Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page

Getting Handy at HandsOn

In Uncategorized on January 20, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Before the transformation

I recently finished a mural for  HandsOn Frederick, an organization that matches volunteers to community needs. Their logo was the inspiration: multicolored dots forming a hand in the negative space. While brainstorming with Melissa Sines and Tricia Thompson, we decided to feature the circles and add some imagery that reflected both the city of Frederick and Frederick County. The “clustered spires” were an easy choice for representing the city, and a farm scene made sense for the surrounding area.

I created the design in Adobe Illustrator. This made it easy to preview different background colors. While a black background was striking, all agreed that it wasn’t the best choice for a basement office.

Because there are now almost 250 HandsOn centers in the U.S. and 11 overseas, we thought others might benefit from our experience:

Creating a Large Mural for under $60

Prepare the Design. After the design was finalized we had a transparency made. This can be done at just about any copy center for around $2. They can work from hard copy (digital or hand drawn) or a digital file. Luckily there was an overhead projector readily available. Freehanding the design onto the wall would have taken much longer.

Choose the Colors. I stopped by the Home Depot and grabbed stacks of paint samples. It’s almost impossible to correctly judge color by memory. And when you’re matching a logo, the right colors are crucial. I took the samples back to the office and compared them with the logo on their front door.

Buy the Paint. Next up was a trip back to the store. I bought five quarts of custom-mixed Behr paint. The colors were: Scotland Isle, Asparagus, Squirrel, Black Bean, and Tropical Splash.

Trace the Design. Tricia had kindly prepped the wall with a fresh coat of white paint saved from a different project. As I was tracing the design onto the wall, Melissa asked if there was a way to incorporate hands into it. I liked the idea because it would be another opportunity for creating an image with negative space. So I simply traced my own hands onto the circles, one in the small ones and two in the larger ones. If you decide to do this and plan ahead, you could use the hands of your staff and board members. Or perhaps it could be a fundraiser with donors paying a certain amount per hand to be immortalized on your mural.

Painting at Last. Then it was just a matter of filling in with color. I penciled in the names of the colors onto the circles as I traced. It was like working on a paint-by-number project because there was no need to keep checking the transparency. I worked with only one color at a time to cut down on brush cleaning.

Creating accent walls with leftover paint

Assess and Add. When it was finished, I decided to add a few circles behind a pole and on the pole itself. While those areas weren’t “officially” part of the mural, it made a nice transition. There was no need for another transparency. I just traced a few plates and saucers. Find a hula hoop if you want bigger circles.

Bonus! There was plenty of leftover paint, so they were able to paint several accent walls. It truly looks like a different office.

If you’d like to try this, contact me and I’ll email a PDF of my design free of charge. If you’d like customized graphics for your own geographic area, they would be only $20 each. So even with two graphics, your mural would still come in at under $100.

I hope this gives you some ideas for your own space!

All done! To see more of my work, please visit peacockartanddesign.com.