Shortly after starting my job, I had an angry employee in my office. Like super angry. But it had nothing to do with me, I was just the bearer of “bad” news. Such is life in human resources. But I thought, eff that. I’m going to try to bring some positivity up in here! Let’s lay some happiness down, y’all. That was the inspiration for the first quote I put up on the dry erase board in my office: “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” – Maya Angelou. Plenty of people appreciated that, and the angry employee has since come to love the stupid jokes I put up on my board. (What’s brown and sticky? A stick! A-yo!)
When I finally decided to get down to making some mother truckin’ wall art, I knew this quote was the one to use. I love it. Let’s do this.
Thanks to my husband’s random wood-working projects, we had some wood laying around in the garage. I’m 80% sure this is pine.
Safety first, mother truckers. Let’s keep those eyes protected.
We measured the boards to cut them in two “even” sections. There were two boards, making 4 pieces total.
We didn’t have a right angle, so we used another piece of scrap wood to draw the straight line to act as our guide when cutting.
At this point, I thought it would be beneficial to round up a helpful husband for the serious power tool business, not just measuring.
We just used a circular saw for this. I like using power tools because it lets my neighbors know I ain’t messin’ around. Hear my saw roar! Is this more annoying than my composter, Evelyn?! Too bad!
Then it was time to sand! Since only one side of the wood would be painted, we didn’t waste time and effort sanding both sides. So we sanded the top and edges of all 4 wood pieces. This part was super fun!
Husband made sure we sanded the right side of the wood. I vaguely remembering hearing about how the side you use is important for things like building a deck… so I’ll take a second to explain a little more. Wood will bow. That’s just what it does, and we have to deal with it. In order to make it bow in a way that’s not going to be a pain in the ass later, you have to mount it correctly. You see the grain in the wood and how it looks like a wide U shape? This means that the wood will bow in the direction of that U. Basically, the sides will eventually stick up. You don’t want that on decks unless you’re into tripping hazards. So in the above picture, the part of the board facing upward will be the part that goes against the wall.
We used two pieces of wood in the back to hold it all together. This also makes for easier hanging, which will come up later.
We used a power drill to pop some holes in it before screwing it together because Husband said that was a good idea. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
For the first screw, we used a regular screw driver just to keep things slow. We didn’t want to get all crazy and eff up the little hole we just made or cause the holes to become unaligned.
We put the screws in at a zig-zag pattern. Mitch said this would help it be more sturdy, and putting the screws in a straight line may cause the wood to split along the grain. That sounds like something you don’t want to happen, right?
Once everything was all put together and sturdy, it was time to prime it! Super boring stuff. I just used latex primer that we had left over from painting the living room. One coat was all that was needed. And yes, I primed the edges too.
I rounded up these cheap acrylic paints from AC Moore. They were less than 2 bucks each, and I figure they’ll come in handy for any number of projects.
Originally I was imagining an ombre effect with the rainbow colors, but my brain was like “No! Just squirt this on there and go!” So I did. I chose to do the colors diagonally across the boards so the colors would be evenly distributed across the letters. You’ll see. We’re almost there. Bear with me.
I had printed up the Maya Angelou quote in some fonts that I liked. I originally planned on printing the quote on some sticky paper, cutting it out, sticking it to the board, then painting over them and removing them. But I didn’t feel like buying sticky paper and working with an Xacto blade. I chose the safer route: laying the words out to see how I liked it, and then I drew the letters by hand with a pencil. Safer, but probably more frustrating.
I loosely based my drawings off of the fonts I originally chose. The font for the word “rainbow” was easiest. I wasn’t really able to do the other font well, so I resorted to my typical bubble-letters. No, it’s not the best. But screw it – it’s hand made! Hand made shit isn’t supposed to be perfect, amiright??
I chose to use all lower case letters because that was my mood and artistic expression. After drawing the letters on, it was time to start the outline. I mixed the white and black paint to make a dark grey, then just used a nice tapered paint brush that was small. I felt like it was easiest for this kind of detail. It reminded me of those youtube videos that makeup artist do explaining the delicate process of using a brush to apply liquid lipstick. So gentle and smooth, yeah.
This was what I ended up with. I’d like to think the “someone’s” has a slight arch to it because of the whole rainbow theme. Who am I kidding, though? That was completely unintentional, I’m just trying to make it seem like there was a purpose.
I wasn’t satisfied with the solid dark grey, so I found an old sponge in the garage and ripped little pieces off the end to give it some texture. I mixed up a lighter shade of grey and stippled it onto the dark grey.
Clearly that’s not enough dimension. I added some white to the grey to make it even lighter, and went at it again.
I was relatively satisfied with it at this point. It’s not perfect, but whatevs.
I used a picture-hanging kit and attached these little eye-hooks and wire to the back. Way easier than trying to attach individual hangers to each board on the back. No need to struggle with all that leveling and putting extra holes in your wall if you don’t have to.
And here it is hanging in our spare bedroom. We have been in our house for a little over a year and this is the first decorative thing to go up on the walls in that room. For now the room is where I do my makeup, but eventually it will become a nursery. This isn’t high-quality wall art that should be above the mantel in the living room, but it’ll suit a future baby’s room just fine.