Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Into the Looking Glass

Gypsy Slow Down

     Last year at this time I was over at Witt's little brick house almost every day, often with a paint brush in my hand. It wasn't long after we starting dating that Witt told me he loved me and it wasn't long after we got engaged that he let me redecorate his house. It was a cool bachelor pad, I'm not going to deny it. Posters of the Beatles and Bob Dylan on the walls along with my favorite; Marlyn Monroe in the bathroom. There was an American flag hanging over a window and two big sofas in front of the TV, one a blue plaid and one that was covered in a brown striped slip cover that continuously creeped down the back while you were sitting. Against one wall was an old electric organ and in the other his guitars. I liked it. We had a lot of fun in the bachelor pad, eating Japanese take-out and watching movies from his over 200 count DVD collection (I'm not kidding). But this is where we were going to live after we got married and I think we both wanted to make it our own. So when Witt took Bob Dylan's face off the wall, I knew he meant it when he had said he loved me.

   A year later I like what we did in the little brick house, painting the tiny kitchen green and hanging up red and white striped curtains my mom and I made. I like all the shelves we hung for my pots and pans and my creamy white kitchen aid mixer standing on the island we bought. I love the framed pictures of our wedding on the walls, the small round table with two chairs where the organ used to be, and the silky brown pillows sitting on the white couch that his mom and I made together. There are now even more bookshelves, and his guitars still sit in the corner, which I think he should play more often. But now I'm getting that itch to shake things up again. I don't want to redecorate, but I think the little brick house needs a few new touches to brighten it up after a long winter. And they need to be inexpensive, too.

   Yesterday I found a fun project that completely transformed one of the walls in the house. I saw the idea for a mirror spray paint on the Nate Burkus show. The entire project cost me $11.95 so it was totally cheap. I used the spray paint to create two large pieces of artwork:



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The mirror in the middle of the frame is the spray! This is what I started with:



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My grandmother gave me these framed pictures from my aunt's attic, so that didn't cost me anything, but I always see framed pictures at goodwill for hardly more than $1.00.

For this project all you need is acrylic paint, brown and black, and Krylor Looking Glass Spray Paint, which I found at Hobby Lobby. 

First I took apart the frame:


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Next I took out the glass and wiped it down really well with Windex. I set it aside to paint later while my frame would be drying. I brushed a reddish brown paint along the frame, dabing and using rough strokes so that the frame looked old and distressed (I let some of the gold show through):


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While that coat set, I taped off the edges of the glass with painters tape so that the spray paint would make a large square in the center of the glass. Next I sprayed the glass following the directions on the can (you need to shake it for two minutes each time for an even coat). It was raining, so I did this in the bathroom with an open window but I highly recommend this be done outside. It gave me a horrible headache! Five coats will give a realistic mirror-like intensity, but I did three coats so that my mirror would look antiqued and slightly faded, to match my frame. 


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Remember that the other side of whatever you are spraying will have the mirror effect, but it doesn't matter that much with clear glass. While that was setting up I painted some black over top of the brown on my frame:


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This project was perfect for me because I have zero patience and it took about five minutes for each thing to dry. Assembly is easy too. Peel the tape off the glass quickly to ensure the edges are sharp. If they aren't, you can scrape the paint that got out of line with a razor blade. I put everything together, being careful not to get finger prints on the glass (Ok, I was eating popcorn and I got horrible finger prints on the glass, which I then had to wipe off with Windex and at the same time avoid touching the mirror part, so that's why I am warning you). 

Ta-da:


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Finished project! Witt hung them for me because my frames were heavy and I didn't want them to fall on our heads. I am thinking maybe a trip to Goodwill for another frame is in order. I may try arranging the tape differently for different effects on the glass....there is a lot you can do with a little bit of creativity. 

Gypsy Slow Down

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