DIY Birthday Street Art


Nothing like blogging about a project 4-5 months after it happened, right? Well welcome to Ramona’s birthday week. Sit back and enjoy some birthday DIYs while the house finishes this week (fingers crossed).

A cool tradition in the town that we moved to, one that’s been going on for as long as anyone can remember, is painting an old railroad building to tell someone happy birthday. The building is right along the road that drives through the center of town so everyone can see it. It’s a really endearing small town tradition.

This year, for Ramona’s birthday, I decided I would do it a bit differently… street art style. The whole time I was working on it I kept telling Amber “I’m pretty much the Banksy of [insert town name here]”


I’ll skip over the technical details, but basically I created a threshold image of Ramona in photoshop. Exported it to Illustrator, so I could create a vector image out of it. Once I blew the image up, I took it to Office Max and had them print it out on their giant plot printer. It printed 36 inches wide, so I made it 72″ x 72″ to have 2 long prints that would need to be connected.

Photo was from our maternity session with J Noel Photography.

The prints kept screwing up, so I had to end up print them about 50 different ways. Eventually we got a combination that would work.

I went that night with Amber’s sister Apryle, and we painted the wall pink. Remember Beckett was 2 weeks old, so Amber was preoccupied.


The next night I made some wheatpaste… which is basically just boiling water and flour together until the gluten forms a glue.


I went out when it was dark, well because it just seemed right, and mopped on the glue. Yes mopped with an actual mop.


Once the surface was covered, I put up the prints and mopped over them with the wheatpaste. And continued to paste until all of Ramona was all the way up on the wall. It’s a similar process to Mod Podge.

We placed the letter individually the same way.

DIY Street Art

The next day was Ramona’s actual birthday, so we took her in the morning to show her our little birthday card to her. She loved it, though I’m not sure she appreciated how much work it was. Hopefully she’ll see this when she gets older and think we were cool parents back in the day.

She called it the “big Nona” – Nona is our nickname for her. Hilarious because she calls the Statue of Liberty the “big lady”. We can’t pass the building now without having to read her what’s on it. Nothing says I love you like birthday street art especially when it’s legal.

Check out more of the birthday party, grab a printable invitation, and see our favor bags with a free printable!

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48 Responses to DIY Birthday Street Art
  1. cassie says:

    holy awesomeness! ramona must have felt like a star!

  2. That is beyond awesome! You two get the super cool parents award! xo Kristin

  3. I know what Nate needs to do for my birthday!!! 😉 (P.S. He occasionally reads your blog. I think you all are the only DIY blog he reads.)

    Ramona is one lucky kid!!!

    • Nick says:

      As someone who didn’t grow up in this community (Amber did), I’ve always loved the “small town-iness” of it. Makes kids feel like superstars.

  4. holy crap! I just cant even think of what to say, amazing sounds too little to describe it.

  5. Whoa. That is the best birthday thing ever! And good job living in a town where friendly birthday graffiti is smiled upon :). I don’t know how it would go over here. I’ll have to try it and see….

    • Amber says:

      Oddly enough the building had to be moved from the railroad tracks because the RR commission said so. It sits by a church now, but the new building that the RR put up is fenced and has barbed wire at the top. If someone tried to paint that, then there would be no smiles. Luckily some idiot several years ago did it and the town just decided that was a good use for that building. It has so many layers of paint that it’s significantly larger than it’s original size. Moving it was a challenge because of the weight. Isn’t that insane?

  6. this is so cool! love it. I love that your town does this. cool town!

  7. Julia@Cuckoo4Design says:

    Oh my, that is so cool. My daughter would totally love that too!

  8. I totally love this. Parent award of the year from me :)

    It’s so totally “Switched at birth” too.

    Love it!!

  9. Tiara says:

    That is AMAZING!

  10. Nichole S. says:

    Natalia’s bday is in November and Ava’s is in July…can we rent you guys to come and do this in Lakeway once we get settled…I am thinking the Watertower would be nice….:) #bestparentsever…p.s. don’t tell Bo I hashtagged…hahahah…

  11. This is sooo freakin sweet and adorable! I love that your town does this!

    • Amber says:

      It’s by far my favorite tradition. (I grew up here.) I wonder how much longer that building will hold up. At some point the paint will be too much. You can already tell the surface is super bumpy.

  12. This. Is. Amazing.

    Seriously – I think this gets the coolest parenting award. From me. I give the award.


  13. SOOOO cool! And so charming that your town allows/encourages that!

  14. Jenni says:

    This is insanely awesome!!! You win all of the awards.

  15. WOW, what an amazing wall and an AWESOME birthday card! You guys definitely win the “cool” parents award! Looks like it was a lot of work, but definitely worth it :)

  16. You guys are the Parents of the Year for 2014. I can say this with full confidence as Lisa and I won in 2013. Now, I need you to paint all the things.

  17. Anu says:

    This is so great! What an awesome tradition and I love your art. What a lovely memory to look back on.

    • Amber says:

      Thank you! It was a wonderful start to her day (and ours). She was so excited to see herself “big”. It was her actual birthday, so it was full of surprises from that moment on.

  18. This is so cool! What an awesome town tradition too. I need to move to a place like this.

  19. I always had a feeling Nick was Banksy. He does fit the mysterious profile. It’s only a matter of time until I find that secret instagram account as well :)

    But really, this is fantastic. Way to make birthdays special!

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  21. this is just SO amazing! so beautiful, too… what an awesome birthday surprise! ^__^

    • Amber says:

      Thank you! She loved it and still talks about it all the time. Mainly requesting that we paint over whatever is there now to put up a message to her again. 4 year olds… :)

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