Category Archives: Art

“Real Art” for my Gallery Wall

White-Frames-Gallery-Wall

(We know we told you yesterday that today we’d share all of the details about our Vine video, but that post wasn’t quite ready to go live today. Next week…we promise! Okay now onto the real post for today.)

We’ve officially lived in our Chicago apartment for about a year now, and boy oh boy the time has really flew. I remember moving in and being so darn excited to decorate every square inch of this place. I got to work quickly, ready to make this space much more cozy with lots of personal touches. One of the first tasks on my to-do list was to create a mini gallery wall, and I did just that in this post from last year.

That gallery wall has essentially stayed the exact same for about a year. I don’t know why I never tweaked it, or traded out any of the art…but it just kinda stayed the way it was (which is very unlike me and my “tweaking tendencies”) That all changed this week when I added a new piece of REAL ART to our gallery wall.
Gallery-Wall-Wide ShotGallery-Wall-Outside-OfficeOf course I love gallery walls that are just all picture frames, but the ones that really pop (to me at least) are ones that incorporate a canvas, a piece of art, or even some hooks and 3-dimensional pieces. Bridget is amazing at this, as evidenced by her fabulous office gallery wall.

After receiving this small piece of Chicago art as a wedding gift, I knew that it would make a great addition to our hallway gallery. Painted-Oil-ArtI simply swapped out a few frames and added this colorful beauty to the mix. 

I love how it breaks up all of the white and adds more purple, blue, and green color to the gray wall.

Art-DetailsPainting-By-RodwanThe piece is from Rodwan Gallery and it looks like they sell a wide variety of unique Chicago paintings. From what I can tell, it looks like this piece is of a Downtown Chicago scene, complete with some buildings, balconies, and a large street light. I love it!

I’m a sucker for framing art prints, but I’ve never actually owned “real art.” Of course I love the canvas over our couch, but that is a mass produced piece. It’s pretty neat to actually have something hand-painted and unique for our Chicago pad. White-Frames-Gallery-WallSo for now, my real art is staying in our gallery wall. But I’m sure I’ll start tweaking again soon, and swap out even more of these frames and pictures. Gotta keep things interesting around here, right?!casey_sig

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Metallic Thumb Tack Art

Thumbtack-art-on-dresser

Some of my favorite projects here on The DIY Playbook, are the ones that just about anyone can whip up in an afternoon without spending a lot of time or money.

If you like easy, quick, and inexpensive projects…then keep reading. Thumbtack-art-on-dresserI created this personalized monogram art in about 30 minutes, for less than $10. Yep, this project definitely fits right into the “favorite project” category.  In fact, this project even goes above and beyond because it doesn’t call for any crazy supplies (okay, maybe thumb tacks are a little weird for a craft project). But if you’re like me, then you probably have most of these items on hand already.

So let me show you how I DIY’ed this oh-so-easy piece of personalized art for our home.
Blank-Canvas

Supplies Needed:

  • Silver or Gold Thumb Tacks: I used about 400 total
  • Canvas
  • Pencil or Pen
  • Design/Stencil to trace, or go for it and freehand something!

Silver-Thumb-TacksNot knowing how many tacks I would really need, I purchased 600 of these silver bad boys on Amazon. Total cost….about $6.

At first I had no idea what object or shape I would actually create on the canvas. An ampersand? A heart? Letters? Numbers? Hmmmm…so many possibilities.  Ultimately I decided to go with the first letter of my soon-to-be last name. “F” as in Finn. I could say that I chose to go with a big ol’ “F” because I’m just so darn excited to be Casey Finn and I wanted to show off my new last name pride. But in reality, I chose it because I was way too lazy to actually print something off of the computer to trace. Instead I took this F that usually sits on our bookcase…

Shelf-Details…and I traced that!

