The Perfect Pears – Easy Art You Can Make Yourself

We’ve slowly been making over John’s sister Emily’s nursery on a major budget and we’re back with another update. We already shared how we painted some modern vertical stripes

… added large mirrors to open up the small windowless room…

… and whipped up a super easy no-sew bed skirt.

But what about art? We wanted something modern and graphic to hang in the room, but didn’t want to spend much money to get it. The solution? Why not DIY it? So I did. To the tune of zero dollars and zero cents. Victory!

It all started when Emily was given some hand-me-down nursery art from a friend who mentioned there was no pressure to use it or anything, just that she was done with it and wanted to pass it along. The blue color was a bit more pastel than the muddier gray-based blue that we had going on in the nursery, so Emily suggested that we repaint it to create something new. We even had some leftover wall paint from our stripe painting project so it really was a zero cost project (that was guaranteed to work with our color palette no less). Here it is before we primed it with some oil-based Kilz to prep it for repainting:

I was actually super excited to get back to my art school roots. Four years of it in NYC had me creating all the time, but in the five years since graduation I had slowly segued into painting rooms instead of art so I knew I was a bit rusty. The good news is that Emily’s modern nursery called for clean and contemporary art, so I settled on a simple two-color composition of three pears, which absolutely anyone can do. First I sketched the outlines of three not-at-all-perfect-and-that’s-ok pears in pencil on the freshly primed canvas. I liked that they leaned in different ways and were slightly varied in size for interest, especially since I was only going to be using two colors for a simplistic result:

Then I filled in the pears using leftover yellow paint that we had laying around from some of the stripes that we painted in the nursery.

Next I added a slate blue background (with more leftover wall-striping paint) which ties into the crib’s deep blue skirt for even more cohesion in the room. Here it is after the first coat (about half dry, hence the different shades of blue):

Another coat of blue paint along with a second coat of yellow on the pears had everything looking a lot more solid and even. And we love that three pears fit perfectly across the canvas since this will be Emily’s third child (and her son and daughter really got a kick out of picking which pear they were and which pear was for the baby on the way).

As cute as the new DIY art looks on that lovely cardboard outside on our patio, you’ll just have to stay tuned to see it in the nursery as we continue on with the makeover (next up: some storage, lighting and accessories to finish off the room). But that’s how we got some fun art for no moolah and next to no work. Really, anyone with a canvas (or even foam core, poster board or a piece of plywood) can do this project with some leftover paint. Just pick a simple shape (an airplane? an apple? a heart?) and sketch it out. Then fill it in with two coats of paint and add in the background in another color for a modern pop-art-ish result.

What about you guys? Made any fun DIY art lately? Got any other easy ways to decorate naked walls on the cheap? Let’s put on our virtual black berets and turtlenecks to talk about how you channel your inner artiste.

Comments

  1. says

    Looks great, Sherry! I have a quick question and I am by no means an art student, but would it have been easier to do the background first and then the pears or am I overthinking it too much? Just seems like it would be hard to get that blue in all the nooks and crannies!

    Great job, though! Too cute!

    L

    • says

      Hey Lindsay,

      Good point! Typically you would do the background first but since I was unsure if I would like the yellow on white look (or if I’d want to go in and add a darker background color at the end) I did things in the opposite order so I could play it by ear as I went (instead of committing to the dark background from the get-go). Most latex paints like the ones I used will call for two coats of paint anyway, so you can do things in either order since you’ll be going back to touch up both colors with the second coat. Hope it helps!

      xo,
      s

  2. Allison says

    I love this art project! My hubby really wants to hang more art in our home and this would be a simple but great way to dress up the house. I’m completely inspired! Thanks Sherry!

  3. says

    The pear shapes are too cute! We are always looking for original art. Luckily, my husband’s uncle is an artist, sowe are able to steal his art…I mean borrow his art for long amounts of time…

  4. Shaunda says

    So I have an interesting question baby related question for you. We all see how you like to place items around the house. Bottles, boxes, all those glass ceramics. What will you do when you have children, because Lord knows kids looove touching stuff they shouln’t. Will you put the things within reach away? And if so, will you feel that your house is nekkid without all of the knick-knacks? I know that is a long way off but it is something I’ve wondered for awhile.

