August 08, 2011

The Making of... the boys' room

I realize a post like this shows my obsession with fondness for decorating. So my apologies to any male readers who don't care.  Though you should, seeing as how at least the first project was completed much faster due to the mad skills of my husband. There are also shots of my boys in this post that are really just more for displaying their cuteness than helping anyone with a craft project.

on to the projects...
Project 1: The "cornice boards" or valances.
Materials: Super thin plywood (really unfinished wood laminate), corner brackets, screws, a saw, scissors, foam, tape, staple gun, fabric, a hammer drill, wall anchors, and a few more screws.
Total project time: 5 hours-ish. Though it took days for me because I had to wait to put up the blinds before installing the valances. 
Final product on the window. White-colored blackout roller blinds included
Step 1- Locate plywood. Hardware stores here in our part of Asia have them. We managed to get a huge piece. If you're doing this project in the US then any material stiff enough to hold it's shape, yet light enough to have a long piece that won't require all kinds of installation difficulties because of the final weight will work.  Here all I could find was thin plywood and it worked great.
My hubby coming back from the hardware store with the plywood. He supports my love of decorating:)
 Step 2- Measure how large you want your valances. The big window in the boys' room is 6 feet wide so I went a couple inches on either side to compensate for blinds/curtains/etc that would be installed under the valances. So to make a "box" shaped valance, I measured one piece about 6.5 feet in length/width, and two small ones about 3.5-4inches wide, as the part that comes out from the wall.  The "height" of my valance depended on the foam I found. Doesn't matter how thick/tall/high they are as long as you like them. I think my foam was like 14 inches, so the height of each of the 3 (6 total for both windows) pieces was about 13 inches. Cut the boards.
We have drainage ditches around our house that worked great for him to use to saw the boards. And we measured and cut them so there was a lot of plywood left.  Think we may see a repeat of this project in other rooms!
 Step 3- Attach the boards together at right angles to make the box. We used 8 brackets (correct term? I dunno, a 90 degree hinge thing, but that doesn't move). 4 to make the actual box shape of the valance frame and 4 more for attaching it to the wall.  In the end we discovered that we really only needed 2 brackets to attach it to the wall bc it was light enough. But I would recommend attaching all the hardware/brackets before adding any foam or fabric.
Corner brackets on the outside, wall-attaching brackets on the inside. A man who can attach brackets AND has nice legs? Got a great man for sure! Note: at this stage we were like, "Wow. This seems kinda flimsy" but in the end everything held up nicely and was lightweight.
Step 4- Attach the foam. No JoAnn fabric stores here. I used what I found at a hardware store and just taped the foam (wasn't very strong tape) to the valance frame to hold it in place until I got the fabric secured around it. To make the fabric end up looking nice and plump, I made sure to let the foam go up over the edges of the board. Maybe about a half-inch or so. So foam was 14 inches, board behind it, 13 inches.
So you can see the tape in place. Please don't be confused by Isaac's opinion of how the foam scraps should be used. :)

Step 5- Secure the fabric to your foamed valance frame. I used a staple gun, but with a board this thin I could have probably gotten away with hot glue and a regular desk stapler. (Note: the fabric I used was plaid. So getting the lines straight was important. I started in the middle and worked my way to either side constantly pulling, checking, and smoothing the fabric around the foam. The corners I just kind of tried to make look neat. I'm sure a professional upholsterer would be appalled at my finished product, but I had very few wrinkles in the corners and the plaid ended up straight, so that was good enough for me!

Step 6- IMPORTANT!!! Install ANY blinds, shades, curtains, curtain rods, etc that will go under the valance BEFORE the valance. The valance goes last. My "design plan" included wooden blinds to give the room a warm masculine feel. But alas IKEA didn't carry them long enough for our windows and "custom" blinds are as expensive as you'd expect. So we went with white-colored blackout shades. The fingerprints from the boys touching them will probably eventually drive me mad, but they keep it dark in the room and dark = sleep.  Here is where I give a shout out to Mr. Sivad for coming and assisting Anthony with measuring, marking the drill holes, holding up of valances so I could tell them when it was centered and straight, etc. This picture doesn't do his help justice, but it made me laugh, so I'm posting it anyway. 
Step 7- Attach valances to the walls. Here in Asia EVERYTHING is built from concrete. So a hammerdrill, wall anchors, and screws are always necessary. However you attach your valance is up to you and whatever works best on your walls. They never get pulled on or touched so I'd recommend the path of least difficulty. If they stay put, that's all you need:)

