Around the House: DIY Ampersand Art

After hanging up our new kitchen artwork last week, I realized that the wall with my ‘bitchin kitchen’ poster really needed a second piece to balance it out. It was one of those things where one looked ok, and better than before, but it also kind of looked obvious and puny. Nothing special. And I’m proud of my poster, so I wanted it to look like something special.

But two! Two would make a statement! Fill the space and create some drama. Really draw you in. So I ran back to Michael’s yesterday and grabbed another clearance frame. These frames cost around $7.50 each by the way. They were on clearance for $14 with an extra 50% off that. So not a huge deal to grab a second one once the decision was made.

I’d already decided on what the second piece would be too. As soon as I saw this poster, I fell in love. Being a graphic designer, I have a special love for typography, so the simple ampersand drew my eye immediately.


But being the design geek that I am, what really hooked me was the font. Those beautiful curves and counters. The rich wide bowl and spine juxtaposed with those gracefully thin lines. And the terminal! Sigh. You see, since I first started studying the history of design (could that really be almost 10 years ago???), Herb Lubalin has been my absolute favorite designer. His work is so inspirational to me. This particular font is one of his creations (or at least a very close reproduction). It’s called Pistilli Roman and was collaboratively designed by Herb Lubalin and John Pistilli sometime in the mid to late 1960’s.


But, as much as I loved this version of the poster, Pistilli Roman’s trademark ampersand was a little different. You can see it in the booklet photo above, last line of the large type. (The font face was digitized in the 90’s with the alternate version seen in the silver poster.) I decided to create my piece with the original fancy ampersand as a nod to my man, Herb.

Anyway, enough with the geekery. Let’s get to the fun stuff. To create my poster, I printed out the ampersand as an outline in the size I needed- 11×14. In case you’re wondering, I used Google to find a larger logo graphic to print, and Adobe Illustrator to set it up, because I have it and use it daily, but you could probably use any type editor to do this.

I wanted something with some visual texture to create a nice contrast to the silver I planned to use for the main graphic. So I searched through my scrap paper, but couldn’t find the perfect thing, until it occurred to me to use the cardboard backing of one of my large sketch books. Perfect!

I just laid the print out on top of the cardboard and traced over it with a pencil. I made sure to apply enough pressure to leave a light indent in the cardboard underneath, showing the edges of my graphic.

From there, I grabbed a silver Sharpie marker I had lying around, and started filling it in! It was so simple. Like a grown-up coloring book.

The whole project took me less than 20 minutes. Once it was colored in, I just cut it out and framed it. Total cost for this project: the $7.50 for the frame. And that’s it. Now check out the results:

First of all, what do you think of my knock-off ampersand art? I took this photo at night, so it looks a little darker in this picture than it does in real life (where it’s bright shiny silver). But it turned out quite nicely if I do say so myself. Here’s an Instigram pic that shows how bright it looks during the day:

And a full view of the new art wall:

Second of all, doesn’t two frames look so much more put together? I love it. Now I just have to make sure to keep an eye on the beast, since that second one is both shiny and right at sticky-hand height. A dangerous combination. I should probably look into securing it to the wall for good measure. I’ll keep you posted.

Ok, well, I think I’m done with kitchen art for now. Mostly because we literally have no where else to hang anything in there. Although, as always, I reserve my right as a woman to change my mind. ;)

Have a great night!


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  • Designing Dawn | Around the House: Kitchen Window Refresh

    […] lighting, and painting our countertops, not to mention making artwork for the space like this and this, it was just one of those little things I kept putting […]

  • Lindsey

    Love it! You can use little Velcro strips to secure it! Works like a charm!

  • Sweepstakesmama -Shannon

    Looks beautiful! I tried to vote for your blog but couldn’t get it to go thru. I tried 4 times.. Sorry!

    Hope you can come by our site:

  • Lindsay Thomas

    Love it!


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