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calvin & hobbes 5

My kids are OBSESSED with Calvin and Hobbes. It’s a daily read around here. I credit the comic strip with advancing Everett’s reading skills over the summer. It has prompted a lot of good questions from the kids, too. (“Mom, what does ‘pizzazz’ mean?”) Even though Calvin and Hobbes was a favorite of Steve’s when he was little, he never pushed it onto the kids. It just sorta happened. I think it was Layne who first chose a Calvin and Hobbes book at the library and it was love at first sight read.

So when I was brainstorming ideas for a blank sliver of wall next to the boys’ closet, a DIY mural of Calvin and Hobbes was the first thing that came to mind. Luckily, everyone else thought it was a cool idea, too.

calvin & hobbes 1

We searched high and low for an image that would fit the narrow wall space. We settled on a simple image of Calvin and Hobbes standing next to each other. Steve printed the image onto a transparency at work. (Shhhh, don’t tell.)

calvin & hobbes 2

We used a projector to project the image onto the wall. The projector is the same one we used for a similar project in our previous house. We borrowed it from Steve’s office and they told us to keep it because they had no use for it. I have no idea how the projector made the cut and managed to stay in the “keep” pile when we downsized. In fact, I thought we had given it away but Steve found it in the attic space above the garage last week.

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Steve traced an outline of the image onto the wall with a pencil. The image was a tad too wide. We didn’t want the bedroom door to obscure Calvin when opened. So after tracing Hobbes, Steve repositioned the transparency to move Calvin a little closer to Hobbes. Then he traced Calvin.

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Using paint we already had on hand (Clark + Kensington primer + paint in one, color-matched to Ace Paint color “besalt” D36-7 in a flat finish) and a small paint brush, Steve filled in the lines. It took two coats to get adequate coverage.

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The matte charcoal paint worked perfectly. The end result is similar to what you would find in print. Except it’s life-sized and on a wall.

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The area under the basketball hoop no longer feels like a void and the mural should hold up to free throws.

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For reference, here’s the same view with the bedroom door open.

Layne and Everett were away at their grandparents’ house when Steve painted the mural. Even though we had talked with them about creating a mural, the boys had no idea it was happening while they were away. They were so surprised (and excited!) to discover it when they came home. Everett talks to Calvin and Hobbes. It’s hilarious. And ironic. And awesome.

The best thing about the mural (other than it being FREE!) is that it’s easily “erased” with a coat or two of paint should the boys tire of it. But seeing as how their dad is still a fan after 25+ years, I don’t think Calvin and Hobbes are going anywhere.

Fun fact: Did you know Bill Watterson first created the popular comic strip characters in his spare time when not working at an advertising job he detested? The mischievous first grader and his tiger sidekick were originally side characters in a strip that was rejected by a syndicate.

How do you feel about wall murals? Would you consider painting your child(ren)’s favorite character on a wall? I would never agree to a character-themed mural on a wall in a main living area but when done in a kid’s space and in a simple, non-garish design, I think it’s harmless fun.

FYI – If you’re interested in DIYing a wall mural but don’t own a projector, try borrowing one from a local business, school, library or church.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

47 Comments

02.September.2014

Love Calvin and Hobbes so much. When my parents were purging to make a big move last year, all their books came home with me, and my oldest dove right in. It made me smile every time I saw him. The mural is perfect!

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02.September.2014

I thought that was a wall decal! I can’t say that I would put a character on the wall here but you definitely made it look classy and not like the Disney channel puked in a bedroom. It looks great. And now I’m going to get my boys some Calvin and Hobbes to read.

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02.September.2014

What a cool mural for your boys! It looks awesome!

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02.September.2014

My 5 year old would pee his pants if he came home to this! ha! He discovered his dad’s old Calvin & Hobbes collection books this summer and is obsessed. “Pizzazz” is a fun one…the other day I was asked what “sex discrimination” is. So we checked that talk off our list. Thanks Calvin.

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02.September.2014

That’s fantastic! Fellow Calvin and Hobbes fans over here! We have several of their books, and they were a favorite read when our son was growing up. One of our favorite recurring themes was the snowmen. Totally hilarious! (Slightly demented senses of humor over here in our house, obviously!)

