DIY Project #2: Table Numbers

For something that sounded so simple, it was amazing how much trouble we had figuring out what to do for table numbers.  At first we loved the idea of something like this, but with the lowest price we could find being $10 a number before shipping (for painted ones, unpainted were $5 at the lowest, but then we’d have to buy paint and so on), we were looking at at least $200 for table numbers.  Table numbers.  Something that simple should not cost that much, at least not on our budget, so we started exploring different options.

We wanted something that we could set on the table surface, not something we needed to clip into a stand.  We also wanted some sturdy, heavy-duty looking.  We searched Etsy, we searched The Knot classified boards, we looked for ideas in magazines and on a variety of websites, but we just couldn’t find anything we really liked.  It wasn’t until we were talking about another decorative element for the reception (which will be its own art project post) that I had what we deemed the brilliant idea we were looking for: I was going to paint them on little canvases.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am not usually an artistic person, but I had a stroke of painting genius once 2 years ago, and Tim loved it so much that when I had to move back to IL and he moved into a new apartment, he actually hung the canvas series I had made up in his apartment.  We decided it was time for me to be an artistic genius once again, and I was going to apply this “talent” to 4 inch square canvases to make our numbers.  The overall cost of materials was around $80, but that also includes the materials for the other decorative piece, so we came out ahead.

So this is what I started with.  18 plain white 4″ squares.  They’re about 1″ deep, so they stand up on their own.  Some of the corners have bumps from where the canvas fabric was folded around the frame, so I chose to orient those in specific ways so that the bumps wouldn’t interfere with the stability of the square.

I used 2 2″ brushes and some rather large jars of blue and purple paint.  I had a third “dry” brush that I used to do the blending where the purple and blue met.

The boring ole canvasMy lovely blue and purple paints!

To keep it interesting I tried different orientations and patterns to the paint, but overall I was happiest with the straight and diagonal ones, so that’s what the majority is.

My canvasesA closer view of some of my canvasesHow awesome does this look?!

Probably the best picture I could get of one of my little masterpieces

I let them dry completely for a day before stacking them up for storage.  It took a while to do the background painting, so I had to wait for another free weekend to do the rest of it.  My next round of free time was spent painting the backside of the canvas (where it was wrapped around the wooden frame and stapled) in an effort to make it look less jankity, but that didn’t have quite the effect I wanted.

Since the backs were still ugly, I opted to cover the backs with some cream-colored cardstock that had a linen finish.  Perfect? No.  Major improvement?  Totally.

For the numbers I found a stencil set I really liked and took silver paint to it.  The biggest pain in the rear here was that I had to wait for the “1” to dry in all of the 10’s before I could paint the next number (and wait til the “1” stencil was dry enough to put it onto the next canvas), so I had a lot of downtime in between those rounds.  That’s okay, I made friends with my favorite wine while waiting!

I’m kind of pumped with how these turned out.  I already showed a friend who likes them enough that she’s commissioning me to make her a set.  I think I may take this idea to Etsy eventually…

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Posted on February 21, 2012, in DIY Series, Reception, Wedding Planning Isn't For Sissies and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. great work! I love seeing your progress!!!

  2. These are AWESOME! Nice work! I love the color scheme and the stencils.

  3. Thanks girls! For a general lack of artistic ability, I was really happy with how these turned out!

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