July 16, 2014

There are times when you need to take things up a notch. Today I want to share a bit of a project I worked on recently to take my photos up to the next level. My DIY photo board has very quickly become my favorite photography prop in my collection. And it was easy to create too!

DIY Photo Board

Sometimes I find it humorous to track my photo progression over time. Back when I first started photographing food, I didn’t know much of anything technique-wise. I was taking photos of food when it was still in the pan…steam rising from the food and blurring the image. I didn’t know to use small plates and bowls for photos. I didn’t know how to set up a shot. Then things began to click, I got more serious, and my photos began looking much prettier. I’m not ashamed of the past photos; it is fun to look back and see how far I’ve come.

Anyway, I’d been a bit frustrated with my photo setup for a while. I had a few cloths and boards I rotated, but they just weren’t perfect. I wasn’t getting the texture of a wood table that I wanted. Of course, I have an awesome dining room table that would make the most beautiful photos, but the lighting situation in that room isn’t ideal. So…off to create a DIY photo board to mimic a table instead!

There are a ton of different DIY photo board tutorials out there, and I drew inspiration from a few of them (Love & Olive Oil’s was definitely the most helpful). First – it was off to collect my materials!

DIY photo board wood planks

I picked up 1/4″ thick wood craft boards as my main photo board material. I used 6: 5.5″ x 2ft boards and 4: 3.5″ x 2ft boards in order to create a two sided square board. I’ve seen a lot of tutorials with boards not as wide, but I was drawn to the 5.5″ boards for myself since I thought they looked like the slats of a picnic table.

DIY photo board materials

I also purchased wood glue and paint to complete the project. For my base color, I selected Valspar’s English Tea Party. It happened to be out on the shelf with the pre-made paint samples, so it worked perfectly. I thought the smoky brown color would look great…and I was lucky enough to be right. Whew!

Once the materials were purchased, it was time to lay the boards out! I set them on a few layers of newspaper to work. I laid three of the 5.5″ boards in the center, with a 3.5″ board on each side.

DIY photo board layout

The other set of boards was set in the same configuration, but perpendicular to the bottom layer. To glue, I started with the outer two slats to make sure the edges and corners lined up properly. I squiggled a generous amount of wood glue to the edge area, then placed the perpendicular board on top.

DIY photo board glue

I weighed it down with a few heavy books and let it sit for about 30 minutes (I wanted to make sure the ends were secure first). Then, I moved on to glue the center three boards, placing more books on top and allowing them to dry for a few hours.

DIY photo board painting

Once the boards were dry, it was time to paint! I diluted the English Tea Party paint in half with water (50% water, 50% paint….roughly), then used a brush to paint it across the slats. Then, I used a damp paper towel to wipe down the boards. This process created more of a “stained” look than painted. I allowed the first side to dry, then repeated on the back. I have some colored paint for the next version of the board (two sides, two different treatments/looks), but to be honest, I haven’t had a spare moment to finish it yet! As soon as the “stained” look was complete, I started using the board straight away…I need to take it out of commission for a day so I can finish painting the other side!

DIY photo board stained

I actually repeated the same process with a 2′ x 2′ flat board I’d purchased – it is only about 1/8″ thick, and only a few dollars. I also like how it turned out on that board! It’s a more affordable option if you don’t want to spend the money on the wood slats (which were a couple dollars a piece: the entire photo board cost a little under $40 to create). You lose some of the texture, but you still achieve a similar look! Plus, it’s a lot lighter. Options.

DIY photo board example

As for my photos? I don’t know about you, but I think they look so much better with this new backdrop! As soon as I finish painting the back side, I will definitely have to show it off!

Have you created your own photo props?

July 7, 2014

It’s time to spruce up my living room even more! Since January, I’ve been talking about how my goal for 2014 is to finish up the decor in our house. I’ve been making headway with our bedroom, living room, and even the outside of the house, but it is still incomplete as of yet. Little by little, I’ve been adding new details to make our house into a home.

cork board on side table

Our living room is a combination living and dining room, which means the back wall is a large expanse to cover. I was thrilled when I snagged a huge canvas artwork piece to hang above our couch last year, but that only covered about 1/3 of the entire space. Luckily, a trip to IKEA resulted in finding our new sideboard table, which takes up a portion of the remaining space…but only on the lower part of the wall. Some height definitely needed to come into play to complete the space. I thought about scouring the stores for another piece of artwork, but I realized what I really wanted was a bulletin board. And wouldn’t you know it: I found an old corkboard I used to have hanging in my office. After placing it on the sideboard, it seemed to be the perfect fit for the space. But something had to be done about the color.

