If ever there was a celebration or holiday that lends itself to crafts and making mini masterpieces for the house, it’s Christmas, particularly for people like me whose hearts are warmed by a homespun look and feel. It’s a season steeped in nostalgia and bringing out handmade decorations year after year and remembering when they were made and who by is a major part of the fun. And, with December seemingly being a month of endless opportunities for my children to inhale sugar, bringing our paper, paints, clay and cookie cutters is pretty much the only way to get them to sit at the kitchen table and indulge in a more calming activity for an hour or two. Try it. But hide the glitter - no good can come from handing a pot of glitter over to a five and eight-year-old, trust me.
A couple of weeks ago, Dulux challenged me to get creative with their brand new Colour of the Year Love palette (available in stores from January 2019) and conjure up a colourful, Christmassy creation. A joy of a task, for sure. My head spun with ideas but I finally settled on painting large papier-mâché letters to spell out MERRY CHRISTMAS above the fireplace. With Dulux Pure Brilliant White matt emulsion being my go to paint for walls, I knew it would provide the perfect backdrop for the more enriching colours in Love palette.
I almost don’t need to write a guide to recreating this Dulux Love palette Merry Christmas, but I do have a few hints and tips to share with you that I picked up along the way.
First up, plan your colours in advance. Think about where your letters will be positioned - in one long line or one word on top of the other - and which colours you want to sit alongside each other or above and below. I chose not to follow a colour pattern/rotation and decided to have Teal Lux (my favourite colour) and Love Letter/Velvet Cake stripes (like a candy cane) feature three times and the other colours twice. I wrote the order on a piece of paper before starting and ticked each letter and colour off as I went along.
When it comes to painting the letters, to avoid smudging and getting paint all over your fingertips, pop your letter on top of one the tins using a large piece of sticky tac. That way, you can rotate the tin rather than the letter and get an even coat over the top and sides. And talking of coats, one gives good coverage, two really brings out the depth of the colour.
Pictured below is Writers Desk, a deep olive. I was unsure about it in the tin but it’s completely grown on me since seeing it on the wall. I’m determined to find another project to use it in.
If you’d like to recreate the candy cane stripes, I used two coats of Love Letter, left the letters to dry overnight and then masked off the stripes using low tack tape before getting busy with the gorgeously warm Velvet Cake. My top tip would be not to put too much paint on your brush to avoid any bleeding under the masking tape. Go slowly but surely.
Once your letters are dry and you’re ready to put them on the wall, it’s time to invest in a couple of packs of Command poster strips. Two per letter will see them firmly stuck to the wall, three if you’re a little cautious like me. The good thing about them is that they peel off without taking the paint with them so when you’re ready to take the letters down, the wall behind should be completely unaffected.
To position the letters on the chimney breast, I measured the total width of the MERRY and the CHRISTMAS and compared those to the width of the wall to understand how much of a gap to leave at the beginning and the end of the words in order to have them positioned evenly in the middle. We live in a very old house with very few straight lines - I’m yet to find a wall, floor, window or ledge that doesn’t look at least marginally wonky - but I still used a spirit level when sticking the letters to the wall. Attention to detail, right?
And then it’s just a case of standing back and admiring your work. It’s amazing what you can do with papier-mâché letters and several small pots of great-coloured paint. It’s really brightened up a plain wall and added the wow factor ready for Christmas.
If you’d like to recreate the exact look, here are the paint colours I used:
M - Teal Lux
E - Love Letter base with Velvet Cake stripes
R - Fragrant Herb
R - Auburn Flame
Y - Spicy Paprika
C - Writers Desk
H - Love Letter base with Velvet Cake stripes
R - Spicy Paprika
I - Teal Lux
S - Writers Desk
T - Fragrant Herb
M - Love Letter base with Velvet Cake stripes
A - Auburn Flame
S - Teal Lux
What do you think? I’m so happy with the way the letters turned out. The colours are amazing. Now I’m wondering what I could replace MERRY CHRISTMAS with once the festive season is over. HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY perhaps?
This post was written in collaboration with Dulux. The colours included in my creation are from the Colour of the Year ‘Love palette’ and will be available in stores from January.