DIY diva

Sixteen Canvases (For The Stairway)

March 26, 2013 | 9 Comments | DIY Wall Art, Dueling DIY
DIY diva

Try not to fall over in shock, but this is an actual post that has something to do with the Dueling DIY Stair Challenge. I’ve been notably absent for the last couple of weeks because I’ve been trying to keep a dozen farm animals alive and make it to work without feathers and hay in my hair. I was only successful at one of those things.

I’ve also been in a little bit of a project rut. There was a time when this would have thrown my life into an absolute OHMIGOD-I’M-NEVER-GOING-TO-BUILD-ANYTHING-AGAIN tailspin, but one of the fantastic things about writing about your projects for the better part of a decade is that it forces you to be reflective about these things. Hey, ruts happen. Sometime in the next few months I’ll be knocking two or three projects out per weekend and someone will be like, “How the hell do you do all this?” and I will be like, “Remember that time I literally sat slumped over in a chair non-responsive for a month because I couldn’t work up the energy to roll paint on another wall?” Yeah. That’s how it goes sometimes and I’ve learned to just roll with it. And sleep while I can.

So, while I’ve been lying comatose on the floor waiting for inspiration to strike, I’ve also occasionally worked up the energy to use my index finger to flip through my Pinterest boards on my iPad–exhausting work, but I think I’ll recover– which is how I found this…


And if I wasn’t already sprawled on the ground I might have fallen over in excitement.

I love it. When I looked at it, I saw the endless variation of stories that can be told with a single picture… only instead of the picture you’re seeing the stories pour out of the frame.

I had been thinking about using my tiny planets on the big wall in the stairway, but when I saw this picture I knew I needed to do a similar installment. I knew it so much that I actually made it out to the shop this weekend for a little sawdust therapy.


I decided to cut down a bunch of random scrap wood into “canvases” for my wall art…


Sixteen won’t be nearly enough for what I’m envisioning, but it’s a starting point. The big challenge, of course, is what the hell to put on them. I played around with some sketches and scenes from my favorite books…


And I’ve got a Pinterest board dedicated to Art that inspires me…


You can see by my most recent pins that I’m really loving layered art, and that was finally what inspired me to do this…


I started printing words and pictures from this website on to tissue paper and vellum and layering them onto the wood. (I also ran out of every color of ink except magenta, apparently. I’m still trying to decide if that was a happy accident.)

I tell the story of my houses and my life through this website, but you can see in some of my recent projects (like the Instagram wall art in the office) that I’m also trying to tell stories inside of my house as well. This wall is going to be big a challenging to create, but it will be a great little “weekday” project when I don’t have time for bigger things, and hopefully will inspire me to pick up the damn paintbrush and cut in those 20 foot ceilings in the stairwell… sometime in the next year.

So that’s what has inspired me to get back to work on my stairwell, but if you want to see actual progress, check in with Sarah @ UglyDucklingHoluse (who is just about to thoroughly wipe the floor with me, but I can’t begrudge her that beautiful stairway) and the rest of the Dueling DIY challengers.


DIY diva


  • Marie Roxanne

    I think that’s a great idea. I like that the pics spill out of the frame. I should think about that when I am planning my office decoration.

  • Kay

    Love it, excited to see it finished.

  • Sarah In Illinois

    I have been loving the art you have been pinning! (Sound like a stalker much?) And I am excited to see where it is going! Very cool. Makes me wish I had a huge blank wall to decorate!

  • Sarah @ The Ugly Duckling House

    Stealing it. For my entryway :)

  • Shannon

    This might be a little more layered than you’re going for, but I absolutely love Stefanie Sylvester’s art. I’m not sure what she has for sale currently, but if you’re looking for inspiration you should check out her gallery at

  • Sara @ Russet Street Reno

    This is going to be seriously good. I can’t wait to see it!

  • Jean

    love the idea! Those 20′ ceilings are tough!

  • kristhud

    Wow, what a great DIY wall art, the canvases are really in very attractive pattern on the wall, many thanks for sharing this great post. I want to do the same.

  • Martha

    Thats so beautiful!!! Can’t wait to see it finished… how do you print on tissue paper?

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