Summer Decorating – using Layers, Texture & DIY Art
Written by on Monday, June 24th, 2013

Summer is the longest and simplest season for home decor and here’s some of my ideas for a table OR mantel-scape,

created for around $20.


This year, I decided to try my hand at my very first painting…. dangerous, I know, but if I can do it, so can you! 🙂

At the craft store, purchase a blank art canvas.  I found a 2-pack for $11 (after using a 40% off coupon); the only difference – they were slightly thinner.  Use one (canvas) for this project and save the other for a Halloween project, I’ll share with you in the Fall.  You’ll also need small bottles of acrylic paint (around 50 cents each at Wal-Mart), sand (Dollar Tree), foam and paint brush (around $1 if you don’t already have these).  I bought sponges, in case I needed more texture, but the sand created plenty (on its own) when I added it to the paint (below), so ignore those (LOL).

s_art supplies

My painting was inspired by one of my favorites – Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, but my version is a “Starry (fish) Sea” instead.  To create the painting’s background, I used a light pencil mark to draw 3 flow-y sections on the canvas and painted each one a different shade of blue or blue-green, allowing each section’s color to overlap each other.  Allow the paint to dry completely.

s_art canvas_painted

You’ll also need a starfish pattern.  I printed mine from an image on the internet, tracing around it (on plain paper) to create a 2nd, larger pattern also.  After cutting-out both patterns, place them on your canvas and lightly trace around each.

s_art_tracing starfish


Mix the white and light beige paints together, adding the white sand for texture (in the paint).

s_art_paint mixed and with sand

Using the white paint only, outline the starfish, with a regular (thin) paintbrush or using the end (edge) of your foam brush.

Then, mix the white paint, light beige paint and sand and use that to fill in the remainder of the starfish.

Allow the starfish to dry completely.

s_art_starfish begin paint_tools

To paint the spine of the starfish, I used a paint brush (lightly) with touches of brown paint.

s_art_starfish_center brown painting_done

Continuing the paint around the sides of the canvas will create a finished look, ready for hanging.

But, if you want to frame it, check thrift stores (or your own stash) for a treasure to transform with paint and use.

I have used my thrift store frame with several of my previous designs (below):

s_fireplace_closer     s_LR_full 2     s_fr_mantle

 Now, I’m using my shabby chic thrift store frame around my very first painting (Starry Sea); and because it didn’t fit perfectly inside, I tacked it in (with a few spots of low-temp hot glue) and covered those mechanics with rope from the DIY (Do It Yourself) store, which also added a textured accent.  And the fish net added a 2nd layer of texture.

s_art only

Another layer of textured design is created by adding rope around any old bottle, jar, chandelier light cover or vase.

Once again, check thrift stores for interesting shapes to cover with glue and rope or twine.

In the photo below, check out the different shapes that I found in just one trip to a thrift store.

Most are vases, but one is even a chandelier light cover.

Each one would make an interesting textured accent, like the one pictured on the left.


More texture was added, using small spots of low-melt hot glue to attach the remainder of the rope (I used around the art) in 3 rows around the mantle and an even larger rope simply wrapped around the bottom of a white vase I already had around the house.

s_2010_lemon dining room_left cabinet →   s_white vase


The final layer was created by combining 5 items together.  On top of a coffee-colored, wide candlestick, I placed an inexpensive glass vase.  Inside the vase, I added sand, small shells and a $2 blue, glass candle holder.  When you want to create a larger item, always look for several things to combine for height, width, texture & color.

Together, the 5 layers (listed above) created one gorgeous look!

s_mantel left_closeup

There’s one more item I created to use in this look, and I’ll share the (DIY) details about it in my next post.

Other than that, the final 2 items (in this design) are shells — easily found at discount, dollar & craft stores — and some spiked grass greenery (recycled from an oriental theme Bride’s bouquet I made a few years ago):

s_bride bouquet_blog

And here’s the complete Summer mantel, full of layers, texture and an original DIY art project:



s_full_side angle2

Enjoy the Creativity!




  1. joyce says:

    Love this summer idea, it is always hard to come up with ideas for the in between holidays…thank you for sharing

  2. Leah says:

    I love how easy you make it look and it’s something i actually CAN afford and create!!Thank you for bringing art back into my life! 🙂

  3. Nena Morton says:

    Sweeet! Love anything that reminds me of my favorite place on earth! 🙂

  4. Diane Richards says:

    Great Idea for summer……I always try to bring back some beach sand to do something like this with

  5. Linda M. Anderson says:

    Since I was an Elementary School Teacher, for 38 years – I NEEDED/WANTED to keep up w/ALL the Holidays,Months,etc., in my classrooms !!! AND, my students enjoyed each time I changed my room decorations !!! So, NOW that I’ve been Retired for 3 years, I now really enjoy/love decorating our home, as the months/seasons/holidays change – both inside & outside !!! I’m always looking for NEW Ideas for EZ decor to keep our home “up to date” because it’s alot of FUN & I really do enjoy decorating !!! I’m SURE that I’ll be MANY NEW Ideas for our home, from these Posts !!! Thank you in advance, Linda

  6. […] used one of these gem votives in my 2013 Summer Mantel-scape […]

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