This past weekend, I got to do something CRAZY fun. But first, a little back story.
Ever since I started getting to do a little design work in my job several years ago, I've been pretty obsessed with Pantone. You might remember the roundup I did when they announced the color of the year. Since I am obsessed with color, this should not be a surprise, since Pantone is pretty much the worldwide color authority. Pantone books may not be all that thrilling for seasoned, formally educated designers, but for me - someone who's more of a self-taught enthusiast - they're still so exciting. Something strange and amazing happens to me when I get to flip through one of those fan books full of color chips - the same thing happens to me when I pick out paint. Colors do something good to my brain - it's as if my brain suddenly wakes up and says to itself, 'WOO!!! COLOR!!!' I can't really explain it, so it probably sounds a little bizarre unless you have the same reaction. Several years ago, I used to think about (and talk about) the fact that Pantone should expand into, well, everything - from makeup (nail polish!) to tights to paint. Fast forward several years, and they've done tons of those kinds of collaborations!
This time, they've created a paint line. To celebrate the launch of the Pantone Universe Valspar collection, which is available exclusively at Lowe's, the three companies invited a bunch of bloggers and editors to check out the paints, as well as participate in a DIY upcycle challenge. Needless to say, when I got this invite, I responded in approximately one billionth of a second. Color AND DIY AND upcycling??? What more could I want?
Read on for the full recap of a delightful two days, plus the how-to on these upcycles.
This was a full-on two day extravaganza of color and inspiration! During day one, we were treated to lectures by Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute (!!!), Elaine Griffin (interior designer whom I've had the pleasure of meeting before), and designer Nanette Lepore (tons of color + pattern in her collections).
Elaine and Nanette's talks were wonderful, but I was nothing short of enthralled by Leatrice. She is a color specialist: her whole job is helping brands and companies choose colors for logos, packaging, products, you name it. I didn't even know a job like that existed! She had so many inspiring things to say about color, but the most profound was that "Color has the power to change mood." My favorite observations of hers were that yellow draws us in and makes us happy, and that emerald, the color of the year, is the color of unity & balance.
After listening to these lovely ladies speak and enjoying a delicious spread & some tasty cocktails, we got to experience the paints themselves! First up was a tutorial on the proper way to paint. I've painted my apartment several times and didn't really know ANY of the stuff that Jill from Valspar taught us.
How to Paint Properly (What I Didn't Know)
- When putting up painter's tape, use the handle of the brush to make a seal
- Choose a wood handled brush because it absorbs paint drips
- Keep the original brush packaging to put the brush in after washing it - this will help maintain its form
- Always use a canvas drop cloth for floors; plastic is too slippery and canvas absorbs paint drips immediately. Plastic drop cloths are best left for furniture.
- First, cut in (knew this one), which means painting all the edges and corners
- Always maintain a wet edge - new paint should be added next to the wet edge
- Paint in a 4 x 4 section
- Apply paint in a W form, then go back over W to fill it in.
- Paint like you own the paint company: load your brush with A LOT of paint, way more than you think you need
- Before applying to wall, roll brush a few times over a cardboard box
- After you've painted a wall, strike it off: roll from the top to bottom in one continuous motion
- Use a church key, not a screw driver, to open paint
- When done painting, you'll likely have a lot of paint left on the roller. Rollers can store up to a quart of paint; invest in a roller scraper to avoid wasting paint.
- The lip around the paint can is called a chime. After painting, to avoid having the lid dry to the chime, take small finishing nails and puncture the chime in several places to let paint flow back into the can.
- Cover the can in cellophane before putting the lid on and paint will stay fresh for a year.
Next, we got to pick some of our favorite colors from the collection. This was seriously difficult; I loved them all but gravitated toward the most saturated, vibrant ones.
Colors from left to right: Nectarine, Zinnia, Deep Green, Turkish Tile, Cabaret
After we picked our colors, we got to mingle for a bit, then went home and rested up for the very eventful day to come.
Day Two meant the DIY Challenge! We started off with breakfast and coffee, then were taken by bus to the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market, where we were supposed to find the pieces we were going to upcycle. After that, we'd stop at the Salvation Army for good measure. Making a focused effort to find something specific wasn't easy for me; flea markets are like catnip to me and I generally like to wander around looking at and touching things. However, I found this awesome handmade jewelry chest; it wasn't in the best condition, so I did a little bargaining and had some money left over for the Salvation Army.
There, I picked up these two terra cotta vases for a total of $6.
When we got back, we were a bit tight on time, so it was time to start prepping and painting right away. The first step on the chest was to sand - I picked a raw wood so I wouldn't have to do too much prep.
Next, I picked Tangerine Tango for the color, and got to painting! I learned not to freak out if the paint doesn't look perfect before it dries; the key is not to go over it too much each time you add a layer. Like with nail polish, the ridges or uneven spots smooth themselves out.
Here's the final product! I'm going to switch out the brass pulls that came with it. I might also do a fun contrasting color inside the drawers.
As each layer dried (I did 4 total, I think), I got to work on my vase. I only had time to do 1, so I needed to keep it simple. I wrapped a piece of painter's tape around the middle of the vase, where I wanted the terra cotta to show through. For the bottom, I chose Deep Green, and for the top, Princess Blue. I love how this looks, and it literally took 20 minutes. It's going to be my new kitchen utensil holder!
My hands were kind of a mess - I'm not that lady who can paint and be spotless when it's all done. I usually have it in my hair, all over any exposed skin, and on my clothes.
These paint lids were so pretty I had to snap them.
And I think I'm forgetting a few but can't remember the exact names! Everyone was really nice and seemed to be excited to get the chance to spend the day making something out of not-quite-junk. It helped that the ladies from Pantone, Lowe's, Valspar and Edelman were incredibly sweet, helpful, and gracious - not to mention hardworking and talented for pulling off such a fun two day event.
If you've got an itch to liven up part of your space or do your own upcycle like we did, definitely check out the Pantone Universe paint collection - the colors are all beautiful and incredibly vibrant.
Here's to life expressed in COLOR!