Monday, July 1, 2013

Heart of the North

It seems like, every time I see photos online of someone's house, I get jealous of the great state art they've got hanging on the walls! Super jealous! I love my home state quite a lot, so I decided I needed to have some state art of my own. I hate to admit it, but I'm a little leery about buying art over the internet - which I know is where lots of this stuff comes from - so I decided to make my own.

I found a map of the state of Minnesota on the internet. I downloaded the picture and copied it into a Word document, where I was able to do the size adjusting I needed. I wanted it to be just as big as possible to be printed on an 8.5 x 11 inch piece of paper. I used an X-Acto knife and my Creative Memories cutting mat.

I bought a canvas and painted it this light blue color. I mixed it up with some bright turquoise paint and white. I considered adding some water to get the wash effect you see above, but it actually got that way because I had barely enough paint to do the job.

My next step was to make my stencil. I used masking tape to attach the paper cut-out above to some Contact paper and then I traced it a second time. I then had a perfectly clear sticker of the State of Minnesota, which I applied to the canvas. Once neat thing was that it was adjustable, so I was able to make sure it was centered in both dimensions. And now, here it is, ready to go!

I grabbed my navy blue paint and went crazy! You can see I'm using my crafting tablecloth, which was smeared with paint.

When the navy was dry, I pulled off the stencil. I was a bit nervous it was going to be hopelessly stuck on, that it would come up in pieces or have to be scraped off. But no! I pulled it off in one piece and couldn't bring myself to toss is because it was so neatly preserved.

So, here it is! It turned out almost exactly as I'd dreamed it would!

I used a heart shaped paper punch and some glittery red scrapbook paper to make hearts for special places. I know sometimes when you order art like this online, you can make a request about where a heart should be placed or something like that. But, as I got to thinking about what I wanted mine to look like, I realized I was going to need hearts all over the place.

I also wanted to put labels on all of the places, which I made literally by printing out the names from a Word document on regular printer paper. It was a little bit of a pain to get all that stuff stuck down with a scrapbooking glue stick. I then covered it all with a coat of Mod-Podge just to make sure everything was good and stuck down.

Voila! You might be wondering about the words at the bottom. For those of you who didn't know, the motto of the State of Minnesota is "L'Etoile du Nord" which means "The Star of the North" in French. Minnesota is the only state in the U.S. whose motto is in French, and since I speak French and I live here I think its pretty darn special. I thought about just using the regular motto - perhaps with a star-shaped emblem - for this piece. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I really wanted to show it as "heart," because it's home. I used glittery letter stickers for the words since I don't love my handwriting and I don't have the fine motor skills to paint letters.

I enjoy the little bit of shiny-ness on those hearts!

With a little bit of adjusting and measuring, and one new nail hole, this piece joined the gallery wall in my living room. If you want state art in your place, get off the stick. It was so easy!


  1. I love this! I always see those maps on Etsy and Pinterest too, and I covet them. You've inspired me; maybe I'll actually do this someday. I want to make one for Minnesota and one for Washington and hang them side by side... oh now I'm getting excited!

  2. I love state art, but I think it's so cool how you have pinned lots of special places!
    - Lora @ Craftivity Designs

    1. Thanks, Lora! I was definitely inspired by those state art pieces that have just one heart - usually where the artist lives. But, when I thought about where I'd put my heart, I realized I had to have more than just one!

  3. love this- might have to be my next project :)