Not a Level In Sight

If you own a level and you actually use it.  Stop right here.

This post is not for you.

We have plenty of other posts here at thistlewood.  We have posts on old Christmas decorations and posts on why people were late to book club and even a post or two on simply nothing at all and a variety of other scintillating topics for all our level-owning readers.

Take my advice.  I’m not really sure you can handle this one.

You see, this post involves painter’s tape, scissors, a plate rack and a vinyl maker named Greta.

Not a level in sight.

However, if you like to wing your way through home decorating projects with a shrug of your shoulders and a flip of the hair and a throw-caution-to-the-wind type attitude…..

                                              ……start taking notes.

Recipe Wall

1.  Start the recipe wall project by reading blogs.  Read a lot of blogs.  Get inspired by said blogs.  When you are reading these inspirational blogs, stumble across a project where someone has put a recipe on a wall behind some plates. 

File the idea away. 

Wait two years.

Start planning your recipe wall and try to remember where you saw it featured, so you can give them credit for the original idea. 

Keep thinking.

2.  Call Greta or your own vinyl maker or plug in your Silhouette Cameo.

If none of the above apply, read this tutorial on how to make your own vinyl letters.

3.  Dust off your plate rack and choose your favorite recipe. 

(Unfortunately, I didn’t use my favorite recipe.  I couldn’t use it because my favorite recipe is found on the back of the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese box and only has four ingredients).

And it’s not really cute.

And a recipe wall always starts with a recipe that looks cute.

Or maybe just tastes good.  That trumps cute every time.

4.  Once your vinyl cutter has finished your cute plate rack recipe, cut it into strips and attach it to the wall with painter’s tape.  Tape the entire recipe to the wall.

Stand back.

Decide you don’t like the layout of the strips of vinyl and take them all down and tape them up again.

And again. 

And again.

5.  Repeat step 4 as many times as necessary. 

Do not use a level. 

Remember….you have thrown caution to the winds all while shrugging your shoulders and flipping your hair. 

You are a care-free project maker.

6.  When you are satisfied with your vinyl placement.  Pull off the backing and attach vinyl to plate rack. 

Add plates.

Position the plates to hide the places where your vinyl placement might have benefited from using a level. 

This step may require a lot of plates 🙂

7.  Stand back and stare at your plate rack.  Think how great it is to be a carefree, shoulder-shrugging project creator.  Think how much time you saved repositioning those letters over and over and over again instead of just using a level.

And then start saving your pennies to take Greta to the Caribbean 🙂

PS  I am featuring this over at The Rooster and the Hen and Funky Junk and Kim’s 🙂

91 thoughts on “Not a Level In Sight

  1. Just get a crick in your neck by slightly tilting your head and squinting to make sure it is level.

    You forgot the ‘squinting’ part in the leveling process.


    You are welcome!

    :). Loved this post. Had to share my cheekiness back at ya!

  2. Where do you insert the sips of your favorite beverage? It looks really great…if I had an actual wall in my kitchen, I might try this!

  3. First of all, I agree that a slight tilt of the head will level anything. And, we all know for a fact that having your “head on straight” is not a life requirement.

    Second of all, your recipe wall looks phenomenal.

    Third of all, I do believe you now have an ongoing commitment to prepare the above referenced bread. I mean, it would just be wrong to advertise said “deliciousness” and not produce. You wouldn’t want to be known as a tease would you, Karianne?

    By the way, are you taking Cranberry Bread orders, and do you deliver?

  4. I am SO in love with this….I am STEALING this idea for my kitchen…..someday {sigh}
    The plates cover the unlevelness (flibbertiword…LOL) I do use a level but just not as often as my husband thinks I should!

  5. KariAnne, you give great hope to us “un-level headed” people….So, being “level headed” is out, and “un-level” is in?…I like that philosophy…

    Fantastic, over the top, academy award winning project…! You nailed this one..without the hammer and level!!!

  6. A wonderful project, and who doesn’t love a project that doesn’t include levels?! Believe me, I’ve used levels and they must be unlevel themselves, because my projects still don’t turn out level. Your way is much more fun.

  7. Levels schmevels – they’re for wimps!

    Greata deserves a Caribbean vacation – maybe Curacao – the Hyatt – kicking up her vinyl heels at the pool sipping a fruity cocktail with an umbrella!

    Oh, that cocktail recipe would make a great recipe wall!

  8. What a wonderful to celebrate your favorite recipe. I have seen them put in a frame but never framed on a wall – could use your favorite thoughts instead or a favorite poem behind a children’s book case. Lots of inspiration spots in a house- why not use them!

  9. I just love this project! You know me, the project girl! It’s soooo- cute and perfect for this space! I love throwing levels to the wind! Great is amazing! You’re right take her on a vacation!

