For quite some time we’ve been tossing around the idea of doing something to make our living room less black and white. We knew we wanted green, since it’s our favorite color and bridges nicely to the backyard. The obvious thing would be to add a pillow or two. Which we did, ordering a needlepoint Jonathan Adler one, but our cat Eva decided she’d sharpen her claws in it. D’oh! Adding a plant would also be a nice touch, but we’re having trouble finding just the right one.
Then it occurred to us, what if we made the top row of our Besta entertainment center cabinets, which are a glossy black, green!
Chris had found a website that sold green removable vinyl and ordered a sample, but we thought it was too bright. I (Christy) had considered a few green things inspired by wall decals: vines that stretched across all the cabinets, tall grasses, maybe an abstract pattern of some sort. Then one day I decided on stripes, and Chris miraculously agreed with me that it was a good idea. Rarely do I suggest something that isn’t shot down immediately.
Chris vetoed what I originally envisioned: a mix of greens and white stripes. Chris said only greens — no whites. So I skipped the gym one day and made a mockup in Photoshop. He loved it. Again, I was floored and pretty darn proud of my rudimentary Photoshop skills.
Green vinyl tape (think electrical tape) seemed like the obvious solution to me. Chris was adamant that it would ruin the surface of the cabinet doors. I stuck a piece across two of the doors, peeled it back off with no residue, and he had to admit that I was right. So we set to work finding some green vinyl tape in the right colors. The original plan was solid tape striping.
When we couldn’t find more than one color of vinyl tape locally, we ordered three colors of the 1/2″ variety from Identitape. They arrived in the mail and we were disappointed. The darkest color didn’t look green from across the room. The lightest color was a little washed out. We were sunk. I even looked into how much it would cost to make custom decals for the cabinets. Ouch.
The next day after lamenting the end of my brilliant idea, I got the tapes and held them next to my mockup. The middle and lightest were almost spot-on for the colors I had. The missing color: a very bright green. So, it was pure luck that we had a sample of the vinyl decal roll in too bright of a green.
We cut a little square out of the sample, put the first few stripes on, and realized it would work. We ordered a big roll of the bright green vinyl and waited.
When the vinyl arrived, we went to work. First we cut the bright green vinyl into squares big enough to fold over the doors, and then cut squares out of each corner for overlap.
Next was the task of sticking them all to the doors. It was a lot harder than we thought to get the vinyl to stick easily to the cabinet doors. Since they’re so slick, I thought the vinyl would slide on like butter. But it did not. It was just sticky enough that it was hard to get off, and didn’t smooth out. The static between the vinyl and the doors seemed to make the vinyl more sticky. Starting was the hardest part, since it would seem fine until you laid it down, and then would look crooked.
The method we finally came up with was to cut a tiny strip of the backing off of the edge where we were starting, line up the rest of the sheet that still had the backing, stick the exposed strip down, then squeegee the vinyl down. The little squeegee that the website sold us was useless on these cabinets. We ended up with the t-square, using it to unstick the backing as it smoothed down the vinyl sheet. It was a trial-and-error process for sure. One that may have made our marriage a little stronger, as do all the ridiculous projects we think up. This part took us two weeknights to finish.
With all the bright green on, we waited until the weekend to tape. This part took us an entire Saturday. (We used the time in the living room to listen to the second half of Tina Fey’s audiobook Bossypants!) We taped one color, all the way across, cutting and re-starting at each door. We used small pieces of tape as width-guides for when we were leaving portions of bright green visible. If you watch the video at the bottom you may notice those tiny green guides showing up here and there. It was a job perfectly suited for my type-A personality.
Chris set up his tripod and took the occasional photograph. By the end, there were enough to string together for a stop-motion video of the striping part! Watch it once to see the stripes, once to see the chairs moving around, and ten times to see Eva…
- Move from chair to chair
- Lick the fireplace (on two occasions)
- Try to nonchalantly eat the t-square on the coffee table
- Smoosh a bug on the window.