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Category: DIY

cop to it: how to make a copper wall grid inspiration board

Nothing like an easy weekend DIY to make us feel like we can do things. This project is great if you want to feel accomplished, save some doll-hairs, and have an excuse to cut things out of magazines like we did when we were nine. (Remember when covering your WHOLE wall with magazine clippings was cool? “I can still smell the old perfume samples…” she said, in her best elderly Rose from Titanic voice.) 

When I was looking at ideas for updating our study, I knew I wanted an inspiration board. As I combed through Pinterest, copper wire wall grids caught my eye. I loved the juxtaposition of the clean grid lines with the chaos of the clipped photos, textiles, etc. I set out to see if I could find an affordable one that also fit the size I wanted. The closest I came was this one, but it was still a bit smaller than I was hoping. So I sourced some options to make my own, and realized I could make one for less than half the cost of the one I found. And YOU CAN TOO! (Ugh, sorry, I’m listening to Rihanna and feeling AMPED.)

how to make a copper wire wall grid inspirationboard

What You’ll Need

I’ve linked below to these sources on Amazon, if you’re like me and prefer your DIYs hand-delivered to your door. 

how to make a copper wire wall grid inspirationboard

How To Make a Copper Wire Wall Grid

  1. Arrange your grids and make sure they are all facing the same direction. (There’s a “front” and “back” that may not be easily distinguishable, but I guarantee as soon as you figure out that they aren’t all facing the same direction when your project is complete that it will make your eye twitch, and we don’t want that.)
  2. Once you have them arranged how you’d like, use a zip tie to secure them in place. You can see where I placed mine below.
  3. After the zip ties are secured, spray paint the whole dang thing. Give one side a good coat, wait for it to dry completely, then flip it over and give the other side an even coat as well.  

how to make a copper wire wall grid inspirationboard

Voila! You have done it. Man. You are awesome. Way to do the things! Now, you can reward yourself with magazine clipping/pinning up time. To get into the spirit of things, apply some Dr. Pepper chapstick or very thick, frosted, scented lip gloss. Wanna really go wild? Spritz some Tommy Girl into the air and walk through it. 

how to make a copper wire wall grid inspiration board

CASUAL GIF DEBUT, NBD. When better to drop my first gif than a post where I make like six other 90s references? 

Anyway. Obviously the bare wire grid wall needed some zhuzhing. First I added larger clippings, then medium-sized, then the smaller ones. I tried to keep it varied with photos, colors, text-based stuff, and personal touches, but girlfriend is not about to tell you how to put together your inspiration board. It’s yours. Make it look how you want. Also, I used two binder clips on the top of a cork tile as a way to hang the tile off of two S-hooks. I liked having a spot where I can pin up more temporary stuff, and I just liked how it looked.



Who is as surprised as I am that only two pictures of Finn made it onto the board? Don’t worry, the rest are on the fridge.

Hope you all have an awesome weekend doing things that make you feel inspired and accomplished. Even if that involves taking a trip to Claire’s at the mall because you’re wondering if glitter eyeshadow and karma beads are still a thing.

Wait, is Claire’s still a thing?

Are malls still a thing?

Being 29 is strange. 



How to make a DIY copper grid wall inspiration board
How to make a DIY copper grid wall inspiration board

back in black: our cheerful black accent wall

The title of this post is brought to you by 1) Matt’s true, unconditional love of 80’s rock and 2) our shiny (well, eggshell-y) new black wall. If you have been anywhere within ten feet of me in the last eleven months or have read this post or this post, you know that I have had the itch to paint this wall black for a long time. It started almost a year ago when I saw this house tour on Apartment Therapy, and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. From there, I created a Pinterest board for my favorite black walls/black inspiration images. These are a few of them:

black accent wall inspiration

When we decided to stay in this apartment for another year, I decided to shut up about it and just do it already. I didn’t succeed in shutting up about it (sorry, literally everyone I’ve had human interaction with for the past two weeks), but I (we) did do it. As you can see above, I love a black wall with a slight sheen to it. And I wanted it to be cheerful. A dark, black, cheerful accent wall. What, like it’s hard?

This is the part where we make our vlogging debut, all dressed up in our painting finest. Real talk: never, ever, pause this video or play it slowly. If you do, not only will you see me looking supes disgusting but more importantly, I think Samara from The Ring will like crawl through your screen and kill you and dump you in a well. I urge you to heed my warning.

This was our painting process, in case you didn’t pick up every detail from the 27 second timelapse video:

  1. Remove everything from wall including art and outlet covers (except for our shelf and TV mounts, because those were going to stay in place.)
  2. Wipe down wall with a damp rag to remove dust.
  3. Tape trim with painter’s tape.
  4. Use a brush to cut in along trim and around covers/anything the roller might not be able to get close to.
  5. Paint the majority of the wall using a roller for maximum coverage/minimum brushstrokes.
  6. Use this handy edger to cut in along corners and ceiling. It’s quicker than putting up painter’s tape everywhere and gives a really straight line. The tricky part is not letting any paint get on the wheels that it rolls on.
  7. Keep a damp cloth on your person for any slip-ups. We had a few, but a damp cloth took care of them pretty quick.
  8. Step back and admire your new black wall.

To remind you, here’s what it looked like before:

gallery wall around TV

Nothing wrong with it, per se…just couldn’t shake the urge to paint it. I felt like not only would it look great and help our art stand out, but that it would help our very lovely, but very “big box” apartment feel a little less generic.