Tracing-a-letterYep, lazy in every sense of the word, but at least I had a perfectly drawn letter to show for myself. Outlining-letter

Once you have your object traced onto your canvas, it’s time to get tacking. I was a little worried going into this step, but it was super easy. I just started by outlining the letter in tacks. It did take some time to line them up perfectly to minimize any space between the tacks. But once you get the hang of it…you can power through. If you mess up, simply pop the tack off and re-insert it into the canvas. It took me about 25 minutes to get all of the silver thumb tacks in and secure. Sure it was a tad monotonous, but I chatted with Finn as I popped the hundreds of tacks through the canvas in to the other side. He was probably half-listening to me chat about how this project might actually turn out okay, and half-listening to Sunday football as I completed my little piece of art.

Top-of-dresser-wide

I’m pretty darn impressed with it, if I do say so myself. I love the silver metals against the white canvas. It pops and goes with the rest of the grays and silvers in our master bedroom. I also love the shiny, smooth texture on the canvas. It’s a lot more exciting than anything I could ever paint on the canvas. DIY-artSilver-F-Monogram

As for the other side of the canvas? Well, it’s probably a tad dangerous with all of the sharp tacks sticking through. If I had a pet or a child, I would probably take some foam core and insert it on the backing. But I’m not too worried about it with the Mr. & I, so my lazy self will just keep it as is.

Thumbtack-art-on-dresserI have about 200 silver thumb tacks left over, and something tells me I won’t have 200 items to tack up on the wall any time soon. I’m thinking perhaps a piece of metallic art might be nice for Christmas. Something silvery, gold, and full of glam for the holiday season? I’m open to any and all suggestions…

casey_sig

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9 thoughts on “Metallic Thumb Tack Art

  1. Emm Jay

    This is a nice simple piece. I love personalization so the initial caught my eye. This would also be a cute, thoughtful, and inexpensive gift for friends and family. I’m sure I’ll be making this in the near future.
    -Emm Jay
    emmjay702.wix.com

    Reply
  2. Lindsay @ Lindsay Weighs In

    Oh my goodness, I can’t wait to make this! I’ve been checking out your blog for all kinds of projects for my new place, but this is a DIY that even I (a self proclaimed DIY-failer) can handle 😉

    Reply
  3. Desiree Dusseau

    I’m adding this to my project list, ASAP! I love the silver look. A snowflake option would be beautiful for Christmas! !

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9 thoughts on “Metallic Thumb Tack Art

  1. Emm Jay

    This is a nice simple piece. I love personalization so the initial caught my eye. This would also be a cute, thoughtful, and inexpensive gift for friends and family. I’m sure I’ll be making this in the near future.
    -Emm Jay
    emmjay702.wix.com

    Reply
  2. Lindsay @ Lindsay Weighs In

    Oh my goodness, I can’t wait to make this! I’ve been checking out your blog for all kinds of projects for my new place, but this is a DIY that even I (a self proclaimed DIY-failer) can handle 😉

    Reply
  3. Desiree Dusseau

    I’m adding this to my project list, ASAP! I love the silver look. A snowflake option would be beautiful for Christmas! !

    Reply

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Sentimental Art for FREE!

Framed-Grandmother-Advice-Vignette
We are both still grinning from yesterday’s heartfelt post. It was so wonderful chatting with our grandmothers and hearing some of their advice for living a happy, healthy, and long life. In case you missed it, go read their 32 life lessons right here. We promise you won’t be disappointed.
32 life lessons for a long happy life
Because their advice really touched our hearts, we knew that we just had to come up with a way to incorporate their words into our own home decor. All it took was a bit of time in Microsoft Word, and 10 minutes later we had “art” all ready to go.
Framed life lessons
We chose a nice script-like font, and decided against putting their advice in number form, but instead wrote it out like a letter. It’s almost like they’re writing their words directly to us in a handwritten note. Love that.
We simply printed out our document and displayed it in a simple white frame. Personal artwork for free….it just doesn’t get any better than that!
life lessons print
It isn’t super easy to read from far away, but that’s a-okay with us. That way whomever stops to admire this art, can really take a few moments and read these life lessons all the way through to the end.
Pink flowers
framing advice from your grandmother
Since this has been displayed in my home, I often find myself stopping and staring at these words. It’s funny, but I find that different words stick out to me, when I need them the most. I can quickly glance at the frame and just the words that I need at that time of the day pop out to me.
happiness starts with you
Happiness starts with you. <—that’s one of my favorites.
Framed life lessons from family
So here’s your homework…go talk to the important people in your life and ask them for their very own words of advice. Whether it’s your parents, grandparents, or just a close friend whom you admire. You’ll never know what kind of insight they may have about life, and we promise it will be worth it to hear some of their stories.
Then for extra credit (the teacher in B is really coming out here…) type up their words, frame them, and give out these frames to important people in your life. It’s a personal gift that any family member will love. Because passing down stories and advice is what keeps those family traditions alive for generations to come…
Bridget and Casey DIY Playbook
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Decorating Over the Couch

