This is part of my series 100 Days: Waiting for a Rainbow.
I’ve been a horrible procrastinator getting anything done in my nursery. We can go into all the reasons why, but suffice it say that maybe it will be done before D-Day. Maybe.
My dad has chipped in with his handy work. And my hubby has spent hours in there. You see, after William, well, I couldn’t bear to go in there. All of his things were just shoved in there. Slowly, other things started to join them – boxes of music, clothes that didn’t fit, curtains no one was using…. many things I didn’t want to think about, piling up on top of William’s things. Last year about this time I got brave, and pulled out all of William’s things I could find and stored them properly in a chest that now sits in my living room. The other things remained. Hours of organization and a garage sale later, and hubby had the room cleaned out.
So, blank slate. The room was never even painted when we moved in. Truly a blank slate. I’ll do a full nursery reveal later, but I thought I’d share this little craft project I did last weekend, just to give you a little taste.
Ages ago I saw the cutest framed artwork on Pinterest.
Look at that cute little giraffe. Super simple, colorful, fun – perfect. So I picked up a couple of white frames, some colorful scrapbook paper and went to work.
Step 1 – Google “animal silhouettes.” I went through all sorts of animals: jellyfish, sea turtles, giraffes, elephants, llamas…. yes… llamas…
Look for something relatively simple (take it from my furry llama, which wasn’t as simple as I would have liked) that is instantly recognizable. Too much detail will make your life hard! Google is an endless pool of animal silhouettes. If you know what kind of animals you want, you can Google specifically for that animal. I knew I wanted a giraffe (look how cute!) and I knew I wanted a mama/baby pair. So I just kept looking until I found what I wanted. I ended up with a mama and baby giraffe, and a mama and baby llama.*
Step 2 – Size your images.
My tutorial didn’t suggest doing this, but I made some personalized silhouettes for our bedroom last summer and found it to be really useful. I saved my animal images onto my computer, and then opened them in my favorite photo editing software (I use Picasa from Google – its free, its easy and has great sharing capabilities). I cropped as much out of my images as I could, so I didn’t have a bunch of dead space around my silhouettes. Keep it scaled – that is, if you want to end up with a rectangular print, don’t crop your picture to a square, crop it to a rectangle. If you want vertical, don’t crop horizontal. Once I cropped out as much border and unnecessary parts as I could, I told my photo editor to print the image as an 8″ x 10″. I knew I wanted my finished pieces to be this size, and I knew by printing them 8″ x 10″, my silhouettes would be automatically scaled to be the right size for my frames. If you want larger or smaller, just tell your photo editor what size print you want. It doesn’t matter if your images are fuzzy, you just need to have a line to follow for cutting on. Next time, I’m printing on cardstock – the plain printer paper is a bit flimsy for cutting and tracing.
Step 3 – Collect your supplies
You really don’t need much. I had 2 white 8″ x 10″ picture frames, 2 pieces of 8.5″ x 11″ bright yellow scrap book cardstock, and 2 pieces 12″ x 12″ rainbow scalloped scrapbook paper. A small, sharp pair of scissors (no blunt edges), a pencil and something sticky. I used photo mounting stickies, because glue can get so soggy. If your finished product is behind glass, like mine, you don’t have to have all the edges tacked down, which is why I went for photo mounting stickies. If you don’t have glass, I’d go for a glue stick or rubber cement – skip the Elmer’s liquid. You’ll want to cut your background paper (mine was 8.5″ x 11″) down to the right size for your frame. I like to use the insert from the frame as a template, so I know my final product will fit in my frame perfectly. If you’re one of those scrapbookers with tons of supplies, use a papercutter. If you’re too cheap to buy those kinds of goodies (like me), scissors work just as well.
Step 4 – Trace & cut out your silhouettes
Patience, my friend. Particularly if you’ve picked a shaggy llama. Cut your silhouettes out, preserving as much detail as you can. Try not to loose ears, fur, eyelashes, or tails! Once they’re cut out, lay them out on your scrapbook paper. I trace mine on the back, because pencils slip and erasers mess up colored paper, and it’s just so forgiving this way. Remember that if you trace on the back, your images will be flipped, so be sure to orient things the way you want them to appear finally. My image of the giraffes were automatically facing one another, so I just flipped them backwards and was happy. My image of the llamas had the baby llama facing away from the mommy llama, so I flipped one and not the other, so in my final product they were facing. No angry baby llamas here! If you’re adding this to a grouping on your wall, and using only one animal like in the inspiration piece, think if you want that animal facing into the grouping or out of it. Rotate accordingly. Additionally, my paper was directional. If I had positioned my animals one way, I would have ended up with just two colors, instead of the rainbow I was looking for. If I had mama llama facing horizontal and baby llama facing vertical, the direction of the prints would be different. It may not matter on your paper, or you may not care – but don’t forget to think about how the paper will look once cut out.
Let the tracing begin! Once your silhouettes are laid out on your paper, start tracing. A light pencil line will do. Again, preserve as much detail as you can, but this is a pretty forgiving project. If your pencil slips, just correct and keep going. If you’re tracing on the back, like me, no one will ever know. Like I mentioned before, plain printer paper was a bit difficult to deal with because its flimsy. My pencil would slip under the paper and all that jazz – so consider cardstock to make your life easier.
Once the tracing is done, it’s time to cut again. Cutting out the scrapbook paper (which is a thicker stock paper), is a bit challenging. Mine tended to bend a bit, particularly with small cuts, but seemed to bend back with no problems. Especially since I’m mounting under glass, I knew it would lay flat and be fine. But, let me just say again… furry llamas…. what was I thinking!?
Step 4 – Stick!
Whatever you chosen method of sticking, go for it. As I mentioned, I like my scrapbook photo mounts, and because I scrapbook almost never, I had plenty on hand. If glue or even double sided tape is your thing, go for it. Watch out with liquid glue, it can make your paper really hard to work with. I applied just enough to keep things stuck. You’ll want more stick if your frames don’t have glass, just to make sure they don’t start peeling away.
Once things are stuck, into the frames they go. Done and done!
**So why llamas? Llamas aren’t exactly what we think of when we’re thinking of cutey baby nurseries. I looked at lots of friendly animals, but the llamas became special. See, Squishy’s daddy grew up in the mountains of South America. I think it is so important for little people to have a connection to their cultural heritage, so I’ve been looking for ways to connect baby with his daddy’s family. So there are a few little Ecuadorian tributes in our nursery, including my homemade llamas!