Tapping my inner (inexpensive) artiste

This summer, we sacrificed our guest room/office/storage space and transitioned both kiddos into their own rooms. In hopes of doing so as frugally as possible, I sold some of the former room’s contents (vases, candle sconces, an office chair) through an online garage sale page, and put the proceeds toward an IKEA trip, where I got some great storage shelves that will hopefully be useful for years to come.

I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on decorative accessories for the kids’ new rooms, though, seeing as I’d just sold a bunch of home decor items.  I know my kids’ tastes will change even more rapidly than my own.

Instead, I created some inexpensive art projects I wanted to share with you.

First up is Eve’s room, where I put her artistic talents to use. I purchased these super inexpensive NYTTJA frames from IKEA, and framed paintings Eve had made. The two larger pieces she painted on a trip to the Children’s Museum at Yunker Farm. The smaller piece  (framed in a coordinating pink) she made at home. They’ll be easy to switch out through the years.

Ideally I’d hang these closer together and closer to the bed, but, well, there were already nails in the wall …

A watercolor masterpiece …

It took me longer to figure out art for Owen’s room. Finally I made a trip to Hobby Lobby, where I found two 8- by 10-inch canvases for $4.

I wrapped the first canvas in a piece of scrapbooking paper I got for 25 cents. I was hoping this alone would create a funky art piece, but as my husband said, it just kind of looked like a present. So I pulled out some scraps of solid-colored cardstock and mimicked the spaceship shape featured in the printed paper, gluing them on the paper and tracing them with a black marker. You could do the same thing with purchased embellishments.

I would have rather created a truck or boat (something more transportation themed than space) but this seemed like the easiest — and only vertical — option.

For the second canvas, I used small bottles of acrylic paint I’ve had in my craft basket for ages (I think they cost about $1 each), and some sponge brushes. I divided the canvas into four quadrants using blue painters tape, painting each corner a different color. Again, I thought this might be all I’d need to do, but it didn’t look that great. I thought about painting a ball or animal in each rectangle, but soon realized I’m not that talented. Instead I used stencils to trace the letters of Owen’s name with a black paint pen. I could have stopped at that point, but decided to fill in the letters using black acrylic paint. At that point the white lines looked out of place, so I painted them black, too.

Considering I made this up as I went, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

Other ideas I’ve seen include framing scrapbook paper or patterned fabric (look for frames with mattes at thrift stores or dollar stores), melting color crayons onto a canvas, or using painters tape to write a child’s name on the canvas and letting them fingerpaint over it.

How have you created inexpensive art for your home? What frugal art ideas would you like to try?

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