The Painted Hive http://thepaintedhive.net Budget Friendly DIY Interior Decorating and Home Design Ideas Blog Fri, 03 Jul 2015 23:40:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Re-Love Project…before and after http://thepaintedhive.net/2015/06/re-love-project-before-and-after/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2015/06/re-love-project-before-and-after/#comments Tue, 09 Jun 2015 12:08:37 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=12035 Continue reading....

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Laminate Armoire Transformed with DIY Wood "Tiling" | The Painted Hive

I’m so excited to finally share this!

If you’re not new here, you’re probably aware of my involvement in the Re-Love Project and what it’s all about. For those of you who don’t know, in short it’s a Feast Watson campaign in collaboration with Salvos Stores which sees eight design personalities “re-love” a neglected item of furniture with the resulting pieces being auctioned for charity. Pretty cool, huh? You can read my first post about it here and learn more on the Feast Watson website here.

It’s such a wonderful campaign, and is bigger and better than ever this year, which I’m thrilled to be involved with alongside some pretty impressive peeps!

Anyhoo, as revealed in my previous post about the project, I started with this basic melamine wardrobe which I picked up for $50…

Feast Watson Re-Love Project Before

Rather than take on a sympathetic restoration, I wanted to challenge myself to completely re-imagine something very ubiquitous in the hope of inspiring others to think a bit sideways. I’m sure many of you guys have an item like this languishing away in a dark corner somewhere. Or maybe you’ve frequently passed up similar pieces in charity stores or at garage sales. They do come across as rather potential-less.

Well, despite a few hiccups along the way, numerous vision adaptations and those customary moments of self-doubt (I really didn’t think I was going to pull this one off!), things actually worked out in the end and I’m stoked with the result! I think – I’ve been staring at if for too long now.

The mid-century modern mood of this piece is a departure from my usual farmhouse-y style which made for a slightly ambitious, yet fun, creative challenge. I’m under no illusion this is a piece for everyone though am hopeful the basic principle of the make-over sparks a few ideas. The possibilities are almost endless!

So, here’s how the whole thing went down…

 

Prep

I know this goes without saying, though to begin with I gave everything a really good clean, took off the doors, pulled out the drawers and removed all the hardware.

Note: I failed to do this, though before removing the doors it would have been beneficial to measure the gap between them and the gap where they meet the drawers. This just would have saved me some guesswork whilst I was attaching the hexagons in terms of allowing for any negative space. Also, it’s a good idea to mark the doors as left and right. My doors were identical though sometimes they have individual quirks and need to be hung a particular way.

 

Sides, Base & Top

To give the hexagons a nice frame of sorts I decided to add a new over-hanging top and base (I was also going to add side cladding though decided against it in the end).

First I needed to lose the ugly toe-kick. This can either be filled or removed entirely. For ease I opted to simply cut mine off using our plunge track saw (you could also use a jigsaw or circular saw).

Cutting Off the Toe Kick

To create the new base and top, I cut two identical panels from basic ply sheet (if you don’t have the right tools, or if you’re not confident with cutting timber, you could have it trimmed to size at the hardware store). Next I sanded them thoroughly, finishing with fine grit paper for a nice smooth finish, then sprayed them black (Dulux Duramax in Flat Black).

Mid Century Modern Wardrobe Makeover

For the wardrobe sides, I first counter-sunk the visible screws and filled the holes.

Counter-Sinking the Screw Heads

I then sanded down the sides thoroughly using an orbital palm sander and heavy grit paper.

Sanding Melamine

Melamine is slick and shiny so thorough sanding is required to ensure any topical application adheres well. I also noticed that using coarse paper created a subtle texture which, once painted, gave the melamine the look of timber! I taped off the wardrobe as necessary to avoid over-spray then painted the sides black to match the top and base.

Spray Painting Laminate

To attach the new top to the wardrobe I first smothered the panel with liquid nails, clamped it in place as best I could, drilled some small pilot holes then screwed it down from the inside of the wardrobe.

Before attaching the base to the wardrobe, the new feet (see below) were connected first. The wardrobe was then lifted on top and maneuvered into position. Once again I then drilled some pilot holes and screwed the base on from inside the wardrobe. To give the base added strength extra long screws were also drilled through each foot.

Attaching a New Top and Base to Furniture

Note: I originally planned to use white paint to create a modern Scandi look (which is super popular at the moment) though something about it just didn’t gel. Black simply worked better with the rich wood tones, tying-in beautifully with the darker hexagons and creating a more resolved finish. I was also tempted by the idea of navy blue, which I think could have looked really beautiful, though for the sake of the charity auction I wanted to keep things neutral to appeal to more buyers.

 

Feet

Now, I will admit, we went kinda fancy with our feet. Saying that, it wasn’t difficult, it just wasn’t the fastest and easiest option. I know many of you probably don’t want the hassle of making your own feet (which is understandable – I fought the idea for a few weeks!). As an alternative you can buy quite reasonably priced ready to attach ones. If you would like to have a go at making your own, like I mentioned, it’s really not that hard and is super affordable – plus you can create something completely custom!

I started by working out the general shape I wanted then cutting four identical feet from cheap framing pine (commonly known as 2×4) using our drop saw.

DIY Mid Century Furniture Feet

I then cut some lengths of pine to form a connecting frame (two long lengths for the front and rear, and two shorter lengths for the sides). Next I biscuit joined (if you don’t have a biscuit joiner you could screw and dowel) the feet to the long lengths of pine (sorry, I didn’t get a pic of this though you can imagine the two longer lengths of pine with feet at either end – refer to the below pic of the finished frame for a visual) and clamped them in place.

Biscuit Joining Feet

Once set, they were then biscuit joined to the shorter lengths of pine to form the complete frame.

DIY Custom Mid Century Modern Furniture Feet

Once set, I gave the entire thing a really good sand before staining it (Feast Watson Prooftint in Oak) and sealing it (three coats of Feast Watson Scandinavian Oil).

Staining the Base

It was then attached to the new base panel with glue and screws before being connected to the wardrobe (see above).

Note: This wardrobe is HEAVY and it was really important that the new feet were structurally capable, especially given they are angled so have outward force. I was tempted to forgo the joinery step and simply glue and screw everything directly to the base though this wouldn’t have provided the bracing strength needed. For a more lightweight item of furniture you could get away with it though.

 

Parquetry

My initial inspiration for this project came from a hexagonal garden screen I saw in a hardware store one day. Don’t ask me how I went from metal fretwork screen to timber mosaic wardrobe though it somehow set the wheels in motion.

Of course, this process is essentially parquetry which is a century old technique. I like to think of it more as wood tiling – at least that’s how it felt – and the design possibilities are almost endless!

Note: I did play around with some other shapes and patterns though decided to stick with my original hexagonal design because based on some research I did apparently it’s quite unique (parquetry-wise) and is also bang on trend at the moment. I’d like to experiment with different patterns and more rustic tones in the future.

I wanted this to be an appealing DIY. The type of project that really inspires others to have a go. I figured that hand-cutting a gazillion little shapes wasn’t that appealing so I went about sourcing some ready-made ones (you could fabricate your own from sheets of ply or veneer – especially if your design is quite simple). I assumed that affordable wooden shapes would be easy to find…ah, not so much. These things are pricey! After loads of research my only option was buying in bulk from China. Fortunately, I actually needed a bulk amount. I obtained 2mm thick x 80mm wide raw ply hexagons from this Alibaba seller at 12 cents a piece – bargain. I ordered 500 and used around 350. I found this seller really great to deal with and they can create custom shapes at custom sizes. Ah, the possibilities! I already have another idea brewing!

From the beginning my vision for the cladding was a multi-toned mosaic in warm honey tones, reflecting the honeycomb nature of the pattern (by sheer co-incidence it ties in nicely with my blog theme too!). I only used two different stains (Feast Watson Prooftint in Golden Teak and Feast Watson Prooftint in Oak) along with a colour reducer (Feast Watson Prooftint Colour Reducer) yet I created numerous shades by mixing different quantities together and applying either generously or sparingly. I hand-stained each hexagon, dipping my brush from colour to colour and coating each shape to achieve random tones. It sounds very tedious though was surprisingly quick and quite therapeutic!

Staining the Hexagons

Once all of my hexagons were stained it was time to get “tiling”! I started with a wardrobe door. First I drew a rough grid on the door (just to provide a general guide) then after some careful contemplation I began gluing the hexagons down. I started center bottom and after some trial and error, worked out the best method was to brush some glue on the rear of a hexagon, stick it down then move on to the next one. Clamping is crucial as the thin ply warps due to the moisture in the glue. My system was to complete a small portion, clamp it, work on the next section whilst the glue set (around 20 minutes) then move the clamp up. For greater efficiency, I clamped two areas at a time, using two narrow planks of wood and four clamps (two clamps per plank). This allowed me to work continuously until the door was complete!

