Thursday, February 7, 2013

Abacus Nursery Art

The oversized abacus in Baby M's Nursery is probably my favorite item in the room!  I had seen CB2's version several years ago and fell in love with it.  One of my client's original inspirations for her nursery was the alphabet.  This was a great jumping off point, and I expanded the idea to include vintage school items, hence the abacus.  (See sneak peak for more on the original inspiration.)  The abacus fit the gender neutral nursery and it combined vintage with modern - two things on my client's wish list.

Here is the original abacus wall art from CB2, which is no longer available. Hunky Handy Man (HHM) to the rescue! I found  great plans on Anything Pretty blog which he used as a starting point in his construction. 

HHM made a few adaptations to the original plan as he wanted the joints on the top and bottom rather than the sides.  He also did not add the outer frame.  I felt this would make the black frame too heavy, detracting from the graphic sculptural statement of the piece.

The drill press he inherited from his Dad allowed HHM to drill perfectly aligned holes for the dowels.

Pipe clamps helped keep everything square during the construction process.  (HHM will be so proud that I know the correct names of all the tools he used during the building phase!)

Figuring out how to paint 100 beads was a dilemma that HHM pondered for several days.  This first idea of using coat hangers was abandoned due to the fact that the beads could  easily slide around and possibly smudge.

A box from Costco became the paint booth.  If you look closely, you can see that a square peg in a round hole was the solution to the sliding problem.  This allowed HHM to space the beads so he could get all angles and rotate them without the beads moving and smudging each other.  Brilliant solution, HHM!

The square dowels (for lack of a better description) could also be suspended between two sawhorses to allow the beads to dry.  

After looking at many pictures of abaci (or abacuses, either is correct according to Merriam - Webster, although spellcheck does not seem to recognize abaci), I decided to go with 10 different colored beads rather than 5 colors repeated twice.  Little did I know what a challenge this would provide!  Finding the ten paint colors I wanted in a satin finish, sent me to many different Lowes, Home Depot, Michael's and Hobby Lobby locations.  For some reason, matte seems to be the most popular finish in spray paint.  We did eventually end up going with gloss in the pink and could really not tell much difference.

What a great addition to Baby M's School House Rocks Nursery!

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