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11 Creative and Cheap Things to do with Spray Paint (Part One: Holiday Ideas)

12 Dec
White lights make everything better.

White lights make everything better.

After taking down the 47th box of Christmas decorations from the attic (OK…maybe 8th), Mr. Handsome forbade me to buy anything more this year.  Maybe we should start calling him Mr. Grinch.

Therefore, I am being a little more creative this season and have to my new best friend, spray paint.  Those of you who have been following the blog know that I’ve discovered the joys of spray paint after a creative problem-solving exercise with my stepson, Mr. Enthusiasm (see the story at the end of this post). It has blossomed to such a degree that Mr. Enthusiasm had the audacity to suggest I need an intervention.  You know it’s bad when a 10-year-old notices how much you like spray paint.

Anyway, I have been spraying things like crazy, so I thought I’d share a few of the recent projects in hopes of inspiring your own creativity.  For part one we’ll focus on Holiday ideas.

Make Artwork

Lorapetalum branch

Lorapetalum branch

Here is a fun way to create a memorable, personal gift.  I did these paintings with leaves from around my yard, but you could use almost anything you’re willing to spray (leaves, feathers, small toys, utensils).  It’s a great way to get the kids involved; they can make their own gifts for the grandparents and if you do it with some forethought it can also double as actual art (as opposed to those super-cute, but perhaps not gallery-worthy hand turkeys we all made). See more details in our previous post.

Spruce Up Old Decorations

Garland

Renewed and refreshed.

Mr. Handsome-Grinch wouldn’t let me buy anything new, so I spruced up an old garland with some spray-painted leaves.  The single ones are ligustrum leaves, which dry up nice and firm.  The bouquet-looking ones are pittosporum, and I’m not sure how they’re going to hold up, they seem to wilt faster.  Try different levels of coverage, I sprayed the ligustrum leaves pretty opaquely, but dusted the pittosporums lightly so the varigation can show through. See more detailed pics on Pinterest.

Change Your Color Scheme

Tired of last year’s color scheme of chartreuse and puce? (What were you thinking? Just because they rhyme doesn’t mean they go together.) It’s easy to freshen up those old ornaments with your trusty can of spray paint.  I decided I didn’t like teal this year, so I painted these a more forest green (not a huge difference in the photos here, sorry about that). They were a little dull after the first pass, so I added some gold.  Voila!

Totally different!

Totally different!

Napkin Nuance

Napkin 1

More leaves from the yard.

This was fun to do with the Divine Miss L for Thanksgiving – just spray some leaves, tuck them in your napkins and you’re done!  Swap out some gold or silver-dusted branches left over from the tree for Christmas. See the original post for more photos.

Add Holiday Flair to your Fixtures

Caption

Better!

This glass lamp is fine but a little boring.  I painted a few sticks and a leaf to give it some fall flair.  You could do something similar for any season.  I filled mine with some crackled glass balls to change things up (which I DID NOT paint – so there Mr. Enthusiasm).

Outdoor Ideas

This is the one that’s still a work in progress.  Remember the chicken-wire ghosts?  Well I decided to try to repurpose them in to trees.  I cut the wire in to a round-ish shape then pleated them in to tree-ish shapes and painted them green.  They look kind of cool by themselves, but they also sort of blend in to the background out in the yard.  I’ve tried a few versions of the lights and still don’t think they’re there.  I’d love some ideas!  Warning: I think chicken wire may become my next obsession.

Still meh, I know there's something there but not sure what.

Still meh, I know there’s something there but not sure what.

Tips for Working with your “Medium”:

Protect Yourself

L_using_mask

Safety First!

Wear your mask, as Miss L demonstrates here.  This stuff is intense; I didn’t wear a mask during one marathon session and was pretty woozy afterward.  There’s a reason they keep this stuff locked up. This may make you think twice about using it around the kids, but if you use a decent mask it will keep you safe.  The environmentalist in me feels a little bad about the chemicals, but I figure I’m saving at least several pounds of unused decorations from the landfill, so hopefully that balances out.

Watch the Drift

If there is even a puff of a breeze, you will get a light coating of paint ALL OVER.  It’s so fine that it floats in the air about twice as far as you’d think.  My driveway is now faintly pink, although it appears to scrub clean with paint thinner. Use a very large tarp, even if you are just doing a tiny project.

Outside Only

Based on the two tips above this is probably obvious, but bears repeating now that it’s “cold” outside.  Spray paint projects are always best done outside.  It’s stinky and messy.

So, hit the hobby store or Lowes, grab some sparkly stuff and get spraying! Stay tuned for the next installment when we tackle some bigger projects.

Be sure to visit Red Chair Market to shop for new, used, vintage and antique furniture and home accessories!  We’re currently serving the Austin/Central Texas market but hope to expand soon.

Martha Must Practice a Lot

22 Oct
Luminarias

The inspiration.

As a kid I loved Halloween, as we all do.  It’s kind of a no-brainer for a kid.  But as an adult, and especially an adult Austinite, I’ve re-learned to appreciate the holiday.  To be totally honest, a lot of it is because it’s so freakin’ hot here until the end of September that the entire month of October seems like cause for celebration.  So I’ve held a pumpkin-carving party for years in my backyard.  But with the addition of the children in my life it’s become even more fun.

I’m not a big dresser-upper however (although I do have a classic where I dress all in black and run pieces of masking tape up from my legs to my neck; I’m a speed bump.  If you know me, you know it’s funny).  I’m more of a Martha Stewart or Camille Styles-type Halloweener; making themed food and crafts for parties.  That is, I would like to be.  Recent projects have reminded me that I have a way to go before I can include myself in the ranks of these august entertainers.

Our luminarias

Ours, not quite the same, but cute!

We posted a few weeks ago about this cool idea for Halloween luminarias.  These are so cute and seem so easy that I included them in our project repertoire for this year’s carving party.  Basically you take an empty jar, paint the inside with acrylic paint (that’s what we used anyway) and then draw a pumpkin or a ghost on the outside.  Drop a tealight in and, voila, a luminaria!  Well, as usual, they don’t look quite like the picture.  Of course I’m guessing that Amanda didn’t have most of hers made by 8 year-olds either.  I’ll let you wonder which one is mine…

Chicken wire ghost dresses

So cool!

I also tried this chicken-wire ghost project.  Yes, of course that sounds like it will turn out terrible.  But the inspiration looked so cool!  Take chicken wire and mold it in to a shape (they did dresses, dead brides I guess? I stuck with a traditional ghost) then spray it with glow-in-the-dark paint.  I imagined them dancing ethereally in the garden, elegant and spooky at the same time.  Not so much.  I had to put those garden stakes in there to keep them from blowing over, and the paint didn’t glow.

Chicken wire ghost

Meh.

Sigh.  They’re both good ideas, so I may try them again next year.  I’m sure Martha and Camille have 50 rounds of lumpy-looking testers in a junk pile somewhere before they get to that oh-s0-simple-looking final result.  And I have to remind myself that the whole holiday is really about getting together with friends, covering yourself in pumpkin goo and celebrating fall.  Mission Accomplished.

Pumpkin-carving party

This is what it’s all about.