Family-Room-002
When you’re a home decor blogger, you expect to get emails from readers looking for the “scoop” on the items you feature and display in your home. We love dishing these details and telling you guys where we’ve found some of our fabulous scores!
But there is one frequently asked question that we receive pretty often….”where did you get that art over your couch?!” The funny thing is we have 2 totally different pieces of artwork over our family room couches, yet we still get asked the question pretty equally.
People want to know all about Bridget’s cool coral frames….
Casey's Family Room
And people want to know all about my large city canvas.
Even though our “artwork” is very different, we purchased both pieces from the same store….HomeGoods!
HomeGoods Canvas
Art can be expensive, especially when you’re looking to purchase a large scale piece to take up a good chunk of the wall. But that’s where our favorite shopping spot comes in. HomeGoods has such a wide array of artwork, frames, and canvases and most won’t break the bank.
Side Table
The only unfortunate thing is their selection and stock is constantly changing (which can be really awesome in some cases), but not so awesome when you’re trying to purchase this specific canvas. We have found that if you can’t find a specific piece you once spotted, don’t give up! We’ve noticed that these pieces come back to stores eventually, sometimes even months and months later. However, the constant change in “selection” isn’t always a bad thing. If you really can’t find “this one”, that doesn’t mean you can’t find “the one”. Thanks to the never-ending variety, you’re more likely to find a “one of a kind” piece to display in your home and showcase your personality. 
Closeup of Canvas
Casey: I love the muted tones in this cityscape, along with the small pops of orangey-pink. It adds a nice subtle color to our walls without looking too “busy.”
Bridget: I love the concrete art aspect of my coral art, and the structure of both sleek frames.
Cityscape Canvas
Casey: When people ask about my canvas, they often think I DIY’ed it. Ha! I wish I had those artistic skills….that would be very impressive! Finn and I actually found it about a year ago at the HomeGoods in St. Louis. We scored it for only $100! What a price for that big ol’ piece of art. In fact, this canvas was so large that we had to return to the store with my SUV to pick it up, because it wouldn’t fit in the backseat of our smaller car.
Bridget: My frames add a coastal feel to my family room, which meshes well with the nautical theme you can find throughout the rest of my home. The blues give a nice pop of color to my light gray walls, and the thick silver frames bring a shiny metallic into the space. I scored BOTH separately (they’re not even a set!) on clearance for a whopping combined total of $130!
Art over couch
We both love our very different decor over our couches, and we feel that they showcase our unique personalities and homes. And since they were reasonably priced, we won’t feel bad replacing them with something fresh when the time comes. Not that we have plans to do that anytime soon, but with HomeGoods and that rotating stock… you just never know what you may find & fall in love with. For now, we are more than happy with these affordable finds!
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8 thoughts on “Decorating Over the Couch

  1. Andrea

    I was just recently telling a friend how I love Casey’s cityscape and thought it was similar to one I had seen at Homegoods a while back (love that place). Kicking myself for not picking it up because I haven’t seen it again since! Funny that you would have a post about it now!

    Reply
  2. Stephanie

    You both have beautiful homes and I love to see how each of you decorated with your own twist! It inspires me and makes me excited for my move this summer.

