As Brennan's 2nd birthday came and went, it dawned on me that I really needed to start keeping track of his height on a wall, just like my Mom did with my sister and I as we were growing up. It is so fun to look at the door frame where she marked our height each year and see when we had growth spurts or hardly grew at all!
So, I started to think about where in my house I wanted to mark down Brennan's height. I had one big problem, though- we don't plan to stay in our house forever and it would be so hard to leave a memory like this one behind! I realized that I needed something that can move with us when we decide to switch homes.
Since Etsy is an awesome place to find unique items from wonderful, helpful sellers, it was the first place I turned to. I started browsing and immediately fell in love with a vinyl growth chart from Wall Vinyl Designs. It is the cutest monkey design and I knew it would be perfect for my little monkey! I asked the shop owner, Lewis, if he would be interested in having me do a product review of this growth chart, and to my delight, he was! I was even more thrilled when he asked me to review an entire package of "Happy Monkeys" vinyl designs!
First, let me tell you a little bit about Wall Vinyl Designs. This shop is located in Ontario, Canada. Lewis has been in the design business for over 15 years and had his Etsy shop for just over a year. In that time he has had 163 sales and kept his feedback at 100% positive- a great track record! Wall Vinyl Designs carries many different styles of vinyl decals and what isn't carried can be created upon request for your very own custom order. If you can think it up, Lewis can bring it to life! He has such a passion for design that he also opened up a free font website where you can download a huge variety of different fonts. You can check it out here: http://vinylcutterfonts.com/. The funny thing is that I've used this site in the past, before ever even working with Wall Vinyl Designs!
I want to show you just a few examples of the types of designs that are available at Wall Vinyl Designs. First off, here are a couple of examples of what I went to Etsy to look for in the first place- growth charts. There are many different designs available and they can all be customized with colors or names to fit in with the design of a room.
There are a lot of designs that are aimed at nurseries or children's rooms, but also a lot that would look great anywhere in the house.
|This one would be perfect for a little boy's room!|
|And this one for a little girly girl's room!|
|This is great for a child's room, but also for a teen or an adult's room.|
Here are a few designs that would work great anywhere in the house.
|I just LOVE these dandelions!|
|I can see this on the living room wall surrounded by family photos.|
|And with all the hunters here in Minnesota, I could see this one being popular...|
Here's the last example I want to show you. I can imagine this on the wall of a bachelor pad or the door of a dorm room! It'll definitely elicit a response from visitors!
|This one will shock a few people...|
There are a lot more designs available for sale at Wall Vinyl Designs that you can hop over and look at, too! One of their most popular designs is the "Happy Monkey" line, which I was asked to review. The review package that I received included a tree with 4 fun monkeys hanging out, a separate branch with its own happy monkey, a monkey growth chart, and a personalized monkey name design. Before the package was sent to me, I had to make some big decisions about how exactly I wanted it to look.
Any design can be customized by flipping it, changing colors, resizing, etc. Since this would be going into to our very colorfully focused nursery, at first I was leaning toward having the monkeys match and coordinate with the existing green, blue, and purple colors. I think it would have been really cute, but going with all 3 colors may have looked a little wild and trying to agree on one of those colors between Ryan and I wasn't going very well. In the end we opted to keep the colors just as they were in the Etsy listing pictures- brown and tan monkeys, which are so cute as is.
We thought the entire design might look a little large on our wall, and when I expressed this concern to Lewis, he immediately let me know that he could resize it to any size that we wanted, but also offered to create a digital image of what the design would look like on our wall. Needless to say, I was impressed! I emailed a picture of our wall along with the dimensions and he digitally 'applied' the design for us. It looked wonderful at original size. This first picture is the one I sent, and the second shows a preview of what the images would look like. Pretty cool for a mock up! By the way, I hadn't told Lewis what name we wanted on our name design, so he used his grandson, Keegan's, name as an example.
As a quick side note: Saying that I've been impressed by Lewis is an understatement. He has the best communication and has been the most helpful Etsy seller I've ever worked with (and I've worked with some other pretty amazing Etsy sellers)! He answered all of our questions thoroughly and very quickly, which is something that I appreciate so much!
As soon as the package came, I was very anxious to get working on applying it. The design comes in a lot of pieces, which need to be carefully applied next to each other to create the final look. For example, the brown 'woody' part of the tree consisted of 8 separate pieces. All of the monkeys and leaves are also applied individually. So, before we even got started, we had learned something: the time involved in applying a vinyl design was going to be a bit longer than originally anticipated. Maybe I was naive, but my impression of vinyl designs was that you would basically peel it off, slap it on the wall, and you were done, which isn't exactly the case! In order to have the design come out precise and beautiful, we knew that we needed to take our time and do it right!
Here is the general process, shortened and paraphrased, that the instructions outline along with some demonstration photos. (A special thanks goes out to my beautiful model, the hubby...)
1. Clean your wall well with Windex.
2. Quickly rub the design's application tape with a firm, flat object such as a squeegee, popsicle stick, or credit card to ensure that the vinyl sticks to the tape.
3. Tape one edge of the design to the wall, making sure it is lined up correctly.
4. Carefully flip back the design and begin to slowly and carefully remove the backing paper while gently applying the application tape to the wall.
5. When you are confident of the position of the design, carefully rub over it with your hand to ensure adhesion. Then using your flat object (credit card or popsicle stick), rub the design firmly (rub hard!) to allow each part of the design to stick to the wall.
6. Carefully remove the application tape from the design making sure that it is sticking to the wall. If parts are coming up, give them another firm rub before continuing.
7. Lastly, trace the design firmly with your finger, giving it even more adhesion strength.
It sounds super easy, and for the most part, it is. We did learn, however, that it takes a little practice and patience to get it just right. It isn't quite as easy as I thought it would be, but the results are awesome! Our biggest issue was that we were having trouble getting the vinyl design to adhere to the wall while we were pulling away the application tape. Even after re-cleaning the wall and rubbing REALLY HARD on the application tape, we were still having some issues. Finally, we realized that instead of pulling the tape off of the design at a 90 degree angle, we should pull it off at the sharpest angle possible to put less stress and pressure on the design. That helped immensely.
We applied Brennan's name design to the front of his toy box and the growth chart to a board on the back of his door. Both of those applications went smoothly, as well, and look wonderful.
Overall, I think the installation went really well. Would I do it again? Absolutely! It took a little time to perfect our skills, but I think it is something that the average person could definitely do as long as they take their time and follow directions.
I am by no means a vinyl expert, but this vinyl seems to be very high quality. It seems durable and the colors are vibrant. The design was sharp and precise and is unbelievably cute. And most importantly, the tiny critic who lives in the room LOVES his new monkeys! I've heard more "oooh ooooh ahhh ahhh" lately than I can tell you! He is definitely a huge fan.
Here is our finished nursery along with a few extra pictures showing the work along the way.
|It's all done! We LOVE how it turned out!|
|A close up of our happy monkey tree.|
|Here's the branch coming out from the door frame.|
|Our little monkey with all of his monkeys!|
|Here I am applying the last monkey to the tree. I have a helper, too...|
|Make that 2 helpers!|