Crafting during COVID-19

Not sure about you, but I am one of millions of Americans who’ve been advised to work from home during this current coronavirus outbreak. Which means, I’ll be staring at the walls around my apartment in between emails, communications and meetings.

I’ve mentioned before that I have a lot of blank wall space. One welcomed my attempt at silver leaf. I filled another with my favorite photographs.

But, I still have two very large walls that are nothing but a blank canvas. Which gave me an idea…

Damask you ask?

I have an affinity for a specific design. It’s peppered throughout my apartment in pillows, chairs, wall fabric (yes that’s a thing) and even a settee in my bedroom.

After a little bit of searching on Amazon, I found a very large stencil that could cover a large swath of one of the blank walls.

Following a quick trip to the local craft store (I promise I covered my mouth and washed my hands before and after), I had everything I needed for my fun craft project.

4 canvases, stencil, black multi-surface paint, various brushes.

Paint by numbers

I put the four canvases tightly together, and placed the stencil between all four panels. I made sure to measure each side to ensure the stencil was, in fact, in the middle. Then, I taped the corners to make sure it didn’t move. (As you read on, you’ll see this is about the only preparation I did.)

Then it was time to rock out. Jamming to the new COVID-19 Quarantine Party playlist on Spotify, I started sweeping strokes of black paint on the clean, white canvas.

Dressing one panel at a time, the entire fill took about 30 minutes.

During the instructed wait-period of an hour, I realized I hadn’t put anything down under the canvases. Meaning, it was entirely possible black paint would seep through the cracks of the panels onto my polished concrete floor. Hey, it’s concrete. Paint adds personality, right?

Sticky stencil

After the allotted wait-time, I got to peek under the plastic!

What I found was a sticky mess. The paint congealed into a black tar that married itself to the blue stencil plastic.

I slowly pulled the corners of the stencil away from its partner, revealing a few blemishes. Some of the canvas actually stuck to the stencil.

The black tar-paint didn’t want to let go of its new partner, leaving behind a small mess.

Compromising my health for my craft

Knowing I had to clean this up in order to hang it, I had to brave the outside world and purchase paint thinner and white touch-up paint. It’s okay if you judge me. I would. I am.

When I returned from a very quick trip, I realized paint thinner wasn’t the answer. Well, it could have been the answer, if I would have purchased the correct type. In my haste, I just grabbed the first bottle I saw. Turns out, it was meant for oil-based paint. I have satin-acrylic.

Luckily, the white touch-up paint was the exact color of the canvas. After just a couple of coats, it was as if the stray black strands of paint were never there.

Hang time

Usually, I would ask a friend to help me hang artwork. I tend to favor the left side, and things often skew crooked.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I had to get the level, measuring tape and hammer all by myself. It was only then that I realized I didn’t have nails.

Internal monologue went something like this, “Really?! Are you serious? Nails? How do you have birthday candles but no nails?”

That meant – you guessed it – another trip!

After procuring a variety pack of nails (I will NOT be caught without them again) and some Oreos (who knows how long we’ll be in isolation?), I was finally ready to put my work of art on the wall.

Several hidden nail holes later, I was able to hang all four panels evenly.

I am proud of this piece. I took a number of risks to bring this to life. But at least I will now have a beautiful painting to stare at while I’m in isolation.

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