The post in which I glue mirrors to baskets.

As I mentioned in this post about our Leased Land of Beige, Plaster, and Poorly Painted Trim, I have been perpetually faced with the challenge of how to liven up the very blank and very off-white walls in our apartment. Painting is a no-no, so I have had to find other inexpensive ways to bring some life to our surroundings. Flipping through a free copy of an old Better Homes & Gardens magazine that I had picked up from the copy room at school, I noticed this:

It seemed like a project I could handle, so I picked up a shallow woven tray from Goodwill, a 4-pack of plate trays from the Christmas Tree Shops, and a can of satin yellow spray paint, knowing that I wanted to add my new creation to our slowly changing office. The next step was finding cool pictures like the ones displayed in the magazine picture, but that's where I hit the figurative brick wall. Other than black and white prints and pictures, I couldn't find anything colorful that would mesh with the rest of our office decor. And I didn't want to just do more of black and white, since we had plenty of that going on already.

I was wandering aimlessly through the aisles of Michael's, pondering my plight, when I came across their craft mirror selection--and bam! The figurative light bulb (are you getting my English teacher drift here?) went off! Why not glue mirrors to the insides of the baskets for a slightly different look? I hurried my 4 mirrors home and got to work spray painting the baskets.

Adhering the mirrors to the baskets was a bit of a trick: simply using hot glue was about as effective as using a toothpick to hold eight hamburgers together. I knew that there would have to be something absorbent in between the two non-porous pieces to really make them stick together. So, I cut apart some old scraps of corkboard and glued them first to the basket, and then the mirror to the cork pieces.

I was pleased with the result, and shook them vigorously to make sure the glue was strong (the last thing we need is our budget decor falling off of the wall and sending us to the hospital where our budget will likely be exceeded by countless dollars). However, I didn't like the way the plates nestled together when I arranged them. The whole thing looked too predictable and symmetrical, or like a lopsided mess. I decided that the arrangement needed some other sizes.

While wandering through Party City, looking for other shallow basket trays in different sizes, some sturdy cardboard cake trays (like the one to the right) caught me eye. The silver seemed to echo the mirrors on the baskets I had at home, and I knew that I could dress up the platters using my Cricut. I was especially drawn to the fact that they were circular but had scalloped edges, making a nice complement to the perfectly rounded edges of the baskets. Once home, I used my Cricut and yellow, white, and silver paper to create the designs I wanted on the cake trays and on the large basket.

I created my own hangers for my new decorations by adhering folded cardboard like this:

(If I had been thinking ahead, I could have saved some effort by simpling threading the ribbon through the basket prior to gluing on the mirror. Oh, well.)

Then, after a great deal of shuffling, I came up with a good arrangement for my new art. I didn't want the edges of the overall arrangement to be symmetrical or straight in any way, preferring the "I just threw this together" (yeah, right) collage look. And voila: here is my work, proudly hanging firmly on the wall above Rick's keyboard.

I am pretty happy with how it turned out, especially the fact that the whole thing only cost:

Baskets: $3
Cake trays: $2.50
Mirrors: $6.50
Paper: already owned
Spray paint: $3.50 (and can be used for other projects, too!)
Total: $15.50...for a wall that is no longer blank. AND--bonus--I had fun doing it.

I'd love to hear about ways that you've been inspired to decorate your blank walls with seemingly random objects, so feel free to share!


Amy @ Journey Mum said...

That looks amazing, and what a great project final cost!

Erin said...

Thanks, Amy, for visiting and for your kind words! :)

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