Arya’s Nursery (Part 2)

Numerous lessons learned on the next phase of painting the mural for Arya’s nursery including needing to read the directions and reviews on glitter paint, white on yellow is not a good combination, don’t change what works, frisket is not the best stencil material for a rough-textured wall unless you trim it in place, you should not reuse frisket for multiple colors, and not trusting my ability with artistic paint brushes.

In order to give the butterflies a little sparkle, Gladys and I settled on the line of Martha Stewart Living glitter paints for the butterflies that would circle the tree completed in my previous post.  The colors chosen were white, pink, purple and green.

With the paint colors settled, I started deciding on my approach to paint all of the butterflies and that one “extra” element.  Were you able to guess from my previous post?  Well, a “Fairy Tree” needs a fairy, right?

During my previous steps, I used frisket, a sticky-backed, thin plastic that is typically used for air-brushing stencils.  I used the frisket to mask out Arya’s initials while I painted the tree.  I decided it would be good to use it for the fairy and the butterflies around the tree.

I utilized my poor-man’s lightbox by taping up a printout of the fairy and butterfly outlines on the window and overlaid the frisket on  top of them to trace the outlines onto the frisket.  With the numerous butterflies I needed to paint, I traced one set of outlines and then stacked the pages of frisket and cut through several at one time.  Since the fairy was more intricate than the butterflies, I decided to put the entire sheet up on the wall and trim it while in place (similar to the techinque for the initials).

I trimmed the stencil for the fairy and then did my technique of painting the base color (yellow) to prevent paint bleed.  I then painted the fairy with two shades of gray, light for the wings and dark for the body.  The darker gray is just a ouch darker than the gray used for the tree.

The next step was to start laying out the first wave of butterflies.  I decided to do the pink butterflies first.  With the frisket butterflies in place, I proceeded to do my base-color bleed prevent and then started painting the butterflies with the pink glitter paint.   Here is where the first lesson learned comes up.  The glitter paint is very thin and does not cover well.  I tis really nothing more than a tinted glaze with glitter mixed into it.  The label directions and subsequent reading of online reviews revealed that it is recommended to use a similar base color for better effect.

Since I did not need a lot of paint of the various butterfly colors, I then went and got some sample paints (8 oz. versions) mixed up in shades similar to the various glitter paint colors.  I then painted the base pink color and let dry.  I then went over it with the pink glitter paint.  After that I carefully removed the frisket stencils and put them aside to reuse for the next color.  

I did get a little bit of bleed that would require me to touch up the edges of the pink butterflies with the base yellow paint.  To do the touch-up I used some artistic brushes that I had picked up from the store and it worked out pretty well.

I then started putting up the frisket stencils for the next wave of butterflies, the white ones. I painted in the base color to prevent the bleed and then painted the white base paint and then followed by the glitter paint.  When I removed the frisket stencils after I stumbled upon the next couple lessons.  1) When you reuse the frisket, it can leave some of the previous paint on the wall, so I had a few pink outlines around some of my white butterflies and 2) white on yellow is not a good combination.  The white butterflies do not show up well, at all.

The problem is, the Martha Stewart Living glitter paints do not come in any more colors that we would want to use for the nursery.  So I came up with the idea of using the left over white glitter paint and mixing it with another color.  Gladys and I settled on orange for the new color and I got another sample mixed up.  I then added some of the orange paint to the left over white glitter paint to tint it to orange.

Since I had already removed and discarded the frisket from the white butterflies, I knew I would never be able to get stencils to line up exactly with the white butterflies.  Here is where I slowly start to learn that I can use the artistic brushes rather well (more on this lesson later).  Using the brushes, I was able to paint over the white butterflies with the orange base paint and ultimately the orange glitter paint.

I then got some more frisket in order to make some more butterfly stencils for the remaining two colors.  Since I learned not to reuse the stencils from color to color, I cutout enough stencils for the remaining butterflies.

I figured that since I was already having to touch up the butterflies even with the wall base paint bleed-prevent technique, I decided to skip this step.  This leads to a couple new lessons.  1) Don’t take shortcuts and skip what works before and 2) frisket is not the best stencil material for rough-textured walls.  I got really good results using the frisket for the initials and the fairy, but I realize why those worked better.  I trimmed those already in place and not prior to placing the frisket on the wall, like with the butterflies.  For whatever reason, it gets a better seal to prevent bleed when trimmed in place.

By skipping the bleed-prevent step, I got major paint bleed around the remaining green and purple butterflies.  To add to my frustration, we felt that the purple was way too dark and the green glitter was an off color once dry.

I got a lighter lavender color sample of paint mixed up to replace the dark purple butterflies.  I also picked up a couple additional jars of white glitter paint to tint with both the lavender and green base paints.  One other thing I noticed about the tinted orange glitter paint once dry is that the glitter effect was drastically reduced.  Therefore, I noticed that Lowes sells a glitter additive that can be added to paint to give it  glitter effect.  I picked up a packet of this to also added to the tinted glitter paint.

I mixed up the new paints and added the glitter dust to them.  I then went back over the purple and green butterflies using the artistic brushes and this leads me to my final lesson learned.  I seriously sold my self short on my abilities to paint with the artistic brushes.  I noticed that I really needed a few more butterflies since some areas were looking rather sparse.  I traced the outline lightly with a pencil and then painted it free-hand with the brushes and it turned out pretty good.

At this point I realized I should have done this from the start and would have saved myself quite a bit of work and time.  But after touching up all of the bleeds, replacing colors, adding more sparkle to the orange, I was finally done.

The last picture is an animated GIF that shows the sparkle effect that the glitter paint offers.