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Archive for the ‘Hint & Tips’ Category

Welcome Back

Today I’d like to share the results of some recent experiments with a selection of water soluble media and acrylic products. They make superb backgrounds for art journals, ATC’s, cards and the like, just add you favorite stamps, masks and think what you could create. If you would like to try the experiments yourself;

Mixed media experiments with water-soluble media.

Mixed media experiments with water-soluble media.

You Will Need

  • Water-soluble: pencils, crayons, blocks of your choice
  • Gesso
  • Golden: Acrylic glazing liquid
  • Water colour card or try lighter card if gesso has been applied before continuing
  • Car sponge scraps or cotton rag or brush if prefered
  • Acrylic paint in your choice of colour.
  • Non stick craft mat for easy clean up

Method

If you want the option of using these techniques in your journals or other art projects its a good idea to label your experiments as you go. Then if you find one you like, you will know what you used to create it 😉

Label your card stock and scribble your chosen water-soluble medium onto it. Create a 1″ wide block of colour, the height wants to be about 1-2″ so you can leave some pencil/crayon un-coloured for comparison.

This picture shows Derwent Inktense blocks as the water soluble crayon and then the following acrylic mediums applied;

Mixed media experiments with water-soluble media. Water soluble product blended with gesso on the left and with Golden Acryic glazing liquid on the right.

Mixed media experiments with water-soluble media. Water soluble product blended with gesso on the left and with Golden Acryic glazing liquid on the right.

  • Gesso:You can apply the gesso directly over the crayon but as it is so opaque you may find that it hides the colour, for a softer effect water the gesso down a little. The result will be a pastel tone of the original colour. This works best with dark or jewel coloured pencils/crayons.
  • Golden; Acrylic glazing liquid. You can apply this with a brush and then blend out with a rag, but it works just as well if applied with a scrap of car sponge. The more you work the surface, you will blend away your colouring lines. Work lightly if you want to keep your drawn lines.

Here is a picture of my experiments using first Lyra water soluble crayons with gesso. The second panel on the card, was created using Derwent Graphitint pencils.

Mixed media experiments with water-soluble media. Gesso + Lyra water colour crayons. Gesso + Graphitint pencils

Mixed media experiments with water-soluble media. Gesso + Lyra water colour crayons. Gesso + Graphitint pencils

Options/Added Extras

In the examples show I have used the colour & mediums onto SAA practice paper for watercolours. Try these techniques and see how you get on, perhaps trying them over cardstock that has had a layer of gesso first. Compare the difference between how the colour goes onto the page and does or doesn’t move as you apply other mediums to it.

Links

Products used;

  • Derwent: Inktense blocks
  • Daler Rowney: Gesso Primer in white
  • Golden: Acrylic Glazing Liquid
  • Winsor & Newton: Galeria; Acrylic paint.

These are really fun techniques to experiment with, you can make your most vivid colours now look vintage and pastel, almost like chalks. Enjoy playing and I’d love to see your results. This is just a starting point, add in masks and sprayed inks, acrylic paint and metallics over the top with some stamping. Great for art journalling and more.

Best wishes and thanks for reading see you soon

Billie 🙂

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Regular viewers will remember my new love of interchangeable knitting needles. Although I adore them, I have a tendency to frequently drop the little cable key you need to attach the needles to the cables. On Ravelry I saw someone use a beaded charm to help locate them, brilliant idea! So I’ve added my own twist to the project by adding a bell (so you notice when you drop it, and can find it in the depths of a knitting bag, and also adding a lobster clasp to make it easy to change the design of charm, if you wish to.

Completed charm for cable key.

Don’t loose you cable key, just make this simple charm so you can easily find it.

You Will Need

Items needed to create the key charm/ stitch marker.

Items needed to create the key charm/ stitch marker.

  • 1 cable key from interchangeable needles
  • 1 set of basic jewellery making tools as shown in picture: (1) Chain nose pliers, (2) Side cutter pliers, (3)Round nose pliers.
  • 1 small bell (optional but will help you find they key if its hiding) (no: 4 in picture)
  • a selection of beads of you choice. (no: 5 in picture)
  • 1 eye pin. (no: 6 in picture)
  • 1 lobster clasp (optional but this gives you a simple way to change your charms at will) (no: 7 in picture)
  • 2 small jump rings. (no: 8 in picture)
  • Bead mat (not essential but VERY helpful, unless you enjoy playing tag with your beads 🙂 )

Method

The picture shows the order beads etc are added to the project:

