People always assume my house is covered with murals.  The fact is, I’m usually painting a wall for someone else and I’m quite indecisive when it comes to my own decor.  That said, I have dreamed of the day I would get to design and paint my own nursery, and the time has finally come!  I thought I’d document some of the process in case in of you DIY folk out there would like to try your hand.  And yes, I’m fully aware that you can buy a vinyl decal these days, slap it on the wall and voila…but where’s the fun in that?  This technique will show you how to take a simple sketch, blow it up, and transfer it to the wall.  All you’ll need is a pencil, some paper, painters tape, acrylic paint, good brushes, and a steady hand.

Since our nursery was already blue, I decided long before we found out we were having a boy that rather than repaint the whole room, we’d go with an Under the Sea theme.  (some of you may recall a similar project I worked on a few years back…click!)  Our nursery is small, so I wanted a focal point over the crib, and decided an Octopus would be fun to paint…

Mural Sketch

I sketched a few options with my favorite color scheme (blue and yellow-green with accents of red-orange) and chose the version with the white undersides to balance out the white in his sailor cap.

Next I scanned my tiny sketch into photoshop and printed him out to scale on regular letter sized paper.  In the past, I’ve been known to free-hand a mural or two, but in the interest of keeping my proportions and minimizing the amount of touch ups needed, an enlarged template is never a bad idea.

Octopus Mural Painting Step by Step Instructions

Yep, that’s my big ole belly making a cameo.

After putting all the pieces back together with tape, I flipped over the template and used the side of my pencil to roughly apply graphite to the black lines visible through the paper…

Graphite Transfer Mural Technique

It doesn’t have to be perfect, in fact it’s best if you go a little outside the lines here.  The more graphite applied, the better it will transfer to your wall.

Graphite Transfer for Mural Painting Template

Next, tape your template to the wall using painters tape.  You can move it around until you get it just where you want it…

Octopus Mural in Progress Graphite Transfer

I measured our crib and marked the height with those little pieces of painters tape to make sure that Ocho (yes, that’s his name) would be properly placed without being cut off.

Next, I took my pencil and traced over the black lines, applying medium pressure.  This will transfer that messy graphite to your wall.  Before you remove your template completely, be sure to sneak a peek and make sure that all of your lines transferred nicely.

DIY Graphite Pencil Transfer Technique for Mural Painting

The lines will be faint, but they are there!  Those little white spots are patched holes where we had nails from other artwork prior to making this the mural wall.  To save myself from touching up blue paint, I strategically placed Ocho’s arms in the areas where the holes were.

Now it’s time to prime…and prime some more….and some more after that…and some more after that.  Trust me, you don’t want to skip this step if you’re planning on painting a colored wall.  It will save you LOTS of time in the long run.  I used Killz low VOC primer that we had on hand from another project.  (with windows open for good ventilation of course)

Priming Octopus Nursery Mural

Now that you’ve laid quite the foundation, it’s time to start painting the fun stuff. I always paint from the background to the foreground.

Ocho Underpainting

I kept my sketch of Ocho nearby for reference.  Oh and I won’t lie…yellow-green, though one of my favorite colors, usually requires many, many coats for a nice opaque layer…this green took 4 coats to cover well…I’d probably still be applying coats if I hadn’t primed!

Octopus Nusery Mural with Sailor Hat and Starfish

Here he is!  Spots and all!  I’m really happy with how he turned out!  He’s bright (no pastels for my baby) and he’s the perfect size for over the crib…measuring roughly 3 feet tall by 4.5 feet wide.  I won’t lie, he was definitely time consuming…roughly 20 hrs, start to finish, but totally worth it!

Octopus mural over crib nursery mural painting

The best part?  He’s completely custom for our lil man.

I’m sure I’ll be adding some additional features to his room as time goes on, but for now, this is about all I have in me…(and standing on a ladder probably isn’t too terribly safe for a pregnant woman anyway)

I’d love to see some pics of your own DIY murals, and hope this little tutorial gives you a few tips to help you create something really spectacular!

My sweet cousin Rebecca is getting married this year and I have the honor of standing in her wedding.  I hosted a bridal shower back in December and wanted to share some of the handmade details with you.  While I still struggle with my baking skills (I spilled an entire tray of cupcake batter in my preheated oven, total mess!)  I relish any opportunity to get crafty with pretty little things.  Here goes…

DIY Paper Rosettes

I started with paper rosettes, constructed with sturdy papers found at World Market.  For a tutorial on how to make these super easy gems, see my guest blog for Be@Home.

