Dot Rocks

Silver rocks with dotted patterns

I recently got inspired by looking through a rock painting book and decided to create my own little paintings. I couldn’t recall the last time that I painted rocks, but I’m guessing that I was using my fingers!

I wanted to try out a simple design using dots that formed curves and spirals. I’m interested in ancient artwork such as cave paintings and I find it interesting that humans have been creating abstract geometric designs from nearly the beginning of our existence. This can be seen across different cultures around the world. I googled Australian aboriginal art for some initial inspiration for this project.

 

I used these paints in this order for my rocks:

DecoArt Americana acrylic—Cool White (13240)

Shimmering Silver Dazzling Metallic (14070)

DecoArt Americana acrylic—Soft Black (13155)

 

I wanted to contrast the simplicity of my designs with a metallic silver background to give it a more modern feel. To make the silver pop, I first coated the rocks in Cool White. I used Soft Black for the dots. I pulled off the cotton from a Q-tip and used that to make sure the dots were similar in size and shape. But you could use anything you have lying around for this. The end of a paintbrush should work well too.

I decided to alter the dot pattern for each rock to make it more interesting. I let the rock’s shape be the main influence. As I worked, I tried to imagine how water might have flowed over and around the rocks to make them into their final shapes, and used that as the main guide for my dots.

Categories - Finished Projects, Inspiration, Snapshots, Staff Projects

Floral Wreath Signs

I don’t know about you, but my mind is always thinking and seeing things in different creative ways. When I saw the Large and Small Floral Wreath Plaques by Walnut Hollow, I just couldn’t wait to create something fun on these pieces. You can be as detailed or as simple as you like with these pieces. I will show you two ways I painted them, that even the novice painter can do.

I used just a couple round brushes and two stencils to create two signs, one for everyday and one for the Christmas Season.

Here is what you will need for the Initial Wreath:
DecoArt Americana:
Soft Black
Avocado
Hauser Dark Green
Hauser Light Green
Country Red
DecoArt Maple Gel Stain
Initial Impressions Quirky Stencil
Varnish of your choice
Round Brushes
Stencil or Deerfoot Brushes
Floral Wreath Sign – Large
Sponge Brush

Sand your plaque and wipe away dust. Using your sponge brush, stain your plaque. Let it dry, then lightly sand with a brown paper bag if you feel the wood grain has raised. Using a round brush to fit the size of the carved wreath designs, paint the lines with Soft Black. I then painted the outside line of each leaf with Avocado. Then randomly painted leaves with Hauser Dark Green and Hauser Light Green. When that was dry, I used a Deerfoot brush and the stencil to add the letter “M” to the center of the wreath. Using the back end of your paint brush or use a stylus, add berries here and there with Country Red. To finish the plaque I painted the outside edge with Soft Black. When everything is dry, finish with your favorite varnish.

Here is what you will need for the Noel Wreath:
DecoArt Americana:
Snow White
Espresso
Avocado
Country Red
Christmas Curly Words Stencil
Varnish of your choice
Round Brushes
Stencil or Deerfoot Brushes
Floral Wreath Sign – Small

Sand your plaque and wipe away dust. Paint the entire piece Snow White. Let dry and sand again. Wipe away dust and repaint with Snow White. With a round brush paint the vines of the wreath with Espresso. Alternate painting the leaves with Avocado and Hauser Dark Green. With your stencil and Deerfoot brush, stencil the word “Noel” onto the center of your wreath. Add berries with the back end of your paint brush, or with a stylus, with Country Red. When dry, finish with your favorite varnish.

Happy Painting!

Categories - Finished Projects, Inspiration, Painting, Snapshots, Staff Projects

A First Attempt at Wood Burning!

When we brought in the Basswood Country Rounds from Walnut Hollow along with a wood burner, I just new I wanted to give wood burning a try. I thought, well, I will start basic with just outlining using a stencil, as I didn’t want to do anything too complicated this being my first time attempting this. I am pretty happy with how it turned out, and I think I will give it a try again!

Here is what I used:
Basswood Country Round – XL
FolkArt Stencil Value Pack – Phrases
Creative Woodburner – Detailer
Pencil

Looking at the size of the Basswood sign, I looked through the value pack of phrases and found that the “Let’s go on an adventure” sign fit perfectly! So, I positioned it in place and then with a pencil, traced it onto the wood. I followed the instructions on the back of the woodburner and let it heat up for about three minutes. I then went to work carefully following my lines, it was a bit tricky at first figuring out the pressure, but overall, it wasn’t too bad. I had a few slips here and there, but hey, I was stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something new, which I ended up loving! I just took my time and before I knew it, I had all the words burned and I was done (and with no burns to myself or anything else but the wood…LOL)

I am still deciding whether or not to stain it lightly or just to brush on a varnish to protect it….but other than that, I am ready to add a hanger on the back and hang it on a wall at home.

