Monday, June 25, 2012

copycraft: diy paint chip art

How about a quick, down and dirty DIY for your Monday morning?

Sorry I left you guys hanging a bit last week with just one post, but it was one of those crazy busy haze-of-a-week weeks. Lots of work fires flaring up left and right, a memorial service for my sister-in-law's father who sadly passed away last weekend, and my first hot yoga class (hoping to get a post up about it since it was definitely unlike anything I've done before. Please hold me to it!) Anyway, certainly a week of ups and downs.

However, I did somehow find time to put my crafty pants on Monday night and add my first bit of DIY decor to the new craft room. I'm telling you, it's amazing what the simple notion of space does for the creative spirit.

My inspiration for this craft comes from the many paint chip projects I've seen on Pinterest over the months. My eye always gravitates to these pins because of the fun colors and seemingly simple construction of each project. I mean, paint chips are free, ya'll. Free supplies are a reason to try any project in my book. Below is one pin that specifically caught my eye for this project:

Appropriate for the Fourth coming up, don't you think?
Since the whole "ombre" thing is so very in right now, I feel like the gradual shades of the paint chips take on that kind of style. I've had this idea in mind for a while now and thought it would be fun to have the letters CCH on the wall of the craft room as an ode to this humble little blog (ya know, clumsy crafty happy... cch... ya follow me? Okay good.) Since this little place on the web is the only hobby I think I've ever really stuck with, and since I want to continue to see it grow and evolve, I wanted a constant reminder of it in my inspiration room. And, coincidentally, I also had three cheap wooden frames from Ikea that I needed to do something with. So this was either a product of being inspired, or a product of convenient supplies. Who knows. Either way I think that this craft would be fun for a monogram or maybe a baby's name in a nursery.

First, the what you'll need:

Sorry for the bad lighting in my crafting photos. I'm working on it, I promise.
1. paint chips/swatches in the colors of your choice // 2. frames of the same size (mine were unpainted) // 3. acrylic paint and brushes (if you'd like to change the color of your frames) // optional: a printer and an exacto blade if you want your letters to be uniform. You could technically do this craft freehand though, which I would recommend for the artistically inclined since the razoring out of the template was the most time-intensive part of this project. // 3.5 oh crap, I forgot you need a hot glue gun too if you're going to do things exactly how I did them. (Although, as you'll see, my way ended up being a bit of an accident.)

Now on to the fun part, the doing!

Please also feel free to judge me for the utter chaos and disarray that ensues when I work on a project. And I wonder why Jason wanted me to have a room of my own. Guess he was tired of the clutter accumulating on our dining room table.
1. First thing for me was painting my frames. These rinky-dink Ikea frames were only like $4.99 or something ridiculous for a pack of three, and while I can dig the natural wood look, the black was definitely more of the stark contrast I was looking for. 

2. While they dried, I busted out my trusty laptop to pick a font and size for my letters and to make my template. (I recommend going with thicker letters since you'll want to actually see the color of the paint chips.) What I thought I did was check how large the frame's inside hole was and then size my letters in accordance with how big I wanted them to look in the frame. (Turns out this step is trickier than I anticipated. Read on to find out why.) Once I got the letters to my liking, I printed out both the C and the H so I could cut them out to make a template. 

3. Next I cut out both the C and the H using an Exacto blade, leaving C- and H-shaped holes in each piece of paper. In the picture above, you can see that I slid each paint chip under the template to see which part of the chip I wanted to see once it was cut out. Once you're happy with the placement, trace the letter with the same Exacto blade and punch it out. 

A couple quick tips here: to make things look even, try to center the letter horizontally so that the top and bottom color are seen equal amounts. Also make sure the lines between shades are level so your letters don't look askew. Looking back I would have also made the letters a little smaller because the color names are printed on the chips and in some of the letters you can see part of the names. For a craft room I feel like this is fine, but for somewhere else you might want a more polished look.  

4. Repeat with the rest of your letters and clean up any rough edges with scissors. 

Speaking of wishing I would have made the letters smaller, like I mentioned earlier, it wouldn't be a true Carol-DIY if I didn't make a horrible error that I then had to somehow incorporate to give the illusion that it was done on purpose. As it turns out, either I calculated my letter measurement wrong or the printer spit out my letters in the incorrect proportions (totally plausible since printers have a magical way of screwing everything up all the darn time) but either way my letters looked claustrophobic in my frames. 

Help, help! I can't breathe in here!
Um, yeah. Not the look I was going for. Determined not to let the project become a wash, I decided instead to glue the letters to the outside of the frames. Oh yeah... soooo modern. Placing things outside their frames is so IN right now.

Ahhhh... that's better.

And since I didn't want the frames to simply sit on the wall, I decided to put some plain white paper in them to go with the black and white theme developing in the room.

Not too bad for a screw-up. I just dabbed some hot glue to the edges of the letters and pressed them to the edges of the frames. Voila! All done. Then I just hung them using a couple of finishing nails and the project was done. I decided to put them on that pesky closet wall that is all up in the doorway's space so that I could catch an eyeful of whimsy when walking past the room, since I can't see the fun happening with the full craft table without walking inside.

Notice the color names on the edges of the green chips like I mentioned. You can't notice them on the other two. I don't mind so much though. I think it adds a tiny bit of authenticity, as in 'Hey! I'm a cool piece of art now but I used to be a paint chip! See! Also, aren't I soooo hip because I'm on the outside of my frame?' 
I'm pretty happy with the way the whole thing turned out and can't wait to share more fun projects for the room so you all can see it come to life!

What about you guys? Have you tried any crafts using paint chips? Would you ever do this in a room in your house (sans screw-up of course)?


  1. LOVE it Caroline, mistakes and all! Definitely adding this to my ever-growing list of projects I want to try...

  2. Thanks, Sasha! I feel like it's a fun one for how relatively easy it is!