I’ve always been enchanted by the set designs on Gossip Girl (not that I really loooooved that show.. it was more of a guilty pleasure post college ;) The artwork at the Van der Woodsen penthouse was amazing. My favorite peice was their Prada Marfa sign.
I love the scale of it, and I especially love the sentiment behind it. I’m sure that none of the cast even knows where Marfa, TX unless they know of the art installation by Elmgreen and Dragset. But Derek and all of his best friends spent his Bachelor weekend camping in Marfa, and we plan to go there for our first anniversary (SO excited!!!)
I had been wanting some dramatic art for our vastly empty (and tall!!) stairwell, and had planned to order a Prada Marfa canvas, but the size I wanted was $429. Oopsies. No thank you! So I did what any other cheapskate would do, and I made my own.
First I found the largest Prada Marfa sign I could find on Google Images and printed out the letters (about 1 per 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of cardstock)
I made them grey so that I wouldn’t be wasting as much ink.
Then I cut out each letter with scissors, and for the insides of letters I used an xacto knife. I freehanded my cuts because I use xactos for a living, but you can also use a straight edge to make things a little quicker.
After all of my letters (and arrow) were cut out I made my canvas. What? I know. I was feeling really cheap, and canvases aren’t 50% off now at Hobby Lobby so I improvised! I laid out four sheets of 30″ x 40″ white foam core and taped them all together with foam tape to create the thickness of a canvas.
I know the edges are ugly, but I plan to tape them off and paint them black (more on that tomorrow!)
If you’ve ever made a canvas before then you can skip this part, but for everyone else I just brushed on a coat of gesso using heavy nasty brushstrokes to create a canvas-y texture using the crappiest of crappy brushes (highly recommended for the canvas-ification process).
Then I dry brushed in the opposite direction creating a sort of cross-hatch texture (like a canvas). It’s hard to see the texture in these photos but its a very subtle cross-hatch, and looks very canvas-like in person.
Once the gesso dried I arranged my letters using a T-square to keep my rows straight and scotch tape to hold my letters in place for tracing.
Using a pencil I carefully traced around each letter. Hint: I had placed the scotch tape only on the straight sides of each letter so that I could easily fill in that gap once the tape was removed.
Once all of my tracing was complete, I began to carefully paint each letter using black acrylic paint. I used two different sized brushes for this part. A 1/2″ brush for filling in and a 1/8″ brush for the edges and small details.
You can sort of see here that some of the edges aren’t perfectly sharp (like the arrow) so after my paint had dried I went back over each detail with a black sharpie to make everything perfect.
Okay so please ignore that disgusting sheer green drapery panel that was left by the previous tenant. Why is it still there? Probably because I completely forget about it until I’m leaving the house everyday ha! It’s coming down tonight I promise!
I just love how it turned out! The whole project only took me about 2.5 hours and was completely free because I already had all of the supplies. Tonight I plan to tape off the edges of the foam core and paint them black to create a nice detail around the border. What do you guys think?