Oh, and yep, I am definitely going to start planning my next wood burning project, so stay tuned for that!

Happy Creating Everyone!

Remember to step out of your comfort zone and try something new, no matter how basic it is…you might just find something else you love to do.

Categories - Finished Projects, Inspiration, New Products, Snapshots, Staff Projects

Boo Pumpkin

In the blink of an eye, the season of ghosts and goblins will be here! So, to help you get ready for that, I have a fun and easy pumpkin project for you. (Yep, another pumpkin project…I told you I loved fall and pumpkins in an earlier post, LOL)

To create this fun and easy pumpkin, here is what you will need:

DecoArt Americana Paint:
Jack-o-Lantern
Avocado
Lamp Black
Espresso
Margarita
DecoArt Neons:
Torrid Orange
Other Supplies:
Tall Resin Pumpkin
Halloween Word Mix Stencil
Identi Pen Black
Pencil
Raffia or ribbon
Highlighter Brush
Acrylic Sealer Finisher Gloss Spray

To start, paint your pumpkin with Jack-o-Lantern, this may take a few coats, so be patient and let it dry between coats. Paint the stem Avocado. With your 3/4″ Highlighter brush and Torrid Orange, highlight each raised section of the pumpkin. I did several coats of this gradually building the color. With your 1/2″ Highlighter and Espresso, rub gently into the grooves of the pumpkin. Start light, you can always build your shadow as you go if you prefer it darker. I highlighted the stem with Margarita using my 1/4″ Highlighter brush.

The next step is to take your stencil and center it where you would like on the front of your pumpkin. I used a pencil and lightly traced the word “Boo”, centering the middle “o” with the stem. Using the Identi Pen, I carefully outlined the words first before filling them in with a round brush and Lamp Black. After the words are dry, spray with your favorite varnish. I chose to use a satin varnish to give my pumpkin a shiny glow. The last thing was I made a bow out of raffia and tied it to the stem. You can choose to use ribbon in Halloween colors or to decorate the top any way you want…this is where you can express yourself even more. (You could add black and orange ribbon with artificial web and a spider, the options are endless, just use your imagination)

Happy Painting!

Categories - Finished Projects, Inspiration, Painting, Snapshots, Staff Projects

White Crackle Pumpkin

For those of you who love fall, but want a different color option for a pumpkin besides orange, here is a fun project for you! All you will need are a few paint colors and some fall decorative accessories (hopefully from your stash) and you are on your way to creating this pumpkin you can enjoy from September through November.

Here is what you will need:
Americana Decor Chalky Paint in Cameo and Everlasting
Americana Decor Creme Wax Clear
Americana Decor Creme Wax Deep Brown
Resin Pumpkin
I used these brushes from the Americana Decor line and it made things easier (but you can use whatever you have on hand):
Americana Decor 1″ Angle Brush
Americana Decor Waxing Brush (you can use a soft cotton cloth instead)
Americana Decor Crackle Medium
Fall colored ribbon
Artificial leaves
Raffia
Fall berry vines
Hot Glue Gun

With your 1″ brush, paint your entire pumpkin with Cameo. This is just your undercoat, so, it doesn’t have to be perfect. I chose to do two coats though because well, that is the way I am…LOL

Once dry, apply your crackle medium all over the pumpkin, make sure to not overwork it. Let the crackle medium dry completely. Then with your 1″ brush, apply Everlasting, making sure to try and do this without having to go back over previously painted areas. Over working your top coat can really change the look of your crackle. Let dry completely.

When your pumpkin is good and dry, it is time to apply a coat of clear wax with the waxing brush. Just dip it into the jar and rub in a circular motion all over your pumpkin. Let dry. Then do the exact same thing but with the Deep Brown. With a soft cloth, rub off any of the brown wax from where you don’t want it. I chose to leave it in the deep grooves and try and have the raised parts of the pumpkin with less of the brown wax. If it isn’t coming off easy, just dip your rag into some clean water and rub again.

After the wax is dry it is time to accessorize your pumpkin. In my stash of items in my craft room, I had some silk leaves in fall colors, some fall berry vines, raffia, and plaid ribbon in rich fall colors (this is where you can let your creativity go). First I hot glued the leaves all around the top of the pumpkin next to the stem. I then grabbed a handful of raffia and tied it to the stem and hot glued it in position. After creating a simple bow from the ribbon, I glued that in place too, I even glued it in two small spots on the sides of the pumpkin. To fill in some areas, I took my berry vines and cut some small branches and glued them into place under the ribbon and around the back nestling the glued points where they couldn’t be seen.

I was very happy with how this pumpkin turned out…I might just have to make more of them for family and friends!

Happy Painting and Crafting!

