Tuesday, June 12, 2012

DIY: Ode to Nashville, Tennessee

Greetings, outta-towners and in-towners alike!
You may recall a couple of weeks ago I showed you around my Tennessee-themed home. In that post I mentioned wanting to create another Tennessee-inspired painting. Well, here 'tis! All 2' X 5' of it. I'm all about the Go-Big-or-Go-Home, can you tell?
The original postcard that inspired the painting.
Interested in creating your own city/state souvenir postcard? Well, it's actually pretty simple. You'll just need the following: 
  • Canvas, any size 
  • Enlarged copies of the postcard lettering if you are not comfortable drawing your own
  • Acrylic paint, brushes
  •  State/city maps (I picked mine up for free at AAA)
  • Chisel-tipped sharpie and black brush pen
  • Tissue paper and stick pins
  • Modge Podge
DIY Disclaimer: I am prone to take the more-difficult-and-frustrating road when crafting. Don't ask me why. For your sanity, I've also included an easier version of the same directions which you will find under the heading "Or you could just...".
Eye-ballin' it. Not something I recommend as it wears out the eraser and the patience.
I began with a sketch. I started with a line that all of the letters would rest on and then created a parallel line 8" above that. Lightly, I drew in the letters giving each one about a 3-5" width. 

Or you could just...enlarge copies of the postcard. Enlarge each letter, cut it out and play around with the positioning on your canvas. Once you've got it where you want it, tape them down and trace around the letters with pencil.
The color in this photo is slightly off, as it's much more a mustard-yellow, not a poop-yellow.
From there, I mixed up a giant batch of the background color. Always mix up more paint that you think you'll need. Why? Because it is impossible to mix the exact color twice. You may think you can and then you put brush to canvas and realize Homer-Simpson-slap-to-the-head-"duh!" style that you needed more white/yellow/black/wine. Trust me. Keep paint covered in Saran Wrap until the very end of your project as you never know when you might need to touch up a spot (this I did not do and you'll see why I wish I had shortly).

Or you could just...take the easy no-paint-mixing road and just buy the color of paint for the background. In that case, buy two tubes.
Tissue paper tracing.
To insure that my map letters were going to fit my canvas, I created letter patterns using tissue paper.

Or you could just...remember those letters you so cleverly xerox copied? Those will be your letter patterns.
Creating the map letters.
With my letter patterns pinned onto my map, I cut out each letter for my sign. If you are using your original xerox copies, you could do the same.

Making the letters three dimensional.
With the letters cut out, I began the background painting. Before putting paint to canvas, I used a pencil and lightly sketched in where I wanted the drop shadow to be. This shadow helped the letters really pop out and gave them a three dimensional quality. Again, mix up way more paint than you'd ever thought imaginable and dive in.

Once the drop shadow was complete, I began Modge-Podging the letters into place. Using the matte Modge Podge, I covered the area of the canvas where the letter would go, placed the letter on top and then added another layer of 'podge on top of that. Once dry, I began using the chisel-tipped Sharpie to create a black shadow on the right side of the letters. You can see this best in the photo below
Guess who can't spell Tennessee? Although, I do believe Teene-see would be a pretty cute name, don't you?
Now, when it came to adding the other written text, lemme just say I thought I was so clever. I wrote out the text on tissue paper and then traced it with a Sharpie. The thought being that the Sharpie would bleed through just enough for me to trace them with my brush pen. Sounds great, right?
Sure it woulda been had I been able to spell correctly. My horrendous spellin' ways always take me back to that Frightening Fifth Grade Spelling Bee where I spelled...wait for it..."morning" incorrectly. That's right, I thought it should be "mourning" as in "We are all mourning the dreadful spelling of this poor dimwitted girl." 

Thankfully, this spelling error was corrected with a little bit of acetone (that'd be nail polish) and a q-tip. I managed to wipe off my boo-boo just enough...as well as remove a wee bit of paint. Remember how I told you to save your paint? Yeah, this would have come in real handy if I had. Der.
Nash, Tenn., yo.

Just a closeup of my Sharpie-outlining skillz. There is no way I'm ever going back to painting hard edges with a brush. No. Way.

My vintage record player has the best acoustics. I decided to sample my latest thrifted records during a painting lull.

Finished sign now hangs out in my kitchen.
So you can handle this, right? Just follow my much easier or you could just... and you'll be well on your way to your very own souvenir sign!

Or you could just...take a nap. That's my plan anyway. 

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Mallory6/13/2012

    I LURVE it. You so talented, guhl. I, too, had a spelling bee mishap growing up. Why do they do that to us, we clearly never get over it?
    And I love the way the newly painted plant hangers look outside the new sign! All lovely.

  2. So cute! Love this so much!! I'm going to try this with New York for my mom and Paris for my aunt!


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