Paint Chip Portrait: Marilyn Monroe

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For my friend’s 24th birthday, I was given the freedom to create a photo booth background for her party. The venue was very retro and my friend loves red lippy so naturally Marilyn Monroe came to mind. A while ago I also came across Nite’s portrait of Marilyn Monroe created with paint chips.

Ever since, I’ve been looking for an excuse to make my own. This technique is so clever and I’m all for using free materials. I wanted to use a portrait of Marilyn that was renowned so of course Andy Warhol’s portraits popped into mind.

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It was decided that the background should be A0 in size. I used a program to pixelate the Andy Warhol portrait and calculated how many pixels there were and what size each individual one had to be in order to fit an A0. I then made a trip to the hardware store and a few paint shops… a few times to pick out the colours of the paint chips. The paint chips were quite big. Each pixel had to be 2 x 2 cm so I literally had my work cut out for me. Luckily I had a small paper cutter which made this task much easier… Although still time consuming.

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I drew up a grid to place the paint chips on and stuck them down by eye, using the pixelated image as a guide.

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I found it much easier to work on the piece vertically. Here are a series of shots showing the process.

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… And the finished product.

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I plan on sandwiching the portrait between two pieces of perspex and bolting it together. From there Marilyn shall sit happily above my couch.

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The finished work measures 86 x 96 cm and comprises 2,064 squares cut from paint chips. It took me roughly 3-4 days to make.

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About mishellsoup

Designer / Crafter

2 comments

  1. Lovely! What kind of glue and paper did you use for affixing the paint swatches? And would you recommend anything different based on your experience? Looks like a ton of work, but well worth it.

    • Thanks Amanda. I just used plain A3 paper for the base and PVA glue. This caused some warping of the paper. I would recommend using something thicker for the base or a spray adhesive.

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