Mixed Media Monday: Oil Pastel Scratch Art Background

Did you ever do scratch art in school with the black board, that once scratched revealed another brighter color? There are tons of ways to achieve the same effect without buying the boards. The basic procedure is to put down a layer of crayon and paint over it with a black opaque layer. Try one of these links for recipes along those lines: PBS Scratch Art Paper, Makezine DIY Scratch Art, or ArtRoom 104 Homemade Scratch Art.

For my version, I used oil pastels. The great thing about this technique is there is no dry time, and no need for heavy cardboard. Coat your paper in a layer of oil pastels, and then coat it again in a darker contrasting color. Use a tool to scratch away the top layer, I use an orange stick (the kind for pushing back cuticles). Here are a few examples I did a while back on watercolor paper:

Oil Pastel Scratch Art

Oil Pastel Scratch Art

Oil Pastel Scratch Art

You can also use printed paper so long as it’s glossy and resists the oil pastel like I did for this layout:

Oil Pastel Scratch Art

Watch me make a scratch art background for my art journal in the video below. I tried some new things with this weeks video so let me know if you like the new format!

Houseplants and Thrift Store Finds

Plants in WinterMy little indoor lemon tree is doing so great, it’s absolutely covered in blooms. The lemons are about nickle sized now. It’s so refreshing to smell a faint summery citrus scent while watching the snow fall outside.

Indoor plants are wonderful year round, but mid winter when it feels like spring is ages away they’re especially gorgeous.

Plants in Winter

Plants in Winter

I also found a couple cool things at thrift stores this week. First a couple great down pillows:

Thrift Store Finds

The red one is from Crate and Barrel and I think it’s hideous. I’m sure it was expensive… money just can’t buy class. I might keep the white embroidered one as is, I like the look and it’s in perfect shape.

I also found this great little book of reproduced Russian postcards:

Thrift Store FindsThrift Store FindsI think they are going to be an interesting addition to my mixed media journals.

Shadowboxes are usually a pretty common thrift store staple, unlike their flashier cousin the letterpress tray. However, I couldn’t pass this one up. It’s shelves are removable and reorganizable:

Thrift Store Finds

Thrift Store Finds

Why would that be intriguing? Ummmm not sure… but it does open up the possibility of covering the back wood with something fantastic. This thing was a bit pricey for the second hand world at $10.

I have always liked the look of the green shade desk lamps, but the ones that wind up at thrift stores are always without exception chipped. This one is chipped but it’s sooooo tiny it took me forever to notice. I actually passed it up several times, until the other day when it was 50% off and I thought $2.50 was a reasonable amount for it.  Thrift Store Finds

I hate the base, I want to gut it, steal the shade and use pipe to create a tall reading lamp for the sitting room. Like one of these:

anthro-inspired industrial pipe lampIndustrial Style Pipe Lamp with Green Glass Insulatorsdiy industrial pipe lamp

Left is an Anthropology inspired wall lamp from NellieBellie, a no longer available pipe desk lamp from Etsy seller TRoweDesigns and last a DIY pipe lamp from Always In Wonder.

Pop Art Print Styled Painting AKA The Lips

I’ve been working on this painting very sporadically for at least 6 months. I finally put the clear coat on it a few days ago:

Pop Art Lips PaintingThe wood that this painting is on is actually a project I did years ago, for a different house with a different dining room. Check out what it use to look like here. Matt and I had both really wanted some type of big bold looking pop art in the dining room but had a hard time finding one we liked. Pop art is cliche, the bold primary colors, the simplistic style, I love it but any print that instantly makes you say it’s pop art has to remind you of what you’ve seen before. I found this print from Deborah Azzopardi (check out her website here) that I really liked it but when I first found it, it was out of print.

Saturday Night Giclee PrintHowever, I see on allposters.com it is avaliable again. I wanted to make my own, large painting based on this print. I started with a rough oil pastel sketch based on the scale of my wood piece:

Pop Art Lips Painting

I thought originally that I wanted to mimic the comic book primary colors typical of this style. I started with bright blue, true red and a very primary yellow but after repainting all the colors dozens of times (not exaggerating) I landed on a more modern color palette.

Pop Art Lips Painting

To do the outlining I tried out some paint markers, which I had never used before.

Pop Art Lips Painting

I had tons of fun using the pens, the only hard thing was how sticky the paint was as it dried. If I tried to go back in to a line before the paint was dry it would pull up the drying paint. I decided at the last minute the pink needed to be brighter and ended up having to re-line all the pink areas. Pop Art Lips Painting

Here it is with the brighter pink, in my basement where you can barely tell:

Pop Art Lips Painting

I loved the new pink, and the first day the temperature was over 50 I took it outside to clear coat it. It was a total disaster, probably since it was so big no matter how slowly and evenly I sprayed the acrylic coat on it looked blotchy. I was really worried that I would have to sand or repaint or throw it on the scrap pile, but I bought a can of water based poly and painted it on. Pop Art Lips Painting

To my immense relief it worked beautifully. Here it is again all finished waiting for a frame:

Pop Art Lips Painting

Pearl Wire Wrapped Ear Cuff Tutorial

Some of my more popular posts are the wire ear cuff tutorials I did a few years back. I wanted to do another for everybody, so I came up with this wire wrapped pearl ear cuff design.

