project time: chicago skyline

Like most Chicagoans, I think this city has one of the most beautiful skylines in the world. I’ve always wanted a piece of art depicting its amazingness. I could purchase a print or a piece of painted art, but that would be way too easy and not nearly enough fun – at least the twisted type of DIY dumpster diving fun I tend to enjoy. I have a couple of creative bones, so I decided to give it a go.

Step 1: Every DIY project needs a burst of inspiration. I began my search on Pinterest (my favorite source of inspo), and before long I spied a couple of interesting ones. 
img_2771fullsizerender-7Step 2: Next, I needed a canvas. I could go to Michael’s and purchase a new one, but I really wanted to upcycle an existing piece of art. After about 3 hunting excursions, I spotted the perfect canvas at the big Salvation Army on Clyborne. It was rectangular, well constructed (real wood), and cheap (only $3). img_2749Step 3: Sometimes I like to doctor a canvas, but for this project, I needed a blank canvas. I purchased a large tube of white paint, and a small tube of black paint. I love neutral decor, and sticking to two colors keeps the cost down ($12). I used a tiny roller to get an even coat. If you want a more textured look, use a paint brush. It took 3 coats to fully cover the canvas which is two more than I planned on, but my one tube of paint was enough.img_2757Step 4: Next, I sketched the skyline. It was far from accurate, but I that wasn’t really my goal. I just I used a plain old mechanical pencil to sketch my favorite and most prominent buildings. Tip: to ensure a straight skyline, I used a ruler to measure 4 inches from the bottom on each side. I made a small marks with my pencil, and then taped a ribbon to make a straight line.img_3600Step 5: Paint. This was by far the hardest part of the project. Putting black paint to my beautiful clean canvas was terrifying despite the fact that the canvas was basically free. I had already put some man hours into this project, and I didn’t want those to go to waste. I just took a deep breath, and started to paint. I knew I couldn’t make perfect lines, so again, I didn’t even try. I did to to maintain an even line width. img_3609 img_3610Step 6: Clean up. Inevitably I didn’t stick to my sketch probably because the whole middle section was a mess. I rummaged in my junk drawer and found an old school eraser that has been hanging out in there for the better part of 5 years. I erased the extra lines being careful not to smudge my paint. img_3593img_3595Step 7: Lastly, I picked a location and hung it up! Undoubtedly, the most satisfying part of the entire project. I chose a spot in my dining nook where I could look at it often.