Attaching Hexagon Parquetry

I then repeated the process with the other door and the drawers.

Note: Prior to attaching any hexagons, it was imperative to first work out where they would join in the middle, where they would meet at the base (with the drawers) and what type of over-hang there would be at the sides and top. This didn’t need to be super precise (I eventually just had to go for it because my brain starting hurting and Christmas was coming!) though it was beneficial to get a good idea of how they would “fit” to avoid the need for any unsightly slivers or obvious mis-matching.

Due to the nature of the hexagonal pattern, there is quite a bit of over-hang. I experimented with two methods of dealing with this; 1) gluing full hexagons on then trimming away any excess with a jigsaw, and 2) pre-cutting the hexagons to fit using my Moto-Saw. I found both methods to be effective though they each had their pros and cons. Using full hexagons was best for areas where only a small portion required trimming off, though I did find that even with careful cutting the jigsaw vibrations caused some minor chipping. Pre-cutting was best when only a small portion of the hexagon was required, though I did need to ensure there was still a minor over-hang which could be sanded flush. If I had to choose just one method, I would go with pre-cutting. It sounds laborious, though it wasn’t that bad plus I was able to use the off-cuts I created as I worked.

Trimming the Hexagons

Once the doors and drawers were completely clad and any over-hang was roughly trimmed, I used a sanding block to sand all of the edges flush (you could use a powered sander).

Sanding the Hexagons

I was concerned this would be difficult and that the hexagons wouldn’t appear straight (one of the reasons I chose not to do this on a tabletop), though the thin ply is incredibly soft and easy to sand so it was actually really simple to achieve perfect lines (tabletop here I come!).

To finish, I sealed the hexagons (around six coats of Feast Watson Scandinavian Oil).

Sealing the Hexagons

This not only provided a beautiful natural lustre though also worked to meld the hexagons by filling any minor gaps. It’s kinda like the grout of this weird wood tiling world…kinda.

 

Finishing Touches

To complete the overall look, I added a glamorous pop of gold to the rear of the doors with some spray paint (Dulux Duramax Bright Finish in Gold) and replaced the existing hanging rod with a brass one (see pic below) to co-ordinate.

Gold Spray

I also used some black craft paint to finish the visible sides of the doors and drawers along with the front-facing edge of the wardrobe frame (to tie-in with the body of the wardrobe).

Painting the Edges

The handles gave me grief! From the beginning I envisioned simple brass bar pulls though I couldn’t find them anywhere in Australia! And I looked EVERYWHERE! I couldn’t even find what I wanted within my budget on eBay, Alibaba, AliExpress, IndiaMart, Etsy and numerous other international sites. Having handles dipped was going to be way too pricey so I almost resigned myself to buying some chrome ones and spray painting them (a solution I wasn’t thrilled with given this item would be on-sold and the chance of the paint chipping was high). As a last resort I decided to turn to the US. I knew they would have the handles I was after (you guys have everything :-) though from past experience I wasn’t confident about the affordability of shipping. Fortunately, I happened to come across an online store which was not only willing to ship cheaply via USPS though also had the handles on sale – yay! If you’re interested I found them here ($8 each on sale). I initially wanted longer ones in blingy polished brass though am really happy with the look of these.

Brass Bar Handles | The Painted Hive

Originally, the doors were out of alignment. I was a bit concerned that when I re-hung them I wouldn’t be able to get them level. Thankfully, the recessed hinges are adjustable so I could square them up perfectly. This is something to keep in mind when looking at second-hand furniture. Mis-aligned doors can be off-putting though if the hinges are adjustable they probably just need a bit of tweaking.

Aaaaaaand, that’s how you turn a melamine piece of furniture on its head!

Mid-Century Modern Laminate Wardrobe Makeover | The Painted Hive

DIY Hexagon Armoire Interior with a Pop of Gold | The Painted Hive

I love all the random grain directions. I’m also really happy with the way the sprinkle of both extra light and dark hexagons gives the pattern added definition. That was my plan though I had no idea it was actually going to work!

DIY Hexagon Parquetry Wardrobe | The Painted Hive

Melamine Wardrobe Makeover using Hexagon Parquetry | The Painted Hive

Melamine Wardrobe Makeover using Hexagon Parquetry | The Painted Hive

All up this project cost me around $200. I know that’s not super cheap though I also happen to know that this exact wardrobe, in its before state, retails for $300 new! So, for $300 you can have a generic wardrobe from the furniture store OR for $200 you can pick up a second-hand one and – with some elbow grease and imagination – have something completely unique.

Laminate Wardrobe Hack | The Painted Hive

I think I know which one I prefer.

The photos really don’t do this baby justice. On the day I did the shoot it was really dark and gloomy so getting a nice bright shot was tricky.

Here are the before and afters…

DIY Parquetry Laminate Armoire | The Painted Hive

DIY Hexagon Armoire Makeover | The Painted Hive

Break

I hope you guys like it! That said, I do know what some of you are probably thinking; “Why bother doing all that with a cheap ugly flat pack?”. Allow me to explain…

I wanted this to be a BIG transformation. Sure, I could have started with a nice timber piece, though my thinking was, why completely transform something that’s already nice? Nice things don’t need complete overhauls, they just need a little love. Also, nice timber pieces aren’t that plentiful or affordable. Sure, you might get lucky though I know for a fact that cheap ugly flat packs are EVERYWHERE and I was on a tight budget and dead-line for this project. I think using something ubiquitous makes this project much more “real” and replicable. The wardobe is strong and sturdy and isn’t about to fall apart.

I also know that some of you are probably thinking; “For that amount of work why not just build the wardrobe from scratch?”. Again, allow me to explain…

Essentially, this was a glue and screw project. I’m good at those. It’s also the type of cosmetic DIY which I think most inspires my readers. If I built the wardrobe from scratch, I still would have had to “tile” it. Constructing it just would have cost a lot more money and taken a lot more time, not to mention stress (joinery isn’t my strong suit). On top of that, of course the whole idea behind this campaign is to demonstrate how old furniture can be re-loved. As a massive bonus I also got to save it from land-fill – yay!

I’m happy to admit I did go to extra lengths to create something special here as this piece will be auctioned off for charity. Not only did it have to look proper, it actually had to be proper (I don’t want the legs breaking off in two months time!). As far as furniture make-overs go, this was a somewhat involved one, though nothing about it was difficult. The hardest aspect was actually all the figuring out, sourcing and troubleshooting due to the fact I was totally making things up as I went along! Hopefully my tutorial can save you some of the ‘figuring out’ though if found some of my processes a bit full-on, feel free to compromise away. I have mentioned simpler alternatives where possible. You don’t need to go to the same extreme to create an amazing parquet piece that you can feel proud of.

If anything, through this project I simply hope to encourage others to cock their head further, skew their lip harder and look that little bit longer at that seemingly “beyond help” piece of furniture. With a little ingenuity and some elbow grease you can affordably transform almost anything into something truly awesome!

Break

Remember, along with the pieces of the other awesome designers involved with this campaign (be sure to check out their amazing before and afters here), this unique wardrobe is being sold for charity, so if you love it (or know someone else who would) be sure to stay tuned! The eBay auctions kick-off on July 8 and Ill be sure to post again once they go live. In addition, I’m excited to let you know that Feast Watson will be covering shipping costs Australia wide! How awesome is that? Of course, if you’re located outside Australia you are more than welcome to arrange your own freight.

C’mon guys, let’s share this around socially and work up some hype for the Salvos!

DY Hexagon Parquetry Armoire Tutorial | The Painted Hive

 

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STYLING PROPS
Metal Bentwood Chair Early Settler
Seaglass Demijohns Target
Fiddle Leaf Fig Basket Spotlight

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DIY Custom Underbed Storage Boxes http://thepaintedhive.net/2015/06/diy-custom-underbed-storage-boxes/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2015/06/diy-custom-underbed-storage-boxes/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 12:06:13 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=11698 Continue reading....

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A few weeks ago I finally got to drag the mish-mash of plastic tubs and cardboard boxes out from under Charlotte’s bed and roll in some new, perfectly proportioned timber drawers instead.

DIY Underbed Storage Boxes | The Painted Hive

Although original said “mish-mash” was jammed in there pretty tightly the additional storage these custom-sized drawers provide is amazing!

When I first started planning the (sorely needed) under-bed storage for Charlotte’s room, I had two main requirements; 1) it had to be pretty – as it would be somewhat visible, and 2) it needed to make the absolute most of the available space – because, heaven knows, we need all the storage we can get! With that in mind my initial idea was simple cane baskets. Surely I’d be able to find some appropriately sized ones which didn’t cost one zillion dollars. Right? Failing that, I was confident about the prospect of hunting down something ugly (again, appropriately sized) which could at least be made more attractive. Right?

