Washi Tape Saved My Butt.

It’s true, too.  Rescued!

I’m going to level with you guys, I don’t work in a particularly linear fashion.  I wanted to be the kind of blogger that could be all, “I’m going to do the den this month!”  And then of course: do that den, in just a month, and be able to show off how fantastic it turned out at the end of a mere four weeks.  I guess I envy those bloggers a little.  The real deal is that I can’t just do one room, and only one room until it’s allll done– as much as I might like to– that, alas, is not my process.

(You can click any photo twice to see it larger/ on a black background.)

Elephant Prints, Before

Elephant Prints, Before

A big part of this is because I’m a thrift shopper.  I can’t demand to have found the things I’m looking for by a certain date.  It doesn’t work like that, unfortunately.  I have to use what I get when I get it, and hope that eventually it all comes together enough that I can pretend that it is “done.”  (Are we ever really done?  This is a post for another day.)

As far as I’ve mentioned to ya’ll, I’m *supposed* to be working on Fox’s room.  And actually, I am.  I’ve been custom-making him window coverings and matchy bedding for his bunk beds, and progress on that stuff isn’t pretty, or worth teasing you with before it’s all done.  It’s actually quite boring, even (or especially) for me.  It’s slow going, and I’m plodding along nicely at it, but it isn’t showy or fun to discuss,unfortunately.

But other things are fun to discuss!  Sewing on dull bedding cannot sustain me alone, so I have also been crafting on more-fun projects intended for other rooms, which is were the non-linear thing comes back in…  I have  been “cheating” on Fox’s room with other rooms of the house, so to speak.  This following transformation would be something for the master, so only one room over.  I mentioned back in January in a “Score of the Week!” post ( www.lovenestdesign.com/score-of-the-week-19/ ) that I’d picked up a couple of framed elephant prints.  I liked them, but I had hesitations.  I said in that post:

When I found this duo of elephant prints, I immediately registered that they were all of the same colors from our room and its central fabric piece….  Lots of orange, purples and aquas in both, so that is great.  I also like the fact that they’re elephants– an animal I reeeally do admire, I think they’re amazing– and elephants are certainly suggestive of the exotic.  The square format is good, I actually like that, and the framing is clearly higher quality, they are quite hefty and well-done.  The problem?  I think they’re sort of dated.  They have a very early-90s feel to them, and not in a way I find hip or trendy, as if I were following that fad anyway.  And I reeeally hate the gold frames, they just feel sooo flashy and attention-getting to me.  (Completely a personal taste thing, though, if David Bromstad’s pinterest boards are any indication– glossy gold is about to be back, *big time.*)  I will admit, I almost put them down.  The price of three dollars each is so great though, I rationalized that even if I took the elephants out and used them in a collage or something, those frames were worth more than three bucks each.  Which is true.  I brought them home, and I’ve propped them up where I can look at them, and I have an idea.  I think I can ‘fix’ them to where I love them, and pretty easily too.  I’ll update ya’ll on the finished look when they’re done and I finally have another camera.

Elephant Prints, After

Elephant Prints, After

So guess what– I’m done and I have another camera.  I followed my idea, and I’m showing you my process– in case this inspires you to transform something of your own, you have some idea where to start.   This project is a *perfect* example of how being flexible, thinking on your feet, and willing to try something in a pinch might work out in your favor.

Assorted Trapped Dirts

Assorted Trapped Dirts

***  My first step was to get some glass cleaner and give the whole shebang a good scrubbin’.  I wanted to clean them up as best I could and give them a fair evaluation before I decided how to proceed.  While the magic marker came of the glass quite easily, there were a couple of things that in the end I had issue with.  First– and this was major– those mats were sooo creamy.  I’ve been painting over so much dirty-creamy in this house, ya’ll, creamy just raises my hackles a little.  It’s sort of on auto-gross for me, right now.  And the frames were sooo brassy-bright.  Nothing I have is really shiny-golden.  That’s not a direction I usually go to in home decor, really, I don’t have much metallic and what I do is chromey or silvery, mostly.  And then there were other issues, like a visible serial number peeping out of one corner of the frame (printed on the glass!), as well as trapped particulate grit I could not reach….  I thought about taking them apart and decoupaging the mats, but flipping them over scared the bejeezus out of me.  Um, no, that looks *hard.*  They were professionally framed, to the point where they’re kind of a fortress.  Or a puzzle.  Or a mystical elephant-puzzle-fortress, hiding the secrets of the desert doom.

