DIY Exposed Wood Map

Alright so today I'm going to show you all how I made my exposed wood map that I have received so many emails and comments about, finally here it is!

There's going to be a lot of pictures, and you'll have to let me off the hook on these iPhone pics-I usually use my nice camera but when I happened to be making this my Cannon was sleeping :)

First thing's first-get a piece of wood the size that you want your final piece to be. You can certainly get craft board the size in one full piece that you want (which I would recommend) but I happened to have 2 pieces that I screwed together to make the final piece I'd be working on

Also, before you begin to paint, add at least two of these heavy duty frame hangers onto the back of your wood-be sure you're painting on it the correct way after this!

Next your going to cover your surface in craft paper. The purpose of this is so you don't draw directly onto the wood while you're making mistakes and redoing lines-you don't want your wood to have pencil scuffs on it, this will make sense soon...

Does this image throw you back to 2nd grade? 
We're going to be using basic Grid-aided-Drawing for this project because it's such a large scale-and because it's a map, it's a very specific, very well-known image that you want to be accurate. 

Find a  FLAT world map (some images have the countries 'rounded' and so the land masses near the edges are warped as if they were on a globe...) you're going to draw an equally scaled grid onto that. The idea, as we all know, is to match each grid from the print out-to the artwork in front of you-working square by square will result in a WAY more accurate result than without one!

When you finish (the entire map, not shown above) go over it all again in a thick sharpie (yeah, this is a pain, and yeah I watched about 3 movies during this whole process).

Now, using a graphite pencil, or even just a piece of graphite, un-tape your craft paper and rub the graphite along the UNDERSIDE of the map using the sharpie in that's bled through to guide you.

It's going to look about like this when you're done!

Now lay it back on top of your wood and tape it securely all over the edges-you don't want it to shift at all...and now one more time trace over the outline that you've drawn-This will transfer the graphite to the wood leaving you with one clean copy of your map

this is the part of the project when you take a deep breath and say "Oh! I can finally see this coming together!"

Could you skip the whole craft paper transfer step?
Yes, you definitely could. However I would highly recommend it...Yeah, it takes a ton of extra time, and yeah, it kind of feels like a waste, but realize that you'll have to erase all of the grids off of the wood and you likely won't be able to remove it all which will result in some frustration in your finished piece. Short answer: the extra work you put into the craft paper transfer steps will be evident in the quality of your final piece.

Next, go crazy with your paint. Go outside the box and consider all sorts of colors-I chose a traditional blue mainly because I wanted a nice bright pop of color on the wall-but if you have colored walls you could do a white, off white, gray, etc. The paint and wood stain combinations really leave for an amazing amount of combinations so everyone can have something that matches their home!

After using a big brush for the majority of the map, go in close with a small detail brush.

I'd recommend three coats, two coats at the very least for coverage. This is the part where I started to get so super gitty!

Next I laid some paint tape down for some irregularly sized stripes-this step isn't necessary, but I wanted kind of a funky textured overlay (something I do on a lot of my artwork) so I thought I'd show you how I did it for the sake of it :)

Using another colored paint, and a plastic grocery bag, I very carefully blotted the surface being super careful not to paint the wood that's still exposed

You're almost done! next I ran over the entire piece with a summer oak stain. going over the entire piece aged the blue and sea-foam green I was using. 

Cover your whole piece in at least two coats of a poly finish to lock everything in..

Congratulations, you're done :) 

DIY Pallet DVD display, as shown above, click here!


Turning Kitchen Things Into Other Things, Pt. 1 Table Top Drapes

Okay everyone, this is so crazy simple and it's going to make your day-I promise!

Last week I was looking over the window panels at Target for the 100th time in four minutes and just was not finding something I was crazy about for two reasons...

1. I simply didn't see the design and color that hit the spot
2. Each panel was $26.99 a piece 

Suddenly it hit me.

Ever noticed that the length of an oblong table cloth is 84" and that the length of a designer window panel is also 84"?

And that's where we start!

I was able to add drapes into our bedroom for a FRACTION of the cost (under half, to be specific) using table cloths instead of panels :)

I grabbed two sets of table cloths so I could have two hearty panels on each side-If you don't need as much volume you could split your bill in half again by splitting a table cloth in half, hemming the edge, and using it as 2 panels. 

I also grabbed a set of matching Napkins (Pack of Four) because I knew I'd do something with them! 

Now, in order for this to work you're going to need to either fold the top over a few inches and hem to create a pocket for your curtain rod, or grab some of these clip-ring curtain hangers. Personally, I love these because you can use them to turn anything into a curtain, no sewing needed! Keep in mind when you're hanging your curtain rod that these types of rings will add almost 2 inches to the length of your curtain (as hemming will decrease the length as well).

As an added bonus, I used the little button and wrap that the napkins came in and slid it around a large wine bottle, threw in some pebbles, stole some flowers from another part of the house, and bam! Matching accent piece!


Now, really quickly, let me show you this... The solid outline is our actual window-we live in a little apartment with teeny tiny windows and I wanted to really give the illusion that these windows were decent! By placing the rod outside and above the window it fools you into thinking the space is taller, wider, bigger, and brighter letting in far more light than if you were to secure the rod within the threshold of the windowsill itself~

And here it is! Using a double drape rod I created a layering effect, and though it's hard to tell the curtains are more of a beige than the walls are which add a nice level before the pop of yellow.

Total cost of "Table Top" Drapes: $27.53


Irish Heritage Collection

One of my readers recently emailed me mentioning that I don't have hardly any posts highlighting my artwork, so this year I'm going to try and make a point to post more of my pieces!

This is a recent collection I did for a friend who wanted to give her husband something meaningful for Christmas. His family is Irish and after acquiring their old Irish name, as well as their family crest, she brought them to me to create a few custom pieces for their home.

Just two weeks before Christmas these two were in Ireland, what a wonderful wife to have such an amazing gift ready for a man who's so recently met his home land! Love, love, love it :)

The family Crest
[14"x 14" Acrylic on Birch wood]

The year they were married
[14"x 14" Acrylic on Birch wood]

Their family's Old Irish name
[18"x 30" Acrylic on Birch wood]