Ah, apparently not. I didn’t go crazy with my search though everything I found was either too small, too big or waaay too expensive. Frown.

Sooooo, given my lack of success I decided it was time to pull out the power tools!

Now, if you’re anything like me, creating from scratch is probably a last resort. I don’t know what it is exactly, maybe the additional time it sucks, the likelihood of stuffing up or just the plain ‘unknown’ of it all, though something about it can feel all too hard. In this case, though, after months of fruitless searching, I came to the conclusion that custom building was actually the easier option. And, thanks to our new precision tools, it really was!

Making Underbed Storage Boxes

I didn’t write a complete tutorial for these boxes because, well, they’re boxes (I’m sure there are a heap of great tutorials out there already). On top of that, my husband actually did the bulk of the construction work whilst I kept the kids out of his hair and he employed some fancy techniques way beyond my usual cut, glue and screw comfort zone :-)

The boxes are made from ply (my go to), have provisions for dividers and neat little rabbet jointed corners (yes, I did just have to Google that!).

DIY Wooden Storage Boxes

They also have recessed bases to accommodate clever spanning rollers – so they look like they actually rest on the floor though can be easily moved about.

DIY Underbed Storage Boxes Custom Rollers

Basic castors would suffice though I think my husband wanted to play around with our new tools. That’s probably part of the reason he went all fancy in the first place!

I went for three boxes so they aren’t overly heavy and can be maneuvered around one another and any overlapping furniture (a must given the tiny scale of the room).

I haven’t added handles or anything yet, and am not sure if I will. Aesthetically it would kinda be pointless as when they’re in place only the very bottoms are visible, and from a practical perspective it’s easy enough to reach under the valance, grab the top of a box and pull it out. Speaking of the valance, it’s a simple DIY made from an inexpensive linen-look tablecloth. We needed something to cover the metal bed rail and some ugly exposed brackets and although I really liked the idea of using a wooden rail I didn’t want something solid which would restrict storage height. Having a flexible skirt ensures no vertical space is lost.

I have dreams of painting the box interiors with a fun pop of pink – maybe that will happen one day – though given the exteriors are visible I did stain and seal them for a nice, rich finish.

Underbed Storage Boxes

I used some left-over Feast Watson Brown Japan stain, which I initially thought was way too dark, though it mellowed out considerably when I applied some Scandinavian Oil (three coats) and it actually works really well with the existing antique dresser.

DIY Custom Underbed Stoage Boxes | The Painted Hive

I’m loving how finished these boxes are making the room finally feel. That said, there is still a ways to go. When I started decorating this space Charlotte wasn’t even two yet. Well, she’s four next month. Four! When did that happen? Of course, with the ascent of her age comes the emergence of “her”. As such, what was initially my solo vision of a relatively neutral and quite simple farmhouse style room has evolved into a collaborative concept which now accommodates her blossoming sense of self…and I love that! Truth is, I’m not smitten with the current feel anyway. It is pretty though perhaps a little too so, and all I keep thinking is how it would make a lovely guest room – for an adult. It definitely needs a bit more playfulness and spunk. Stay tuned!

Girl's Farmhouse Bedroom | The Painted Hive

 

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Bargain Finds, a Fiddle Leaf, Re-Loving and other stuff http://thepaintedhive.net/2015/05/bargain-finds-a-fiddle-leaf-re-loving-and-other-stuff/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2015/05/bargain-finds-a-fiddle-leaf-re-loving-and-other-stuff/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 14:07:12 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=12154 Continue reading....

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I’m between big projects at the moment (aren’t I always?) though that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything fun to share right now.

If you read my last post, or if you follow me through social media, you probably already know that I just joined Instagram. Finally!

The community is so awesome and I’ve found it surprisingly motivating in terms of house tweaking. The idea of sharing something new and different through a simple snap shot makes me way more excited than it probably should. Is that weird? Didn’t think so.

So, I’ve been happily playing vignettes and have even had fun buying some cute new budget-friendly accessories, a rarity for me at the moment.

A few weeks back I stumbled upon this fiddle leaf fig!

Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree | The Painted Hive

I know every man and his dog has one now though I’ve wanted one for a few years and figured that prolificity (yes, I just made that word up – it has five syllables and sounds very fancy) seemed like a silly reason not to get one. They are still gorgeous. And, as an added bonus this one cost less than two zillion dollars! For anyone interested this baby is around 80cm tall (floor to top) and was $45 from Wombat Gully Plant Farm in Geelong. I have no idea whether they still have any in stock so maybe ring ahead if you plan on dropping in there. The wicker basket was $22 (on sale) from Spotlight.

Have you guys seen some of the awesome homewares Kmart is rocking at the mo’?

Science Flask

I picked up this cool little conical flask for just $4.

And Target is doing okay too.

Vintage Vignette with Brass, Leather and Seagreen Demijohn | The Painted Hive

Couldn’t go past this gorgeous sea-green demijohn for only $15. Might have to go back and get more :) All of the other elements in this vignette are thrifted. The leather case holds vintage binoculars, the brass tray was a $4 market find (love!) and we all know I can’t style anything without some obligatory greenery – these unseasonal wattle sprays are just that bit different too.

And how about The Reject Shop? They have some really great buys in store for Mother’s Day.

Rose Gold Animal Heads | The Painted Hive

I snatched up these ceramic rose-gold animal heads for $7 each. They were supposed to be a gift though I hung them in my entryway to take some pics and now I adore them so much I think they might have to stay. Against my vintage wallpaper they’re just perfect!

Metallic Rosegold Animal Heads | The Painted Hive

And I absolutely fell in love with this leather strap lantern for $15 (from The Reject Shop too!).

Vintage Lantern Vignette | The Painted Hive

It would also make a really cute vase and I adore it even more after researching the price of some comparable ones…

Glass and Leather Lanterns

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

 

Huh? Crazy, right? I mean, I know I’m tight, though seriously?

If you follow me socially and have already seen all this then I apologise for the repetition. I wanted to share here for anyone who may have missed my social media posts and for those of you who simply don’t use social media. Plus, it’s just plain nice compiling everything in a lovely little blog post :)

In other news, my Re-Love Project piece is coming along nicely!

I don’t want to reveal too much just yet though I will say I’m stepping outside my comfort zone in terms of aesthetic. I hope the deviation from my usual style doesn’t disappoint you guys though I’m loving the creative challenge and freedom! I’ll share some sneak peeks in a future post soon.

 

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PS Thanks so much to everyone who left a lovely little comment on my Houzz interview.

PPS I was also recently interviewed by Porch. You can check that fun article out here.

 

 

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Re-Love Project 2015 http://thepaintedhive.net/2015/04/re-love-project-2015/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2015/04/re-love-project-2015/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 12:10:40 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=12077 Continue reading....

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Do you guys remember this makeover from last year?

Boring Bedsides Transformed into Flat File Drawers | The Painted Hive

Well, I’m super excited to announce I am once again taking part in the Feast Watson Re-Love Project!

For anyone unfamiliar with the campaign, the Re-Love Project is a charitable collaboration between Feast Watson and Salvos Stores. The project follows eight design personalities as they each up-cycle an item of furniture into a unique statement piece. Things culminate in all completed pieces being auctioned for charity via eBay from 8 – 17 July.  Awesome!

It’s BIGGER and BETTER than ever this year.

Also, slightly more daunting.

You see, after such a positive response to my make-over last year, I was feeling the pressure. I even considered declining. Of course, that would have been plain stupid and I’m soooo glad I didn’t! On top of that though, the calibre of the designers this year is crazy good. The likes of Mark Tuckey, Tara Dennis, Deb Bibby…just to name a few. Industry icons people – gulp! As flattering as it is being named among such awesomeness, it’s also a tad intimidating for little Kristine Franklin from The Painted Hive. That said, it’s equally exhilarating so I’m gonna focus on that!

For those who don’t know, Feast Watson specialise in premium wood finishes, so the furniture “re-loves” must center around just that; wood. This makes for a refreshing departure from paint, and provides a fun opportunity to get extra creative.

So, here’s my glorious starting point…

Feast Watson ReLove Project Before

A big melamine wardrobe I picked up for just $50 (replete with some of my fave pet hate furniture traits).

What, “melamine”? Didn’t you just say “wood”?

Yeah, but rest assured, I have a plan!

Rather than take on a sympathetic restoration, I want to experiment with a style of furniture I know is prevalent, affordable, and just plain meh, and completely turn it on its head! By doing so, I hope to inspire others to think a bit sideways and maybe even have a go at replicating my project (a complete tutorial will follow).

You with me?

Keep your fingers, and toes, crossed then. Who knows how this thing will end (hopefully not with me in the fetal position)!

Feast Watson Re-Love Project 2015

Click here to find out more about the project, read up on all the other fab designers involved and see everyone’s ‘before’ shots!

