Friday, May 19, 2017

Mixed Media Art - Urban Flair

Things have taken a decidedly complicated turn here:

Surgery on my foot with limited mobility means I have to get creative to be creative.  My craft supplies are upstairs, and climbing them is a bit tricky, so I'm limited to what I can carry on my one trip per day!  Of course The Captain is willing to get things for me, but don't want or need to haul too much downstairs.

I saw this video from one of my Facebook groups - Mixed Media Morsels by Cat Hand called Urban Flair.  It's a perfect couch project - cutting up magazine pages, then gluing them down.

I decided to use the magazines I had in front of me - Flow and Stampington- not too shabby!   I looked for pages with pink, green, and a bit of blue, so my take is less urban, more shabby chic.  Here are my pages:

And here they are, cut into strips.  I cut them 1/2 wide, but it would also work wider, narrower and even varied widths.

I used a firm card stock from a Flow magazine as a base, then glued down strips using a glue stick.

Once all the strips were glued down, I added a few images cut out of my magazines.

Then I swiped on some acrylic paints - using these Dina Wakley paints and an old store card.

(A blurry view of paint-swiping).

Here is the finished page, but I thought it needed something else - splatters and a squiggly border, of course !

This was a fun, easy journal page.  Thanks for the inspiration, Cat Hand!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Wooden Stamp Storage - Banish the Block

We're downsizing and my massive stamp collection takes up lots of room.  Don't get me wrong,  I love my wood mounted stamps, but it's either find a way to store them so they take up less real estate or get rid of them.  Option 2 is crazy-talk.

The solution came in one of my Facebook art groups,  Maremi's Creative Cafe,  posted by Suzy Jenkins.  She nukes the stamps to peel them off their wooden base.  I've tried prying stamps off before without heating and got chunks of foam left behind.  The heating makes  the whole shebang lift off nicely.

I selected big background stamps as having the most space-saving potential.  Plus, having these stamps unmounted makes them easier to use in backgrounds.  I rarely use these as whole stamps, and it's a bear to stamp just parts when the stamp is on a block.

Here are the fancy tools I used:

Nuke the stamp on full-power for one minute.  Carefully remove with pot-holder - the wood block gets mighty hot,  be careful.  I found it easier and safer to put the stamp, face up, on a plate and put the plate in the microwave.  It's easier to lift the plate out than the hot stamp.

Once the stamp was heated, I slid an old butterknife under between the wood and the foam backing.  The stamps all peeled off easily and none were damaged in the process.

I wanted some way to identify my unmounted stamps.  Some of the wooden blocks had that plastic coating with the image printed on it.   I tried lifting it off the wooden block and sticking it to the foam backing, but found it was really easier to stamp the image on some transparencies from my stash.  I stamped them with StazOn, then cut out and stuck it on the back of the stamp.  The foam stays sticky, so no problem adhering the transparency or the original label.  You could use the plastic from unmounted sheets or packaging - you'll want something to cover up the sticky back.

Now here's the pay-off.  Before, with my can for size comparison:


 Cooking stamps in the microwave - who knew?  Planning on cooking lots more,  Thanks, Suzy !

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Toilet Paper Roll Painting (The Toilet Paper Roll Fascination Continues)

My art video watching continues - as long as the news is so depressing,  I'm watching more art videos   in an attempt to limit my daily dose of outrage.    This piece was inspired by another video by Marta Lapkowska.   We've moved on from toilet paper roll dandelions to using those elegant tubes to paint backgrounds.

As usual, I got carried away with the process and forgot to take a picture at the beginning.  The technique is pretty simple- you essentially use the paper roll like a brayer.  Because of the texture and flimsy nature of the roll, you don't get full coverage, but something more abstract .  Roll tube in paint and roll onto your paper.  I really couldn't get the tube to do much actual rolling, so did some sort of "drop, roll, drag" on the paper.

I used a combination of acrylic paints:

After getting the paint on the paper and while it is still wet,  rub some circles in the wet paint with your finger.

Then I  added some black and white circles around the smudged ones using a cardboard tube - white paint for the white ones and stamped the black ones with StazOn ink.   

I added some white paint dots , some text stamping,  and a quote that seemed appropriate for this experiment.

Check out Mart's videos and FaceBook group - she does such fun stuff.

And in case you don't have a supply of toilet paper rolls ( who doesn't ?),  you can purchase them on Etsy ,  Ponder that thought for a minute !!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Dandelion Paper Towel Roll Flowers

I came across this video on Maremi Small Art.  Marta Lapkowska uses toilet paper tubes (or as my sister used to say to class it up a bit, "toilette paper") to make amazing abstract dandelions.   Check out her video for set-by-step instructions.

It's pretty simple- cut into the paper roll to make the petals:

I used a paper towel roll and sliced it open so I could  make a smaller flower.  I cut the roll in thirds, and taped the tubes back together- one the original size, rolled the tube to make a smaller diameter one,  and the third smaller yet.  Tape the tube together, flatten out the petals. and you're really to stamp.

You can see the difference in the diameter of the flowers here.  

Spread out some acrylic paint on a craft mat - first I used three different shades of blue .  Smooch the roll around in the paint and then pounce it  onto your paper.  It takes a few times and a few twirls to get some good coverage - we're not going for perfection here - just some abstract dandelion-ish flowers.   I started with the lightest blue and ended with the darkest color.

I did a few test runs - one on a craft lunch bag with blues and another on white with yellow and green.  

Really like this yellow, green, and black combo !

I wasn't sure how to finish the center of the flowers and then remembered my trusty Dollar Store silicone brush - perfect for making center dots!

