Curbly Original
How To: Make Super Easy, Super Quick Low-Cost Graphic Art

by Chris Gardner

How To: Make Super Easy, Super Quick Low-Cost Graphic Art

Artwork. For my money, it's the number one way to add personality to a room. Sure, a $25 can of paint can make a big impact, but I'll take a white room with loads of art over boldly painted walls any day.

But, of course, you can't just go to the artwork store and scan the aisles until you find just the right piece of scale and color that matches your decor. Real art takes time to create, and fetches appropriately not-cheap prices, and isn't widely available at the local shopping center. Sure, family photos are nice, and an artfully framed poster will do, but don't you dare head to that kitchen and bath supply shop and paw through the faux-Tuscan paintings.

Instead, make your own. Quickly, easily, inexpensively, and no artistic ability required.

Tools

  • Computer and printer, or pen and paper
  • craft knife
  • spray adhesive
  • spray paint

Materials

  • Staple back canvas, or plywood
  • Contact paper, or sheet vinyl (available with the cutting machines in the craft store)

 

 How To Do It

created at: 07/19/2011

Step

Canvases are usually reserved for fine art: oil or acrylic painters, set up on an easel somewhere, mixing colors on palettes with knifes. But, I think they're great for all kinds of art projects, even those using spray paint. They are, you know...actually, a blank canvas.

I'm not talking high end custom stretched gesso primed stuff that the pros use. I mean the buy one get one free deal at the local craft store. They come in standard sizes, and are always on sale. Never pay full price for one of these...They're usually at least 40% off, or come in some combo deal. If that one major chain doesn't have them on sale, the other one most always does. Look up this week's circular online, and then hit the sales. I got 11 x 14" for $8.00 this week. Deal.

created at: 07/19/2011

Step

Paint your entire canvas with a base coat of a solid color of spray paint. Even if you want your background color to be white, do a coat of white paint anyway. It'll look much more natural, and smooth out any irregularities in the surface.

I used Krylon Dual paint, which is a paint and primer in one. That way, you could do this on canvas, plywood, an old sheet of plexiglass, or even some sheet metal, and you'll get even coverage.

created at: 07/19/2011

Step 

While that coat dries (less than thirty minutes if you put it in the sun), create a stencil for your art. I just printed out a number in a typeface I like onto regular paper, and then laid out my sheet vinyl and traced the outline with the craft knife. You can also print your art directly onto full sheet sticker paper, and cut your design from there.

I've taken to using roll vinyl for stencils. You can get it at the craft store, next to the Cricuts and Cuddlebugs and other machines. It's thicker than contact paper, and repositions a lot easier. It also produces less of those little papercut hairs that always clog my corners. It's not more expensive than contact paper, but it's shorter, so that affects your project size. 

Contact paper, sticker paper, or masking film will all work well here.

created at: 07/19/2011

Step

Affix your stencil to your canvas. I actually like to use a bit of extra spray adhesive here, since contact paper isn't super sticky, and we want to make sure there's no "ghosting" - that little bit of spray paint that can sneak under the edges of a stencil. Press everything flat, guaranteeing your edges are secure, then use painter's tape, newspaper, extra contact paper, etc, to cover the rest of your canvas, including the edges.

created at: 07/19/2011

Step

Go outside and spray your second color. If, after a first coat, the base color still pokes through, like my white on black, don't add more paint just yet. Allow it to dry for ten minutes or so, then do a second coat. You'll find the paint is actually more opaque as it dries, and you'll get nice even coverage.

Allow to dry for another ten minutes, then pull off the stencil. Set somewhere warm to cure.

See?! Custom, graphic art in less than forty-five minutes, and for under $10 for a medium sized piece.

created at: 07/19/2011

I created the multi-colored one using for different stencils, applied to a base coat. This would be super easy using a shaped paper punch from the papercrafting aisle.

created at: 07/19/2011

And I did this two-color dimensional letter J, on a piece of scrap plywood. It looks great with the canvases to switch up the textures.

Spray paint, friends. It works.

 

Thanks to Krylon for sponsoring this project!
Got your own awesome DIY project using spray paint?
 

Continue Reading

Curbly Original
Alternative Uses for Olive Oil: Free Cheat Sheet Download

by Bruno Bornsztein

Alternative Uses for Olive Oil - Cheat Sheet

As part of this month's emphasis on thrift, recycling, and creative re-use, we're giving away a series of alternative uses cheat sheets. These are simple, smartly-designed PDFs based on some of our most popular alternative uses blog posts. Print them out and put one on your pantry door, fridge, or in your junk drawer for easy access. 