Guys. Why didn’t we do this sooner?? We love it. There are a few imperfections in the form of some spots where we smudged the wall, but they are pretty minuscule and just not where your eye lands. We ended up doing a very easy second coat with the roller and that was what we needed for really smooth, even coverage. As a person who has definitely gotten knee-deep into some painting jobs that I knew weren’t going to turn out the way I wanted (I can’t apologize to my college roommates for that awful, lime-green bathroom enough), I’m just thrilled with how it turned out. It’s exactly what I pictured. Scroll down for all the after pics, an art source list, paint color, AND a giveaway.

a cheerful black accent wall

a cheerful black accent wall

a cheerful black accent wall

a cheerful black accent wall

a cheerful black accent wall

Honestly, though. It took about two hours total with prep + paint. Putting up the art the next day took about thirty more minutes. On that note – I grabbed two new pieces , knowing that I wanted add a bit more art and up the cheerfulness by a few degrees. Here are the art sources, clockwise starting with the Austin print on the far left: (all that are available are linked)

  1. Austin neighborhoods print in an Ikea frame (new!)
  2. My aunt’s photograph of a bistro table in Paris
  3. Georgia O’Keeffe skull print (larger size) in a Target frame
  4. Wooden kiwi statue- vintage
  5. Small blue plate 
  6. Illustration of Finn in a West Elm frame (12.5 square)
  7. Fleetwood Mac lyric print in a Target frame
  8. Hello Sunshine print in a Target frame (new!)
  9. Edward Gorey book
  10. Georgia O’Keeffe poppies print in a Target frame
  11. Social Print Studio Instagram picture of Matt and I in an Ikea frame
  12. Fritz Scholder lithograph in a custom copper frame from Hobby Lobby

Paint color- Kelly-Moore “Yin Mist” in an eggshell finish-but we added 60 shots or so of black pigment to deepen the hue.

a cheerful black accent wall

One benefit that could 100% be in my head or could be real is that I feel like it’s a bit cooler in the living room. This room gets a ton of afternoon sun and it is HOT in Austin this summer, so the room gets pretty warm in the afternoons. I feel like it’s been a bit more manageable since painting. Just in case you needed one more tiny, possibly made-up reason to paint your wall black. Like that’s the one detail that’s going to send you over the edge. “Well, I wasn’t sure, but Molly said that it MAY affect the temperature by about a degree, so LET’S DO IT!”

a cheerful black accent wall

But really, if you’re sitting there hemming and hawing, and you’re like “love this idea, but I hate doing things” or you have never painted before and you feel nervous or you don’t have time or WHATEVER, but you still want to get stuff done–might I introduce Thumbtack? It’s a handy app that you can use to get connected with local professionals to help cross those things off your list, whether it’s hiring a personal trainer, a house cleaner, someone to teach your kid piano, or, you guessed it-someone to come paint your perfect cheerful black accent wall that you now need. One reader will receive a $100 credit towards Thumbtack-simply comment on this post with what you might use Thumbtack for, or tell me how pretty the wall looks and how you wish you could pet it.


This post is sponsored by Thumbtack. Thanks for supporting the brands that support ABA!


one room challenge week 5: i’m a bench

I’m laughing to myself at the title of this post. When my sister was little, she didn’t know the words to Meredith Brook’s song, Bitch, so she would sing “I’m a bench, I’m a lover, I’m a child, I’m a mother…” She was, and is, totally adorable and the best little sister in all of the lands. Now that she’s older and a soon-to-be college graduate, she earns her “best sister” status not by sweetly singing the wrong words to pop radio, but by dragging her hungover butt to Home Depot with me to help me build a bench for my patio. FULL CIRCLE!

DIY patio bench

(If you need to catch up: I started the One Room Challenge on week 3 with a mission to overhaul the patio. In week 4, I pulled the trigger on some chairs and a side table, this week (week 5) I built this bench, and next week is the full reveal!)

There she is, in all of her incredibly simple glory. Eh, glory is probably a strong word, but it’s a word I get to use after bumbling through Home Depot and sweating through hoisting nine cinderblocks into my car and onto my patio. Hey guys: cinderblocks are HEAVY. My sister can attest to this. Did I mention she was hungover?

DIY patio bench

Nine cinderblocks, you say? But there are only four cinderblocks used in the bench? Yah, I had some grand plans for this thing. They looked much better on paper. The final product was…so, so bad. Tim Gunn would call it “overworked.” So, we lugged around five more cinderblocks than we actually needed. And for whatever reason, my sister hasn’t shaved my eyebrows off in my sleep or burned my apartment down. Like I said, she’s the best.

DIY patio bench

I’m putting some of the extras to use as a plant stand, as you can see, so it’s not a total waste. Bench details are as follows: One 2″ x 12″ piece of pressure treated pine cut to 4.5 feet, plunked on top of four 8″ x 16″ cinderblocks. That’s it! All sources for the accessories that you see will be shared in next week’s reveal, so yall come on back now, ya hear?

DIY patio bench

I’m pretty much done at this point…just need to grab some more plants and pots, style it up, and take some pics for next week’s reveal. The bench was definitely the hardest part of this makeover if sweat level is the main unit of measurement, which I think means this was a pretty freaking easy room. Lots of the other participants are doing much tougher work–if you’re interested, check them out here!

DIY patio bench

We’ve already started using the patio (I’m writing this post from it tonight!) and it’s so awesome having essentially an entire new room in our apartment. I’m kicking myself for not doing this sooner. Much like my sister was probably kicking herself for agreeing to go to Home Depot with me. Big ups to her for being The Numero Uno Sister and to the One Room Challenge for motivating me to finally get this space together. Onward to the full reveal!