Early last month, my family and I spent a lazy Sunday afternoon at a festival in a nearby little town. The kids rode ponies, we ate some good food, and we watched the Weiner Dog races. Yes, seriously. Right before we left, an Elvis impersonator took the stage, and we danced and sang along with him in the shade. It was so much fun.
While I was there, I became so inspired by this Elvis. He wasn’t the hunky Jail House Rock Elvis. Instead, he was the fat, sweaty, jumpsuit-wearing Elvis. I wanted him to live somewhere in my house. Yes, seriously.
That next week, Emma and I headed down to our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore to find some reclaimed wood flooring that I could nail together into some sort of canvas. There was no wood flooring (there is usually tons, so someone must have cleaned them out), but I did come across a 6 foot by 3 foot piece of old, blue house siding for $2. Sold! I’m sure was a sight to see me shove this into my little SUV, but we somehow managed to get it home. It was twice as long as I needed, but I’m always happy to have the extra length, just in case.
I’m not a huge Elvis Pressley fan, but my parents were born and raised in Memphis. One of the best memories I have of my grandmother was when she took me to see Graceland one summer. Elvis now holds a special place in my heart, because his image reminds me of my beloved Gay, who left us about 15 years ago.
I searched online for the best photo of Elvis to use for my project, and I kept coming back to this one taken of him during a concert in Hawaii. I liked his pose in the photo and I really love the lei.
I am so weird, right?
Anyway, I altered the image a bit in Photoshop and set it to print across multiple pages. I taped them all together, so my little template looked like this.
I put some carbon paper between my print outs and my old siding, and I started tracing the outline. I wanted to give the project a real pop art feel, so I thought I would do all of the shading in really geometric sections.
Turns out, that idea was a huge FAIL. It was scary. Really, really scary. There was nothing I could do to salvage it.
I’m glad I had that extra length on my siding!
I cut out Elvis’s silhouette and traced it with chalk onto the other end of the siding. I had plenty of room, and it immediately looked a lot better. It wasn’t the original idea I was going for, but this one was going to be fun, too. I filled in the inside details by hand. (Looking for a template? I now have one here!)
Using cheap bottles of craft paint that I already had on hand, I started painting in the details. Once the paint was dry, I was able to wipe off the chalk with a wet cloth. I am completely unable to draw faces, so I decided he would be faceless. We can pretend that it’s some artistic statement, but it’s really just that I’m an untalented artist.
In a last minute decision that screamed over-the-top-but-I’m-going-to-do-it-anyway, I decided to sequin his lei. I bought two packages of the big pailette sequins from Hobby Lobby and started nailing them onto the lei with small wire nails.
I nailed and nailed and layered and nailed the sequins. It took me a few days to get it covered, because every time I started working on it, Emma would yell, “No more bang, Mama!” Eventually I got them all put on. The result is quite shimmery, and I love it so.
Tom cut the “fail” portion off of the siding and together we “distressed” the cut edge with a hammer, a crowbar and dirt. We screwed the artwork directly into the studs behind our drywall. For under $10, I have a new giant piece of custom artwork.
Elvis now lives on the wall under my drum light and next to my crazy bathroom. He’s right at home here, don’t you think?
Eventually, this builder’s beige blech blah wall will become a vibrant color. The wall is not on my “rooms to do” list of 2012, so Elvis will have to give it some character until I can get to it. I think I might want to put something to serve as a console table underneath him, but I’m not quite sure. I need to live with him for a while before I make that decision.
Have you ever been inspired by something as crazy as jumpsuit Elvis? Did you see that inspiration through?
Brooke Proctor says
I. LOVE. IT. I think a bit of the unexpected gives so much character! Great job. And weenie dog races? Pure entertainment! We have a long haired doxie, so naturally I find this subject charming!
Danna B says
What an imagination! Good job!!! I love it!!!
Okay that is just way too cool! Now my mind is going crazy. A whole series of these guys…
Really fantastic! Great job!!!!
Christine Leahy says
Ok, I had my doubts that even you could make this work…BUT…OMGosh….bravo girl! I’m lovin’ it!
Jean @ Flower Hill says
Looks great! So fun!
Amanda Rose says
This is so cool!
Oh Lindsay, this is SOOO fabulous!!! You should have had it here in Tupelo this past weekend for our annual Elvis Festival! You could have sold it for mega bucks, that is if you could have parted with it! What a unique piece of art you created!
I am one of your newbies, and am totally inspired by your blog! Just can’t wait to see what you come up with next!
the Blah Blah Blahger says
Great job! I’m not an Elvis fan but it’s awesome. It screams Elvis without SCREAMING Elvis, am I making any sense? 🙂 Way to be bold!
pam clark says
I love Elvis and I love what you did to bring Elvis into your home. It’s not easy to bring Elvis in and you did it magnificently!!! The sequins really make it and I love it that the face is blank. Everybody has their own Elvis face in their minds anyway. Pinning this!!
Lindsay – I love it – the colors, your execution of it, EVERYTHING. Truly a great work of art and fun… fun… fun…
My best- Diane
That is incredibly creative! I am in awe!
Linda Budinich says
LOL. You are creative! I’m not showing my husband since Elvis is always his go-to costume for Halloween. Don’t even get me started on the time he grew out his sideburns to mutton chops for the costume! I love the drum light. I’ve been saving the last piece of my kids drums for a table in their soon-to-be grown-up playroom/hangout. I think that a drum light might be cooler! 🙂
pam kueber says
This is the coolest thing you have done yet. However, I keep thinking his hair should have some texture, too. Like fuzzy like flocked wallpaper. hahahahahaha
Jessica @ Decor Adventures says
This is awesome! I have to figure out something to sequins up like this for my house. It’s so cool! “A – huh – huh” <– That's Elvis singing.
LOL! Thanks, Jessica!
I LOVE Elvis so I LOVE your Elvis wall art!! You did an amazing job!! Just too cool!! 😀
Love this! Do you have a template for this project that we could print?
Lindsay Ballard says
Hi Annette- I don’t know if you saw, but I have a template now! Here it is: http://makelyhome.com/elvis-art-template
Thank you, thank you very much!!!!
Ana McCool says
Wow! I love Elvis since I was a little girl. Your Elvis art is wonderful, I am completely in love!
Lindsay Ballard says
Thank you, Ana!