Well, hello there. Thanks so much for dropping by! Today we'll be studying...butterflies! I love butterflies. Don't you? The zinnias the kids and I plant each year are a positive magnet for butterflies, and we love to sit on our sweltering little screen porch and watch them flutter around.
With all the butterfly goodness going on outside, I was ready to bring a bit of it inside. One of my very favorite trends on Etsy (and elsewhere, but that's where I spend a lot of my time, after all), is the gorgeous old natural history and vintage school wall charts that have been popping up. I just can't get enough of them. Here's one of the vintage butterfly charts from Etsy that has my drooling:
Isn't that fabulous? Sadly, though, that price tag ($110!) is well outside my discretionary decorating budget. The vintage ones all run in that sort of price range, so I obviously had to DIY something if I was going to have one of my own. After a bit of looking online, I stumbled across Cavallini & Co.'s large single sheets of wrapping paper. Oh my goodness, how have I not seen these before? They're incredible! I bought the butterfly one (naturally) through Amazon and it was only $5. (Unfortunately the Amazon seller I bought mine from seems to be sold out, but you can get the poster here, too.) I can't imagine anyone actually using them as wrapping paper, really. Mine is 20x28 inches and it's printed on gorgeously textural Italian paper. Seriously, who would fold something like that up and put tape on it? (I suppose I did end up putting glue on mine, but that's beside the point)
Poster in hand, I went about finding some wood to use for the roll-y bits at the top and bottom. Do those things have a name? Let's just keep going with roll-y bits, shall we? I didn't want to use round dowel rods because they would have been way too hard to attach to the poster. Lots of fiddly effort = not what I wanted for this project. At Michael's this afternoon I picked up a couple of 1/2"x1/4" flat pieces of wood that worked beautifully. The 1/4" thickness gives the sticks a nice weight, which I thought would help the poster stay flat when hanging.
Each piece was 24 inches long, so I cut them down by 2 and 1/2 inches before I stained them. The plain blond wood wouldn't have looked right with the vintage-y poster, so grabbed some stain from my stash and got started. Let me pause here to say how glorious our Habitat ReStore is. I picked up a whole bunch of little cans of barely used Minwax stain for $1 each. Every single staining project I've ever done has been accomplished with those little cans, from my IKEA hack tv table to the antique desk I restored. I'm such a hoarder, I can't imagine ever getting rid of almost full cans of anything, but I sure am glad someone else did!
Ok, enough digression! After a quick sanding just to smooth the sticks out a bit, I used the Dark Walnut stain. I like that this color doesn't have much red, and since I wanted a straight brown this stain worked perfectly.
Cardboard boxes work wonderfully as a work surface, by the way. I was way too impatient to wait the full 24 hrs drying time on the stain, so I coated the sticks with some Polycrylic sealer after 2 hrs. I can't recommend this course of action, since you're supposed to wait a whole day, but I can't be bothered with that. Once I had finished with the wood prep, I did a quick dry fit of the sticks before gluing them to the top and bottom of my poster.
As you can see, I used whatever was around to weigh down the sticks as the glue dried. I wanted to be sure the poster was totally flat before I hung it so that it would look more like a chart than a poster. To create a hanger for the poster I just glued a bit of jute twine to the back of the poster and top stick. Such a simple project with a huge payoff!
Isn't it fantastic? It's the perfect butterfly addition to our living room, and the kids love it, too. Our other favorite screen porch activity is watching birds at our feeder, and I'm hoping to do something similar with a bird poster on the other side of the room. I'll let you know how that turns out when I get around to it. In the meantime, though, here are the butterflies in their permanent home:
Sorry, the light in there is terrible. But you get the idea! It makes such a happy addition to the room. Hope you like this little project!
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