Tuesday, May 29, 2012

DIY Tutorial: Thumbtack Monogrammed Chevron Canvas Art

This turned out to be such a fun project, and it really wasn't difficult (although it may look like it was). I must say, I absolutely LOVE how it turned out.  It is the perfect addition to a very plain room, and the best part is: if you for some reason are not a monogram lover like moi, you can customize it any way you want with the thumbtacks.   I worked on it super slowly, mainly because I have been all over the place these last couple months with graduation, and moving, etc, etc.  Anyway, if I had decided to do it all at once I probably could have gotten it done in a day or two, depending on how long it took the paint to dry.

What you need:
A canvas- This one is from Michael's, I believe it is 16x20 inches
Blue painter's tape
Paint color of your choice (mine is the flamingo pink I used for my monogrammed dish)
A paint brush or sponge (Michael's has them for super cheap)
A washable marker (for sketching the monogram)
A whole lotta thumbtacks! ( I had 300 from the dollar store, but that wasn't enough. Had to get a 2nd box, which was from WalMart and worked the same)

The first step is to tape out your zig zags on your canvas. This can be kind of tedious, especially if you are a perfectionist.  Luckily, I am not. Anyway, you want to start cutting many, many strips that are all around the same length from your painter's tape.  At first, I was trying to be perfect and measuring out all the strips to be exactly the same length.  If you want the same size 'zig zag' every time, this is the way to go.  If you don't really care that it's perfect, you can eyeball the length. You then just start to lay them out in a zig zag fashion, all the while smoothing out any ridges or bubbles in the tape.

If you want perfect lines, use this technique
 of measuring the tape every time
I did about 2 lines of zig zags with this technique when I realized it didn't have to be perfect, especially since the monogram itself was going to be the focal point.  From then on, I began to eyeball the length of the tape and didn't measure between each row of zig zags.  It wasn't perfect, but like I said, it didn't really matter to me.

As you can see, my lines are not all the same.
It's not obvious in the end though.
The bottom and top rows end up being little taped out triangles. You just need two small pieces of overlapping tape to form these triangles as shown in the picture above. As for the edges, I didn't worry about continuing the zig zag line on them, because I had decided to paint them coral from the beginning.  You can definitely continue the line if you want it to be chevron patterned on all edges.

Once it's all taped out, you can paint a coat over the canvas.  Remember when you are taping, what's white will actually be where the color is in the end, so if you want it thin, leave the space between rows thin, and vice versa if you want it thicker. 

Try not to get TOO much paint on the tape,
because it will bleed through in some places
I painted one thick coat at first, and after that dried went back in with a light second coat to get any white-ish spots.  I then let this dry FULLY before I pulled off the tape.

I was pretty satisfied with how it turned out, even when I first pulled off all of the tape.  There were definitely spots that needed touching up, but I just used a small detailing brush and guided it along the edge of any shaky looking lines.  It probably took about 15 minutes to clean up the lines to where I was satisfied with them. 

The next step was tracing out my monogram onto the canvas.  I found the easiest thing to do this with was a Crayola washable marker.  I chose to use pink.  I think you could also use chalk, or anything else that would be easy to wipe off, because trust me- you will make mistakes. I had a wet washcloth handy to wipe away any mistakes until I got it right.  I chose to do my monogram in a script font, which I can personally sketch out in about 2.5 seconds.  But if you are not familiar with how to draw your own- here is a picture of the alphabet in this font so you can figure it out on your own.  Note: My initials are CGB, but you want your last initial to be in the middle, and your first name initial on the left side with your middle name initial on the right.  So my monogram appears like this: cBg (little C, big B, little G). 

I sketched out the B first since it was the largest and in the very center of the canvas.  I also went ahead and put the thumbtacks in on the B so I knew exactly where I wanted to go with the smaller initials. 

It's very faint, but you can see the sketch of the B if you look closely

The next step is to start pushing the thumbtacks through the canvas.  You can just do this with your thumb, you don't need any type of tool.  It's relatively easy.  I also decided I wanted my thumbtacks to overlap because I liked the way that looked much better.  You can leave space between them if you prefer, and this would also save you a lot of thumbtacks.

Truckin' along on the B
After finishing the B, I went ahead and sketched the 2 letters on the side and begin to pin those as well.  They are supposed to be smaller, and almost fit into the large initials 'wings' or curls that branch out.

If you are not happy with the way a pin is laying, or the way a few pins are laying or curving or anything of that nature, it can be easily fixed.  All you have to do it pull the thumbtack out and re-pierce the canvas where you think it should lay.  I had to do this PLENTY of times throughout the process because I felt that if one was sitting wrong it stood out like a sore thumb. 

Closeup of the finished thumbtack monogram
As you can see, neither the chevron pattern or monogram itself is perfect,  but I think it turned out amazing and looks really good in my now tan room at home.  Plus it's just such an interesting piece, and something a lot of people would never have thought to do with some $1 thumbtacks :)  Here are some finished product photos of it hanging on my wall in my room: 

closeup with flash
From a different angle...

