15 July 2011

Getting Crafty for the Nursery: Paintings

When I began planning our daughter-to-be's nursery, I figured we would splurge a little on furniture and bedding (you want that lifetime crib to actually last through toddlerhood), and then pull the purse strings on everything else.  One place where I knew I could save $$$ would be on decor.  More specifically, the art.  Being a little ambitious and having weeks away from work, I would admire pieces of nursery art on the internet and think (rather arrogantly) to myself, "I could do that."  Nothing complicated or full of excruciating detail.  Something along the lines of simplistic and modern, like…

…this one with just a few colors and simple shapes...

…or like these, focusing on a figure or two per panel….

My only problem: I'm not artistic.  In fact, my capabilities when attempting to sketch or doodle barely go beyond drawing stick figures in skirts or baseball caps.  I try very hard to draw comprehensible pictures for my students who are visual learners during lessons, but I'm usually met with giggles or questions like, "Is that supposed to be Abraham Lincoln? He kinda looks like a horse."


My brother, on the other hand (who is a landscape architect, might I add), got the lion's share of artistic abilities when swimming around in our parents' collective gene pool.  While my proficiency remained stagnant at the developmental level of a 12-year-old who knows how to draw the apostrophe on an apple to represent its reflective qualities, my brother has designed intricate gardens, lavish swimming pools (complete with waterfalls and grottoes), and mighty stone walls with his colored pens and shading tools.

I had to come up with a foolproof step-by-step plan that not even I could foul up.  I did a little more internet research and chose my materials:

  • blank canvases
  • acrylic paints (matched to the crib bedding)
  • paint brushes
  • pencil
  • stencils
Here's a photo montage of the process:

Blank canvases I purchased at Michael's.  Altogether they cost less than $30.  The paints were 99¢ apiece.  I already had brushes, so they were FREE!

There are only 3 colors in Baby Nerd's bedding, so I used each one as a background.  It took 2 coats to completely cover each canvas.

The stencils!  This took the most internet research, as I refused to pay for any.  I took my friend Tamela's advice to have "characters" in the nursery to make it feel like a baby's room.  I chose elephants and birds.  Once I found the images I liked, I sized them, hit the print button, and cut the suckers out.

A close-up of the tree stencil.  I found this one on an image of a baby quilt.  It took forever to cut it out.

Then I traced each stencil onto its canvas.  In order to make the leaves "fit", I cut 3 of them off the original stencil and traced around them individually.  This helped make gapping in between the leaves and branches.

Next, I filled in each stencil.  Again, it took many coats.  2 for the tree, 3 for the bird, and 4 for the elephant.

See how you can still see the ivory through the green of the leaves?  They needed 2 more coats before they were opaque.  A fine-tipped brush helped me make the ends of the branches more pointed.

Finished tree!

The final product!  Each canvas has all 3 colors, and the total project cost me roughly $30 and maybe 5-6 hours of painting.

Another angle.  I'm still in shock over the fact that my hand painted this.  Guess that means I can paint by numbers, huh?  :)

This craft proves you don't have to be an artist to be able to create something of which you are proud and that your future child will love.  I even impressed my artsy brother when I sent him a text message for his "approval".  Hopefully, the next time you see these paintings is in a picture of the nursery…which still has a looooong way to go before being finished.  Thanks for checking in!


TURBOchic said...

The art is fantastic. You did an excellent job.

Marlene said...

Ooooh, that's pretty! I might have to steal your idea. Being pregnant makes you crafty, I'm convinced. Hmmm...how can I do this without getting pregnant??? No more babies for me!

A. Hab. said...

So adorable, Vik! :) I am quite impressed. And inspired!

Unknown said...


Today's generation's Parents look for giving their child with everything they can,thats why give importance to the Crib Bed Sets
for a newly born baby and they are equally passionate about getting best crib set for thier child which is highly advisable.
To keep the baby healthy and active, we should provide them with the best Bedding Sets for Cribs
which help them taking sound sleep without any dis-comfort.
There are certain things which you need to consider while buying a Baby Bedding
for your baby, you need to take care of its size, color, material, height and width, design etc.



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