Key charm tutorial

Key charm tutorial

  • Open one of the jump rings. Onto this ring; place the bell and the eye of the eye pin. Close the jump ring.
  • Thread a selection of beads on to your eye pin. Leave about 1cm of pin without any beads, or trim the eye pin back to leave 1cm of exposed wire, if you have used smaller beads.
  • Form a loop with the remaining eye pin wire. Do this by using round nose pliers to bend the remaining eye pin wire to 90 degrees to the line of beads. Place your round nose pliers at the very end of the wire and gradually curl the wire by rotating the pliers until you have formed a loop. Make sure you completely close the loop to prevent the piece coming apart.
  • Open the second jump ring. Drop the loop you just formed on the end of the eye pin onto the jump ring. Drop the loop on the lobster clasp onto the same jump ring. Close the jump ring, ensuring that it is completely closed so nothing will fall off.

You can now use the lobster clasp to attach the charm to the cable key. With the little bell you will now hear if you drop your key, or by shaking the bag, discover if its hiding at the bottom of your knitting bag 🙂

If you find it awkward to use the key with the charm in place, by having the lobster clap on there, its easy to remove while you attach needles to a cable. Remember to put the charm back on afterwards tho, or it will get you playing hide n seek again!

Options/Added Extras

Make a collection of these charms with different beads, and you can change them at will. The charms can also be attached to small key ring loops to create stitch markers, though I’d leave off the bell or it will probably drive you and those around you to go nuts every time you knit 😉

Links

New to beading? Here are a selection of videos from Beaders Companion, for how to achieve some of the techniques mentioned in the tutorial above.

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and will give these charms a go. I’d love to see your results.

Best wishes and thanks for reading see you soon

Billie 🙂

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Over the last few months I’ve been making gift boxes and cards, this month I’ve been sharing the results with you. Here is a quick pic of the projects all together, and some links to the posts where you can find more details of how to create your own versions.

2012 Christmas Collection

2012 Christmas Collection

Links

  • 2012 Card
  • Small Gift Box; suitable for fairy cakes or mince pies/sweets etc
  • Tall Gift Box: Great for hand-made gifts

Later this week I’ll share details about the gift bag seen in this picture and add a link back here.

Hope you have a peaceful, happy holiday

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie 🙂

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Welcome Back

As part of the online workshop series Adventures in Acrylics, I’d like to share a tutorial to help you get the most from your choice of colours, whether you have been collecting them for years or have a shiny new box of gleaming tubes in front of you. After this you will know just what colours you have and be able to find just the one you want from a huge pile, every time.

Do you know what colours you have? Make a colour chart and discover your full palette

Do you know what colours you have? Make a colour chart and discover your full palette

You Will Need

  • Acrylic paper or piece of white mount board
  • All the acrylic paints you have
  • Brush
  • Water pot with water
  • Rag
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Pen

Method

Do have a new box of paints? Then if the tubes are still in the box they are lined up ready to go. Perhaps though you have been collecting your acrylic paints for some time. If that’s the case, go rummage, find every tube/pot/jar of acrylic paint you have. If they are all in one place together you are more likely to use more of them 😉

Some acrylic paints are flow formula (ie more fluid) others are heavy bodied (more like toothpaste in consistency). Separate your acrylic collection into two boxes so you can easily home in on the different kinds when you want to.

  • Separate your chosen paints into colour families, reds/yellows/greens/ blues etc. Lightest to darkest within those groups works well.
  • Because paints often dry to a slightly different colour than they look on the tube/packaging, you are going to paint samples of each. In the interests of only doing this once 😉 Try to paint your samples on to something sturdy like white mount board as it will last longer.
  • Next to each patch of colour that you paint, write the details from the pot/tube. That’s the colour name and number and if you have a selection of brands the brand name too. You can shorten the brands to initials as long as you write yourself a key 😉

Make sure you wash out your brush well between colours and keep changing your water so the colours stay true.

Now you have a beautiful chart that can live in the box with the paints, when you are creating a project you can use the card to choose just the colour you want, and know which one it was. Drawing a pretty grid to paint inside is optional, but it can make it easier to scan across later on.

Here is a picture of my paint chart, the quick one I made when I first got my paint (on the mount board, shown above) and the detailed one on the acrylic paper. You could also glue this sheet onto mount board, if you want it to last longer.

Detailed Paint Chart

Detailed Paint Chart

Options/Added Extras

If you prefer a more mobile colour chart.

