Lack-ed Painting

Materials: Lack end and coffee table tops, spray paint, acrylic paint, brushes, design inspiration, mounting hardware

Description: After watching too many home decorating shows and realizing that there was no way that my teeny-tiny decor budget would cover all the walls in our new apartment with the large scale art I had in mind (to hide the stark white apartment walls we aren’t allowed to paint – argh!), I decided to try my own hand at creating artwork for our home. When I went to the local craft store and realized how annoyingly expensive larger scale canvas is (especially the nicer canvas that’s stretched over a much thicker frame), I figured I’d have to improvise.

Ikea As-Is to the rescue! For $6 total, I found 2 Lack end tabletops and 2 Lack coffee tabletops, all in perfect condition (birch and black finishes, respectively). Freakishly expensive canvas problem: solved.

So I’m generally a wuss when it comes to sanding by hand (and since I was too cheap to rent/buy a sander), I just made sure to buy spray paint that was made to cover smooth surfaces and put on an extra layer or two in the colors I wanted (don’t forget to spray paint the edges too!). Note to self: don’t spray paint at twilight… as you’ll see on some of the pics, I didn’t do such a great job near the edges! Unsurprisingly, the silver spray paint dripped a bit, but I ended up kind of liking the effect and purposely dripped it over both of the silver “canvases” to add a little interesting texture.

I went to town with the cheap acrylics and crappy brushes I had around the house, and reinterpreted a pretty floral design I found online. Voila! Art! (or something vaguely like it)

We had a bit of trouble hanging these straight (not much of a surprise, I guess, that a 100+ year old brownstone has crooked walls/ceiling), but in the end just drilled a hole about halfway through the back of the “canvas” and pushed it onto an extra long screw drilled into the wall.

The fun thing about this hack is that even if you’re an exceptionally lame-to-barely-mediocre artist like me, you aren’t wasting incredibly expensive canvas if you mess up or just want to experiment and learn! You can get large scale art without breaking the bank. I suppose you could also use stencils quite easily on this, and I’m currently working on another one (using an Ikea As-Is desk top!) with a more watercolored, abstract design that’s turning out surprisingly cool.

Total cost for “canvas” and spray paint: < $15. Not too shabby, eh? Especially when getting several frames of nice canvas of that size will set you back well over $100, even at the cheap stores! It was a fun way to be creative, and an easy way to tie together my black/stainless kitchen appliances and red curtains with a design I liked, not to mention it distracts from my big boring white wall! (sorry for the mess on my countertops... reorganizing cupboards was my distraction for waiting-for-paint-to-dry!) Now for the rest of my apartment......... Good luck! ~ Kathryn, Chicago