Sunday, February 7, 2010

Stamping on Walls

When I posted last week, talking about my Wall Art Stamp Camp, I had a couple emails from people who know the example I showed in that post is one I made to hang in my bathroom. The wall art piece is not the only stamping I have in that bathroom, and those emails encouraged me to share the other "project" that I've done in that space, so here goes!

(If you'd like the abridged version, scroll down to where you see the ********)

Up until about a year ago, I had been working to find replacement wallpaper for this bathroom. I absolutely loved the wallpaper I had in there, but little hands had gotten toothpaste on it and when I went to clean it off, well, the color of the wallpaper came with the toothpaste. Darn abrasive stuff! I lived with the damage for awhile, but knew that eventually I'd have to redo the walls. I'd occasionally thumb through wallpaper books when I was in a home improvement center, but never put a lot of effort into looking--until last February when I finally set a goal to find new paper by March 1st or come up with a Plan B and carry it out. I think I looked through every last book in each and every store that carried wallpaper, but it was the last day of February and I had no replacement, so devising a Plan B was in order.

The paper I was trying to replace was a faux-finish look, and there was a matching geometric border that I had used in a couple places in the room. I had (stubbornly, or maybe stupidly) hoped that I'd find a paper pattern that would allow me to go for the same look. Now, this is going to sound like I'm making it up but I swear it's the truth, but as I was returning the last wallpaper book to the shelf at the paint store, feeling totally defeated, there was a paint chip sample on the floor. Not wanting to have anyone slip on it, I picked it up--and had an epiphany!! The colors on the paint chip were the same tones as those in my old wallpaper!! Duh!!! Why didn't I think of this before??? The old wallpaper looked like faux finishing--I could do that myself!!

The paint chip I picked up was for exterior paint so I had to find suitable replacements of the latex variety, but I didn't leave the store until I had paint and supplies in hand--this project was going to get done! I knew I still had one little issue, that being the border that I had hoped to replace, but I figured I'd think of something. I took my paint home, feeling pretty happy about finally having a solution. I proceeded to work on getting supper started when I had my second epiphany of the day!! "Hey, dummy! What about STAMPING a border???" Really! I sometimes wonder about myself! I literally ran to my craft room, grabbed a few old catalogs and started looking for inspiration. I'll spare you the play-by-play of this step, but in the end I found a retired set in my "permanent collection" closet called "Beautiful Batik" that I thought would be perfect for the geometric look I wanted! I played with some different options by stamping cardstock with acrylic paint until I got a border combo that I liked.

Getting the old paper off wasn't too bad, but oh, removing the layers of old paste. . . what a project! The bath was in disarray for a couple weeks, but I really like what I ended up with. In fact, I guess I had replicated what I had pretty well, because some people didn't even notice that I had taken the paper down!

********Here's my other bathroom stamping project:

The "Beautiful Batik" stamps are a little rough around the edges by design, and I really like that because it helps hide the fact that all my lines aren't perfect and straight. I actually like that they're that way, because after all the work, I want people to know that I created this! (And fortunately, when you're actually in the room, the flaws aren't quite as noticeable as they are when you're only looking at a little bit of it.)

Now, okay, making a border using rubber stamps really isn't a revolutionary idea, but in the process of doing the stamping I had to create something else that just might be in the "revolutionary" category.

When I stamp on walls, I've discovered that using a piece of foam cushion purchased at the craft or fabric store is an absolute necessity! I cut the cushion into 3" squares, add acrylic or regular latex paint, and use that as a "stamp pad" when loading my stamp. It's SO much easier than applying the paint with a foam brush or other method. But when I was working on the border up around the ceiling, sometimes hanging onto two stamps and my "stamp pad," all while perched on a step stool, I needed to devise something else to help me out. The wrist pin cushion my mom used to use came to mind and I thought of this:

I used a great big needle to feed some 1/8" elastic through the foam so I would be able to keep my "stamp pad" on my wrist while I worked. I can't tell you how much faster I was able to move along once I had this! I ended up finishing my border, both around the ceiling and at chair rail height, in about two hours.

This is a closer look at the needle, elastic and foam that I used to make my "stamp pad":

In some areas, I had to do a little more "inventing" because I have little in's and out's where my stamp just wouldn't fit:

Once I finished the main portion of the stamping, I needed to alter my stamps so they would fit in the tight corners. I used that old 10-seconds-in-the-microwave trick, peeled the stamps off the blocks and trimmed them as necessary:

I was able to put the stamps back together (with the use of the microwave again) after finishing my little detail work.

I also have stamped walls in my craft room (naturally!) This is the project where I discovered that the foam cushion worked so nicely as a pad:

Even with all the different colors of (acrylic) paint, this border (using another retired set "Mixed Bouquet") was done in a jiffy! Since this border is just above eye level, I was able to hold the foam piece in one hand and tap-tap-tap-stamp with the other. A much better system than when I've stamped walls before.

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