I’ve been just itching for another spray paint project ever since my little deadbolt makeover went so swimmingly last week. I think it’s because A) I’m absolutely in love with the sparkly antique bronze color, and B) I cannot believe that I might actually not hate spray paint and want to test the boundaries of this new relationship. I racked my brain for something I could paint that was small-ish and not too risky.
On Friday, I got the idea to use a stencil to make a spray paint silhouette! And since I’ve been thinking I should probably come to terms with the fact that summer is nearly over (even though we’re still seeing 90 degree temps here in southern Louisiana), I decided to go seasonal. We have about a million acorns dropping on our roof and yard right now courtesy of the lovely old oak tree out front, so an acorn it was.
I googled around for an image to use as a template for cutting my silhouette.
I printed it on cardstock and cut it out, then took a scrap piece of wood and painted it using some mistint paint I got for a dollar at Home Depot.
With my board painted and my stencil cut out, I gathered the rest of my supplies and got down to business.
I covered the back of the stencil with spray adhesive and let it sit while I shook up my can of spray paint. Letting the adhesive cure for a few minutes before pressing the stencil to the board makes it easier to remove later.
Then I just pressed it on there, trying to get it as centered as possible without getting all neurotic and breaking out a ruler. I took extra care to press firmly along all the inside edges.
I really liked the way that my clipart silhouette had some texture drawn onto the upper part of the acorn and wanted to recreate it, so I got the idea to use candle wax to draw little rounded v shapes in rows. I figured that the spray paint wouldn’t adhere to the wax and after everything was dry I could just wipe it off, leaving adorable little rows of negative space. It was kind of hard to see what I was doing with the wax (which was just a big piece that I broke off of a seen-better-days pillar candle), but I found that if I looked at it just the right way I could see what I’d drawn. You can see it if you look closely at the photo below.
After I’d finished filling in the textured area of the acorn, I covered the ends of the stencil with painter’s tape and got to spraying. I was crazy nervous and having traumatic flashbacks to all of the times spray paint has failed me, but I took it slow and just did one thin coat at a time until I was happy with the look.
Then I carefully lifted the stencil.
Hmmmm. I wasn’t thrilled with the way that the line between the top and the bottom part of the acorn came out, but I figured I could always touch it up with a small paintbrush later. I started using first my fingers, then a balled up wad of painter’s tape to rub off the wax on the top part.
Epic fail. It looked terrible. My negative space was not at all adorable. I hated the way that my little rounded v’s looked so sloppy. I don’t know if it’s because writing with wax doesn’t exactly produce neat lines, or if it’s because the spray paint adhered better than I expected, but my acorn was looking like a hot mess. I gave up in disgust and went inside.
The next day, I decided to give it another shot. I sanded down some of that texture and slapped on another two coats of my mistint paint to cover up the ugly acorn. Then, I cut the middle divider out of my stencil (I decided it was dumb) and repeated the whole adhere-spray-peel process, this time in a cardboard box. I guess I was feeling nicer to the grass on day two.
And voila! I was waaaaaay happier with the outcome the second time around. The paint barely had time to dry before I found it a new home on the bookshelf in our dining room sitting area.
Love! Up close you can see that it’s far from perfect, but I’m okay with that.
If it hadn’t been for me trying to get all fancy with my wax trick, this project probably would have taken under an hour from start to finish. And since I already had all of the supplies on hand, it didn’t cost me a dime (which took some of the sting out of my first failed attempt). I really love the way it looks resting on my shelf, but if I ever decide to hang it on the wall all I need to do is staple some twine or wire onto the back, or pick up one of those keyhole hanger things from the hardware store for about a buck. I’ve got one more board lying around that’s about the same size as this one and I’m thinking of doing another spray paint silhouette for the holidays–what do you think I should do? I experimented with making a stencil that said “Merry Christmas” but the letters were just too hard to cut out neatly. I would love love love to do a reindeer but I think the antlers may be troublesome. Maybe I should do a Christmas tree?