Thursday, August 14, 2014

Graham's Room Redo, Phase 2: in which we do some arty stuff!

Second post took longer than I intended!

Graham's room was this gigantic, sprawling redo.  You know those projects that spawn other projects while you are planning them out?  Like a Home Depot fueled hydra?  Yes, it was kind of like that.

I think we took three months to actually complete it.  I set a mental goal of having it look presentable by his birthday, which was at the end of June.  In my first post, you got to see how the faux brick wall came out, along with the magnet wall.  We wanted the room to have this garage feel to it, so I really wanted to create enamel signs to hang in the room.

I don't collect enamel or tin.  I also don't have any particular brand fondness, so I didn't have this burning need to go pick up old Penzoil signs.  So I got the notion to create vintage inspired enamel signs that were centered around my family.

I used neither vintage tin nor enamel paint.  So here's how I fudged the look.

I started out with roof flashing.  You can buy this in precut sheets at Home Depot or Lowes.  I used a few of those and I also used some scrap left over from the magnet wall.

Here's what it looks like.  The metal has this fun, bumpy flake texture.   I think these are a dollar or so a piece and they're about 4x6 inches.  Little kid or clumsy adult warning:  SHARP EDGES!

I didn't do anything to the edges because these got affixed high on walls, but if they were going to be accessible to little hands, I would have a metal shop or other handy individual bend brake the edges. 

Onto the paint.  I just used house paint.  Sure, you could use a metal primer like Jasco.  The paint might adhere better, but probably not.  You could also sand the metal beforehand, but I'm going to be real, I was making a bunch of these and I can only apply so much effort.

So I just rolled two coats of black paint on and here is the result.

I get more glare and lens flares than a J. J. Abrams movie.  It's totally intentional.  Isn't that texture rad?  I sure think so.  So I created some stencils specifically for this project, but this first one is just a French inspired gas stencil.

Do you see how my blue painters' tape is touching the paint?  If you're going to employ this method, don't let the tape touch the paint.  The adhesion is just not there and when you remove the tape, the paint is going to come right with it.  Like this:

It's easy enough to touch up, which is what I did.  But in future tin signs, I just made sure the tape was affixed to the stencil and then whatever medium was beneath me, i.e. table, concrete, horizontal plane.  That's two coats of white paint I did with a stencil brush, by the way.

This second sign was large and time consuming.  As a rule, I don't like using a roller on anything stenciled.  I just haven't had good luck with it.  My mom is a pro at that technique and she can do it on fabric with no bleed.  Maybe it's a skill that comes with wisdom and age?  I used a stencil brush for all this real estate, this sign is about 3 ft by 4 ft.  1ER is a French way of abbreviating Premier.  So essentially, this says:  Premier Graham (like Grand, get it?  GET IT?) Prix.

I cut all these individual components out of stencil scrap material, and in the midst of stenciling that darn race car, the stencil totally slipped.

The whole car was off like that.  Some words were said.  But it cleaned up just fine.  Paint is amazing. 

This was a fun one because I did a drop shadow in the maroon color.  Drop shadows are great.  We sell some stencils with drop shadows built in, but as a rule, they are very thin openings for paint to go through.  You can make pretty much any stencil you want have a drop shadow by doing a base coat and letting it dry.  Then you simply move your stencil up and to the left a smidgen and use a contrasting color of paint. 

I don't have any process pictures of the Pit Lane sign.  I did that one out of scrap.  I love the gloved pointing hand.  My son has a nanny cam in his room and the thing is unsightly.  I wanted to mask its presence in some way.  So my husband cut this jalopy I found at Home Goods in half and mounted it to the wall.  Sometimes I think it now looks like a Nanny Cam being driven around by Henry Ford.  I'm okay with that absurdity.

The pipe you see coming down from the jalopy is electrical conduit.  We used this as cord hider.  My husband split this in half with a grinder so it would sit flush against the wall.  He then affixed it to the wall with pipe tape.  We use this around my son's television as well. 

I totally stole this street sign in the middle of redoing this room.  It was a crime of opportunity not passion.  I was driving to Target on a blustery day and there, forlorn, in the middle of the road was this street sign.  It was pathetic.  It was about to get run over.  I was saving it, really.  I did my civic duty by putting on my hazards and running out into the road to rescue it.  You have no idea how large a street sign is until you are loading one into the back of your SUV.  I asked my sister-in-law (who is a police officer) and she totally told me I was cool.  So I feel good about the whole incident.

