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Connecting the Dots

So maybe I'm a few seasons behind on this one, but you know my motto of "better late than never" will always hold true!

Remember the Pinterest Challenge that was hosted by Young House Love and Bower Power back in March?  Yeah, that's right...the winter edition.  Well, guess who's finally getting around to posting about the project they made for that challenge.  Hmmm, could it be me?

In my defense, this project has been mostly done for quite some time now.  In fact, you've seen pictures of this piece in my I'm a Wrapper post, and even in the Tour My House section of the blog. You just didn't know it...because I'm sneaky like that!

I know, I know...it doesn't make up for anything...so I'll stop running this post around in circles and just get down to it.

You know that I love me a good knock-off.  My $75 version of a $300 West Elm chandelier made me a believer in the do-it-yourself attitude.  But, one thing I love even more than a good knock-off is a good knock-off of a high-end design shop!  You know...those fancy-schmancy studios that cater to celebrities and millionaires, and think it's okay to charge $200 for a garden stool when I can buy the same exact one at Ross for $50 (see this post).  

You know the ones I'm talking about.

Don't get me wrong...I can drool over their shops all day long...all while humming the tune...I wanna be a billionaire so freakin baaad.  But in my world, that's as close as I can get to these brands, which leaves me with no other choice than to knock-off their style.

I give you exhibit A (and B if you want to get technical):

Image Source

The Twister art prints from the Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams designer studio, which are priced at...cough, cough, gag...$775 each. 

When I stumbled across these prints online I was super-excited...but then I was super-bummed when I found out what they actually cost.  Nothing to do but pin them to the Maybe I Could Make This board on Pinterest (here and here).

Then one day, on a quick trip to the ReStore, I stumbled across these old restaurant tabletops that were priced at $1.00 each.  Score!  I knew that I wanted to make artwork out of them, but honestly at that time I hadn't connected the dots (pun intended, lol!) that they could be perfect for my Twister knock-offs.  

It wasn't until the Pinterest Challenge rolled around that I finally put two-and-two together.  Minus the rounded corners, I knew I could create a splitting image of the Twister prints I loved so dearly...and so I got to work!

I started by prepping the tabletops for paint...

...light sanding...

...filling in gaps and scratches...

...and primer...

...lots, and lots of primer!

Then, I used my projector to project the image onto the surface to give me a better idea of the scale.

...you really don't need to do this, but I'm weird like that sometimes.  When I started the piece I wanted to create as close of a match as possible.  But as the project wore on I found that it was actually very forgiving of freestyling, and it didn't need to be perfect.

Eventually, I realized how rediculous I was being and I just started to cut out circles and eye-ball their placement on the surfaces of the tabletops...

Much easier!

After I had found the placement I liked it was time for some glossy coats of spray-paint...which apparently I forgot to photograph...boo.  Oh well, nothing much to see with that process anyway.  If you've seen one spray-painting project you've seen them all, right?

But, in case you are wondering why I went with the whole vinyl stickers process rather than just painting the dots right on the surface, let me explain.  

There are a few reasons actually. One, I wanted to paint the dots on a primed surface.  Since my top coat of spray paint was going to be glossy, I was afraid the painted dots would not adhere well and would easily scrape off.  And two, I learned from my Penny Lane project that when you paint a few coats of top coat over vinyl it leaves a bit of a lip when the vinyl is removed.  Basically a boundary, if you will...and this boundary comes in handy when you are trying to keep your placement of things on track.

Once my top coats were dry, I peeled off the vinyl and got ready to paint the dots.  I started by making a little legend of the color placement on the original pieces.  Probably would have been easier to just print out the pictures, but again, I'm weird like that.  

As for the paint, I pretty much had everything on hand.  For the yellow tones I used a combination of acrylic craft paints from my stock, and for all of the grays and blues I used the leftover sample paints I had from when I was testing out colors for my guest room.  Seriously, I never throw out paint because you never know when it might come in handy down the road!

As for the hanging, well Mark took care of that part for me.  He used the table saw to cut some angled strips of wood that would go together like puzzle pieces.