Image

Next, I printed the lettering onto card stock, used a circular punch to keep them uniform, and adhered them to the rosettes with a dab of hot glue.

Love is Sweet Wedding Banner Paper Rosettes

The finished piece reads “Love is Sweet,” though my photo doesn’t do it justice.

Image

To compliment the custom banner, I cut corners and purchased these hanging decorations from Party City.

Custom Calla Lily and Daisy Bridal Shower Invitations

I had the most fun designing her custom shower invitations.  Her wedding flowers will incorporate yellow calla lilies and daisies, so I painted a simple floral swag to adorn the invitations.  (I wasn’t kidding when I said I was hooked on custom florals!)

Custom monogrammed keepsake box - Advice for the Bride

In lieu of a guestbook, I painted the couple’s wedding monogram on a keepsake box, and had guests write their “Advice for the Bride” onto little wooden hearts.  It may look fancy but all you need to recreate this monogram are some letters printed on paper, a sheet of carbon paper to trace the letters onto your surface, a good brush, and a little bit of paint!  If you don’t have a sturdy hand, make your monogram with larger block style letters.  For the last little detail, I used a scrap piece of handmade paper to line the inside of the box.

Calla Lily and Daisy Thank You Notes Vintage Inspired

I thought long and hard about favors.  I have received so many favors in the past that just get tossed in a drawer and long forgotten, so I wanted guests to have something they could actually use.  My solution was to print coordinating Thank You notes and bundle them with scrap ribbon I had in the studio.

Bridal Shower food table

Last but not least, the spread!  I purchased the little sugar flowers from Sweet Edibles to dress up the cupcakes.  The cake stand in the middle was a “I can’t stop myself purchase” from our local Humane Society Thrift Shop (seriously, $4 and all I had to do was change out the ribbon!)  The vintage embroidered tablecloth came from my friend and expert vintage scout, April Joy’s shop The Mint Green Tag Sale.

Image

Pam, Mother-of-the-Bride, Sierra, Robin, and Elizabeth

Image

The glowing Bride-to-Be and me!

We’re already  hard at work with details for the Big Day, so be sure to check back for more handmade wedding goodness!

I’ve worked up more paper goods for family and friends this year than ever before.  It’s an honor to me to be trusted with their special announcements, and I do enjoy the extra bit of creative freedom that I can pour into family jobs.  Here’s a round-up of some the goodies I’ve neglected to share…

Fleur di lis Wedding Programs

Bi-fold wedding programs for my darling cousin Rachel.  The custom emblem mirrors the bead-work on her wedding dress.

Fleur de lis wedding invitations by theinklab

I played up the Fleur De Lis, a little nod to her home state of Louisiana.

Magnolia Tree Engagement Party Invitations

Sweet cousin Rebecca was the first to use my Magnolia Tree on her paper goods. Engagement party invitations are just the beginning, you can bet I will have my hands in all sorts of details for her upcoming wedding!

Black Damask and Purple Ribbon Bridal Shower Invitations

Ribbon embellished bridal shower invitations for my soon to be cousin-in-law.  Eggplant has been a HOT color this year!

2012 Graduation Invitations Modern

Last but not least, modern, geometric graduation invitations for Rebecca (yep, it’s a big year for her!)  I wish my graduation invitations hadn’t been so stuffy!  So glad to see graduation invitations getting a bit of modern flair.

I knew 2012 would be a busy year!

I’m listing new wedding paper goods like mad in theinklab! 

Tree Themed Wedding Program Fan

Live Oak Tree Wedding Program Fans – perfect for your rustic outdoor wedding!

Lace Wedding Program Savannah Westin Wedding Photography Diana Daley

Lace Embellished Bi-Fold Wedding Program – a sophisticated and elegant way to add a little frill to your Big Day!

So much more to come!

Lace Program photo courtesy of the very talented Diana Daley.

Aunt Pam and I decided to leave early for Liz’s Bachelorette Party in Hilton Head, we wanted time to decorate the condo and shop prior to the bride’s arrival.

aunt pam and i

We spent most of the day filling my small SUV with vintage bottles, trinkets and glassware from area thrift stores.  (Who knew Hilton Head had that many thrift stores?!)  Then we came across a deal we simply could not pass up.  Two antique mahogany chairs for $15 a piece!!!  (Let it be known that Pam is the good luck charm here, as she is a magnet for fabulous steals)  We told the employees at the thrift store that we’d take 2 for $20 if they could find a way to fit them into our already overflowing vehicle.  There is such a high that comes from finding a quality treasure that just needs a little love to be brought back to life.

