Watercolor Blackout Shades

As soon as I wake up, I take a peak at my kitchen; well, more than a peak: I stare at it for minutes at a time in an attempt to figure out what I could do to improve it. Our kitchen has been looking rather black, white, and stainless steel.  I've been craving something light, feminine, and sea colored to add a subtle nod of "Sea Garden" wonder to the space. I thought about the teal color I have inside our cabinets and on a small part of our dining chairs, and decided, on a whim, to make a watercolor of it and paint kitchen shades.

By lunch, this is what my inkling had manifested into:

Hand-painted watercolor blackout shades.  :)
Here's the creative journey I took today:

Materials:

For the hand-painted fabric
  • Leftover blackout fabric (from our living room home theater curtains)
  • Leftover paint (thinned with water)
  • Paintbrush
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard
  • Contact paper
  • X-acto knife
For hanging the shade
  • Miter saw
  • Drill
  • 1x2 the width of the window frame
  • Kreg Jig Jr. Kit
  • 4 - 1 1/4 pocket hole screws
  • Staple gun with staples
Procedures:
Making a contact paper stencil
1-2) I folded notebook paper twice to make two lines of symmetry and four quadrants.  3) I made a sloped line to form a shape that reminded me of a wave, fish scales, and rain.  4-5) I traced this symmetrical shape onto cardboard and used an X-acto knife to make a firm template.  6) Thinking of Moorish tile and that lovely Arabesque shape I thought about initially for our kitchen, I traced the firm template in a similar pattern in contact paper (faux stainless steel, no less), and cut it out with the X-acto knife.
Using the stencil to watercolor the fabric
7) I stuck the contact paper and used thinned paint to make watercolor marks over the stencil. 8) After removing the stencil several times, I found it easiest to use to empty shapes and one filled in shape.  9)  I completed a length of fabric, initially to fill the whole window, but I thought it would not be to my husband's taste.  10) I cut a valance with a scalloped type edge from the fabric I painted.  The blackout fabric does not fray, so I did not hem it.  11) I cut a length of 1x2 the width of the window opening and used it to measure out the blackout fabric that would cover the window.  I used an additional board as a straight edge.  12)  I drilled two pocket holes on each side of the 1x2 to attach to the window frame sides.
Stapling and hanging the shade
13) I made sure the valance would fall over the pocket hole screws 14) and stapled the fabric to the top of the 1x2, so I could screw the 1x2 into the window frame from the front by lifting up the valance.  15) I stapled the rest of the blackout shade to the back of the 1x2, nearly meeting the valance fabric. 16) I clamped the 1x2 flush to the front of the window frame and aligned with the top part of the frame, then screwed each side in with 2 screws on each side.
The finished shade
To let the breeze in, I used clothes pins to clip the bottom of the blackout fabric to the top.  Later, I'll attach the bottom of the shade to a tension rod or wood dowel with hook screws to adjust the amount of light we let.  :)  A peak of our black ledge shelves, which used to be teal, then was sprayed silver, and now is black.  The contrast is sharp between the shade and the ledges, but as we accessorize, I think the look will come together. :)


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