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Category Archives: Tutorials

Simple Farmhouse Style Tray Tutorial

Got a bit distracted over the past few weeks but I’m……”back on track?” …. well, that kind of implies there was a track to begin with which might be overstating things….. let’s just go with “I’m continuing to continue.”

So the next couple of weeks will be all about preparations for the upcoming, April 28-29th Jackalope Pasadena Art Fair.

It’s a great show.  I’m excited about it  and determined to

  1. come up with some new coaster designs,
  2. have enough coasters on hand, and
  3. really make use of all that scrap wood for some one-of-a-kind projects.

I have a million ideas – I just need to do the “hard” work of turning them from ideas into actual, physical things.

Oh, and I also need a new booth set up.

Bottom line – it’s going to be a super relaxing couple of weeks filled with bon-bon consumption and channel surfing……

Up first is a tray for the proud citizens of South Pasadena.

It’s pretty easy to do but I thought I’d outline the steps in case anyone out there might like to give it a go.

Here is what I used

  • Tray
  • Wood stain
  • Some thin strips of scrap wood cut to size
  • Wood stain/antiquing glaze
  • Paint (Folk Art Milk Paint in my case)
  • E6000 glue
  • Polycrylic
  • Roller
  • Rag

After staining the tray I cut my scrap wood to size (2.5″ by 16″) and went to my Plaid supply box and pulled out Folk Art Milk Paint (Petticoat color) and Folk Art Antique Wax. After painting the slats with Petticoat I went back in and “aged” the edges with the antiquing wax.

I glued the strips in place using the trusty E6000 glue and left it to dry overnight.

After working out the South Pasadena design I reversed it and printed it on my laser printer using plain old, Staples brand, legal paper

I used my Polycrylic transfer technique (you can see details here) and, after letting it dry overnight, rubbed away the paper with a wet rag (you can be pretty aggressive).

*I have found one refinement for this process.

The technique works perfectly but you do sometimes end up being able to see a slight demarcation where edge of the paper was.  I found that if I spread the poly carefully so as to avoid sealing down the very edges it minimizes this effect.

I seal all my trays with Envirotex Lite.

It’s easy to use (as long as you follow the directions to the letter) but you do have to prep the surface.  I seal everything with a coat or two of Matte Mod Podge taking particular care to run a bead of MP around the inside of the tray to seal up any gaps. 

What could happen if one skips this step?

Hypothetically …… One might return to check on one’s project and think “Gee, it seems like there is a lot less Envirotex in that tray than before.”

One then might find the missing Envirotex all over the kitchen table and dripping onto floor.

One might then panic and instinctively touch the insanely sticky, spilled Envorotex WITH BOTH HANDS.

One then (finally using one’s brain) might go to get paper towels and discover one is out of paper towels.

One might then try to open the pantry door with insanely sticky hands and then attempt to tear open the plastic wrapper with one’s insanely sticky hands and then return to the now even bigger mess on the kitchen table with one’s hands covered in plastic and paper towel bits.

Hypothetically……

Once it was all dry the tray was ready to go.

One down!  So many more ideas to work on!

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Quick and Easy Desk Organizer Makeover

I seem to have accumulated (through no fault of my own I assure you) a lot of….stuff.  Bits and pieces – parts of grandiose plans that somehow, before they were fully grandios-ed, got supplanted by a different, even better, grandiose plan.

For instance,  a while ago, I got all excited and purchased a bunch of inexpensive desk/organizers that I thought would make great display pieces.

They didn’t.

I’ve just been shuffling them around and thinking “I need to do something with those….someday…….”

And that day has come!

Well…their day came because this was my thought process on Saturday:

(My inner-monologue can be a bit dramatic.)

Anyway, while I was overjoyed to realize I’d already painted one the fact that it was painted flat black threw me until I remembered this dresser that I’d seen a while ago:

I thought that was such a cool effect.

So I grabbed my Waverly Gloss Black paint and a Folk Art Stencil and got to work:


I still have some kind of a weird block about using stencils.  I never want to do it which makes no sense because it’s pretty simple to do and always seems to work just fine.  This was particularly easy and super-quick.  I just taped the stencil in place and tapped away.

(No, I Totally meant to leave the bottom bright yellow and only half-assed paint that front edge.  Why do you ask?)

Sigh.

The stencil worked perfectly and, I am quite sincere when I tell you the whole thing took about 10 minutes.

And now I have this super-cool desk organizer.

……With a totally intentional bright yellow bottom.

And while I probably should have cleaned up the room a bit more before I snapped the photo.  Other aspects of the picture are pretty good!

