Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Room of His Own

The Kid's garage, complete with trucks, books, and costumes.
Back when we were preparing for the move, I asked The Kid, "If you could have anything decorating your room, what would it be?" His answer was immediate:

"A garage!"

"You mean, like the parking spaces we have on the floor in the living room?"

"No, like, a shelf where I can park my trucks."

And so the wheels set to turning. I wasn't going to go out and buy a garage for The Kid's room; we had plenty of shelves that could be repurposed. But, of course, me being the Type-A wanna-be crafter I am, I didn't want to just put a shelf in The Kid's room and tell him that's where he had to put his trucks every night. It had to be something special. I set to planning.

The Kid stayed with my folks while we moved so he didn't get underfoot, and so he had a place to sleep while our furniture was in transit. We wanted to make it a priority to unpack his room first thing, so that when he got to Ann Arbor, he had a place of his own, even if the rest of the apartment was an absolute mess. Which it kind of still is.
The decals went up first thing! Even if The Kid had no furniture, he'd have some trucks in his room.
But as his arrival day approached and we still didn't have any furniture, we were getting anxious. Would we have time to set up his furniture? And would I have time for the craftiness I wanted to do on his garage? (I didn't want to tell him "Well, this is your room, but this shelf is going to look totally different once I have the time to do it..." and then procrastinate my way to not fixing it. I know myself pretty well.)

So, thank goodness the furniture arrived a couple of days before my parents and The Kid. Jake got the call that the movers were two hours away while we were sitting in a theatre watching The Edge of Tomorrow; we were supposed to get 48 hours notice, and so assuming the furniture wouldn't come for days, we went on a movie date and made plans with local friends. Surprise! We canceled all of our plans, and the next day, I ran out to Michael's to get my supplies.

I spent the majority of the next day out on our deck crafting. (I can not express how excited I am to have an outdoor space!) It was a beautiful day for garage-making, and I'm absolutely thrilled with the way this turned out, especially since I had no plans or directions, no Pinterest inspiration, just what I was seeing in my head.

Since I had no directions, after the jump is the step-by-step for what I did, in case anyone else wants to do something similar. Or, if you're just curious.

Making a Garage

1. Here's the original shelf out on our deck. It was a dirty forest-green color. In my head, the scallops up on the top would become cars parked on the roof of the garage.

2. Here's the shelf after the first coat of paint. The blue is "Pool Blue" from Michael's store brand. A styrofoam plate came in handy as my palate--I used about half of a bottle of paint in all. I used plain white craft paint as the "primer" for the scallop guys.

3. Sad ghosts! (That's all I could think about these guys.) My original idea was to draw windows and paint around them meticulously. Then I realized that was totally stupid. I got out my trusty blue painter's tape (after being the Keeper of the Tape at Imagination Stage, I'm hooked) and cut out semi-circle shapes, then cut them in half and put them about a quarter-inch apart. I was not meticulous about this, which I think gives it a kind of homey flavor. And I'm admittedly proud of myself for not being completely Type-A and driving myself crazy.

Sad ghosts.

4. Here are my supplies for painting the garage sign and the cars. I "splurged" on an eight-pack of craft paints and a plastic palate: about $8.00 total. :) The sign was a $2 piece of craft wood, and the letters are from a pack of chipboard letters. I went a little nuts at the tail end and painted on nails, bolts, and screws to match Handy Manny's sign.

5. After I transformed the sad ghosts into cars! One coat of craft paint on each, then I peeled away the tape and drew on wheels with a black paint pen. Easy-peasy.

6. Here's the finished garage, after another coat of Pool Blue and using wood glue to attach the sign. It was a bit tricky to stick on the sign; I thought the glue had set, but then when we tried to move the shelf inside, it slid all over the place. I put another coat of wood glue on, set the piece face-down on the deck, crossed my fingers nothing unintentional would stick and it wouldn't start raining, and let it sit out there for a couple of hours. That did the trick.

And here's The Kid playing in his new play area! It's been easy getting him to put his trucks away (so far) by asking him to park everything, and there's a basket next to the garage for overflow cars and trucks. This frees up more room on the floor than our old parking-lot system, and also gives us more space in the living room for general truck-free living.

Now if I could only get the rest of the apartment in order...

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