Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mod Podge Decals

Mod Podge hasn't been a part of this studio very long, but it has played many parts in that short period of time. Right away, it became apparent that if left to dry in a palette cup, it is easily peeled out in one little blob. That little blog is tacky. A little light went on. That tacky little blob stuck to the glass of a brush cleaning jar.
It didn't take long for the wheels to spin madly. Where can this go? Truthfully, I can't give you any solid explanation of how this method I developed came to be. Let's just say- it did. And it was maddenly fun while it worked itself out.
To hike this trail you will need:
Mod Podge (I use gloss)
clear, heavy plastic sheets (i.e. report covers)
acrylic paint (your choice of color/colors)
craft knife
a design (with a good outline)

First, place one sheet of the clear plastic over the design you would like to copy and tape down the edges so it won't move around. Spread a smooth coat of Mod Podge over the design, going about 1/8" outside the design. I have found that using Qtips for this method is the easiest way to spread the MP and save your brushes. Let this dry. Sometimes, you can start transferring your design in an hour.
I did not take pictures of the actual process, so you'll have to visualize as I explain. Meanwhile, there'll be pictures to help you 'see' what I'm talking about. Look at each picture carefully (click on it to enlarge) so that you see the problem areas that can arise when applying your final decal, such as on a curved surface.

If you choose to outline your design, do this first. I tend to outline in black, then add in the color. Straight acrylic paint works well, but make sure, no matter what color you are using, to put down a heavy coat. If you're not sure you have, try this: after drying, hold the work up to the light. If there are 'holidays' in your color, apply another coat. If you are making decals for windows, you will see those lighter spots, so make it consistent.
Next, apply your choice of color or colors. I found that metallic paint will usually need 2 or maybe three coats. Glitter depends on how glittery you want it to look. The two butterflies are in metallic (note the wrinkles!), and darker colors need the most attention.

Is it looking the way you wanted? No holidays? Great! The end process is simple: three solid coats of Mod Podge, with drying time in between each application. Here again, Qtip application works wonderfully.

It will get a teensy bit tricky from here on out. Use a dedicated sheet of plastic strictly for cutting around your completed design. Gently peel off your design from the first plastic sheet and place it on the 'cutting' sheet. Use your craft knife to trim around the design. Peel away the excess dried MP. Prep your glass or plastic by cleaning it with isopropyl alcohol, making sure there's no grease on that surface and let it dry.

If your decal is going to be placed on a flat surface, your task is easy. Lift it from the cutting sheet, place it on, starting at the edge and working your way until it all lies flat. Stand back and look. It won't come off that surface unless you take it off. If you plan on keeping it for another time, store it flat on an extra sheet of plastic. Placing wax paper over that should keep anything from sticking to your decal. Don't fold your decal. You'll NEVER get it apart.
If your decal was made for a curved surface, you'll have to be extra careful when applying it. I started in the center and worked my way slowly, in tiny increments, around the globe until it was all down. You can try to reapply it- just be careful. Always try to get it right the first time so you don't have to pull your hair out making it right.  Many decals ended up in a wad before they became halfway presentable.

Your decals can be made from many things, just don't make them large. This decal is made with scrapbook paper, with a little acrylic paint for some splash. Same MP application. It's on my little laptop and hasn't budged since I put it there.

And for another twist, this decal is on my cell phone. It's an embroidered patch, using the same Mod Podge application: the first coat, and then three coats for stability. My cell doesn't get a lot of abuse, but it makes its rounds, merrily sporting its own decal. You can do some amazing, one of a kind decals with this simple little process and of course, Mod Podge!

So ends this journey, but it's really just the beginning. You just never know where Mod Podge will take you.

Have fun. Leave a comment, let me know you stopped by. Tell me about your decals!


Glitter Drips

Sometimes you have to crawl outside of your comfortable little niche and do something, anything, different, just to break things up.

And sometimes realism is absolutely not on the agenda.

This is the result of one of those days. Having a blank Tshirt around, for me, is like not having frosting on a cake. Okay in some circumstances- like when I'm wearing a colorful broomstick skirt that makes its own statement, but in others, something needs to talk. Ya know?

