Posts Tagged ‘paint’

summer journal: chalk paint

homemade chalk paints

I never seem to remember to buy sidewalk chalk, but we always have the ingredients on hand for chalk paint. Making chalk paint is super easy; drawing with chalk paint takes a bit of practice.

chalk paint log cabin

Our first attempt turned out mostly colorful blobs, but the second time was a success. I was doodling quilt squares [sewing nerd!] and my kids wanted to learn how to make them too. They told me their log cabins had roofs, obviously.

corn starch + food coloring + water = chalk paint

chalk paint


  • muffin tin
  • corn starch
  • food coloring (the cheapy kind, not the gel kind)
  • water


  1. Put one tablespoon of corn starch in each muffin tin cup.
  2. Mix in a tablespoon of water (or a smidge more) into each cup.
  3. Put one drop of food coloring in each cup.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Grab a paint brush and go outside!

chalk toes

Be warned, fingers and toes will get painted.

chalk paints

But other cool stuff will be painted too!


painterly skirt tutorial

For my contribution to Skirt Week 2012, I made this little tutorial for turning an old, rather boring skirt into something a bit more interesting. Sometimes you don’t need to make a new skirt, but you need to liberate one from the back of your closet. I had planned on doing a tutorial for a button placket, but then I saw this picture and could not stop thinking about it:

These pants are from a shop in New York that specializes in super awesome Japanese children’s clothes. The idea is so simple and so effortlessly cool that I had to steal it.

painterly skirt tutorial

painterly skirt


  • 1 unloved skirt
  • a bit of cardboard or freezer paper
  • paint of your choice, fabric or acrylic or even house paint*
  • stamps
  • very small paint brush

painterly skirt materials



1. The first thing I did was carve some starts out of an old eraser. If you’ve never done this before it may sound hard, but I assure you it is not. I carved two stamps from a big eraser and two from the tiny erasers on a pair of new pencils. It took me all of 10 minutes. There are many good tutorials for carving stamps from erasers out there (this one and this one for example). The stamp you make should be quite small, so stick to a simple shape–stars work well!

starting the stars

2. Put a piece of cardboard under where you will be stamping, or you can iron a bit of freezer paper to the back. You need something under your design, so the paint doesn’t bleed through to the other side.

3. Start stamping! You can be as fussy or as messy as you want. The look we are going for is paint wiped on the side of your skirt, so there aren’t too many rules you have to follow. It looks nice if the stamps are concentrated a bit in one area and then fade out towards the edges.

stars painted

3. After you have stamped to your heart’s content, take a very small paintbrush and go over some of the stamps with more paint. This will make some of the stars stand out better and give the design a little more dimension.

4. Let the paint dry and go over it with an iron to set it.  Waalaa! a new skirt! One that will be loved and worn again!

before after painterly skirt

*a note on paint: I don’t paint on my clothes very often, but when I do (like here and here) I like to use a product called fabric meduim. You mix the meduim with any acrylic paint and it makes it into a fabric paint. A good friend of mine turned me on to it. Another good friend told me to get out of the not-so-great craft acrylic paint aisle and go to the actually-an-artist acrylic paint aisle: the colors and the quality are better.

painterly skirt after


three kids in a room: part one

swiss cross night light

We live in a small (1000 square feet) house that has two very small bedrooms and there are 5 of us. When we had our third baby I was sure my husband and I would have to share our bedroom with him for a very long time.  Then I came across this bedroom on Ohdeedoh one day. The room is small and not only does it fit three kids comfortably, there is room for a desk and a dresser and toys. I thought if they can do it, we could too. Only we had to do it for a 6 year old girl, a 4 year old boy, and the 2 year old boy.

cloud bed

The first thing we did, or rather the first thing I asked my brother to do, was build a loft bed. The room is 10×10, so there was no way we were going to fit two beds and a crib in there. I hate bunk beds–changing the sheets on bunk beds is the worst, but they can look pretty awful too.  We designed this cloud loft bed (for the 4 year old) so it would almost disappear into the background. The clouds act as a guard rail and I painted them the same white as the walls, but I couldn’t resist one stripey cloud (inspired by this coat rack).

cloud loft bed and ikea bed

Underneath the clouds is my daughter’s bed–the iron number by ikea that everyone loves. We strung christmas lights to the bottom of the loft bed so she has a light. Also because we had to put the cloud bed right in the window. The way the room is set up there was no other place for the loft to go.  I was worried about it, but it turned out just fine–the window and the shade still work and it barely even blocks any light.

