I’m really excited to share this project with you! It’s a DIY wall art project that helped spruce up my boys’ bathroom. Who doesn’t love an easy DIY project that also includes an inspiring quote? I didn’t want this bathroom to be necessarily “kid-like” because it’s also our guest bathroom, but I knew that some quick and easy decor could liven it up. By adding a quote somewhere on the wall, I hoped the kids could be inspired each day. Win-win! Inspiration for the kids and a decent guest bathroom for me. Here’s the problem, we have the “orange-peel” texture on our walls which is not the friendliest for those vinyl quotes.
My solution: make my own wall art but put the vinyl quote on a wooden frame. Being a household of teachers, we like to be frugal and stick to a budget which meant that I was going to have to make do with things lying around the house. It’s ok, I think I got this.
I found a dry erase-type board at Hobby Lobby on clearance several months ago. I was so excited with my purchase and had planned on using it as a fancy to-do list for in my office. Well, it ended up being so cheaply made that the dry erase wouldn’t even come off the fabric. Seriously, what’s the point? And in true Heather fashion, I couldn’t get rid of it because “I’m certain I can do SOMETHING with it.” So, it stayed in my closet just waiting for a new life.
Then it hit me a few weeks later: this would be the perfect piece to transform into a really cool piece of DIY wall art for the bathroom. No worries if you don’t have something exactly the same. You could use the same steps outlined below on a stretched canvas, or a simple plank of wood, or even an old piece of art that you paint over.
Before I lay out my process, I am going to apologize because I totally forgot to take pictures along the way. I have a whopping one picture of the beginning of the process. It’s really not a hard project, so feel free to send me an email with any questions.
STEP 1: PREP THE SURFACE
Whatever medium you’re using, make sure to prep the surface by making it relatively smooth so the vinyl adheres properly. I painstakingly removed all the staples holding the fabric in place and filled in all the holes with wall spackling. Let this dry completely before moving on.
STEP 2: PAINT THE BACKGROUND
Paint the surface whatever background color will blend well with your current bathroom decor. Side note: Did you know that you can get really cheap paint samples at Lowe’s? They are the perfect size for small projects like this, and you can get any color under the sun. I chose a creamy white color that I had on hand. Paint must be completely dry before the next step.
STEP 3: ADD A SIMPLE DESIGN TO BACKGROUND
You can add a simple design to the background, as long as it doesn’t compete with the words you add later. I love the chevron and herringbone patterns, so I sketched them out on paper to make sure I would like the look. I went with the herringbone pattern and knew that I wanted the pattern to be random with various colors that matched the shower curtain in the bathroom.
If you choose to add a design to the background, you can either freehand draw it or use a ruler and pencil like I did. I then went over my pencil lines with a gold metallic Sharpie. This proved to take longer than expected, but I liked the effect.
I used a set of 12 Sharpies from Costco because I thought that it would be cheaper than having to buy several colors of acrylic paints for the herringbone pattern. And, who doesn’t like using Sharpies? I know I do.
STEP 4: PAINT BACKGROUND DESIGN
Paint your design in complementary colors to the your bathroom. I picked out all the Sharpie colors that would fit well with my bathroom. Then I got to work coloring a random pattern of colors within the herringbone shapes. Though I loved the Sharpie markers, I think I would use paint the next time only because the Sharpies kept drying out. I would have to switch colors often because the tips would dry out from being used on a rougher surface.
STEP 5: DESIGN YOUR QUOTE
This next step is my favorite. I use a Silhouette Cameo cutting machine to create all my vinyl designs. If you don’t have a cutting machine, have no fear because you could even complete this step by hand lettering and coloring. Or you could use the old fashioned method of chalk or graphite transfer by printing a quote in reverse on your computer, and then tracing very hard around your letters with chalk or pencil. Then place your quote face down on the surface you want it transferred. Using your pencil trace around the backwards letters, and voila, you will see a faint line of graphite or chalk on the surface when you lift up the quote. You would then outline the letters and color them in by hand.
The rest of the directions are for those of you who have an electronic cutting machine. Another idea if you don’t have your own cutting machine is to bake some brownies for your friend who does, and ask them if they’d be so kind as to cut the quote out for you. 😉
But if you happen to have your own cutting machine that will accept .SVG files, you can get my exact quote for FREE right below:
I love Ralph Waldo Emerson, so I chose his quote “Be silly, be honest, be kind.” Choosing font combinations is also my favorite, so I chose 3 fonts that went well together. Since the background was full of color, I felt that black vinyl would be a nice contrast.
STEP 6: CUT OUT DESIGN AND TRANSFER TO BACKGROUND
Use your cutting machine to cut out the quote and weed the extra vinyl away.
After weeding the extra pieces from around and within the words and letters, I cut apart the quote into smaller sections to fit in an appealing way onto the background. I use plain clear Contact paper to transfer my vinyl designs. No fancy transfer tape here! I used a credit card to smooth the Contact paper to the vinyl, and lastly I peeled off the backing of the vinyl.
By just eyeballing it, I then transferred the quote to the wood and made sure no air bubbles remained. Then I slowly pulled the Contact paper away from the quote making sure that each letter was sticking correctly to the wood. With one last smoothing of all the words, it was ready to hang on the wall.
Doesn’t it make a great statement? I told you that it was an easy DIY wall art project. It really helps to add some life to the bathroom with its bright colors. I love repurposing! This project cost me less than $15, and I wouldn’t even say that much because I can use the Sharpies for other projects. That’s a score in my book!
What have you repurposed lately? I’d love to hear about your projects in the comments.
Thanks for stopping by A Simple Southern Life!
Don’t forget to pin this project, so you can easily come back to it to follow along.
If you like simple projects like this DIY wall art, subscribe below to our newsletter so you don’t miss a post.
32 Tips to a more ORGANIZED HOME >>>
Grab my FREE checklist that will help get you organized and give you super simple ideas and tips to help organize EVERY area in your house right away. You'll also join A Simple Southern Life community.