80’s Style Wall Hanger

by Thea
3 Materials
2 Hours

Is it Scandi? Is it Japandi? Is it Memphis? Nope, it’s a mash-up of retro 80’s styles that may or may not be in fashion again.

So, ‘Japandi’ is the latest decor trend. That is, Japanese in a pared down way, not the bright eastern graphics that we’ve seen for a while now. As a child of the 80’s, I just have to glance at bamboo place mats for my mind to automatically add a futon bed, Noguchi-style white paper lamp and fake blossoms. And Japanese calligraphy - always in red, black and white. Very sophisticated, we thought back then - Laura Ashley and ‘Greek Revival’ was for your mother!

In the interest of perpetuating the cycle of returning trends for the enjoyment of subsequent generations (and hiding the nail holes in the wall of our holiday apartment), I give you: Japandi meets Memphis! Both are roughly from the same period but never quite together this way. Still, the result is pretty fun and who knows, perhaps I’m onto a new thing here.

I happened to have some old bamboo place mats and stuck three together with a glue gun by overlapping the seams. They may not all be exactly the same size which can create some complications.

I measured and cut a dowel to hang the artwork by.

The top edge of the top place mat was spread with hot glue and rolled up around the dowel. I was careful not to use too much, otherwise it would squelch out on the front.

To get a composition that doesn’t float around (and to hide some grease marks) I needed larger patches of colour. I masked off sections on the front side with painters tape and sprayed them with spray paint in bold colours but not quite so primary as they would have been back in the day.

Next, I arranged some mosaics, cork coasters and plastic curtain rings in a design. The see-through glass mosaics remind me of the glass bricks that were very popular in building construction at the time but I had to make sure I had invisible glue for them.

I split some of the mosaic blocks and used some rows independently. The grid pattern was even more popular then than the arch/rainbow is to us in boho-aesthetic right now, so sets of mosaic tiles are perfect. Other popular shapes would have been triangles and circles. Watch out though, mosaics can be quite heavy.

Lastly, I attached a string to the dowel to hang it by.

I’m interested to know what you think of this style. I suspect that for some this will be too old-fashioned, for others too unfarmhouse but for others it will be fresh. Let me know.

Ps I’ve finally started an Instagram account , very creatively called theasmith167. I plan to add some of my more er…’out there’ …projects on it.

Suggested materials:
  • Bamboo place mats
  • Glass mosaics
  • Cork coasters
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3 of 22 comments
  • Debra Wood Debra Wood on Sep 08, 2022

    this has so many different possible styles.....i am thinking of doing a black/white helen frankenthaler type of design.....or something asian. thanks

    • Thea Thea on Sep 08, 2022

      I’m so glad that you can see the possibilities beyond my specific idea. Just remember that water colour is very runny and will bleed along the lines but in principle organic abstracts could definitely work. You could also stick different types of paper to get the translucent effect of het work.Hope yours turns out great!

  • Mab Mab on Sep 11, 2022

    this is a good idea for my son's grade 2 class. kids love these simple types of projects.