Reformatting Banksy

It was the bathroom project that would not end. In the length of time it took me to complete the work in this bathroom, away from the project I got pregnant, had a baby and returned to work. However, good work takes time, and this was the final flourish.

In case you have forgotten the regeneration of this bathroom from sticky pink to masculine grey involved Getting StartedPainting the Walls & Tiles and Adding Soft Furnishing and now in part four, I am adding back a little decoration to make this room less utilitarian.

For this project you will need

  • a poster of a familiar picture,
  • plastic frames (i used these from Ikea)
  • rules, set square, pencil and scissors

The idea is to rearrange a familiar image, the way a Rubik-cube is rearranged in the middle of a game. People viewing the mixed-up image will unconsciously try to rearrange it to make sense in their minds. There were toys like this in the 80’s/90’s called sliders.


I sought a familiar image that would fit my grey colour scheme and urban theme and found the Banksy picture of a maid sweeping dirt on a pathway underneath a wall.

Maid in progress

As the bathroom is a wet steamy place, the poster pieces will need to be encased in plastic, this is what the frames are for, and these are what will dictate the size the poster will be cut up into.

To decide how many frames I would need I laid them out on the wall, empty for the moment. I could of course measured the space, decided on the space between each, and calculated how many frames I needed, but this way leaves no room for mathematical errors.

The image I have works best if certain parts are whole, so for instance, I don’t want the maid’s face in two frames. To ensure this did not happen I laid out the frames on the poster and marked the layout.

Once the layout was established I measured the poster and laid out the grid using the ruler and set square. I then cut the poster into squares.

Each square was encased into a plastic frame which was then sealed with glue to help prevent the water getting in.

I then laid out the pattern of the image rearranged on the bed, to get a feel for how it would look.

I then stuck the frames to the wall. These hanging frames conveniently have a hole top and bottom so I choose to nail them to the wall, but you could use no more nails or something like that instead if you preferred.

And there you have it the final flourish in a bathroom project which is finally finished!

Maid in progress 2


Elfin Graffiti

I had a problem; I wanted to paint the downstairs hall a bright yellow, but I did not want to continue this the whole way up the stairs. I wanted downstairs to be one colour, the upstairs another, but the two areas are joined by one wall beside the stairs, which is visible from both areas. I needed a breaking point somewhere along that wall. I could of course have just drawn a line, or faded the two paints together, but that’s not how I roll. No, instead I stirred up a rebellious outburst from our elfin population.

Our elfin population and the background leading to the incident
We first noticed the appearance of the elves after one particularly hard night on the town. We stumbled downstairs the next morning to discover that they had helpful cleaned the dishes and put out the bins; chores my husband swore blind he would complete and which I made a really big deal about not doing on pain of death (because fair is fair and everyone has to pull their weight). Just as I was thanking him for keeping his promise and getting the work done (watching his poor alcohol-addled mind try to work through what was going on) he confessed he had not done them (showing massive person growth), but also pointed out that as I was still alive, and there were only the two of us, they must have been done by magic: and thus the elves had arrived. A magically race of people who live for nothing only to ensure we in 36 live a happy chore-free life (which now as I describe them sound remarkably similar to Dobbin the House Elf in Harry Potter).

Initially my husband welcomed the elves; they did household chores while he slept, they went out on a Saturday and did the Big Shop while he killed things on PlayStation, they cleaned out his wardrobe, replacing worn-out clothes with nice new things he quite liked really. A sweet set-up. *

*(Not to be too Marple or Sherlock about it but if it is not clear to you that it was I who was doing these jobs while my husband lazed about then I suggest you start checking for fairy doors and magical tunnels because you too apparently feel you have the touch of Claus about you and could already have an infestation of once-helper-now-rapidly-discontented elves.)

Then one day the domestic bliss turned ugly (a day right around when I discovered my wall break problem). My husband got out of bed, stumbled downstairs and was greeted by a heinous act of rebellion. Some of the elves had enough of their life of servitude – this generation’s rebels – and a life that was good enough for their parents was no longer good enough for them. They wanted to express their rage at being bent into submission by the system (at this point it was possible I had consumed too many lemsip/uni-flu cocktails and may have been trippin’). They embraced the practices of their brothers in the north and painted their own political mural, glorifying the great lord of elfin belief, who promises that what goes around will come around: The Karma Chameleon.

Although horrified by the new political unrest this represented my husband was somewhat mollified when he noticed that some of the more civic, responsible, upstanding members of the elfin community were already trying to paper it over (my wall break!).

Credit: Cathy Clarke
Credit: Cathy Clarke

Now, while I obviously cannot imagine why or how they would do this, or what possible imbalance they could be acting out against, in a crime-watch inspired re-enactment, I have speculated how one with very little artistic talent might go about this.

1. First things first – get inspired. It is much easier to draw something if it is physically before you, than from memory.

Graffiti Examples

2. Get some tools: pencil, ruler and rubber. Do not be fooled by the erasing power of paint. It might magically cover up that horrible shade of dark avocado on your walls and replace it with a tranquil ivory, but it will not cover over pencil, marker or pen. Don’t know why, but it’s true. No matter how many layers you apply. So invest in a good rubber and some Jif (it’s only Cif to those born after 1995).

3. Get sketching. When you are finished sketching, rub out the marks you don’t want.


4. Colour it in. I used some permanent markers that I got in Tescos on the cheap.

Elfin Graffiti Steps

5. And voila; a mural to remind the establishment that the labour force are not to be taken for granted.

Credit: Cathy Clarke
Credit: Cathy Clarke