DIY Big Boy Cars Room on a Little Budget: Part 2

Now that base painting is finished it is time for the fun to begin.  I should mention that the practical side of me won out, and we also added two more coats of polyurethane to the hardwood floors.  That is a project for another post for sure! So what we have here is a nice, clean blank shell of a room.  I love the crisp white baseboards next to the grey walls.  My sister came up with the idea to paint tire tracks on the walls. Which, in theory, we all got excited about.  My sister (#4 out of the 5 of us!), her husband, my husband, and my little guy attempted to paint these tire marks.  Learn from our mistakes and you may be able to pull this off or you, like us, in the end might decide to go a different route. The problem we encountered is that wheels typically are raised in the center of the tread so that only one side of the tread would show at a time.  We used a lawnmower tire. Painted it with black flat paint, put a screwdriver in the center for easier rolling and my sister took a chance.  She had to listen to all of us giving our opinion and my little guy trying to help.  Despite the wheel rolling back and forth on the wall, we all thought is was generally looking good. However, after a few days of looking at it and thinking how I would pull the room together it just wasn’t working.tire marks If you didn’t know they were tire marks you would probably ask me what they were.

So, we began the daunting process of paiting over them.  It required 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint.  If you look closely, you can still see them on the wall. So, I recommend the custom roads over the tire mark look for sure. 

Here is how the road came to be:

1) We placed good quality painter’s tape in one line on the wall. I know I said I don’t use tape, but this is the exception to that rule.  We used Frog Tape as we had read good reviews online.  We did not use a level because we wanted the road to move, but you could use one if you like a little more order. The line started out straight and then I took it up and down hills, around the corner and over a wheel (more on the wheel coming up in Part 3 of this post).  The road spans over 2 walls.

1) We continued by measuring a 4 inch parallel line on the wall. We placed the tape over this line to make the other edge of our road.road taped 

2) We cut pieces of the tape off in no particular size – just based on what we thought would look good for the dotted line in the middle. We then placed these pieces on the wall between the two taped parallel lines to make the dotted line in the middle of the road.  We could have painted in the line later, but decided this would be much easier than going back and doing that. Turns out I really love the differing not quite perfect rectangles that form the dotted lines.  They are so fun! 

* What we didn’t make sure we did was to go back over all of the dotted lines tape and thoroughly smooth all edges down tightly.  What happened as a result is shown in the below photo.big boy room finishing touches 009 

If we had done the careful smoothing they all would have turned out like this, which is what you want to happen:big boy room finishing touches 012

3) Just 45 minutes before due to leave the house for a BBQ, using the black flat paint leftover from the tire mark project gone wrong, we brushed the paint between the taped parallel lines and over the dotted line tape pieces. 

4) We brushed on a second coat after we came home from the BBQ and put the little sleeping guy in our bed while we did that. (Don’t worry we put his rail up and pillows on the other side just in case.)


5) Luckily,  I reread the instructions on the tape package and realized we should remove the tape immediately after painting. So, we ripped that off and revealed the road before we even went to bed. I am so glad we didn’t have to wait until the morning. I also want to make note that paint these days is low fume (don’t know the fancy term for that) so it was okay to put our son back his bed in that room to sleep as he has a ceiling fan and the window and door open giving lots of fresh air to the space.

When the little guy woke up he was so excited to see his road on the wall.  He kept exclaiming, “There’s a road on my wall!”  It was so precious.  Except that he also immediately added, “Mama, I need cars on my road.” I explained to him that yes, there will eventually be cars on the road, but that the paint had to finish drying first.

6) I believe the painter’s tape said to wait 3 weeks or something crazy like that before adhering anything to the wall.  I figured after probably 10 days I was sick of waiting. Chances are if I am removing the cars from the road in the future, I will be planning on painting over the road as well. 

7) Car selection – I mentioned in Part 1 of this post that I don’t usually go for premade themes.  I wanted to go with a tad bit vintage car look and happened upon some great decals at A.C. Moore.  I used a 60% off coupon which made them $5.80.  There are so many in the package that I didn’t use them all.  They included everything from a double decker bus, scooters, a taxi to a tow truck.  There are also little numbered race cars that actually go really well with the drawer pulls for the dresser. 

I went back and forth about whether or not to use decals or to freehand some cars on the wall. I knew that while I am creative, I do not have a natural ability to paint and would probably have to call a sister or two for that. (Like we did in the little guy’s nursery – another post perhaps someday).  However, when I saw these cars in the store, I thought they were worth a try. big boy room finishing touches 005I was worried that they would look like a decal.  Do they? Yes and no.  They have a clear background which certainly helps. So, when I smoothed them onto the wall they almost look like they belong there. I would recommend that you stay away from decal with a white background as they will be more noticeable.  I am truly pleased with how this turned out. And of course I know another little guy who is even more pleased than we are!big boy room finishing touches 002


One final warning – when your little guy decides he is not going to nap he may have a tendency to peel the decals off the road in the places he can reach. He will cry when you say in your most-patient-but-I-really-want-to-scream-and-cry-voice that was it was not nice to do that and that we shouldn’t pull the cars off the road. Then he will likely do it again the next time he doesn’t want to sleep. It’s all good. I am just still so happy to be the Mama to this little guy to make a road for!  

You may want to subscribe so you won’t miss Part 3.

Happy Road Building,

Crown Me Mama


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