DIY Watercolor Canvas Backdrop / Curtain

This was a project that I was commissioned to do for a friend. She is a photographer and wanted a watercolor inspired backdrop for an upcoming shoot.

I was a little unsure about how to approach this project, but with some trial and error, I think I figured it out for under $30.

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PC: Loblee Photography

What you need

  • 6 X 9 drop canvas, or bigger ($7.26 @ Walmart)
  • RIT powder dye ($5.31 each @ Walmart)
    • I used two shades of the same color for depth
  • Large paintbrush ($1 @ Dollar Tree)
  • Disposable cups
  • Plastic drop cloth bigger than your canvas, I got a 9 X 12 ($2.98 @ Lowes)

*If you mess up the first time like I did, you might also need bleach diluted in water

Okay… so I had to do this project twice and I did it differently both times, but the benefit of that to you is that you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did.

Instructions

The setup both times is the same: layout the plastic sheet and then spread the canvas out on top. The first time I completely wet the canvas before I started, but I would recommend starting with a dry canvas.

Mix some (*not all) of your powder dye with hot water in a plastic cup as per instructions on the package. Because I used a lighter pink and darker pink, I also did combinations of the light and dark to make more colors. I made 4 cups with one light pink, 2 combinations, and dark pink. It is also very important that you keep some of the powder dye for later. In addition to your dye, have a cup of warm water on hand.

Now comes the fun part. Use your paint brush or pour the colors randomly on the canvas. In some areas pour warm water overtop to help the color bleed in areas. Leaving white space will help give the canvas more depth and helps give that Watercolor effect.

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The canvas during the dye process. The speckled parts are where the powder was sprinkled

Once you are finished with the hot water and liquid dye, sprinkle the remaining powder dye in areas where you want more texture or concentrated color.

This part of the process is the worst. You have to wait DAYS for this to dry. fullsizeoutput_3b14

Like I alluded to before, the first try didn’t work out. Why? Because I am impatient. Having pre-soaked the first canvas, it was super wet and after letting it air dry for a couple days, I thought I might just throw it in the dryer… BIG MISTAKE. It came out completely one pepto bismol color! (*see below about how I salvaged this pink fabric)

After I had already invested a few days in this process, I started all over again a second time and let that completely air dry and it turned out much better!

 

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Air dried canvas

Salvaged Pepto Bismol Drop Cloth

I decided to use this fabric as a curtain for my closet. I filled my bathroom sink with water and poured in some bleach. I scrunched the pink cloth randomly and dipped it in the sink until it had absorbed all the liquid. I then put this in the dryer and let it dry. It was really happy with how it turned out.

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DIY Mid Century Modern Writing Desk

I love the mid century modern style and I had my eyes on this writing desk from target. This desk is on the cheaper side, but at $169.99 this was not even an option for me. Naturally, I found a way to make a similar desk (with no drawer) for around $35.

The $35 table I made and the $169.99 Target Table

As many of your probably know, you can buy table tops from Ikea for a very reasonable price. I got this white 39 3/8×23 5/8 “table top for $8.99. Ikea sells table legs, but I did not like the style of the table legs there, so I started searching for other options.

fullsizeoutput_3b24.jpegI found these 27.5″ tappered table legs for $3.63 each at Lowes. To attach the table legs to the table, you need a table leg top plate. I wanted the table legs to be angled, so I got these angled plates at Lowes for $1.98 each.

The table legs were unfinished, so I stained them with an oak wood stain. The legs feet were originally silver so I spray painted the feet with the same pink-gold spray paint I used on my DIY pegboard.

The great thing about these table legs is that they screw right into the table plates. You can assemble and dissemble easily which makes story and moving simple.

Guess what, that’s it. This was very simple and cost a fraction of what I would have paid anywhere else.

 

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DIY Pegboard

Moving into my new apartment, I needed to minimize clutter and with it the feeling that all my things reside in the 8X10 room I live in (which they do).  With my loft ceilings, I have a lot of wall space and hanging shelves seemed like the way to go.

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Urban Outfitters Shelf

… has anyone been in the market for wall shelves? They are SO expensive. For instance, this one little 18″ Peaks Shelf from Urban outfitters is on sale for $59. I would definitely need more than one, which is the graduate school equivalent too much money.

I looked at a lot of different options, but a children’s book (Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room) I used to have gave me the idea to put up a peg board. This was super easy and ended up costing around $30 total.

What you need

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Instructions

The pegboards at Lowes come in white and brown, but you can easily paint them any color. Also, a great tip is that  most hardware stores do curtesy cuts. The board I got was 4X4 but I needed 3X4 so they cut it down to size a no extra cost (and I have a bonus 1×4 pegboard for a future project).

There are a lot of different ways to get the pegs for your pegboard, but I just went for the (easy) option of buying an assorted kit. All the pieces were steel, so I decided to spraypaint them a pinkish gold color.

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Assorted pegboard hooks

Next, I hit up the Target dollar bins, or as I like to call them, trouble. I was able to find some really inexpensive metal mesh locker containers in neon colors. I brought them in line with my color scheme by spraying them with the same paint I used on the pegs. There were a few that were a pale pink, which I decided to leave for a pop of color.

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Locker mesh containers being spray painted

After the paint dried, I poked a hole just big enough to hang them on a hook. These made great storage containers for my art supplies, journals, and books.

After that, it was easy. The pegboard hook came with screws to attach the pegboard to the wall. Make sure that you put the rubber spacers on the screw between the peg board and the wall so that there is space to insert the hooks.

I was able to jazz up my pegboard by hooking a lightbulb from a longer hook so I could have light right above my workspace, and added three pails with succulents, cactus, and greenery for a fresh, happy feeling. I love that this ‘hides’ all my clutter in plain sight! With a pegboard, you can get creative and personalize it, making it a feature wall! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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