You can also follow each designer’s journey by subscribing to their respective social channels or directly through Feast Watson on Instagram or Pinterest.

 

Signature

Ooh, also, I’ve finally just started using my Instagram account. Things are a little lonesome there at the mo’ so please feel free to pop on over and follow along.

Instagram The Painted Hive

 

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Abstract Art Tutorial http://thepaintedhive.net/2015/03/abstract-art-tutorial/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2015/03/abstract-art-tutorial/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 12:14:12 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=11816 Continue reading....

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Abstract Art Tutorial | The Painted Hive

Okay, here it is.

Just in case you missed it, in this recent post I innocently posed the question of an abstract art tutorial following the surprising success of my own flukey attempt.

I thought there might be a little interest though the response was actually overwhelming!

Seems abstract art tutorials are in high demand.

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial

Now, you should know, I don’t lose sleep over too much, though the thought of having to produce a clear tutorial covering what was actually quite an ambiguous process made me restless. Compounding the self-imposed pressure was the level of excitement and anticipation you guys seemed to have about it. It was super flattering, though still…gulp.

How the heck was I going to convey my blundering process in a concise way?

Hopefully this tutorial does the trick.

Break

Before I get started, here’s the usual yada-yada.

Of course, there are a zillion-trillion different ways to create a piece of art and a trillion-billion variations on my amateur process. For clarity and succinctness this tutorial will focus on the particular techniques I used to achieve the look of my artwork. In reality, it was probably much more time consuming, self questioning, step laden and fiddly than it appears though I don’t wanna confuse the bejesus outta everyone. I want this to be a straight-forward, step-by-step guide which arms you with some knowledge and, most importantly, the confidence, to find your own inner artist. So please, feel free to stray from my general directions (in fact, experimentation is a must!) and DON’T GET DOWN ON YOURSELF if things don’t seem to come easily.

This painting method is somewhat accidental. Have a general vision in mind though be open to adaptation and prepared to embrace the unpredictability of the medium. Although I think it’s important to undertake this project in a thoughtful way, try to strike that balance between discipline and abandon – I know, I know, much easier said than done!

I attempted to create this tutorial whilst painting a whole new large piece of art similar to my initial painting, though found it all too tricky. It was just restrictive having to stop frequently and take notes, stage strokes, demonstrate techniques and snap pics. The whole artwork felt too calculated. So, for ease, I decided to use a smaller canvas and merely demonstrate the basic steps. The resulting artwork turned out quite different though still kinda cool (there’s a photo towards the end of this post).

Anyhoo, here we go…

 

YOU WILL NEED…

Abstract Art Painting Supplies

Stretched Canvas
I used a large 90cm x 90cm (36″ x 36″) canvas for my original painting and a smaller 60cm x 60cm (23″ x 23″) one for this tutorial.

You could use canvas sheet though pre-stretched frames are just so affordable and readily available nowadays. I like the deeper canvases as they tend to hold their shape better, don’t dip in the center as much and make framing easier. You might even find pre-printed canvases on sale for super cheap (I saw some HUGE photographic prints on sale at a clearance store the other day). Of course, if you do use a pre-printed canvas the additional step of an initial white coat may be required.

Note: Starting with a small canvas might seem to make sense, and whilst it is a good idea for practicing techniques and gaining an understanding of how the effects might transpire, in terms of producing an artwork it may actually be more difficult. Using a small canvas means scaling down details. Scaling down details means the need for extra finesse. Things can become all too muted then impact is lost. I also feel that large abstract paintings just have that air about them. That said, super large canvases carry their own problems as working on a huge scale can also be difficult. I recommend anything from around 60cm – 120cm (24″ – 47″) though it’s totally up to you.

Acrylic Paint
I used a combination of different craft paints I already owned. I know there are good and bad brands, though I’m not that fussy when it comes to paint. I used blues and greens to suit my colour scheme along with some white, black and brown.

Edicol Dye
I used regular food colouring. The dye works to give greater tonal variation. I don’t know how it does it, though it creates interesting transparent areas, distinct borders around shapes and is absorbed somewhat into the canvas which produces underlying patterns. As opposed to the acrylic paint, it also re-hydrates once dry which allows it to be picked-up and blended into subsequent layers. Just be careful if you want to produce a relatively muted painting though as dyes are heavily pigmented and tend to produce quite saturated colours. You only need a few drops.

Note: You can go as crazy as you like with colour though if you’re interested in creating a relatively monochromatic artwork similar to mine, opt for one principle colour (blue in my case) and one complimentary secondary colour (I went with green). White and black/brown can then be used to add depth and contrast. Also, keep in mind that when working with mixtures of paint, dye and water, colour creation is not an exact science. As colours merge and dry you will almost certainly notice some unpredictable results. You may want to trial any colours on a mini canvas first.

 

ALONG WITH…

Abstract Art Equipment

 

PREPARATION

Lay down a drop cloth (if required) and position your canvas horizontally on an even-ish surface. Gravity will play some part in the look of this artwork as paint ‘flow’ is involved; too much of a slope may cause an undesirable bias, too even a surface may cause paint to pool in the center of the canvas. Of course, levels can be adjusted as required during the painting process and I did find myself carefully re-positioning the canvas from time to time. I like to work at around thigh height though you may prefer to work higher or at ground level, just ensure you can paint comfortably and maneuver easily around your canvas.

I like to work outside. Preferably on a nice, hot day. Temperature actually plays quite a role in the look of this painting as drying time effects the amount of flow and blending. It also dictates pace as some drying time is required between certain applications. You can use a hairdryer to speed-up drying time if required though be careful with ‘pushing’ the paint excessively.

You can prime your canvas (using gesso) if desired though most stretched canvases comes pre-primed anyway. You may also choose to add some texture (see note below).

Note: Given the fluid nature of the medium used, little texture is achieved. I really love textural paintings though in this case like the way the character of the canvas weave is so prominent. If, however, you want to increase the level of texture, build some up before commencing painting. You can use anything which will stick, set firmly and retain its form. Gesso is commonly used, though anything from craft glue to plaster paste can suffice. I actually trialed this style of painting over a previous textural acrylic of mine and found the subtle textures produced some lovely results though the more bold textures were overly distracting. Of course, it all depends on the look you’re personally after, though if you’re considering adding texture, maybe concentrate on gentle stippling over more obvious strokes.

 

THE PROCESS

Abstract Art Tutorial | The Base Layer

1 The base.

Mix up a runny combination of white acrylic paint, dye (in your chosen colour – I went with blue) and water then casually coat the entire canvas using a wide brush. Don’t worry too much about visible brush strokes and un-even distribution at this stage. Some tonal variation is expected though any obvious areas should self-level out (you can also use the atomiser to further saturate and blend any particularly patchy spots). Keep in mind that the colour will most likely fade as it dries. If it becomes too insipid, simply brush over it again with a less watery paint solution. As it begins to dry you can also spritz the canvas with a slightly darker combination of dye and water to add a bit more colour and some speckles. Alternatively, you can spray it with some diluted white paint if you feel the need to tone it down.

Abstract Art Tutorial | The Streams

2 The streams.

Mix up a combination of white acrylic paint (you can also add some coloured paint – I used a little blue), dye (in your chosen colour – again, I went with blue) and water which is slightly thicker and more colour saturated than the mixture you used for the base (for some reason, the base appears quite white in the above photo – it’s actually more blue). Pour a few little pools onto the canvas, spread them out a little using a brush then allow gravity to do some work.

Easy Abstract Art Tutorial

You can help guide the shapes of the streams if you like though don’t worry too much about their form as subsequent layering will hide and alter that anyway. This is more about laying down some areas of colour and movement and creating a foundation to build upon. You can also use a brush to simply drop a few small splotches here and there and a straw to blow out some thinner streams. Whilst some of this detail will be lost, in certain cases it may continue to show through the following layers (if desired, you can add any detail back at the end).

There’s no need to be overly careful, though don’t go too crazy quantity-wise. The watery mixture will spread considerably and you don’t really want to coat your entire canvas. Whilst you’re not in total control and further changes are still to come, keep composition in mind and try to retain some background expanses.

Before the streams are totally dry, pour on a few pools of an alternate colour (I went with green) and repeat the process. Some mingling should occur which looks quite marbled to begin with (which is lovely) though it does dry to a more uniform, flat finish.

Abstract Art Ink Streams

Again, be careful with quantities. If you notice undesirable pooling or directional flow, try tilting the canvas mildly or sopping up excess liquid with absorbent paper towel. Don’t worry about paint dribbling off the canvas edge.

Abstract Art Techniques

Play around with spritzing the canvas with water or diluted paint to achieve greater flow, softer edges, more blending or additional speckles as desired. Once again, colours will change upon drying so be patient and make changes as needed. Try not to pre-empt things too much.