And, better yet, my friend Karla came over last night, saw the organizer and said “you could totally give that to me and it would be nice.” So I am!

 

OK, now what to do with the other ones?

Eh, I have a week.  I’ll wait till next Saturday to figure it out.

Disclaimer: The good folks at Plaid provided me with the stencils and paint used on this project but all opinions are my own and was not compensated in any other way.  The links provided are to the Plaid site and are for informational purposes (ie, I don’t get any money if click on them).

Vintage Disneyland E Ticket Wall Art Tutorial

Before I get rolling here I just wanted to say thank you all for your wonderful, kind and supportive words about my dad.  It meant the world to my sisters and myself to read what you wrote.  We love sharing out dad’s story and it means so much that it resonates with you (we also showed them with mom who doesn’t do computers or blogs and she loved it!).  Thank you all so much!

OK, there is no smooth segue from that but here we go! – onto Disney and our E Ticket Ride.
Living in Southern California I’m surrounded by folks who are crazy about Disney and its various Lands and Worlds.

I do not actually share this obsession.

In truth I’m a bit bitter toward Disney.

You see, when I was 11 my parent told me we were moving from Ohio to California for my dad’s job.

I was overjoyed!   It was clear this was the first step in my life-long Master Plan!

  • Step 1: move to California.
  • Step 2: Become a Mousketeer!
  • Step 3: Enjoy everlasting fame and unlimited Disneyland access.

My parents had played right into my hand!!!!

The fact that the show was no longer in production and that we were moving to Northern California, several hundred miles from Disney was not made clear to me.

I acknowledge blaming Disney for this is not exactly fair. However, the only other option is to blame my lack of research and questionable grasp of geography and I think we all know that that won’t be happening.

So.  Everlasting bitterness!

Despite my (justified!) feelings I do like to make other people happy and I thought this fun, super easy project would be perfect for the die-hard Disney fan.

If you went to Disneyland prior to 1982 you bought a ticket book to get on the rides.

You can find these vintage books on ebay and I thought it would look cool to have some over-sized versions as wall-art.

It’s pretty straighforward.

I used:

  • Matte Mod Podge (shocking!)
  • 1/2″ MDF panels
  • black paint
  • aaaaand…that’s about it.

After doing a high resolution scan of the tickets I blew them up to 10.5×16.5 and had Staples print them out for me on plain 11×17 paper for about $2 a print (Staples can also do the scanning and blowing up for you if that’s not your scene).

I cut my 1/2″ MDF into 11×17 panels and painted them black.  The painting isn’t strictly necessary – I just wanted to have a nice border around the tickets.

After spreading a good amount of Mod Podge onto the MDF panel

I laid my graphic down smoothing out wrinkles and guaranteeing a good adhesion by using a combo of my hands and a brayer.

A little drying time, a couple of coats of Matte Mod Podge so seal them and they were ready to go.

They can be hung with picture wire and hooks or you can use 3M Command Strips.  With the Command Strips so you don’t have to put a hole in the wall and they are easy to reposition if needed.  Four strips on each panel should to the trick.

I did this with Disney tickets but it would work with pretty much any image you wanted to use: Concert tickets, family letters, etc etc.

As always, let me know if you have any questions and please if you take this idea and run with it send pics!  I love to see what people do!

Disclaimer: The tickets are Trademarked and Copyright protected material which is why I’m not providing downloads of the graphics.  This project is shared for personal use and inspiration only.    

 

Haunted Halloween Lamp

I know, I know.  Halloween is OVER and we’re all supposed to have moved on to Christmas.

But, as I’ve shown on several other occasions, I am nothing if not seasonally out of synch.

And I had this idea for a quickie Halloween decoration idea and just didn’t want to wait another year.

It came together fast (it had to, the sun was setting and I had about an hour to get it made, staged and photographed).

So, apparently, Halloween, to means “things that light up” and, more specifically Victorian people with glowing eyes (Cheltenham Road – We have one idea and we’re sticking with it!!!!)

For this I used:

  • Thrift Store Lamp
  • Pictures printed on my laser printer
  • Mod Podge
  • Foam Brush
  • Flat black spray paint
  • Craft knife

I’d picked up this lamp from a thrift store for $6

I removed the shade and did a quickly spray paint job on the base (flat black)

I had all my gloomy Victorians from my Glowing Eyes Candle Jar project so I put together a couple of quick collages and printed them out on my laser printer (you can find links to get some of the pictures in the Glowing Eye Candle Jar tutorial)

I use Photoshop for this sort of thing just to be able to move quickly but the same could be done with individual print outs of the pictures

The shade was 10” high so I just worked in sections and printed out on legal sized paper.

