paint chip garland {tutorial}

When brainstorming decorations for my cousin’s ombre shower, I came across this darling image:

{via}

How cute is that paint chip garland? So I decided to make my own and {of course} share how I did it with you.

Here’s what you’ll need:

:: paint chips – I felt like a total thief, but just grab a stack of coordinating colors from your local hardware store. P.S. Is this legal?

:: twine

:: paper cutter

:: hot glue gun, glue

STEP ONE: cut paint chips into strips

I only used the three middle pieces because I didn’t want the rounded edges.

STEP TWO: cut twine to desired length {plus a little for tying}

STEP THREE: add a line of hot glue to the top of the strip and press onto twine

Here I am in action. Talking on the phone and crafting. It’s what I do best.

You can use it as is, or snip the bottom of each strip for a ribbon look.

Such a simple and nearly free little decoration.

Will you be making one, too?

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38 Responses to paint chip garland {tutorial}

  1. Kezia June 20, 2012 at 4:28 am #

    What a cute garland, I will definitely be using this idea!

  2. Rebecca @This Nest is Best June 20, 2012 at 5:51 am #

    I will be making one! I’m co-hosting a Sunshine baby shower next weekend with yellow/orange ombre, so this will be perfect!

  3. Lindsay June 20, 2012 at 7:44 am #

    I can’t wait to make this for my husband’s graduation open house coming up! Thanks so much for a simple, affordable idea!!

  4. May June 20, 2012 at 8:54 am #

    I’m so excited about this!!! Great idea for a photo booth backdrop at our wedding next May. :) Thank you!

  5. Bonnie June 20, 2012 at 8:58 am #

    No, I will not be making one. Not because it isn’t cute, but because the paint cards are free with the intent of actually choosing a color and buying paint. Would you go into your favorite Starbucks and grab enough sleeves to make a wreath……probably not. You have touched a nerve with me. I’ve had enough of Etsy sellers sending products in USPS boxes (that have never been used) turned inside out …….because they are free. I have seen wreaths made out of “free” paint cards. Soon, they will not be free. Stealing? You decide.

    • emily June 20, 2012 at 10:12 am #

      Thanks for your thoughts. I wonder what home depot, etc think of the projects done with their paint chips. Are they bothered that people take them to use them for things other than matching paint? Its an interesting thought …

      • Taylor June 20, 2012 at 11:35 am #

        What great way to advertise/sell paint colors. We’re doing the Home Depot/paint companies a huge favor by displaying their paint colors in such a beautiful way. Who knows how many guests at a party with this lovely garland will be inspired to pick up a can of paint for their home:) Keep the great projects coming Emily, everything you do is amazing!!!

        • Deb June 20, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

          Emily~

          I REALLY LOVE this idea – but after reading this post, I decided to ask a friend of mine who just happens to work for Marketing here in Atlanta at their HQ. I have to tell you that she LOL when I called her. After reading your blog she e-mailed me that she LOVEs your blog! No response on the “stealing” yet. I also asked my hubby, an atty if it was stealing and he said no, as they are their for free. Off to get some Paint Chips and make this :D

        • Laura June 21, 2012 at 7:54 am #

          Sorry, but no. You’re not doing anyone any favors by taking, without permission, a stack of an item offered free for the purpose of making a product selection – for another purpose entirely. Let the paint company or hardware store make the decision if they’d like you to “help” that way by asking first.

    • Jennifer Cooper June 20, 2012 at 10:47 am #

      I completely agree with Bonnie. The paint chips are free with the intent that you will be buying paint. It will only be a matter of time that the stores will have to limit the number you can take or they will charge you a fee. If you want to do a craft like this buy the paint and make your own paint chips.

  6. Meg Mc June 20, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    In anticipation of this tutorial, I went to home depot yesterday and channeled my inner thief. Lol. I totally felt guilty. Seriously, I hid the paint chips in my baby’s car seat. In retrospect, that wasn’t the best hiding spot b/c everyone wanted to ooh and aww over his sweet chunkiness. :o)

  7. Rebecca June 20, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    Oh yes! I will use this to decorate the front porch when my daughter and her toddlers arrive on vacation!

