Burlap and copper pipe wall art – Monthly DIY Challenge

You guys.

It’s Monthly DIY Challenge time and, boy, do I have an easy project that packs a punch in the impact department.  And it’s cheap.  Can you tell I’m enamored?   Swooning?   In LUVVV??  I haven’t spelled “love” with a U since grade school.   That says something.  Right there.

Anyways, first of all, for anyone new to our Monthly DIY Challenge, this is a challenge that I participate in with some of my bloggy friends.  Basically, we’re assigned an item or theme and must make something with it.  Period.  Super simple and the sky’s the limit.  My personal goal in these challenges is to also keep my projects pertinent to our home.  Stuff that we need, or that can improve on form or function.   Sometimes it takes a little creativity, but it always keeps the wheels turning which is a very awesome thing.

This month, our challenge item was fabric.


I had a few ideas for this month’s challenge and after several failed attempts at other fabric-oriented projects, I ended up with a super simple tapestry wall hanging of sorts out of burlap.   See, I’d found some old burlap sacks at a thrift store a while back and I took them home with the intention of doing SOMETHING with them.   And then finally, ONE day before our pics were due for this month’s challenge, I had a lightbulb moment that put an idea to the notorious “something”.

A while back, I’d picked up the following stuff from Home Depot…

Copper pipe, brackets, and a pipe cutter.

My original plan with these items was to hang three burlap sacks side by side on one pipe, but I couldn’t find an appropriate place in our house to hang a piece that large without it making the space feel super dark (I’d initially wanted this for our hallway, but yeah, WAY dark).  So, the project kind of died.  I had this stuff on hand, just never used it.   The funny part about it was that I’d purchased a 10 foot piece of copper pipe for this very purpose.  I’m barely over 5′ tall, so here I was steering my way around HD with a pipe that was literally double my size.  You all should be proud of me.  I did not impale a single person, nor did I destroy any displays.   I did, however, collect a crowd of well-meaning passersby in the parking lot where I got many tips about how to fit the pipe into my car (through the car diagonally and out the front window for the win).  So, when I finally realized that I could still make the project happen, just with one sack instead of three, I slapped my forehead as I realized that my Home-Depot-Lancelot-Adventure was all for naught.  I totally could’ve purchased the shorter length of pipe.  Or maybe not… now I have plenty of pipe left for another project.  And another story to tell.   Glass half full, ya’ll. 😉

So, anyways, I hung my burlap sack with thumb tacks to figure out where I preferred it.   And it ended up being here…

In our guest room.   As you can see, I once again switched around the space and relocated my $7 Target-inspired bench to this wall.   It works much better here than the previous arrangement that I discussed in this post. Same story for my small dresser that was subsequently moved to the adjacent wall (ie: back to where it started).

I measured my burlap sack, which was 28″ wide.  So, I decided to cut my pipe 34″ to allow 3 inches of overhang on each side of the sack…

But, like any of my projects, there are always teeny hiccups.  Like when I went to open my pipe cutter package with a knife and apparently was feeling a little stabby…

PSA: Don’t play with knives.  I’m now on my 6th band-aid and it’s nearly bled through as I type this.   #justusescissors

Anyways, to cut my pipe, I used a hand-held pipe cutter.   You simply clamp it down on your pipe by tightening the little knob…

And twist it around the pipe a bunch of times…

As you spin the cutter around the pipe, it will begin to spin easier.  At this point, you’ll wanna tighten the knob more.  And repeat…  twist, tighten, twist, tighten, etc. until the pipe comes apart in two clean pieces…

Gaw-gee-ous. (triple-syllable Fran Drescher “gorgeous” = goodness around these parts)

Now, to deal with my burlap….

The back of my burlap sack had been cut open when the sack was emptied of its coffee bean contents, so I simply hand-stitched it up loosely with tan thread so that it wouldn’t sag once hung.

