Handmade Stencils

I recently discovered on Pinterest an idea for making your own stencils using a glue gun, they made it sound so easy so I just had to try it.

I used a sheet of nonstick baking parchment to glue out a simple spiders web design and once it was cooled I put it to the test.

Here are my pictures of my test; I think it works and it was surprisingly easy! I’m going to make more! Ok so I could probably buy stencils as there are so many out there to choose from but I like the idea of mine being unique plus cheap! Win, win!

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My Scruffy Writing Phobia

For the longest time I’ve hated my handwriting.

Actually that’s a lie because I remember there was a time when I loved to write, I would write little notes and stories on scrap pieces of paper and add little doodles, and then at some point in my childhood when I was at school I started to get told off a lot in class for having untidy messy handwriting and was forced to write in print only;  I wasn’t allowed to write in ‘grown up joined up writing’ any more and from that point onwards I started to develop a phobia about how my writing looked.

To make matters worse the teachers would always made me use a blunt pencil, while everyone else in the class were all using ‘grown up’ pens; everyone except me that it, and I hated it.

I hated that awful scratchy dragging feeling my pencil would make as I wrote on the cheap school exercise book paper, I hated having to take care over each letter and I hated how my writing looked because I was constantly told it was untidy, unreadable and looked a mess by the teachers and so my hand writing phobia developed.

Since, I’ve more or less avoided using my hand writing in most of my adult life and also in my art work too, in the past, whenever I’ve had to write something by hand I would always remember all the reprimands and nagging voices over my messy writing echoing in the back of my mind, these thoughts would paralyse me and make me over analyse each letter and word as I wrote it; is it spelt right? Is it too messy? Can you read it? It got to the point where that to me it would almost be like I was looking at an alien language.

Then one day, I cant recall exactly when, something inside of me snapped; it’s MY writing, it belongs to ME, nobody else, who cares what people think of it, all that matters is what *I* think of it.

I was just sick and tired of the feeling that fear about my writing, I decided to stop listening to the doubts, I decided to silence the inner critics.

Since I’ve started to enjoy using a pen again and doing lettering arts, its no longer a stress or chore and I’m writing more and more these days.

This makes me happy.

Anyway here are a couple of pieces I did recently, I was just playing with the letters and words and not really thinking too much about them.

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I call these two pieces below my ‘mindalas, a lettering twist on the arty usual mandalas, instead of doodling patterns I used words and colours, I wanted to set my intentions and goals for what I direction I wanted my artwork to take so I did these as kind of a twist on the meditative mandalas to achieve this.

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Snowflake Christmas Cards

It must be years since I last made some Christmas cards! I can’t honestly remember when I last made any, I do however remember a time when I vowed never to make another Christmas card never E V E R again as long as I lived…. and yet here I am donkeys years later having a whirl playing around making something festive! I didn’t even plan on making any so I surprised even myself when I did!

It all started out when I visited the craft store (hobbycraft) and bought a set of 3 wooden snowflake die cut shapes for £1, I’ve always loved snowflakes and when I saw them I had to have them but didn’t pay much thought to what Id actually DO with them! You know how it is when your in the craft shop; these things seem to jump into your basket without meaning to :P

When I got them home I decided to see what they would look like if I used them as stencil masks and stippled some paint through them and then I sprayed dye inks over them too, I thought both ideas turned out pretty neat and liked what I saw and this is where I got a bit carried away and made what seems like zillions of the blighters. Infact I made so many I still have tonz more left I haven’t used yet!

Below is the picture of the wooden die cut snowflakes:

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And here are all the cards (and tag and ATC) I created using the backgrounds I made with the snowflakes (if you click the pictures they open up bigger) :

I dread to think what I’m gonna end up making next!

Painted Leaf Postcard

I want to share with you a postcard  I created using a real leaf, it was one of my first experiments I did prior to my metallic colour dipped leaves project to see how the real leaves reacted to being painted. I didn’t like how this turned out much but was glad I created it because it allowed my to further explore painting on leaves to create the metallic dipping method.

For this card, I first placed a leaf onto white card and used various shades of brown paint to drag colour over the top. When the paint had dried I discovered it had soaked right into the leaf and was totally absorbed almost to the point of being invisible, it was then that I realised I needed to use a metallic or pearlescant paint to colourise the leaves because these types of paints are more plastic y and shiny in their nature and therefore don’t soak into paper; instead they sorta sit on top.

Not wanting to waste this leaf I decided to paint over it again with white gesso, I had to be careful when painting because it was quite delicate, and then before the gesso had a chance to dry or soak more into the leaf I used resin to glue it to the card front and left it to dry overnight and hoped for the best.

I’m really glad I decided to use resin as it gave the leaf a good solid shiny yet textured finish, which also preserved the leaf and stopped it from being crumbly like it was before I did this.

To finish the card I outlined it with heavy black pencil to kinda make it pop and added the sentiment.

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Metallic Colour Dipped Leaves

Lately we have been taking a lot of walks through the park, which means of course it is a perfect opportunity for me to stop and soak in all the gorgeous colours of autumn in its multicolour splendour.

I can’t stop myself from scooping up fallen leaves just so I can look at their shapes and colours, infact I find it impossible to resist bringing them home with me!

I wanted a way to both preserve these leaves and incorporate them in my work, so I came up with this neat colour dipping idea for the leaves whilst playing around on my art table.

I first tried it with ordinary acrylic paints but found they soaked into the leaves and it wasnt the effect I was looking for, so I next tried metallic paints which are more glossy than ordinary paint and the effect was a whole lot cooler.

To make the leaves have a kind of marbled metallic look; I placed different colours of metallic paint onto a sheet of baking parchment (you could use a non stick surface protector or similar).

In all I used 5 different colours; metallic purple, metallic red, gold, silver and copper.

I placed 5 generous gloops of paint onto my surface all next to each other; and then using the actual leaf I dipped it right into the paint to transfer the various colours!

Once the leaf was colour dipped, I placed it onto a non-stick baking parchment sheet to air dry and left them overnight.

It was quite addictive colour dipping the leaves and I found that once I’d started I couldnt stop!!

To help further protect the leaves and preserve them I used glossy accents (you could use diamond glaze or resin) to apply a protective glaze to the front of the leaves and also on the reverse to bond them to the art boards.

I had a lot of fun with this idea and can’t wait to colour dip some more leaves!

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