Pearl Ear Cuff DIYThis tutorial is a bit advanced so if you wanted to start your ear cuff adventure with something more basic check out one of these:

 Basic Ear Cuff Tutorial   Wire Bow Ear Cuff   Spiral Ear Cuff Tutorial

Okay, the supplies I used to make the pearl cuff were, 20 gauge wire, a fresh water pearl bead (I got a string of them for $2 on sale at Joann), round nose pliers, flat nose pliers, wire cutters, a file, and a pen.

Pearl Ear Cuff DIY

You could use the method above to wire wrap any type of bead into an ear cuff. Here is the one from the tutorial above finished:Pearl Ear Cuff DIY

I also made another out 24 gauge silver plated wire, which I think looks a bit tidier since the wire is easier to get really close to the top and bottom of the pearl:

Pearl Ear Cuff DIY

I’ve been wearing the silver one constantly:

 Pearl Ear Cuff DIY     Pearl Ear Cuff DIY

If my instructions aren’t clear enough or you have questions about making your own, let me know. Have fun!

Mixed Media Monday: Bulldog Page

My Mom recently went to London and was sweet enough to bring me back some gifts, one of which was this awesome little journal. Between the cool clasp and blank pages, it clearly needed to become an art journal.

New Mixed Media Journal

The presents for Matt came in this awesome bag, and so I used it in the first layout in my new book.

New Mixed Media Journal

The supplies I used for this layout were: acrylic paint, fabric scraps from my Inktense pillow project, red embroidery floss, old dictionary pages, and of course the bulldog and letters from the plastic bag. Enjoy!

Inktense Watercolor Look Throw Pillow: Part 2

About 2 weeks ago now, I attempted to make a watercolor look throw pillow using Derwent’s Inktense blocks. (I know A LOT of my posts have had that product in it lately… I got them for Christmas, plus they make such pretty colors!) Anyway, I got some really cool effects, but not quite what I had been going for. If you haven’t read part one here it is. I tried the process again yesterday, and I finally got the look I was going for. This time I used a heavy weight upholstery cotton, which made all the difference. I also worked on a craft mat without paper towels. Here are my fabric squares drying after the first round of color:Inktense Watercolor Look Throw Pillow

I bought the upholstery fabric as a remnant so it was $3, and a bit less than a yard, I cut four pieces that were big enough to make a pillow out of and was left with one rectangle that wasn’t. Here it is:

Inktense Watercolor Look Throw PillowI’ll have to make something else out of it…

I loved this one:

Inktense Watercolor Look Throw PillowBut it needed more vibrancy so I let it dry last night and then went back in with more color this morning.

Inktense Watercolor Look Throw Pillow

This one was pretty hideous last night, it was the first one I tried the drip effect on and it got very muddled. Inktense Watercolor Look Throw Pillow

I was hoping more color could salvage at least some of it, so I started in:

Inktense Watercolor Look Throw Pillow

And found while I was lifting it up, the back was getting saturated enough to let some of the ink through in these nice splotchy shapes:

Inktense Watercolor Look Throw Pillow

Here it is after more water and a bit more ink, I mostly just wet the spots I wanted to bleed through heavily and let the excess ink from the first round reactivate and soak through:

Inktense Watercolor Look Throw Pillow

I couldn’t decide which of these two designs I wanted as the pillow front:

Inktense Watercolor Look Throw Pillow

So I made a double sided pillow with both. To seal the color I painted each piece of fabric with textile medium. I used this one:

Inktense Watercolor Look Throw Pillow

It’s a very thick medium so I thinned it with just a little water to help it flow smoother. It goes on creamy white but dries clear and enhances the color ever so slightly. On the light weight fabric I used in part 1 it also stiffened it, but on the upholstery fabric I couldn’t tell a difference. After the textile medium dried, I covered the painted fabric with a scrap of muslin and ironed the each piece of fabric to set it: Inktense Watercolor Look Throw PillowA double sided pillow is different than the throw pillow I made here, it’s a bit simpler to do but the insert can’t be removed. You put both sides of the pillow right sides together, and sew around 3 sides, turn it right side out, iron, stuff with a pillow insert and then sew up the remaining side.

Inktense Watercolor Look Throw Pillow Inktense Watercolor Look Throw Pillow

The orange pillow was made from thrifted fabric I’ve had for years, the pillow insert I got here and the tutorial I made for envelope pillows here. I think the sofa is moving right along, I want maybe 2 or 3 more. If you want to try out this effect for yourself, I would spring for heavy weight fabric. Get plenty of it to try out some different effects, and work on a hard surface so the excess ink sits and soaks back onto the fabric. Keep paper towels close at hand though, if your creative process is anything like mine you’re going to get messy.

Inktense Watercolor Look Throw Pillow

Inktense Watercolor Look Throw Pillow