Let’s talk about kids’ art, friends. I love it when my kids do art. It’s messy, but I love to see their creativity come out. But here’s where I’m going to be the super honest mom and say something I’m not supposed to say: I don’t really want to decorate my house with my kids’ art. I know, I know! It probably makes me a bad mom. But kids’ art is not is not really my decorating aesthetic, you know? But I’ve devised a solution! Let me show you how to make a collaborative art piece that you’ll actually be happy to hang up with this Sweet Heart Wall Art.
What You’ll Need:
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Wooden Heart- I got mine at Target, but there are versions at different craft stores and online.
Chalk Paint- I used Martha Stewart Chalk Paint in Ivory, Seashell, and Oxblood.
Con-Tact paper– I think you could also use removable adhesive vinyl if you have it
Fine Grit Sandpaper
Silhouette Cutting Machine- Optional, but recommended.
I found this adorable wooden heart at Target for FIVE DOLLARS. I picked it up on a whim and then literally every day after we got it, Bean asked if it was time to paint it. Since I wasn’t totally sure what we were going to do with it, it was a solid week of her asking if it was time yet. Patience is hard!
What I decided on was the same process I used on this Children’s Art Piece I made with LM back before Bean was born. This project is a little easier because a) it’s on wood rather than canvas and b) it’s just one word.
I started off by painting the heart with two coats of Ivory, then once it was completely dry I sanded the area where the letters would go just a little bit to knock down the brush strokes. Make sure to wipe it down with a damp rag after sanding to remove any residue that will keep the letters from sticking.
For the letters, I used my Silhouette Portrait. If you’re not familiar, the Silhouette is a cutting machine. I use it for paper crafting mostly, but it can also be used to cut fabric and vinyl, make stickers, and even screen printing t-shirts! I have the Portrait, which is the smallest version but I am seriously lusting over the Curio version, which can even emboss designs on metal! (*Cough* hint, hint, Hubs. Just kidding, he doesn’t read my blog.)
That being said, if you don’t have a Silhouette, you can hand cut letters with a craft knife. You could try printing directly on the contact paper from your printer, or you can print onto regular paper, cut it out and then trace onto contact paper before cutting with the craft knife. If you’re doing this, just skip over the Silhouette instructions.
First, use the reveal function in the page setup to reveal the markings on the cutting mat. This will allow you to properly size your letters. For the heart we used, I made the letters 4 inches high and 8 inches across, but if you get a different heart, you’ll need to size it accordingly.
I used the font “SW Par-tay Thyme” which is available in the Silhouette store. You can use any font that you have on your computer, but I picked this one because it’s designed to be able to be made into a single cut, rather than individual letters.
After you write out your word, you’ll need to go to the modify menu and click “weld.” This will weld the letters together into one shape.
Next, go back to page setup and under “Cutting Mat,” select “None.”
Go up to the top and click the “Send” menu. Make sure your blade is set to 1, your speed is set to 8, and the force is set to 3.
Load the contact paper straight into the Silhouette without a cutting mat. Depending on the size of contact paper you have, you may need to cut it to the right width to fit. Also it helps to re-roll it opposite of the way it’s been rolled a little to try to flatten it out some. Connect your Silhouette to your computer and click “Send.” Once it’s finished cutting, remove the contact paper from the machine by pushing the reverse button and carefully remove the letters from the backing.
Putting It Together
Line up the letters in the center of the heart. I’ll be honest, it took me a few tries to line this up. It’s ok if you have to re-stick it– it should still be sticky enough to work. Once I got it where I wanted it, I went over the letters with my bone folder (which is a tool I find really useful and use often) but you could go over it with the edge of a credit card. You just want to make sure the edges are adhered well.
Now you can let your kids go to town! Or paint it yourself. Kids are not actually required.
I took my 3 colors and mixed them into different shades and then let my kids go to town. I did direct them a little bit to try to make the paint at least somewhat even across the heart. The other thing I find necessary is to give them guidance as to when to stop. Otherwise I’m pretty sure Miss Bean would’ve just painted over the whole thing about twelve times. 🙂
As soon as the painting is done, it’s time to remove the contact paper. Use a craft knife to gently lift the edge of the first letter, then carefully peel the letters off. Mine didn’t come off in a single piece, but it was easy enough to start up again when it broke.
All that’s left is to let it dry completely.
Voila! Bean has claimed it for her bedroom. I had been thinking we could put it out in the living room for the month, but I was overruled. 😉
How do you do art with your kids?