16 September 2013

She's Crafty: DIY Wall Decor

 I have been in the processes of redecorating my front room since sometime in early 2013. One thing I had decided to do was decorate wood letters with maps -- ideally, spelling HOME and showing all the places I've lived.

Doing this myself, I figured, would be the most cost-effective way of doing it (also, at that point I hadn't seen these in stores...that has since changed); it would also be the best way to personalize them.

The first thing I did was head to the craft store to find my wooden letters. I was a bit disappointed to see that the thick cut letters I wanted were not available in wood, so I had to go with paper mache. Ultimately, this was the better choice -- they were fairly inexpensive (plus my mom had coupons...thanks mom!), and they were super light to hang on the wall. Unfortunately, they were also out of the letter "H," which is a rather critical part of spelling HOME. So, I went with what was available, and spelled CASA...same meaning, different language.

Then,  I figured out what maps I wanted to use, which places I wanted to represent my life. I then ordered them from AAA, because, as a part of my membership, I get maps for free. I had some older ones, also, from these areas, so...recycling!

Next, I took a rather long hiatus. Funny how life gets in the way! I stared at those non-covered letters, and the maps sitting on my counter, for probably over three months. It got a little ridiculous!

Finally, I was fed up with the mess, the blankness, and, on a nice Sunday while watching football, I decided to tackle my project!

I took all the maps and laid them out, figured out the order, and then started cutting. There was a little bit of moving things around, and tilting the letters just so -- it was important to me to get particular towns/cities represented. I used a straight edge razor to cut the maps...if I were to do it again, I would use a razor pen; my lines were a little uneven and not as exact on the letters as I would have liked. Lessons learned.

I then painted the letters. I used a darker color -- the leftovers I had from painting my accent wall. I painted everything but the side that would be up against the wall. In doing this first, it added a background to the letters in the case my maps didn't fit perfectly (which, they don't) or I cut things a little off (which, I did).

After letting the paint dry, it was time to start putting the maps on. I used Modge Podge (leftover from a project I did a few years ago). I covered the front of the letters liberally, then worked quickly to get the maps lined up and stuck on. Modge Podge starts to dry quickly, so there isn't a lot of time for readjustments.

I quickly realized just how poor my cutting had been...because of this, I had to do a lot of trimming on the letters (I used a sharp pair of scissors, and snipped slowly). I also had to add a bit of map to parts where I had undercut. I tried to match the color/terrain/routes, but they are not perfect. I know this will end up bothering me, but I don't think it is super visible unless you're looking for it.

I again let this all dry before hanging it on my wall. To try to ensure that everything lined up correctly, I measured from the top of each letter, then poked a hole at the same spot on each letter. Actually hanging the darn things was tricky...being short and only having two hands made measuring a challenge. But I did my best to line them all up on the wall, and then center each letter.

I've got them up, and am going to let them sit for a bit before moving things. I am pretty sure my S is upside down, and they are a little more squished than I would have liked. But overall -- not too shabby!

Total cost: Approximately 15$.

Represented: San Leandro, San Luis Obispo, Sevilla, San Francisco

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