Over the past few weeks, Greg and I have been on the lookout for wall art to go over our semi-DIY console table in the carport.
Obviously, the above photo was taken before the floor was painted, but this is the table we’re talking about. Since the table is so big and chunky (94 inches long) and it’s a huge wall (about 18 feet wide, including the door to the laundry room), we wanted something big to fill up the wall. We thought about hanging some lanterns from the ceiling, but while that would fill up the space visually, the extra long chains might look silly and they’d constantly be swinging around in the breeze. We also toyed around with the idea of building a giant chalkboard so we could change our artwork with the seasons. Having a chalkboard out in the elements didn’t seem like a smart idea, though, even if the area was covered. Then, we thought about a “living art piece” (something like this), but with my reputation as a plant assassin, that didn’t seem like a good idea either. So, wall art it was.
Even though the selection for outdoor wall art has vastly improved a lot over the past few years, the pickings are still sort of slim. During our search, we kept finding pieces that were not the style we were looking for, too small or well over $500 – more than we wanted to spend for this part of the covered patio project.
Once we realized we weren’t going to find what we wanted in the small world of outdoor art, we abandoned the “outdoor” part of our search and just looked for big wall art to weatherproof ourselves. We knew this might be a little bit of a stretch (ability-wise) but we were up for the challenge. Before we get to the weatherproofing, let’s talk about the art…
I found this giant piece of wall art and quickly declared that it had to be ours. Coming in at a massive 96″ long and 48″ tall, it was the perfect size for filling up the big brick wall over the huge table. It was originally priced at $349 and marked down to $278 (although it’s since been priced back up to $349). Our inner semi-DIYers wondered if we could create something similar, but then I realized that if we bought four 24×48 blank canvases, that would only be $78 cheaper – not including paint and the key ingredient: talent. Taking all that into account, and the fact that we’ve never seen a piece of art that large for that low of a price, the $278 price tag wasn’t too shabby.
Now for the weatherproof part. After doing a lot – and I mean a lot - of Googling and asking a few friends who are way more handy than we are, we came up with a weatherproofing process that would protect our new art from the elements. Even though the carport is covered and there won’t be any rain, sleet or snow falling directly on it, we still wanted to protect it from the humidity and the “outdoors” in general.
Step one of the weatherproofing process was to seal the artwork to protect it (and the frame) from water and general humidity. In order to do this, we needed a can of deck sealer (we used Thompson’s Water Seal Waterproofer plus Clear Wood Protector) and an inexpensive 1-gallon multi-purpose sprayer.
We laid the canvases face down on a brand new drop cloth. At this point, we were really nervous about how this was going to work, so we started on the back.
The sprayer had a tendency to drip when you first pushed the trigger, so Greg started off the artwork in the grass, then quickly waved the wand from side to side over the artwork. We didn’t want to completely soak it; we just wanted to get a nice, fine mist of waterproofer onto the art. In an attempt to make sure we captured exactly how we did this, I snapped a super quick, lighting-flashing-before-your-eyes iPhone video (complete with wonky lighting) of Greg applying the sealer.
I told you that was super fast, haha. We totally owe you guys a real video sometime.
Once the canvases had a while to dry (about 30 minutes) we lightly wiped them down with a paper towel to remove excess waterproofer. The splotches you see on the canvas were actually just shadows from a nearby tree – there weren’t any splotches at all after we wiped them down.
Before we moved on to the next step, we left them alone for a few days to make sure they were bone dry.
The second step in the process was to seal the back of the stretched canvases. To do this, we cut a piece of Tyvek the same size as each canvas (this was done simply by tracing the canvas with a Sharpie and cutting slightly inside the line) and attached it to the back using a thin bead of Liquid Nail to completely seal it. This will prevent any small bugs from making nests, and because Tyvek is waterproof, but not water vapor-proof, it will let the inside “breathe”.
Even though this is a covered patio, a gust of wind can sometimes blow things around a bit, and this particular artwork is extremely light. We needed a way to hang it so it would be protected from being blown off the wall. We don’t have many progress photos of this step because, really, we were deciding what was best as we went along. In fact, we went through three or four different methods before finally landing on the one we used. We ended up using two pieces of L-shaped aluminum as picture brackets. We hung the top piece to the mortar using concrete anchors, then mounted the artwork to it using screws (making sure to drill pilot holes first so we didn’t crack the frame). At that point, we hung a second piece of aluminum along the bottom and screwed the artwork to it just like on the top. After that, the artwork was completely secure to the wall. This baby ain’t going anywhere! If we need to clean it, it will be easy enough to do so with a damp rag and we won’t have to worry about knocking them around or making it uneven.
We wanted the canvases to look like one giant piece, so rather than hanging them with a gap between each one like the catalog photo, we decided to hang them as close together as possible.
Greg and I are both really happy with how much the art fills up the wall. I’m also really digging how the black artwork brings out the darker bricks on the wall. We’re going to be adding lots of color to the space by way of plants, planters, lanterns and such – then, the space will come together even more. So excited! I’ll be back later this week to dish some more of those details.