DIY Canvas Silhouettes

Canvas SilhouettesOne of my all-time favorite craft projects are these canvas silhouette paintings of my kids. I love to look back at them to see how those little profiles have changed over the years. I originally wrote that tutorial over on my old blog, so it’s time to bring it over here to my new online home. 

DIY Canvas Silhouettes

Here’s what you’ll need to make a silhouette canvas of your own:

  • blank canvas
  • two colors of acrylic paint
  • one adhesive vinyl sheet
  • foam paintbrush
  • a photo of your subject (in profile, obviously).
Let’s get to work!  
  1. Paint the canvas. This is the color that you want the actual silhouette to be. Even if you’re using white for the inside, I prefer to paint the whole canvas white (this seems silly considering the canvas is white to begin with. But if you need to touch up any blobby areas, painting the center white will ensure you don’t notice the touch-up paint. Give it PLENTY of time to dry. Maybe like overnight…just to be safe.
  2. Print the photo on regular printer paper.
  3. Trace around the silhouette with a black sharpie. This helps you see a clear outline of what to cut. And it makes it so you don’t get distracted by little wispy hairs or shadows, etc.
  4. Cut out the silhouette along the black sharpie line.
  5. Trace the outline of the image you just cut out onto the back side of the vinyl sheet. It’s a little annoying to trace it again, but using vinyl saves you a lot of touch-up painting in the end since it adheres firmly to the canvas. The first time I did this project, I used a label sheet. It started to slide around once it got wet with paint. It’s still doable with a label sheet; but your lines are way crisper with a vinyl sheet.
  6. Paint the canvas. This is the second color you’re using. In my case, this is always a bright, fun color. Wait till the paint dries.
  7. Paint a second coat (if desired). 
  8. Remove the vinyl.
  9. Admire your handiwork. And touch up any blobs if necessary. 

You can find step-by-step photos here. Someday, I’ll re-photograph the whole process…but for now, if you need visuals, enjoy a trip deep into my archives. 🙂

Summer Art Projects for Kids

Last summer, I started a fun art project with my kids. We came up with a list of 50 easy, fun art projects all the kids would enjoy. We have most of the stuff for the art projects, so when we need a cure for Summer Boredom Syndrome, we pull out the art project list. (Get the printable list here!) And I’m back this summer to show you some of our favorite projects from the list.

Race Car Painting

Painting with race cars is quick and easy to throw together at a moment’s notice. Just grab some toy cars (it’s best if you can find some with different tire sizes/patterns), some craft paint (any type of acrylic paint works well and washes up easily, and some paper. 

Let the kids drive the cars around and see what they come up with! This is a project my kids ask to do all the time. 

Bouncy Ball Painting

Painting with bouncy balls is another one of our favorites. Can you tell I like to paint with toys? 😉 But my 10-year-old loves this project, too because it gets a little wild. We do this project outside on our picnic table; but the sidewalk or driveway would be perfect, too. Same thing here: acrylic craft paint is perfect. Grab some bouncy balls and a paper plate or two. Suqeeze the paint onto the paper plate and roll/dip the ball with paint. Then throw it at the paper. Somehow this activity always turns into a dodge the paint-bomb as well as creating a fun art project. If you did this with a roll of butcher or kraft paper, it would make a fun gift wrap for summer birthdays, too. 

Salt + Watercolor

And finally, we have salt paintings. This one is kind of like a fun science experiment and an art project at the same time. Start by drawing a picture with white school glue. Outlines work best. If you get a big puddle, it kind of turns into a blob. But you want a nice, thick line of glue. Next sprinkle the entire glue drawing with salt. I prefer coarse crystals; but table salt works great, too. While the glue is still wet, grab some watercolor paints and get to work! Load your brush with paint and water and gently touch it to the salt crystals. The salt pulls the water and paint right out of the brush and it spreads across the surface of the painting. Let the paintings dry overnight, and display them with pride! 