After cutting out their eyes (it’s what I do!),

I spread Mod Podge on the shade and smoothed the paper into place – continuing around until the shade was covered.

It happened to be 102 degrees in LA so everything dried alarmingly quickly.  If you live in a part of the country with non hell-like temperatures in October your drying times may vary.

I added a little bit of ribbon trim around the top and bottom of the shade to finish it up.*

After putting it all back together (and crossing my fingers that the thrift store lamp actually worked….something I had neglected to check)  I was done.

Glowing eyes 2017!

OK!  On to Flag Day!  I have some awesome ideas for glowing flags…..

*just to be honest, the ribbon is just taped in place.  A glue gun would be perfect for this task but I may or may not have thrown mine away after one too many unfortunate encounters with really hot glue.

Seasonally Challenged

Remember back in July when I was all about Halloween?

And we laughed about how it was way too early for Halloween?

Welcome to October!  Now we can finally talk about surfing.

Surfing?!

I know.

I am seriously seasonally challenged.

But here’s the deal.

I had the big Abott Kinney Festival (in Venice Beach) a weekend or so ago and I had to change gears radically to get stuff ready for the beach crowd.

Coasters are always my biggest sellers and I wanted some new ones.  So I upped my “beach game” by playing with some new colors for my Subway Art coasters:

And worked up some new vintage surf shop coasters as well

So far so good.

I wanted to add some other stuff to the mix and, as you may recall, I bought a bunch of metal trays a while ago and have been trying out various designs on them.

I liked one of my Surfing Coaster images a lot and had an idea about how to transfer it to one of the metal trays but wasn’t sure if it would work.

Spoiler: It did!

I painted the bottom of the tray using Waverly Inspirations Chalk Paint – Ivory, blew up my graphic and printed it out in reverse on my laser printer.

I used my favorite transfer technique.

I simply lay down a decent coat of Minwax Polycrylic, place the image face down on the Poly, smooth it into place using my hands and a roller and let it dry for several hours in the sun (or overnight if you don’t live in hot, dry southern California).

Tip:  I’m always trying to improve a bit.  The only downside of this method is that you can end up with a faint outline of the edges of the paper.  I found that if you only put the Poly where you image is and only smooth down that area it cuts down on the “edge” problem a bit.  You can see in the picture above that the edges of the paper are not stuck down.

Once it’s dry I soak a rag in water, lay it over the image and let get good and damp

and begin rubbing away the paper.

until the image is totally revealed.

My concern was that the process would rub off the paint but it wasn’t a problem at all.

I actually had to go back in with some sandpaper and “distress” the letter a bit more (I kinda overdid it with “A” in California)

I really liked how it came out and the tray sold almost before I opened shop.

I plan to try it with a few fall-like designs as well.  Or, what the heck, it’s October, let’s talk Easter decor!!!!

(you may wonder what I’ve been up to since the Festival and now…..well, my faithful computer Blue-Screen-of-Deathed me just afterwards and I’ve been dealing with the hassle of buying a new one and getting up and rolling again.  Fortunately, most of my work was backed up but between passwords, fonts, bookmarks etc it’s been a slow slog to get my act back together)

 

 

Spooky Halloween Lantern

Spooky Halloween Lantern

I really shouldn’t be allowed to go to Michaels with a great coupon but no plan.

So, having said that, let’s all agree to pretend that this project is EXACTLY the project I had in mind when I started and that everything went swimmingly.

Are we all on board?

Great!

Welcome to a tutorial about exactly the thing I planned to make.

It all started when I saw some lanterns at a ridiculously low price and scooped them up (knowing, as you’ll recall,  EXACTLY what I was going to do with them!).  I also grabbed a bag-o-skulls (fun to say) at a great discount.  After getting everything home I gathered some other supplies got to work.SUPPLIES

  • Lantern
  • Skulls
  • Tealights (the kind that change color – available at Michaels)
  • Painters tape
  • (because this is EXACTLY the project I had in mind I ended up using a bunch of different paints and other supplies after I took that picture)

  • Folk Art Coastal Creations
  • Waverly Super Premium Craft paint
  • Flat black spray paint
  • Gold paint
  • Texture Paint
  • Dowels cut to length
  • Velcro tape

All my paints – with the exception of the black Spray Paint and Frosted Glass Paint – were supplied to me by Plaid as part of their Ambassador program (although I sort of fear I’m not using things the way they had in mind – sorry!)

The lanterns were a great shape but not very Halloweeny.

