Friday, June 8, 2012

DIY: Mermaid Wall Art

I'm currently in the process of giving my bedroom a much needed makeover. I've given the walls a fresh coat of beautiful mint green paint; I've painted the old, damaged wood floors (yes, I painted my wood floors, and they look amazing!); I've even made my own curtains from a geometric, floral fabric that I fell in love with. Even with all of those lovely changes, though, my room still needed something... it was in dire need of a modern, chic piece of wall art that would really make a statement in my room. 

After searching the internet high and low for ideas, I came across this blog post giving step-by-step directions to make a whimsical, sophisticated piece of wall art inspired by the shape and texture of fish (or mermaid!!) scales. As soon as I saw the blogger's photos of the piece, I knew I had to have it. Nay, I knew I had to MAKE it. I started my piece the very next day and have been absolutely thrilled with the result. Here are the steps I took in creating this work of art plus some of my personal tips and tricks for the project.


  • 7 sheets of thick,white poster board (I bought them at Walmart for about $.99 per sheet)
  • 2 cans of metallic spray paint (I bought Universal Metallic Spray Paint and Primer in 1 from Home Depot in Champagne Mist for about $8 per can)
  • a piece of thin wood for the backing of your project (I went to Home Depot and purchased a 3' x 3' piece of plywood)
  • decorative trim for the edges of your piece (I also got the trim at Home Depot for about $8)
  • a circle cutter (this Fiskars Circle Cutter from Michaels is about $20; I used a coupon and saved 40% on it)
  • a ruler
  • a pencil or other writing utensil
  • tape (I used regular, clear Scotch tape)
My finished art piece was 3' x 3'. Keep in mind that you'll have to adjust the amount of materials you'll need according to the size you want your piece to be.


STEP 1: Gather your materials. 

STEP 2: Use the circle cutter to cut out tons and tons of circles from the poster board. These poster board circles will become the "scales" of your artwork.

  • I made my circles 4" in diameter; you can make yours bigger or smaller to suit your taste. 
  • I had to cut about 175 circles to cover my entire board of plywood.
  • It helps to tape down the corners of your poster board so that it doesn't move out of place while you're cutting the circles.

STEP 3:Use your ruler and pencil to draw out a grid on your plywood. This step is ESSENTIAL in ensuring that your wall art is symmetrical and level.

  • I drew horizontal lines on the board to ensure that my rows of "scales" would be level. I measured two inches (half of the size of my circles) between each horizontal line so that the rows of "scales" would overlap enough to give the piece texture.
  • I also drew a horizontal line down the very center of the plywood to guide me when placing the circles.

STEP 4: Starting from the bottom of the board, secure the "scales" to the plywood with tape.

  • Because the rows of "scales" will overlap, it's okay to tape the circles right onto the board.
  • Start in the center of the row and work your way outward so that each row is perfectly centered (this is where that vertical line that you drew down the center of the board will come in handy!).
  • Every other row of "scales" should be off-centered.
  • Poster board is usually shiny on one side and matte on the other, right? I decided to randomly flip some of the circles over while taping them down so that some of them were matte and some were shiny. The spray paint ended up looked different on the shiny circles than it did on the matte ones, giving the piece even more beautiful texture than I had anticipated.

STEP 5: When you're finished covering the entire board in circles, trim the excess from the edges of the board. Don't worry if the edges aren't perfect; your pieces of decorative trim will cover the edges anyway!

STEP 6: Spray paint the entire board (I gave my piece two even coats of paints), and let it dry overnight. 

STEP 7: Staple/nail the decorative trim onto the edges of your piece.

STEP 8: Bask in the beauty of your gorgeous, hand-crafted piece of art!!

Not only has this been the perfect addition to my newly decorated bedroom, but it also looks extremely expensive and high quality. I love how the color and texture of the piece are modern and sophisticated without being too overwhelming. It's so satisfying to look up at my work of art every day and know that I created it myself for less than $50. A piece like this is definitely brag worthy!

What do you think?? Do you like my finished piece as much as I do? I hope this post has inspired you to create a one-of-a-kind piece of art that'll surely spice up your home and impress all of your friends. Happy decorating! =)

- Jillian

**Check out this post in which I explain a trick that makes this DIY project even easier to create!!**

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