Today's download: Alternative uses for Olive Oil

There are two ways to access today's download:

1) Sign up...

Continue Reading

Curbly Original
Reveal: Worn-Out Tricycle Makeover!

by Alicia Lacy

This month, Krylon is sponsoring a series of thrifty, creative DIY projects:

Reveal: Worn-Out Tricycle Makeover!

In Friday's post, I told you all about the process we used to transform a tragically trashy tricycle from the garage-sale "freebie" pile into a custom ride for our toddler.

Using three cans of Krylon Dual spray paint (in white, purple, and watermelon), some custom decals we created using a Silhouette cutting machine, and a new set of wheels, we made a one-of-a-kind...

Continue Reading

Curbly Original
Worn Out Radio Flyer Tricycle Gets an Adorable Custom Makeover

by Alicia Lacy

Last summer, my mother-in-law came across a Radio Flyer tricycle at a garage sale. It was in the "Free" section and she nabbed it, thinking that if it were cleaned up a bit, our daughter Ayla might like to give it a pedal. It sat in her garage for a year until we came upon it a few weeks ago.

Ayla's radio flyer tricycle makeover: before we started the project.
A Radio Flyer tricycle makeover in the making.

This radio flyer tricycle needed some lovin'

It was in a sorry state; discolored, wonky steering, rusty spots, old tires and old cheese...

Continue Reading

Curbly Original
How to Scrape a Painted Window

by DIY Maven

How to Scrape a Painted Window

Yesterday I painted my front door. It has 9 divided lights; such things can make a paint job tricky. I've painted enough window frames in my lifetime to have a definite opinion as to the taping versus scraping question. For me, it's scraping. Let me tell you why. I find taping hugely time consuming, plus, getting the tape just right--especially in the corners--is a pain. AND every time I've taped, I always seem to do some scraping anyway. So, scraping it is. What I like about this method

Continue Reading

Curbly Original
How To: An Easy Solution to Prevent Fly-Away Tablecloths

by Craftmel

How To: An Easy Solution to Prevent Fly-Away Tablecloths

I was at an event recently where the pretty outdoor tablecloths were blowing every which way in the wind, knocking over table settings and just being outright annoying.  The solution the hosts used was to tie the tablecloths onto the table, ruining the table staging.  Let's face it, even those tablecloth clips break up the beauty.  I knew there had to be a solution!  So, with a few scrap pieces of fabric, I came up with a rockin' remedy.  

Continue Reading

Curbly Original
Make It! The Skilsaw Pergola

by DIY Maven

Make It! The Skilsaw Pergola

Hands down the best, easiest and most cost effective way to make a big impact in your outdoor living space is by adding a pergola. Not only do they provide visual interest, they also provide a dappled shady spot in which to relax.

This particular pergola assignment began with some ground rules. First, the pergola had to be affordable to most of us in Curblyland

Continue Reading

Curbly Original
How to: Make a Winsome Wind Chime

by DIY Maven

How to: Make a Winsome Wind Chime

First a short story. Last August I went to a well-regarded local garden center and spent about 40 bucks on a wind chime. After ONE MONTH, this is what it looked like:

created at: 06/15/2011

The wood was split and the finish (yes, it had a finish) was peeling. So, when I determined to design/make a wind chime, I decided early on to use a durable wood. My first thought was to use redwood, but redwood here in the Midwest is hard to come by. Ultimately I went with Ipe. Now, Ipe is not an inexpensive species of wood, (although it is less expensive than teak). A 6' x 6" piece ran me about 40 bucks, but it's virtually indestructible, gorgeous and perfect for outdoor applications.  If, however, your chime will be in a covered area, such as a porch, then plain old pine should work just fine. 

The second criteria for my design was that no knots would show. If you've ever studied store-bought chimes, there's no (or few) knots visible, and if you've ever studied typical DIY chimes, there's knots a-plenty. So, no knots.

Thirdly, I wanted my chime to have some serious resonance. I have other chimes that have a higher tone; this one needed to be deep and rich. 

And finally, I wanted my chime to have a Zen quality. 

Ultimately, I was able to achieve my wind chime goals. With this tute, you'll be able to get the same results too.

