Thursday, May 28, 2009

Using Ballard Designs as inspiration (part deux)

Here I go again! I tell you what, if you really look through the Ballard Designs catalog, you can find so many items you can make on your own, for a fraction of the price!
I saw this one months ago, and I've had everything for a loooong time to make it on my own. I mean, a LONG time. I kept hesitating because of my new found fear of mod podge.

I'm sceered.

It bubbles up EVERY time I use it. It is driving me batty. I bought a fun new tool to keep it from happening with this project, but in the end, I decided to just go with my trusty spray adhesive and it worked great!

This project is SOOOO easy and will take you about an hour to do. You'll need 12x12 paper -- I got this large book on sale awhile back for $9. But this would be even cheaper if you just bought the paper in singles:
I had a ten foot MDF board cut down into one foot pieces at Lowe's:
And used a brown spray paint to spray the sides and the edges:
Then spray adhesived (my made up word) the crap outta them -- the back of the paper and the front of the board. I let them both set up for about a minute, then just placed the paper on each board:
I decided to do the nine squares like Ballard:
I nailed them right into the wall, instead of putting brackets on the back:
I love it! I bought trim to do the edges like Ballard, but now I don't know if they need it...what do you think?:

I don't know I don't know! Help! I've seen this done all over blogland, and I think most people use canvases. I was being cheap -- I think all the wood for this was less than $10. Total with the wood, paper and spray paint, this cost less than $25. The Ballard version is $200!

Many of you asked about the arch that used to be in this space (a couple posts back). It is uber-cool...I got it from Goodwill years ago for two bucks!!:
I was just reallllly tired of it in that spot, and needed something new. I was going to take it to Goodwill but I think I'm going to use it outside -- fun eh?

To see my other Ballard inspiration project, go here.

118 comments:

  1. That is so super cool! My head is now spinning with ideas for where I can do this. I love your blog and all of your ideas. You are such an inspiration!!! Thanks!!!

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  2. Wow! It looks amazing! You never cease to amaze me!!!!

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  3. It looks great and I like it without the trim.

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  4. Too funny - I have a page from their catalog saved so I can copy it. I love the idea of using mdf (I was going to use canvas but I'm sure mdf is way cheaper). Thanks for the inspiration!

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  5. OMG Roz, I think you just saved me. Since we moved into our house 2 years ago, I have been trying to figure out how to fill the space over my open stairwell, and I think this is it. The boards look beautiful - no trim necessary!

    Now I just have to figure out how to get a ladder over that stairwell and hang them. Hmmmm...

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  6. Holy moly, you've inspired me yet again!!

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  7. Wow, I LOVE it! Just found your blog and am amazed at all of your wonderful ideas. Thanks for sharing! :)

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  8. I am a blog-lurker and almost never comment, but I had to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. You have provided lots of ideas & inspiration (and motivation) for me. I love this idea in particular, as I am trying to fill some huge walls with inexpensive art. I thought of you the other day when I was spray painting some picture frames. Keep up the great work!

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  9. I like it without the trim. What a great inexpensive project with lots of pop!

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  10. Maybe instead of trim you could "antique" the edges a bit so they're darker, giving the appearance of a frame/trimmmy thing? Drybrush it or if you didn't seal the paper on top you could use scrapbook chalk or ink (or my emergency stand in: brown eye-shadow...shhhh). Cute as is though ;)

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  11. I'm sorry, but....are you reading my mind? I was about to go out this weekend to do this VERY SAME THING based on that VERY SAME BALLARD ART! I just wasn't sure how to adhere it but now I know! Thanks!!!

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  12. Love it! I think it looks great without the molding. Besides, the molding seems like a lot more work!

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  13. IMO they look PERFECT...I need to do something like this myself...I have way to many blank walls in this house...my problem is commitingto the paper...lol...Too many choices...

    This summer...it will get done!

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  14. OMG! I literally just finished wrapping twine around an old vase like the Ballard inspired post. I mean, the paint is still wet! I even did one with the knots and it looks great! I've wanted to buy these pictures for a while and now I don't have to! Thanks!

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  15. I love it! I have that paper, too. How fun! :)

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  16. Girl~
    You are seriously awesome. Have you ever considered doing a book with your ideas. You could put the "other" pic and then your pic.
    I would buy it just to see it all compiled in one place!

