Fast Tip Friday: Cheater Wall Art

Quick Filler Art 13

We moved into The Tower in May of 2013 and as yet we still don’t have everything set up the way we like it. In fact, the wall behind our bed is entirely blank. While I have a plan for above the bed (post to follow this spring), there are still two giant spots on either side of the bed that need some filling. The Pie and I are not fans of blank wall space, so until we find something we like, I decided to make something up as a placeholderĀ for now.

Quick Filler Art 14

We had a large piece of flat corrugated cardboard lying around from a project that the Pie started an age ago so I made use of it and some craft paint and did some abstract impressionism on that puppy.

Quick Filler Art 1

I started by laying a wash of white down just to even things out.

Quick Filler Art 2

I didn’t want to lay it on too thick, as I liked the texture of the cardboard coming through.

Quick Filler Art 3

Then I picked a handful of colours and went at it. I used the same brush for everything, so I could blend nicely between the colours.

Quick Filler Art 4

I poked some holes in the corners and strung it up on some jute before hanging it in the bedroom. I’m still not sure that I like it (I’m no artist), but it fits the space I want it to go in and the colours complement the colours in our bedroom so it’ll do, for now.

Quick Filler Art 12

Home Made Watercolour Paints

Watercolours 23

This is a great gift for the artist in your family, young or old, or a neat thing to have on hand for any young visitors over the holiday season. They can be made with materials you probably have in your cupboards, which makes for a cost-conscious addition to your holiday crafting.

Watercolours 25

And because it’s all easy-peasy and non-toxic, I’m sure that kids will enjoy making their own colours – provided you don’t mind a little mess! This is a rather time consuming project, with all the stirring of tiny pots of colour, so if you do it with smaller children be prepared to finish the job once they get bored.

Watercolours 19

In terms of hardware, you’re going to need two plastic ice cube trays. I picked these up in the clearance section of Target. You can also use silicone trays, and then pop the solidified paint out to use somewhere else. You will also need some disposable stir sticks (one, or one side, for each colour).

Watercolours 3

And lots of food colouring. You can use both liquid and gel paste for this. I also added some metallic powder pigment to the mix.

Watercolours 2

Now grab a couple measuring cups. Scoop up 1 cup baking soda, and plop it in large (~4-cup) measuring cup or bowl with a pouring spout.

Watercolours 4

Pour in 3/4 cup white vinegar.

Watercolours 6

Keep stirring until all the fizzies are gone.

Watercolours 7

Next dribble in 2 tablespoons lily white corn syrup (the darker stuff will discolour the paint).

Watercolours 8

Then dump in 1 cup corn starch.

Watercolours 9

Mixy-mixy. You want this as smooth as possible, as it will settle quickly.

Watercolours 10

With everything mixed up, distribute the white liquid evenly amongst your trays. I found the given recipe to fill each section a little more than 3/4 full, but it depends on the size of your trays.

Watercolours 11

Now start colouring! Dip the end of a stir stick into your colour and drop a little bit into the tray.

Watercolours 12

Stir, stir stir!

Watercolours 13

I added a bit more because this was my black one, after all, and I wanted it to be dark. Again, make sure to scrape up the bottom as you stir, because all the powders are starting to settle.

Watercolours 14

With the gel paste colour, as you can see here with my red and brown, you will get little solid pieces that float while you stir. Don’t worry about them. Stir in as much as you can, then leave them alone for a few minutes and let the liquid get into the colour. They’ll dissolve if you go and stir them again a little bit later. I promise.

Watercolours 15

Watercolours 16

The liquid food colouring was much easier to mix in. Don’t forget you can easily create your own colours!

Watercolours 17

I did find that some of the colours kind of settled and separated, so I ended up re-stirring them a few times. I needn’t have worried, however: as the water in the liquid evaporates they will all come back together again.

Watercolours 18

I cleaned up the edges of the trays with a damp cloth after the mixes were starting to settle and dry. It was super quick. I ended up leaving these alone for a whole week just to ensure they were dry all the way through, but you may find you have dry paint within a couple of days.

Watercolours 20

To test the paints I created a colour guide. I had fun with the names.

Watercolours 22

I’m actually really pleased with how the metallic ones turned out. All I did was add the plain metallic powder to the liquid, without any other pigment.

Watercolours 24

Watercolours 26

And added some brushes to complete the gift.

Watercolours 21

For the Neon lovers out there.

Neon Umbrella 26

I have a friend who loves neon. It’s like she grew up in the eighties and nineties or something (to clarify, she’s a year younger than I am. I also grew up in the eighties and nineties). So when I found this on MakeKind I knew who was getting one for Christmas.

Neon Umbrella 15

So I began my search for a white umbrella, because she also loves all things white. But in the City that Fun Forgot (Ottawa’s nickname), you simply can’t find a plain white umbrella. And to order one online was to pay more in shipping than the umbrella cost to purchase. No sane person does that. So then I thought, why not a clear umbrella, with silver trim (because she also likes silver)? That I could find. And they’re much safer for trundling around in because you can see where you’re going.

Neon Umbrella 2

Then I grabbed some neon paint. I used the Martha Stewart multi-surface paint in four neon colours, because it is weather resistant after it cures (it’s the same stuff that we used on the wooden spoons and it’s held up to multiple washings). And then I set up my work surface. I threw a drop cloth across my dining table and over the chairs, creating a little lip I hoped would keep flying paint contained.

Neon Umbrella 3

Then I grabbed my brushes and got started. Use a nice stiff paint brush to get good flickage.

Neon Umbrella 4

I’d originally planned to do the little splots that you can see in the MakeKind version of the umbrella, but on a clear surface with the background invading they weren’t as obvious, so I went a bit more bold and started throwing streaks at the umbrella for more visual impact.

Neon Umbrella 8

You have to be very careful when you do this. I managed to get only one blob of paint on the wall. The dropcloth, however, was liberally speckled. You might also want to wear an apron, as there’s a bit of back-splash.

Neon Umbrella 6

I made sure to rotate the umbrella so all the streaks weren’t going in the same direction. This was quite a lot of fun.

Neon Umbrella 13

I let the umbrella dry, opened, for 24 hours to ensure the paint wouldn’t transfer somewhere I didn’t want it to go.

Neon Umbrella 18

Now it’s in my secret hiding place, waiting for Christmas!

Neon Umbrella 17