5th Grade Makeup Project

I recently decided the corner of my office needed some color. The white walls were glaring at me, but I couldn’t hang an expensive piece of artwork there. I needed to paint something myself.

…And since we’ve determined that painting is not one of my fortes, I decided to try a stenciling project.

…However, in addition to my lack of painting skills, I should also admit that I’ve always had some anxiety related to stenciling. It is one of the few D’s I remember receiving in school.

I was in fifth grade, and I’d never received a D before, never mind in Art class. What’s up with that?! Apparently I didn’t follow instructions, and my work was messy. When I asked my teacher about it, she pointed to the paint I had brushed beyond the stencil borders.

Yes, well… I could see how that was a basic stenciling requirement.

35+ years later, I felt ready to try again, and I promised myself to be very patient with the process.

And even though I was feeling some pressure with such a structured craft, picking out the colors and paint still allowed me to be creative.

I used Martha Stewart Satin Craft Multi-Surface paints in a combination of blues:

  • Base: Deep Sea #32081
  • Light: Summer Haze #32023
  • Dark: Blue Sky #32021

The steps for stenciling are simple (Sure!):

  1. Paint the canvas with the base color. Allow it to dry completely.
  2. Place the clean stencil onto the dry canvas to plan the stencil location. If you are planning a symmetrical design, measure evenly between each stencil placement or use multiple stencils.
  3. Use masking tape to lightly secure the stencil to the painted canvas. Use as little tape as possible.
  4. Dab the stencil brush into the paint.
  5. Dab the stencil brush onto your palette (or a scrap piece of paper) until the excess paint is removed.
  6. Dab the paint onto the stencil, starting from the stencil border and brushing in towards the center. Do not brush outward.
  7. Take your time. Breathe.

Of course, you might want to search for more accurate instructions from a pro (Not someone who is permanently scarred from fifth grade art class!). I also recommend practicing your stencil technique beforehand on a piece of paper like I did.

This combination of blues turned out to be exactly what I wanted. The colors are calming, and the satin finish absorbs light instead of reflecting it. I am happy with how it turned out…and I’m crossing my fingers for a B this time around.


Good Enough


Today we’re going to talk about creativity for the sake of creativity—

creativity just for oneself—

without the requirements of a perfect result—

because I want to tell you about one of my favorite painting experiences—

even though it is clear I have no talent in this area of the arts!

There is a space in our kitchen where our old landline was installed. Remember landlines? We had two ugly outlets that stood exposed, and they were the first things you would see when you walked into our kitchen. For years this space would glare at me, and I couldn’t figure out how to cover it.

I needed something that could be mounted over the outlets that would also blend in with the rest of the kitchen. I shopped different home stores, catalogs, and online. For years (YEARS! I am a terrible shopper…) I searched, but I could not find the right solution.

Then one day, I had a vision of a simple picture with flowers. Something soothing…. Continue reading