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  17. THis is SO cool. I have been trying to figure out what to put in my dining area behind the table since I moved the family pics I had there to another wall. This. Is. It!

    And I don't think you really need to put the edging around each piece...but it would look really cool if you framed around the whole thing with molding.

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  18. Like the other readers I am searching for a place in my home to do this, I love it! I'm thinking maybe my bedroom? Its the only room with no real theme because I'm so worried about every other room! - That and there isn't much wall space as I HAVE to have my room set up basically one way, we wouldn't be able to walk if we moved it around.

    Anyways! Those are awesome you did a great job!

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  19. You rock! Thanks so much for the canvas and mod podge alternatives!

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  20. This is great. And I'd so no--you don't need the trim. Your brown edges look great and make the squares pop out from the wall. I love frames that are darker on the sides than the front; your squares have sort of that look. And if you don't add the trim, you can easily change the squares if you decide you don't like one of the papers. And you can't beat the price--genius to use MDF. Thank you for yet another inspiration.

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  21. It looks great! I don't think it needs any trim. I wish I would have used boards instead of canvas for a project I did for my son's nursery. That would have saved me some major money!

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  22. What a fun and easy idea! Definitely on the "to-do" list.

    I don't think it needs trim, it looks beautiful as it is!

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  23. this may be the perfect thing for the huge space over our stairs!!

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  24. Soooo cute. And spray adhesive - genius!

    Looks great!

    XOXO
    Jen

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  25. I love it and I don't think it needs the trim at all.

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  26. I absolutely LOVE this! It turned out great. I think the trim would be more work than it's worth. They look fabulous as they are.
    This would be really cute done with fabric, too!
    Thanks for the inspiration

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  27. Yours look so pretty! I made one of those long ago and I used styrofoam. Love the Old World scrapbook paper.

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  28. Who carries that particular paper? Michael's?? Is it a tissue paper?? Could you give more specifics about the paper please. Thanks!

    Di
    The Blue Ridge Gal

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  29. Cute!! I did something similar for Christmas and Halloween. One side has Christmas paper and says JOY and the other has Halloween paper and says Boo. I love it!

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  30. I love them! So chic!

    I would add the trim to give them more of a finished look similar to ballard's BUT they are also pretty the way they are.

    If you already have the trim...I would go ahead and finish them and you'll be happy you did I bet!

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  31. I've been wanting to try this project for months also. Yours turned out great.
    If it were me, I'd leave them plain for a while, then when I started to get bored with them, I would add the trim. Voila, totally new look!

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  32. I've been wanting to do the same thing for months too...ok, I'm gonna get off my lazy but and do it now.

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  33. Great idea! Thank you very much for your generosity in sharing your ideas. I love the look of your new creativity however I think I would be tempted to put up a few pieces of the trim you have planned and see what you think. I think the definition might make it pop a bit more. It does look great as it is though so you couldn't go wrong just moving on to the next project. Do you think you could use something lighter weight than the mfd? I worry about that being so heavy. Great job and thanks for sharing. Virginia

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  34. Love it! I don't think it needs the trim, but what do I know? It's awesome that you thought to save $$ by going with board. :)

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  35. I am just finishing a derivative of this I saw on another side using foam instead of wood. The adhesive issue was a huge struggle!! For some reason spray stuff wouldn't stick to foam. Probably should have used wood, but didn't think of it. Great project!

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  36. Love it, love it, love it! I don't think you need the trim at all. You're right, I did mine with canvases, but MDF would have been cheaper!

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  37. You RAWK! LOVE it and I am soo gonna copy you! LOL ;)

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  38. It looks awesome just as it is! You have such inspirational ideas.

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  39. I love how this turned out. Very inspiring! Thanks =)

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  40. I just love the muted colors of the paper. It's gorgeous! It's a toss up with the trim...but if you have it, I'd say go for it! I think it may just take it one notch even further.

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  41. So you just used spray adhesive? Hmmmm. I have seen this similar design in blogland and was planning to use canvas and mod podge. But I am little afriad of mod podge too. I love your design! I think it looks just as it is.

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  42. Ok I think you are an absolute genius... and talented to boot.

    I am the only person who wants you to trim them out... it will add depth I think. Try it on one and see.

    Then you gotta do me a favor. Is that a dummy switch plate cover that one of your squares is partially covering? Prime that bad boy and paint it your wall color.... then it'll go away!

