Clapboard Coffee Stirrer Wall Art

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I saw this little tutorial over at Make and Do Girl and thought I would give it a try.  You can buy fancy versions of this on Etsy for hundreds of dollars, but I thought I could probably produce nearly the same thing for a lot cheaper. And of course, as is usually the case, I was right.

All you need for this is a frame, some paint, a paint brush, a sturdy pair of scissors (despite the wire snips in this picture, I found a set of poultry shears did the trick quite well), glue of some kind (I ended up using Elmer’s School Glue), and a bunch of wee sticks, like coffee stirrers.

Stir Stick Art

While I’m sure, if you are a regular inhabitant of Starbucks or Bridgehead or one of those places, you may amass a large collection of stir sticks over time, I preferred to get mine all at once and bought several packages at Michael’s, which is also where I bought the frame.  You can also use popsicle sticks for this, but then you have to compensate for the rounded edges.

Stir Stick Art

The first thing I did was paint my frames black, using some acrylic paint.  At first I only did the edges of the frame, but I noticed that the frame showed through the gaps in the stir sticks when I glued them down so I ended up painting the whole frame, even the part that is relatively hidden behind sticks.

Stir Stick Art

Then you need to pick a colour palette.  I had a set of Crayola watercolours that I was going to use, because I wanted the wood to show through the paint.  You can of course use any paint you want.  I made two pieces, so for the first palette I picked a series of greens and yellows, and then the second I went with oranges, reds, and then purples and grays.  Obviously if your frames are small, you should probably go with a smaller number of colours.  My frames were pretty long so I went with 7 or 8 different colours.

Stir Stick Art

Now you gotta paint them there sticks.  I laid mine out along the frame just to get an idea of how many I needed (in the end I had a handful of painted ones leftover so this turned out to be a good idea).

Stir Stick Art

Then you paint.  This took me quite a while as I had to do each stick individually and paint it twice (due to the character of my paint). If you use acrylic or something thicker you could just paint them in a batch, or dip them en masse in ink or a dye … whatever works for you. This is all you.

Stir Stick Art

Then you start laying them out.  I measured the sticks to fit in the frame and cut them accordingly.

Stir Stick Art

Then I cut those pieces up so that I could fit them together like patchwork.

Stir Stick Art

Then you start gluing.  And gluing.  And gluing …

Stir Stick Art

Despite these sticks all coming in a package together, they weren’t by any stretch of the imagination the same.  Some had slight curves, or were cut on an angle, and that made putting them together a little bit more of a challenge.  Because there were gaps between sticks at some points, I chose to apply glue individually to each stick rather than just put a blanket of it down on the frame.  It took longer, but I think it was a neater job in the end.

Stir Stick Art

When I got to the end, my final sticks were a little too wide to fit in the frame, so I just took a piece of sandpaper and filed them down a bit until they fit snugly.

Stir Stick Art

My orange and purple job turned out a little slanty, because some of the sticks I used were really angled, but I kind of like how it messes with your eye that way.

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And these frames came with hanging hardware on both the short and the long sides, so you can hang them either vertically or horizontally.

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I made these originally as gifts, but they look so good on my mantle that I’m thinking of keeping them. They would make a good frame for my giant squid, once I figure out where to hang him …

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Crayon Rainbows, on Canvas

Crayon Art

YARRRRRRR!  We be makin’ ARRRRRRRRT t’day, matey!  It’s also International Talk Like a Pirate Day for the Pastafarian religion, and I *may* have recently watched the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies in a row.  Also, I live in Newfoundland, where people tend to talk like pirates on a daily basis.  It’s also the anniversary of the night the Pie and I went on our first date.  Eight years have gone by since that night, and so much has changed in our lives.  Crazy.  Tonight we are going to make ourselves a nice dinner and cozy up with our favourite orange, black and white wedding present, the inimitable Grenadier St. James.

Gren in Motion

In the meantime, however, why don’t you sit down and make yourself some pretty?

I saw a picture on Flickr of my cousin and his son making this particular project, and I thought it was so cool that I should try it on my own.  Then I discovered that this stuff is ALLLLL over the internet, especially Etsy, these days.  I’m no trendsetter, obviously.  Even so, I’m going to add to the plethora of posts about it, so that you can see it, Ali-style.

Crayon Art

Now, I’m being a real keener and starting my DIY Christmas gifts really, really early this year.  So I’ve pretty much taken over the dining room as my craft central, especially as now there is a large bed in my former office work space.

Crayon Art

For this project you will need some crayons (go with Crayola, it seems they melt the best), some glue (I used hot glue), a blank canvas (I used two small 5″ x 7″ ones, stacked, but you can use cardboard or wood or whatever you have on hand), and a hairdryer or other focused heat source.  I hear tell of people using paint strippers for this, but you really don’t need anything that hot.  Oh, and you’ll need newspaper or a drop cloth or something to protect the surrounding area from flying hot wax.

Crayon Art

For my first attempt at this, I thought I would go with a straight rainbow, before I got too fancy.  Plus I know someone who really loves rainbows, and this would make a nice little present.