Materials:

  • 5 feet of 1/2” copper pipe
  • 4 - 1/2” copper pipe caps
  • 2-part epoxy for copper
  • 3' x 6" Ipe or redwood (Our board width measured 5-5/16” wide. Yours may or not be the same.)
  • Black nylon (We used 36lb test Musky Master found at a local sporting goods store.)
  • Drill 
  • 1/16” & 3/16" drill bits
  • Saw, table or otherwise
  • Pipe cutter
  • 8 - 1 1/4” finish nails and hammer
  • Very fine sand paper
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil

A note on counterboring: To counterbore, we simply used the 3/16" drill bit to drill a relief cavity (about a quarter inch deep) for the knots. 

Step 1: Cut wood into the following sizes:

1 piece at 5 5/16” x 5 5/16”

1 piece at 4 5/16” x 4 5/16”

1 piece at 3 5/16” x 3 5/16”

(These three pieces will be assembled to create our cap.)

Note: If your wood does not measure 5 5/16" wide, just cut the largest piece square and subtract 1” for each of the next two parts.

1 piece at 3 1/2” x 1 3/4” (This will be our wind sail.)

1 piece at 3 1/2” x 3 1/2”. Cut each corner on this piece to fashion and octagon. (This will be our striker.)

created at: 06/14/2011

Step 2: Chamfer the top edges of the 3 squares at 45 degrees using a table saw, router or sander.  (If cutting, always cut the end-grain ends first. The other two cuts will address tear out.) Then chamfer ALL edges of the striker and wind sail.

Step 3: Cut copper pipe into lengths measuring 18”, 16”, 14” & 12”. De-burr pipe ends with sandpaper. (Hint: Very fine sandpaper will take off any ink print that may be on the pipes and make them gleam.)

created at: 06/14/2011

Step 4: Drill 1/16” holes into the center of the 4 copper end caps. Cut 4 lengths of nylon at about 12” each. Thread each into an end cap and knot the end that will be inside the cap. Mix up the 2-part epoxy and glue one end cap onto one end of each length of pipe.

created at: 06/14/2011

Step 5: Mark center of the smallest square you cut in step one and drill a 1/16” hole at that point. Counterbore the underside (the non-chamfered side) of the square to create a cavity to hide a knot. Cut about a foot of the nylon and thread both ends through the hole you just drilled. Knot the ends and tuck the knot into the counterbored hole.

created at: 06/14/2011

Step 6: From the underside, nail the second largest square to the smallest square, referring to the picture below for placement. 

created at: 06/14/2011

Step 7: Now take the largest square and mark the center. Drill a 1/16” hole here as well as at each corner. Use the squares from the last step to determine where the corner holes should be drilled. (The idea is that the square directly above will cover the holes drilled in this step.)

created at: 06/14/2011

Step 8: Counterbore each of these 5 holes on the chamfer side.

created at: 06/14/2011

Step 9: Drill a 1/16" hole at the top (about 1/2” down) of the wind sail.

created at: 06/14/2011

Step 10: Mark the center and drill a hole into the center of the striker. Counterbore one side. 

created at: 06/14/2011

Step 11: Cut about 5 feet of the nylon. Fold in half and thread it through the wind sail. Use a half-hitch to secure. Make a large knot about 15 1/2” up from wind sail. Thread on the striker--counterbored hole down.

created at: 06/14/2011

Step 12: Thread the nylon protruding from the pipe and end caps through the four holes in the corners of the largest block of wood. Thread the two longest pipes in opposite corners; this will help keep your cap level. Pictured below is the UNDERSIDE of the block; the counterbored holes will be facing UP when assembled.

created at: 06/14/2011

Knot each and hide the knots in the counterbored holes. (Our pipes hang approximately 2" down from the cap.)

Step 13: Thread the nylon coming from the striker/wind sail assembly through the center hole in the bottom square (counterbored side is facing down in the picture below).... 

created at: 06/14/2011
 ...and knot well. (Our striker is approximately 7 1/2" from the cap.) Pictured below is the counterbored/knot side of the block pictured above.

created at: 06/14/2011

Step 14: Finally, nail the top two blocks to the bottom block from the underside, hang and wait for a gust of wind. 

created at: 06/15/2011

Continue Reading

Curbly Original
How To: Make a Sandwich Station from a Recycled Drawer

by Miki40

 How To: Make a Sandwich Station from a Recycled Drawer

Let’s begin with a logic experiment:

  1. I am not a morning person.
  2. I love drawers. In fact, it’s a borderline fetish.
  3. I am a mother.

How does 2 help me with 1 even though I am 3? Easy. I made a Drawer Sandwich Station.  My DSS helps me prepare sandwiches for my kids for school in no time.  Everything I need is spread before me, ready to be used, and in less than a minute I am done.    