    I sooooooo want to do this. Love it. And you could always take that suggestion of using scrapbooking ink on the edges instead of trimming them. I vote trim tho'!

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  43. I LOVE this project. I too have seen it done with canvas, but hey this is less expensive so why not! I think it looks great without the trim:)

    Now if only I had a wall I could do this on, hmm.

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  44. Trim it. Trim it. Trim it. For sure.

    Then yours will look BETTER than that old catalog.

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  45. super cool. love the idea.
    Traci

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  46. You did a great job. Love the cheaper version!!

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  47. I love it! You have my mind working overtime! LOL Talk about scarey....

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  48. I love it just the way it is!! You don't need trim if you don't want it. For mine, I adhered the paper right to styrofoam board! Talk about cheap...errr...savvy, eh? :)

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  49. Any tips on getting the paper perfectly.lined.up on the board???? I HAVE to try this project this weekend for our new house (we close next week) ~ first time home buyer!

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  50. I love your idea!! Fabulous!!!

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  51. ummmm...of course it's awesome and no, it doesn't need the trim. I've been wanting to do this same project for a while now. I need to get it in gear! Love yours.

    ~Amanda

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  52. WOW!!! It turned out FABULOUS!!! Yours looks 10x better than Ballards. I'm new to your blog and I'm hooked. You are one of the best DIYourselfers out in blogland.

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  53. I absolutely adore this, it is super-awesome. I'm planning to do it too but it may be a little hard to find that sorta paper here in Croatia, hmm, better start looking.

    Thanks for a super idea!

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  54. They look terrific! I wouldn't do the extra trim. Another reader suggested "aging" the edges and that might be cool. The ONLY reason I get the Ballard catalog is for ideas. Occasionally I buy something really cheap (so hard to find!) so that they keep sending the catalog.

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  55. They look PERFECT without the framing! You are one smart cookie!

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  56. Hi Sarah. These are lovely. I have linked to your post in my Friday Favorites.

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  57. It looks great! I'm amazed at how you actually got them all hung right. Mine would probably be much more abstract due to the fact that I couldn't hang them right! I think it looks great even without the wood trim. If you wanted - you could probably be lazy and paint a faux trim around the edges. You know, whatevuh.

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  58. My daughter who recently moved out is looking for some type of art or wall filler for her new place and this would be just right,, It looks great.

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  59. It's gorgeous...I wouldn't mess with the trim. I've wanted to do something similar for awhile. I've been trying to decide what to put in my hallway. That would be really cool. I'd have to use the 6x6 pads because the space is smaller but it would look neat. Great job!

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  60. OMG, LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea!!! I literally have been looking this week for a big canvas or something to fill an empty wall. I'm going to have to try this now. What kind of paper do you use, and would fabric work too?
    I just covered a vase with twine and it looks so much better! I'm totally new to this thing called blogging, so I would love for you (and everyone else) to come check out my new blog. I am going to be trying some new decorating stuff and would appreciate any feedback or advice!

    speerfamilyblog.blogspot.com

    Thanks! Happy Decorating!

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  61. I love this idea! It looks fabulous without the trim, I'm not sure if lazy me would put the effort in, but I'm sure it would look great with it too. I'm really impressed!

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  62. I think it looks great without the trim. I love copying Ballard Design. I was thinking about trying the burlap-covered jar.

    Instead of Modge Podge, I use Crafter's Pick Decoupage & Collage Gel. I gently use a credit card over the top to get out the bubbles, and it dries perfectly flat. It doesn't have that sticky elmer's glue-like feel that modge podge has.

    ~Heather

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  63. Ooh, I am SO copying you! I love those scrapbook stacks. I wouldn't frame them, they look PERFECT!
    Macey

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  64. WOW!! How cute would one of those be with silhouettes of sunsets...hmmmm....

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  65. It looks great, but having the edge would make it pop a little more. Fantastic idea.

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  66. Yours are bigger than the ballard ones. I think they're substantial enough on their own. Not that they would look bad with the trim... I've thought about doing something like this but haven't got the confidence to pick out good looking papers!

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  67. I have been wanting to do this for a very long time also, based on that pic!!! The way to make the paper exact could be to take a fingernail file to the edges or If you wanted that real old time look run a brown toned ink pad on the edges. (Just for posters above) I wouldn't do the trim!!!!! LUUURVEE IT!

