Everything else can wait until I finish this row…

Off Topic: Super Mario Changing Table

on April 18, 2014

Here is a post that has been sitting in my draft folder for a few months, if I don’t publish it now, it might stay there forever.  It’s not as detailed of a tutorial as I had originally intended, but life got busy once the baby was born, so use it as a guideline and get creative! 🙂

Once we were done with our move from Virginia to Connecticut, the baby’s nursery proved to be a good source of inspiration especially because we chose Nintendo’s Super Mario Brothers as our theme.  Well, we are renting an apartment so I couldn’t do anything permanent to the walls and (unlike Disney) Nintendo hasn’t really cashed in all things baby products, so I’ve had to get creative.  The result is converting our old tv stand into our diaper changing station, here is how it turned out:

Now I’m not a great painter, but I can give you some tips on how to make something similar to this by using some basic things.  And yes, all you die-hard Nintendo geeks, I know that the backgrounds I painted are from the old school Mario Brothers game, not the ones to which you would find the Wii representation of the characters I used.  I’m crafty, not artistic – there is no way I could replicate more than an 8-bit pixilated image.

First things first are your materials:

  1. You need an old piece of furniture – we got our old tv stand years ago for free from a friend of a friend.  Check your local Craigslist or start frequenting yard sales and flea markets for something suitable.
  2. The characters are wall decals that you can find on or some other specialty website (i.e., order them from one in which you feel comfortable shopping
  3. Paint –  The two main colors I used were the blue and the green for the background.  Because I knew those would be the colors I used the most, we went to Lowes and bought them in the sample size from the paint department.  You absolutely don’t need a full can of paint unless your doing a much larger project with it.  I still have plenty of paint left over just from the small tubs of paint.  For the other items in the background I went with small tubes of acrylic paint from a major craft store which were less than $2 each.
  4. Brushes – While at Lowes I got a brush used for door trims and window sills, and while at the craft store I bought a variety pack of different sized brushes.
  5. Empty Egg Carton – this is helpful to mix your paints
  6. Scrap Cardboard – this is helpful for cutting out templates, which is what I did for the hills
  7. Plastic tarp or a LOT of newspaper – unless you have outdoor space in which to paint and to leave your piece of furniture outside while the paint dries, you’ll want something to protect your floor
  8. Small fan – you’ll want to have a fan blowing all of the paint fumes out of the room, especially if you’re pregnant like me
  9. Painting mask – another good protection against the smell of paint
  10. Ruler or straight edge – if you’re a perfectionist or just become obsessive about the details like I did
  11. Question Mark Candy Tins – used for the knobs on the drawer, found on Amazon

I did a Google search for “Super Mario Screenshots” and this was the inspiration for one of the sides.

OK, to get started do a web search for a screenshot that you’d like to replicate or that can at the very least inspire you to put a scene together.  Whether its the background or the character placements, sometimes you need a reference point before starting.   Draw a quick sketch (my stick figures are top-notch) of the scene before you put start painting.

I suppose that if you wanted to give your piece of furniture a proper canvas, you might want to consider sanding and/or priming the surface before painting, depending on what material you’re painting on (but don’t ask me, this is my first attempt at painting furniture, so I just went for it).  When you’re satisfied with your sketched idea, grab your paintbrush and your main background color (in this case blue) and paint the side where you plan to put this image.  I did multiple coats of blue paint because I became obsessive with not wanting to show the brush marks – maybe a foam roller might be better to avoid this, but I can’t guarantee it.

Once you’re happy with the look grab a ruler and pencil to draw the outline of your scene.  I used the paint stirrer stick that the guy at Lowes gave me when I chose my paint.  That came in handy to do the trunks and to measure out the green tops.  To measure out the green tops I just made the width double that of the paint stirring stick so that it was consistent.  To round off the edges was simple, I just grabbed the small tube of paints and used that as my outline on the bottom.  They weren’t perfectly even, but it was pretty close.

For the knobs on the drawer I had my husband drill holes into the candy tin that lined up with the existing holes of the dresser and just screwed them in.  Simple as that.


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