Paper Rage

Posted on March 13, 2012 and tagged DIY, Favourites with comments

Have you ever tried to make paper sculptures? Well, when these cute little paper gems were floating around the internet a few months ago I felt compelled to give them a try!

I envisioned a garland of little paper gems strung around my den.

Let me tell you, I've never had a craft project throw me into such a rage before. I guess I just don't have the patience for this kind of work. And there was something about how tiny and delicate the little gems were that made me want to CRUSH THEM INTO BITS every time the smallest thing went wrong.

Please visit Minieco, the creator of these gems because she is clearly a much better person than I am. Not only did she successfully assemble them, she made the freakin templates! It's an understatement to say I'm a bit jealous.

Speaking of jealously, here is the work someone I'm in complete awe of. Chloe Fleury.

Yes, that's all made of paper! Her work is so adorable and beautiful, I want to vomit with envy.

She also designed the gorgeous cover of the latest issue of Anthology.

So maybe I'll give paper sculpture another shot (after some therapy), or maybe I'll just stick to art projects I'm good at. Like.... gluing stuff to other stuff.

Hand Embroidered Cards

Posted on March 9, 2012 and tagged DIY, Favourites with comments

Look what I found in my desk drawer!

I made these embroidered cards so long ago and then just tucked them away in a drawer to be forgotten about. What a shame!

I thought these cards would make a great DIY for the blog because they're easy and fun to make, and you probably have all the supplies on hand already. If you're anything like me you have waaaaay too many colors of embroidery floss tucked away somewhere.

What you'll need:

  1. Pencil for drawing your design
  2. Piece of thick cardboard
  3. Embroidery floss
  4. Sheets of blank paper
  5. Embroidery needle and a pin with a head
  6. Blank Card

Start by drawing out your design on a piece of thin blank paper. It's best to keep it simple unless you're super awesome at embroidery. Tape your design on to the card or secure it with a couple paper clips.

When I made my fruit cards, I actually used an iron-on transfer from Sublime Stitching, which is a really great book that you should all run out and buy right this very second. I transfered the design on to a sheet of card stock so I didn't put holes in the original.

Now you can start poking holes along the lines using the pin with a head. A push pin will also work, you just need something to hold on to. Put the piece of cardboard behind the card so you can poke the pin all the way trough. The holes will be your guide when you start the embroidery.

Now comes the fun part! Oh, did I say fun part? I meant painful part! Seriously though, I haven't done any embroidery in a while so my fingers got pretty sore. Be careful not to pull the thread too tight or you'll tear the paper. I used 4 strands of thread for my stitching. I found that the whole piece of floss was too hard to pull through and less than 4 strands showed the holes too much.

I just used a back stitch for my whole design, but you could get really creative here with different stitches. Just carefully tie knots in the back to secure your stitches.

Once you're done, admire your work!

The back didn't look too bad, but I wanted to cover it up anyways.

I just cut a piece of white paper just a bit smaller than the card and secured it using a bit of glue along the fold.

There are a million possibilities for this project, so let me know in the comments if you decide to give it a try. I'd love to see your work! You'll notice in the photo with the supplies, I also have a card made from black shimmery cardstock. I have plans for that guy, and I'll show you the photo when I'm done!

Also, I added a brand new RSS button on the side bar. So you if you like reading this blog I would LOVE it if you subscribed. Or you can follow me on Twitter! Or both! :)

EDIT: If you liked this post, check out this one. Stitch your own neon gem card, with a free pattern.

DIY Wall Art: Triangles

Posted on March 5, 2012 and tagged DIY, Favourites with comments

There aren't too many things in life more satisfying than hanging your own art in your living room. If you think you can't make your own art, you are WRONG! Making art is easy and fun and there is absolutely no wrong way to do it. I'll give you some tips to make sure all your art projects turn out great.

First, here are my top 3 tips to ensure your DIY art projects come out amazing:

  1. Pay attention to color. It is the single most important part of your art project. You may think you have a good eye for color, and you probably do, but it's harder than you think to translate that into a painting. Either keep it simple with primary colors (like I have for this project) or really plan it out with a trip to Kuler.

  2. Use simple shapes. You don't need to paint a true-to-life portrait of your entire family to call it art. Ever see a really beautiful peice of modern art and think, 'Hey I could have done that!'? Well you can! Stick to simple shapes you know and you're on the right track.