Abstract Art Tutorial | The Daubs

3 The daubs.

Mix up quite a thick combination of white acrylic paint, a little dye (in your chosen colour – blue again for me) and some water. You can also add any additional acrylic colours as desired (I used black to create a soft grey for my initial artwork though decided on a dash of brown for this tutorial). Whilst areas of the streams are still somewhat wet, randomly stipple/drop the mixture on, allowing the paint, not the brush, to form organic dappled shapes (to achieve this use a round-ish tipped brush, ensure you have a decent amount of paint on the canvas and flatten the brush bristles out so they push the paint – it just creates a more natural shape). I concentrated on concealing any particularly harsh dye lines or areas I simply didn’t like.

Abstract Art Paint Daubs Technique

In areas the daubs will blend together (as can be seen in the above close-up), creating larger shapes. In other areas they might mingle with sections of wet underlying paint, running into your previous streams or creating whole new ones. Don’t worry too much about this unless all of your daubs are turning to streams and contrast is becoming lost. In this case, allow the underlying layers to dry more thoroughly before re-commencing, or thicken-up your mixture.

As the paint dries the colour mellows considerably, so bring some extra contrast to the daubs by dropping thick dollops of undiluted white paint among them.

Abstract Art Techniques

Directly above is the whole canvas after my first daub application. Getting there, though still lacking something. I actually decided to lighten things up further so added some more white daubs. I also spritzed the canvas with some diluted white paint. This mellowed out the colour blocks and created some nice new muted streams as can bee seen in the close-up below.

Abstract Art Paint Streams

This ‘daub’ application is the stage which requires the most consideration and restraint. It’s easy to go too far and end up with one big mottled mess. Stand back often and assess where the daubs are really needed. Don’t just go wild daubing like a crazy lady! You want to retain sections of the background and portions of underlying colour. This helps create a more interesting painting with areas of both movement and rest.

Below is the whole canvas, still somewhat wet, after my secondary application of white daubs.

Abstract Art Tutorial

If at any time you feel you’ve gone too far, bring out the atomiser and play around with spritzing. I know it’s daunting watering down all your hard work, though you’ll be surprised just how easy it is to create new interesting patterns and, if need be, a nice fresh base from which to build upon again.

Note: Although not essential, it might help to determine the painting’s orientation before commencing this stage. Whilst abstract art can commonly be hung in any configuration, composition wise, I personally find it easier adding these final elements if I have an idea which way I think is up.

Abstract Art Tutorial | The Focus

4 The focus.

This isn’t necessary, though I like the idea of having a particular area which draws your eye. If you’d prefer a more uniform look, simply leave this step out.

Whilst the underlying layer is still a little wet, lay down a small area of diluted dye solution.

Abstract Art Focal Point

Now, use a brush to apply some thick acrylic paint in the colour of your choice (I like the neutrality of white) on top of, or just beside, that area of watery dye. Begin spreading the pant into a desirable shape. The dye should be pushed to the edges of the paint and form a subtle border around it in sections. This helps create the impression the focus shape is embedded within the artwork, rather than merely being plonked on top.

Abstract Art Focus Area

It’s pretty inevitable that your focus area will pick up some of the surrounding and underlying colours. If you find it becomes overly muddied, apply additional thicker areas of paint. Remember, the colours will most likely dry more muted and you really want this focus area to stand out.

At this stage you should also assess the overall composition and make any changes you feel are needed. You may want to add some more defined shapes or areas of colour to increase contrast or provide balance.

Note: To complete your painting, consider adding a frame. It really does help give a nice professional finish and is an easy DIY (I didn’t do a framing tutorial though it’s simply a matter of mitering some thin timber trim and nailing it straight onto the canvas frame – or, if you don’t like the idea of mitering, you can use simple abutting corners). If you prefer the casualness of no frame, you can paint the canvas edge a solid colour to co-ordinate with your painting or extend your painting to the edges during the painting process. Oh, and don’t forget to include your signature in the bottom corner!

So, here’s the finished painting.

Abstract Art Tutorial | The Painted Hive

Remember, I did create this painting primarily for demonstrative purposes so it’s different to my original work, and also quite a bit smaller, though I think it still has its own appeal. Which one do you prefer?

DIY Abstract Art Paintings

I quite like them both. I think. It’s kinda hard to separate yourself and look at them objectively. I know I do like the colours though!

Here’s a super-duper close-up to show the canvas texture and paint detail.

Abstract Art Tutorial Painting Close-Up

 

TROUBLE SHOOTING & STARTING OVER

Inevitably, there will be hiccups and moments of doubt (I can certainly vouch for that!). If you find you’re absolutely hating the way your painting is progressing, don’t lose heart. If things aren’t too far gone, stand back and assess where you can make changes. It can be daunting to alter areas you’ve already painted, especially if there are sections you really like, though if you’re not totally in love with your art it’s worth giving it a go. If things are too far gone, simply water down the canvas and paint over it again. Remember, every mistake is an opportunity to learn something and you’ll almost certainly find that your previous attempts will have armed you with more skill and a better understanding of how to go about things again. Don’t worry too much if areas of muted paint from your previous attempt continue to show through the canvas. They can be used to add some extra interest. Please, just don’t give up too easily. I almost did!

Also, and I really have to stress this – DON’T DISMISS YOUR WORK TOO EARLY! I’ve been very lukewarm on a few of my paintings initially only to decide I actually quite liked them after a day or two. I don’t know what it is exactly, though it seems it’s easy to be extra critical early on. Bring your painting inside, lean it up against a wall, or hang it if possible, and allow it to grow on you a bit. You might be surprised!

Break

Anybody can produce abstract art. I think the thing which causes trepidation among us aesthetic DIY’ers, is the fact we want to produce something with a specific, even professional, look. It can be daunting knowing where to start and doubly disheartening to take the plunge only to feel disappointed with the outcome.

As a fellow rookie (I’m assuming you’re reading this tutorial because you’re a novice too :-) I truly-ruly hope this tutorial, along with my advice, helps spur some confidence.

Have fun!

 

Signature

 

Oh, and send me a photo if you give it a go!

 

 

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Playing Vignettes | Sofa Table Styling http://thepaintedhive.net/2015/02/playing-vignettes-sofa-table-styling/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2015/02/playing-vignettes-sofa-table-styling/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 11:14:35 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=11739 Continue reading....

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Accessorise Definition

I’m sure I’m not alone in labeling the act of accessorising one of the most transformative and enjoyable in home beautification.

Not only does this final layer help bring a room to life, it’s also just plain fun messing around with a bunch of beautiful objects (and, as far as decorating on a budget goes, there’s no denying the affordable impact some carefully considered styling can impart).

I used to re-arrange all the ornamental vignettes in my home often, though now, with a three and one year old, I find it’s a bit counter-productive. I’ve noticed that stagnant vignettes can remain ignored for several months though as soon as I move anything around the kids’ interest is suddenly piqued, and sure enough, five minutes later my pretty new arrangement is little more than a disheveled pile of discarded ‘play things’.

I know in a few years I’ll be the one playing around with the accessories once more, though for now I do miss it.

Which is why I was excited when my mum mentioned she was looking at doing some zhooshing in her lounge room. Rather fortuitously, her announcement coincided with an email from the guys at Super Amart who were looking to showcase some of their affordable homewares. Gotta love it when the universe aligns!

I fell in love with these BIG glass statement lamps (being cleared for half price – the website states $89 though I got mine for just $70 each in store!) so decided to make them my jumping-off point.

Now, just to work out where to put them.

I could have done the regular side table thing though mum had a big blank wall behind one of her couches which was just crying out for something.

Before

See what I mean?

Soooo, we shifted the couch forward slightly, slotted in a narrow sofa table and set to work making things look pretty.

The Power of Accessorising

Aside from the gorgeous lamps, which I love even more now, and the big original abstract, which you can read more about below, we used things we already owned. Mum and I are fortunate to share similar taste so we often swap stuff around and even have a joint collection of ‘excess’ decor we can switch and change from.

Sofa Table Styling

Although there is nothing extravagant or expensive about this vignette I like to think it has a gentle sophistication, the contrasting elements working in harmony to impart a fresh, collected feel. And whilst it’s far from perfect to me there’s just something so lovely about the perfect imperfection of rustic meets refined (and something so rewarding about making the most of things you already own to create a new look on a tight budget).

Elegant Glass Lamp

When creating vignettes I usually have some kind of vision in mind however find I generally end up using more elements than originally planned. I don’t know what it is. I tend to like the look of quite clean, sparse-ish vignettes in photos though struggle when attempting to emulate that simplicity myself. I guess deep down I just like more stuff! Not too much though.

Sofa Table Vignette

When dressing the couch we actually had both green and blue velveteen cushions to choose from. Green is one of my absolute favourite accent colours to use when decorating though in this case I opted for blue to reference the artwork and give some relief from the foliage of the ferns.

