Saturday, 16 March 2013

A Super Easy Gift to Make!

So this is a super easy, non-time consuming project anyone can do.

It's even a great idea for a Mother's Day gift *cough* (men) *cough. (Maybe that comment is why I remain single....). You don't necessarily need to create a tote, but you can create a shirt, or jazz up a towel....the possibilities are endless!  You could even paint up your child's foot or hands and "stamp" them onto the fabric!

Here's what you need:
-Fabric paint.
-Sponges or round thick-bristled paint brushes (not too large).
-Stencils (you can create your own if you have access to a Cricut). Also, I got some stencils cheap at Walmart that I can keep reusing, and they have a sticky back which works well for fabric if you don't want them to move while you're stencil-ing away.
-Plain canvas tote (Go to Michaels and use a 40% or 50% off coupon....that will work out cheaper than Walmart).
-Parchment paper.
-Access to a sink or bucket of water (for dipping the paint brushes/sponges into).

*Before you begin:
Make sure that before you jump in and just start painting, you wash and dry the tote, and then iron it out so it's nice and flat.  You don't necessarily need to iron both sides of the tote. One side (the side you're painting) works just fine!

All you need to do:
1. Layout the paint that you wish to use in little blobs on some parchment paper.  You won't need lots of paint, just a little.  It's like that saying, "a little _____, goes a long way."
2. Once you've washed and dried the tote and ironed it out, decide what you want your end product to look like. You may even want to do a test run on some old fabric or paper before you jump in.  I rarely have the patience to do I usually just jump in with my fingers crossed that I don't mess up.....
*Place a file folder or piece of cardboard in the tote before you begin - that way if the paint seeps through a bit, it doesn't go through to the other side*
3. Place your first choice of stencil on your tote where you want it to be.
4. Dip your brush or sponge in the paint that you wish to apply to the first stencil.  Dab it over the stencil like you are sponge painting (even if you are using a brush) - don't apply the paint like you are painting (it never looks as good...).
4. Once the paint has been applied to that particular stencil, carefully remove the stencil.  I say "carefully" because you don't want any paint from the edges of the stencil to hit the tote as you lift it up.
5. Repeat steps 3-5 as many times as you need to (depending on how many stencil designs you wish to apply).
6. Once your tote (or other project) is complete, let it dry for a good 12 hours.  I wouldn't wash this tote for a few weeks - let the paint set in.
7. Gift it up!

See!  Easy! It makes a great gift idea! *cough* men *cough* for Mothers Day from the kids! *cough*
Here's the one I created for part of my mom's birthday gift:


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Who doesn't LOVE Dr. Seuss?!

Sometimes it's hard to find good inspirational quotes about reading......but I needed one for this particular canvas.....especially seeing as it's another one that I've made for my library.  Who better than Dr. Seuss for a good quote about reading!

So here's the final quote I decided on (courtesy of Dr. Seuss of course!):
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”  Perfect, isn't it?

Materials I used for this piece:
-Gesso to prime the canvas
-Parchment paper
-Paint brushes in a variety of sizes
-Acrylic paint in a variety of colours (I did some mixing as well)
-Bucket of water
-Paint brush cleaner (for afterwards)

The Method to my madness:
1. I primed my canvas with gesso and let it dry 24 hours.
2. I sketched my pal the Cat in the Hat on a piece of paper first.  Once I was happy with him, I actually put a piece of parchment paper over him and traced him with a sharpie (I knew if I didn't do this I was doomed to mess it up on the canvas....).
3. I flipped the parchment paper over and traced what I had just done with the sharpie (the hard thing to remember that when you go to trace an image you've put on parchment paper and flip it over on the that it will be backwards...that's why I always flip it over and sharpie it on the other side as well....).
4. I put the parchment paper over the canvas (the "backwards way" - aka the last tracing I just did is the side you want down ON the canvas).  Then I go over it/trace it on my canvas.  I'm a perfectionist which is why I sketched it on paper first and then traced it on parchment paper.  You'll have to go over it in pencil, but this helps make sure your sketch looks as good as it does on the paper.
5. I had to do a bit of research into the Dr. Seuss fonts.....because other fonts just didn't look right when I sketched them out on paper...the quote NEEDED this Dr. Seuss-ish font.  You can find them actually to download no problem into Word, but the problem I had was the spacing didn't look right when I typed the quote I did it the long way......I printed out the whole alphabet in the size I was happy with and traced the letters in the quote on parchment paper.  I tried doing it by hand...but it just didn't look as good....and it had to be perfect.....Once I finally had the whole quote written out, I flipped it over (remember, it will be backwards otherwise) and sharpie traced it onto the other side.  Then, I went over it with my pencil on the canvas, took the parchment paper off, and touched up the letters with my pencil.
6.  I did a bit more research for this part - the books needed to look like they were done in Dr. Seuss style.  So I looked at Cat in the Hat images online and found some pictures where the Cat was balancing books as a part of the stack of items he was balancing on his head.  So I took my pencil to the canvas and sketched three books in different directions, at different angles in the top right-hand corner.  You're probably wondering why 3 books?  In art you always want an odd number.  It always looks better from a design that's why I choose 3 books.  I was going to add the fish from Cat in the Hat...but I didn't like how he looked on my I took him off and painted over him....

Here's the final sketch!
7. The most exciting part of the process!  Time to paint!  I painted the light background first.  I had to mix a couple of colours to get the final colour to look just right.  After I had painted the background, I did the letters.  Once the background and letters were painted, I painted the books and the Cat himself!  Touch-ups were the final step, which of course took quite a while believe it or not.  It had to look just right.

Here's what the canvas looked like over the whole process of painting:

*Don't mind the quality of the pics - they were taken on my phone!

Here's the final product!

Enjoy the break!


Saturday, 2 March 2013

Just a little piece I did....

Well I decided to play around and try to shed the winter blues the other day.  I'm so done with winter.....

So I bought some masking and did some watercolours...Nothing big....Just played around because I hadn't used masking I wanted to give it a try and do something plain Jane....

-Brushes (various sizes)
-Something to scrape the masking off

Method to the Madness:
1. Sketch out your image/design.
2. Carefully place the masking on.  I used tooth picks...wasn't up for damaging a paintbrush....
3. Water down the paper lightly with a sponge.
4. Paint with your watercolours.
5. Once it's slightly dried, start peeling off the masking with your sharp tool (not too sharp though - we aren't talking knives folks).
6. Once the painting is dry, outline with your archival pen (if you wish...I was up in the air as to whether or not I was actually going to looked fine without...but what the heck...I did it anyway...).
7. And you are done!

P.S. I realized I hadn't outlined the inside of the right-hand wing on the butterfly after I took this I fixed it and it is outlined now.....Oops!

Like I say, I decided to put the tunes on, play around and take my mind off the winter weather.