I designed a "teen lounge" in our loft this spring because we needed a second room with a TV for the kids to hang out with friends. I made this light up piece of art, You Are My Sunshine, that we just love.
I started with large alphabet stickers from a nearby discount store. Nothing fancy.
I did use a T-ruler to get straight lines and placement for the words. My kids chose the phrase.
I knew I wanted horizontal black and white stripes, but also decided to add silver dots because we have a pillow on the nearby sofa with small silver dots.
*note - if I were to do this over, I would add the silver dots at the end (lesson learned)
I decided to use contact paper as my stencils for the dots. I cut 4 sizes of dots, using a really old circle cutter I have. This is where I ran into my problem - trying to pull up the contact paper and re-use it, while covered in wet, silver spray paint was difficult. Painting them on the top layer at the end would have = less swearing on my part.
I will say that I LOVE this Rustoleum Metallic spray paint. I got mine from my local Home Depot. I used the Krylon Matte Finish to spray over the letter stickers (lightly) before spraying the stripes. This is an old technique I learned from home decor projects. Makes for crisp, clean edges.
So I sprayed my circles and they were "okay". I wasn't concerned with the overspray because it would be covered, but I was disappointed with the fuzzy outlines of the dots. When I encounter these frustrations, my method is to "just keep swimming" and trust it will all work out.
Due to my silver dots being "eh", I opted to just spray paint over them. I knew they would show through and the "You Are My Sunshine" phrase was really the highlight, so I wasn't too worried about the dots.
I covered the areas that would be black (with newspaper), taped a straight line with blue painters tape, and sprayed the white stripes.
After the white stripes were dry, I peeled off the tape and newspaper and repeated for the black stripes. This was getting excited. I was crossing my fingers for crisp edges on the lines.
The striped turned out great. I was very happy. I could still see my silver dots (faintly), so decided to paint them in, by hand, with silver acrylic paint.
I quickly learned the acrylic paint just didn't have the POW I was looking for in the silver, so I used the metallic spray paint to spray a puddle on a piece of wax paper and paint over the dots with the mmm-hmmm metallic paint. Well worth it. Just clean the brush with mineral spirits and it's good as new.
Here is the complete Teen Lounge. Simple, but fun.
Can I just say my favorite part is the striped wall on the right? I'm very partial to black and white, but I would totally do this again.
So the You Are My Sunshine wall art is "cute" during the day, but LIGHTS UP in the dark.
I was ready to string a cord to the outlet on the left, buy chose to do battery-powered LED lights so we didn't have a cord hanging. LED lights are tricky - some are faint, some are bright, etc. Experiment and read reviews. I used 2 strands of these Supernight Warm White Starry Lights (7' per strand). I stapled them to the inside frame on the back and secured the battery pack with packing tape.
When it's dark, it looks really cool. The light brightness and temperature is personal preference. Do I mind tipping up the art piece to switch on the two light boxes? Not at all. Very easy. Do I wish they were brighter? Yes, but that might be too much too. Not sure.
Overall, we are very happy with this project and I would totally do it again. The key is to not paint where the letters are, so the light can shine through on that area.
You Are My Sunshine is a song that my husband used to sing to our daughter, so it has a special meaning to us.
Do you have any experience with LED lights or a similar kind of lighted wall art? I'd love to hear your thoughts and tips! Please leave a comment and let me know how it went for you.