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  68. Looks great! Thanks for sharing...I think it looks awesome even without the trim!

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  69. I totally love this! I am going to do it!! I have used the old world stack paper before in a series of silhouette bird cut-outs. Check em out on my blog! I can't remember what week it was.
    (BTW, I am actually a chick. I write the blog from my boyfriend's perspective, it's much sillier.)

    Keep up the cool ideas!!!

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  70. I love it = I'd put the trim on, but that's just me. I LOVE trim, but not as much as you - it would be close.

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  71. I love it just as it is - no trim needed!

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  72. That turned out great! I might be agonizing over the trim too, and I do like the way it looks in the Ballard version. If it would take too much time, I would just leave it as is.

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  73. I just love this! I have been wanting to do something similar, ever since I saw it in the Ballard's catalog. I was thinking of using the stretched canvases (sp?), but that was still more money than I was willing to part with.

    I love that you used the MDF board. I'm guessing it really isn't that heavy after you cut them down, right?

    You did a totally great job!

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  74. Ok, I was thinking about this even more, what do you think about the 12x12 cork tiles that they sell at even Wal-mart???

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  75. Ooops! I forgot to comment on the trim. I'm really torn about it and when I get that way about something...I just live with it for a while and then make my decision. Not much help, am I? LOL!

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  76. I love this! As soon as I saw it I thought "I have the perfect spot for this!" I'll post about it when I'm done. I'm actually using several of your ideas for my living room makeover I'm doing and HOPEFULLY getting posted by Sunday!

    Also, I am doing a Friday Feature that is countdown to NKOTB, if you want to stop by on Fridays (starting today!) I'll be sharing some favorite New Kids vids!!!

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  77. I LOVE how this worked out! So pretty, and so perfect for a space that kind of baffles you. I love knocking off Ballard!
    Carrie

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  78. L.O.V.E. this! I have been staring at a large blank canvas for over a year, trying to decide how to fill a big wall in my dining room. I love paper, so this is perfect!

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  79. I say forget the trim! I did the same thing with wallpaper samples (fah-reeee) and canvases from Walmart.

    Rachel
    P.S. To avoid Mod Podge bubbles, don't mod podge the front until the the first layer is totally dry. Also use a credit card and gently smoothth surface from the middle to the outer edges.

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  80. What a beautiful rendition of Ballard's! I actually like yours better - the colors are so pretty. I would leave the edges along w/out trim. I like the space in between each square.
    Blessings,
    Marie
    http://emmacallsmemama.com

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  81. I think it looks fine as is. I think I just like the color scheme of the ballards more but think that yours looks great. Great idea.

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  82. I am lazy and would call it finished the way it is, however, if you really want this to pop and are not lazy I would say trim it out.

    Love this idea and I am thinking of where I can put this idea!!! Wonderful idea and thanks for sharing!!

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  83. Looks fabulous! But I think it needs the trim to make it pop!

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  84. ok. so i read a little somethin' somethin' while in the grocery store line. the chick who plays mac is cybil shepherd's daughter. her name is clementine something-or-other. that kind of explains the reason she got the job. good old nepotism. anyway - she was saying in the magazine how she had just cut her hair before getting the part on y and r - and now they want her to wear extensions and highlight it. i think it looks better, but she's just not a great actress. she isn't endearing me to her character. ya know?

    phyllis can beg with the best of them. i was feeling her pain on friday. she is going to l-o-s-e it and i can't wait!

    oh yeah - what was that with the crazy lady looking for her kitty at the club? soooo strange...

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  85. I love this! I think I like it better without the trim! I want to do this in my home, I am just running out of wall space! Thanks for the instructions! Love it!

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  86. So fantastic! How would you border them? with the same wood painted?

    i'm dying to know!

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  87. You have One Lovely Blog!

    Your blog makes me happy so I am passing this award along to you.

    Please visit the address below to pick up your award.
    http://lecorefemme.blogspot.com/2009/05/lovely-award.html

    And thank you so much for sharing with us.

    Have a great day!
    Tonya

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  88. They look great! Could you put a little metallic on them? Or stamp a design right in the middle? Or metallic the edges?

    Sometimes just best to leave well enough alone!

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  89. Love it and you are so right that most of the stuff we can do ourselves..just sometimes we are lazy and want it done. You show that it just doesnt' take that much time to be creative and the end effect is worth it.

