Lexi Wharem is a mother and photographer based in Lake Wales, Florida. She can be found on instagram sharing pieces of her life and work as she chases her dreams of being a visual storyteller.
Friends, I am so excited to share this fun spring project that will have you connecting with your inner artist AND your kids at the same time! If you struggle with being a perfectionist, prepare to slowly let go and embrace the creative process, because there is beauty in the imperfections and these table runners are meant to be fun and personal!
What You’ll Need:
Step One: Roll out your paper and cut a piece that will reach to at least the full length of your table, or longer if you want an overhang. Raid your art supplies and grab whatever you want to use for your media. I went with watercolors and oil pastels because it’s what I have plenty of (important if kids are involved so there’s enough for everyone) and what I love, but you could truly keep this as simple, or get as creative, as you want.
For your first few passes, I highly recommend that you take a ‘no rules’ approach and just lay down colors with the freedom to just create. This is a great way to warm up and also a great way to get comfortable mixing and working with your paints. I was nervous at first to lay paint down and make a mistake, but after I just started going for it, and encouraging the kids to do the same, I felt more in control of the brush and paints and more confident in my approach.
Be advised that as soon as you put a big piece of paper and some art supplies down on your table and you start to create, just like a magnet, your family will gravitate to the table to collaborate with you! Don’t worry about your big plans yet, just invite them to join you and create whatever their heart needs to spill out! Instant art therapy, mamas! These loose, messy runners can be just as sweet and charming to use for your kids table for a few days and you won’t care if they keep doodling on it!
Step Two: Once you’ve taken a few passes and found some alone time at the table, you can grab whatever inspiration you’ve found to use as a visual guide for your final pieces. I searched on Pinterest for ‘spring floral watercolors’ and raided my mood board, but you could also pull from magazines or even just flowers you scavenge from around your yard. Having some visuals really helped me narrow down what colors I wanted to use and gave me a frame of reference when I was unsure of my own eye.
Step Three: Start painting! I had a few ideas in mind and ran with them, including a floral runner that took a couple attempts, but I ended up even loving my ‘process’ piece. And since springtime in Florida means orange blossoms and picking season, I knew I wanted to make a citrus runner. I used a couple images I found I pinterest and went for it.. hard to mess up oranges! Strawberries would be really cute, too!
TIP: The kraft paper can get really wrinkly the more water you lay down on it, so I found that taking a less is more approach really helped keep the crinkle factor to a minimum. Work your way from one end to the other, applying a color or two at a time. Then start back at the other end applying your next color/layer and so forth, allowing each layer time to dry before applying the next.
Step Four: Once you’ve finished applying your paint, allow your runner to dry completely. You can stop at this point, or you go back over it with your oil pastels to add some detail line work and extra pops of color. Crayons, colored pencils or pens would also do the trick here, and are also more kid-friendly, if you don’t have oil pastels.
If you’re still struggling to get loose you can always go for a simple pattern! Rainbows are popular in my house and they are hard to mess up, so I just narrowed down my colors and created a simple graphic that I repeated the entire length of the runner– EASY!!
You can store your unused runners rolled up in a tube, or you can cut them down for placemats or framed art. These would also be great for birthday parties when you want something customized and cheap!
Don’t be intimidated to try this one, friends! Other than the roll of paper, you probably already have all the supplies you need, and in the least you will get some quality time with your kids (or inner artist!) creating an awesome piece of artwork, and that is priceless!