The Creative Process

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  May 24, 2013 — 2 Comments

Sometimes inspiration strikes me all in one piece. Maybe I’ll see something on pinterest or facebook, or an idea will just pop into my head, and just like that I know what I want to do (examples: the mason jar lid pumpkin, $9 compost bin, hand-lettered coffee cup, etc.). Other times, I’ll start with a little spark and spend days or weeks mulling over the best way to bring it to life. For example, my first idea for the skirted counter that hides the litter box was to lay a piece of painted plywood across two short filing cabinets and hang a curtain from a tension rod suspended between them. But the more I thought about it a better plan came together. And I scoured the internet for weeks searching for an attractive and affordable option for pet food storage before finding some oversized glass canisters at Target.

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To illustrate the sometimes complex path that leads me to an end result I love I’ll lead you through the process of creating the painted storage boxes I posted about earlier this week. It all started with a need. My laundry room shelves were empty because they just weren’t working for me. I wanted to fill them with baskets or bins to corral smaller items, but they would have been expensive to buy all at once. I searched the internet for affordable options but couldn’t find anything that worked. Then I got the idea to cover cardboard boxes in fabric! So I posted on facebook and within a few days had a bunch of empty diaper boxes donated.

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When I put them all up on the shelves to see how they would look, I realized that A) it would look much better if they were all the same shape and size, and B) it was going to take me forever to cover all those boxes in fabric! So I waited. That was two months ago.

Then when I started taking pictures of the house for the updated house tour page, I realized I really, really needed a new picture of that side of the laundry room. It was still painted blue in the old picture, which was confusing if you saw photos of the other side of the room painted white. So I started thinking about the shelves again. I even considered taking them down and replacing them with some large-scale art (maybe using this technique). But when I got back home (that brainstorming session happened on a long-ish car ride to visit my parents) I looked at the shelves again and decided to try different arrangements of boxes to see if I could make it work. I settled on just using two rectangular boxes, but then I had to figure out what to do with them!

I thought about painting them first, but I wasn’t inspired by the idea of a solid color. Then I saw this and thought about covering them with colorful/patterned duct tape.

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My Fave 4 Letter F-word

But when I searched online I didn’t see any duct tape I found appealing. But I DID see this, which was done with washi tape. So I started researching where I could get some washi tape for cheap.

washi tape (470x313)

Elise Blaha

But the washi tape was going to add up to more than I wanted to spend and it didn’t seem like it would be all that durable, so I actually went back to the idea of using paint, but this time I would use painter’s tape to create uniform stripes. I raided my paint collection and pulled together a palette of blue, green, pink, and purple.

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I even mocked up the layout on my computer.

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But when I started painting the blue I decided I wanted to do a colorblock instead, with blue on the base and a pink band around the top. In that case it would be easiest to paint the pink first, then wrap the top with 2″ wide painter’s tape before adding the blue. So I started painting the pink.

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THEN I decided I really liked the loose, wavy stripes with the pink, blue, and white primer showing between them. So I tried adding a white stripe. But it looked too much like this:

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image source

So I painted over the white and that’s how I got to here.

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So if you’re perusing pinterest or reading blogs and feeling bummed because you think you’re just not creative, have hope! Inspiration is not always something that strikes in a moment of eureka. It’s a process that’s sparked from a problem, and having limits like a small budget or whatever materials you already have on hand can really be a catalyst for coming up with something special that works for you.

I hope you all have a lovely long weekend! I’m really, really looking forward to it. I’ll be taking the day off from blogging on Monday to indulge in some family time, but I’ll be back with regularly scheduled programming come Tuesday! Happy Memorial Day!

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap


2 responses to The Creative Process

  1. nice great idea…and super cheap!!! :)

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