I’m working on a new back-painted glass DIY and it’s not quite finished, so I thought I would take this chance to show you how I gather pattern inspiration from everyday sights. Stick with me as I show you how these Chicago snaps from a one-day walk around the city inspire a home décor item that will trigger happy memories daily.
Sometimes we get caught up in the details of trying to create the perfect piece of original art, décor, gifts and home projects that it keeps us from beginning. Or that could just be me and my gift of procrastination. But if that’s you too, I’ve outlined concrete steps to take to get things moving.
This is when I let my inspiration from the world drive my project. Although I feel in a perfect world that I would keep myself isolated and create my own patterns and designs, the reality is that you just cannot help but catalog tidbits of everything you come across in daily life. I am inspired by everything from a soup can label to the pattern of rust drips on a concrete wall, so filtering anything I’ve seen out of the creative process is completely out of the question.
Always drawn to the geometric patterns in nature and architecture, I tend to snap photos of anything that catches my eye. I may not know at the time in particular the detail that encourages me to stop so I make sure to capture a photo, even if it’s just a quick phone pic.
Here are the steps I take to harness those bits and turn them into something of my own.
- Gather: Photos, quick sketches and Pinterest saves of those items that have caught your eye. Often it’s those images that you are unsure of what draws you in that have the most potential.
- Ponder and Sketch: I like to get all the images/sketches in one area and just peruse over them. Some times I try to pick up on the similarities in the grouping, other times I enjoy focusing on the differences.
- Refine: By now you’ll have noticed a trend in what you are choosing to sketch repeatedly (or you’ll have clear ideas for a couple of different directions, save the extras for your next project!). Pick your favorite for the current project you have in mind and start mapping it out. This may require drawing somewhat to scale for the piece you have. I am back painting glass for a table top, so I know that I want some sort of border, center focus and geometric fill-in for the rest. I will pick the elements that fulfill those requirements and start working them out.
- Use: Now you’ve got a pattern that’s ready to go for your project. Depending on the finished product, your prep work will vary widely at this point. If you are back painting glass like me, draw to scale the pattern on a light background with easy-to-see marker. We’ll use it to put behind the glass and trace later on.
All of the photos you see here are from a family trip to Chicago to visit my sister-in-law a few years ago. I enjoy the process of creating something that isn’t quite souvenir, framed photo or memento to remember favorite occasions. While I love the photos from the trip, we have limited wall space, so I enjoy finding creative ways to trigger my happy memories and also liven up my home.
Stay tuned for the process and finished results of my glass table top. You can use these for protecting an old wood finish, setting hot food dishes on the dining room table, or even backsplash material!