How to make your own Street Art

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ROLL OVER BANKSY… AND APOLOGIES TO DAVE…

I have been preparing for a gallery wall, and wanted to make some of my own artwork for it as well as using existing pieces.

I had started to hunt around for original prints, and found some images I really liked, but the artists’ works are REALLY expensive, and then they would need framing and so on.  So I thought I would pay homage instead and get creative for next to nothing.

I found this very cheeky artwork by Dave Buonaguidi.  He has worked in advertising for over 30 years, founding St. Luke’s, the world’s first Co-operative ad agency and most recently Karmarama in 2000. In 2003 he created the iconic MAKE TEA NOT WAR poster for the anti-war march. It now is part of the collection at the V&A and hangs in the Trento museum of modern art. He loves to make work that creates a reaction.  And this one really is a bit full on, but I like the text over a map.

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Obviously I needed to tone down the wording on my homage to this, I can just imagine the looks of horror from people visiting with kids if I copied the above verbatim!  So this is how I made my own version by changing the working to ‘I bloody love this place’, far less brutal text than the original but still a bit cheeky and a bit ‘English’.  I also have older teenage daughters who would not be offended than younger ones would be, so I think I can get away with it…. maybe… just!?

HOW TO MAKE YOUR STREET ART

I had a vintage framed map of Milan lying around in storage.  It has fond memories for me as I lived there for a few months many years ago, and had a blast whilst there.  So I thought it was a personal piece that I could adapt.  This was going to be the base of the artwork.  I carefully opened it up, and cleaned up the glass on both sides. I measured how much space I had free on the part of the print which would be visible when re-framed.

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Download the free font ‘Marigold’ from fontspace.com, and then you can make any text you want and it is a lovely curly handwritten font.  If you don’t want the bother of making your own document I enclose a pdf you can use but it does have my wording on it, be warned!

I then printed out my wording, in my case on A3 paper as my print is quite big.  Print with black ink.

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My best bargain purchases…

Or, Thank You to charity shops and modern house builders…

As summer slows to a halt and I start moving indoors more, I have started to cast the eye over the house once more.  You know the drill… time to start tweaking and changing and improving.

I have had a bit of a purge recently of overflowing cupboards, and whilst doing it I noticed that a lot of my furniture and household items are bargains bagged from charity shops, auctions and even the odd skip.  Not a lot is new at all, not that I would not love to go on a splurge in some of my favourite shops.

Most items of furniture that I have found have been mainly tall or long, and lingering in junk shops.  We have very high ceilings in our house, so the taller pieces of furniture fit brilliantly and most people cannot fit them into their modern homes.  As long as the basic shape of a piece is good, then it is amazing what some paints effects or a refurbishment can create.  My friend Gaby has the best comment for when a bargain priced item is found, she says “it would be rude not to…”.  Therefore in the politest fashion I can justify snapping things up.

This very tall Victorian glazed mahogany cabinet came from a Charity shop.  No-one else wanted it as it is a whopping 10 feet tall.  I backed the inside of the cupboard with some printed burlap that I had left over from an upholstery project, and it was ready to use.  Total cost £90

In the hallway, this orange-toned pine sideboard was very large and lingering in another charity shop.  A dash of Annie Sloane graphite chalk paint that I already had, and it was transformed.  Total Cost: £80

Whilst at the same shop, I also snapped up this large mirror for just £10, a lick of paint transformed it:

This armoire came from the same charity shop as the tall glazed mahogany cabinet.  A makeover with some leftover chalk paint, and a beautiful wallpaper in the panels turned it into a real gem.  Cost: £40 for the cupboard and £42 for the wallpaper on sale down from £90, (costly wallpaper, but I loved it!).  So a total of £82.

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Vintage Bottles – Labels Freebie

Well, sort of vintage bottles…. they will look it when you are finished.

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I was given a collection of clear glass bottles with corks, (without labels), and was wondering what to do with them.  Perusing online, I found some great old labels which were a whizz to download, print out and use on the bottles.

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Some of the titles are hilarious, I am especially fond of ‘White Oil – For Man and Beast’, what this was used for once upon a time I have no idea?!

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I enclose the files that you can use below, they are jpegs and good enough quality to print out and use yourself.  What will you use them for?

Old Chemist Labels 1Apothecary style labelsOld Chemist Labels 2Old Chemist Labels 3

Chalk Paint on Fabric – Vintage Chair Upcycle Project

FINDING THE RIGHT CHAIR

My mother appeared with a chair a few months back that she had rescued from going onto a bonfire.  It was in a pretty bad way, with ruptured springs, very dark wood which is not really my cup of tea at the moment, and a needlepoint that had definitely seen better days.  She told me I should try and do something with it, so I chucked it into a corner and sort of ignored it!

Before collage

However, I have been itching to try the chalk paint on fabric method, so decided that this should be the guinea pig of a chair, and if it did not work it could always head back to a bonfire.  On the plus side is that it is a pretty shape, and the carvings are actually very good, so it was worth a try.  I had no idea what I was going to do with it, so started out by painting the wood of the chair and sorting out the saggy seat.  I removed the very crusty edging braid and refixed all of the underside webbing elements with my trusty staple gun.

