DIY Wall Art: Fly Away Home

The options I was faced with this weekend consited of, on one hand, more wallpaper removal. Or, on the other hand, making an epic mess in the middle of the dining room that at one point would result in paint all over my right butt cheek.

Does anyone really need to ask which way I went here?


Let’s talk about this big piece of wall art that was born from all of my Crazy this weekend. Last week I saw an image on Pinterest and was like, that needs to happen in my house rightnow. 

Well, honestly, that’s a lie. I pin a lot of things that don’t immediately become a 6 foot wide wood paneled painting on my dining room wall, so I didn’t think too much about this potential project until it made it on to my current five. Then the idea took hold of me in such a way that I couldn’t even wait to buy supplies for it, so I took some of the wood that was supposed to be going on the upstairs hallway ceiling and re-purposed it…


You can see my descent into madness began with eating an $0.89 box of mac and cheese straight out of the pot while drinking cheap wine and using my drill.

I decided that it was going to go on this wall, and that it needed to be huge:


The wood “canvas” ended up being about 6’x4′. I just used a few scrap pieces of furring strip I had laying around and 1″ drywall screws to hold the wood paneling in place.


I didn’t want the edges to be perfectly straight, and, you know, there’s a bit of an art to making something look casually crooked that requires at least half a bottle of wine.

I decided the background should have a slight gradient, so I used some leftover wall paint and trim paint from this room to mix up a few shades of gray. Grey. Whatever.


I thought the whole paint-on-leftover-plastic-plates was an effing brilliant idea by the way, right up until the moment I wasn’t paying attention where I was sitting, and this happened…


Ass. Paint. Fantastic.

(That was not an easy picture to take by the way, but I felt the moment really deserved some documentation.)

When I was done being an idiot, the canvas looked like this.


I put a fan on it for a while and started to think about drawing a-fricking-lot of birds. This takes a certain degree of mental preparation and photoshop. I drew a grid on the original picture to help me visualize where things should be in relation to one another on my much larger canvas.


Then I used painters tape to mark off the general shape of things to come…


For the tree, I used a pencil to sketch out the trunk and branches, then went over it with a fine-tip marker that I had lying around from making these Tiny Planets.

The marker was much more precise than anything I would be able to do with a paintbrush for the detail work, but I did use acrylic and small brush for the foliage.


Even in areas that were really supposed to be fully black, I still used an, um, dabbing pattern to fill it in. I’m pretty sure “dabbing” is a technical art term. (As opposed to “daubing” which is way too fancy a word to be used out in the country.)


Then came the part where I spent six hours drawing birds.


Here is the bird progression. I really wasn’t looking for this to be too precise but I did practice a few flying-bird shapes before getting started, then just sort of went to town.


I may have started naming them at some point…


And singing songs to them…


And just about the time I really started to lose it… I stepped back, took a look, and it was done.

Actually, there was a whole part in there where I had to struggle and swear a lot to hang a six-foot wooden canvas on the wall by myself.


But after that, it was totally done.


Because there’s so much weird stuff going on on this wall with the spacing and the beam and the five gazillion switches (okay, five gazillion? slight exaggeration) I basically ended up centering the painting on nothing, but I still think it looks okay. And the way it worked out it seems like those birds are flying right up towards the light fixture, which was completely unintentional, but still awesome… which is a pretty good metaphor for a lot on my life, actually.

What I know for sure is that I like this room a whole lot better without that huge blank expanse of wall staring me down every day, and I really love how this wall art turned out.

25 Responses

  1. I sat in a tray of paint once. Needless to say, those pants become my “painting pants”, if they weren’t already…

  2. This looks fantastic. And yet again, I can relate. I guess it’s just a DIY thing that we wind up in situations where we want to take a goofy picture of our ass, and then realize that it’s REALLY damn hard to do.

    And it’s really not something I hope to have practice at.

  3. This is awesome! It’s always fun to see pins in action, but this is so perfect for the space you picked.

  4. Wow! That’s very impressive! I would have painted about 10 birds and then completely lost patience, thereby walking away and leaving this half way done for the next…well, eternity.

  5. Love this. Just love it. If it was me, I would have had to trace the entire thing and it still wouldn’t have come out that good. I was not dealt the creative card. Once in a blue moon I suprise myself and come up with something half creative and give myself a pat on the back..that is until i go on pinterest and then I am reminded of how much I suck. However, if it weren’t for people like me that are terrible at art then we wouldn’t appreciate those that are good at it.

  6. Sorry about your pants, but (pun intended) the picture was priceless.

    You must have the patience of a nun. No amount of wine could get me through painting all those birds.

    Rediculously awesome job 🙂

  7. Wow if I only had a steady hand and was better at art! That is a great idea though. I may even try vinyl on it and see if I can get away with that. Probably on a much smaller board.

  8. I got to hand it to you; you did a wonderful job. I hope you don’t mind that I steal your idea.

    1. Not at all! I love it when people take something I’ve made, and make it their own (that’s often what I do anyway!)

  9. Looks so lovely! I definitely would love to have something like that in my home. And you’ve made the process look really easy to do!

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