Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Your One Wild and Precious Life

I really really hate to admit this to the world wide web, but... every once in a while, I have a "craft fail". I'm not gonna lie... it shakes my confidence a little. (Check out an awesomely bad site full of craft fails at

Anyways, let me tell this story from the beginning. We have this awkward wall spot in our living room area. It's near a corner and sort of high and skinny.

I try to find stuff for that area whenever we go out, but nothing has fit quite right yet. Then I saw this in a house tour at Made by Girl:

I loved the canvas and stencil look. I didn't think the silver and gold would work at our place, but I thought that silver and teal might look good. I decided on this great quote by Mary Oliver that I picked up over at Enjoying the Small Things. This is where I started to mess things up...

I was really eager to get started with the project so I started skipping stuff I shouldn't. I bought a canvas and just assumed I had the right paint (cause I have a ton of paint). I got home to discover that I had the right colors but not the right types. I had silver spray paint and teal acrylic paint. So even though I knew it was a bad idea, I just went for it. Here's what I got:

The edges of the spray painted half were too fuzzy and I wasn't crazy about the contrast between the two colors. The silver looked too gray and cold. I basically just didn't like it at all. So, now that I've admitted it... let's start all over again.

1. Pick a quote, font and color(s). I feel really inspired by this one:

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
-Mary Oliver

It helps me remember to take risks and see every day as an adventure. I took a slight creative liberty for this project. The original quote is in the form of a question, but since the font I wanted to use (Boston Traffic) doesn't have commas or question marks, it didn't read quite right on the canvas. So, I turned it into a statement: "Tell me what it is you want to do with your one wild and precious life." I loved the teal color on the first canvas; it's so saturated and dynamic. I decided to do the whole thing in teal the second time around.

2. Make a stencil. You could use a plastic stencil from Michaels, but you'd probably have to let every letter dry individually and I don't like to guess about the spacing or trace and then paint more carefully. So, I used Adobe Illustrator to set up a paper stencil in the right size for the canvas. Then I taped the pieces together and cut out the letters with an exact-o knife. After all the letters are cut out, line your stencil up with your canvas and tape it down so it's secure.

3. Paint! I used a sponge brush and Apple Barrel acrylic paint in "Laguna". Make sure your sponge is clean and dry. Dab straight up and down and try not to brush side to side, so that your letters don't bleed. When you're done, pull your stencil straight up while the paint is still wet and put your canvas somewhere clean to dry. Afterwards, you can paint the sides of your canvas to give it more dimension if you want to.

4. Hang your canvas. Once you decide where on the wall you want to put your canvas, you can get to hanging. Here's a little trick Jake taught me for simple, light jobs like this. Put one small nail in the wall at the level you want to hang your canvas, then grab a second nail, a ruler and a small level. Put the nail under the ruler and the level on top and move your nail up and down until it is level with the other one. Then use it to make an indentation so you can know where to hammer in the second one. Easy, right? Throw your canvas on the wall and voila!

After doing this project, I've come up with one more idea I want to do with this space. I'm really excited about putting it up, but I've learned my lesson about rushing, so I'll show you as soon as I get it done!


  1. love that quote and the art is awesome too! (found via 1PT) ~*S*~

  2. Seven Sisters - I read your blog! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! It's so fun to get comments from new people (yes, I know that sounds dorky). <3

  3. love this quote, and your canvas is great, too!

  4. It looks pretty awesome! Although, I liked the little bit of fuzzy in the first one...

  5. Have you tried freezer paper stenciling? It's awesome!

  6. Hi Tobi and Jake! Hope you're having the Best Time Ever in Corfu (We love it there! If you can hire scooters and make it into the mountains you should!)
    I just wanted to let you know I was linking back here, 'cause you totally inspired me with this.
    The link is here if you want to check it out.