After removing the glass panes and hardware I painted the interior black.

On the exterior I wanted a decrepit, textured look so I grabbed my new favorite paint – Folk Art Coastal Creations – and dabbed on some white

After letting it dry I went back in with Waverly Black and darkened things up by dabbing and rubbing it into the textured white paint until I got the look I wanted.

I then worked on the metal tops, first painting them with Folk Art Brushed Antique Gold.

And then going back in with Folk Art Painted Finishes Rust to, again, add texture and decay.

Then it was onto the skulls.

Being me, and somewhat overly dedicated to things lighting up, I wanted them to…..light up!

The skulls are hollow but had a hole in the bottom that was just big enough to insert a tealight.  However, the white tealight base looked like exactly like what it was and the light tended to shine through the white plastic.  So after taping off the “candle” part

I gave them a quick coat of flat black spray paint.  

This helped focus the light and also made the candle base “disappear”.

For a bit more “glow” I then drilled out the eye holes.

(PLEASE NOTE:  if you do this you would be wise to brace the skull in some way rather than just holding it with your hand…..or so I’m told…. I mean it’s not like I had a bad experience with the drill slipping….why would you think that?! who told you that?!  Also, unlike this picture implies, you do not want to drill a hole in the eye socket with the tealight already inserted… that would be stupid and neither I nor any of you are stupid.)

I created different levels for the skull by just painting out some random bits of dowel and, because I wanted them to be stable but still be able to access the on/off switch on the lights,  attaching the tealight/skull to the dowel using some velcro tape.

I then did a quick, light coat of Frosted Glass spray on the glass panels  – just to dirty them up a bit really – and re-assembled the lanterns.

After some careful arranging I was done!  Spooky, light up skulls

As I mentioned some of the tealights change color so still pictures don’t quite capture the shifting, glowing effect.

I think they’d make a fun centerpiece 

or perhaps some mantle decor.

OK, I’m ready for my next project.  And I know EXACTLY what I’m going to do!!!!  Trust me!

 

 

 

Easy Halloween Garland

The other day I was wandering around at Michaels enjoying perusing all the Halloween stuff* and lookng for inspiration.

I did come across this – which made me think that perhaps someone needed a refresher course on how, exactly “clearance” is supposed to work…**

and I was about to leave when I stumbled upon these:

“Interesting!”  I thought.

“What would you do with them?”  I wondered.

“Oh!  They light up!” I realized

“I MUST HAVE THEM!!!!!”  I decided.

In truth, I was partially motivated to purchase them because they were 30% off and I had 20%-off the-entire-purchase coupon burning a hole in my pocket.

…..of course they were only $2.99 to begin with so I may not be vacationing on my savings but it still felt like I’d successfully played the system!

So, since I had no plan I must apologize for the fact that this isn’t one of those projects that has a nice, pretty, organized picture of “all the stuff you need.” I just kind of made it up as I went along.

But here is what I ended up using:

  • Light Up Coffins (why not?!)
  • Waverly Craft Paint and Brushes
  • Velum Paper
  • E600 glue
  • Eye screws
  • Black spray paint
  • Ribbon

I am lucky to have a lot of paint on hand courtesy of the good folks at the Plaid Ambassador Program and for this project I used their Waverly Super Premium Line of paint and brushes.

(OK, I try not to be too “salesy” but I really do love this paint and these brushes.  The paint comes in great colors, goes on beautifully in one coat and the various brushes are the perfect size for a lot of different projects)

After removing the hardware I painted the lids and boxes in alternating colors.

So far so good.

I decided that, while I loved the “lights up” aspect, you could actually see the bulbs and it didn’t look quite right to me.

So I grabbed some Velum paper which would add a frosty look and diffuse the light.I traced the inside of the lid

cut it out and stuck it in place with just a little spot of E6000.

I had decided at this point that they would make a cool garland and, after painting some eye-hole screws black and screwing them into the top I hung the whole set on a black ribbon.

They look just fine as is but they pop quite a bit you light them up (it’s hard to get a picture partly because the lights themselves flash and change colors and one always seems to be cycling off while the others are cycling on)

Ah! there we go!

So this is the first of what I hope are several Halloween themed ideas I’ve had lately so stay tuned.

*I can’t help on occasion, when perusing the shelves  at Michaels, picturing the Chinese factory workers looking at all  this stuff that they know is headed to America and thinking “those people are very weird.”

** also, sorry, am I wrong that when I think of “clearance” prices a 50 cent savings (regardless of how you’ve filled out the price sticker) isn’t exactly what I have in mind?

 

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