  8. Jenny June 20, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    This is super cute, but I have to admit, when I saw a whole magazine article decorating exclusively with stuff made from paint chips, it gave me a funny feeling. Especially in a magazine. Sure, they’re free, but….? Yeah, I’d feel funny about it.
    But I wish I had seen this when I had about 45 different paint chips in various green and yellow shades when we were painting a couple rooms in our house!! They just got tossed in the garbage. Soooo…maybe you can target it towards those people who want to repurpose the chips they don’t need. :) :) OR….ask the store if they have old ones that they no longer want displayed?

    • emily June 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

      A friend just told me that she asked the manager of our local store if she could use paint chips for a project she did with students in art class and they were more than happy to give her a bunch. Maybe we should just ask first.

  9. diedre June 20, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    it is an interesting debate. they’re free but intended for future purchases.
    in regards to usps boxes turned inside out……those are free and are there to be used to box up stuff and send it. the post office makes money on what you ship in those boxes. so i’m not getting that one. ??

    diedre

    • Liz B. June 11, 2013 at 11:02 am #

      The boxes the Post Office provides for free are only for their premium services (Express and Priority). They charge for other shipping materials. So if someone is using one of those boxes with the Express/Priority markings on the inside so they won’t get charged that rate, yes it’s against Postal regulations, and theft.

  10. diedre June 20, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    p.s.

    it wouldn’t be that hard to make those with whatever color you’re using plus white paint to graduate the colors.

    cardstock and paint…..for pennies and a free conscience.

    diedre

  11. Mandy Linville June 20, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    I love this idea! :) I’ll be making one for my Charlotte’s 5th “rainbow” birthday party!

  12. Pam June 20, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    Really cute! I have samples I’ve kept fom projects that I’d like to put to use.

  13. sb June 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    Considering the dozens upon dozens of paint chip projects that I have seen on blogs, I am surprised to be able to say that this is the first time I have seen a discussion of the ethics. I agree with Bonnie that, although these items are free to us, they cost someone a lot of money. (Ask anyone who has had anything printed… NOT free.) In the case of paint chips, it is the paint manufacturer. Home Depot does not mind us taking them because they get them for free, also. I LOVE color and am drawn to the beautiful gradations on paint chips… so I want to grab and stack and follow suit, but I do think it is a form of stealing whether there is anyone to reprimand me or not.

  14. Jessica June 20, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    I was thinking about this and think that there are a couple ways to appease both sides, especially for those who personally feel “odd” about it.

    1. You can go to the website of the paint company and print the paint chips on your own printer using cardstock.

    2. You can “check out” some paint chips, go to a local shipping/printing place and pay to color copy them. You can then return the free chips back to the store.

    Just some thoughts!

  15. kristin M June 20, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Oh you KNOW I’m gonna make one. or ten.

  16. amanda jones June 20, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

    I would not qualify this as stealing! Certainly better than the copius amounts that end up in the trash after you have brought home a good 5o while trying to pick paint! Much better that they are being recycled! Not to mention I spend enough w/ Home Depot, Lowe’s and my local Sherwin Williams annually…I am sure they dont mind floating me some paint swatches! :)

    I will be making one for my Charlotte’s 7th bday – an art/painting party :)

    • Sally June 21, 2012 at 8:08 am #

      Right. I spend a lot at Starbucks, so I think I’ll ask for some cups for my next party. :(

    • nicky June 25, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

      not to get all technical but your local starbucks would probably give you free cups too! lol. i’ve had them donate coffee and cups/lids for a few functions now. it doesn’t hurt to ask and you’d be surprised how much businesses love to help out with parties and events! :)

  17. Mallory June 20, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

    Emily, this is a wonderful idea!! Thank you! Do you mind sharing what color the paint chips are in the last picture? (one with the pictures in front.) thank you!!