The painting started out in a buff chalk paint, it looked OK with the needlepoint, and if I had waxed it and added dark wax into the crevices it would have been very typically shabby chic.  But I felt I should push it (and myself) more.  So I left it alone for a while and had a think. Continue reading

TV Cupboard makeover

After the recent sideboard makeover, I thought it would be a while before I did another one, but then I was sitting watching TV and realised that this corner of the sitting room is really a mess.  In our old house I had a lovely huge Chinese cupboard that hid the telly, but we could not bring it with us as the dimensions were just too big, so I sold it on to the house buyers.  In this house, I usually hide the TV when it is not on by dragging an armchair in front of it.  The TV sits on an old painted trolley, and it is too big for it, and the machines/wires look plain horrid.  In fact TV’s are really ugly to the point that in both the magazine shoots of my houses, the photographers either asked them to be hidden or removed – so it is not just me that thinks it!

This messy corner irked me so much that it totally ruined my TV viewing, so I started to scour eBay for a quick solution.

I found this little beauty for a bargain £9.99 on ebay, and it was very local so cost nothing for delivery.  It is really well made, but quite old fashioned, and the mahogany was very scratched on the top.  However it does have pretty brass handles.

As I loved the effect of Graphite Annie Sloan chalk paint that I used on the recent sideboard, I whacked on a coat to the TV unit, and then clear wax to finish and seal it.  They look like mummy and baby now…

I then hid all of the wires and TV boxes inside and placed it in the sitting room corner instead of the messy trolley that had been there before…

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Phew, I can now relax and watch the TV rather than staring at the wires and mess around it……. such is the life of a slightly OCD decorating person…

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Junk shop mirror makeover

another bargain find

Whilst buying the sideboard for a makeover, I found this mirror at the back of the same shop. For bargain price of £10 I snapped it up.  I had been hunting for one for my guest room that I recently did a makeover on.

It is dark, badly varnished and very large.  But the frame within a frame and shape is interesting, and it has carved details as well.  Hmmm… potential I thought.  And for £10 It would be rude not to…

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Large and with a good shaped frame

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Carved roses joining the two frames

I had been looking for a large mirror for the Guest room makeover I did recently, and this looked like it could really work.  I had spotted a couple in OKA with insert frames that I loved on a recent visit, but it they were so expensive that I just could not justify it….

on with the paint

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The humble Moppe drawers

a universal product

I had a family member visiting us once from Australia, and their small daughter pointed at some IKEA Moppe drawers in our house and she chirped ‘We’ve got those at home’…  We also had the same plastic kids mugs and flower plates, so I am sure she felt comforted by those worldwide IKEA staples! I love the fact that all over the world, the Moppe boxes are uniformly used in homes to tidy away bits and bobs.  Those cunning swedes have also given a creative outlet to many upcyclers and hackers witih this humble product.

I was needing to tidy up my overspilling art supplies and grabbed a couple of Moppe boxes at IKEA last week.  On their own they are pretty basic, but with a bit of imagination they can be transformed with minimal cost and fuss.

DECOUPAGED MOPPE

So I looked around at the Moppe situation in my home.  In the house I already had these Moppe drawers which I had customised for my daughter last Christmas and each drawer had a gift in it… (note: bit of a pain as I found out as only little things fit inside, even a make up tube was a challenge).

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Geriatric picture frame makeover…

The Husband likes to attend car boot sales…  Bit too early for my own tastes, although he does bring home some nice old saws for me to upcyle now that he is trained… and I get a lie-in, a wake up coffee and the Sunday papers along with his latest proffering at a civilized hour too, so all is well.

However, yesterday he appeared with some HIDEOUS pictures!!!!!  They are nautical oil paintings in gnarly frames, but a bargain at £1 each.  He was very pleased with his purchase, and wants them up in the house somewhere, (not that we have much wall space going, and they are not really going to sit alongside the Tracey Emin or Julyan Davis pictures that well…).

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So an upcycle was in order after a lengthy discussion that went somewhere along the lines of:

HUSBAND:  “Look!  These are quality!  They will look great hung up, I love them…”

WIFE:  “Over my dead body matey…”

And so on and so on.  We needed to reach some sort of compromise so I decided to at least have a go at making them look better.

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The actual oil paintings are not too bad when out of the frames so I tried to find paint for the existing frames to bring out the colours in the scenes.  I found some duck egg blue and taupe chalk paint in a cupboard, (yes, it’s an Annie Sloane moment again), to compliment the tones in the oils, then applied two different shades of wax to tone down the colours, and actually they now look much better.  It took all of an hour, and equilibrium now applies to marital bliss.

Instructions:

1.  Remove oils from frames

2.  Sand down frames if they have any lacquer on (the inner frames did on these ones)

3.  Apply a couple of coats of Chalk Paint (although I think any paint will suffice), and find colours to bring out the tones of the painting as well as to compliment your decor scheme.

