Help me fake trompe-l'oeil in my bathroom.
May 8, 2007 11:12 AM   Subscribe

I have a vision for decorating my bathroom. It sort of involves an amateurish take on trompe-l'oeil -- I know I've seen it before, but I can't think of where. I'm hoping the Hive can put me on the right path to creativity.

Ok, what I'm picturing is starting with a bathroom painted in a lovely shade of French blue. The tricky/fun part is the faux trompe-l'oeil, if it can be called such. The main part of what I want to do is hand-paint a frame around our big but plain double-sink vanity, and possibly paint "crown moulding" along the top.

The reason why I call it faux trompe-l'oeil is that all of this would be done in outline, probably using a subtle hue of silver or ivory paint, rather than going balls-out with the perspective and lifelike shading and such, which is way beyond my artistic ability.

I know I've seen such a technique somewhere, but I can't place it. I'm looking for pictures, if they're out there, as well as any ideas / suggestions to make this crazy plan work. The good news is that while the bathroom is large, there's not a ton of empty wall space, so one or two painted elements (e.g. fake frame + fake shelf with vase of flowers; fake frame + fake moulding; etc.) will probably be the limit.
posted by shiu mai baby to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
The balls-out method is not beyond your artistic ability. It's just a bunch of lines, some dark (shadows and contours), some light (highlights), some in between. link link link link
posted by iconomy at 12:08 PM on May 8, 2007

Response by poster: Further details: I don't know the exact name of the style I'm looking to mimic, but I know it was used in the opening / closing credits to a lot of movies in the early- mid- sixties. Think Audrey Hepburn movies, Doris Day movies, etc. Monsters, Inc. did a great job imitating this feel in its credits.
posted by shiu mai baby at 12:09 PM on May 8, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks, iconomy -- those links are great. The thing is that my desire to do the outlines isn't based as much on my fear of not being able to pull of real trompe-l'oeil as it is that I'd like to imitate that whimsical mid-60's style of illustration I describe above.
posted by shiu mai baby at 12:12 PM on May 8, 2007

Do you mean it looks very simplistic and maybe a touch cartoonish? I'm trying to nail down the style. Maybe Youtube could help.
posted by iconomy at 12:12 PM on May 8, 2007

Response by poster: Yeah, that's getting closer to what I'm aiming for. Something that definitely looks hand-painted, as opposed to trying to literally fool the eye into believing that there's a real frame around the mirror. YouTube is blocked from work, so I'll poke around there when I get home to see if I can find something similar.
posted by shiu mai baby at 12:24 PM on May 8, 2007

Are you talking about a style like the artist Shag? He does a kind of whimsical cartoonish version of mod 60's interiors that reminds me of Monsters Inc.

If that's where you are going, you are right that finding a good reference image is the main challenge - the actual painting should be very straight forward - just sketch in your design, and your shadow, and maybe a couple of highlights. All in solid colors that you can just fill in (no shading within the block of color).
posted by extrabox at 12:37 PM on May 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Clearly I've been living in a cave, because the Shag stuff is all new to me. But yes, that's pretty much what I'm going for, or rather, Shag in outline form.
posted by shiu mai baby at 12:47 PM on May 8, 2007

I think I know just what you are talking about. I'm thinking I've seen it used in kids'/teenagers' rooms on design shows. So maybe googling in that direction would help. Sorry - I don't have time to do the google-fu. My stomach is growling -it's lunch time!
posted by clh at 1:14 PM on May 8, 2007

It sounds like you're going for a similar style to the silhouette chandeliers and candlesticks I've seen recently at places like Urban Outfitters.

Just look up some fancy frames and make a stencil that hints at that shape, maybe with the assistance of a french curve. Flip & rotate the stencil as necessary for each corner.
posted by designbot at 1:40 PM on May 8, 2007

Here are some more links that might be helpful for inspiration:

Nama Rococo Wallpaper Studio. Check out the "French Dot" pattern from their collection.

The work of French artist Lefor Openo.

Wall stickers by Domestic.

Jenny Bowers illustrations.
posted by extrabox at 6:39 PM on May 8, 2007

« Older I have hives. They're making me crazy.   |   What was the boat journey to Paris like way back... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.