The other piece of non-stencilled art in the room is this wicked cool poster of race cars signed by the drivers who race them.  We have a friend who is a race-car driver mechanic (I know right?  That's like a job little boys {or girls who rock} dream of having but then they get real and become actuaries.)  Anyway, he got all the signatures and we were totally jazzed and knew it had to go in the room.  My husband is a huge open-wheel racing nerd.   

Speaking of open-wheel racing, one of the more laborious projects for this room was this curtain I designed which covered some unsightly shelves in Graham's now exposed closet.  I regret that I do not have process pics as it was a wee bit difficult to photograph in situ.  That is art history talk for: in the space where it's supposed to be. 

Those are all famous open wheel racing courses.  Neat right?  The fabric for the curtain is just drop cloth from Home Depot.  The lettering is not stenciled, it's actually jersey fabric (I buy old T-shirts from Goodwill).  I then cut them out via the same method I cut our stencils and affixed them to the drop cloth. 

The last project for the room was the race car bed.  These race car beds are pretty spendy new.  I think we found this one on Craiglist for $30.   

Here it was.  So....blue.  I could not stand it.  I decided to paint it one day when my husband went on a business trip.  I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in brick red.


This paint is amazing to work with.  There is virtually no-odor, which is a wonderful thing when you're painting a bed that a small person needs to sleep on.  The texture is just phenomenal.  I knew that I couldn't leave the bed with just paint on it.  It needed some sort of clear coat.  In the midst of this project, something else cool happened.  We welcomed a new retailer to the Maisondestencils family.  Cindi Rowley Designs in Valencia, CA.  Now the cool thing about that is:  1)  She's awesome and 2)  We live in Valencia!  So finally there is a store where we live where our stencils are stocked.  Prior to this, Laura and I have joked for years that we just need to bite the bullet and move to Alabama.  Cindi's store is great, she stocks a lot of the projects you folks are familiar with like Annie Sloan, Artisan Enhancements, etc.  She sells this clear coat by General Finishes.  It has the lowest odor of any clear coat I've ever used.  I really liked it.  Tragically, after completing this project, Theodore knocked over the can in the garage and WALKED through the puddle.  Now I can remember his footprints at that size, forever.

That's after 2 coats of the General Finishes.  I did 5 coats total.  The bed definitely needed that sheen!  I really like how the satin finish brought out the vibrancy of the Annie Sloan Brick Red.  You may notice that I removed all the Little Tykes emblems from the bed.  There is one spot for an emblem on the front and one emblem on each tire.

The last step for this project was to design some emblems for the bed that tie into the total room design.  I wanted to use the wings featured in the No 2 Petrole sign and a G, for Graham.  I cut my design out of balsa wood.

Next step was to paint them.  I had a backer piece I painted white.  I used spray paint for this project.

Following that, I spray painted all the detail pieces like the frame, wings, and G black.  I used spray paint here as well.  I then glued all the pieces to the white backer with Gorilla Glue.  Use less glue than you think you'll need.

After these dried, they got a coat of spray poly.  Then it was time to glue them on the race car bed!

Looks sharp!  Graham loved these.  When he walked into his room the first day after they were on the bed he said, "Oh!  It's a G!" 

Here's a picture of the whole room.  I realize I didn't include any pictures of the Theodore Magasin de Pneus sign.  That means Theodore's tire shop.  It utilizes the same fun wheeled tire graphic that I have on the race track curtain.

This project was so much fun.  Graham and Theo both love the room and play in there every day.  And now it isn't such a horrendous eye sore.

Hope you enjoyed!


  1. I love this idea! Love your sense of humor as well.

  2. I love the sign 'G' with the swings. It's better to have the two lights in the front.

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  3. أحمد عبد السلام افضل دكتور تكميم معدة في القاهرة مصر أخصائي معروف في القاهرة لعلاج السمنة والنحافة. لقد عمل مع العديد من المرضى الذين فقدوا الوزن بنجاح وحسنوا صحتهم العامة من خلال علاجاته. لديه خبرة كبيرة في علاج كلا النوعين من السمنة وكذلك جراحة تكميم المعدة.