

Come back next week to check out the new bookshelves!

See Week 1 (moodboard), Week 2 (curtains), Week Three Part 1 (art options).

See everyone else's progress in the One Room Challenge:

Lauren - The Cottage Mix
Lindsay - Everything LEB
Barbara - Hodge:Podge
Tiffany - Living Savvy
Jessie - Mix & Chic
Danylle - Nana Moon
Jennifer - The Pink Pagoda
Emily - Rue de Emily
Lindsay - Sadie + Stella


  1. LIsa, this is the most perfect idea for your space and family! What a brilliant solution to a potentially huge expense. GREAT job!

  2. Okay- LOVED this post and idea! Your kids must think you are the COOLEST!Fun stuff!

  3. Adorable ... some of my "kid" art is my favorite ... and worth far more to me than the finer pieces!! This is very fun and a great answer for your space!

  4. could you and the kiddos be any cuter? i love how much sentimental value that painting will have for you!

  5. What a great idea to have the kids help you make art! This is definitely a great gift, perfect for Mother's Day!

    By the way, I am hosting a fabulous giveaway! Come by and enter for a chance to win $100 credit towards a beautiful personalized canvas!

    This is a giveaway you don't want to miss!


  6. You are the mother of the year. This is a great idea, and how fun for all.

  7. Your kids look like they were having so much fun. It turned out great and for so cheap!

  8. This was an incredible idea with an incredible result!! Amazing Great job!!

  9. wow -- what a great idea! i knew you needed something big over the fireplace and couldn't wait to see what you chose! :)

  10. Oh My Goodness! Your kids look like they had a ball doing this project. I am sure they will tell their friends about this forever and it turned out fantastic! I am going to have to copy this idea, I think my teenagers will even like doing it. Your room is looking so bright and cheery.

  11. It looks great, Lisa! By the way, congrats on being on Emily Clark this morning! I saw your name and thought, "HEY! I know her!!" :)

  12. Lisa, I love this! Such a creative idea. Kudos to you for involving the kids.

  13. ha! that is awesome. Need to remember this idea.

  14. I love this! Great idea, now everytime you look at this you are reminded of who painted it and when. It adds that extra layer of perfectness to your space!

  15. This is both awesome art in & of itself (deployment of Southern California-appropriate "awesome" intentional) *and* makes you the sort of fun, cool mom who comes up with creative stuff for her kids to do that I like to envy.


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