I have a bald spot.
Is that rude to say in polite company?
…I have a bald spot on one of my walls.
It can be seen from any location in the family area…
See it up there…
between the two doors?
It’s such an awkward space…
located between two bedrooms…
it’s part of the public area, too.
It’s even visible from the kitchen counter.
I tell you, everything I tried was either
too small, too large….
too formal, too casual…..
too light, too dark…..
or looked like it was in jail….
behind the handrail and balusters.
What I needed was a piece that filled the space,
transitioned the colors between the two floors,
stopped that annoying “Jailhouse Rock” buzz in my head.
Here’s what I came up with….
Furring strips – approximately $1.00 for an 8 foot strip
Molding – if you decide to make an outside frame
4 Wood screws – for the inside frame
Drapery liner – new or like new – please see Step 1, Part 2 for details
Staple gun and staples
Various colors of paint
Stencil – if you want to use one
Step 1: The Canvas
The first part is so easy. Determine the desired size of your piece. Cut furring strips to size and attach via butt joints using wood screws. Furring strips are cheap and rough, but will make a great inner frame as long as they are straight. After the frame is assembled, suggest to paint it the color of your drapery liner. I used some trim paint that I had on hand. It’s a creamy white color.
The second part involves stretching the “canvas” onto the frame. In my experience, the best fabric for creating a faux canvas of this kind is drapery liner where the “right” side has a slick surface. In the photo below, both of the liners are new. But, the liner on the right was washed and the liner on the left was not washed. See how the liner on the right lost its body and now looks so thin and limp? I tried to paint it and it didn’t have enough body to stiffen up and hold the paint, so it’s not at all right for this project. Notice, too, how much bigger the liner is than the frame. Please… make sure to leave plenty of overhang. The extra fabric will be trimmed away later.
Now, for the stretch. (1) Lay the drapery liner flat to the work space. The “right” side, which is the slick side, will be face down and touch the work space surface. The “wrong” side will face you. (2) Lay the drapery frame over the fabric. Check the frame and put the best side of the frame face down to the work area. (3) Wrap the fabric around the furring strips and secure with a staple. I started in the middle of one side and attached the entire side. Keep the fabric straight to prevent puckering. Then attach the opposite side. The other two sides are attached last.
Fold and tuck the corners. Secure with several staples. And, note…the outer frame will conceal the rough edges.
Then …carefully trim away the excess fabric. Because the staples are inside the inner frame, I didn’t top the area with a backing after trimming. It can certainly be added if you prefer.
Now, the canvas is ready to paint.
Step 2: The Artwork
First, I grabbed a piece of scrap fabric and began working with the paint colors. I just used latex paint that I had on hand in a variety of colors. Thank goodness, I made a sample and taped it in place to see how the colors worked together.
As soon as I hung the sample, I realized I had used more colors from the family room and hardly any from the two bedrooms.
Huuuuum. Clearly…..needs more blue.
Taking the time to do this step was a huge help to me. How awful to paint the entire canvas only to realize at the end…..
Huuuum……. Needs more blue.
It also helped me realize that I needed something to guide my eye in adding and blending the colors. So, I decided to copy the colors from an oil painting that will be hanging at the opposite end of the catwalk. All of the upstairs and downstairs colors are blended into this painting, so having it sit beside the canvas as I paint would surely help me stay on course.
Do you like the unfinished cabinet that we built from scrap lumber? ……more on that coming soon…
Then, I got to work on the big canvas using a stencil, about six different colors of paint, and a combination of sponge and bristle brushes. No… I did not add fabric medium to the paint.
A couple of hours later, the canvas was complete.
Do the colors look like the colors in the oil painting? …..Or, at least, an abstract version of the painting?
Step 3: The Frame
To frame or not to frame is a matter of preference. At first, I didn’t want a frame……and I was happy to have gotten better balance with the blue.
Still…….something didn’t seem right.
I checked the piece with the downstairs colors.
Looks like a good blend….which is what I was going for….a blend….not a match.
So, I left the canvas colors alone.
Then…maybe it needs a frame …. in what color? White? Black? After all, there is a lot of black throughout the house.
To get a visual, I found some black fabric and pinned strips to the canvas.
And, guess what? Now…. I want a frame.
Yes, I am a card-carrying member of the Changed My Mind Club……
Was there ever any doubt? 🙂
So…. my very favorite “go-to” flat and flexible lattice molding was cut and painted black. Chalk paint was used…as it creates a softer color finish…instead of the harsher black finish with some other paints I had. When completely dry, the strips were attached using super-duper wood glue.
While waiting for the strips to dry, here are some of the interesting elements that are difficult to see from a distance.
Shadowing. Staining. Layering. Blending.
How sad that the camera can’t really capture these elements like the human eye.
Is anything in all of creation more miraculous than the human eye?
The blue colors from the bedroom fade into colors used in the rest of the house.
And, the flat black frame copies the black painted edge of the painted ceiling.
The black handrail runs through the middle of the piece, but the eye naturally pulls above the rail to the stronger blue colors. Thus.. stopping the fight for attention below the rail……you know….the jailhouse effect.
Everything used in this piece was upcycled except for one furring strip and the lattice molding. I had run out of these on the last project.
Ready for my out-of-pocket costs?
Can you say…..Yowza?
Not bad….for a 47 by 45 piece of custom artwork……
……a covered bald spot
……a complete Jailhouse Rock buzz kill….
……and knowing that Elvis has….finally….. left the building.
Until next time,
Please……don’t forget to PIN…..
Thank ya…..thank ya very much,