Get the Look: Banana Leaf Print

Banana Leaf print. It’s everywhere. This article from online interior designers Laurel & Wolf inspired me to give it a whirl. I don’t typically decorate with large patterns, so this was a great way for me to get out of my comfort zone. Just for fun, I challenged myself to style the pattern in three different rooms. I’m so excited with the results. Let’s start with the bedroom: Banana Leaf-02If we’re using banana leaf wallpaper, we need to start with the original. This pattern is the one used in the Beverly Hills Hotel; which is where it all began. I would do one focal wall with the wallpaper, and opt for a softer off-white paint for the rest of the room. I kept all the furniture and accessories really neutral and threw in some black and white pillows and a geometric chandelier to make it a little more playful. I think this would make an especially inviting guest room.

Shop this Look: Wallpaper | Painting | Chandelier | Nightstand | Stripe Pillow | Dalmation Pillow | Lamp | Bedding | Bed


Banana Leaf-01

And now we’re on to the dining room. Statement curtains are the main attraction here. I love the way the banana leaf print pairs with pinks and corals. I opted for a table with clean lines, some comfy chairs and added a glam chandelier for some extra sparkle. I’d keep the walls light and airy and throw in some gorgeous, colorful artwork and some casual vases to make it a little less formal.

Shop this Look: Curtains | Chandelier | Paint | Vases | Artwork | Chairs | Dining Table

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This bathroom is my favorite. I love it so much, I may actually use it for my kids’ bathroom. The banana leaf print feels fresh and new in a large-scale watercolor. I’d keep the towels and accessories pretty simple here so there’s not too much going on in such a small space. A black claw-foot tub keeps the room from looking too theme-y; and some classic vintage-inspired hardware and wall sconces and a sparkling recycled glass countertop complete the look. 

Shop this Look: Shower Curtain | Towels | Countertop | Bath Fixtures | Basket | Wall Sconces | Bathtub

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If you’re not ready to go big with the banana leaves, you can always add a pop of the tropics here and there. I especially love the way Lulu & Georgia incorporated their banana leaf pillow with the other colors in this cheerful room. (image via Lulu & Georgia) Here are some other ways you can test-drive the leaf craze to see if it works for you: 
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  1. Throw Blanket 
  2. Thank You Notes
  3. Art Print
  4. Throw Pillow
  5. Notebook
  6. Watercolor Art Print
  7. Vintage Side Chair

There you have it. I have to admit…I didn’t think I could pull off styling three rooms with tropical prints; but I actually really love them. I’m itching to grab a sledgehammer and get started on my kids’ bathroom. I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out. 

UPDATE: The nice folks over at Laurel & Wolf have offered all of my readers a 50% discount on their classic design package. Just use the code MEMDAY at checkout!

Spring-Inspired Front Porch

Guys! It’s Spring! We’ve had lots of those proverbial April Showers lately; so I’m sure those May flowers are going to be AWESOME. My phlox is blooming like crazy, the weather is warming up and the air smells sweet. My friends at Wayfair wanted to know how my love of spring inspires my home projects. Spring is the time of year that I start turning my attention from the inside of the house to the outside. All winter long, I work on interior projects–painting, rearranging, organizing, etc. And once spring arrives, I can’t wait to brush off the dirt left behind by Ol’ Man Winter and breathe some life back into the exterior of our home. 

Spring Inspired-01Last spring, I sanded down our old, weathered wood front door and gave it a fresh coat of paint. I decked it out with a fancy doorknob and a handmade wreath. The results of that simple makeover make me so happy every time I pull into my driveway. Now that spring is here again, it’s time for me to wipe down the door, freshen up the wreath and grab a new door mat…and then I’ll start planting flowers. I really like to keep my planters simple so the flowers can take center stage. And I’d love to change up my house numbers, and maybe even my exterior lanterns this spring. It’s really amazing the big impact small changes can make.

BeforeHere’s a before shot of my sad, cracked and yellowed front door. Since I never really planned for this to be a before/after project…so you get to take a walk with me down memory lane to see a picture of my blurry, barefoot babies jumping off the front step. I can’t believe how tiny they were when we moved here! 

And here’s the after:

Door After

I decided to save thousands of dollars by sanding and painting the door myself rather than replacing the door completely. Our exterior is very, very brown; so I like the addition of a little bit of classic navy. Seeing the big impact this little project has inspires me to take on a few more projects this spring. 

I’ve created a little inspiration board here for you on some quick, easy ways you can freshen up your front porch for spring. Here’s a shopping list:

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 So there you have it! Make sure to check out all the other outdoor goodies Wayfair has for your spring makeovers. Happy Spring, Everyone!