  3. If you don't like it, play with the scale. This is something I want to put to use with this project actually. I love how it turned out, but I think it would be even better if it was GIANT. If you find yourself looking at your peice and there's something just not right about it, chances are it's the scale. Test it out on paper first and play around, make it smaller, make it bigger, make it even bigger. You'll find something that feels right if you trust your instincts.

Here are the supplies you'll need for this project.

  • sheet of acrylic canvas paper, or a stretched canvas
  • paint brush
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • painter's tape
  • acrylic paint in primary colors and white

Start by drawing the design in pencil onto your canvas. I divided my canvas up in 3 sections horizontally and then 4 sections vertically. These sections need to be exactly equal, so either cut your paper to a size that works or make sure you buy a canvas that divides up easily. Next I drew my diagonal lines, connecting corners along the way.

Next, plan out where you're colors are going. You can use my template here, but basically you just want to make sure that no triangles of the same color are touching. If they're touching, you won't be able to tape them off in a way that lets you do all triangles of the same color at once.

If you look closely, you'll notice I actually switched the colors on the last row of mine by accident. See, there's no right way to make art!

Now tape off all the 3's with painter's tape and start painting. You can use the blue as it comes in the jar. I added a little white to start off with.

Pull the tape off as soon as you're done painting. Don't let it dry.

Now just keep going! You'll be surprised how fast each color dries if you use a thin, even coat. To get the next color, just keep adding white.

Keep it up for the next 2 colors and before you know it, you're done! It's a great project to do while watching a good movie.

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Well I hope you enjoyed this DIY. You can see how easy it is to create your own art. If you make some triangle art, I'd love to see it!

I have another geometric art project coming up soon, also using primary colors. I think you're really going to like it, so keep checking back!

How (Not) To: Paint Ikea Furniture

Posted on March 2, 2012 and tagged DIY, Favourites, Personal with comments

I've been holding onto the shame of this failed DIY attempt for quite some time now. But let's face it, everyone makes mistakes and I think this is something the world needs to hear about. You can learn from my failures! I love doing How-To's on the blog but today I have something different for you: A How-Not-To! My hope is that you'll read this post, possibly laugh at me, and then go out into the world armed with your new found knowledge and do it right.

It all started here with my trusty Lack coffee table from Ikea.

The Backstory

We bought it for $49 for our first apartment and it had been through many years of abuse and served double duty as our dining room table. We're classy like that. The poor guy was all scratched up and really looked like he had seen better days. So I got the brilliant idea in my head that I was going to paint good old Lacky (from here on out I'll refer to the table as Lacky) and give him new life! HE'LL LOOK LIKE A BRAND NEW TABLE! I also got it in my head that he needed to be fuscia. I hesitantly brought this up to my husband one night when we were sitting cross legged eating dinner with Lacky, thinking there was no way he'd allow me to paint a piece of our furniture bright pink. Surprisingly, he said he didn't care at all what color Lacky was but he made sure to point out that he thought it was a bad idea in general to paint Ikea furniture. Whatever man, what do you know?

I began by thoroughly reading skimming a bunch of tutorials on painting Ikea furniture, spent a couple of minutes scrolling through Ikea Hackers and considered myself an expert on the subject. Most of the tutorials said it was very important to give the surface a good sand and use a primer that was meant for slippery surfaces. Some people said that it's best to paint a piece of furniture that doesn't get a lot of wear, because the paint job is prone to chipping. I assumed they did it wrong and my table would be perfect.

Gathering my Supplies

While at the hardware store, I found a primer that said on the label "Sticks to all surfaces without sanding" and the extremely knowledgeable hardware store guy teen assured me it would stick to anything. Well aren't I smart? This is going to save me so much time! I won't even have to sand Lacky! WRONG!

Next came the paint. A second employee took it upon himself to help me with this. He was a large man and his uniform shirt was unbuttoned almost half-way with a thick mass of chest hair right at my eye level. It was all I could focus on. I showed the paint chip to Burt Reynolds and he told me I was looking at the wrong paint. I needed one with a clear base and they would have to tint my primer too. He grabbed a can off the shelf for me. He also warned me it would be a tricky color to use and I would need to do several coats, maybe even 3, and let each coat dry at least 24 hours before the next one.