  10. Forget the level! I don’t know if I could have handled all that vinyl, Karianne! My hat’s off to you for even doing all that. It does look great though and very creative, especially in a kitchen. Nicely done, level or not! : )

  11. Inspired! (If I were to do a recipe, I’d select my biscuit recipe because I never can remember that thing. It’d be easier to shift plates than to dig it from the depths of the recipe box, which leads us to another project…recipes on the inside of cabinet doors.) Now we’ll stand back and watch the trend take hold from sea to shining sea. ☺

  12. OMG!! You and I have the same project process!! only I have to tell the truth, I am a level-user… I can’t help myself, that beautiful bright yellow level with its liquid-filled tubes calls out my name whenever I gather my tools for a project. Sorry… I hope we can still be friends.

    I love your recipe wall. You beat me to the punch & now my project is going to look like a second rate copy-cat project. I guess that’s why my name comes AFTER yours – Kari……. anne.



  13. You come up with the best ideas and I can assure you this girl usually does not use a level, but boy the man sure does. You should see how many holes are behind the pictures I have hung. Shameful I tell you.

  14. Too awesome for words! I have a shortage of wall space in my kitchen but would love this down the road in our someday second home. And of course, I would never use a level. heck, I don’t even use a tape measure! Let’s hear it for “eye-balling”!

  15. Very cute post Karianne, Are you sure the plate rack was level? Or, even the wall the plate rack is hanging on? Place a marble on the floor in the center of that wall. Does the marble just sit there or does it roll? Just remember, it’s not your fault. Love the idea of a recipe wall, thanks for sharing. Joyous Wishes, Linda

  16. Did you build this plate rack? This looks very much like one I designed for my kitchen but have not yet built. Your project is great, and I gave up on the level for most things a long time ago. Nothing in my house is straight, plumb, or true, so if I get something perfect it still looks off. Much better to eyeball it.

  17. What a gorgeous project! More new inspiration for my Silhouette 🙂

    Claire @

    P.S. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful 😉

  18. SO totally there with you on the level thing. I never-EVER use that “tool”. Seriously, there is no purpose for it here in my house. And when I am flanking something with two objects on a wall… I use my arms, or my head to gauge where the two items need to be placed.

    But, unlike blue tape… I can’t move my nails around so easily… so NEVER look behind my items on the walls. There are little holes all over the place from where the “tester outter” — nope not “leveled yet” — or “in the position where I want “the object to be nails had temporarily been.

    Oh, the life of throwing caution to the wind!

    GREAT job and brilliant project! And great {and hilarious} post! Thanks for sharing!


  19. I haven’t used levels on any of my canvas art because it’s just too hard to figure out how to make it level. Of course, if I cut out whole words and not just snippets of words on my vinyl it would help. I suppose it would also help if I cut my vinyl kinda straight like you (or Greta 🙂 ) did. So here I go thinking what I did looked good, and then I take a picture. And then I say “well crap.” It’s true. Pictures don’t lie. *sigh* And then it bugs me. And when people compliment me on my project – I have to point out that it’s crooked. Or I even just flat out write it in a post. *even deeper sigh* I’m thinking I need some plates. 🙂

    PS: I LOVE the whole wall recipe idea! Yours looks great! And if it really doesn’t….you have plates. 😉

  20. Hey there fellow shoulder shrugging, flip of the hair, carefree, level-free project tackler,

    1. I love this post! (I relate)
    2. I love your plate rack, and believe I can build one for myself. I am ecstatic!!!

    Thank you, once again, for sharing your decorating inspirations!

  21. This looks amazing! I’m pinning this for future reference when I own my kitchen walls instead of just renting them. Fantastic project 🙂

  22. Reblogged this on momtoldmetowriteabook and commented:
    I love this idea–and Nathan will just love getting to use his level and his math skills to help me make this a reality. I will either use the Pumpkin Bread recipe or the Cranberry Bread recipe or or or, wait, I will use my mom’s BANANA BREAD RECIPE!!! Yes!!! 🙂

  23. What a cute post! I’ve seen these recipe walls before and always liked them, but they intimidate me because they look like a lot of work. I just know that mine would be a mess! I am really surprised that you didn’t use a level, because it looks so good. I like the fact that you had these made from vinyl sticker material. Never seen it done that way before. Now if only I had a cute plate rack wall like you…….

  24. Funny girl, I can see you flipping your hair now! I LOVE your plate rack wall – with or without the recipe, it’s a great use of space for something you might only use a few times a year. I’m filing this one away…in Pinterest!

  25. That looks fab! I admit, I am “mostly” a level girl…but I have issues all my own;)
    I am currently scrutinizing my very small kitchen to see where a plate wall my fit…don’t tell my hubby!

  26. From one flipping the hair girl to another…. great project!
    I saw this done the other day on TV and love the idea…it looks just fantastic behind your plate rack…. now I just need my own Greta!
    dee dee

  27. Yea, I’m a leveler. I even have two. Which is kinda funny because my house is not level. So I’m not sure if I should level things with the unlevel house or level things with the world …

    I just love this recipe wall. Seriously amazing. And I think it’s just hysterical that you of all people have a giant recipe on your kitchen wall! Ha!



