Happy Monday everyone! If you can’t tell, I’ve been in a DIY mood lately. Maybe it’s because it’s getting cold outside or maybe it’s because we’re rapidly approaching the holiday season… nevertheless, I hope you enjoy my next little painting project!
When my brother and sister-in-law announced to the family that they were expecting a baby boy, I knew right away I wanted to make something special for their little one. The inspiration for my gift started with this sweet stuffed alligator, which was my brother’s favorite companion growing up!
Read on to see the adorable final results!
While newborn baby gifts are amazing, babies don’t stay babies forever! I wanted to give my future nephew a gift that would grow with him as he got older… something unique and special to celebrate the birth of my baby brother’s first child. I decided I would paint the little guy his very own alligator to hang in his nursery room.
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- 2 Gallery Wrapped Traditional Canvases – I chose two, 12 x 16 canvases
- Paint Brushes
- Acrylic Paint
- 1 Wiggle Eye
- 4 Flat Mount Sawtooth Hangers
- Pencil, Paper, Scissors, Painters Tape
- A few Dimes and a Nickel
- Portable Fan or Hairdryer – for speeding up the drying process
I scoured the internet for the right alligator to turn into a stencil. I didn’t want something childish or cartoony and needed an elongated illustration in order to fit across two canvases. Through a Pinterest search, I found the illustration below by ArdenRaeDesigns.
I then traced a rough outline of the alligator in Adobe Illustrator, scaled it to fit across the two canvases (about 28 inches long), tilted the image to print, and printed it out on plain white paper to create the stencil. I then cut out the stencil and placed it on top of the canvases.
I lightly traced the stencil with a pencil onto the canvases.
I put a little tape on the stencil to keep it in place while I did this.
Then came the fun part – adding color!
I started with the blue base, adding 3 coats to the canvas to make sure the color was solid. As you can see from the pictures below, here is what it looked like in progress when adding the various stages of blue. I painted the edges of the canvas too since I’m not having this piece framed (that would feel too formal for a baby’s room).
Next up, the green layer – again, 3 coats of green paint to make sure the color was solid.
To make the alligator’s spots the same consistent size and shape, I used dimes. Using dimes also made it easier to move around the spots on the canvas to make sure I got them exactly where I wanted them. Note: the green on the left and right is the same, just poor lighting on the image on the left.
Before I added the finishing touch and glued on the alligators eyeball, I screwed 4 hanger brackets into the paintings’ frames for instant and easy installation! As we all know, new parents have ZERO time to do anything from a decorating standpoint once that little one comes into the world and I wanted to make sure hanging these pieces was as painless as possible for my brother and his wife.
When purchasing the perfect alligator eyeball, I used a nickel to estimate size, and bought the perfect one at Michael’s! I glued the eye on using tacky glue.
I plan on including two more eyeballs in a ziplock baggie, taped to the back of the painting, when I send the gift just in case the first eyeball decides to pop off in transit.
Here is the final piece!
While I’ve played around with the idea of writing the baby’s name on it – my brother and his wife are keeping the name to themselves before my nephew makes his appearance in a few weeks. Also, if they have another child, this painting could be used as decoration for both children in the future. Again, I wanted this piece to have longevity in my nephew’s life.
I had so much fun painting this little guy for a future little guy and can’t wait to give it to my brother and my sister-in-law! Most importantly though, I can’t wait to meet my nephew in a few weeks!
PIN THIS TO SAVE FOR LATER