When my friend Sara asked me to make some nursery art for her, I said “Of course!” I thought she’d find something she liked online and ask me to replicate it. Easy as pie. However, her instructions were:
Ok, so I’m wondering if you can paint me two pictures of buttons for the baby room. I can explain it better, but if you look online at Toyland by Kidsline, its the bedroom set we’re going with. They have buttons galore and I want something fun like the buttons but without all of the bears, etc.
As I’m sure some of you Martha Stewarts out there who read my blog have noticed, I usually find inspiration from something someone else has already done. (Usually=99% of the time). I’ll toot my own horn that I can replicate things but I’m a bit slower and much more critical of myself when I have to think up ideas out of thin air. Hence, every painting/drawing I’ve done I have given away to someone — if I had to see it all the time I’d criticize it non-stop!
In this case, I did have the nursery bedding as inspiration:
Sara knew she wanted two pieces of art to hang diagonally above the changing table or dresser. I bought two 12×12 canvases from Michael’s and started with a blue to green gradient on each. Then came the hard part, where my mind went blank. I had a big bag of buttons already, so I knew I’d use them somehow. The next thing I did — which should have been the last thing but I was struggling for inspiration to take hold — was put a line of grosgrain ribbon across the bottom and tops of both canvases and hot glued buttons across it (I apparently didn’t take a photo of this step so you’ll have to keep reading to see it!)
Sara wanted her baby’s name on one of the canvases, and since she gave me creative license to use whatever I wanted except the bear from the bedding, I went with the cute giraffe. I wavered between simply using paint on the whole project — painting the animals and the name — but then with the buttons on top of that I thought it would look too plain. I wanted more texture.
Enter: Scrapbooking Queen-friend-coworker. We brainstormed and I decided to use paper and mod podge on the canvases. If I could just find the right paper pattern for the giraffe, she could cut one out similar to the bedding set’s version. I searched three stores and didn’t find what I wanted, because I’m really picky and I wanted it to MATCH the giraffe:
So, if you can’t find it, MAKE IT. I grabbed my brown paper and hand-drew the giraffe’s shape. Then I took my cream paint and painted the nose (snout? what is it called on a giraffe?) and painted a squiggly-line pattern that matched the bedding set with a fine-tip brush.
I cut it out and placed it onto my canvas.
Consulted Scrapbooking Queen-friend-coworker again, and we decided to cut the words “Cute as a Button” out for the giraffe canvas and that she’d cut out the baby’s name for the other.
Mod podge, mod podge, mod podge. I think I did atleast 5 layers once all the paper was on. I also added “hooves” and a tail to the giraffe. Before the final layer of mod podge, I use black textured paint (the same paint I used for our entryway sign) to make the giraffe’s eye and smile show.
When the last layer of mod podge was dry, the canvas with “Owen” didn’t look finished. I arranged the buttons and hot glued them onto the “O”. Here’s a close-up:
Close-up of the giraffe:
End result! (I apologize for the poor photo quality – I really need to start taking my blog photos with a real camera and not my iPhone.)
Sara received the canvases in the mail yesterday and she claims she loves them!
What do you think?