How to really impress your friend on his birthday

If you read this blog regularly you know I’ve been helping Chris decorate his apartment in Athens, Ga. I’ll pause to pat myself (and him! He’s the willing participant!) on the back by showing you a before picture (which I just came across; you haven’t seen this before):

Before he let me do my thing. I will say, he is one of the cleanest and most organized men I've ever known.
Before he let me do my thing. I will say, he is one of the cleanest and most organized men I have ever met.

 

Here’s what it looks like now (different apartment, different look):

Apartment now. Still clean and organized. Yay!
Apartment now. Still clean and organized. Yay!

 

Not really the point of this post though. I’m writing now because his birthday is this month, and he came to Charlotte last weekend for a birthday bonanza. I knew whatever I got him had to be extra special – he’s one of my best friends, and of course I wanted to further this amazing transformation of his apartment … And what does he need more than anything else? Something for the walls!

I am a graphic artist, but I am not a painter. I would show you the first attempt Chris and I made to create art for his walls, but I’m too embarrassed. Let’s just say it’s not there yet. But I had seen a project done on Top Design and thought: I can totally do that. Of course, how many times is it easier said than done? But I had it in my head that it’d be perfect for Chris, so I knew there was only one way to find out. So, here’s how a non-painter made a painting (pay attention, if I can do it, you can too):

1. Steal an idea Find an inspiration piece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Buy supplies

$15 at Binders (on sale for half off)
$15 at Binders (on sale for half off)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Lowes. Semi-gloss. $11 a quart. Asked the guy for "cheapest paint you have."
From Lowes. Semi-gloss. $11 a quart. Asked the guy for “the cheapest paint you got.”
Stick for mixing paint or smacking any naysayers. Mean look mandatory.
Stick for mixing paint or smacking any naysayers. Mean look mandatory.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3. Take off your nice sweater.
Mean look still mandatory.
Mean look still mandatory.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

4. Obtain a captive audience. Preferably, one that won’t tell you how you’re doing it wrong.

I should mention I was told to do this outside so I would not get paint everywhere.
I should mention I was told to do this outside so I would not get paint everywhere.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

5. Lean canvas vertically against something (in my case, a split-rain fence.) Open your first paint can and – dump it out. Cross your fingers as you watch it dribble down that it does something cool. And viola!

I thought to cover the grass but not the fence. Learn from my mistake!
I thought to cover the grass but not the fence. Learn from my mistake!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

6. Wait a really long time. I mean, a really long time. In my case, an entire day. If you’re impatient like me, this will be really hard. Do it anyway.

7. Once your first color has dried (a day later), do it all over again with your second color. This time, put something down to protect the fence.
Fence is only one color now, not two.
Fence is only one color now, not two.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

8. Repeat step 6.

9. Do it all again with your third color. In my case, this is the last color. You can do as many colors as you want though.
I wanted the orange to stand out. Chris has more green than orange right now, so he needed something to bring out the orange in his color scheme.
I wanted the orange to stand out. Chris has more green than orange right now, so he needed something to bring out the orange in his color scheme.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

10. Repeat step 6.

11. Put your initials in the corner. I used the end of a paintbrush (not the brush end, the hard end.) You’re a real artist! And your $50 spent on materials wasn’t a waste!
It actually worked!
It actually worked!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

12. Give it to Chris, watch his face as he realizes a) hey this matches my apartment perfectly, and b) you did this all by yourself!

13. Wait anxiously for him to hang it in his apartment and send a picture, which he does promptly.

Bitch at him for bad lighting, but you take what you can get.
Bitch at him for bad lighting, but you take what you can get.