Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Painted Tree Silhouettes

I love painting, but having small children hasn’t made it easy to paint very much, other than the occasional finger painting extravaganza.  Therefore, I was overly excited about painting the boys’ room. I have always wanted to do something creative on the walls and I finally had a good idea and was ready to begin.
I’ve always found trees fascinating and thought that you could stare at them for hours.  I decided to make some tree silhouettes on two walls in the room with the trees white and the walls blue. I didn’t paint the whole room blue, because I didn’t want it to feel too small and I like the contrast of the white walls in between. 

After planning everything out, I waited until my mother-in-law came up for a week, so that I would be able to work in their room as uninterrupted as possible.  Unfortunately, Jonas got the flu that week.  Luckily, he was happy to lay in his bed in his room, watch Little Red Tractor on the Ipad and watch me paint.

I went online to see what info I could find about how to do silhouettes neatly, but could only find how-to’s on how to do patterns like chevrons.  This still proved very helpful and taught me what I needed to know in order to make crisp lines without any leaks.

I was very pleased with how the room turned out and the boys like it as well.  Jonas loves cats, and his stuffed Baby Kitty often tries to climb up the tree or catch a bird. At night when only a nightlight is on, it is easy to imagine being outside.  Even though blue is usually a cold color, the trees and dark color seem to add a bit of warmth to the room that was much needed. 

Here’s the How to:

1.  Decide what wall or walls you are going to paint, and make sure they are clean.  In Germany, almost all walls have Raufasertapete, which is a kind of textured wallpaper with a paper-like consistency that is usually then painted over with white paint.  I used a cloth to wipe down the walls and make sure they were dust and spider web free.

2.  Get out your masking tape!  There is a difference when it comes to masking tape.  If you can afford it, buy the good painter’s tape that doesn’t over-stick.  I began with this tape, but ran out and finished my project with plain old masking tape.  Both worked well, but the masking tape pulled off some of the wallpaper, which I had to touch up later. 

I drew out my drawing in a sketchbook first and then freehanded it with the masking tape on the wall.  If you want to make a rounded edge, you will need to just tear many little pieces of tape and lay them over each other like a fan. If you would like to make shapes, like my birds (and don’t want to free-hand them), you can put the tape in strips on wax paper and then cut out patterns with a scissors or knife.    

The most important thing is that the outside line of your silhouette looks sharp.  Use your finger to press the tape down along this entire edge. Don’t forget to do this also on the sides of your wall.

3.  Time to paint.  In order to get clean lines, it is very important that you follow this step.  You will need to first paint along the outer edge of your masking tape silhouette using your original wall color, which is usually white along with the sides of your wall.  This seals the tape on the side and prevents those little color drips.

Now you can take your background color (I used blue), and begin painting.  I used a professional roller made for details.  It is somewhat like a sponge and doesn’t hold as much paint as a traditional roller, but it also doesn’t splatter.  You will just need to press a bit harder and roll over some areas a few more times.  You may also want to buy a little roller for getting into tough spots.  A roller will leave a much nicer finish than a paint brush.  If you have areas that are too detailed, use more masking tape or paper to mark off the wall so that you can roll over it. It will save you time and look better.

4.  Finally, pull off the tape carefully while it is still wet!  This sounds a lot easier than it is, as masking tape is really sticky and now wet with paint.  I wear those plastic gloves like doctors wear when I paint a big project, so my hands don’t get covered. Then once your wall is dry, you can go in and do touch ups with a paintbrush.

 I think you will be amazed how easy it is to make beautiful silhouettes on your walls that look like they were professionally done.  Here is a picture of both finished walls.  I have now put Jonas's bed in front of the wall on the left and a white dresser on the left side of the wall on the right. 

As always, good luck and have fun!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Nesting, Planning, and Blogging

Lukas and Jonas 
Now that my second son Lukas just started German  Kindergarten (he's now 2 1/2 years old), I have three months without any children at home in the morning to get things done before baby number three arrives sometime late January.  I have been nesting like crazy this time around, going through every room and cupboard in the house, organizing and planning.

Firstly, I know exactly how uncomfortable the last two months can be and I wanted to make sure that I got all of the annoying jobs out of the way first, like sorting through boxes in the attic for all of the baby stuff, washing clothes that haven't been worn in a few years, building IKEA furniture, etc... Secondly, since I was on bed rest the first three months of this pregnancy, I wanted to plan for the slight chance that I might get put on bed rest again at the end of it. I don't want to have to delegate from my bed to my husband, or in-laws for that matter, exactly where they can find every baby item in the attic, especially when I am probably the only one who knows where all of the baby stuff is, because I packed it in the first place.

Now that I have all of the baby stuff ready to go, I can concentrate on other neglected areas.  I have so many blog entries that need to be posted and a zillion photographs that need to be sorted before I make Christmas calendars for Grandma and Grandpa and photo books of the kids. I apologize for not having posted anything the last few months and thank you in advance for your continued support!