DIY antique chair recover

I spent all of 30 minutes recovering it with a 1/2 yard of fabric. ($3.50)  It’s a super easy DIY project, all you need are scissors, a screwdriver, and a staple gun.

Antique Chair Recover Butterfly Pillow

My best friend Leslie sent me this adorable throw pillow from Nordstrom Rack.  I love how the wings wrap around the pillow, and even though you can’t see it, it ties in the blue from my living room.

Bride to be in Hilton Head

Oh and how was that Bachelorette party you might ask?  FABULOUS!  (but I’m only sharing one pic!)  We had quite the story to tell the girls when they arrived…and plenty of money left over from our thrifty shopping adventure to spend on fruity drinks by the beach.

 

 

I still can’t believe my baby brother is married!  AND Nick and I finally get a sister!  Here’s a peek at some of the Rustic DIY Wedding goodness I helped them whip up.

Lofton Creek Outpost at North Hampton Fernandina Beach Florida Gate

The ceremony and reception took place at the Lofton Creek Outpost at North Hampton, Amelia Island.  I couldn’t resist the urge to use the gates to the venue on their wedding invitations…

Lofton Creek Outpost North Hampton Wedding Invitations Rustic

Liz bundled them up pretty with a piece of raffia and had a close friend add the calligraphy on the tags.  Kraft paper envelopes add to that rustic feel and I’m happy to say, I’m now keeping them in stock for all of my rustic brides!

Rustic Wedding Invitation Lofton Creek Outpost North Hampton Florida Twine

Here’s a photo of the bride and groom at their rehearsal.

Bride and Groom rehearsal at Lofton Creek Outpost

So perfect for each other these two!

With everything outdoors, they played up the rustic feel with mason jar lights, canvas drop cloths for tablecloths, and lots of burlap accents.  Here’s a detail of the burlap pennant banner I made for them “Alan ♥ Liz”

DIY Burlap Wedding Banner

Florida can get mighty hot in May, so program fans were a must!

Rustic Wedding Program Fan Lofton Creek Outpost North Hampton Florida Amelia Island

All of their paper goods were printed with chocolate brown and tan archival quality inks, so those mementos won’t fade as the years go by.  Of course they also had a Thumbprint Tree Guestbook, but I had a little too much Sangria to photograph it at the end of the night.

Heather and Big Al too much Sangria

I think Big Al had a little too much Sangria too…lol

Bride and Groom leaving Lofton Creek Outpost North Hampton Sparklers

All in all it was a spectacular night.  Alan & Liz have a wonderful group of friends that helped them pull together their day…so much love and so many details I wished I had captured!  More to come, I’m sure!

Sparkler photo courtesy of Jerrett Dornbusch

Wedding Paper Goods:  theinklab.etsy.com

 

 

A few months ago I hosted an owl themed Baby Shower in his honor.

Owl Baby Shower Invitation

I thoroughly enjoyed making the tissue paper pom poms (thank you Anne for the tips!) and burlap banner.

burlap banner baby shower oh baby

tissue paper pom poms baby shower

Turns out fruit sculpture is pretty fun too.

owl pineapple fruit sculpture baby shower

Making Granny’s famous shrimp salad (from wild Georgia Shrimp that SHE caught) and cake pops, proved a little more challenging for this aspiring domestic goddess. Thankfully, I employee great helpers (and Sam’s chicken salad is actually pretty darn good)

baby shower food table cake pops shrimp salad cumcumber sandwiches

At the time of the shower Rebekah still didn’t have a name for her little man, so we labeled this special Baby Shower themed Thumbprint Tree with a simple “Baby Pearce.”

Baby Shower Thumbprint Fingerprint Tree Guestbook Alternative

Notice the tiny owl on the branch? I couldn’t resist! Oh and I haven’t listed them for sale in my shop yet, but if you would like a Baby Shower Thumbprint Tree Guestbook, just let me know!

Just in time for Easter Bekah and Ben welcomed this sweet bundle of joy into their lives.

Newborn Baby Bunny Ear Hat

Welcome to the world Owen Stewart Pearce!  I can’t wait to to teach you how to color outside the lines and spoil you rotten!