Thursday, April 26, 2012

Birthday Picnic DIY #3 - Patterned Picnic Blanket (for less than $10)

Although I love a good birthday celebration, it's time to say goodbye to our birthday post series with our last installment of birthday DIY - the patterned picnic blanket that, I'm proud to say, ran me just under $10 to whip up. 

One of the side effects of having a small city apartment is that there's no space for the fun, seasonal items I pine for each time the weather begins to hint that change is coming.  No cute gallon drink dispensers with the little spigots, summer melamine dining sets or wine-for-two wicker picnic baskets over here.  Picnic blanket ownership is also a luxury I can't afford in terms of real estate, especially with baby number 2 on the way. 

But you can't throw a party with nowhere to sit, so off to DIY-ville I went, dreaming and scheming of a quick, economical way to whip up a picnic blanket that I wouldn't feel guilty throwing away if I had to, but that also satified my neurotic desire to have everything just the way I wanted it.  I demand a lot out of my picnic blankets, apparently.  Add Picnic Blanket Task Master to my list of self-appointed titles. 

My first thought was using a canvas drop cloth I've seen in the painting aisle at the hardware store.  My recollection was that they ran about $7 or $8, but when I went to check them out, they only had "fancy" drop cloths (maybe to use with your "fancy" painting clothes?) that ran around $30.  No thanks. 

In a moment of panic inspiration, I racked my brain for a suitable substitute...oil cloth? Not enough time to order something online.  Outdoor table cloth? Nothing cute enough at the store.  I needed something big and waterproof.  Ding.  Enter the vinyl shower curtain liner.  Not such a bad substitute, I'd say.

After consulting with the kind gentleman who mans the paint counter, I was assured that good old fashioned spray paint would do the trick.  I picked up the cheeriest yellow I could find (also marked OSHA, i.e. hard hat yellow) and off I went.  From here it was pretty easy...

What You'll Need
- a vinyl shower curtain liner (I picked mine up for $4)
- spray paint ($5.99)
- masking tape of your desired width (I think mine was 2")
- a ruler

1. Using masking tape of a desired width, tape off the pattern you'd like.  I used a ruler and eyeballed my pattern as I went. 

Here she is in progress...

And ready to meet her match...hard hat yellow.

I didn't snap any shots of the spray in progress, but just imagine it looking something like this:

So realistic you can smell the fumes.  I waited until the paint dried to remove the tape.  I had to pay some attention in order to avoid ripping the vinyl (after all, it's just a $4 curtain), which I only did once.  The good news was my cloth endured no further injury at the actual picnic, and it saw lots of traffic.

Exhibit A: my husband in a heated match of solitaire wrestling.

Exhibit B:  Toddlers drunk on juice boxes.

Exhibit C: high traffic snack stealing.

And guess what?  I even kept it once the party was over after seeing how well it held up. Now I'm not saying I would lay out in a bikini on this thing (not only because vinyl and sweat don't mix but also because at 7 1/2 months pregnant I might be mistaken for a half-inflated parade float), but I think it has a good chance of seeing the light of a sunny, picnic day once again. 

Congrats, picnic blanket, you made the cut.

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