Continue Reading

Curbly Original
Make It! A Romantic Outdoor Chandelier

by DIY Maven

Make It! A Romantic Outdoor Chandelier

Dining by candlelight indoors is one thing; dining outdoors by candlelight...now that is romantic. In this our third original outdoor decor project for the month we elevate the romance by constructing an outdoor chandelier. 

Note: If using REAL candles in your chandelier, keep in mind the distance of the flame to objects overhead. Add to the chain length in the material's list to compensate or use shorter candles or those of the battery operated variety. 

Materials:

  • 3/4" marine grade plywood, about 2' square
  • 6 - 3" aluminum 'T' caps, found in the ductwork aisle of your big box store
  • jigsaw*
  • 6" chain (You can find this at the hardware store sold by the foot. The links in our chain measured 1/4" wide x 5/8" long.)
  • 1 - 1 3/8" eye hook
  • 3 small eye hooks appropriate for the chain size
  • 1 large 'S' hook
  • Drill and bits to suit eye hook sizes
  • 1 small nail, hammer, string and pencil*
  • pliers
  • 220 grit sand paper
  • level
  • caulk
  • 6 - 3" pillar candles or cylinder vases/jars/bowls, or a combo of each
  • primer
  • paint (outdoor or weather resistant acrylic gloss)

*If you happen to have a router and trammel, you'll want to take advantage of them and use them to complete Steps 1 & 2. 

Step 1: Install the nail at the center of the plywood. Loop a string around the nail and loop it also into a pencil at 4". Use this to draw an 8" circle onto the plywood. Move the pencil out to 8" and draw another circle; this one will be 16" when complete. 

created at: 06/13/2011

Step 2: Using the jigsaw (or router and trammel), cut out the circles to form a ring.

created at: 06/13/2011

Step 3: Prime and paint the ring, sanding between coats. (Fill any gaps along the edges with caulk, if necessary.)

Step 4: Center the 'T' caps around the ring and glue into place using caulk.

Step 5: When the caulk is dry, mark and drill holes with the small bit for the small eye hooks, BUT MARK THE BIT SO AS NOT TO DRILL THROUGH THE RING!!!

created at: 06/13/2011

Step 6: Screw the eye hooks into the holes; use a plier to help if necessary.

Step 7: Open the links of the chain using the pliers to form 3 - 2" lengths of chain. Insert the opened link at the chain's end into the eye hook and crimp shut. Repeat for the other 2 chains.

created at: 06/13/2011

Step 8: Insert the tops of the 3 chains into the 'S' hook.  Use the level to make sure the chandelier hangs level, moving/removing links if necessary. Hang with large eye-hook to appropriate structure/object that will support the chandelier's weight.

created at: 06/13/2011

Step 9:  Add candles, vases/jars/bowls and flowers, hang and enjoy!

See, as pretty in the daytime as nighttime:

created at: 06/13/2011

 

Continue Reading

Curbly Original
Make It! A Rain Chain

by DIY Maven

Make It! A Rain Chain

In our second original outdoor decor project for this month, we're going to make a rain chain! Why? Because they've become a very popular alternative to the utilitarian downspout as a way to direct rain from your gutters to the ground. Search 'rain chain' on the google and you'll see that besides being popular, they can be very expensive. My DIY alternative, however, can be assembled in about an hour and costs around 30 bucks.   

created at: 06/06/2011

Mater...

Continue Reading

Curbly Original
Curbly Roundup: Totally Awesome Mother's Day Cards for Cool Moms

by Chris Gardner

Curbly Roundup: Totally Awesome Mother's Day Cards for Cool Moms

Head's up, friends. Easter is over, spring has sprung, and we're moving on to a whole new season. First up: Mother's Day, which occurs on May 8th this year. To help you celebrate in style, we've asked our friend Carina Murray of Crow and Canary, an artisanal stationery firm based in Portland, Oregon, to share some unique, independently designed and printed cards to share with your cool Mom. Embossed bouquets? No sir.  

Continue Reading