Then, I sewed the sack to my pipe with large stitches about an inch apart…

And I hung it on the wall with brackets and a few drywall anchors…

Which left this…


I thought about steaming the burlap to rid it of its wrinkles or possibly depositing a bit of pipe inside the sack to weigh it down and allow it to hang flat and smooth against the wall, but I decided against both options.  I love how wrinkled it is.  Everything else in the room right now is so smooth and neat that it’s a nice contrast to have something that looks a bit aged and imperfect.   I especially love it against the bold, bright fabric of the bench.  Me-Ow.   And now I’m one step closer to a finished room.   Or is it really EVER finished??  THAT is the question… 😉

So, anyways, that’s one more Monthly DIY Challenge in the sack bag!!    Now, check out the projects that my awesome buddies came up with…

TDC Before and After

Try and try again

Trial and error is a HUGE part of making a house a home.  I have no training and or expertise when it comes to DIY home stuff.  What I do have is ‘try it’, ‘live with it’ ‘change it’, and ‘repeat as necessary’.  Just basically jumping in, learning from my mistakes, and determining what I like (and don’t) by living with stuff and changing it if need be.  Our photo wall is a perfect example of this. It’s come about via a LOT of trial and error over many months (and many, many holes in the wall. Heehee! Whoops.) So, in good ole’ Linda Richman fashion, lets “discuss”…

The wall was originally started as an attempt to get as many frames off the floor and onto the wall as possible to clear out some space. I had seen frame collages on Pinterest and various design blogs and thought they were neat, so I figured “Why not? I can always patch the holes if I hate it.”.

I started by laying out the frames on the floor and playing with them until I was happy with the arrangement.

Like this…. (sorry for the picture quality)

Then, I decided that I needed a template to assist in hanging them. I found this tutorial on Young House Love and followed their lead. To start, I unrolled some brown paper onto the floor and laid the frames on it in my preferred arrangement (In hindsight news, if you’re planning a project like this yourself, put the paper under the frames first. Not sure why I didn’t think of that myself.). Anyhoo… Next, I traced the outline of each frame onto the paper with a pen. I measured where the hooks were located on the back of each frame and marked them with “x”s in their corresponding boxes on the brown paper. Then, I hung the brown paper on the wall with painters tape and moved it around until I was satisfied with the placement. It looked a little like this….

(Warning: Low quality miniature reenactment.)

Then, I simply hammered nails (and inserted screws with anchors for the mirror) straight through the “x”s on my paper. Once they were all placed, I tore off the paper and hung my frames.

And this is what I was left with….

Repeat after me… Meh. Although I liked the arrangement, it was too much black once I got it up there between its neighboring mirror, chair, and end table. (Also, feast your eyes on the original living room decor.) So, I decided to remove the frames to spray-paint them white. At this point, I realized that I had accidentally purchased flat finish spray paint. Dang. But being the impatient girl I am, I said, [the less classy version of] “Oh well!” and painted them anyways. Luckily, I ended up liking them better with a flat finish. So, happy accident there.

Here’s an “in progress” shot for ya…. Eventually only the mirror was black.

After living with it for a while, I decided there was too much “square” going on, so I added a few more frames, like this…..

Then, a few months later, a good friend commented that it would look better if the photos were all black and white. I had thought about that previously, but honestly, was just too lazy to get the pics reprinted again. Her tactfully put and appreciated comment got the wheels turning. I printed the B&W pics on plain old computer paper first to make sure I’d like them (I printed some of them in larger sizes as well to do away with some of the matting). ….and I LOVED them, so I got them reprinted in higher quality photos (as in, higher quality than computer paper), and I was left with this….

….Which I liked, but thought was too much black again! Jeepers. I also thought that the photo collage felt unbalanced next to the height of our new Ikea shelves and accessories. So, I decided to spray paint the mirror red and add a few more frames up top to give some much needed height. Which leads us to today….

FINALLY! It took a small journey of change, but seriously, stick a fork in her. She’s done. I’m loving the asymmetrical arrangement and the little pop of red. It feels like bling to me. Like a good pair of red pumps with a neutral outfit. Thus, she will remain in her happy place for a while… at least until Christmas when I plan to jazz her up a bit. Oh. Yeah.