Calvin and Hobbes and Beyblades from your closet post definitely take me down memory lane. Our son is 25 now, and I miss having a boy around!

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02.September.2014

Harmless fun sheesh, I think it’s great fun! Way to go. It’s wonderful.

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02.September.2014

That looks AMAZING! I would totally do this in a main living area. *grin* And I think my husband would be fine with it. My mother would kill me though.

I used to use washable crayola water colors to paint the door to the attic that was in my bedroom. It was a really scary attic that was not insulated, so when the wind blew the door would rattle back and forth like something was trying to get in. Sometimes it would rattle so much it would unlatch itself and slowly creak open. Freeeeeekeeeeeee. To combat the scariness I painted unicorns and dragons all over it and pretended they were guarding me. It actually worked and I was never scared to climb out of bed and close the door back up again. And every now and thenI could wash it off and paint new ones.

When I got to college I used to paint murals all over my walls every year. The paint was serious latex so all I needed was a wash cloth and some water to return it to pristine before summer break. Come to think of it I used to use them to paint my face at Halloween too. One year I used washable crayola markers instead. I found they don’t wash off as well as the water colors. It takes about three days of scrubbing and being laughed at by your roommate. Just in case you get the urge.

And, at the risk of sounding like a creepy internet weirdo, it must be seriously hawt where you live. Every day.

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replied on September 3rd, 2014

i thought the same thing….. hawt. every day.

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replied on September 3rd, 2014

Ha! When I brought out the camera Steve said, “If you’re going to take pictures, let me put a shirt on first.”

“Nah,” I said. “It’ll be good for traffic.” ;)

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02.September.2014

I was lucky enough to have Bill Watterson speak at my college graduation -he was an alum. I don’t specifically recall a thing he said, other than he was very funny. Of course you know that he was famously opposed to having his images reproduced and merchandized but I have a feeling he would be ok with this little private ode to his characters for your boys (he hates those bootleg stickers with Calvin peeing that people sell). Looks great. Very cute.

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02.September.2014

Ahhhh! It’s so cute! And I love the gold rim on the basketball hoop

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02.September.2014

Outstanding! Well done. Lucky boys :-)

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02.September.2014

I love Calvin and Hobbes! My son is actually named Calvin, and I made a vinyl decal on my Silhouette for over his crib. It was a much better fit for me because I stink at painting. If you want to see it, here’s a picture:

http://instagram.com/p/rMrSlyi79L/?modal=true

LOVE your blog! I always enjoy seeing bloggers take on “normal” houses with “normal” budgets. And your taste is so much fun!

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02.September.2014

That is a lot easier way to do it! When we adopted my son, I painted several Joan Walsh Anglund characters onto the walls. (Look her up-you will love them!) I did all boys–one climbing a tree and handing down an apple to another, one boy blowing bubbles, one boy flying a kite, 3 boys marching wearing capes and paper hats and playing instruments, one on a rocking horse…it was so cute. But I drew them all freehand from pictures from her little books which were only 4 x 6.

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03.September.2014

What is it about Calvin and Hobbs?! :) My 2 sons, now 20 and 23, have loved them since they were about Layne and Everette’s age. I just showed this post to my 20 year old, and he thought it was so cool! Good job.!

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03.September.2014

Omg I looooove Calvin and Hobbs. My brother and I used to sit for hours and read them. This is beyond awesome Dana!

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03.September.2014

darling idea! and, i love the suggestion to check the library for a projector….great idea!

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03.September.2014

Love that mural. And also second Hanna’s objective (and not at all creepy) appreciation of the HAWT in Ohio…;)

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03.September.2014

Almost the exact same project I did, now I feel smart and clever like a blogger! I love how your mural turned out. I think what keeps it cool and not dated or “in-your-face” is that it’s just black lines, no color. I hope Mr. Watterson doesn’t mind us fans creating these homages to bring his beloved characters into our lives.

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replied on September 3rd, 2014

I know…I couldn’t help but wonder what Mr. Watterson thinks of people painting his images on the walls of their homes.

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03.September.2014

That looks awesome!