This I know: paint can make an enormous difference in the look of your home. When we moved into our current house, we repainted every single room, which completely transformed it from top to bottom. The right paint color on any piece in your home can truly set a tone and mood for a room. It was clear from the start that my bulletin board needed to have a dramatic change made in the form of paint!

cork board with Glidden paint chips

After my project was determined, I began searching for inspiration to help me take the PAIN out of painting. I curated a Pinterest board to help with my color scheme. The shades of blue are so relaxing, don’t you think? It wasn’t difficult to decide that was the direction I wanted to take. The next step involved a trip to The Home Depot for supplies. I walked up to the Glidden Premium paint display and knew that I’d find the right hues for my project. Glidden has a simplified palette of colors, which made it easy and painless to select some paint chip samples. I really loved how the Glidden paint chips are larger than the average paint strip; they are about the size of an index card, and they aren’t paired in a strip with 5-6 other colors like other paint chips you see. All of the various shades on the same strip can be rather overwhelming to deal with. The larger paint chip and simplified palette really made it a breeze to test the colors out when I returned home. I stuck an array of chips onto the frame of my bulletin board, and my two favorites quickly stood out to me: Tropical Lagoon and Deepest Aqua. They were practically a match made in heaven not only for my room’s color scheme, but the two hues seemed meant for each other in general. Plus, they suited my home’s current color scheme of blues and greens, accented with metallics!

DIY Glidden painted cork board

Here’s the truth: for the majority of our furniture painting projects in our house, I’ve kind of pushed Justin into doing them for me. I am great at spotting decor pieces and coming up with ideas, but painting has not necessarily been my strongest skill. I am happy to report that with the Glidden paint, the project was pretty much a breeze and I was confident to tackle everything by myself from start to finish. First, I used a small paint roller to apply two coats of Tropical Lagoon to the center of the bulletin board. I was really impressed by how smoothly the paint glided across the cork, and the coverage was almost perfect after only one coat. Being the particular one I am, I made sure to apply a second one to complete the look.

painting DIY Glidden cork board painting DIY Glidden cork board

I used a sponge brush to apply Deepest Aqua to the frame portion of the board. I was confident with the steadiness of my hands, but if I hadn’t been I would have taped off the frame before starting the detail work (after the center cork portion was fully dry, of course). Again, the paint was easy to apply!

DIY Glidden painted cork board

When I saw my finished product and was able to attach my photos to the bulletin board, I could not have been happier. I finally have a place to display a few snapshots. I am the WORST at putting photos on the wall; I like that I am able to change them up with this bulletin board!

DIY Glidden painted cork board

The beauty of this project for me was that it reaffirmed in my mind that everyone can paint. It can be a small piece of decor or a large piece of furniture; either way, Glidden makes it achievable. I am so pleased with how this project turned out, and I am officially one step closer to completing our home decor! Glidden paint truly made it easy to turn my inspiration into action, and this new pop of color in our living room is perfect!

DIY Glidden painted cork board

How about you? Are you one to tackle painting projects in your home? I want to make it a breeze for you as well, so make sure you answer the question below to be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card!

 

What would you like to spruce up with paint in your home?

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May 27, 2014

Sooooo – the DIY projects in our bedroom are not yet complete! I have yet another project to share. Of course, our first big overhaul of bedroom furniture was making over an IKEA Tarva dresser to this glorious beauty. It still makes me happy every time I walk into our room and see it. I didn’t want the makeover to end there though. You see, we had a few problems when it came to our nightstands. First: we technically only had one. One side of the bed had a regular pedestal nightstand, and the other side of the bed was where I kept my jewelry cabinet. Not exactly a nightstand. The second problem: they were black. With the white and champagne colors we picked out for our dresser, the black furniture had to go.

IKEA Rast two tone makeover

Enter: yet another IKEA makeover. This time we tackled the ever popular Rast three drawer dresser. They make the perfect bedside table/night stand, are affordable, and are very versatile when it comes to redesign.

primer and champagne paint

As much as I thought it would be fun to go crazy with my design, I ended up going with a classic two tone combination of white and champagne. To start, we applied a primer. We’ve used the  Zinsser Cover Stain Primer a few times before and have become fans of it. After the primer was fully dry, we applied two coats of Rust-Oleum Professional High Performance Enamel in Gloss White (the same as we used for our dresser) on the faces of the drawers with a small roller.

champagne gold paint

April 30, 2014

I would be remiss if I didn’t share today’s post with you. I don’t share a ton of school related content here on the blog, but I’m particularly proud of how this project turned out. Last year, the school celebrated National Library Week by holding a cart race between the teachers. Each class decorated a cart, dressed in costume, and raced each other in the pavillion. The students enjoyed it, so we decided to bring it back for a second year of fun!

DIY Up House and Wheres Waldo

I went through a ton of different ideas before settling on the concept for my cart: Up! We decided to turn the cart into a replica of the Up house, balloons and all! Thankfully, the process wasn’t extremely complicated and didn’t require a ton of supplies.

DIY Up House roof top

To start, we bought three pieces of foam core poster board at the dollar store to construct the roof top to place on the cart. I put Justin to work on this task, and he created a great structure for me. We took measurements of the cart to ensure the roof would sit firmly on top, then he cut and glued pieces together to create this beauty!

DIY Up House roof

He even constructed a chimney, and reinforced the center of it with another small piece of foam core board (which ended up serving as a great place to tie my balloons).

DIY Up House materials