Taping Over The Elephants

Taping Over The Elephants

No really, I’m lazy.  They looked complicated, and my ensuing idea allowed me to keep bein’ lazy.

***  Looking at the design really closely, I decided that I didn’t mind the little slice of underneath matting, it was just the double-stack and expanse of it that I found bothersome.  I chose some lines already present in the design to follow, and proceeded to block out the area I wanted to keep exposed.  In doing so, I took some nice Scotch Blue painter’s tape, and I slowly and deliberately taped off my perimeter, overlapping the corners with too much tape.  I then took a straight edge and a craft knife, and I scored the lines where the tape overlapped on the corner, carefully peeling up the excess tape and gently sticking the corners back down.  Once I had the area framed out, I filled in the centers of the squares, making sure there were no exposed areas or bubbles.  After my art was completely taped off, I went over the masked area to be sure that it was completely gap-free and adhered to the glass, pressing down everywhere.  And then I went over my remaining exposed glass area (the creamy mats and frames) with a wee bit more glass cleaner.  (I didn’t want to risk my paint adhering differently from the oils of my hands or whatever.)

Right After Painting

Right After Painting

***  Carrying them carefully by their hangers in the back, I took them outside to my painting area, laid them down, and gave them both a smooth coat of spray paint, one in bright orange and one in turquoise.  (There are many tips and tricks on spray painting– too many for me to go into at this time, but if you are a novice I would suggest reading up a little first, this could be on the “more sensitive” side, as projects go.  I wish I had done this.)  Mainly, I would say try to keep your can of paint a steady distance from the thing you’re painting, and keep it moving.  Shorter, light “strokes” of color are better than a steady jet of paint.

*** After I had given them plenty of dry time, I brought them in and proceeded to carefully peel my masking tape from the glass.  I will say, I have not spray painted glass a lot.  This is kind of a ‘wing it’ project, and all that is fine, you can’t learn if you don’t experiment.  However, if I hadn’t been in such a darn hurry to see what this would look like when it was done, it might have occurred to me to look up some tips on spray painting glass.  I got completely through the peeling of the tape on the blue one, it looked *fabulous.*  I was peeling up the orange one, and I literally got to the VERY LAST STRIP OF TAPE, when my Scotch Blue lifted some orange, and peeled up three little areas of paint.  Ugh.  Ya’ll, so in the middle of the whole darn thing, right near the elephants.  So obvious!  So– visible!

Elephant Print, After

Elephant Print, After

Weeeeell, “Bad word!” that’s what I said, I did.  So, so mad because this is not the kind of project where you can just tape it all off again, and go in and “touch up” the spray paint or whatever.  I had pretty much farked  it all up at the very end.  Not happy.

***  This is where the washi tape saving my butt comes in.  I have a ton of the stuff– I’ve been collecting it manically, and a good thing too– I had a lot to choose from for my project.  I ended up “matting off” the area around the elephant prints, covering over my little gaffe and creating a really pretty, layered, exotic feel in the end.  Yeah, uh, like I meant to do that!  The only tip I will give you with this part is to be careful to not let your tape touch the painted area while you’re carefully aligning where to stick it down.  You don’t want to accidentally lift *even more* paint in the process!  The two times mine landed was in that open, exposed center over the elephants, but it really could have been a secondary panic situation!

The final result actually looks far better (in my estimation) than the turquoise one had looked in its “finished” state without the tape– so that really does make it a happy accident.  The error forced me to do some steps I wouldn’t have thought to otherwise, so I’m happy it happened.  I’m also quite glad I had an easy answer to my little snafu– in the form of another excuse to use washi tape, no less!  Yayyyy!  I cannot wait to figure out where in the master bedroom to hang these!

You'd Never Know I'd "Messed It Up," Would You?

You’d Never Know I’d “Messed It Up,” Would You?


 


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