    Reply
  3. Jackie Blomberg

    Bridget, you should hit up the Marshall’s in Orland; they have sea glass inspired vases on sale and also Japanese fishing floats as does Home Goods and TJMaxx. There is so much nautical right now at these stores! I don’t have a nautical theme, but I couldn’t pass up the floats! I love them and the real ones can be extremely pricey.

    Reply
  4. Katie Bachinski

    I love your beautiful homes girls! I have fallen in love with your cityscape Casey. Thanks for sharing where you found it. I’m going to keep my eyes peeled. It doesn’t say who made it on it anywhere by any chance does it? (original tag?)

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Katie, you are so sweet! And yes…isn’t the cityscape awesome? I’ve gotten so many requests for the artist, but sadly there isn’t any info on it! So keep your eyes peeled..

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8 thoughts on “Decorating Over the Couch

  1. Andrea

    I was just recently telling a friend how I love Casey’s cityscape and thought it was similar to one I had seen at Homegoods a while back (love that place). Kicking myself for not picking it up because I haven’t seen it again since! Funny that you would have a post about it now!

    Reply
  2. Stephanie

    You both have beautiful homes and I love to see how each of you decorated with your own twist! It inspires me and makes me excited for my move this summer.

    Reply
  3. Jackie Blomberg

    Bridget, you should hit up the Marshall’s in Orland; they have sea glass inspired vases on sale and also Japanese fishing floats as does Home Goods and TJMaxx. There is so much nautical right now at these stores! I don’t have a nautical theme, but I couldn’t pass up the floats! I love them and the real ones can be extremely pricey.

    Reply
  4. Katie Bachinski

    I love your beautiful homes girls! I have fallen in love with your cityscape Casey. Thanks for sharing where you found it. I’m going to keep my eyes peeled. It doesn’t say who made it on it anywhere by any chance does it? (original tag?)

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Katie, you are so sweet! And yes…isn’t the cityscape awesome? I’ve gotten so many requests for the artist, but sadly there isn’t any info on it! So keep your eyes peeled..

