When it comes to DIY, I’m always looking for inexpensive and fun projects. After seeing this one on the Make & Do Girl I figured I’d give it a try. After work last Thursday I drove to AC Moore to pick up the supplies – 6 small bottles of acrylic paints ($.69 each), a few wooden frames ($1 each), some foam brushes (5 cents each!), a paint tray ($1 or so), glue (already had) and some fallback craft sticks if the coffee stirrers didn’t work ($1.50). The total came to about $12 after a coupon. Plus I had four of the frames, a few foam brushes & a ton of paint leftover.
The first step was to paint the wooden frame white – I just thought it would be a better border than the natural wood. I also painted the backing of the frame since I knew it might be partially viewable in the end. Then I took coffee stirrers I picked up at a local coffee shop (and by picked up I mean stole. And yes, it was awkward when the barista saw me doing it) and used a pair of kitchen scissors to cut off one rounded edge. This project would have been much quicker and easier with falt-edge stirrers, by the way; but can’t exactly be picky when you aren’t paying. Next I set it in the frame and cut it to fit.
After making sure the first stirrer was the right length, I used it as a guide and lined it up to the rest of the stirrers to cut them all to size.
I definitely got a little impatient during the cutting stage – the stirrers were a little thicker than I had hoped (the craft sticks were way too thick to even cut, so they headed straight to my craft cabinet), and it was a pretty tedious process. Some sticks cracked halfway through cutting them and others were just super stubborn. But after almost a full episode of “House Hunters” I had enough for one frame.
Once I had all the stirrers cut to size, I laid them out on an old magazine and, using the same foam brush from painting the frame, I started on the stirrers. There really wasn’t a method to it, I just dipped the foam brush in a color and swiped over a few at a time. After a while the foam brush got dirty, so I threw it out and moved onto a new one. At five pennies each it was easier than washing and reusing…sorry environment! I had to pick up the sticks sometimes to make sure I was getting them completely covered on each end, since they’d be fully visible. I purposely made them to look weathered and sort of watercolor-y because it was the look I was going for. It did get a little messy, but was tons of fun and realllllly easy. I have NO art skills whatsoever, so truly anyone can do it. Including young children, as long as the stirrers are pre-cut for them.
I moved the painted stirrers to a paper towel to dry – I was afraid they might stick to the magazine and break. Why a paper towel seemed like a better option I couldn’t tell you. But seeing them laid out next to each other got me pretty excited for the final product.
I waited less than 5 minutes for everything to dry – the stirrers seemed fine and I couldn’t wait to see the art all done. I spread out some glue on the back of the frame, started placing the sticks down & sliding them next to each other one by one. Note: the picture below is showing what turned out to be way too much glue. It was seeping out between the stirrers, so I wiped a lot of it off after the first two were in place.
Drum roll please…
I lurrrrrrv it. Like a lot. And don’t worry, I fixed that random blue dot on the 5th green stick. Here she is in her current spot on my bedroom dresser. Love how it blends in well with the color of my earrings and other jewelry:
I’m SO proud of myself. I realize it’s only a tiny piece of art, but I’m not the artsy type and this project makes me motivated to do even bigger ones.