Tag Archives: art

Thursday, May 22 2014

DIY: Geek-chic art using pumpkin stencils

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My brother and his girlfriend, both video game designers, are totally geek chic.

So when I had the opportunity to make them a house-warming present, I thought hip nerd art for their new apartment would be just what Doctor Who ordered.

The challenge was to craft something cool enough that they would actually hang up.

Iconic video game graphics are popular in a lot of today’s geeky home decor, but you have to be quite the artist to draw them by hand.

Enter the pumpkin stencil! Widely available on the Internet, in everything from Nintendo’s Bowser to George Bush, pumpkin stencils are perfect because they retain the character’s essence, but offer a simplified design that’s easy to cut. And they look even more impressive on canvas than on pumpkins.

Canvas plus stencil plus paint equals the perfect nerdy gift!


  • canvas (3)
  • stencils (Internet!)
  • black acrylic paint
  • gold spray paint
  • X-acto knife
  • tape

How to: geeky stencil art

1. Paint two canvases black and spray paint one canvas gold.

2. Carefully cut out chosen stencils using X-acto knife and tape in place on dry canvas.

3. Spray paint two gold stencils onto canvas.

4. Carefully paint one stencil onto canvas using black paint.

5. Remove stencils and let dry.

6. Enjoy the wall candy!

Wednesday, September 11 2013

DIY: Decor without borders


Framing fine photography or artwork yourself is sometimes a major pain in the tool set.

Picking the colour, texture and material of the frame, the amount of ‘white’ space and colour of the mat board, the thickness of the mat board, the thickness of the frame — for some, it can all be a bit much.

The good news is framing isn’t the only option, as seen with this project from Liz Fourez of lovegrowswild.com. Fourez came up with the clipboard idea trying to find a more affordable alternative for displaying her photography.

Using clips and wooden boards, prints can be displayed easily and inexpensively, yet still allow for creativity because the board can be stained or painted in any colour, at any time.

Another obvious bonus is artwork can be effortlessly switched out every season, theme party, or change in mood. Happy clipping!

Note: Do you love the photos featured in this project? You can buy them from Fourez’s online shop here.


  • one-inch boards
  • hinge clips
  • wood stain
  • finishing wax
  • saw (optional)
  • sandpaper or sander

How-to: photo clipboards

For full directions on how to make these hang-tastic clipboards for fine are and photography, head to Fourez’s website here.

Contact Julia with comments, questions, DIY attempts or submissions by email julia.dilworth[at]sunmedia.ca or find her on Twitter @JuliaDilworth.

Sunday, September 23 2012

The DIY File: Pet project

Tutorial courtesy of EatLiveShop.com.

Tutorial courtesy of EatLiveShop.com.

You don’t have to be the type of person who throws their dog birthday parties to appreciate this pet-themed DIY.

In fact, silhouette art, as demonstrated by Renee Elliott of EatLiveShop.com is a simple and easy way to turn any subject, pet or progeny, into darling decor.

And the best part is, anyone can make this classy cutout. If your tracing proficiency is on par with the average third-grader, you’ve got all the artistic skills required.

What you need:
– a profile image of a pet
– solid piece of cardstock (two colours)
– glue
– pencil
– scissors
– picture frame

Silhouette art how-to

1. First you will need to snap a profile photo of your pet.

2. Next, print the photo out big — all you will need is the head.

3. Carefully cut out the photo image of the little guy with scissors or an X-Acto knife.

4. Trace the cutout profile onto your black cardstock and cut out the head shape.

5. Glue the black cutout onto your second piece of cardstock (white).

6. Place cardstock in a picture frame.

7. Hang up your new pet paraphernalia or gift one to a friend.

Wednesday, June 20 2012

FATHER’S DAY DIY: The Mug-stache

The mug-stache diy

The mug-stache, a simple DIY project for dad. (JULIA DILWORTH/24 HOURS)

Maybe not all West Coast dads love meat, but every dad loves his morning tea, chai-latte or coffee. And with this easy DIY Mug-stache project, you can write any message or draw any design you want to celebrate your No. 1 Dad.

The materials are minimal (mug, paint, brush, oven) and so is the cost. Thanks to hipsters, moustaches are back with a hairy vengeance. So you can, like me, choose to go the lip-tickler route and paint a handlebar, Fu Manchu or walrus to celebrate dad’s hairstyle being cool again.

Bonus: If he doesn’t have a moustache, for 20 minutes every morning, he will. And it will look hairlarious.

What you need:
– ceramic mug $4 at HomeSense
– ceramic paint ($6 each at Opus)
– conventional oven
– paint brush

Mug-stache how-to

1. Wash and dry your desired mug.

2. Paint designs or messages on mug. You may need to do several coats and you might want to use stencils for this. I made a rough paper stencil to line up the moustache so it was even and then free-handed the rest. (Real stencils are also available at art stores.)

3. Wipe away paint blotches/mistakes with a paper towel or Q-tip.

4. Once you’re happy with your stuff, let it sit for 24 hours.

5. Mug-cooking times differ, but Pebeo’s ceramic paint instructions suggest putting it in the oven at 325 F for 40 minutes.

6. Let it cool and you are done!

7. Remember to paint moustaches on the correct side (these are for lefties).

Wednesday, June 20 2012

DIY FILE: Original art on the cheap

No-paint art diy

No-paint art from makeundermylife.com

Despite advances in printing technology, art is still crazy expensive. No wonder Ikea has cornered the market on home décor — it offers $50 prints pre-framed and 5-ft. wide. The downside may be that your black and white photo of Paris is the same black and white photo of Paris found hanging in a quarter of Canadian living rooms — but c’est la vie. It’s a small price to pay, and that’s why you and everyone else are doing it.

However, as this no-paint art project from makeundermylife.com shows, this doesn’t have to be la vie. The solution to that nagging space above your couch is original artwork a la you. You don’t need an art degree and a series of modest gallery openings to be an artist. In this case, all you need is canvas, fabric scraps, thread and voila!

View full artsy tutorial at 24 hours Vancouver.