Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Moorish arched windows and some snow

Hi everyone!

We're finally out from under the snow so here I am again. My goal is to post once a week since with the kidlets and some necessary time for crafting that's about what I can muster. Needless to say I didn't meet that goal last week (some of you may have noticed).

I was in the process of debating what to post about and then we had family fly in from out of state and out of country and then this snow storm hit Texas which for a day or so was fun, just check out the snowman I made :) Complete with junior helper... The kids had never really seen snow or played in it so it was fun to see their reaction.

Then the power went out and with that the heating of our house.... Fun was nowhere to be found.

I may be from Sweden which has this kind of weather all the time in the winters but I tell you I was born in the wrong country. I was really destined for someplace warm year round with palm trees and God just happened to send me to the wrong place. Or my parents didn't get that they were supposed to have moved to this warm palm tree laden place before I was born. Either way I hate winters in general, I hate snow and cold and I hate, hate, HATE being cold. My ticket out of the Swedish cold was my darling Texan husband :) And Texas generally indulges me with wonderful heat but even the winters here are too much for me. I go to bed at night with my hot water bottle :)

Anyway, mercifully the power came back on again after about 12 hours. But with all the drama I never got around to posting last week. Nor did I do any crafting which is why I'm showing you a project I finished a few months ago.

My Moorish arched windows. Because my absolute favorite part of the Moroccan/Indian look are those wonderful gracefully exotic arched windows and doorways and I wanted to reproduce that look. I was going to make them out of thin plywood but that never seemed to happen so I decided to make them from ultra cheap foam board instead.

My list of ingredients:

foam boards (I had two windows and I used two foam boards per window)
old phone book, tissue paper or other thin paper for papier mache
white glue
burnt umber craft paint
golden brown craft paint
gold glitter
duct tape
hot glue
white paint (I used spray paint)

These aren't the sturdiest of window coverings, but for me it doesn't matter since they're up out of the way of the kids and most of the time no one will even come close enough to touch them. They may be called ghetto but I prefer to think of myself as a theater prop master instead - they're made out of cheap lightweight material but they look the part. And that's good enough for me :)

My windows are only about 15 inches wide but quite tall. The boards are 20x30 inches so I decided to join two boards by the longest sides making one board 40 tall and 30 wide. I wish they came in larger sizes because joining them isn't ideal, but you work with what you've got, right?

I put the boards down and pushed them as close together as I could and ran a length of duct tape over the joint. Flipped the boards over to the other side and ran a bead of hot glue in the crack between the boards, then another length of duct tape over the joint on that side as well. It's not pretty at this point but this won't be visible when it's all done. You can see one of the joints in this pic (which was taken from the back after being painted over with spray paint).

I free handed the shape of the arch with some inspiration from the internet and cut out a template in paper and transferred it to the board. Cut it out with an xacto knife, which took awhile. I used the leftover board part from the inside of the arch to piece together another arch, smaller by 1.5 inch on all sides than the first one, which I hot glued on top of the first arch. You can sort of see what I mean in this pic here despite it being blurry.

Don't worry if this top layer have some gaps in places because the papier mache will cover a multitude of sins. This layer was added to make it less one dimensional and to make it a little sturdier.

So, after this it got messy :) There's no way you can papier mache neatly. I tore pieces and strips out of an old phone book, dipped them in slightly diluted white glue, squeezed out the excess glue and covered the whole surface of the arch with paper. I made sure to fold the paper over the edges to the back and follow all the curves and shapes. Then I let it dry for a day or so. I added the papier mache to give the arch some texture and make it look not so square and foam boardy, and maybe more ancient?

Then came the painting. First coat was burnt umber craft paint all over the front, but nothing on the back. Next I ragged some of the lighter golden brown paint on top of the dark brown. Ragging means you just dip a rag or in my case a paper towel into the golden brown and blot it onto the surface until you get the effect you want. After doing this there was too much golden brown so I ragged another coat of the burnt umber to make it less golden and more brown for a subtler effect. And it was good :) So I let it dry for a bit and then on to the sparkle.

I was originally going to put plastic jewels on the arch in some pretty pattern but when brain storming I decided to try gold glitter instead. And to keep it simple by just adding glitter dots around the inside of the arch. So I dipped a q-tip into white glue and dotted around the inside arch and sprinkling glitter over the glue dots as I went. Tapped off the excess glitter and took a look at my masterpiece. And really liked the result :) Here's the detail of the glitter part.

The glitter adds just the right amount of bling to my window arches :)

Now, the back of the arch was still ugly with bits of phone book paper around the edges, duct tape and some brown dots. Since part of the back was going to be seen from the outside of the house I decided to paint the back an even coat of white. I just spray painted it but it didn't cover all that well. I decided that it was good enough anyway since these windows face the side of the house where no one will get all that close and even then you have to be right up by the window to really see anything. What can I say, I was very done with this project at this point.

As for the hangers I just made loops out of twine and hot glued them to the top of the back on each side of the arch and then put some duct tape over for good measure. This duct tape is not visible from the outside, they're positioned over the window opening when hung. And then I just nailed a couple of nails up and hung my Moorish arches. Instant Morocco, no? :)

My only problem with my arches is that the foam board has warped slightly because of the papier mache and paint I put on the front so the bottom parts don't hang flat against the wall. I intend to fix this by hot gluing battens on the back down the sides but I haven't gotten to it yet. They're good enough for now and the cold has kept me from using my workshop (our back yard) so it'll have to wait just a little longer. But this is what it looks like right now.

This is what our living room looks like without the arches.

Nice, but very plain suburban America with rectangular windows.

And the living room after! My own slice of Morocco, complete with climbing monkey girl.

Looks good even without the monkey :) And here's an especially jungly pic I managed to take.

If it wasn't for the cold winter light coming in I might think I was far away in some exotic locale. One can always dream, right? :)

If you were to make these I would still suggest a thin plywood for the very best result, but foam board is cheap. I got mine at Walmart for $3 each but I know the Dollar tree store sometimes have them for $1 each, they didn't have any when I was shopping for this project. Barnacles, as Spongebob would say.

Anyway, what do you think about the Moorish look?

Ps. Linking up with Between Naps On The Porch, A Soft Place To Land, Someday Crafts, Tatertots & Jello, Funky Junk, Shanty 2 Chic.
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  1. You're a girl after my heart! First, I love moorish design, and I agree - the arches are-to-die-for. But foamcore? Brilliant. Sure, plywood might be sturdier, but then you'd have to have it cut, sanded, blah, blah, blah. This is much better.

  2. That is amazing! I love Indian designs and this totally recreates that look! Great job! Thanks for linking up to Whatever Goes Wednesday. I hope you come back next week.

  3. Wow - the shape of those window treatments is really different and striking! Really cool!

    Thanks for linking this up. I love it!


  4. An arched window is nice and yours look good! That's a very creative way to design your windows, and I have to say that they look very well-made. It's a job well done, so good job and thumbs up!


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