Categories - Finished Projects, Inspiration, Snapshots, Staff Projects

Initial Pumpkin

Our resin pumpkins are great for a variety of seasonal designs, not just Jack-o-Lanterns either! Although, I did choose to still paint our Tall Pumpkin an orange color, I took a more generic fall approach for this project. It is fun and easy and you can adapt it to match your fall decor and family initial.

Here is what you will need:
DecoArt Americana Burnt Umber and Avocado
DecoArt Chalky Paint in Cameo
Tall Resin Pumpkin
Initial Impressions – Quirky Stencil (or use the stencil of your choice)
Dual Sided Paint Pouncers (for making the polka-dots)
Identi Pen Black
Acrylic Sealer Finisher Gloss Spray
Artificial fall leaves of your choice
Fall ribbon of your choice
Hot glue gun

First, paint your pumpkin with Cameo. I did two coats for an even coverage. Paint the stem with Avocado. Stencil your family initial to the center of the pumpkin with Burnt Umber. To add the polka-dots, choose the size of paint pouncer that you want, dip into Burnt Umber and then press onto your pumpkin, continue all the way around. Make sure to reload your pouncer with each polka-dot so that you have the best shape and coverage. After everything was dry, I chose to use the Black Identi Pen to outline the initial only. After that, spray with one or two coats of Acrylic Sealer Finisher Spray. I chose to use the Gloss version for extra shine, but you can also use the Matte version if you prefer.

After the varnish was good and dry, I used my hot glue gun and some silk fall leaves that I had in my craft stash to glue all the way around the top of the pumpkin. Then I dug through my ribbon stash and found this wonderful fall plaid that was perfect for a bow to finish up this project. Glue in place.

If you don’t like the orange, you could paint your pumpkin white, or a moss green…just let your creativity go and have fun!

Happy Painting and Creating!

Categories - Finished Projects, Inspiration, Snapshots, Staff Projects

Stacked Jacks

I am all about fun and easy projects right now, and our Stacked Jack-o-Lanterns were perfect for this. All I did was basecoat and add a few highlights to bring this project to life.

Here are the paints you will need:
DecoArt Americana
Jack-o-Lantern
Lamp Black
Avocado
Neutral Grey
Purple Cow
Margarita
Bright Yellow

DecoArt Neons
Torrid Orange

DecoArt Extreme Sheen Metallics
Bronze

Basecoat the pumpkins in Jack-o-Lantern. This may take a few coats, so be patient and let it dry well between coats. The hat is Lamp Black. Leaves are Avocado. Hat Band is Purple Cow. Buckle is Bronze. Using your highlighter brush, scrub Torrid Orange down the center of each raised section, making sure to hit under the eyes and around the nose and mouth. I did this three times to really make the highlights pop. Once the pumpkins are dry, paint the eyes, nose, and mouth with Lamp Black. Add a highlight stroke to the eyes, nose and mouth for each pumpkin with Bright Yellow. The middle pumpkin I did a dip dot at the inner corner of the eyes. Highlight the leaves with Margarita, Make sure to make the tip bright, this took two applications. The hat is highlighted with Neutral Grey. Once everything is dry, it is time to varnish. I really wanted him to shine so I used DecoArt Acrylic Sealer Finisher Gloss Spray.

He was so fun and quick to paint, that he was done in just a matter of a few hours. I can’t wait to have him join my Halloween decor this season.

Happy Painting!

Categories - Finished Projects, Inspiration, Snapshots, Staff Projects

Fall Cornucopias

It may be hot outside, but I am already dreaming of Fall! The cool nights and trees full of color and the sound of walking through leaves as they crunch under your feet. Yep, I love Fall, and I have been on a bit of a Fall project kick as well. So, here is my first quick and easy project idea for you.

I love our Cornucopias with Birds, especially the woven texture on the cornucopia. I know some of you look at these and think, wow that is a lot of detail to paint. So, I thought, why not just paint them one solid color and then antique them? Well, I love the way they turned out, and I think I may paint more just like this for my bazaar in November.

All you will need is two DecoArt Americana paint colors, Light Buttermilk and Burnt Umber, and some DecoArt Staining & Antiquing Medium.

First, paint both our your resin pieces with Light Buttermilk. I did two coats to make sure everything was nicely covered. Once dry, spray with DecoArt Acrylic Sealer Finisher Matte Spray. Then follow the instructions on the Antiquing Medium and mix with Burnt Umber. Then apply with a brush to both pieces, and with a soft cloth, rub off any excess medium where you don’t want it. If it is too dark in some areas, just dampen you cloth with water to reactivate your medium and gently rub. Once you have the antiquing medium to your liking, then let it dry completely. I chose to finish them with DecoArt Acrylic Sealer Finisher Spray in Gloss so they would have an extra shiny look.

