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 Unique Wall Art Displays

                                           Juliet Kaman



Natural Wall Art Displays

Whether you're a college student struggling to get by or you're just financially conservative, wall art design doesn't have to put you in a bind. Album wall art may be inexpensive, but maybe it's not your style. Instead of looking to music for your muse, just take a walk outside.

Everything in your home is constructed from natural materials, so why not incorporate that theme on your walls as well? Using nature to decorate your home can be something fun to do solo or enlist the entire family in the project. Whether you live at the coast or the mountains or somewhere in between, nature holds a wide variety of items just waiting to be incorporated in a unique wall art display.

Two of the most obvious items are sticks and leaves. The next time you notice a bright, colorful leaf, pick it up and put it in a safe place until you have collected enough leaves to create a piece of wall art. Pressing leaves will help maintain the shape of the leaves and remove moisture. On a table or countertop, place the leaves between two paper towels or paper napkins and set a heavy cookbook or encyclopedia on top.

If you want to preserve your leaves beforehand, you can take your pressed leaves and coat them in wax using wax paper and an iron. Lay wax paper on an ironing board, wax side up. Then scatter your leaves on the paper, leaving room between each leaf. Place another sheet of wax paper, wax side down, on top of the leaves. Iron the leaf/paper combo for approximately one to two minutes.

Depending on the size of décor you are aiming for, glue the leaves to a blank canvas or card stock in any desired pattern [source: Rowland]. For added flair, you can paint the canvas prior to gluing the leaves. To preserve your finished artwork, cover with a light spray of varnish.

Similarly, plain, old sticks can turn a plain, old wall into something worth admiring. Find a handful of sticks, big or small, and glue them together in diagonal, random patterns. A typical design will resemble a sun, but you can use your imagination and create something outside the box [source: Jenkins].

If you're after something with a coastal flair, gather your shell collection, some glue and a canvas or small piece of plywood. You can sketch out a pattern to follow or just glue the shells in free form on the canvas. Finish your piece with spray varnish and for something extra, maybe add a little sparkle with spray glitter.

Now the next time you have guests, your walls will be the talk of the evening -- and this time for a good reason.

                 iStockphoto/Isabelle Zacher-Finet
Adding unique wall art displays is a great way to enhance the aesthetic of any room.

Walls are the biggest canvas of your house. But when you take a seat and look around, these canvases might not be doing anything to enhance your home. Maybe scratches and scuffs make your walls look dingy. Perhaps your youngest took the "canvas" part a little too literally with his crayons and markers. It could be that your vision is clouded by out-of-date, orange and gold wallpaper that saw the presidency of Jimmy Carter. Or your pristine, new, builder-beige walls are just lackluster and uninspired.

Whatever the reason, many of us have been disappointed with the condition of our wall décor -- or lack thereof -- at some point in time. So, what do you do when that 30-year-old wallpaper just doesn't do the trick anymore? Or the bare walls of your beautiful new home leave you and your guests yawning in boredom? The answer is simple -- liven things up with unique, creative wall art displays.

Hitting local galleries and artists' collectives would be one fun and exciting way to secure a wide variety of cleverly conceived wall art. But it could also be quite pricey. If you're on a budget, a better option would be to take the matter into your own hands by creating your very own wall décor. If you can afford it, go ahead and pick up one key professional art piece that you simply can't live without; not only will it make you happy, but it could inspire your own creative efforts.

Read on to learn how you can create your own wall art using metal, glass, old album covers, stencils and natural materials.

Metal Wall Art Displays
So you know you want something different to accent your personal style, and you're thinking big and dramatic. Metal could be the perfect medium for you. With the recent boom in sustainability and recycling, people have been using a variety of recyclable materials in their home décor, including metal. And you don't have to be a welder to try your hand at using this versatile material.

Professional metal art pieces can be large, dramatic and oversized. As with other larger art pieces, something of this scale should be placed in a room large enough to accommodate its size. In a small room, it might be imposing rather than engaging. Since you'll be creating your own metal wall art, it's up to you to decide the size and scope of the project. But keep in mind that large pieces are better suited to large spaces and smaller pieces are better suited to smaller spaces. In fact, you should let the space dictate the project.

                       iStockphoto/Lisa McDonald
The tarnished and corroded patches on this sheet metal star give it the perfect rustic look.

For this project, let's say you've decided to decorate a wall in your den. The room is cozy, so you don't need anything too big. Once you've selected the room, it's time to select the metal. For this project, you want a metal that adapts well to molding, etching and bending -- so you're going with aluminum. You start by purchasing a sheet of aluminum (24- or 26-gauge or so should work well). In addition, you will need a desired pattern or shape, a ballpoint pen, a pair of scissors or tin snips (depending on the thickness of the aluminum), sandpaper, a small hammer, silicone and a piece of plywood.

Follow these four basic steps to create a metal art piece that will suit any room of your home:

- Place your pattern or shape on top of the aluminum sheet and trace the pattern onto the aluminum using the ballpoint pen.

- Once the pattern has been traced on the metal, cut the pattern out of the metal sheet using scissors or tin snips.

- The edges may still be jagged, so use the sandpaper to sand the edges of the metal to the desired smoothness. Depending on the thickness of the metal, you could use the hammer to roll and hammer down the edges to create a lipped edge to your creation.

- Use the silicone to adhere your finished metal art to the wood [source: Selvidge].

If you want to be even more creative, you can find a large frame for the plywood and tack the plywood to it. Before mounting your metal art on the plywood, paint the plywood a solid color or use a mixture of colors and a pattern. Voilà, you have an interesting, one-of-a-kind piece of artwork for your wall.