This particular far-outness came to life compliments of the glitter bug. All through Halloween decorations, I played with glitter, experimented, and played some more. Christmas decorations took on a whole new look this year. Almost everything had its own twinkling glow. Some things got a little accent of glitter just around the edges. Needless to say, glitter is now a new tool in this little studio.

To start out, I had a basic idea of how I wanted the shirt to look. Kind of melty, drippy. Between the front and back of the shirt is a piece of heavy cardboard; the pins hold it in place to keep it from shifting. Making marks with chalk ensures that the marks won't hang around when you're done painting.

From here, I let the piece tell me where it wanted to go. It's hard to tell, but the first color is a fabulous purple glitter paint that allows you to add more layers to brighten it up.

After the first step, the top part of the design appeared, bringing the whole design around to some kind of closure.

One color wasn't enough, so I added on the turquoise glitter paint for a little contrast. That brought me to the last marking, where one last glitter splash was to go.

There was enough color, so the last step is its own color- diamond. It goes with anything, and breaks up the design enough to keep it alive and moving.

You've already seen the final design, but I'll show it again. See the big drip? That starts out as diamond and fades down to turquoise for a final, final completion.

Did you like it? Please feel free to leave a comment or three below, in the comment section. Let me know you were here. Say hi. Don't let me feel like I'm blogging to thin air. OK?
Now- get out there and glitter something. Catch the bug~


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Landscape Diversity

There is one thing in this world that is constant, and that's the many changing landscapes that surround us. Whether we're in the city, or the country, or the deep woods, even the desert- a landscape is around us. It's even inside us, if we know where to look and how to see it. One can travel the same route everyday, but the landscape will never be same each time. Certain scents can be associated with certain landscapes. Amazing insights can be associated with them, too. The changing of the seasons brings spectacular landscapes, often only lasting long enough for a brief glimpse. But the scene remains, nonetheless.

Tributes to landscapes have been permanently recorded throughout history, from the simplistically lifelike cave drawings clear up to the present day landscape artists, each using their own unique style to interpret what their eyes have seen. Here you will see my particular style of landscape. My interpretation. 
Let's take a little walk...

Winter is here. Snow inevitably shows up. It falls on the hills, clumps in the trees, cascades off roofs, only to melt into the streams and rivers. Snow piled up on a barn roof always makes me think of cows snugged down inside, softly breathing in the earthy smell of hay. This landscape happened to end up on a Christmas tree ornament this year.

After getting the snow out of my system, it was time for something a little warmer. And again, it appeared on an ornament.

A young family member saw this ornament and promptly declared that he wanted one. This landscape was a labor of love for a special young lad.

After the holiday 'make it' rush was over, I decided to break my suspension of painting landscapes after a handful of years. Over thirty years ago, I started seriously painting, and landscapes was where I started. Many brushes and canvases were devoured and ruined until finally, landscape painting became a ghostly presence. Now, with more experience from working with other mediums and styles, my 'landscape eye' has sharpened. First off the easel was this 5" by 5" tile (of the peel and stick variety).

Did I watch a lot of Bob Ross? Oh, yes. And before him, William Alexander with his 'happy little clouds'! After much splattering and many muddy canvases, I gave up on the oils. Acrylics and I are much better friends. Even though the learning experience that came with oil painting was excellent, acrylics are much easier to handle. But, that's just me.
Hubby, of course, likes everything I paint, so I did this little tin for him. It's an easily transportable landscape!

Fridge magnets are an attraction, so this tiny painting graces the front of mine.

A friend of mine has recently opened a fabulous new restaurant in town. For the holidays, an eight foot tree stands majestically, supporting ornaments of every shape, size, and color. My contribution adds to the southwest theme of this unique establishment.

Being one who will paint on almost anything, it was time to spiff up the kitchen now that the Christmas decorations were gone. The trim under the cabinets came out fairly well, but there just seemed to be something missing. It needed to be removeable. It also needed to be cheerful. The idea formed and started like this:

The big reveal---- Toaster Art !!

Are your feet sore? Well, let's just sit down and enjoy this quiet little pond. The birch leaves are gently rattling in the warm breeze...

Don't look out the windows! You'll ruin it!!