How great will this duo look all nestled into a fall leaves arrangement on your mantel or holiday table?!

Happy Painting!

Categories - Finished Projects, Inspiration, Snapshots, Staff Projects

Drink-Laugh-Paint, A Girl’s Night!

See how one of our Customer Service Reps hosted a paint party for a fun Girl’s Night!

When I saw the Drink-Laugh-Paint (#38791) I was so excited to try it. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this kit and plan a girl’s night with my friends. The kit contains an Instruction Easel with 8 different projects, sorted seasonally, ranging from beginner to intermediate/advanced, 16 invitations, and a booklet on “How to Host a Painting Party”.

The “How to Host a Painting Party” booklet lists the recommended supplies, as well as the necessary paint colors and brushes, along with drink recommendations for each project. All projects use a 16”x20” canvas, which I was able to find on sale at a big box craft store. The kit recommends, but does not include, easels. You may be able find some from your big box craft stores for less than $20, though our group had no trouble using the kit without them.

The Dragonfly painting project was the perfect choice for the beautiful weather we have been enjoying in Washington. We used the Americana Premium Tube Acrylics in the following colors: Dioxazine Purple (#14554), Pthalo Green-Yellow (#14544), Sap Green (#14540) Titanium White (#14558), Pthalo Blue (#14542), Hansa Yellow Medium (#14535), Diarylide Yellow (#14534), and Pyrrole Red (14524). Not all of the colors exactly matched what the instructions called for, but we still achieved the intended results with no trouble.

Each project requires a variety of brushes and directions on how to use the different brushes to achieve the project. We used the Americana Decor 2” Flat Brush, 10 Piece Resin Brush Set, 7 Piece Starter Set. These sets included a nice variety of brushes, all of which worked great and felt wonderful to use. This was my first time using the Papillon brushes, and the quality to value ratio was fantastic.

After acquiring the necessary supplies, next came scheduling the party. The 16 included postcards are an adorable way to invite your guests, though we did not end up using them because planning the party required all 5 working moms to free up a date on our calendars together.

When that date finally came it did not disappoint! We were so excited to have a fun event where the 5 of us could to celebrate the end of the school year and the slowing down of our busy PTA schedule. The kit suggested mojitos (and some alternatives) to pair with the painting we chose, but we kept it simple with margaritas and wine.

With drinks in one hand and paintbrushes in the other we set out our supplies and got started. The Instruction Easel with painting directions is well-designed, with the projects grouped by season and a smart page flow that eliminates the struggle of turning the easel with a paintbrush in hand.

One of my friends had attended two previous paint and drink nights and helped guide us, but the book was an excellent source whenever we weren’t sure what to do next. The instructions walk you through the project and give you useful tips on when you need to let the paint dry for a few minutes. You can work through the painting at your own speed, but I would plan for at least 2 hours for a party.

We had a blast! There were lots of laughs and some of us drank more than others. More than one of us almost dipped our paint brush in our drink instead of the water (watch out for that!). We did indeed drink, laugh, and paint, which was a wonderful bonding experience. In the end, each of our paintings turned out differently, but in a fun way. At the end of the night we were excitedly wondering when we could plan another. For us, this kit was a great buy, and with 7 more paintings left we are excited to use it again and again.

Categories - Inspiration, News, Painting, Staff Projects

Homemade Soap

Here is a blog post from one of our Customer Service Reps who tried out our soap making book…have you tried soap making yet?

Having super sensitive skin I have been looking for a how to on making my own natural soap.  I want to know what is in the soap as well as being able to pronounce the ingredients.  The Natural Soapmaking Book for Beginners was an excellent starting place.  It is full of lots of information on pure ingredients; what to use and what to stay away from.

With such sensitive skin I decided to try the Goat milk, cinnamon, oats, and honey soap.  The oatmeal exfoliates gently while the goat milk and honey hydrate and soften your skin while providing natural antibacterial properties.

Gathering ingredients

Melting the fats

Dissolving lye in the goats milk (make sure you wear your protective gear)

Emulsifying the oil/fats with lye to obtain trace

In the mold it goes

Cut into slices to finish curing

8 weeks later all cured and ready to be used.  This soap has a nice lather and smells wonderful.  My skin loves it.

Wanting to try a soap that didn’t take 2 months to use, I tried one of the recipes that used melt and pour glycerin.  Who doesn’t love roses…?!?!?!  The Rose Petal Melt and Pour soap was quick and easy.  The bonus was being able to use it the same day!

Melting the glycerin

Rose clay, rose petals, and rose essential oil

Setting up (only 4 hours instead of 2 months)

This recipe was quicker for those who want the make and use right of way options.  The instructions are well written and easy to understand.  Rose oil calms and relaxes you while stimulating and elevating your mind.

Categories - Inspiration, News, Staff Projects