I made an easy journal page with this technique - added some text tape stems and black and green acrylic paint splatters.   Some fibers I found at an estate sale were perfect for the grassy bottom - a spring-themed stamp, and DONE.

Thanks for sharing this fun technique, Marta!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Dendritic Mono-printing

In keeping with my plan to watch more art videos and less news, I came across a video by Cat Hand on dendritic mono-printing, which sounds way more complicated than it is.  The technique is basically this:   spread a fairly thick layer of acrylic paint between two sheets of glass,  smoosh  the glass together, then carefully lift the top piece of glass off and  place a piece of paper over the painted surfaces to lift prints.  Cat has also done this using sheets of acrylic instead of glass with similar results.

Two colors of blue acrylic paint spread onto glass.  I used glass from cheap photo frames.   If you've done Gelli printing, you'll notice that this technique uses a pretty thick layer of paint, not the brayered thin layer for Gelli printing.

Here is another color combo, sandwiched between two pieces of glass.  I only had these two different sizes, and it was an emergency to try this out, so made do with what I had.  Once the top piece of glass is on, press pretty hard all over the surface to make sure you have good contact contact with the paint .  You will be able to see the pattern begin to emerge in the paint  - so cool.

The hardest part of this is lifting off the top piece of glass without smearing the paint.  You can just see the metal palette blade I used to pry up the top - still a bit tricky.

As soon as you lift off the top piece of glass, you can see the dendritic pattern in the paint.   This branching pattern is everywhere in nature - tree branches, leaf veins, river deltas, neurons, and blood vessels. There's a whole lot of math involved in how this happens that I don't pretend to understand!

So now you have two pieces of glass with patterned paint.  Place paper (I used card stock and some French dictionary pages) on the paint and lightly rub over it to make sure you have good contact.  If you rub too hard, you'll obliterate the pattern.   I was able to get two good prints off each piece of glass. Carefully lift off the paper to see the magic:

Like Gelli printing, it's hard to stop once you start.  Each piece is unique - I love the combination of pattern and white space.   In some I see leaves, others look like corral - so much fun!  These will make great backgrounds.   I used one to make a simple sympathy card:

And couldn't let the paint left on the glass go to waste, so I swiped some tags through for playing with later.

And just like that, another obsession is born.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

I Finally Made a Junk Journal!


My desire to remain sane is in conflict with my desire to remain informed,  so I have adopted a new strategy - more art videos, less TV news.   To that end, I've been watching videos about making junk journals.   This one by Jolanda a.k.a. Jopke finally pushed me to try making one.  If you haven't checked out her videos, you must- she does such beautiful work.

Junk journals are journals made with stuff you have in your stash - bits of paper, ephemera, envelopes, tags - whatever.   The journal can be used for journaling, as smash books , for grocery/to-do lists - whatever.  

Time to dive in and try my hand at making one.   This isn't a step-by-step tutorial , just some of the things I did to make mine.

Lots of the videos I watched started out with using chipboard boxes for the cover  - like cereal boxes.   The beauty of using a box  is that the spine is already there.  I used a brownie mix box


I rarely do any precise measuring and this project was no different.  I just hacked the box down to the approximate size I wanted.   I did fold in the edges to make them more rigid, although I've seen plenty of videos that don't do this.  I also reinforced the spine with a piece from one of those return postcards that fall out of every magazine.  I glued everything down with Aileen's Tacky Glue and held it down with bulldog clips until dry.

Next, covering the cover - I used a paper placemat.

Folded in the edges and glued it down with gel medium.

 I forgot to take a picture, but glued some paper on the inside of the cover to hide the raw edges as you can see in the finished book.

Now, for the pages.   I went through my stash to find things that would work.  I wanted to use a variety of papers- scrapbook, text, craft, music ,  so there is no real theme going on!

I did measure here to make sure the pages would fit inside the cover.  I made one as a template and cut out the rest.   You can go shorter/ thinner than the cover, but not bigger unless you want the pages hanging outside.

Once the pages were assembled, I punched out three holes in each, using the template shown below.

Here are a few pages (already sewn in):

Gelli prints and under paper

Some stenciling and stamping.

This was fun - a little pamphlet (on the right) from one of my Flow magazines got chopped up, glued, and made its way in !

I made 3 groups of pages (signatures) with 8 pages in each signature.  

Then came the scary part - sewing the signatures into the spine.   I used a simple 3 - hole pamphlet stitch method.  There are lots of great how-to videos- my favorite is Johanna Clough's.   Really, this hardly qualifies as sewing - in one hole, out the other - yet oddly terrifying !   Once I started, it was really easy .  

This is what I used - a Martha Stewart punch, pearle  cotton run over beeswax and a large blunt needle.  I made a template (thanks for the tip, Jopke) of where I wanted the holes on the spine and on the pages.  Three signatures, three rows of holes.    Again, I just eyeballed the placement, but did use a ruler to make sure the holes were more or less lined up.  Check out the how-to videos I've linked for details.

Not gonna lie, I did a happy dance when I saw this !

Signatures actually sewn in and didn't fall out - yippee !  I felt like Sally Field, "I made a book!  I really made a book!"

I finished my journal with a closure - punched a hole with my Crop-a- Dile (thank you, Shiela) and added a white rivet and green ribbon.

 I'm pretty happy with my first attempt.   Some lessons learned:

*  A few of my pages were really thin paper , so the holes tore a bit as I sewed them in.

*  I think my punch was too big, so next time will try an awl.

*  Keep track of top / bottom - I sewed one signature in upside down !

*  Not sure the beeswax was necessary.

A new obsession is born - I see every box as a potential book cover.    Now, about that brownie mix....

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