Here’s a Photoshoped version which shows the green cushions instead.

Sofa Table Styling with Green Cushions

Which do you prefer? Blue or green?

Styling with Different Coloured Cushions

Either way, it’s a pretty cohesive scheme; the blue ties-in with the art, the green ties-in with the foliage. I guess it just depends how much you love green :-)

I’m not totally convinced with the boldness of the stripe on the lumbar cushion. I guess it does help break-up the solids though. Again, it’s really just a matter of personal preference.

Now, just in case anyone is wondering how the big original artwork isn’t “extravagant” or “expensive” I should probably mention that I painted it myself! Whilst I’m under no illusion it’s any kid of masterpiece it does look good (if I do say so myself :-) and works well in the space. It took me a few goes to achieve the look I was after though once I discovered the techniques I needed to use it was actually really easy…and fun! If you’d like to see a tutorial let me know and I might give it a go :-)

Sofa Table Styling

I realise it’s a bit skimpy only sharing this one snippet of the room with you, though the rest of the makeover is still in the works. I would promise a future full reveal however have no idea when the space will actually be complete. Regardless, I hope this tidbit does help highlight the power of accessorising. I’ve heard styling referred to as nothing more than ‘smoke and mirrors’ though I’m comfortable admitting it’s my kind of illusion!

Room Styling Before and After | The Painted Hive

Room Styling Before and After | The Painted Hive

Ahhh, playing vignettes – one of my absolute fave pastimes. Maybe I need to get out more!

Vignette Styling

Couldn’t resist squeezing this pic of Cooper in. I tried getting a shot of my parent’s dog though he was too fidgety. Gotta hand it to Coops, he might shed hair like a yeti though at least he’s an obedient model.

 

Signature

This post was sponsored by Super Amart.
Read my full advertising policy and disclosure statement here.

 

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New Reader-Based Consultation Segment…and a room before and after! http://thepaintedhive.net/2015/02/new-reader-based-consultation-segment/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2015/02/new-reader-based-consultation-segment/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 12:26:23 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=11587 Continue reading....

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A little while back now I was contacted by one of my lovely local readers who was seeking some design advice. She was actually enquiring about ‘hiring’ me to help, and whilst this is something I’ve done in the past, the timing was just a little off for me so I felt uncomfortable committing to the work.

That said, I was still keen to help her out and do enjoy the challenge, and just plain fun, of playing ‘dollhouse’.

Fortuitously, I’d actually been toying with the idea of beginning a new reader-based design segment and her open plan living space seemed like the prefect kick-off candidate!

"Room with a View" 3D Concept Renderings

The segment will focus on breathing virtual life into your design visions. In other words, turning your dreamy home desires into realistic concept renderings you can actually see!

Notice how I said ‘your’? Whilst I’m super open to helping propel the design – filling in any gaps and dealing with dilemmas – at this stage I’d really like concentrate on rooms you guys already have some ideas for, rather than full-blown “I’m totally lost” re-dos. I love the idea of working in a collaborative way to make your own imaginings visible.

Maybe you’ve got a new colour scheme in mind, different furniture layout to trial or are even contemplating a mini reno. From using a specific wallpaper to creating a particular overall ‘vibe’, it can be as precise or vague as you like, as long as there is some intent. The general goal of the rendering is to provide a motivating (and hopefully exciting!) visual guide which you can then tailor to your needs during the design implementation process.

Anyhoo, back to the kick-off space.

My reader, Jelaine, had come to a stand-still in her combined living-dining area.

She wanted to work with what she already had (for the most part) to achieve a cohesive modern french country feel, with hints of vintage industrial. Although she had some ideas, she just wasn’t quite sure how to pull everything together.

Here’s her space…

Before 1

Before 4

Before 3

Before 2

Note: Jelaine purchased new sofas mid-way through the consultation process after I saw a great deal on some which I thought fit her criteria and suggested she check them out. Although I was sent a few fresh pics of the space including the new sofas – which were sufficient for my rendering purposes – the initial photos (incorporating the original micro-suede couches) were just a little wider angled and better showed the space as a whole which is why I’ve used them above. Of course, the new sofas are depicted in my plans and here they are in the room…

Living Room Before

She also shared photos of some accessories she’d like included…

Decorating Accessories

And here are her needs and wants…

DINING AREA
– Table, chairs and clock to stay
– Lighting for above dining table
– Furniture (incorporating storage) for beneath clock
– Artwork for blank wall

LIVING AREA
– Rug, coffee table, new brown sofas and TV bench to stay
– Incorporate lamps somewhere
– Artwork for above three-seater sofa
– Use architectural prints if possible
– Lighten-up the overall brown-ness
– Additional furniture to accompany TV bench (likes the look of built-ins)

So, taking all things into account – including accurate dimensions of the room itself along with any existing furnishings – here’s what I came up with (side-by-side comparisons can be found further below)…

3D Room Rendering | The Painted Hive

CLICK THE ABOVE IMAGE TO ENLARGE
Go on, you know you want to – it looks heaps better big!

3D Room Rendering After

Virtual Interior Design

Room Re-Design in 3D

3D Room Rendering

Pardon the funky shadowing. Just a quirk of the program.

Below is a ‘doll’s house’ view to more clearly show the spacial planning and furniture lay-out.

3D Dollshouse View

And a bit about the decisions I made…

DINING AREA
I was initially going to suggest placing a small cabinet beneath the clock, though its high hanging position prompted me to recommend a 3/4 cupboard instead. Not only does it provide more storage, thought it’s also just a bit different. I went with a distressed mint green which references the artwork in the living area, breaks-up all the timber in the space and adds some needed personality. Atop the cupboard a simple collection of glassware befriends the solitary clock.

On the opposite dining room wall I have created a basic photo gallery. This area is currently a bit of a transient zone (you might have noticed both a spin bike and keyboard in each of the before pics – which were taken a few weeks apart) with no real defined future plan. The gallery, being both simple and interesting, provides flexibility yet works to give purpose and impact to the wall. If in the future Jelaine wants to pull in something more permanent (maybe in the form of a sideboard, low bar or bench) the gallery can easily be adapted to work.

A low central pendant helps define the dining area. I used an industrial pyramid style pendant, though a longer rectangular one would work equally well, as would an appropriately scaled pair of alternate pendants, like glass cones or traditional lanterns.

LIVING AREA
Rather than commit to the permanence and expense of built-ins, I have simply flanked the TV bench with two tall narrow shelving units. Although open to changing the TV bench, Jelaine did mention that she does like it, so I have retained it at this stage. That said, I do like the idea of switching it out for something simpler which can be painted to match the shelves (and doesn’t compete so readily with the coffee table). I mentioned this to Jelaine and she is now keen to find an alternative. Restrained yet thoughtful styling using co-ordinating accessories (notice I sneaked in her pair of lovely lanterns?) helps avoid a cluttered feel. Pretty baskets can be used to store any smaller, less decorative items. To bridge the shelves and take focus off the TV I have used Jelaine’s existing architectural prints which were purchased by her husband.

I retained the couch configuration – which, after brainstorming all the alternatives, I decided does work best for the space – though added a small occasional chair and two ottomans. The chair works to define the seating area without enclosing it. It also provides an avenue to introduce a lighter coloured fabric. I felt the rectangular shape of the coffee table was a little ill-fitting so have teamed it with a pair of ottomans to create a collective square shape which I feel works better in the space. Along with providing additional seating, the ottomans are easily repositionable as required and, depending on the style, can also be used for storage. To help brighten things up I have used a combination of light-toned linen cushions, some plain and some with simple grain-sack stripes to fit with Jelaine’s desired french feel. I have placed a brown ticking cushion on the occasional chair to tie it in with the chocolate couches.

To break-up all the angles in the room I added a round pedestal table between the couches. I went with something reasonably tall so it didn’t get too lost behind the sofa arms and chose a warm grey to add a bit of depth. Atop the table sits the shorter of Jelaine’s lamps. Positioned symmetrically at the other end of the three-seater sofa is the taller of her lamps. You can’t see it clearly in the pics though I’ve used a small milking stool to bring it up to the same level as the table lamp (books could also be used as risers to get the levels perfect if need be). Giving company to the occasional chair is a small side table, here in the form of a stump stool, however numerous different styles could work well.

To cleanly counter-balance the fullness of the shelves and create a focal point away from the TV I have placed one large artwork above the three-seater sofa. I chose a muted abstract for a bit of edge and colour (as mentioned above, the artwork colour is referenced in the green dining room cupboard to help unite the areas).

Note: Of course, all the specifics in my design are merely suggestive. Particulars concerning details such as colour, style, finishes, etc, can and should be adjusted as necessary.