Project 2: The Boys' Name Frames
Materials: Poster paint, a thicker-than-computer-paper art paper, scissors, tape, and frames. Having 2 sweet boys to do the painting helps too, but isn't absolutely necessary. You could also use a sweet little girl or two.
Total Project Time: 1 hour (hands-on) but add time for the drying of the poster paint:)

This is really straightforward. I had 2 matching frames and got the boys to paint several pictures on poster/craft paper with poster paint, then I painted their names on poster/craft paper and tried very neatly to cut out their names so that they were even. I didn't measure or anything though, just eyeballed it. Then taped their name cut-outs to their artwork and put them in the frame (had to trim some of the paper to make it fit). Because I couldn't do wood blinds, I decided to keep them the dark brown wood color instead of painting them some fun color...but a fun color would be, well, fun, if it worked in a room for you!  Easy peasy. The fun part was the painting and the pictures of my adorable boys. :)
Sometimes they're just extra cute!
I had them paint more than one so I could have a choice. They didn't mind! The ones I chose they painted with paint brushes...
...though they made a couple with their fingers too. My Righty and my Lefty getting their paint on!
The kiddie pool was waiting for them when they were done.
"Clean up" of materials and children is included in the project time :) Though seriously, that kiddie pool for them to jump in afterwards ended up being a smarter idea than I expected.
I'm sure this is what Michelangelo looked like as a 3 year old.
Project 3: The Toy Shelf
Materials: IKEA "Gorm" shelf (or any other paintable wood rack), paint, hardware to assemble said shelf.
Total Project Time: 2 hours (hands-on) Though we let paint dry over night before assembling shelf.

This also really has no steps and is more a shout out to Mrs. Sivad for bringing a truckload of paint color samples from the US, and to Kaylee and my husband for helping me narrow down a paint color (Anthony was a fan of primary colors, Kaylee of fun colors... so in the end a light, bright yellow was chosen). Kaylee also helped me paint and assemble the shelf. It is simply a "GORM" shelf from IKEA...we chose it mostly because shelving here involves hammerdrills, wall anchors, and screws. This required none of that and my husband was a fan:) We painted it first, then assembled it. I briefly considered getting us matching orange painting smocks, but decided against it in the end. They wouldn't have helped all the yellow paint I got on Kaylee's feet anyway.

So there ya have it. I have ONE more craft project I'm planning to do for the boys' room- Growth Charts. I have a cute idea for them, but they'll probably have to wait until after little Sister's room is done. Thanks to everyone for your help!


Emily said...

Oh my goodness, the pictures of them painting are possibly my favorite I-I pictures. From Isaiah's concerned/confused/disgruntled face about his messy hands, to the streaks of paint on Isaac's face, to the SUPER adorably cheesy funny apron picture - yeah, those are precious!
And I guess I can comment about the actual post too - I love the painting idea. :)

Elizabeth said...

Fun! I'm super curious about your Growth Charts - have been wondering about cute ideas for a "portable" one lately and am looking forward to seeing what you've come up with (portable or not).

Brandon and April said...

I love that you painted the shelf! I hadn't noticed it in the after photos...I assumed it was the natural wood color. but now I totally see it. your valance looks great! :) and it looks like it was all fun to do! great job mama!!

SouthAsiaRocks said...

So cute! and so fun!!! Love all the pictures!

Jason and Charity Palmer said...

Diggin' the yellow shelf! And, of course, we have the Gorm too, but I haven't taken the plunge and painted it yet namely b/c we don't have a lot of space for painting at all. Oh well, I will just dream of your yellow one :) Now I can't wait to see pics of that baby girl's room, too!

Lydia Diaz said...

You guys are soooo crafty! I wish I had the same creative bug as I'm struggling to design Zoe's new room! The theme is Narnia...wish me luck!