As I continue to share my Super Mario basement projects, it’s time to show a new section of the basement: the stairwell. When we moved in, the basement stairwell was white and covered in scuff marks from carrying things up and down, so we knew we had to paint it. We decided to bring in the Bowser Castle hallways into our basement decor. We wanted to give it a stone look like the castle walls and line it with pictures of Bowser and Koopalings, basically the things you would find in Bowser’s castle. So because of this, our Bowser Castle hallway was created!
Where to Buy the Materials…
This project doesn’t require a lot of supplies: paint for the walls, photo frames and pictures. For the walls, we used left over light (PPG Swirling Smoke. We actually had this color mixed in Benjamin Moore paint) and dark gray (Graystone from Benjamin Moore) and white paint. For the photo frames, I found un-finished wood frames at Michaels. To be honest, we weren’t even looking for these. We were wandering around Michaels getting supplies for other projects when I saw these and they instantly reminded me of the Bowser pictures. These were actually the inspiration for my project! I bought two large and four small frames. I also purchased some bronze/ gold spray paint. I didn’t want shiny gold, I went more for dull gold to give it a vintage, castle look. I also used an 11×14 photo mat to mount the pictures in the larger frame. The photos we printed ourselves (links below).
How to Create the Hallway…
My husband actually painted the walls while I was away on a business trip and it turned out awesome! He tried to use a sponge to paint it first, hoping it would give it a brick look but it didn’t work at all. He wanted to get a textured look without a lot of work so what he ended up doing was using the light gray we used in the rest of our house and a darker brown-gray color that we used in our bedroom. He filled the paint tray with the light gray and then dropped a few drops of the dark gray into the paint tray and did NOT mix it. Then when he used the roller he made sure some of the darker color was mixed with the light color when he rolled it onto the walls. This actually worked really well to make a textured stone look! Once the paint dried, he went back over it with a paint brush and white paint to make the stone lines. They definitely were not perfect but I think that’s really what made the stone look better. We also put an orange light in the hallway to create the fire-y, lava environment that you have in the castles.
Here is the castle wall with the orange back light:
Now that the hard part was done, it was time to create the photos. I spray painted the wooden picture frames in a bronze/ gold color. I don’t remember the exact color unfortunately, but the can is in the picture (not that that helps at all). The spray paint really soaked into the wood and gave it an un-even colored look. At first I was like what the heck? But then I realized it gave it a bit of a vintage look and I actually really like the way it turned out.
After the frames were dry, it was time to find some pictures. This took us forever! Like probably over a year to decide on pictures, ha ha. We ended up finding an awesome site with different pictures that we decided would look best in our frames. The links to the photos are below so I give the creators proper credit:
Koopalings by Arashi-H
Bowser by Mast3r-Rainbow
Bowser Jr. by MuzYoshi
I resized the images according to the frame and printed them on photo paper. The small ones were easy to assemble. I just glued the picture onto the frame and they were done! For the larger frames, I actually first used a left over piece of white foam paper as the background. I glued the foam onto the frame and the picture in the middle.
We hung them up in the hallway and it just didn’t look the way I wanted it to. Instead of looking like a clean frame, it looked like a photo glued onto paper… which is exactly what we did and not what I wanted.
So I went back to Michaels and bought 11×14 photo mats and used those instead. It wasn’t a huge difference but it definitely looks a lot cleaner and nicer so I was happy with it! Here is a side by side comparison so you can decide which way you want to go:
We just used double stick foam tape to stick them to the wall, but command strips might be a better idea if you want to protect your walls.
Here is what the hallway looks like when you go down the stairs (we still need to paint the stairs so don’t mind those). We also added a motion activated sound recorder and recorded part of the Super Mario theme song and the tunnel noise so you feel like you’re going down the tunnel when you go down the stairs. When I post the final video of the basement I’ll be sure to include the noise in there. It’s ridiculous but also amazing. I’m currently working on a Thwomp to add to the ceiling to finalize the castle effect!
Update… I finished the Super Mario Thwomp and here is the finished hallway!