In which I proudly admit to being thrilled by a decorating project (#49) of a completely dork-tastic nature.
So, what went in place of this paper template on our guest room wall? The guest room has been the most extensive decorating project that the hubs and I have ever worked on. (Much more about this room later.) But this small part of that room? I think this might be my favorite decorating project the hubs and I have ever completed.
Meet our book wall. The hubs and I have hundreds of books. We had books holding the table numbers at our wedding. It seemed only fitting that we highlight a few of the ones that are special to us in the room that functions as our guest room and the hubs’ writing room. We chose these particular books for looks: covers, sizes, colors. But each of them are notable in their own rights.
Once we decided on the books to include and a rough arrangement, we made color photocopies of each of their covers. I brought in linen finish card stock that we already owned to our local Office Max, where we used the self-service photocopier. I did have an employee tell me that copying the covers was probably copyright infringement, but he didn’t stop me from doing it.
We mounted the copies onto foam core board with spray glue, then cut them out with a box cutter and a lot of cursing. (And a brief stop to meet our neighbor and inform her that we believed a small piece of our razor blade had just flown over her wall. It had. After that, we broke off the blade into a shopping bag, just in case.) The hubs found that they were hard to cut in straight lines, even using a thin ruler as a guide. But when we put them all together, you really don’t see the small imperfections or curves.
I traced around each of the books to make the paper templates, then prepped them with the velcro-type 3m Command strips. I wanted the pictured to be even and flat on the wall (not tilted on the bottom edge), so I added strips to the two top corners and the middle of the bottom. Since these didn’t weigh enough to warrant that many strips, I cut each strip vertically down the middle and use one strip in each place rather than two.
Finally, I started to put the templates up on the wall. I started with the Calvin and Hobbes in the middle and worked my way outwards, one row of books at a time. I used the width of a ruler to space the books from each other to keep them tightly grouped, but sometimes just eyeballed the middle of a section to keep things even. We hung the books up on the wall in the same manner — starting with the middle and working our way outwards, moving between one side and the other to keep things even. The hubs lined up our laser level with the top of the paper template (or occasionally the balancing book on the other side of the arrangement) and held the spacing ruler that I lined up against the last book we’d hung. I pulled off the paper and peeled the backing off the strips. We attempted to get things lined up with the level and the ruler, but found again that small mistakes disappeared once you stepped back.
The Command strips were the most expensive part of this project by far, but I really like the end look we got from using them. The velcro strips helps the boards stand out from the wall a little bit more, and I like the extra depth it lent.
If you’re interested in making a similar project, here are some notes. The thickness of the card stock made it easier to handle while we were gluing, and prevented any ripples in the paper. I like that the linen finish gave a bit more dimension and prevented the ink from looking too shiny. I’d recommend getting a sharp new box cutter, preferably with a blade you can shorten to get a fresh cutting edge. We used a thin metal ruler for the cutting, and found that the ink could be rubbed off if you slide the ruler around too much.
For the finished project, we used:
– about 25 color copies at 45¢ each
– two foam core boards, about $6
– one can of spray glue, about $4
– three boxes of command strips, about $15
Not a bad investment for a wall full of decorations with personal meaning. But that is definitely not all that we have going on in the guest room these days. Check back tomorrow for the hubs’ favorite wall decoration in our house.