This season I was inspired to do something a little bit different.
In September, when I was able to decorate my bedroom for autumn, I went on YouTube to find tutorials on how to make my moon phase garland together easier on my mom and I. As you now know, this still didn’t really help, all it really did was my parents wish we had done it all homemade like in the video. Anyways, as I continued to look for other helpful ways, I came across four DIYers that just seemed fun and genuine with their personalities. I watched all of them for basically a least a week and afterwards, I became inspired to do a little project myself.
I’m still shocked that I came up with this so quickly, because usually it happens within two days (or nights) to finally figure out how I want everything, but not for this one. I instantly knew what I wanted to do but asking for it proved to me a little scary, because I haven’t done anything as grand as this since I was a senior in high school! I still don’t think what I did was at the same scale considering the fact back then, I made six similar portraits on larger canvases within a week apart from each other. For these projects, there were only three items on slightly smaller surfaces, but the biggest difference is that instead of drawing with pencil, pen, and pastels. I only used pencil to start and eventually acrylic paint.
I am not a painter. I’ve never thought of myself as a painter but since the videos I was watching online were in that media, and that’s how my vision was coming to me, I thought I would take a crack at it.
There was something that my mom told me on the second day that stayed with me throughout the process and made me feel at ease once I started on it again. I wanted to share it here in case anyone reading this is like me, and needs some type of encouragement.
You’re not Picasso, and we don’t expect you to be.
If you want to copy what I did or make something similar, here are the materials you will need:
- Canvas – ours are 12×6
- Acrylic paint – we purchased the prime colors: red, blue & yellow
- Assortment of paintbrushes – I used both thin brushes, one a little bigger than the other
- Paper plates or handy palette
When I officially started on them, I forgot that I never told my dad about what everything was for, and after I asked where the ruler was, he showed me how to actually use one. Honestly, I’m thankful he did it because I’ve never really used them, I usually just estimate and go from there. And after he showed me where the middle was on the first canvas, you could still see my remints on the first time I made my lines and I was off by a couple of inches! My dad was pretty impressed by it and so was I!
So, we measured the border first, and with all of my patience, I did miss the mark a couple of times, but in order to make it more about fun, I had to tell my ego to shut up to make myself keep going, especially when I got to doing the measurements for the big item that all three will have and that was a large triangle or Christmas tree in the center of the canvas. Once I figured out everybody’s shapes, I took pictures for both proof and to show you the process as I continued on this artistic journey.
The next day, I went back to it and was utterly excited to get my toes dirty!
Despite knowing I’m not a painter, I still freaking love it! It’s like glitter but more liquid-y…
Anyways, I thought the best decision would be painting all three trees first and then move on. My mom poured out my blue and yellow onto my plate and I started mixing it with the end of the brush I was going to use first and I wasn’t necessarily happy with the color that appeared first, it was more blue-green and as pretty as it was, it obviously wasn’t the shade I was going for, so I grabbed the yellow again and undid the cap and put the container on its side and squeezed with all of the strength in my feet to get a small amount of paint. Once I got what I wanted, I mixed it all again and I ended up with a very green color and it still had a little blue but it wasn’t as noticeable as the first color, so that was good for me!
I got to painting the sides of the first, I used my homemade desk that my dad made for me back in October. However, everytime I went to turn it around I would end up with more paint on my toes than I liked because that meant, it wasn’t sticking and I would have to go back over it with a second coat. Well, as I let that one dry, I looked around my room to see if I had anything to help fix this problem. So, I have another, older foam box that I have used in previous DIYs and I really needed an easel and my thought was I could prop each one up so I could see everything and allow it to dry a little bit before turning it over. The only issue was, I didn’t have anything to put underneath the canvases to make sure I don’t make a bigger mess than I was, and I grabbed my sunflower rug and flipped it upside down so that I wasn’t ruining the pretty side and this turned out to the second best idea I had that day.
Once I got everybody arranged, I was moving pretty quickly but I have found my absolute weakness with painting: borders. It wasn’t the paint this time; since I made “proper” measurements with a pencil, staying within that area was a bit difficult, but I refused to let it get to me in the end. After all of the borders were a royal blue, I got to work on giving each tree a decoration of some sort with using ideas I found on both YouTube and Instagram.
The main objective to these projects was to make them as different as possible. So, the first one looked absolutely gorgeous! There were no mistakes at all, but the other two: well, the second has one side bigger than the other and the third actually looks like a tree with branches as I was running out of green paint and it turned out better than I expected it to be. This one is actually my mom’s favorite, so go figure! I left everybody to dry for the day before I moved on to the decorations!
For the most part, I used the pencil to create the star on the first project in the way I know how and even though the yellow we had was light, after splashing two coats in that small space, it covered up the guide. I pushed it to the side to dry before doing the trucks, and I did the next with ornaments. Now in my original idea, I was only going to put three in different sizes but once I grabbed the pencil, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. The first trick I found was using the back of a pencil (I got really creative and used the back of my red colored pencil!) or small lid and just coat the flat surface in whatever paint you’re using and pressing it like a stamp on your designated area. Well, if you know me, once I get going, there’s really no stopping me. I meant to do the tree but was having so much with this trick that I kept going all around the tree. Technically, everytime I look at it, it makes me think of an apple tree because of how many dots I laid on the tree.
For the second, I had my mom grab two Q-Tips from the bathroom and I took both in between my toes and held on tightly to both and just did the same motion with the pencil, expect for having individual dots, I took the gold color paint and dotted in a line from one side to the other to the paint where it looks like you wrapped tinsel all around the tree. After I was done, I told my mom that it was my favorite because it looked like what I was initially wanted and I think the lopsided part helped a lot because it meant I could make the tinsel look long and thicker like regular garland.
The final addition that was put on all three projects was some sort of truck; in my head, I just wanted something minimalist and for the most part I stuck to that idea and two of them ended up with a L shape at the bottom of each decorated tree. I used the last bit of brown that we had for it too. As for the third, I was going to put two little vertical lines showing you the outline of a trunk but never connecting the two, but I didn’t like what I had painted on the canvas so I just gave it a full trunk and leave it to me, to place it on the tree that has an odd shape already, so the trunk isn’t necessarily in the middle as the other two but by the time we figured it out, the paint had dried up and I just waved it off.
After they were all dried, I told my mom where I wanted to hang them. There is a mini hallway in between the spare bathroom, my room and Nolan’s playroom. There is a medium sized of wall space that has always looked dull and I thought these would be perfect to hang them and make the house a little more Christmassy! My parents are not the type to decorate every space in the house like I would, especially being that this house is still “brand new” to us and I feel like it needs that sort of vibe going on. So, my mom hung all three in the order I had already picked out and since they are all unique, I thought my last wish for them are three have the same meaning but it is translated in three different languages: the top is the star and this one is called, “Merry Christmas”. the middle is the gold tinsel and full trunk and it’s name is, “Feliz Navidad” for Spanish and the third with the pretty red ornaments is German’s way “Fröhliche Weihnachten”.
Overall, the projects were a success and I am very proud of myself for not only being strong throughout the whole process, but for being committed to doing something different and definitely out of my comfortable zone. Here are the rest of the photos I took of the whole thing.
When was the last time you did something that was out of your comfort zone, but that was bigger than you would normally do? If you create your own Christmas décor, what is your absolute favorite you have made for 2020?