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Melted Crayon Abstract Art

Melted-Crayon-Abstract-Art-001
If you guys follow us on Instagram, then you may have seen this R rated picture grace your feed in February.
Bottles and Bottega
Yep…that’s my mom, sister-in-law, and I all holding portraits of a naked man.  I added the nice big red “X” to keep things PG around here. 😉
The three of us had an amazing girls night out at a painting and wine class called Bottles & Bottega. They offer all kinds of painting classes and it’s a fun way to bond, drink wine, and get a little creative. I’ve done it a few times with friends (and even for B’s bachelorette party!), but I’ve never ever ever done it with a nude model. Let’s just say it was quite the experience and I’m pretty sure I blushed the entire night. The nude painting class definitely forced me to channel my inner artist, as I tried my best to be mature and view our male model as art…and not as some naked man standing on a platform.
Naked man
Heck, I tried. But I still ended up with a pretty crappy painting.
But let’s be real…even if I created a masterpiece, I probably wouldn’t be hanging any naked men in our apartment. Something tells me Finn wouldn’t be very keen on the new art addition. But I certainly didn’t want to waste a perfectly good canvas, so I decided to give the canvas a new life!
I’m sure you guys have all seen the crayon art craze all over Pinterest. You know what I’m talking about….the crayons glued onto a canvas with the color dripping down the piece of art.  I know you’ve seen it before! That look isn’t exactly my style (maybe if I had a kids room or playroom to decorate!), but I still wanted to do something fun using crayons.
So, I ordered a box of 120 crayons off of Amazon and started to plan my new masterpiece…
crayons and white paint
First step, cover the naked man! 3 coats of white acrylic paint did the trick for me. I soon had a blank canvas that was ready for some color.
Crayons
Then it was time to peel the crayons. I decided to go with a color palette of blues, grays, greens, and purples…mostly cool tones. So I took out all of the crayons that I wanted to use and put the rest of the colors away.
Time to get peeling…
soak crayons in water to peel
I asked Finn to help me peel the paper off of the crayons and after attempting crayon #1, he instantly headed to Google to try to find an easier method. Turns out there is a very easy way to peel crayons…just throw them in cold water! The paper magically peeled right off. Who knew?!
hair dryer and crayons
When all of my crayons were peeled, I got out my trusty hair dryer and got ready to “paint” my canvas.
Crayon painting setup
I wasn’t in love with the idea of having melted crayon wax all over your countertop. So I put down a tarp and put the canvas inside a cardboard box while working. You could definitely do this outside if you don’t want to make a mess inside your home.
When my working area was ready, I got down to business. I simply put my hair dryer on the lowest & hottest settings and held a crayon on the canvas as I went. I found that if I went to a higher setting, the crayon wax would fly out everywhere and it got a bit messy, so low is the way to go. As the crayon melted and became drippy, I tilted the canvas all around so the color would spread. Then I grabbed another crayon and did it again, working my way around the canvas. Really there is no right or wrong way to do this. Just be adventurous and layer colors on top of one another.  I also recommend stepping back every few minutes to see how it looks from afar.
Rookie Tip #1: Don’t burn your fingers! The hair dryer can get really hot on your hand when you’re holding the crayon. Try to just hold the crayon on the end, or you could even spear it with a skewer to keep your fingers away from the heat. As your crayons get smaller, you’re more likely to get burned, so just be careful!
abstract art on gallery wall
Rookie Tip #2: If I wasn’t loving a color, I would often lighten it up with a white or light gray crayon on top of it. It gave the color a cool diluted, ombre effect.
melted crayon art on canvas
For now, I’m enjoying the end result…I mean it’s a heck of a lot better than my naked man. It’s definitely different, and very abstract. I love the pop of color it brings to our space, and it has a cool drippy watercolor effect to it. Art is totally subjective, so if this isn’t your style I totally get it. It was just kinda fun to step outside of my comfort zone to channel my inner artist.
melted crayon abstract art
So there you have it…the story of the naked man.  He has come a long way from standing heroically on the beach…to being covered in melted crayon.  I think I’d take the new colorful crayon art any day (sorry dude!)
Casey DIY Playbook
So what do you think of the melted crayon craze? Have you jumped on board?
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One thought on “Melted Crayon Abstract Art

  1. Jackie

    I had to take my handsome guy down from over the bathtub when we got the house painted. I didn’t want our painters to think we were total weirdos! Now he hangs out in my closet behind my dirty laundry. Poor lonely naked man.

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One thought on “Melted Crayon Abstract Art

  1. Jackie

    I had to take my handsome guy down from over the bathtub when we got the house painted. I didn’t want our painters to think we were total weirdos! Now he hangs out in my closet behind my dirty laundry. Poor lonely naked man.

    Reply

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Chicago Skyline Watercolor – Free Printable

Chicago
About a month ago, I introduced everyone to our new and improved picture ledge wall. So far we have been absolutely loving it! I’ve had so much fun rearranging and changing out all of the frames and art whenever inspiration strikes.
I want to show you an updated piece of “art” that we recently added to our little master bedroom display…
Ikea picture ledge
See that blue watercolor all the way to the left in the display? That’s the new addition.
I took the photo when we did a boat tour last summer. I always loved the picture, but never really did much with it. Once the waterlogue app came out, I put my picture through the app and voila….my picture was instantly a beautiful piece of art! (Bridget recently did the same for St. Patrick’s Day in this post. Such a cool gift or personalized piece of art..right?!)
Chicago watercolor in frame
The blues, greens, and whites fit perfectly in our room. It adds a bit of color to the wall, without being too overwhelming. I’m in l.o.v.e. with it!
Chicago skyline art
free printable chicago
The best part about this Chicago watercolor? You can add it to your home for FREE. Just download the link below and print it out on a card stock or thick paper. Pop that bad boy in a frame and you’ll have some Chicago pride in your home in no time at all.
You can download the free print right here.
Happy Friday everyone! Cheers to the weekend.
Casey DIY Playbook
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