  • Cut a piece of mount board for each paint you have.
  • Write the brand, colour name and number on the back of each tile, before you paint your swatch on the front.
  • Punch a hole in the cards and string them together so you can keep them in colour families, but still have the options of adding to the collection as you buy new paints.

This version will also allow you to pull colour schemes together from the cards and encourage you to experiment with more than just your favourites.

Links

Check out the Art Supplies tab at the top of the blog, you will find links to the main manufacturers there. At the paint manufacturers sites you will often find downloadable colour charts, although these are only guides as the printed colours will vary depending on how your printer is set up (and how much ink is left in it 😉 )

The manufacturers charts are very helpful for identifying the colour names/numbers and for newbies which paints are opaque, transparent or semi opaque or semi transparent. This is very helpful when you are just starting out and haven’t yet worked out which colours will  have which opacity. It makes a huge difference to the success of your experiments, when you know the opacity of your paint colours 😉

Hope this tutorial helps you discover just how many colours you have, and now you know what you will have, perhaps it will tempt you to use more of them, rather than just sticking to your favorites. I’d love to see your finished results.

Best wishes and thanks for reading see you soon

Billie 🙂

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In today’s post, as part of the Adventures in Acrylics workshop, I’ll be sharing a tutorial on how to create a wonderful dark wood paint effect. It looks something like rosewood, or perhaps mahogany, but whatever you want to call it, this gives a beautiful effect. Like the previous tutorial, this is super simple to create and waiting for the paint to dry between layers, is the most time-consuming part.

Here’s what a finished piece looks like

Dark Wood paint effect for Adventures in Acrylics

Dark Wood paint effect for Adventures in Acrylics

You Will Need

  • Winsor & Newton: Galeria Acrylic paint; Buff Titanium, Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber.
  • White mount board
  • Jar of water
  • Scrap of rag for cleaning.

Method

I’ll include a written description of the process, for those who don’t speak English, there’s always the trusty translator, check out the TRANSLATE THIS SITE link, in the side bar.

  • Put some Buff Titanium on the palette, than use the palette knife to apply a layer paint over the white surface of the mount board. Apply the paint generously, as if you were buttering bread 😉 Change direction with your knife and leave a few white areas here and there. Allow this layer to dry fully, before you move on.
  • Clean your knife in the water, while you wait for the paint to dry.
  • Next, put out some Burnt Sienna onto your palette, pick up some paint on the knife and apply the Burnt Sienna in patches, here and there over the Titanium Buff. Change direction when applying the paint to create textures. Leave some of the white areas and some areas of the buff titanium visible. Allow this layer to dry fully, before you move on.
  • Clean your knife in the water, while you wait for the paint to dry.
  • Put some Burnt Umber onto your palette, this is a semi transparent colour and will allow the other layers to be seen through it. Pick up a generous amount of Burnt Umber onto your knife. You only need a thin-film of the paint over the card, but the knife will move better over the card if it has a layer of paint across it. Apply a thin layer of the Burnt Umber over the whole piece and allow this to dry. Try not to go over this layer too many times as it tends to get sticky as its drying and if you want a smooth result you don’t want to over work it. Allow this layer to fully dry before you move on.
  • Clean your knife in the water, while you wait for the paint to dry.
  • If you feel your piece is looking too bright apply a second layer of the Burnt Umber over the card, either just in places or over the whole thing, depending on the look you are going for.
Dark Wood paint effect for Adventures in Acrylics

Dark Wood paint effect for Adventures in Acrylics

The earlier layers glow through the semi transparent Burnt Umber, and add lots of visual interest and texture to the piece. Like the weathered wood, you can make this more textured by using heavy bodied acrylic paint like Daler Rowney Cryla if you prefer or use mediums to change how your Galeria paint behaves. This original version is reasonably smooth so if you wanted to stamp or write over the surface you could do so. It would also take  image transfers if you wanted to add some.

Options/Added Extras

In the coming weeks/months I’ll be introducing you to some acrylic mediums. As well as mixing the mediums to your paints, you can also use some of them as a glazing layer. If you already have some, you could paint over the finished piece with matt or gloss medium.

  • The matt medium will not change the appearance of the finished piece, but it will seal in and protect the layers of paint.
  • The gloss medium will dry to a high shine, and make the piece look as if it has been polished.

Experiment with what you have and see which you prefer. You don’t have to add the glaze layer, but it will help seal the paint in.