But, if you don't have a saw that can cut these types of angles, I also had found some hangers at Ace Hardware that essentially do the same thing...except they're metal, and the only tool they require is a screw-driver.

Now, I mentioned that these art pieces have been mostly done for quite some time...and what I mean by that is that they were done...and then they were in need of minor repair.

You see, as Mark screwed in the first hanger strip he didn't realize that the screws were just a smidge too long.  And so, they poked their little heads through the front of my artwork...

Oh well, it could have been much worse!  There were many other things that I imagined had happened when Mark came to find me saying, "I think I just ruined them."  Seriously, picture me with a blank stare and a dropped jaw, imagining the story about my devastating loss that I'd wind up posting on the blog.

Whew!  Luckily it was just a quick fix!

A little hammer tap to push the little bulges back down, a new coat of paint on all of the tan and light gray dots, and a hanging placement switcheroo (because who's going to notice those minor flaws when they're way above eye-level?).

So finally, I've finished the winter challenge!  Then again, it's never really winter around here.  Maybe that's why I've been so behind-the-times.  My internal clock is all thwarted with this Arizona heat!

To give you an idea of the room transformation, here's the before...

...and the after...

And to give you a side-by-side comparison...here's theirs, and mine.

Sure, there are a few differences.  I changed up some of the colors to fit better with my decor, and of course those rounded edges...but overall, I got the same style for much less than $775!  In fact, let's do a cost comparison and a cost break-down, shall we?


Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams single Twister print: $775___My knock-off (single):  $16.75

Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams pair of Twister prints: $1550___My knock-off (pair):  $33.50



Two tabletops from Habitat from Humanity ReStore:  $1 each

6 cans of primer (I told you it took lots and lots of primer):  $3.50 each

3 cans of glossy-white spray paint (two coats each tabletop):  $3.50 each

Various paints for dots:  Supplies I had on hand


So there you have it.  Man, saving money really feels good!  You could probably even make this piece for much less if you don't use green tabletops that require 6 cans of primer to cover!  Even still, I think the price comparison was definitely worth it, but what do you think?

Well, I've got some fun things coming up on the blog pretty soon.  I'm doing some behind-the-scenes coding of a brand new page with some content that might be a bit atypical for a home decor-themed blog.  But, I hope you'll like it anyway!  I promise I won't be straying away from my roots...I'll just be adding details on some of the other adventures I'm planning to take on shortly, so stay tuned!

Ps...did you catch the ...  article I posted on Facebook/Twitter?  ...blurb...  Be sure to follow/like for the latest updates!


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Reader Comments (4)

WOW! These look fantastic! Such a great use of $1 table tops, and it's good to know about the tools to be able to hang something that heavy without the wooden reinforcement.
Also, your new site design looks great, so clean and modern!
As always, thanks for the inspiration. :)

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNichole

Thanks Nichole!

I'll have to use those hanging brackets on another art project so I can test them out and give more feedback on them. I couldn't even remember what they were called, so I feel bad that the description was so vague. They were stocked with all of the screws and nails at the Ace Hardware though, so hopefully that at least helps to narrow it down. Haha!

Glad you like the new site tweaks. You know me...I'm never satisfied with it, so it's good to hear feedback on it. I think I'm my own worst critic sometimes. LOL!

xo, Kelli

June 1, 2012 | Registered CommenterAHPCH

Love these! To me, I would pick yours over the expensive ones. I like the rounded corners and they are perfect in your space. I'm super new and inexperienced at blogging and don't have much going on yet, as I'm working full time and taking online classes as well, but it's fun and I enjoy it. Hope you will stop by and have a look.

Thanks Tracy & congrats on the blog! How is it going so far? The link didn't work, so I'm thinking I must have missed a piece of your address. Let me know the address and I'll take a peak. I'm anxious to see what you've been working on lately.

Thanks for checking in, and sorry for the delayed response!

xo, Kelli

July 23, 2012 | Registered CommenterAHPCH

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