Now, who doesn’t love a before and after? Here are some comparisons to save all that back and forth scrolling (remember, she already has the new couches)…

Before and After Virtual Room Makeover

Room Makeover Before and After 3D Rendering

Room Makeover Before and After Virtual Rendering

Before and After Room Redo - Virtual Style

 

Soooo, now I invite you guys to submit one of your spaces!

If you have a room you believe would be a good candidate for this new segment simply send me a brief overview of your vision for the space along with a few photos.

Email thepaintedhive@gmail.com with subject line “Room with a View”.

Guys, please don’t go into too much detail or send a million pics at this stage. Depending on the number of submissions I receive I may not be able to get to them all and I’d hate for anyone to take a heap of time composing a submission which doesn’t evolve into a rendering. I plan to select a space as often as time and motivation permits, any of the more nitty-gritty deets can follow if your room is chosen.

Although I have this awesome rendering program (and have somehow conquered the considerable learning curve in order to actually use it!) I can’t count the number of times I’ve just wished someone would simply show me how an imagined space might look. So, I’m really looking forward to being able to do exactly that for some of you! Eeeek!

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Don’t want to gamble with the chance I might pick you? Feel free to contact me about a custom consultation.

Break

This room was rendered using Home Designer Architectural.

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Create Your Own FREE Art Paintings (from photographs)! http://thepaintedhive.net/2015/01/create-your-own-free-art-paintings-from-photographs/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2015/01/create-your-own-free-art-paintings-from-photographs/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 11:25:31 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=10945 Continue reading....

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Turn Your Photos Into Art (the ultimate guide) | The Painted Hive

In keeping with my completely, absolutely, totally not weird obsession with budget-friendly wall art I wanted to share a really cool and easy way to create your very own custom ‘paintings’.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the concept of digitally turning photos into paintings, and maybe some of you have already played around with the process, though for anyone a little sceptical or uncertain, hopefully this post sheds some light, sparks a few ideas and helps inspire.

I started playing around with applying painterly effects to photos a few years ago after I got Photoshop and stumbled across a few on-line tutorials. It was a new and exciting discovery for me, opening a whole world of possibilities. Achieving really good results using Photoshop can be tricky, so at the time I also trialed a few auto-painting programs which offered simple “one-click” filters.

Since then there has been heaps of progression in the photo-to-art realm. Having sooooo many options is awesome and empowering, though can also be confusing and overwhelming. So, here’s my little break-down.

 

The Photo

Of course, you need a photo to begin with.

The choice is entirely personal, though keep in mind that some may work more successfully than others. Certain compositions and subject matter just lend themselves better to artistic treatments. And remember, one of the bonuses of turning your photo into a painting is that it doesn’t need to be particularly spectacular to begin with.

The photo could be an existing one of your own, one taken specifically for the purpose of applying a painterly effect or a scan of an old photograph.

In addition to using your very own photos, it’s also nice to know that there are literally millions to choose from online. This can be handy if you’re after something specific that you simply don’t have the ability or inclination to capture. Online photos can be purchased through stock image websites or even downloaded directly for free (just be sure to obtain consent first).

A few of my fave subject matters for painting conversions are…

Drag the slider to compare before and after – if you’re viewing in a reader you may need to click over to the blog.


ANIMALS
Who doesn’t love a painting of a beautiful animal? I especially adore the impact of large-scale animal art and, for whatever reason, am particularly drawn to farmyard animals and birds (along with the more obscure, like camels and giraffes – weird). I also like the idea of using photos of your very own pets.
The above deer has been converted by the team at Topaz Impression.

 

LANDSCAPES
The natural romance of most landscapes makes them well suited to painterly transformations. Imagine turning your cherished travel snaps into custom works of art. Or converting scenic home-town pics into meaningful paintings.
The above lake has been converted by the team at Topaz Impression.

 

ISOLATED
A grouping of themed isolated objects (that is, individual items on plain backgrounds) can have amazing impact. I LOVE the possibilities here. Think Gramdma’s old china, your kid’s favourite toys, fruit, leaves, shells, kitchen utensils, precious trinkets, vintage wares, little knick-knacks…anything! Simply place your chosen object against an all white background then snap your pic. If needed, further editing to clean-up the ‘canvas’ can be undertaken during the conversion process. As a shortcut you can also find lots of isolated images online.
The above car (not my usual style, I know, though this was done for my brother and I think a collection of cars would be great in a masculine space) has been converted by myself using a combination of Paper Artist and GIMP. Original image from Performance Garage.

 

BOTANICALS
From a vase of carefully orchestrated roses to clusters of clematis still on the vine, botanicals can range dramatically in terms of style. This makes them incredibly flexible. So, whether your taste is neutral and natural or bold and bright there is sure to be a composition to suit. For sentimental types I like the idea of immortalising a special bouquet. Or how about simply capturing your favourite backyard blooms?
The above hydrangeas have been converted by myself using Waterlogue. Original image from Jentertaining.

 

STILL LIFE
If you’re looking for an easy, fun and rewarding project, why not try composing and photographing your very own still life then converting it into a painting? You could use some of your favourite items and even incorporate sentimental objects. Remember, the photo itself doesn’t have to be spectacular though you might want to pay attention to light and balance.
The above composition has been converted by myself using Topaz Impression. Original image unknown.

 

Note: Generally speaking, you can’t simply download and print photographs taken straight from the internet because the resulting quality will be super poor due to insufficient resolution (refer to my Understanding & Editing Free Printables post for further information about this). Even high resolution photos carry limitations in terms of quality when it comes to enlargement. It doesn’t take much for them to begin to appear blurry or pixelated which is a shame because photos really rely on crispness to look their best. Digital paintings, however, are much more forgiving in this respect. This is part of the beauty of applying painterly effects – the flexibility they provide in terms of size and quality. This allows for the use of poor resolution images and the considerable enlargement of almost any photo with little discernible degradation. For me, the ability to create HUGE statement art is one of the most exciting aspects of using painterly effects.

 

The Effect

Of course, the look of the ‘painting’, and the way it’s achieved, is essentially dictated by the method (and program – more on those below) you use. Some processes are super quick and require absolutely no skill, whereas others demand quite a bit of patience and artistic ability. The options are almost endless, and needless to say, results vary.

I’m partial to the more traditional looking artistic styles, though the sky really is the limit here. From funky pop art to something more whimsical you’re only limited by your imagination!

Essentially, there are three main methods for turning a photo into a painting. Keep in mind these describe the different photo-to-art techniques. Photo-to-art programs may incorporate capabilities for one or all methods – refer to the program list below for more details.

AUTO-PAINTING
This involves using pre-set filters which, as the name suggests, are applied automatically. Simply select one of the available styles (such as ‘watercolor, ‘oil painting’ or ‘pastel’, for example) and via smart algorithms your photo is instantly transformed! In some cases you can also make controlled changes by adjusting certain parameters (such as brush size, stroke direction and texture, for example) or making other edits to tweak the effect to best suit your image and desired look.

Photo to Painting with DAP

Dynamic Auto Painter

ASSISTED DIGITAL PAINTING
Unlike auto-painting, which is, well, automatic, assisted digital painting calls for the manual conversion of photos through the application of user-applied brush strokes. This might sound complex and labour intensive though smart technology, known as ‘cloning’, does much of the work for you. You see, rather than having to create your painting from scratch on a blank canvas, cloning uses the original photo as a source, instantly transforming areas in a painterly fashion as you apply custom strokes! This process does require some practice and an artistic eye though the results can be amazingly realistic and quite striking.

Photo to Painting using Corel Painter

Corel Painter

Note: Whilst you can certainly use a standard mouse to paint digitally (I do), a tablet and stylus does give greater control.

IMAGE EDITING
Of course, all of the methods involve image editing, though what I’m specifically pertaining to here is the clever blending of standard photo manipulation techniques. Different effects can be applied to your photo then layered in such a way as to mimic a realistic painting. I know this sounds kinda technical – and, well, it can be – though for beginners there are lots of on-line tutorials to educate and build confidence. Results can be fantastic and the process is really rewarding.

Photo to Oil Painting in Photoshop

Photoshop (via Thom Yorke)

Note: Although image editing isn’t the obvious choice for photo-to-art conversions, it’s a great technique to try if you already own a powerful image editing program. It can extend your knowledge of the program’s capabilities and ensure you get the most out of it. It also negates the need to buy any new software.

 

For the purpose of clearly explaining the different methods I have segregated them however they could be, and often are, combined. For example, you could begin by applying an automatic filter then build upon it with some custom digital painting and subsequent editing to achieve your desired look. This layering of styles can produce amazing results.

As an aside, keep in mind that the way your painting appears on screen may not accurately reflect the way it will look once printed. Play around with different resolutions and sizes and always choose the best available quality when saving your work. If possible, view at print size and print a test patch first.

