Giving your home a pre-Diwali paint makeover is a great idea, but many of us avoid or postpone it because it requires effort, possible relocation for a few days, allergies for some and an army of painters bound to turn your life upside down. An easier and more creative way out of this ordeal is painting something smaller but significant yourself. Give new life to an old wooden trunk, a cupboard or a chair, create abstract art on the corner glass tabletop or make the boring lobby wall the focal point of your home. Bring out the artist in you.
• Dress up your wooden furniture
“For me, Diwali is about spreading joy,” says Aarohi Singh, a Bangalore-based artist. “And joy lies not only in buying new things, but redoing old ones. Why not repaint on something old that is full of memories? It’s like adding a new layer of memories to it.” Singh had a passion for art as a child and picked up painting in school itself. By the end of 2008, she began exhibiting her work, which included canvasses as well as home products. Her work can be viewed at www.artbyaarohi.com
What you need:Sandpaper, paint thinner or paint remover, brushes suited to how big or small the trunk is and how intricate your design is, and varnish—all available at a hardware store.
DIY art:Acrylic paints are easier to work with than enamel or oil paints. Brushes can be washed clean with water while the paint is still wet. Enamel or oil paints need turpentine or thinner to be removed off brushes, hands, etc. Acrylic paints dry faster too.
• Make sure the surface of the wooden trunk is smooth. Sand it down with sandpaper. Remove any old paint or polish with a paint thinner or remover.
• Apply the thinner, wait for 10 minutes and scrape it off. Once the surface is smooth, put a coat of primer. This gives longevity to the new paint or it will start chipping soon. Let the primer dry. Give it at least 24 hours.
• While you could paint free-hand, drawing inspiration from a photo, painting or your imagination, an easier way out is to use a stencil. These are readily available at stationery stores. Or you could create your own.
• Print scaled-to-size images of your selected artwork on an acetate sheet, also called acrylic sheet. If you print over regular paper, it will tear during repeated use. An acetate sheet stencil can be used repeatedly and kept for future use. Cut out the design with a cutter or blade. When deciding what to paint, try silhouettes as these are easier to paint and don’t need much detail and fine painting.
• Place the stencil on the trunk and start painting. You could use brushes, depending on the size and surface area of your painting. You could also use cotton buds, swabs or sponge for texture. Don’t dip the cotton in the paint completely, just touch and dab. You could also use hands and fingerprints for creating interesting textures.
• Pull out the stencil carefully. With a fine brush, smooth out the edges.
• After the paint has dried, ideally another 24 hours, put varnish over it with a
new brush. This will give a shine to the trunk and protect the paint and wood. Let the varnish also dry for 24 hours.
Wall of poppies: Nidhi Agarwal used a contrasting colour scheme to highlight the walls in her lobby. Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint
Approx. budget: Brushes, Rs 25-100; acrylic paints, Rs 30-250; varnish and primer, Rs 200 for a litre each; acetate sheet, Rs 10. If you don’t have an old trunk, visit the kabadiwalla (scrap dealer) or a second-hand furniture market. It can cost between Rs 1,000-25,000.
Do up a wall
Bangalore-based interior designer, Nidhi Agarwal, knows
just how arduous it is getting a painting job done at home, which is why she suggests a quick stencil artwork for a wall. “Diwali calls for something new. A bright, metallic-painted motif on one wall in your home can bring spark and life to the whole space,” says Agarwal, who also runs her design label for home products called Artitude.
What you need: The stencil of your artwork, spray cans or a painting roller, interior wall paint (acrylic emulsion) and brushes.
DIY art: To create a stencil, identify your artwork. It could be a large graphic, like the poppy in this case (see picture), or a smaller motif you want to repeat.
• This is ideal for a highlight wall—any wall in your home that has a contrast
colour that may be matching with the upholstery in your room. Like a silver metallic poppy on a deep purple wall. In case you don’t have a highlight wall, invert colours—create a deep purple poppy on a cream wall.
Trunk of memories: Aarohi Singh gave her old trunk a makeover. Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint
• For the stencil, take your graphic to a printer who does laser cutting. Your best bet to find one in your city is to ask Just Dial, a search engine. Have your artwork printed on a thick cardboard, or medium-density fiberboard (MDF)—a board like plywood. It has to be done in a way that it’s a negative stencil—only the outline would be of the graphic, so that you can fill in with the paint inside.
• Place the stencil on the wall and carefully paint on the insides.
• Use spray cans or a painting roller for the best finish. Be careful that the paint doesn’t drip. A brush may not give an even finish but it’s good for textures.
• Carefully remove the stencil. You could add some free-hand painting too. You may need to smoothen out the edges.
• Let it dry for 24 hours. Your wall is ready.
Approx. budget:Metallic paint (200g) at Asian Paints costs Rs 170-200, while non-metallic costs Rs 100-120; a 7x4-inch sheet of MDF (4mm thick) will be around Rs 300; and laser cutting of a design (3x2-inch) costs Rs 500-750.
Make a glass painting
“It involves a thought process, which gives them so much more meaning, to just hang on your walls or give away as gifts,” says Rohit Kant, a fashion design graduate from the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), New Delhi. Kant runs a store of hand-painted, mixed-media creations called By Rohit Kant in Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi. Glass painting, he says, doesn’t have to be limited to framed paintings. “Once you’re confident, it could be used to make glass coasters, tabletops, lampshades or even try painting windows,” he says.
What you need: Buy a convenient-sized glass piece from your
neighbourhood hardware store. Get the edges smoothened so you don’t cut yourself. Glass colours are available at any good stationery store. These come in small dropper bottles. Camel is a good brand to start with. You will also need a black glass liner, some thin-nib permanent markers and spray paints if you like.
Tinted art: Rohit Kant says glass painting can be used to decorate tabletops and glass lampshades.
DIY art:Before you start, make sure the glass surface is clean and free of dust.
• Unless you’re confident painting free-hand, take a printout of your artwork in the same size as the glass piece.
• Place the graphic under the glass and trace on top with the glass liner.
• Make sure your outline doesn’t have any open edges or the paint will spill out. You could use waterproof permanent markers to add to the thick outline. Leave it for 2-4 hours to dry.
• Now carefully squeeze the paint and spread inside the outline for an even finish. For different textures, you could use a brush. A trick is to use a straw. Drop a few drops of paint and use a straw to blow hard on a drop to scatter it for an abstract art look.
• Let it dry for 6-8 hours.
• Another trick could be to use both sides of the glass. Do the outline and the basic filling-in of paint on one side, and use the straw trick on the flip side. It will give a three-dimensional effect. The thicker the glass, the more pronounced the effect.
Approx. budget:The thicker the glass, the more expensive it will be. It should cost Rs 40-50 per sq. ft. Glass paints by Camel,Rs 60 for a set of six shades. Imported brands can cost up to Rs 175 a bottle. Framing costs, Rs 80 for a sq. ft.