…with woodchip on the wall

Woodchip & Pencil

Image details: ‘Woodchip & Pencil’ by monikahoinkis, via Flickr

I like Common People. Just not woodchip. It’s the most evil stuff known to man. I have no idea why anyone would ever think it stylish or even useful. I consider it to be a crime against humanity. It’s certainly an instrument of torture that has been liberally used (along with other hideous textured, often clashing, wallpapers) in the rented hovel that is Shinybees HQ. Coated with about a century’s worth of magnolia paint, several hundred layers of which are probably lead-based and which has now adopted a certain and not at all attractive yellowish hue, I regularly wake up in the night in a cold sweat, having just had a nightmare about how badly the porridge-effect walls are affecting my creative mojo. I am quite convinced that, whilst it probably holds together this asbestos ridden palace that Jack wouldn’t even claim to have built, there has to be another way to disguise the fact that there is a foot-wide crevasse in the walls where there should be plaster.

Invented by German pharmacist Hugo Erfurt in 1864, woodchip wallpaper has no redeeming features whatsoever. It’s a pain to put on, a pain to get off and it is extremely ugly. Sure, you can hide a multitude of sins with it, it’s cheap and will apparently cover the roughest of surfaces, but removing it can open up a Pandora’s Box full of hitherto unknown terrors lurking beneath. And, it’s ugly. Really, offensively, oh-my-God-my-eyes-are-ACTUALLY-bleeding-now ugly. As in a wallpaper even a mother couldn’t love ugly. It could probably even warrant its own definition of ugly in the Oxford English Dictionary. Did I mention that it’s a bit, well, ugly?

Anyway, in an effort to prevent Shinybabytobee having to endure the visual abuse that is magnolia woodchip, and because I’ll never be able to afford the resultant therapy bill if that’s all the mini-Bee has to look at in his/her formative years, I hatched my latest crafty plan.  I can’t take the woodchip off, as the house will probably fall down, and although I’m quite receptive to the concept of ‘open plan’ living, I don’t think that encompasses an entire elevation of the house exposed to the elements in February. Or any time of the year, actually. So I decided to go a little less nuclear and paint some canvases to cover at least some of it up instead.

Woodchip optional...

Now I’m not an artist by any stretch, and nor do I think you necessarily need to be for this project. I used the following:

  • 3 artist’s stretched canvases, £2.20 each, Wilkinson’s
  • 5 Dulux tester pots, in ‘Watercolour Green, Blue Reflection, Lemon Pie, Barley Twist and Espresso Shot’, £1.17 each. Wilkinson’s.
  • Set of Paintbrushes, 99p, Wilkinson’s
  • Mechanical pencil

To begin with, I chose some simple line-drawings to copy onto the canvases, in this case, ones that matched the bedding in the nursery. I copied the outline of these free-hand onto the canvases: if you aren’t confident doing this, you could always trace the image from a print-out. I then painted them up using the tester pots – I find these easier to use as you can choose which shades you need ready mixed, rather than trying to mix your own. The tester pot paints are also quite thick, which gives good coverage on the canvases.

If you aren’t too sure about painting designs, why not buy some stickers to decorate them with? Wall stickers will, doubtless, look terrible over woodchip wallpaper, but on the flat background of the canvas, they should work nicely.  The canvas can be painted all over in a complimentary shade to the stickers before applying them.  Alternatively, you could do some decoupage and stick pictures cut out from wallpaper samples on the canvases.  The choice is yours!

And if you’re Hugo Erfurt… you would probably just cover your canvas with woodchip. Bee-autiful….