Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tales From the Trash Pile: Driftwood Inspired Art Piece

My husband, Señor Hotness, has always been embarrassed by my willingness to dive head first into a dumpster for what I deem "Good Garbage".  So image my surprise when he called me up, and demanded I meet him outside with his keys, wallet, and with my shoes on.  On his insanely early morning walk (while I was still dreaming) he spied a fantastic pile of garbage.  In our city they have bulk trash pick-up once a month so people tend to stack their garbage curbside until their day rolls around.  It is a cheap skate, DIYer's dream come true.

These my friends are solid wood, and in addition to these beauties there were a few pieces of random laminate floor pieces.  I saw them, and thought jackpot, custom salvaged signs.  I mean I have a super cool Cricut so there really wasn't anything holding me back.

Now my first step should have been to sand them, but me in my excitement decided to completely forget everything I've ever known about painting things.  If I wasn't going to sand them then I should have used chalk paint, but I didn't know where my plaster of paris was for my homemade chalk paint recipe.  So I thought I can just slop some paint on these suckers, and call it a day.  

Do you see how incredibly intricate this image was.  It was a serious pain in the butt to weed all of that out.  So image my horror when I put it on the board that I hadn't properly prepared...like a goob, and those lovely delicate lines of vinyl came off with the paint that was on the board.  I. Wanted. To. Cry!

So then it was time to not only clean up my first mess, but then to prep the board with paint a second time.

So I actually ruined not one, but three boards that I had to fix.  So after I sanded them down thoroughly I decided to save time, and use some spray paint I had on hand.

This stuff adhered like a boss.  I think I've found a new favorite brand of spray paint for sure.

After the paint dried I used my glaze (color barista) to antique the boards.  I wanted my piece to look like an old weathered piece of boat (what better to put a mermaid on in a nautical themed bathroom). The cheaper the brush, the better.  Using a cheap brush almost gives a wood grain look.  

Fast forward to recutting out the mermaid image.  It takes almost 25 minutes just for the machine to cut out something that intricate.  Then an additional 4 hours to get all the pieces weeded out.  Keep in mind I've already done this whole process once.  I had just enough gold vinyl left to cut out one more mermaid, and it wigged out on me at the halfway point.  So try number three had to work, or I was going to have a mental breakdown.  I decided to go with blue for the final try.

Those individual scales are only a portion of what made this such a pain to do, but...

BAM!  It was completely worth it.

Those of you that work with vinyl often know how pricey transfer tape is, and if you're like me you don't use it enough to justify the cost.  Lint refill rolls however work great.  They are a little too sticky off the bat, but after cleaning the lint off my pants and shirts a few times its good to go.

I used a glue gun to finished the edges out with polished hemp rope that I had on hand.

I found the PERFECT quote to pair with the mermaid.  It was a lovely poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that reads, "My soul is full of longing for the secret of the sea, and the heart of the great ocean sends a thrilling pulse through me".

I have been super in love with what Señor Hotness has dubbed the "racy" mermaid sign.  It has so much character, and it is a super gorgeous addition to our nautical themed downstairs bathroom.

The entire cost of this awesome project was a big fat whopping $0 dollars.  I used the vinyl I got for Christmas, and absolutely everything else I used were things that I literally already had laying around.  So the next time you see trash think twice before you pass it up.  You might be able to make something awesome out of it.  So get out there, and make something pretty.

P.S.  Miss me?  Get sneak peeks into what I'm up to by following me on instagram, and as a bonus you'll get to see embarrassing pictures of my kids...your welcome.

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linked up at: jannolson.blogspot.com,


  1. Yes!! I LOVE piles of "trash"! Our town does it only once year. But oh how I love it. And oh how I love how you used the "garbage" you found! :)

  2. Great reminder to do it right the first time and prep before painting! Couldn't have been better timing for me to see that reminder since I going to tackle painting an outdoor rocking chair this weekend. Love the mermaid and I applaud your patience in weeding out all the scales!

  3. Ha, ha, Sarah; I laugh every time I read Senor hotness! Just makes me chuckle!! Live and learn, about prepping properly; right? :) Been there, done that! Well, in the end it all turned out fabulous! Love the quote. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  4. WOW! You are quite talented.

    I love the Longfellow poem.

    Thanks for Sharing Your Cup!

  5. What a beautiful piece of art! I love the mermaid graphic! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

  6. My daughter wants to be a mermaid when she grows up...in our home all that fuss you went thru would be well worth it! Your mermaid art is awesome!