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I am on a never-ending search for cheap, homemade art. While I love the look of real art from real artists, I don’t love the high price tag that accompanies their pieces. So, when I stumbled on this tutorial from Emily at Jones Design Company, I knew I had to give it a shot.

I gathered my materials and followed her instruction. And I hated the results. Her picture looks so cute and put together. Mine looked bubbly and like my six year old brother made it.

So, I decided to take this idea and change it up a little bit. The main problem I had with her design was that I couldn’t get the glue all the way under the middle of the artwork without completely messing up my puzzle of pages. I thought it would be so much easier to glue down one piece at a time. Here’s what I did.

**Please excuse the photos in this post. We have an ancient camera and I have to do my crafts at night because I work and I have to feed my husband. Bad camera + poor lighting = horrible pictures and lots of shadows.**

I gathered materials. A book, some Mod Podge (Matte), a cheap-o paint brush, and a blank canvas (I used 11×14). You can purchase all of these things from your local Wal-Mart if your local craft store is far away and you just can’t bring yourself to drive over an hour round trip. *Sigh*

I choose To Kill a Mockingbird because it is one of my favorite books of all time. Now comes the hard part. You have to rip the pages out of the book and tear them to pieces.

I love books. I felt like I was committing a sin destroying this book. But, I bought a new one so I wouldn’t destroy my old, high school required reading copy. Ideally, I would have gone to the thrift store and bought a really cheap one, but I just wasn’t up to it.

This was a small paperback and I got about 3-4 pieces out of each page.

Pour the Mod Podge into a smaller container and start applying it to the canvas. I just focused on one piece at a time. I would put a little Mod Podge on the canvas, stick on a page piece, and then paint the Mod Podge over it.

Make sure all of the edges are covered, flat, and not bubbly.

I started out sparse all across the canvas, giving each section time to dry.

Here’s what it looked like when it was done.

I wanted these to be more white than book page colored and I didn’t want to focus to be the pages. I just wanted them to be part of the artwork, so I spray painted them white. They looked cool without the paint, so they could most certainly remain as is.

Since my plan is to put these into the dining room, I chose some images that would be appropriate and printed them on a clear, full page label.

The I cut them out and stuck them in the middle of the canvases. Just to make things stick correctly, I Mod Podged right over top of these also. Here’s how they came out:

I really like the way they turned out and I have more plans for these to share with you. So, stay tuned!

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Continuation of Part 1 and Part 2.

Well, it’s finished! This has to be one of the fastest projects that we have ever completed.  I still need to finish some of the decorating details, but without further ado, here’s the time line of our dining room.

This is what it looked like the day we moved in. Note the light and the ugly wallpaper.

We removed the wall paper and got a table:

And here’s what it looks like now!

Here’s the info about what we used in case anyone is interested!

We used 1/2″ MDF boards to create the board and batten.

Paint – top: Behr 560E-2 Cumberland Fog,    bottom – Behr W-F-500 Frost

Dimensions:

Baseboard height- 5 1/2″ (based off of the baseboards that we would be matching these up with)

Topboard height: 4 1/2″

Vertical pieces – 49″ (the MDF sheets were 8ft x 49″, so we just used the 49″ to get the most out of the boards)

Shelf width: 2″

Space between vertical pieces – 14 in.

This is what I ended up doing with the shelf.  I think that in the end, there will be very few or no books on this shelf, but I just have to find things that strike my fancy to put on the shelf. There are a few Hobby Lobby items on here!

All in all, I think this project cost us around $125. Pretty darn good for a complete makeover!

Now what? Hmm…who wants to help us with the yard?

Continuation of Dining Room – Take 1.

When I last left you, we had finished painting the walls. The next step was to figure out the dimensions of the board and batten. Since I liked the way she did hers, I decided just to follow her dimensions. Way easier than trying to figure this out for myself.  We broke out the scotch tape again and put up pieces of tape where each of the vertical boards would be placed. This is important for two reasons. First, we needed to know exactly how may slats we would need. Secondly, we needed to make sure we weren’t getting too close to the outlets, light switch, or corners. We only had to shift the boards once to make amends for a corner.

Next up was the Home Depot run for the MDF and other supplies. One of the best features of Home Depot is that they will cut boards for you. So, armed with the measurements we needed, we pulled the MDF sheets and kindly asked the gentleman if he would cut the 4×8 boards into the 30 sizes we needed (no joke, I think it may have even been more than 30). This was a HUGE help and saved us a bunch of time. We also purchased paintable caulk to fill gaps, Liquid Nails, and the piece of trim that would be make the shelf look more decorative.