Links

Check out the Art tab at the top of the blog for details of suppliers where you can find a local stockist and also colour charts for the paints I’m using.

Hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and will give the technique a try, it is simple to do and by varying your colours or how you apply the paint, there are plenty of opportunities for further experiment with this idea. I’d love to see your results and how you incorporate this technique into your own projects. Do leave me comment with a link to what you create.

For more in this Adventures in Acrylics series check out the dedicated class page.

Best wishes and thanks for reading see you soon

Billie 🙂

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Welcome Back

To begin the online workshop Adventures in Acrylics, I’d like to share some tips for how to look after the tools you’ll be using. So they will last you for longer. Acrylic paint is a joy to use, but you need to be kind to your tools for them to look after you.

Tools for Adventures in Acrylics; Online Workshops

Tools for Adventures in Acrylics; Online Workshops

You Will Need

  • Cold Water
  • Bar of white soap
  • Washing up brush
  • Scrap card
  • Rag or towel

Method

Acrylic paint dries quickly in air. To help your tools last longer, wash the paint or mediums out of them as you go, as soon as you finish using them. If you let the paint dry into the bristles of your brushes, they will be ruined.

Brushes

Keep a piece of scrap card next to you as you work. When you want to change colour, simply brush out the remaining colour from the brush, onto the scrap card. Rinse the brush out in a jar of water, until the last of the paint has gone, if you do this while the paint is still wet on the brush, it comes out easily.

At the end of your painting session: Wet your brush and swipe it over the bar of soap, lather the brush by swiping it too and fro in the palm of your hand. Rinse well in cold water to remove any remaining colour and soap. Leave your brushes to air dry fully before putting them away.

Painting knives

Remove access paint or medium by swiping the knife across the scrap card, then swish the knife if your water pot. You can use a scrap of sponge to help rinse off any more stubborn residue. If you clean knives as you go, you probably won’t need to do any more to the knives at the end. Make sure you dry your knives off on a towel or rag, before you store them, so they don’t go rusty.

Palettes

Rather than add to land fill with tear off palettes, I use a non stick surface to mix colours on. The white enamel plate I use is ideal and is very easy to clean. Allow the paint to dry onto the palette (trust me, if you use a non stick surface like said plate, its fine).

Once the paint is fully dry, pour a small amount of water into the plate, just to cover the paint. The water won’t re-activate dry paint, but it will lift it. Leave it a little while and the larger areas of paint will be floating in the water. Use the back of the washing up brush (dedicated to the job DO NOT put one you use for paint in the kitchen!) to encourage the remaining paint off the plate. Peel off the larger areas of paint and put them in the bin. Use the bristles of the washing up brush to encourage the few remaining spots of paint to lift, then rinse under the tap.

Easy peasy, you use minimal water and aren’t using acres of paper you don’t need to. I tend to keep the prettier scrap card, sometimes you can turn them into art by stamping over them 😉

Dry your tools with the rag before storing and you are ready to go next time. Next week I’ll be introducing you to palette knives and there will be a video tutorial for a new painting technique.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon, for more Adventures in Acrylics.

Billie 🙂

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Welcome Back

In today’s post a great little tutorial for making Book ties. I’ve been making these for years and they are really handy. You can use them for book marks, for holding your pages down while you sketch outdoors and make them as functional or fancy as you like. Great for last-minute gifts too.

Billie's Book Ties

Billie's Book Ties

You Will Need

  • Sketch book or whatever style and size of book you want to use your book tie with
  • Cotton cord or flat shoe lace. I found UN Waxed cord or lace gave a better hold. The waxed ones seem to slip to easily.
  • Beads if you wish to add decoration for a more elaborate design
  • PVA glue if using cord instead of shoe laces
  • Scissors

Method

This is definitely one of those tutorials best done on film! Trust me these are super easy to do, and really quick to make as well.

Options/Added Extras

Depending on the cord style you use, how about adding some more decorative beads to use the book ties as book marks and page holders.

Try them using flat shoe laces for your art journals, they are great for keeping your place, or keeping your book closed too.

Links

Shoe laces are widely available on the high street

Cotton cord I bought from Sanctuary Beads on Ebay 

This tutorial was meant to go up last week, but You Tube put the original soundtrack back on after I dumped it. All you could hear were the budgies and DH clucnking around 😦 Have to re upload it and then it takes 36 hours to ‘settle’ to quality in You Tube 😦 Hope I can resolve this or the online class is in jeopordy!

Best wishes and thanks for reading see you soon

Billie 🙂

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