    • says

      Shaunda- Good question! And one that we probably won’t know the answer to until our little bundle of joy starts crawling. For now our house is little-dog-proofed (meaning there’s nothing within our tiny chihuahua’s reach that he can eat/break/otherwise ruin) so we would imagine it would just call for moving our favorite breakable things to the mantel, the glass fronted cabinet in the kitchen and other out-of-reach areas to keep our bambino safe (along with our prized possessions). I’m sure we’re in for quite an adjustment but we’re actually looking forward to it. We definitely mastered living with a playful pooch, so babies will be another fun challenge to tackle.

      Heather S- Emily actually has a giant metal pear on their kitchen table so it always reminds me of their family. We definitely plan to bring in some other pear references to tie the artwork into the rest of the room though, so stay tuned…

      xo,
      s

  5. says

    Those pears turned out great! I like that it wasn’t baby-specific and can be just as at home on the walls when the baby gets a little older.

    I love DIY art – and not having any artistic ability really makes it quite a feat that I’ve been able to churn out quite a few DIY decorations. Usually just involves cutting up a calendar or printing out images on a color printer, but I painted three canvas panels with red stripes a few years ago and my favorite was my Mosaikit wall made up of removable vinyl stickers.

    You can see pics of both here: http://lydiasnextstep.blogspot.com/2009/07/flashback-walls-that-came-down.html

    Mozaikit blog here: http://www.shalgo.com/mozaikit/blog/mozaikitblog.html

  6. Kimberly says

    Thanks for posting nursery photos. We have our first, a little girl coming this November and I still haven’t decided which direction I want to go. I’m looking forward to see what else you’ve done. Thanks

  7. Dana Miller says

    Great minds MUST think alike. Seriously, 4 days ago I painted over some old 12″x12″ painted canvases I had that weren’t working with our current color scheme! I have 10 of them but am only using 9 to make one large square (3’x3′) art piece for our living room. Maybe I’ll send you a pic!

  8. Rachael says

    Im just wondering, this room is windowless? Isnt that a fire safety issue? I would never have a newborn or anyone for that matter sleeping in a room with no windows! lol How come they dont have windows? Thats kind of scary!

    • says

      Hey Rachael,

      Our sister in law is a stickler for safety- she even teaches a fire safety class! We don’t specifically know the details of her house-building process but we do know that she was super involved with the engineer to create a room that meets every single fire and safety code here in the state of Virginia (it’s adjoined to two spaces with large windows which we assume is part of the solution- there’s an open doorway that leads to one of the rooms with windows which we assume is why it’s not considered truly windowless- since it’s adjoined to a bigger space that has them). Hope it helps!

      xo,
      s

  9. says

    Well, actually… I just finished a really simple project the other day with a lot of stuff lying around. I used an old plate rack that was lying around, gave it a fresh coat of black (wrought iron textured) spray paint, and put a few different sized picture frames on it, instead of plates. Not it hangs in that awkward space next to my BGE thermostat where nothing else would quite fit, but something had to be done. It’s not hung on the wall, yet, but it is finished, and Hubby’s glad he doesn’t have to drill 3 aligned picture holes to hang the frames correctly.

    You can check it out here: http://thepuhlfamily.blogspot.com/2009/08/feeling-crafty.html

  10. says

    Love this – will look so cute in the completed space. I fortunately have an artist mama that will whip up anything I am craving for the walls. It’s pretty nice to have her around :)

  11. Emily says

    Sherry already answered this but to chime in as the homeowner: the two adjoined rooms (one which has huge windows) are actually only considered “one room” by county and fire code standards. We realize for resale this means that we technically only have a three bedroom house although we use it as a four bedroom but we’re not worried about that. Safety first!!! The fact that we have a large sliding door adjoining the rooms that DOES NOT LOCK is why it is not considered a safety issue and therefore meets code (plus there’s another entry door to the nursery from the hall for even more access to and from the room). If the sliding door that adjoined the rooms locked it would be considered a fire safety hazard (and considering I’m a freak about fire safety I didn’t want it to lock either). I hope that further clears it up!

    -Emily (who is very pregnant and very ready to have this baby)

  12. says

    Looks awesome! You guys are too creative!!!

    I can’t wait to see the finished nursey! The Hubs and I have a similar room in our house (one room that is actually two rooms), and I can’t wait to see how you utilize the space. Eventually our upstaris bedroom(s) will be a nursery. Eventually…

  13. Rachael says

    That makes more sense now, Phew!
    Nursery is lookin good! Cant wait to see it completed :)