Thursday, November 8, 2012

Playroom Progress: Kid Made Art

Every year during the holiday season, we put ourselves on a spending freeze to save money for gifts. This means that home improvement projects get put on hold until after Christmas. I have a long list of house projects I'd like to get done soon, so I've been contemplating how to do some of them using things we already have around the house and not have to spend money. 

After striping the playroom, I've had a major itch to decorate in there. My plan for the striped wall is to hang something to hold Little One's artwork. On the opposite wall, I've been cooking up a collage wall in my head with pictures of Little One and some fun artwork. I picked up a cute print at a craft show last weekend and have been eyeing elephant prints on Etsy. The little elephants are just so cute!

In the midst of my elephant artwork browsing, I remembered that I have extra canvases from previous projects when I've found canvases buy one get one free. I also remembered that I have several bottles of leftover acrylic paints that go with the playroom color scheme. Lots of stewing and contemplating later, I decided to DIY an elephant painting with Little One! Let's just say it turned out more as an adventure than the dreamy Mommy/Little One painting time I had envisioned, but at the end of the day, I like the results and Little One is SO proud of the painting. Success! :) 
Here's the supplies I started with: a square canvas, cheap acrylic craft paints, paintbrushes, paper and pencil, and contact paper. I had all of it on hand except for the contact paper, so my total cost was $5 and some change. Woot! 

 I searched online for elephant images and found an elephant that was shaped how I was envisioning. I drew it out (well, pretty much traced it off my computer) on a scrap of paper.

 Next, on some blank paper, I free handed a similar elephant in the size I wanted. I had to re-do the legs many times before I got them right. Thank goodness for erasers. ;)

After I got it drawn just right, I cut it out. Walla...a stencil! :)

I cut out a square of contact paper slightly larger than my canvas and used my stencil to draw out my elephant onto the contact paper, making sure to position it in the center like I wanted it to be on the canvas.

I poked a hold in the middle of my elephant for my scissors and cut my elephant out from the middle of my contact paper square. You could use a utility knife if you'd like, but I feel like I have better control over the lines with my scissors.

Now the not so fun part... Carefully peel the contact paper backing off. Warning, it's a pain because it wants to roll up. Be patient and if your contact paper rips a little near the trunk, know you can mend it with tape. Not that I know from experience... ;) Center your elephant on the canvas and stick the contact paper down.

I used a credit card to score the contact paper, but found that the contact paper really did not want to stick. That's where things went south for me. I wanted Little One to just have fun and freely go to town painting the elephant, thinking the contact paper would keep the rest of the canvas clean. But, since the contact paper wouldn't adhere well, it kept peeling up and Little One's paintbrush strokes kept going under the paper. Thankfully, I was able to wipe up the stray paint right away using a wet paper towel. But because the contact paper was not stuck down well, Little One had to be much more careful that I had wished and made the project a bit stressful where I was hoping it'd be more carefree and fun. Oh well, Little One loves the painting, so I'm still calling it a success. :)

If you do this sans kids, the contact paper would not be such a big deal. Just be careful that the paint doesn't bleed under the paper. You could paint a fun pattern or stripes. Polka dots would be cute, too!

If you do it with kids, I'd recommend doing it with kids who are old enough to have the ability to control their strokes and paint carefully. For younger kids, you may have to paint the elephant a solid color and let them just decorate it with other colors. In the end, that's what helped with Little One's painting.

When you're finished painting, carefully peel back the contact paper to reveal your adorable elephant.

I painted on an eye, ear, and tail for some details. Done!

It was a learning experience, that's for sure, but we love the end result and I love that Little One got to participate! I'm digging the plain white background because our walls are colored, but if you want more pizzazz, you could paint the background and let it dry before doing your elephant. A patterned background would be cute, too!

Sweet little elephant. :)

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