    1. I KNEW I liked you!! We are kindred spirits – paint happy and leveling away.

      and I say this from the bottom of my leveled heart. xox

  28. Oh, you make me laugh (back of a mac ‘n cheese box) … LOL! I LOVE this! Such a fabulous idea that I *wish* I had a place to emulate! I must share on my FB page … please tell me … did you use 12×12 in your CAMEO? I recently bought one and have yet to do vinyl in it yet, but can’t wait to try it! Thanks for sharing!

  29. You crack me up! This is an amazing project and gives such a big impact. Gorgeous!
    Thank you so much for stopping in, so glad you left a comment, been feeling a little lonesome since the WP transfer 🙂
    happy Easter to you!

  30. Level. what’s a level. I agree with the tilting head and squinting method. It always works for me and it not I just give my guests a glass of wine as soon as they enter the house and they never know the difference 🙂

  31. Tragically, I have no hair to flip…….I would just look like I was swatting away imaginary flies. Ah well.

    However I do own a level which I keep meaning to use but then I get all involved and it’s in the garage and I’m not and……

    But level or not this is a truly awesome project. So very, very VERY cool!

    I’m looking around my house for the perfect wall…and my hair…I will probably find the wall first.

  32. Step 8: Ponder making said recipe because it looks so darn good, but then admit that Mac and Cheese is fail-safe.

    Awesome tutorial and I love that no level is needed!


  33. this looks awesome! I’ve never used a vinyl cutter…are the letters on a strip of clear adhesive, like clear contact paper? very interesting…..
    I saw the zip code pillow from your sister’s etsy store on The Essence of Home and immediately had to order my own, but it’s going to have the address of the restaurant where my husband and I met almost 24 years ago in New Orleans. Can’t wait to see what a beautiful job she does. ~ Pam

  34. I loved the way you walked us through the steps so even a dummy could do it……
    I really would love a plate rack like that as I was reading this I was thinking where could I put it and would hubby do it for me answer yes he would but it may take a couple of years as he is not great at gettting things done lately he will start a project by making plans then that’s it he doesn’t do anything else………………lol Yes he is a big plan maker

  35. I love this. You will be who I copy and I hope I don’t take 2 years. Might even make up a recipe to see if anyone pays attention. This is Awesome with a capital A! Getting pinned baby.


  36. I love cooking & baking and I love word art and I love throwing caution to the wind, so how can I not love this fabulous project?! 🙂 It’s so creative and fun, and really makes your plate wall a wonderful focal point. Great job!

  37. This is so cute! I would have done what you did. However, instead of mine turning out straight it would have been crooked. My husband would have come in and peeled the vinyl off, got out the level and put them on straight. 🙂 I am loving that built in plate rack!

  38. holy comments! this is awesome!!!! would love to do this somewhere in my kitchen/dining area. you did an amazing job sans level! i found this level in my basement and ignored it for about a year and then finally decided…hey, maybe if i use this thing I can stop making unnecessary holes in the wall from crooked hanging of things! anyway…the level is my friend now. looks like you do just fine without one though!

  39. I absolutely LOVE this project! You have me yearning for an awesome plate rack so that I could do something like this. At the very least, though, now my brain is contemplating other ways that I could possibly use recipes in my decor. Thanks for inspiring me! 🙂

  40. SERIOUSLY love this!!! Well, now that you’ve made bread at least once, you should try this recipe! See, I think that the amazing wall you just did, was much harder than baking the bread. I love to bake. Come over and help me with a recipe wall, and I will make you this bread. Deal?
    P.S. I don’t own a level. I always eyeball. Next time I will be sure to add the hair toss too! 😉
    Love this, Love your creative genius! Happy Easter!!

  41. LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS idea and let me tell you — even my level is not level!!!!! lol!!!!! i give all new meaning to BY EYE! : ) hugs…

  42. I love it ~ and your sense of humor! I would have it all wonky without using a level but…I don’t own a level either. Guess that’s ok ’cause I don’t have a wall in my kitchen to make this cute. Great job!

    I’m a new follower and look forward to more of your creativity.


  43. I’ve been here before but I’m back again via Cozy Little House. I LOVE this idea and it looks fantastic. You have a lovely blog and beautiful style… and you make me smile every time I read your posts, and that’s the best thing of all. A Happy Easter to you! Looking forward to following you.

  44. Your blog is just “IT” for me – you have the best ideas, and you make me laugh till Diet Coke comes out my nose! I love that you have a Greta, but you don’t have a level. And I LOVE this recipe wall!

  45. What a great idea and so attractive! I love it and I’m not sure it would have benefited from the use of a level, it is SO nice.
    Hugs, Cindy

  46. OMG, what a wonderful idea! I do luv your recipe wall…and yes I don’t think I can live w/o my leveler, I’m not bold enough not to use it. Happy Easter.

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