While metal has been an increasing trend for home décor, you may want something more traditional and elegant. Read on to find out how to create your own glass decorations.

Glass Wall Art Displays
Wall mirrors have garnered popularity for decades, and it's a timeless look that never goes out of style. But while many people still fancy the traditional mirror in a standard frame, there are other ways to create a design on your walls that will reflect your personal style, if not provide visitors a glimpse through the window to your stylish soul.

OK, that was a little corny for a lead in -- but we couldn't resist it for this project. Get ready to use an old window frame as an accent to your mirror. As you'll learn with this project, making wall décor from glass doesn't have to be difficult, and recycling fans will love the old window frame
hanging on your wall.

First, you need to find a window frame. You can find old window frames in many places, including salvage yards, flea markets, junk shops, antique shops and yard sales.

                        iStockphoto/Stefan Witas
Tired of mirrors? A shelf lined with several interesting glass bottles also makes an eye-catching wall display.

Once you've found the perfect window frame and purchased a mirror to fit it, it only takes a few simple steps to create a unique mirror wall display for your home:

- Remove the glass and any material that is holding it in place.

- Remove any peeling paint or unnecessary hardware from the window frame.

- Lightly sand the frame. (If you want a natural look, simply varnish the frame. If you want something less rustic, sand the frame more and then prime, paint and varnish it.)

- Secure the mirror to the frame using caulking or putty.

- Attach picture hanging hardware to the back of the mirror. Be sure to select the appropriate hardware for the size and weight of your new mirror [source: Galloway].

Hand-Drawn Wall Art Displays
Though some people prefer a more traditional look, you may feel the need to release the creativity that's hibernating within you. Stenciling may be just your craft then. Yes, stenciling. Yeah, we know it's received some bad publicity with the rash of gardens and farm animals painted on walls amid suburb and city homes alike, but stenciling doesn't have to be agricultural. Feel free to leave the bucolic vistas where they belong -- alongside winding country roads. With a little elbow grease and imagination, even the dullest of walls can become a bright, inspired canvas.

Before you begin the stenciling process, be sure to choose a smooth, clean surface. Uneven walls will not hold paint, and a marred texture can ruin your image [source: Sherry]. Next, gather your supplies: a stenciling pattern (you can make your own or purchase one), stencil brushes (one brush per color), small jars of crème paint, paper towels, masking tape and a small plate to use as a palette.

                     iStockphoto/william casey
A stenciled palm tree completes the tropical feel of this bedroom.

With these tools at hand, it's time to start stenciling. Here are the basic steps:

- Tape the stencil pattern to the wall with the masking tape. Be sure to start in a corner area of the wall (maybe something that could be hidden behind a door) that can go unnoticed if something were to go wrong.

- Pour a small drop of stencil paint on your plate, and dip the tips of the brush's bristles into the paint.

- Remove excess paint from the brush by moving the brush in a circular motion on a paper towel.

- Using quick, short strokes, work from the outside of the stencil to the middle. This technique will ensure a crisp pattern.

- If you want to use more than one color for the same shape, be sure to allow the first color to dry before applying the second.

- Once the paint has dried, remove the tape and stencils from the wall and enjoy your hand-drawn creation [source: Sherry].

Repeat the process above until you've completed your stencil project.

Album Wall Art Displays
So creating metal art, a windowpane mirror and stenciling isn't your thing. If you're beginning to worry that there's no hope of you making your own unique wall art display, don't fret, this project should have you humming a different tune in no time.

If you (or your parents) have retired a vinyl collection in favor of an iPod packed with digital tunes, don't ditch those albums. The design potential they possess can bring any room to life in no time. And if you're not lucky enough to possess any old album covers, you should be able to find some at a number of places, including thrift stores, local music stores and yard sales.

Hanging record albums on the walls is not a new trend, and it's not just for college dorm rooms or co-ed apartments. A clever display of old Clash albums or Johnny Cash covers would look equally fitting in most any home.

                         iStockphoto/Eliza Snow
Old records carry twice the decorating punch. You can use the record and its decorative sleeve or cover to hang on a wall.

By following these basic steps, old album covers can provide a modern, edgy look or a classy, stylish verve to your walls in minutes:

- Draw out a plan for how you want the albums to hang. You can have a simple, side-by-side, grid-like arrangement for a clean look, or you can opt for something less organized and more organic; don't be afraid to get creative.

- Set aside two L-shaped screws for each album cover. These screws will hold the album covers in place.

- Measure the area of the wall you're decorating and the album covers. Then, following your plan, mark spots on the wall where you will put the screws. The screws need to be set in from the edges of the album -- 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) should work OK -- just make sure the measurement is the same for each screw.

- Insert the screws into the wall using a drill or by hand. Depending on how long your L-shaped screws are, you might not want to screw them into the wall completely. Just make sure you have plenty of room for the album cover to sit comfortably atop the screws without falling forward.

- Hang your album covers on the screws [source: Pash].

Cundiff, Karen. "Choose Stenciling For A Creative Wall Décor Idea." My Country Home. 2005.

Forcier, Polly. "Wall Stencils: Advice from a Pro." Bob 2001.

Galloway, Willi. "How to Make a Wall Mirror Out of an Old Window Frame." EHow. 2009.

Jenkins, Virginia. Personal Interview. (Conducted 4/10/09).

Pash, Adam. "How to Build an Album Art Wall on the Cheap." Lifehacker. 8/31/08.

Rowland, Victoria. "How to Make Wall Art for Your Home." EHow. 2009.

Sherry, Kelly. "Stenciling Tips." Wall to Wall Stencils. 2009.


Courtesy: Juliet Kaman