human behavior

Alphabet Art Made Easy

Posted in Art, Crafts, Home improvement by humanb on November 12, 2013

At 37 weeks and 2 days pregnant, my days of crafting will soon be over – at least for some time. So after the successful completion and installation of my handmade nursery yarn mobile, I spent the last two days making a piece of art for over the baby’s chest of drawers while I still have the time and energy.

A traditionalist to some degree, I was particularly keen on making some sort of alphabet art, but the recyclist in me wanted to use things I already owned. The compromise was to use a blank canvas that had lived under my bed for a year and my old acrylic paint with a set of MDF letters from the local hardware store.

alpha_unpainted

The fun part of this project was in trying to work with the materials on hand. Because I’d insisted on using the 18 in x 24 in canvas I already had, I was forced to make the letters fit by randomly staggering them. The effect is quite different from an ordered and equally-spaced arrangement.

I painted the letters one colour at a time, mixing my own colours rather than using paint straight from the tubes.

alpha_green

To ensure that no two letters of the same colour were too close together, I made a Microsoft Word version of the final colour arrangement before beginning, but still re-evaluated my colour arrangements as I worked.

alpha_3colors

After all the letters had been painted, I considered the background.

alpha_colors

The white looked fresh, but unfinished when considering the piece as a whole.

alpha_white

I considered newspaper, dictionary pages and Word Find Puzzle pages as possible backdrops – even going so far as to buy a book of Word Find Puzzles, thinking this was the best option. But while I was cutting out pages to cover the canvas, I placed the letters on my dark grey ottoman to see how a darker background might look…

alpha_ottoman

As suspected, the colours popped! My husband thought as much too, and declared unequivocally that dark grey would be a superior background to a printed page.

So I made my own grey paint – always a better choice than simply mixing black and white. There’s an infinite number of shades of grey, some cooler, some warmer. Using the remainders of my blue and purple paints, I added black, white and yellow oxide to make a rich, warm colour.

alpha_grey_canvas

The result is a bold and individual take on a thoroughly unoriginal idea.

alpha_done

It’s a bit in-your-face, this artwork, with its letters so large, bright and crowded. But as it hangs quite high (and alone) on a clean, white wall, its energy feels contained.

alpha_wall

alpha_wall2

At $1.83 per MDF letter, and with 26 letters to buy, this project ended up costing much more than I would’ve liked, but it was quick and easy to produce. And while it’s by no means a great piece, it is fun without being garish or cheesy. Moreover, seeing as there are no cartoon monkeys, butterflies or bumblebees painted on the letters (Google nursery alphabet art), I see no reason why it can’t can’t find a home on our walls for many years to come – even after our son has moved well beyond his A-B-Cs.

Just not in my bedroom forever. 😉

alpha_context2

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2 Responses

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  1. Anonymous said, on November 13, 2013 at 6:04 am

    Nice piece for any room in a person’s home!

    • humanb said, on November 13, 2013 at 6:10 am

      Thanks. 🙂


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