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03.September.2014

My dad was once at a dinner party and couldn’t figure out why one man looked so familiar. After the fact, he learned the guy’s last name and realized that it was Bill Watterson’s dad, who looked exactly like the dad in the strip (and from what I’ve seen of Watterson himself, probably his spitting image, too)

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replied on September 3rd, 2014

So cool!

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03.September.2014

I’ve loved Calvin and Hobbes since a friend gave me a book of comics for my 12th birthday. I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to appreciate it too. And your mural turned out amazingly well! Great choice on the image. Hobbes’ deadpan expression just seals the deal. ;)

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03.September.2014

This is great! My kids (all in their 20’s) are fans of C and H, too. You and Steve get the prize for Coolest Parents.

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03.September.2014

I freaking love this. I’m a lifelong C&H fan, too. And I have a first grader with a stuffed bunny who are basically my own personal Calving and Hobbes. It’s pretty fabulous, and fitting.

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03.September.2014

Very cool. I feel you’ve perfectly meshed your boys interests and the overall house decor. My oldest(4) is crazy into superman, transformers and batman and I am having the hardest time finding something that will suffice both his taste and mine! Quick question, are your walls textured? From the pics they look really smooth. Mine are textured so I don’t know if this would look at nice on our walls.

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replied on September 3rd, 2014

No, the walls aren’t textured but some of the original (interior) plaster walls that we didn’t replace during the reno are rough in places.

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03.September.2014

Honestly, if I were to buy your house (not that you’re selling) that mural would stay. Marvelous job; beautifully done.

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03.September.2014

What an awesome idea! I might use this for my own bedroom! I also am a fan of Calvin and Hobbes and remember reading it when I was younger.

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03.September.2014

Wonderfully turned out! We did a small version ourselves and we plan to do a large one. We actually drew by hand, but this idea is great!

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03.September.2014

This is awesome!

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03.September.2014

Are you happier with the wall colors in there now? Seems you must be or would not have painted on this wall color. What is the wall color? If you choose to repaint this room you would lose this, what would you do in this instance? Just curious. You have repainted so many times, I wondered. Oh and did the shirtless husband up the traffic, HA!

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03.September.2014

That looks amazing! Calvin and Hobbes are my all time favorite!

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03.September.2014

It’s really cute, Calvin and Hobbs is definitely a classic. And yes, putting your shirtless husband in there may just drive up the traffic.

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03.September.2014

What a creative piece of art!

I especially love looking back at your old projects in prior homes. I started following when you were living in the apartment waiting for the under dog to be completed. On rainy days, I page back through your archives and read old posts. It’s so fun to see how your style has evolved over the years.

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03.September.2014

LOVE this. And how cool is your husband?!! I’m so impressed that he was the one to execute this! Not to mention looking fabulous while doing so.

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replied on September 4th, 2014

Steve is actually a very talented artist! We have several pieces of his artwork on display in our home. A pen and ink pointillism of Layne as a baby in the mudroom is one of my faves.

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03.September.2014

My husband brought home a projector one day and I was like What are we going to do with this??? Um! We use it all the time. it’s perfect for full size party decorations! Love the wall decorations! And my husband loves using the projector!

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03.September.2014

Love this so much! My husband and I are also Calvin and Hobbes fans, tho as we weren’t quite kids when we started reading (we’re in our early 40s now). Since we don’t have kids of our own, I’m not sure where it would be ‘appropriate’ to do something like this in our house, altho the guest room does spring to mind…maybe in a closet, for a hidden surprise?? Regardless, thanks for the never-ending inspiration!!

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04.September.2014

I love Calvin and Hobbes. Perfect for your boys room.

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[…] Turn your favorite character into a mural–what a cool idea for a kid’s room! […]

05.September.2014

Thanks so much for not only an excellent idea but I have just logged on and bought the comic books for my 9 year old tomboy daughter, totally up her alley and now she is currently begging my husband to do a wall mural in her bedroom – thanks

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replied on September 5th, 2014

You’re welcome? Haha.

Mabrey is already telling me she wants to “dress up like a tiger” for Halloween. Calvin and Hobbes isn’t just for boys!

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05.September.2014

This is so awesome!!! I have to do this now. It’s officially going on my wall. I just need a wall projector.

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15.September.2014

This is so perfect! I love Calvin & Hobbes. Excellent idea!

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