    On the arch- have you thought of putting blackboard paint on a piece of wood behind it? It would make an awesome blackboard- very chic.

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  90. Loooove the look of this! Take that, Ballard Schmallard $200! :)I can't wait to see how you use the arch outside...

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  91. Your wall squares look so good - great job :)

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  92. Know what's easier to hang than wood? Styrofoam squares. That's what I did. Have them all over! Covered in wrapping paper in my kids' bathroom, in scrapbook paper with a ribbon edge in my room. :) Easy peasey!

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  93. I love them as they are...look like canvases...beautiful!! :-)

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  94. Okay, I'm addicted to your blog. A friend linked to this post...I read that an HOUR ago! Yes, I've spent the last 60 minutes in frugal decorating bliss. Thank you so much for this fabulous blog! I'll be following!

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  95. I did this today! I made it! So easy and so pretty. I'd post a pic if i could!

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  96. LOVE IT! Not sure how I found your blog but sure am glad I did! I am oh so addicted to DIY home projects and I really think your blog and I are going to become GREAT buds!

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  97. Hi Sarah,

    I don't know if track-backs automatically show up for you, but I wanted to let you know I included this project in a musing about Ballard Designs today.

    http://stylestruggler.blogspot.com/2009/07/flirting-with-ballard.html

    Thanks for the inspiration!

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  98. Just bought my paper today! I can't wait to get to the hardware stor and get me some MDF board!

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  99. love this project!!! Thanks for the info

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  100. This is so wonderful, but i'm creativly illiterate and can't spell. So the paper that you put on the board, did you buy it already designed or di dyou paint the paper after you put it on the board? It looks like the paper covers the entire boared, why did you spray paint a brown boarder?

    I don't think it need to be framed I love it how it is.

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  101. WOW SUCH A CUTE IDEA! I WILL HAVE TO TRY THIS WHEN I HAVE MORE WALL SPACE...HAHA

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  102. Hi, I just found your blog and I LOVE it!! I love DIY home decor projects and you are the master!

    About your fear of Modge Podge... I have found that if you put a thin coat of Modge Podge on your surface and another thin coat on the back of your paper it doesn't bubble... on smaller projects especially.

    Tania

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  103. I love this! I was going to use canvas too, but it was going to cost a fortune! Thanks for the tip on the MDF...that's the route I'm going.

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  104. I just made this! I love it and thanks for the advice and demonstration... for Candice.. MDF is medium density board.
    Kori

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  105. WE just did this as well. Immense impact& very easy to do!

    Another tip for Candice & anyone else.. MDF is condensed cardboard, so make sure you don't get it wet!.. It will swell up like rice!

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  106. What type of spray adhesive do you like using best?
    I can't find a great one that I love. All the ones I've tried are entirely too sticky!
    Love this project! Can't wait to give it a shot myself!

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  107. I bookmarked your blog awhile back and I love what you do to imitate Ballard! I do the same thing and re-create Pottery Barn as well b/c the prices are outrageous, yet I looove the looks they present. Yours are just as cute if not cuter! Keep up your beautiful work. I am currently disabled and I live to create things. This site is very inspiring!

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  108. Love this idea, I am trying to design something for my stairwell and something like this might work.
    Great ideas!! Oh and I don't think they need trim either, like them just the way they are.

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  109. I found you through Carrie @ Dittle Dattle, and I am SO glad! I've been looking through your Ballard-inspired posts! This totally inspires me, and I know my husband will love it, too! We're trying to decorate a new house with BIG walls on the cheap (trying to get out of debt), & this will be perfect! I'm so excited!!

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  110. SARAH!!!!!!! I have been reading your blog since October-ish and this is one of the first projects I saw you do and I fell in love with it. I had an idea to make it my own, and guess what?! I FINALLY did it! I just blogged about it (3/19/11), and I'd love if you would take a look! This is my first attempt at DIY home decor and you were such an inspiration in opening my eyes to all of the possibilities! Thank you so much!

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  111. I love this idea! I bought the same paper yesterday and some canvas. Did you put anything on the front of the boards once you were finished? They look like they have a coat of something on them, but I can't tell.

    Thanks,
    Rika

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I LOVE your comments, thank you! (I read every single one.)

If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here! Be sure to check out the FAQs tab at the top of the site and my Projects page for paint colors and DIY projects as well.

THANKS so much for reading!