Check Out This Creative Nursery!
P&B: Your nursery looks fantastic! How did you decide on the theme for your baby's room?
Barb Burton: We were looking for a non-traditional theme that would match well with the rest of our house, which is mainly painted in bright, bold colors. The walls of the room that would become the nursery were lime green and violet when we started, and we hoped to not have to change the base color (which we didn't). I was looking at various nursery themes on the Internet and really did not see anything that I thought would make us happy. My husband suggested doing a mural using a projector, which would allow us to pick out any pictures we wanted. Having always been a Dr Seuss fan, I thought this would make a great nursery theme that would last for more years than many of the other baby themes I had seen.
P&B: Did you get any help from a designer or a decorator in planning the room?
Barb: I planned the room myself, with no outside input. I did not want to have merely a The Cat in the Hat room, but a room that included images from all of my favorite Seuss books from my own childhood, including Hop on Pop, Green Eggs and Ham and Fox in Socks. We already had the books, because one of the first things I did upon finding out I was pregnant was to purchase a collection of Dr Seuss books!
P&B: How did you create the drawings/murals?
Barb: My husband, Greg, did all of the actual painting, while I supervised, washed brushes and was an all-round terrific assistant! To create the murals, he used a projector to project images from the books onto the walls. This was a slow, tedious process because we could only do one image at a time. We could not move the projector once painting of an image had started, or it would have been almost impossible to line it up exactly again. I heard, "Careful, don't bump the ladder!" more times than I can count.
He began by painting white as an under-layer, followed by applying the colors one by one, leaving time for each to dry before painting an adjacent color. The last step was to paint the black outline and the black accents and details present in all the characters.
Some people have asked us why we did not trace the images first. The reason is because we would have painted over all of the traced details when painting the solid colors.
The whole project ended up taking about 40 hours of actual painting over the course of several weeks, due to the time spent watching paint dry, and the need to have a completely dark room.
P&B: What else is in the room to complement/accent the walls?
Barb: One of the challenges with a Dr Seuss theme nursery is the lack of licensed products, such as bedding or other nursery accessories. We chose to use solid primary colors (mostly red) for the crib bedding. We were able to find many Seuss knickknacks, such as stuffed dolls and Hallmark figurines, to help add to the decor, on eBay and various other sites. My mom helped out by making a One Fish, Two Fish quilt, my sister built a Dr Seuss Mobile for the crib, and Greg's parents donated the dresser (which was Greg's as a child) that we made to look like the cover of the One Fish, Two Fish book.
P&B: Any tips for other parents hoping to create something like this? Barb: Patience is an absolute must! This really takes a lot of time, but anyone can do it. We have no special artistic training or anything, and we had never attempted anything like this before.
A few other tips for painting murals include:
- If painting on a colored wall, paint a base coat of white behind the images before adding the colors to make the colors more true.
- Make sure the black paint is very black -- jet black. It needs to still appear black after it dries, and not become a charcoal color.
- Using satin paint for the murals on a wall that is flat paint really makes the images pop out.
- A hairdryer works wonders for speeding up the paint drying process.
The very best thing about this nursery is that it was so inexpensive! For instance, the One Fish, Two Fish dresser (shown below), one of my favorite parts of the room, was salvaged from storage and cost only the price of the paint.
P&B: What have people's reactions been to the work?
We have received so many compliments from family, friends and other expectant moms on the message boards. We are thrilled with the end result. This is a room that should last a few years more than some nursery themes. We will be heartbroken when the day comes to paint over it. We are already considering moving our son into the other spare bedroom when he gets older, and using the Seuss room as a guest room! Hopefully our family and friends would get a kick out of it. The positive response makes us really proud of our baby's room.