 

The Program

From basic apps for hobbyists to comprehensive software packages for professionals, program options are vast and varied. Obviously, they all differ in terms of capabilities, cost, and out-put quality, and some are super simple to use and require absolutely no skill whilst others come with pretty steep learning curves and the need for some talent. I think you really need to use a program to get a good understanding of how it works and what it offers. Fortunately, most of the more pricey options provide free trials.

Here are just a few programs to check out (prices are a guide only)…

WATERLOGUE ($3.00)
A popular app (Apple devices only) featuring a small selection of luminous watercolour filters.

TOPAZ IMPRESSION ($100)
An intelligent program featuring hundreds of realistic editable filters.

PAPER ARTIST ($4.00)
A fun app with a vast collection of different artistic filters.

COREL PAINTER ($400)
A professional program with a focus on manual digital painting.

COREL PAINTER ESSENTIALS ($40)
A condensed version of Corel Painter.

COREL PAINT IT ($40)
A fun program with several artistic filters and the ability to make some custom changes.

PHOTOSHOP ($30 monthly)
A powerful photo editing program.

PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS ($100)
A condensed version of Photoshop.

POPSICOLOR ($3.00)
A funky app (Apple devices only) which renders splashy watercolours.

FILTER FORGE ($30 – $300)
A versatile program inclusive of thousands of filters and the ability to create and save your own effects.

DYNAMIC AUTO PAINTER ($100)
A world-class program with numerous detailed filters and the ability to create your own effects.

JIXIPIX ARTISTA SERIES ($35)
A suite of artistic filters with some customisation options.

POSTWORKSHOP ($120)
A comprehensive program featuring hundreds of editable and layerable filters plus the ability to paint manually.

SYNTHETIK STUDIO ARTIST ($300)
An extensive program with hundreds of editable filters and assisted painting capabilities.

SNAP ART ($100)
An effective program featuring a wide selection of artistic style filters with options for customisation.

AKVIS ARTWORK ($70)
A simple program inclusive of several artistic style filters which can be adjusted and combined.

GIMP ($FREE)
A free photo editing alternative to Photoshop.

 

 

Of course, there’s no denying the beauty and pure specialness of real art, though let’s face it, not all of us have the skill to produce lovely paintings. These clever digital alternatives are a perfect cheat – and just plain fun! To be honest, I’m actually reasonably artistic (if I do say so myself :-) and really enjoy drawing and painting, though I’m not exactly what you’d call ‘efficient’ (read: I am slow and messy!), so for now I’m loving playing around with this virtual substitute!

I’m also loving the possibilities it opens up in terms of gift giving. How cool would it be to gift someone special a custom ‘painting’ of something symbolic?

I’m actually working on some cool free printables for you guys using a few of these programs and techniques so will share more in-depth tutorials when I get around to that.

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PS I’m trying out a new before and after image slider. If it doesn’t work for you, or something just looks plain outta wack, feel free to let me know.

PPS Hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year!

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Merry Christmas! http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/12/merry-christmas-2/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/12/merry-christmas-2/#comments Wed, 24 Dec 2014 23:00:24 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=11320 Continue reading....

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Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a happy and safe Christmas.

Thank you so much for your e-friendship throughout 2014.

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Easy DIY Lantern Lamp http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/12/easy-diy-lantern-lamp/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/12/easy-diy-lantern-lamp/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 12:01:15 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=11210 Continue reading....

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A few months back my mum mentioned she was looking for a new bedside lamp to grace the guest room at her beach house.

Well, actually, that’s not entirely accurate. When I say “looking for” I really mean “dreaming up”, and when I say “new” I really mean “not new at all” because, like me, she has the same weird can’t-leave-well-enough-alone-or-just-buy-stuff-from-a-store-like-most-regular-people disease.

Anyways, her plan was to simply combine two elements she already owned; an inexpensive lantern and a complete lamp cord. Yep, two basic items anyone can get their hands on!

And when I say “simply combine” I really do mean just that! Truly ruly, this is one of the easiest DIY lamps ever. It’s also super affordable, completely one-off and the possibilities are almost endless! Oh, and did I mention the absence of any wiring?

You only need three ingredients…

Convert a Lantern into a Lamp | The Painted Hive

LANTERN
We used a rustic wooden lantern that was found at a discount variety store a few years ago for just $8. Although we used a lantern you could use almost anything with an appropriate form (as long as it’s safe to use as a lamp – remember, some light bulbs can get pretty hot). I’m liking the idea of a cute wooden birdhouse!

If possible, use something with a raised base to allow space for the socket flange and to provide a feed for the cord (demonstrative photos below). Of course, if you can’t find something raised, you could always add your own little feet/apron or consider the option of hollowing out certain areas (if possible).

LAMP CORD
Did you know you can buy wire-free DIY lamp cords? Whilst we used a cord from an old Ikea MYLONIT lamp (this was a really cheap self-assemble lamp with a complete cord which was entirely independent of the actual lamp form – now discontinued) Ikea still sells super affordable similar lamps with all-in-one cords which would work just as well for a project like this (check out the LATER, KVARNA and KAJUTA).

Note: As an alternative to the Ikea lamp cords, you could try a plug-in pendant cord though they can be pretty pricey (up to $60) and may not be as well suited for this type of use. I know there are lots of really affordable lamp kits available in the US (and I’ve also just discovered you can actually buy separate cord sets from US Ikea stores) though I think due to legalities they are pretty much non-existent here in Australia. I found using the Ikea lamps to be the best option.

LIGHT BULB
We used a little 15 watt pilot bulb (available at supermarkets or hardware stores) which, for whatever reason, I think compliments the subtle nautical style of the lantern. It’s low wattage also emits just the right amount of warm light given it’s shining through clear glass. Of course, you could get fancy with a more decorative filament bulb or use a traditional candle-shaped one.

To convert the lantern into a lamp…

How to Make a Lantern into a Lamp | The Painted Hive

ONE Make a hole in the base of your lantern.

This needs to be large enough to accommodate the socket, though not so large that the flange fits through (refer to diagram below). The flange needs to be ‘caught’ by the underside of the lantern so the socket can be properly secured.

In the case of our old Ikea spring-loaded lamp cord, we had a little room for error in terms of hole size as the circumference of the flange was quite a bit larger than that of the socket. The newer Ikea lamp cords however require a little more precision as the difference in size between the flange and socket isn’t as generous…

Ikea DIY Lamp Cord Parts

That said, for greater ease or to correct any oh-oh-I-made-the-hole-too-big mistakes, you could always use a washer to fake a larger base area.

To create our hole we used a hole saw bit (as can be seen above) though there are lots of ways to go about it. A spade bit (if you have a large enough one) or a multi-tool are just two alternatives.

Note: These methods for creating the hole should work for metal too – as long as the cutting bits are good quality and sharp. Getting through might just take a little longer.

 

DIY Lantern to Lamp

TWO Paint the socket sleeve (thanks for being my hand model mum!).

This just helps disguise the plastic look of it. We went with basic matte black, though you could opt for a trendy colour pop or faux metal finish. You could also choose to conceal the sleeve once in place – I contemplated wrapping it in twine, fine rope or even a sleeve of metallic card, though decided it wasn’t really necessary. I actually quite like the simplicity of it.

 

How to Convert a Lantern into a Lamp

THREE Feed the socket through the hole and insert your bulb – DONE!

Obviously I took the above demonstrative spring arm photo before I painted the socket sleeve!

In our case, this meant squeezing up the spring-loaded arms and inserting the socket from the underside before allowing the arms to snap back, securing the socket in place. If you are using one of the newer Ikea lamp cords, this would simply involve inserting the socket from the underside then screwing down the plastic nut to sandwich the base of the lantern. Essentially, the nut and spring arms serve the same anchoring purpose.

And it really is as simple as that!

DIY Lantern Lamp | The Painted Hive

Mum now has a totally unique lamp to both compliment and illuminate her beach house guest room – and all for less than $15 and in under fifteen minutes!

I tested the lamp at night and was immediately smitten with its warm glow and shadow cast. The decorative x’s cut the light quite boldly and produce, what is to me, quite an enchanting ambiance.

Below you can see what I mean about the lantern needing some sort of raised base or hollow. There has to be space to accommodate the socket flange and somewhere for the cord to feed out or the whole thing won’t sit level.

Lantern Lamp DIY

As nice as it is to use lanterns with actual candles, this is just a bit of a quirky take which makes for a unique lamp and provides easy one-click radiance.

I know this isn’t really a Christmas project though given the time of year I thought I’d style it a bit festively.

Turn a Lantern into a Lamp (No Wiring Required!) | The Painted Hive

Since creating this lamp I’ve found my eyes lingering longer over every lantern (slash hollow object) I come across. Do you ever do that too? Get so excited about the possibilities of a project that you just want to make more and more for no good reason? Fortunately stuff like this can make pretty cute one-of-a-kind gifts!

Hope everyone’s Christmas preps are going well :-)

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