Dorm room DIY: Painting Perfect

    Decorate your walls without spending tons of cash. Photo by the author.

    Just because you’ve never been able to snag a seat in intro to painting doesn’t mean you can’t create a professional looking art project for your abode. The secret is not in what you paint, but in how you present it. Need some inspiration? Take a “shape walk” around campus, keeping an eye out for the lines that define our school. Maybe you’ll decide to represent the craggy stair-step Chicago skyline on canvas or the smooth curves of Sheridan Road as it weaves through south campus. A combination of simple shapes can create a much more complex composition — it’s that easy!


    • 4 canvases of the same size
    • Paint (acrylic works best)
    • Paint brushes
    • Small wall hooks
    • A level (or a good eye!)

    Cost: About $30 (more if you have to purchase paint)

    Time: 1 hour


    1. You can usually get two canvases for $10 at Michaels (the closest one is in Skokie). Or, stop by Blick Art Materials in Evanston (although you may pay a little more.)
    2. Decide on your design, keeping in mind the color of the wall the canvases will hang on.


    1. Slide all four canvases together on a table or other flat surface so they form one large rectangle. Then trace your design, making sure some of the shapes or part of the scene extends between two or more of the individual canvases — this gives it the professional touch.
    2. Next, slide the canvases apart and put that paint brush to work! Don’t forget to also continue the color down the sides and edges of the canvas.
    3. Let the paint dry. You may have to apply multiple coats.
    4. When the paint is completely dry, it’s time to hang up your creation. When you attach them to the walls, leave about an inch or inch and a half in between each individual canvas, so you can see a sliver of wall in between each rectangle. Use a level to make sure the canvases aren’t crooked. You may want to grab a friend with a good eye to help you with alignment.
    5. You’re finished! Enjoy your masterpiece and the compliments you are sure to receive.


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