I’ve been patiently waiting for the weather to improve in NY because once it’s warm enough, I know I’ll be able to work in the 3-season room, that sunroom off my living room, without being bitter cold. The project, as I mentioned here a few months ago, involves hand painting a sweet little detail around the edge of the room.
Last summer, I started the project by painting a 4″ wide, straight edge border around the edge of the room; I used painters tape and leftover light gray satin paint that had been used in the bathroom.
I know it’s not the right heavy-duty-ready-for-foot-traffic paint that I really should be advising you to use, but I talked myself into doing this a cheapo-way since the paint was handy, and the room doesn’t get a ton of traffic since it’s locked off from the rest of the house. The paint won’t wear quickly when it’s only used sporadically from late April – September. To layer on top of that existing border, making it a little more ornate (something I had seen in a house I looked at years ago), I started by making some stencils, and then I slept on them for two months while I made up my mind.
The stencil I finally landed on was a combo of the scalloped edges and polka dots that I love, like the very first option I drew here:
I might add to it once it’s done with more detail (sort of like in design #3) but for now, this feels like a good starting point. I’m going with my gut here.
I started with a piece of long narrow cardboard and my spice cabinet. Yeah, after considering how I was going to make consistently-sized circles on the cardboard, I decided that the lids to curry, oregano, cinnamon, and chili powder (oh, and ibuprofin) would be a good selection, small to large.
Oregano seemed to be a nice size, and won me over when I sanity-checked the lid size beside the existing painted border in the sunroom:
The template development itself was done in a very mathematical and methodical way, with a good old pencil, ruler, and x-acto knife. The lines you see measured horizontally are the same distance apart as the oregano lid diameter, and I drew these lines across the entire length of the cardboard so that as I did multiple arches of polka dots, I could be certain that the spacing of the circles could be consistent. Photos are a little yellow. These are projects I do late at night. And the lights in the living room chandelier don’t exactly provide a nice white light (add find-new-bulbs to the list).
So once all of the dots were etched, the template was starting to look pretty good. I was at least confident that I chose a detail that I would be content to try. See how I did that half-circle at the end? It was intentional; I figure it’ll help me to line up one section to the next, since it’ll have to be transferred and painted in small sections.
Notice how the cardboard is actually folded? I was lucky to find this as-is. Not sure where. Maybe was in the recycling bin at work, maybe was in some product packaging, I can’t really remember right now, but nonetheless, it was great to have as I started x-acto-ing because it was like having a built-in soft cutting board. I started by scoring each of the circles with the tip of the knife (very carefully) and then dug a little deeper (har-har) and used the knife to slice through the scored paper, poking the circles out one by one.
Oh yeah, see that I was trying another stencil in the other side of the cardboard? This didn’t go far. I wasn’t in love with it and couldn’t make my mind up on the proportions.
I did take some sandpaper to the inner circles to give it a better chance at success; this helped to even out a few x-acto-ed jagged edges and smooth out the curves.
But after all that, I’m still not entirely sure if this template will work as cleanly as professionally die-cut purchased templates. I strongly considered a purchased one after I saw what Joey and Lana did in their master bedroom but still thought I’d give this the old college try and just paint over it if it looks awful.
Hopefully the weather will perk up this weekend and I can give the template a test run.