Sorry the colors are so off in some of these, I use my iPhone for pictures because my camera sucks, and it takes better quality pictures, but it's frustrating because I can never seem to get the color right! In real life the color is a really pretty coral, in most of the pictures I know it looks really bright and orangey.

I hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial and found it helpful!  Like I said earlier, you definitely don't have to do a monogram, you could do words, a picture (a fleur de lis would be really cute!), or anything your mind can think of! I would love to see the results if any of you do try this at home, so link it to me in a comment if so!

I plan on getting a new camera pretty soon, so hopefully my pictures will get better in my next couple of posts.  Also, be on the lookout for an update to the very popular cobra stitch bracelet tutorial in the next week or so! 

Don't forget to Share/Pin/Subscribe etc etc etc :)


Friday, May 11, 2012

DIY Tutorial: Scrapbook Paper & Mod-Podge Wine Bottle Makeovers

This is just going to be a quick tutorial, there aren't many steps to this craft.  It's simple and pretty easy to do, although it can get a little sticky!

What you need:
Old (empty) wine bottles
Scrapbooking paper of your choice
Mod Podge (I use 'lamination glue' from Hobby Lobby, it's only $2 per bottle and it's exactly the same)
Fake flower of your choice

First off, you are going to want to clean your  wine bottles, and soak them in water to be able to scratch off any labels that may be attached.  You want to start with a clean, DRY bottle.

You can pick whatever scrapbooking paper you like to do this with, the ones in the picture above were in my kitchen at my apartment.  I just used one type of paper for each of those bottles, and they were both a paisley type of print.  There was one other in my apartment but I couldn't find a picture of it, and it is now packed away in a box since I am now officially moved back in at home :/

Anyway, like I said you can use whatever you want.  For the bottle that I am showing you, I actually used three different prints of paper, vs. the one print I had used on the ones above.  The trick with using multiple prints is making sure you don't overlap one specific print too many times.  You want the prints to be evenly placed on the bottle.

The three prints I chose to overlap
The picture above shows the three pieces of paper I chose to use for this particular bottle.  I went with these colors because this bottle was for my little sister for her birthday and she goes to NKU (black and yellow are the school colors).

The next step is just cutting the paper into about one inch strips, and then from there cutting those strips down into about 1x1 inch squares.  Nothing has to be perfect at all, and you can even tear the paper with your fingers if you want less of an 'edge'.  I just found using scissors was really easy and quicker than tearing.

Roughly 1 inch strips
Squares of all the paper
(ignore the god-awful bleach spot on the carpet, please!)
Next you just want to brush a thin layer of mod-podge on the wine bottle itself so that the paper will stick to it.  I usually do it in about 2 inch sections, and I recommend starting from the top of the bottle because the neck is the hardest part to do.  Once I have multiple pieces secured to the bottle, I then brush a pretty thick layer of mod-podge over the pieces.  It will look really milky at first, but it dries clear and then gives it that finished look.

Still milky looking after a layer
of mod-podge is put on top
Like I said, if you are just using one print, then you don't have to worry about your placing of the pieces.  However, if you are using multiple prints you want to make sure not to have too many of the same beside each other...just pay attention to your placement and it's really not hard. You continue this process all the way down the bottle until it is fully covered with paper and a thick coat of mod-podge.  Then you let dry.

You can stop at this step and it looks perfectly fine.  However, I like to overlap things on top of this layer.  For instance, if the print is paisley, I like to cut out a few full paisley shapes and overlap them (shown in the first picture).  I also did that with a floral print that I used on another.  For this one however, I wanted to stick with the NKU theme, so I printed off an NKU logo online and colored it in to make it stand out.  I then waited for the bottle to be completely dry and overlapped it on top.  

After adding the NKU logo
The last step is just to let that baby dry and pick out a fake flower of your choice to add to it (if you want of course)!  I picked up little flowers at hobby lobby in different colors, I think they were like $1 apiece- super inexpensive. These are super fun little personalized additions to any room, like a kitchen, bathroom or even bedroom.  And the best part is, you can personalize them any way you want.  You could do any sports teams, any colors or prints, any overlaps (initials would be adorable!) that your heart desires.

Emily's turned out super cute and exactly how I had wanted it to, and I can now post this blog because I gave her her birthday present early :)

The finished product!

I hope you all give this a try at home and personalize it in different ways! I would love to see the finished product if any of you all do give it a try.  Just an additional note: don't get it wet.  The mod-podge is water soluble, so it gets milky again if it's wet and then the paper could get soggy, which is just a no-no.  You could also seal this with an acrylic spray paint if you'd like.  I haven't done that to any of mine just because I didn't think it was necessary. 

Anyway, I hope you enjoy! Stay tuned, my next tutorial is turning out to be soo so cute!