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4.  When the paint is dry, first apply a coat of clear wax.  Then add a smidgeon of darker wax straight away and blend in to create an overall darker tone/patina.  Don’t overload the rag or it will end up looking very french shabby chic as the dark wax will get stuck in any crevices.

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5.  Buff to a soft sheen.  Replace pictures in the frames and stand back to admire your amazing handiwork!

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Painting a Piano – Before and After

My friend Anne-Marie has been given a piano, and although it is in tune and plays well, it was a bit battered around the casing and woodwork.  It is also very dark brown and stood out like a sore thumb in their living room which is very calm in design.  So she asked me to have a go at painting it to make it blend better into the room.  The room has pale creams, greys and a sage green in it, so I took those colours and used them on the piano.  We ‘ummed’ and ‘ahhed’ about using decoupage, but as the piano will be situated next to curtains with a strong and graphic pattern, so we felt it better to leave it simple.

before

A lovely, but very dark piano

The piano was sanded back to get a really good key, especially on the lids and music stand which would get heavy use.  Then a base of Country Grey Chalk Paint by Annie Sloane was applied all over the piano:

Base of Country Grey

Base of Country Grey

Certain areas were picked out in Olive chalk paint, such any as rims and edges with horizontal lines on the lids and legs:

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Horizontal mouldings in Olive

Finally two coats of clear wax were applied and buffed heavily to create a soft sheen, and then the original candlesticks were re-attached.  They have an aged patina which works very well against the new colours:

detail 2Here is the finished piano, which now looks great against the colours of the room and lifts the piano into becoming a stylish piece of furniture in its own right:

after

Armoire Makeover on a tiny budget

Slide1After my last cupboard makeover, I decided to start on another one.  I spotted this cupboard in a Charity shop which was a bargain at only £40.  The quality is great; it has veneered wood to the panels on the front, ball feet legs, a carved pediment, and has immaculate joinery inside.  I guess it to be around the 1930’s.  However it is very solid in colour, and some of the veneer was beginning to flake on the panels.  So I was happy to give it a makeover and not feel bad!

Ornate pediment

Ornate pediment

I am obsessed with ‘Snow Tree’ wallpaper by Colefax and Fowler at the moment, and decided to use the cream colour way on this Armoire.  I managed to source some on Ebay for £42, down from the usual £58.  I already had some Annie Sloan chalk paint in Olive, County Grey and Original leftover from other projects which suited the wallpaper’s colours.

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I painted all large areas of the Armoire except the front panels in Country Grey to start, and the detail mouldings in Olive.  At this point an issue came to light as the right hand door did not have beading on the inner left side, which would make wallpapering the panel neatly very tricky.  I popped down to the local DIY store and bought a piece of 180 degree fine wood moulding for £1.80, and with my craft knife I trimmed off the flat edge so it became a pure semi circle.  I then used my best friend, No More Nails, to stick the beading in place and painted it Olive.  Bingo!  Now I had a raised edge to abut the wallpaper so I had a neat edge.

I then added detail to the pediment, feet and any mouldings on the Armoire which were painted Olive, by dry brushing Country Grey very lightly on top.

Finally it was time to wallpaper. I started on the right panel, using wallpaper paste on the paper and letting it soak in for a good 10 minutes before pasting to the panel.  I fold the paper onto itself as well so the paste does not dry out when this soaking period takes place.  I then hung the paper, trimmed it to fit exactly into the space using a pair of sharp scissors, (I find craft knives always tear wet paper).  A damp sponge then smoothed it into place.

To paper the left hand panel, I mentally ignored the two pieces of beading that separate the wallpaper and trimmed the wallpaper so it smoothly flowed across the entire front.  Then  it looks like the paper actually runs below the beading.  I then left the paper to dry before the next steps.  Time for a coffee!

Time for a coffee break while the paint dries.

Time for a coffee break.

The wallpaper has a very distinctive background of dragged paint marks whereas my paint to the Armoire was solid, so I decided to emulate the effect on the front of the armoire edges to match.

IMG_1082On a plate I put a blob of Country Grey, and one of Original white and poured a little water on top of all.  Then using a rough and stiff paintbrush I gently painted lines in both colours on top of all the pale paintwork to the front of the Armoire, so it has paler and darker tones.  It is not a total match, but I think it compliments the piece better than a dead flat colour.

Finally I waxed the whole piece where paint had been applied with clear Annie Sloan wax plus buffed it to get a good sheen. I also applied a dead flat clear glaze to the wallpaper to protect it.

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Dragged brushwork to paint

Moulding on pediment highlighted with a lighter tone

Moulding on pediment highlighted with a lighter tone

The Final Armoire

The Final Armoire:  the wallpaper pattern runs smoothly across the front

Sadly I have nowhere for this beauty to go, which is why it is currently standing in my hallway .  I really do not want to let it go!   But for a total cost of £94 I am pretty pleased with the results and hope it inspires people to get creative with wallpapering furniture.