crib, masks, and map of the neighborhood

The baby’s bed is across from the clouds. Above the crib is a map of our neighborhood that I painted. It still needs street names and the railroad track and the bike path painted in, but it’s a work in progress–mostly because  I can’t do while the baby is sleeping! I picked up the the masks at our local art supply shop and they work for dress up and decoration (a twofer). There are wooden boxes under the crib for storage (that I talked about here) and the hamper was a lucky thrift store find.

dresser, shelves, and pompom garland

On the neighboring wall is the dresser/changing table and the storage/display shelves. We keep diapers in the wooden box up on the shelf and the red cross thing is actually a nightlight!  The dresser caused a bit of problems when I was redoing the room. I really thought it would look good gray, but it ended up looking like a big gray blob in this all white room. So I had to paint it white again (and again and again–it takes lots of coats to cover up dark gray).

painted dresser drawers

But even though it’s boring white on the outside, the inside is super awesome! I fell in love with the idea of painting the inside of drawers when I saw it on pinterest. It took four cans of spray paint: safety orange, farm equipment yellow, lagoon blue, and fluorescent pink (all rustoleum brand). After spraying a few coats of color, I finished them all with a coat of clear shellac. The dresser is the only clothes storage we have for the kids, so they each get their own color drawer and they all share the undie/sock drawer on top.  What happened to the closet, you ask? Stay tune for tomorrow and I’ll show you!

three kids in a room: part two



during (and a surprise)

cloud bunk bed

So this is where we’re at with the room so far (here are all the before pictures). I told you my brother built a bunk bed, but I didn’t tell you it was a cloud bed! He built the loft bit and then we cut out clouds from some scrap wood. I made patterns out of paper first to make sure it was randomy and to see if the clouds would be high enough to function as a guard rail. When I was about half way through cutting them out, I freaked out and thought it might look too dorky theme-y, but I think it turned out okay. What do you think? Now the big question is whether or not to paint them. I think maybe I’ll paint some white, but not all. And maybe one striped like this awesomeness.

borning in process shot with paint chips taped to the wall

I think we’ve chosen a color for the wall–those are all paint chips taped the wall. It’s called cotton balls, really it’s just white. Not that exciting, I know. But I am excited about that big board up there. It’s a quilting board (or something like that, I don’t know, it’s got a graph on the back) that my neighbor gave me a looong time ago. It folds out one more on each side, so it’s pretty big–maybe too big? Anyway, I’m going to paint a map of our neighborhood on it. I grew up “out the back road” so there wasn’t a lot I needed to know to get around. But we live on an actual block! So I thought the kids might like to see the way we go to the library and the store and their friends’ houses on a big map. I’m thinking I need some sort of projector for this project. And I haven’t decided what to do about the places: pushpins? polaroids? have my kids draw pictures? shrinky dinks? Any ideas you have would be fantastic. The baby’s crib will be under it eventually, so pushpins might be out.

kid's art desk in a closet

This is the closet, or was the closet. Now it is my daughter’s desk (my son got the bunk bed, she got a desk, even steven). I’ve got a few ideas for this, one of them being paint the entire sucker white.  I’m sure there will be more ideas in the future, because I’m taking a class for this very purpose. It’s called Playful Learning Spaces.  It’s an e-course designed to guide you through creating thoughtful spaces for your children to play in and learn. It sounds like the perfect class and comes just at the perfect time for me.

And now for the surprise: the creator of this wonderful class, Mariah Bruehl, has kindly offered to give away a spot in her class to one of my readers! But you have to be snappy, because class starts tomorrow! You have until 5pm central time to drop your name in the hat (that is, leave a comment–sharing some input on the room if you’d like). Good luck and I’ll see one of you in class!


Celeste from on-hand modern is the winner! Congratulations Celeste!

hot dog shirt


Before easter we went to a fantastic birthday party for a 2 year old. A two year old who loves hot dogs and balloons more than anything, so of course the party had lots of balloons and hot dogs. awesome!  I had plans to make this shirt weeks before the party, but of course I ended up doing it the night before.  I was inspired by this picture I found on flickr:

I just used freezer paper and paint and it was done. I tried to make the bun a little less 2 dimensional, but I’m no artist so it only kind of worked. It’s good to know that freezer paper prints don’t have to just be blocks of color–you can art it up all you want.


A few people have emailed me to ask what the hell is freezer paper anyway. And because I’m lazy and waaay behind on replying to email (sorry) I will just tell you all here: it’s like butcher paper, where one side is paper and the other is plasticy. The plasticy side can be ironed onto fabric and then peeled off making it perfect for a ton of projects. I even use it to make patterns so I can just iron the patterns on and skip pinning. The kind I have is made by Reynolds and it’s right next to the tin foil in my grocery store.  There is a whole group on flickr devoted to freezer paper stencils and there are some pretty awesome ones there.