March 9, 2016

DIY or BUY - Spring Art Projects for Your Home

This is a new series I'm starting on the blog, called DIY or BUY. We've all been there, scrolling on Facebook or Pinterest and we see some fabulous DIY project tutorial that seems too good to be true. The latest DIY tutorial craze is videos, as you've surely seen all over the web. The anonymous crafter (shown only by their hands, am I right?) makes each project look so easy, each resulting creation is perfection. But we know this isn't always the case.

So, I've decided to try out a few of these projects myself and report back to you whether you should DIY or save time and buy a ready made version instead.

This edition of DIY or BUY features some fun spring art projects for your home. Two of them I saw as Skillshare videos and the third was a project featured on a popular DIY blog.

1) Wall Art w/ Wooden Hanging Slats 

I was inspired to make this project after seeing some gorgeous versions of a similar type in a great Washington, D.C. boutique called Salt & Sundry. I can't remember how much theirs were being sold for, but the comparable version I found online is $50. My version is about $12.

Here's the skinny:

To make your own wall art with wooden hanging slats, you'll need 4 wooden slats. I found several varieties pre-cut and pre-packaged at Hobby Lobby. You could also use vintage rulers (I'm doing that next as soon as I find some). If your wood is raw, stain or paint it to your liking.

Additional supplies are magnets and twine. Then of course you'll need your artwork. Attach the magnets to the wooden slats and add your twine for hanging it up.

The video pretty much shows you how this is done. And it was basically as easy as it looks. If you want to skip the magnets, you could affix your art to the slats with staples and in that case, you might only need two slats.

My verdict for this project? DIY

2) Make Your Own Watercolor Paint 

This project grabbed my attention from the start, because I love watercolors. My first set was given to me by my aunt and uncle, who as artists themselves encouraged me in all artistic pursuits.

I so wanted this project to work. Using just household ingredients and a plastic ice cube tray, you are supposed to be able to create your own paints. Maybe I didn't measure the liquid quite right or it's possible that I didn't stir enough, but my paint never solidified. This was a disappointment for me.

If you had plenty of time to wait and see if the paint would solidify, this might not be so bad. But since I wanted to use the paints to create something, it didn't work out for me after several days of drying. And the instructions only said to let paint dry overnight.

Verdict? More likely to BUY (but I might try to DIY this again)

3) Marbled Stationery 

This was the easiest of my three DIY or BUY spring art projects. I've always loved stationery and saw a tutorial for a DIY marbled version. To make it, you'll need a can of shaving cream, food coloring in desired color, and blank cards and/or envelopes. 

Squirt some shaving cream into a shallow baking dish. Add a few drops of various shades of food coloring and swirl it around with a toothpick. Apply paper to the surface of the shaving cream so that the entire side of the paper is touching. Pull it up and use something with a straight-edge to swipe the shaving cream away. For photos of each step, click here.

I love the way it turned out. I already had the paper and food coloring, so this project cost me a whopping $1 for a can of shaving cream from Dollar General. 

For a ready-made version, check out the cards below. They are 3 for $12 and can be purchased here. 

Every DIY isn't going to be a success. Sometimes failures happen. But it's fun to try and it always gives me a new feeling of creative energy when I try a project for the first time.  

I've had plenty of fails over the years. From small things like burning dinner or having a fender bender to larger things like finding myself estranged from a dear friend or losing a job. No matter what happens to us, life brings its valuable lessons. I hope I end up wiser for it!