Then he regaled me with a fascinating story about the time an episode of Restaurant Makeover was filmed down the street and they bought their paint in this very store. They wanted to do a red accent wall and he told them about the 24 hour rule but they didn't listen to him and THE WHOLE RESTAURANT WAS RUINED! Well I don't really remember how the story ended, I was too distracted by the chest hair. But it did get drilled into my head that I needed to wait 24 hours between coats. When I told him about Lacky, get this, he said it was a bad idea to paint him! Excuse me? Just give me my paint and shut up.

Hold up. Exterior paint? I went back to the store the next day and saw that Burt was working again. I asked him to please exchange my exterior paint for some interior paint because I didn't want to get light-headed and vomit while I was painting Lacky thank you very much. I can only assume that his chest hair had now grown into his brain because he tried to tell me that there was NO DIFFERENCE between interior and exterior paint and I should just use what he picked out for me. Being the DIY expert that I am I went on a rant about how there's a chemical in exterior paint, no I don't remember the name of it, but it's bad and it does bad things to people when used indoors like causes diziness, nausea, and probably even death. So if he didn't want me to die he would get me a new can of paint please and thank you. Oh, and you better believe I tweeted about it.

The Part Where I'm In Denial

By this time I had already started with my primer. It was tinted grey to deal with my "tricky" color choice and really did feel super sticky. No sanding required! Just to be safe, I let it dry 24 hours and then put a second coat of primer on. I let that coat dry another 24 hours and decided it was safe to start with the fun part.

I really loved this color. But apparently I didn't love it enough to spend a couple bucks on a decent roller! This turned out to be a very bad decision because it left a ton of fuzzy bitties behind as I painted and the coverage was really uneven. I picked out as many fuzzies as I could and decided it would look better after a second or third coat.

The next four days were all about Lacky. Set up Lacky in the den, open all the windows, do a coat while trying to keep the cats from walking in paint, drag Lacky (carefully) into the bedroom so the cats wouldn't rub up against him, wait all day, drag Lacky back out to the den so we could sleep, cover him with a sheet and hide him under a desk so the cats wouldn't claw him up, wake up the next day and repeat. I did this for FOUR DAYS! Did I mention the cats? Throughout this whole process, they would not leave Lacky alone. I have never seen them so focused on anything in my life. It was actually kinda creepy.

You Can Look, But Don't Touch

Lacky actually ended up looking great. Sure, the paint was a little bumpy in some spots because of the bits the roller left behind, but it added character! As long as you didn't get too close, he looked fantastic and I was very pleased.

Here's the part where I started to realize this wasn't working out. After I was done the last coat of paint, I let it cure for about a week. Lots of stuff I read online said you would need to wait for the paint to actually harden before it would be durable enough to use as a table again. Well I waited the week and I'm not a very patient person so it was very hard! And remember how I said Lacky was our coffee table/dining room table? That meant we were eating all our meals at a big plastic bin with a whiteboard on top. Even for us, that was not cool.

I probably should have been more patient and waited for the paint to fully cure, but I really believe I would have been waiting forever! Over the next 2 months or so, the paint never cured. Ever. If you set anything down on the table, it would leave a noticable mark right away and everything stuck to it. One time I put a magazine down and left it there for a couple days. When I picked it up again, the back cover stayed glued to the table and ripped right off!

Destroying the Evidence

I ended up leaving poor Lacky behind my apartment building and buying a brand new coffee table like the fraud I am. By the end the paint was chipping like crazy, the table top was covered in dents and marks, and dust and lint was completely imbedded into the paint.

Here's why you hopefully read this whole post, but mostly like just scrolled to the bottom for, my list of mistakes.

Don't be like me:

  • sand (even if your primer tells you not to)
  • pick a sane color that doesn't require 5 coats (the paint will probably cure faster)
  • buy a good quality roller
  • let it cure completely before using it
  • don't paint a piece that gets a lot of wear

I hope this whole thing was informative for you and now you can paint your Ikea furniture with success. I still believe it can be done! But I won't be trying it again any time soon. I will miss poor Lacky, but he gave my DIY ego a much needed reality check and I thank him for that.

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