As a side note, we also discovered that MDF is basically thick, compressed cardboard. So, if you ever buy MDF, just make sure it’s not raining really hard when you leave Home Depot.  We did not check the weather and as a result, Matt had to back his car up to the Home Depot exit so we didn’t get our boards wet. Fortunately, stormy Sunday evenings are not a busy time for Home Depot.

Back at home, Matt got to work nailing these boards to the walls. The only problem that we had was that the drywall did not catch the nails for the vertical pieces very well at all. After it was all said and done, Matt went back and placed screws in the top and bottom of these boards to make the more secure and to make the tops and bottoms match up with the horizontal pieces. Less filling and sanding for me!

Here’s what it looked like when all the boards were up, sans shelf.

Now, to put up the shelf and the little decorative piece under the shelf, we had to get a little creative. We couldn’t get the hammer close enough to the wall to get a nail in the top, so we had to rent a nail gun. Cool tool, but super super loud, especially in a small, enclosed room.

Matt also nail gunned the top of the vertical pieces close the gap as much as possible between the vertical and horizontal pieces.

For the little piece of trim, we used liquid nails to glue it in place.

Here’s a close up:

Now, we just need lots and lots of sanding and white paint! Check us out on Monday for the finished project!


When I finally decided what I wanted to do with the dining room, I was chomping at the bit to get started. We took a break from home repairs for a few months and after staring at my unfinished living and dining rooms, I was ready to start changing stuff again. We chose the dining room because we already have the furniture and it is much smaller than the living room.

We told you about our plans for the dining room here and after a bit of planning, we dove into the project.

Step 1, remove the chair rail and base board.

Step 2, freak out when you find mold behind a section of baseboard.

Luckily, we were able to remove all of the mold and the wall did not seem damaged. Yikes!

Now, once all the baseboards and the chair rail was removed, we had to do some serious wall repair. Just like in all the other rooms of this house, the previous owners had completely destroyed the walls by hanging millions of things, and by letting their pets climb on the walls. We think that’s what was going on because there really is no other explanation for the number of gouges in odd places on the walls.

So, once the walls were repaired, we decided how high we wanted the board and batten to go. Normally, the board and batten looks better if it is higher than the normal chair rail height.  We based the height off of one of the shelves of the built in bookshelf in the dining room to give the room a more linear look. Also factoring into this equation was the fact that the board we were purchasing came in 4′ x 8′ sheets. So, by default, the vertical pieces would be 4′ high. Coincidentally, these two factors matched up perfectly.

Once the height was decided, we put up scotch tape around the room to mark the divide.

On the website where I was getting the instructions for this project, she had mentioned it is much better to paint the wall behind the board and batten before proceeding with the installation of the boards. So, we painted first.

Please don’t judge me because of the crooked lighting. I think Matt hit his head on it.

Now, I mentioned a built in shelf in the dining room. We love that we have it, but I really have no idea what to paint it. I was thinking just to paint it all white to match the bottom of the board and batten, but that seems a little blah to me. Anyone have any brilliant ideas?

You can see in the picture that I already started to paint it. The difference between the unpainted top and the painted bottom is a little disgusting. But, anywho, please tell me what I should do with this space. Thanks.

Next up, installing board and batten!

Remember when I told you about our dining room plans here? I was so excited about wainscoting. Well, my idea for the dining room has been tweaked a bit. I still love the light bluey/silver (plus we’ve already bought the paint!), but I’m changing the bottom. I’ve decided to take the leap and attempt board and batten. So, imagine this wainscoting, the boards spaced a little further apart, and a light blue top.

photo from This Old House

I think this will work in our dining room for several reasons. First, it satisfies my love of white. Second, our ceilings are vaulted, so the dining room has ceilings that start at 9 ft and go up to about 11 ft.  This will help to fill that space.

We are going to follow the instructions laid out in this blog. She does a really good job with step-by-step instructions on how to put up the board and batten.

So, again, here is our dining room now, minus the base boards and chair rail.

Let me know what you think of our plans!

As you may have guessed, we have taken a break from house remodels. We worked in overdrive for a few months before the Derby party and we were beat! But, this weekend, we’re going to tackle the dining room. Here’s what it looks like now with our beautiful dining room table:

I was a little uncertain about what I wanted to do with this room. I knew that I wanted to keep the chair rail and I was pretty sure that I wanted there to be wainscoting on the bottom half of the wall, but other than that, I was at a loss. I hadn’t been stuck by inspiration.

And then I stumbled upon this blog and her dining room.

It struck a chord with me just as the kitchen photo did so many months ago.  I just love the color! I don’t know if I’ll go along with the plates on the walls, but who knows!

So, I think that the direction my house is officially going is Light and Airy Country Cottage.

Stay tuned for adventures in wainscoting and painting!

It’s been ordered!

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