Crayon Art

I started with the basic colours of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet, and I laid them out on my canvas.

Crayon Art

Then I filled in the gaps with other colours in the spectrum.

Crayon Art

If Crayola has colours called things like this:

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Then why are they still naming colours like this?

Crayon Art

Then the question was, should I lay them out with their colour names facing up, or the Crayola logo facing up?  The Pie told me to go with the logo, because after everything is melted it will be easier to see than the smaller names.

Crayon Art

Then we glue.  I used hot glue on the crayon, and I only put it on the top half.  I wasn’t sure how it would deal with the melting wax, and I figured that most of the melting was going to go down on the lower half of the crayon.

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Then I used hockey tape to temporary secure my two canvases together.

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And I leaned it up against a shoebox (full of stuff, for weight) on top of my drop cloth and newspaper.

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Then I started in with the hairdryer, on its hottest and highest setting, focusing pretty closely on the bottom ends of the crayons.

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You can see how the wax tends to fly a bit.

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It took a while to get them started, but once they got going, they really got going.

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I liked how the wax crept around the sides of the canvas, and I wish I’d had a bigger one to work with.

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Let the wax cool and harden.

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Then you can hang it up, any which way you would like!

Crayon Art

Drawing on the Furniture

On one of our various moves, my brother-in-law Rusty scratched the headboard of our bed.  Big time.  You can see it here.

Drawing on Furniture

Fortunately, until recently we had been using a box spring on our bed, which pushed the mattress up and concealed the scratch from view. Now, however, in preparation for our new memory foam mattress that will be arriving any day now, we have ditched the box spring (it’s gone into my office to make it into a guest room) and are using slats.  This makes the mattress wayyyy lower on the bed, and now, If I haven’t plumped the pillows up, you can see the scratch.

Drawing on Furniture

I’m not sure exactly what the finish is on our bed.  It’s something that’s not quite a veneer, not quite just paint.  Either way, I came up with an easy solution.  It turns out that Crayola’s black coloured pencil is the exact colour of our bed.  How convenient.

Drawing on Furniture

So I just coloured in the scratch.  It was that simple.  I mean the scratch is still there, because it’s pretty deep and shows up quite strongly in relief, but it’s a bit less obvious.  I also took the pencil around the bed and coloured in all the chips and nicks from the past seven years.  It worked beautifully.

Drawing on Furniture

If you have wood finish, why not try it with some brown coloured pencils?  I have heard as well that rubbing a walnut over wood scratches helps to hide them.  Try it!

Drawing on Furniture

Crayola Payola

I went to high school with a lovely girl named Paola.  While we generally pronounced it the boring North American way (“Pollah”), we would occasionally say it correctly (“Powla”) or even go crazy and hyper-phoeneticize it (“Payola”).

In grades nine and ten she and I used to colour pretty much everything we owned.  We used a lot of Crayola products, especially the stamp-y markers.  She had way more artistic skill in her little finger than I could ever hope to have.

We’ve since lost touch.  I think she’s a nurse or some form of medical practitioner now, and I wish her all the best.  But this little project made me think of her.

I was on MarthaStewart.com the other day, looking for ideas for re-purposing objects into practical items, and also for Christmas gift ideas that could be made on a budget (stay tuned for those DIYs).

In passing I found this little project (just skip the ad and you can see it), and I thought it might be fun and easy to do.   It not being Valentine’s Day, I probably wouldn’t make any hearts, but a rainbow of circles might be nice in the kitchen window.  And if that worked, I thought I could make some more for my nephew and goddaughter in Sweden as a ‘just-because’ kind of present that would fit easily in the mail.

For this you will need wax crayons, a pencil sharpener, waxed paper, kraft or brown paper, an iron (and ironing board), scissors, and a needle and thread.  Maybe a stencil or cookie cutters as well.

Using the pencil sharpener, make some shavings of the crayons of your choice.

Lay a sheet of kraft paper on your ironing board.  This is the crucial step or you end up with melted wax all over your ironing board.

Put a sheet of waxed paper on top of that and fold it in half.

On one half of the waxed paper, sprinkle the shavings of your choice, evenly but thinly across the area you want covered. 

Refold the sheet and fold up the other three sides as well to hold in the shavings.  This is a pretty important step, so don’t forget it.

Place another sheet of kraft paper over top to protect your iron.

With your iron on medium, make a few passes over the paper pile, checking each time, until you are satisfied with the melty results.

Mix up your colours and alter the size of your shavings

Remove the shavings sheet from the pile and allow to cool.  Repeat.  Experiment with the width of the shavings, the density on the page, and the colours you mix together.

Draw or trace, using a stencil or cookie cutters, the shape you wish to create, and cut it out.  I chose circles for me, then an astronomy theme for Arun and a garden theme for Maya.

I noticed the sheets were starting to curl (and I was losing the light) so I put the cut-out pieces under some heavy books overnight.

Thread a needle with the desired colour of thread and carefully poke it through the top of your shape.  Tie a loop for easy hanging.

Final step: Hang!