DIY Aquabord project

Still no baby, FYI.

I have an enormous space above the fireplace (which unfortunately we can’t figure out how to work and the landlord is incommunicado) in the living room, which to me, just screams for a huge piece of art. Now, huge pieces of art, even by unknown artists, are pretty pricey, so I decided to make something. But, golly, even huge BLANK canvases are expensive!

I was really inspired by this:


To me, this looks like a watercolor – or maybe I could get the same look with ink on stretched silk. Since I already have watercolor paint and would have to buy the inks to paint on the silk, I decided watercolor would be plan A and silk would be plan B.

Before we moved, I painted a watercolor for Adele’s gallery wall (which, foolishly, I painted on charcoal paper instead of watercolor paper) and the paper warped so badly that I couldn’t even get it to lie flat enough to tape it down without lots of ripples.

I talked to our former art teacher about it and she said with a project of this size (3′ x 5′) warping would be a major concern. She suggested a product called Aquabord, which is kind of like watercolor paper that it mounted on a board – which would prevent any warping and also give you a nice flat surface to paint on. Well, I couldn’t find any Aquabord in the gigantic size I needed and it was kind of pricey so I wasn’t confident I could afford it even if I could track down a large enough piece.

So, I decided to make my own! I bought a roll of heavy (140 lb) cold-pressed watercolor paper (I love buying things in bulk! – this was 11 yards! – so I’ll NEVER run out of watercolor paper!!) from Amazon. And I had Derm Dad pick up some MDF on one of his many trips to the hardware store. He cut a piece for over the mantle and he made me a couple of drawing boards (to use on an easel in the Schooling Room) for painting or calligraphy out of the scraps.

I used Elmer’s multipurpose spray adhesive (not sure if this is the best, it’s just what I had on hand) to attach the paper to the board – working in sections so that I could attach the paper within the 15 second window to get a permanent bond. Then I had an issue with the edges curling up (not surprising since the paper came on a roll and it’s really heavy paper), so I taped a border with painter’s tape. Even if the tape damages the paper, I figure that the edges will eventually get covered by the frame, but this way it will stay flat while I paint.

The problem with a piece this big is reaching across it to paint it! I have to keep it relatively flat so that my watercolor won’t run while it’s wet, but maybe I can bring in the sawhorses so that I can at least access it from all four sides.


Of course, Adele wanted to help me paint it. I do love my daughter, and I love her art work, but I don’t really want her help on this project. So I made her an Aquabord of her own – in a much more manageable size!


So, I want to make sure that you all know the following:

1. I haven’t used this yet, so it might not even work

2. I have never used the real Aquabord (which is clayboard and not watercolor paper) – it sounds really cool. It’s probably a great product and totally worth the price (It’s just that I’m not willing to pay it for a piece of this size)

3. I’m not a real artist, so – you know – I have no experience or official training

All that said, it could be really great!


And, we are getting closer to crown moulding going up on the bookshelves! yay!


Derm Dad can’t finish the crown moulding without a new tool (which won’t get here until Wednesday), so he said he’s going to fix our headboard (attach it so that it stops crashing down on us!) tonight! We got a babysitter for Wednesday night (we have a tradition of going out on a date to a nice dinner before each baby). And on Thursday, he’s renting a trailer to go to DC to pick up a gorgeous 4-poster bed I found on craigslist for Adele’s room. We figure spending $100 (plus $20 for the trailer) is easier than figuring out how to fix her bed. Her bed broke in several places during the move and we just can’t figure out how to fix it so that it would be structurally sound. It was actually slightly broken when we bought it and it had broken a few times after we had tried to fix it initially. So, we already tried what we thought would work and now it’s broken a whole lot more than it was then. Sorry, beautiful antique bed, but this is where we say goodbye!


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