Getting Crafty: Paint Chip Art

I warned you that I’ve been getting into crafting and decorating lately.  Remember my cardboard “eat” sign for my kitchen?  Yup. I guess this is the kind of BUCK WILD stuff I do on my free time now.  Well, this paint chip art was inspired by a trip to Home Depot.  And in case you didn’t know, Home Depot is now my latest fave place to “hang” and be inspired.  Now, I don’t condone going there and greedily hoarding a ridiculous amount of free paint chips in order to do this project, but if you want to know how I made this art, here’s the how-to.  

Don’t feel bad if this crafting and decorating business is not your thing and you’re done reading at this point.  It’s okay, I’ll catch ya later.  I just figured that I might as well document my step by step process on all my little projects around the apartment, because I do that when I’m cooking, so why not when I’m crafting? That’s why I’m actually in the works of having Joe add a new crafting or decorating category to this blog soon.

Anyhoos, back to paint chips. I chose to go with a gray, blue, and dark purple color palette.  Initially, I didn’t know what I was going to make with the paint chips when I grabbed them, so I thought grays and blues were safe.

It wasn’t until I saw this box we got from Costco – you know the ones they give you to haul your groceries away- that I finally figured out what to make.

I flattened out the box -SPLAT!- and liked the interesting shape that it created.  It made me think of an art deco frame.

So I primed it with white paint using one of those sample jars from Home Depot that costs around 2 bucks.  That covered up all the ink.

Then I colored the outer flaps using some leftover blue I bought in an inexpensive set of metallic paints for another project (which I’ll post about in an upcoming entry).

But it didn’t end there.  Those holes in the center were annoying me, so I decided to cover them.  I cut out thin strips of cardboard and painted them with silver from the same paint set.

Then I glued the strips on top to outline the frame.  No more holes!

And I painted the outer edges of the frame silver as well.

Once the frame was made, I turned my attention back to the paint chips.  I love patterns made from repetitive geometric shapes, so I decided to use a roll of blue painters tape as a guide and traced the inside of the roll to form a perfect circle.  Then I used a straight edged ruler to form a box around the circle to help me divide the circle into four equal points.  It’s easier to evenly divide a square than a circle, right?

Next, using the inside of the tape roll again, I merely connected the four points on the circle by tracing and following the curve of the roll.  This is how I formed 4 equal “leaf” shapes from the circle.

You can see my progression of steps better in this picture.

I wasn’t sure how many “leaves” to makes, so I kept tracing and cutting until I thought I had enough to make an interesting pattern.  It helps to work as you go and lay out the chips somewhere first so you can determine which colors would look best together, and how big your pattern should be.

After laying down all the cool toned chips, I realized that it would be nice to add a pop of warmth.  So I took some of the lighter gray chips and painted them in gold and rust.  Then I strategically placed them in several spots.

Once you are satisfied with your layout and pattern, you just have to transfer them over to your frame and glue them down, one by one.

The piece ended up looking like this.  If the paint chips curl up on you after gluing them, just flatten them with some books.

At first, I thought this was good enough, but then I felt like the cardboard was looking too much like… well…wrinkly painted cardboard.  So I decided to trick the eye a little by painting a chevron design on top.  I used the painters tape to eyeball a zig zag design.  I didn’t want to be too particular about it, so i didn’t evenly measure it or anything.

Then I used some orange-rust colored paint from the same metallic paint set to complement the blue frame, and I painted in between the lines of the tape.

I ended up really being happy with the end result, and the chevron design made the piece look a little more edgy and modern.

One the paint was dried,  I peeled away the pieces of tape and recruited Joe to hang up the art by nailing right through the corners of the cardboard, which in turn, also helped to keep it flat against the wall.

The cool thing about using metallic paint is that there is a little shimmer and it helps create different shadows on the art depending on the time of day and how much sunlight comes through the windows.  But if you don’t have metallic paint, I’m sure it could still look cute with regular paint, especially in a bold color.

You could also be a little less ghetto than me and create the paint chip art on a piece of stretched canvas, or card stock and put it in a real frame with glass.  That would make it look more like art that you actually purchased.

As for me, the initial goal of this project was to create something interesting to hang on our plain white walls of our rented apartment without having to go out and buy a finished piece of art, or too many extra materials, so the cardboard box from Costco worked for me.

This project ended up being tedious, sometimes frustrating, but also fun.  I felt accomplished when it was completed, and even felt inspired to make another piece of art with paint chips, which I’ll share with you in a separate entry.

What have you created with paint chips, or in what ways have you been resourceful with your decor?  Ever since I’ve been bitten by this crafting bug, I just can’t seem to stop.  So brace yourself and stay tuned for some more budget friendly design ideas.

peace out for now,

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