  18. Tonia June 20, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    Love this idea! I’ll be making one for Landon’s birthday. And I don’t think this is stealing – imagine how many swatches the stores throw away…

  19. Nora June 20, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

    I would have to ask before taking the chips. Couldn’t stand the guilt. I’ll never forget watching an older woman taking all the napkins from the dispenser at her table in a fast food restaurant. She also took all of the sugar packets, and the salt and pepper shakers. What if we all did that? The store managers may not mind giving you paint chips at first, but if their chip collection is deluged with people taking them for projects we may find them empty one day.
    As for someone possibly liking the color in a garland enough to inspire them to buy the paint (as suggested in another comment), what if they pulled the strip from your garland so they could remember it?

    • Taylor June 21, 2012 at 6:40 am #

      If my guest wanted a paint chip from my garland, I would be flattered!

  20. Alyssa June 21, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    What a great (and affordable) decorating idea! I can definitely see using this at my shower or over a candy bar/buffet!

  21. Jen June 21, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    I’ll be making one! Thank you for the tutorial. I’m making one for the sign in table for our VBS registration, the theme is “Sky”. This blue chips are nice nod to the sky. Thanks girl!

  22. Jeana June 22, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    Emily, I love ALL of your projects and I will definitely be making this for my summer mantel.. will go perfectly with a beachy theme ;-) Also.. I’m sure it was super simple to make that covered corkboard ? But, do u have a tutorial on it? Are those just furniture tacks u used around the edge? Thank u for all of your amazing inspiration..

  23. samantha June 22, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    These turned out beautifully and you totally inspired me! I went to the DIY superstore today and left with a pile of paint colour cards – I was so scared, I was waiting to be stopped on my way out for stealing! Anyway I was thinking about how to make a banner like the one in your last couple of photos and remembered my daughter has a birthday party tomorrow. I went out to Hobbycraft and got plain white blank cards and made pennants which I stuck to the card with scrapbook tape and then stitched to the card across the top. I then hand stamped Happy Birthday Abi and 11 across the bottom. I’m so impressed with this idea I may go on a crime spree again for more colours! I’m going to post a couple of photos of the card on my blog this weekend and will credit back to you for the idea.
    Thanks so much for sharing this idea.
    Sam x

  24. Stacy Ashworth June 23, 2012 at 7:22 am #

    I have made several things with paint chips and I’ve been doing it for years–guilt-free. Here’s why: Would you feel guilty taking a free sample of food offered to you at your grocery store? No. What if you KNEW you would definitely NOT buy that product, would you think “Oh, I’m not actually going to buy that so it wouldn’t be right for me to take a bite when they’re trying to sell it to me?” I don’t think so! Sure–they are trying to sell a product by offering it free, but if it’s free, it’s free. I think most of us would take a bite and smile!

    You don’t need a lot of paint chips to make something cute, and just like you wouldn’t ask for 10 free bites at your grocer, don’t take stacks and stacks of paint chips if you won’t use them. I think you’ll find most people at Home Depot and what not….they don’t really care!

  25. Brenna June 26, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    While I do admire the look of this, I think if you feel funny walking out with them, have to hide them, or wonder if it’s stealing, something is not right.

    It’s like when you put on a piece of clothing and wonder if it’s too tight or short?? Well, it probably is if you have to ask yourself the question.

    Those funny feelings are what I like to call our conscience – something I prefer to not ignore.

    I think there are just as many fun projects that can be done similarly with scrapbook paper that offer the same appeal and don’t have to be an ethical question.

  26. Marci June 26, 2012 at 10:19 pm #

    Wow. Look at Emily’s craft….she used two darn paint chips! If you feel guilty taking two chip samples, I think that’s a bit overboard. If you feel guilty, just do a small craft, you don’t have to do a massive one. Goodness.

  27. Terri December 15, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    I get paint chip cards when I buy items from the paint section of the store. They have lots of ‘sample paints’ too that don’t cost much and I’ll buy one of those if I’m using the paint chips for reasons other than painting. I get some awesome paint to use that I might not otherwise have bought. Also, nobody at the stores care. I’ve asked and they tell me to take them but I’m uncomfortable doing that which is why I buy the samples. Love the garland btw!

  28. Ashley July 18, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    Hi Emily! Have you ever done a tutorial for the message board that you use in several of your pictures? Like the one pictured here at the end?

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