Almost two months ago, as I was beginning to sift through this years accumulation of stuff, in preparation for the arrival of Santa's sleigh, I attempted to discard a small wipe board that was wedged under Kirstie's bed. "No Mom," she squealed, "I need that for my homework". I pushed back the bedroom door to reveal three more wipe boards of various sizes. Kirstie shrugged and began to explain the part wipe boards play in her study method. A method I am not permitted to reveal at this time. Well, honestly, she gets better grades than I did as a kid, so who am I to question her?
I left the boards, but now I was thinking. I returned to the living room and began to pick up an assortment of artwork and discarded doodles off of the floor. My kids had just been there with their friends a short time earlier. And as I walked towards the recycling bin, papers in hand, I passed my foyer wall, my personal decorating nemesis. I can't tell you how many 20 minute intervals I have logged in front of the paint samples, just not "feeling" the right color for that space. Suffice it to say, this hallway/pseudo-room is:
- the very first thing you see when you enter
- like Grand Central Station bustling with activity
- got 4 doorways and two archways
- serves as a casual dining area
- adjoined by 5 other rooms each with a color
- a very difficult space to define
It was at that moment an idea started to take shape, as I looked down at the bunches of paper in my hand, I was about to discard an entire logs worth again. I knew this wall was meant for a better purpose. A purpose I believed any home with kids or even kid visitors could benefit from. I was going to have a (semi) permanent memorial to my kids creativity, and make a commitment to save paper long term.I shared my plans with my daughters, and Miss. Middle School scrunched her nose at me and asked "are you crazy Mom?", Kendall began to jump around "when can we get the paint, when can we go Mom?" Kendall has vision, I want her to stay 10 years old. I told her it would take a little planning, and that during the week I would put up the chair rail molding and sand and prepare the wipe-board section of the wall ready for the Rust-o-leum Dry Erase Paint.
The space below the wipe board section was the blank canvas for my girls artwork, and a few of their friends they had invited. In preparation for Sunday afternoons mural, Kendall and I headed down to the local Home Depot and chose 9 colors. The associates were so helpful. We chose primary colors for mixing and tinting and a few other fun shades like a lime green, pink and a purple. The convenient 8oz pots were about $3.00 each, and we grabbed a gallon of pure white that had landed on the "oops cart" (rejected paint) for $5.00. It was a great find!
On Sunday, we collected an assortment of brushes, we put plastic down and taped the area for protection...and the handiwork began. It took 7 girls three hours, a couple dozen plastic cups, and just a little adult supervision (special creative director and Dad of artists) for mixing colors and cleaning brushes, to create the happy masterpiece that replaced my blank unappealing wall.The first chair rail was up already approx 36" AFF (above the finished floor), I left an approximately 30" space between the first and the second one I added. The space, 84"x 30" was prepped and painted as wipe board, I applied 5 coats, more than the directions suggested, but it gave a smoother finish, and then I allowed extra dry time too, 3 days for the paint to cure instead of 2 days. I closely followed the application instructions as they pertained to time between coats and how quickly the dry erase paint must be used or discarded. The results were terrific.
Now the "wipe wall" is the first place everyone goes when they come in, it's a place for open expression, frivolous doodles, important and other miscellaneous (welcome home, going to dad's this weekend. etc) messages, it was even the home of our official New Years countdown, the kids monitored the official count, and ticked off the hours leading up to 2010. It's fun, eco-friendly, whimsical, saves paper, encourages creativity (sorry TV)... and never gets boring.
My total project investment was less than $80.00 and I recommend if you have kids, get a wall like ours (no two are the same of course)...and if you don't have kids, it's still a fun useful project!
Thanks for all the beautiful work Sadie, Molly, Anna, Kendall, Kirstie, Alana, and Ariel, I love our wall.