DIY Nursery Artwork

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I don’t know about you, but my craft projects are often fraught with stress and frequently don’t turn out the way I envision them, especially when I’m figuring them out as I go.  So, I was tickled pink that this one turned out just the way I wanted it to, and even more so because I made it for one of my oldest friends who is expecting her first baby.

This was inspired by one of my favorite quotes on motherhood: “Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body” (Elizabeth Stone).  I think this so perfectly explains how I feel when I look at my kids: like my heart has left my body and has become this precious little person who I love more than I can say.  Every hurt they experience feels like a wound straight to my heart, and every joy and accomplishment makes my heart leap.  P&G aired a brilliant commercial over the Olympics that captured this.  I’m not a crier, but I cried (like ugly cry, gasping for breath cried) when I saw this.  It’s so good.

Alright, go get some tissues for that running mascara and then we’ll move on to the artwork tutorial!

First, I shortened the quote slightly and typed it up in Publisher.  (Microsoft Word would work fine, too; I just prefer Publisher because it gives you more freedom to move the lines around.)  I have lots of fun free fonts I’ve downloaded for projects; a quick Google search will find you tons.  I made a text box the size of my canvas (in this case 8×8), set the fonts as closely as I could to what I wanted, and changed the sizes so it emphasized the words I wanted.  Then I printed it out so I’d have a guide to know how large to draw the letters.

My friend is doing a jungle themed nursery, so I found some cute elephants and printed them off on plain paper (I  made the picture 3×5 inches).  You could do absolutely anything; just find a picture or silhouette with a simple outline and print it off.  I made sure that everything would fit nicely on my canvas and then started in on the lettering.

First I very lightly drew in the letters free-hand with a pencil.  I used my printed fonts as a guide, and wrote “Heart” in my own handwriting because I wanted it to have a touch of myself in there.  Then I went back over them carefully with a fine-point Sharpie.

Next, I taped on the pictures of the elephants.  This was the part I was unsure about.  Online tutorials gave complicated instructions for using transfer paper, vinyl, projectors, stencils, etc, but I decided to try my idea first.  I got a twin-tip Sharpie and used the ultra-fine felt tip side to trace the outline.  I went very slowly, hoping the ink would bleed slightly through the paper onto to canvas.

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Once I’d traced it, I carefully peeled it back, and voila!  An outline!  I left one piece of tape in place so that I could put it back on for touch-ups without worrying about it moving.

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After I had the faint outlines, I used the marker side of the Sharpie to darken the outline, then carefully colored it in.  I free-handed the heart in the middle, went back for touch ups, and I was done!

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It took me a while to complete because I wanted it to be perfect, but I LOVE how it turned out!  And now my mind is spinning with all the fun things I could put on canvas with this technique.  (I’ve been wanting to make art with our wedding vows, for example.)  I’d like to find an archival-quality marker if I try this again, since in retrospect I wonder if the Sharpie might yellow slightly over the years.  But, I’m sure it will last as long as their baby’s nursery does, and when they’re ready for a big girl or boy room they can swap it out.

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I’m so happy with how this turned out, and even happier to have such a wonderful friend who has been a blessing to me for more than 15 years.  I can’t wait to meet her sweet little one!

Do you have a favorite parenting quote?  Please share below!  Is there a quote you’ve been wanting to turn into artwork for other rooms in your home?  Have you found a technique for putting pictures on canvas?  If you give this project a try I’d love to hear how it turns out!

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