Polka-dreams (and tutorial!)

Not all of my nursery dreams are becoming reality… but the polka-dots turned out fantastic! (At least we think so!)


An explanation: As you probably know, we do not know if our coming attraction is a boy or a girl. So, we’re going for a gender-neutral theme in le chambre de bebe (we’re also trying to learn French). Also, we plan on having two kiddos – and using this nursery for both. Since we (obviously) have no way of predicting the gender of mini-dreamer #2 – that’s also reason to keep the space a relatively pink-and-blue-free-zone. So, we’re going with a silver and white theme. Not really sure where that idea originated, although it probably had something to do with a chandelier that Mrs. Dreamer purchased for another room, decided against using it there (can’t remember where now – she’s a bit chandelier-obsessed), but held onto it because it would clearly be cute in a nursery. It is silver and crystal – you can see it in the above photo. Also, our wedding colors were silver, white and blue – hmm… perhaps we’re just stuck on that theme. Anywho, it is coming together really nicely. We’re hoping to show you the complete project in just a few, short weeks.

Back to the dots.

We wanted to do at least one wall of silver polka-dots. First thought: wallpaper. However, the Dream came with textured walls (blech) and that makes wallpaper no bueno. Second thought, painting on silver dots with spray paint or metallic paint. However, the Dream came with textured walls (blech) and that makes painting something that precise no bueno. Third thought (now we’re getting closer), wall decals. However, before we knew what that would entail – we needed to know how many we would need.

Before we painted the wall, Mrs. Dreamer drew in what we planned to go on here – a few frames and then the dots. We settled on the 5-inch size (about the size of a CD) and the spacing we liked. With that, we calculated we would need 60 dots per wall – and were initially leaning towards putting the dots up on two walls. So, that = 120 dots.

We contacted a reputable wall decal company for a quote. With a 20 percent discount and shipping, 120 5-inch dots = $220.

Hmm… we weren’t sure what to think of that. We thought it would be less, but really had no idea what that would cost. Also, we were very committed to the design – and willing to pay for it. But, first we explored several DIY options and came up with a way to turn this $220 project into a $40 one. YEP! Here’s how we did it:

Items needed:

  • Silver contact paper – available in 18-inch x 6 feet rolls at Home Depot (apparently people use this stuff to make their appliances appear to be stainless steel)
  • Circle cutter
  • Credit card (or old college ID card)
  • Self-healing mat
  • Candlesticks (that’s the silver thing on the left)

we used a setup like this – with the candlesticks holding the roll in place (they also come in handy later…)

one of the rolls we used had a lot of wrinkles like this…

we just smoothed

with our circle-cutter set at 5-inches, we motored through the rolls and got about 39 dots per roll (give or take a few misfires)

And by “we” we mean Mrs. Dreamer, solo. The Mr. was off painting something and shoo’d the baby-bearer out of the room. This part is super-easy and goes really fast!

because the contact paper is on a roll, the circles look like this at first

just slide them under one of those handy candlesticks for a bit and they flatten right out –although it’s not necessary to flatten them completely

Okay, so now we have our dots – the next challenge: getting them on the wall. When you have Type-A tendencies like one of the Dreamers (the Mrs.), this ends up a daunting task. We did not want the dots haphazardly thrown up on the wall. If that’s your thing – this process would go a lot faster! But if you’re like us, and want those dots in straight lines – some prep work is in order.

we rigged up some old Christmas ribbon and started four inches off the ceiling and adjoining wall

from there, we put up the dots 9-inches apart

for the next row, we measured 9-inches from the bottom of the dot above and directly in-between each dot – we had to move the red ribbon down with each row

In the end, we had seven perfectly aligned rows, perfect symmetry and a happy momma-to-be (at least ONE of her ideas panned out!).

Now, we’re on the fence about doing these on the opposite wall. That’s another reason we’re glad we found a way to do this for so cheap. If we scrap the remaining dots, it won’t be at a great financial loss. Speaking of finances, here’s the polka-dot-budget-breakdown:

  • Silver contact paper, $9.99 for each 18-inch x 6 feet roll (we used 3) = $29.97
  • Circle cutter, scored with half-off coupon at local craft store = $9.99
  • Self-healing mat = already had

TOTAL = $39.96 (that’s a $180.04 savings from the pro’s quote!!!) Connect the dots… we’re two happy baby-parents-to-be!

About Michelle Fortin

Michelle Fortin is a follower of Jesus, a wife and a mom. She's also an award winning broadcast journalist and public relations professional. Michelle spent nearly a decade working in television newsrooms across the country, both behind and in front of the camera. Training future broadcast journalists in her faculty associate roles at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University and at Arizona Christian University was a cherished focus of her post-TV career. Today, she maintains a roster of public relations clients focused on empowering fellow “momprenuers.” She also serves as a speaker for various women's and mom's events. Michelle received her bachelor’s degree from Biola University and Master of Mass Communication (MMC) from Arizona State University. She and her husband, two young kids and English bulldog call Scottsdale, Arizona, home.

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