July 9, 2013

DIY West Elm Inspired Art

Alternatively, this post could have/should have been called "the project that wouldn't end," but luckily I have some new art to show for it:

It all started when I spotted these Handmade Paper wall hangings  in my West Elm catalog a few months back.
I loved the textured, airy look of them for our somewhat beachy living room, but at $199 each, I was realistic enough to know I would never, ever own them!  
I immediately started brainstorming ways I could recreate them on my own.  At one point, I even googled "handmade paper," but that didn't really seem to be giving me what I was after.  And so I kind of gave up...until one day I was at Michaels looking for something totally unrelated and spotted some scrapbook pieces that had the same look and feel as the above.  Turns out they were just burlap squares, but I dug the texture, so I scooped up 4 of them and some pretty green paper to go behind them. 
And this is where the project started to go downhill!   A couple days later, I bought 4 12x12 frames from AC Moore (because I had a gift card there!) and headed home ready to knock it out.  But as soon as I got home, I realized the repetitiveness of the 12 x 12 frames would be too boring.  I changed my mind and decided to go back to AC Moore for some bigger frames.
This time, I went with 16x20 frames and got some nice white mats for them.  But because my frames were now bigger, the 12x12 pages no longer filled the glass.  I reasoned I could kind of perfectly align two pieces, though, and it would work.  Plus, I realized the 16x20's weren't quite big enough for the space I wanted to fill, so I made another trip to AC Moore.
This time I went with 24x36 frames.  And because I couldn't find mats that fit that size, I bought some foam board to cut down to size.  I also made another trip to Michaels for even more burlap squares, still reasoning that I could align them all just so and it would look like one large piece.  Good news: the frame size was perfect for the wall.  I had to spray paint them white (because they only came in brown), but that's easy.  Cutting down the frames was pretty simple too.  And then I got to work trying to lay out the burlap squares.  No matter how many times I tried or how many ways I tried, it just looked horribly tacky with all the seams and stuff going on.  
And then it hit me.  Duh!  I had spent $2/square at Michaels for burlap (for about $10 per frame) when instead I could just go to the freaking fabric store, get a yard for each frame for about $6, and call it a day.  Which is precisely what I eventually did!  And finally had a finished product...

So after all that, I finally spent approximately $30 per frame (although really I only spent the $6 for the burlap because the frame, mat, and paper were all paid for with a gift card some friends had given me for my birthday...score!). 
 Does it look exactly like the West Elm one?  Obviously not.  But does it give me the texture that I loved about the original?  Yep!  And for $160 less per frame (!), I think I'll go with my version!  I've always kind of leaned towards cheaper decor anyways because I tend to get impatient with it pretty quickly and want to change it out!

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