“Dear Lover” Wallpaper, A HP Sprout Project 15 Years in the Making

by Caitlin Kelch

Sometimes, you have a creative idea that you just can’t let go of, no matter how many years pass. When I was a young, 30-something living in New York City, my emotional life was closer to that of an angsty teenage girl’s than a woman who had been on the planet for three decades.

I listened to Madonna’s Ray of Light incessantly, went for espresso immediately after working out, and usually came back to work after lunch with a bag or two from Urban Outfitters. And I wondered why my relationships never seemed to work out. I wondered this a lot. Like, for at least two hours each day.

I had studied film and video at the School of Visual Arts and was always doing wacky things, like making video wallpaper (before it was a “thing”) and cutting holes in dresses to house video monitors showing my work in the private areas of the forms. My video work always involved a lot of digital manipulation of existing historical footage, and I loved to retell the stories old commercials or news events were portraying by editing and colorizing video footage and making it my own.

So in my early 30s, in NYC, most likely listening to Madonna, I conceived what I considered, at the time, to be my masterpiece — Dear Lover wallpaper. I dreamed I would paper my house with cabbage roses and the opposite of love letters to all of my exes, explaining to them exactly why our relationships ended — in my words, not theirs.

Last week, I was able to realize that dream. I had shared my idea with Grace last month and she could not have been more supportive and encouraging. We joked that my middle name should be “Catharsis”, Cathy for short, because this project was more evidence of my need to release even after a period of years! So thanks to a box of old sketchbooks, photos, fake birds and a new box containing a crazy, immersive, creative station (Sprout) from the “future is now” brain team at HP, I am opening my closet door each morning with a smile as I gaze at my recently papered door. I snicker remembering the Tom’s, Dick’s & Harry’s whom I left behind a long time ago. —Caitlin

This post is sponsored by HP Sprout, without whom I would not have been able to realize my cheeky, 15-year-old dream of creating my Dear Lover wallpaper. Your fantastical machine gave me some serious creative license, and I felt like a rocket scientist/artist using the touch screen interface and 3D scanner. I can’t wait for my next project! And, of course, a huge thanks to our D*S readers for supporting our sponsors like HP Sprout, who promote creativity in all ways, shapes and forms! #GoMakeThings #SproutByHP





Click through to read two of my Dear Lover letters and see the slideshow with details of the process and wallpaper!

Excerpts from Dear Lover wallpaper:

My Dearest Sascha,

Ah, what delicious fun we had!

Dawdling in Central Park, swinging in our happy hammock, singing Oasis songs as the roses bloomed in the garden next door. You, my six-foot-two songbird!

But darling, I have a confession to make…

Those lingering birthday dinners at Sakura were bittersweet for me. Every year, you’d order “my favorite,” but apparently you weren’t listening when I emphatically stated I didn’t care for sushi.

Thank you for teaching me to speak up!




To My Darling Timothy,

My world-traveling, very-handsome-in-a-suit fellow!

I felt so safe with you wandering the dirty streets in search of a fancy place to hang our hats. Sadly, my hero-worship turned to fear that night I traveled uptown to your corporate apartment during your break from Kazakhstan. As I exited the yellow cab, I saw your shadowy silhouette in the third-floor window peering down at me.

It was creepy, Tim. I suddenly felt like prey. It was at that moment I knew the end was only moments away.

I am, however, very grateful for the crash course in body language.

Yours Truly,


If there's one necessity I absolutely require at my chosen "creative space," it's blankness. Only then I feel like I can I let my imagination come to life to find its special spot in the world. (My desktop wallpaper is by the amazing Alea Toussaint and is available on D*S right here!)
This is the stuff dreams are made of! Rosy fabric, fake birds (that are pretty old) given to me by old boyfriends, sketchbooks belonging to a 30-year-old woman-child, leaves from 1999, and an engraved silver pendant that reads "Guy loves Daisy." There are also real-life photos of exes that I still have for historical reference and archival purposes.
This is how it all started. I sat down with things I love and an interface that was so simple and intuitive that I immediately began creating my 15-year-old concept.
Behold, my Sprout station! I happily built a brand new desk with materials from my garage, like an old ice cream stool, pink file cabinet and a great grocery store shelf from a store on our Main Street, circa 1975. The former owner of my home owned the store (and pool hall). You can see my closet wallpaper to the left. I LOVE it.
This detail from the wallpaper I created on the Sprout shows my old bird (given to me by he who shall not be named) that I was able to scan on the Sprout's 3D scanner. If I had a 3D printer, I could make a bird whose feathers would never soil or fray! My 3D model of the bird opens up a whole new set of projects that I'm kind of excited to get started on.
This is my "style-y" mood shot. Imagine you're me and you're drifting to the closet in the early morning and, oh! What is this beautiful swirl of cursive and pink? Just dreamy letters to all the men I've ever loved. Now you're ready for coffee and you feel pretty good getting all that off your chest. Why my closet? Years ago here on D*S, Grace talked about how she wallpapered her closet and I loved the idea. The notion of decorating a private space and opening the door to it each day was such a perfect metaphor for my inner life/introspection that papering my closet seemed like a spot on idea.
Action shots of the Sprout! I was really glad to use my fingers to resize, paint, move and adjust my beloved mementos. With Sprout, I felt like I was painting, not struggling with a mouse of photo editing software, to get the creative inspiration out. When my family notices I am missing, they check this room first. I'm usually found at the Sprout, making something I think is amazing.
Long before there was Portlandia, I wanted to "put a bird on it," and now I can check that off my list. I 3D scanned every bird in the house and I will most likely be responsible for bringing this once-overdone trend back on the scene. Sprout's 3D scanning stand actually rotated and moved up and down to get every last feather in my model.
Here are some early design concept tests I did. I was actually able to create about six versions really quickly because I was working with my fingers and the stylus that comes with the Sprout. The station is a real (read standard Windows ) computer, too, but the screen is a touch screen allowing me to work with my scanned images, pull something off the Internet and slide it down to the touch mat where I could merge my scans with existing images from the web. I added text from the Sprout, and ta-dah! After I had my final design, I went to my local copy store and had them print out my wallpaper. I attached it to my closet door using removable double stick tape.

Suggested For You


  • I love all of this — the love letter wallpaper and the way you made it! A 3D scanner — wow. I am just imagining the possibilities. But I don’t know if I can top yours! So fun.

  • I am up way too early this morning; DH was restless and couldn’t sleep, and so I couldn’t. Your Love Letter Wallpaper made us both laugh at 430am and we’re both feeling better. I want this for my secret closet giggle. Where to get it?