Pat Benatar is my interior designer

5 Mar

lovecloseupThis is not the first time I have had a harebrained decorating idea inspired by Pat Benatar. No, my friends and Internet acquaintances, this is the second time.

Back in the halcyon days* of college, I decorated my first non-dorm apartment by cutting out hundreds of cardstock letters and adhering them to the living room wall to spell out the complete lyrics of “Love Is a Battlefield.”** At the time, I was totally into eighties music, and I thought “Love Is a Battlefield” served as a fierce yet fun anthem for life at the peculiar meat market that is BYU.

wall2 wall3This project may have factored into me meeting and falling in love with my husband. But that is a story for another day.

Now, in our current apartment, we have a big, blank wall along a space that basically functions as a hallway in our open-concept living/dining room. I felt it presented the perfect opportunity to reintroduce “Love Is a Battlefield” into our lives. (I was going to wax philosophical about what the song means to me now, but I’ll save that for yet another post.)

Also on my brain was a series of murals called “A Love Letter for You” that’s featured on buildings throughout West Philadelphia along the Market/Frankford Line. We used to live in Philly, and I love finding ways to connect our current home with our former homes. I love the tender sentiment of the murals–as the artist Steve Powers described, it’s “a letter for one, with meaning for all.” And I loved the style of lettering, so I wanted to emulate it in my own design.

Images from here, here, here, here, and here.

I was hoping for a slightly more refined look than my college version, so I opted for a watercolor look. I sketched the letters and traced them on to some watercolor paper I had painted red and blue. Then I puttied them to the wall. I have to admit, it was tricky to kern the letters evenly by hand. It reminded me of this lovely video of stop-motion typography.

And here is the result! (As always, please excuse my amateur iPhone photography.)

lovebednookbattleHere’s a rough outline of the process. If folks are interested, I may scan the templates for my lettering and share the files here.

1. Sketched outlines for letters. (You could also pick a font and print out the letters at the desired size.)

2. Tried to enlarge letters by making a shoebox smartphone projector. Alas, it failed.

3. Used the old-fashioned grid method to enlarge the letters I had drawn.

4. Painted a bunch of pieces of watercolor paper with red and blue watercolors.

AWESOME TIP: Did you know you can flatten the curled edges of watercolor-painted paper by simply ironing it? Just put it on your ironing board upside-down and iron it on a medium or low setting. (Thanks, Mom!)

irontip5. Traced the reverse outline of the letters on the back of the painted papers.

6. Cut out the letters.

7. Adhered the letters to the wall with putty.

This is the wall I see from where I sit on the couch and the dining table, and I am loving the view!


* Is there anything other than days that is halcyon? Someone with more linguistics knowledge (coughAllisoncough) please search COCA and share the answer.

** My roommates, thankfully, were cool with it. Some of them also shouldered the arduous task of removing the letters from the wall at the end of the year–I’m forever grateful!


2 Responses to “Pat Benatar is my interior designer”

  1. Karen March 6, 2015 at 12:21 am #

    I looked up halcyon. Besides the meaning of the bird with that name its says:

    a : calm, peaceful
    b : happy, golden
    c : prosperous, affluent

    I’m not sure any of those reflect the college years (maybe happy, golden – maybe not)

    How about “formative” ? Although that usually denotes someone a little younger than you were then. Maybe “late formative”? Or maybe ALL our years are “formative”?

    Now I’m so confused. 🙂 Great post. I’d never heard the song until I heard it on “The Voice” and it really impressed me. Didn’t know it was Pat Benatar until now. You KNOW I’m an old fogey!

  2. Cali March 6, 2015 at 11:19 pm #

    This is fantastic! Love the idea. Today I happened to tell a friend that Pat Benatar’s music is a guilty pleasure of mine. Well, not so guilty…

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