Wednesday, November 30, 2011

upcycled light bulb santa how-to

how cute is this upcycled santa lightbulb?!  my art students are making these for christmas.

i found this idea in the latest issue of cloth paper scissors magazine

there is not a tutorial in the magazine, however, so i thought i would share the general steps we are using to make these.  i say general because my students have the artistic freedom to change anything they want.  in the magazine, the artist used buttons to make the beard.  for ours we are using one of my favorite artist tools- our fingers.

to make this one i used an old light bulb and craft store acrylic paint.  if you don't have any old light bulbs, you can buy a box of 4 at the dollar store for a buck. i started by painting the light bulb in a flesh color.  holding the light bulb by the bottom, i painted the top portion first.

then i set it inside a small paper cup to dry.

once it was dry, i turned the light bulb and painted the rest of it.  

then i set it on the cup to dry again.  on this one, i did 2 coats of paint because i didn't want the light bulb glass to show.


once all the layers were completely dry, i used a pencil to lightly sketch a line where the hat would hit and a frame for the face.  you don't want to make this area too big.  i put 2 dots for eyes and  a small oval for the nose.  then from the center of the nose i drew 2 lines that curved out to give myself a guideline for the mustache.  last i sketched a line for the mouth.

to fill in the white i used my finger prints.  i started by following the face and mustache lines first.  put some paint out, dip your fingertip in it, and print it a few times, then repeat.

then i filled in the rest of the front of the light bulb the same way.  i set it on the cup again to dry.  once it was dry, i turned it and filled in the back.  once that was dry, i put a second layer over the entire white area, using the same finger print technique.

once the white was finished, i used a small brush to paint the nose pink and the mouth red.  for the eyes, i filled in the dots with a thin sharpie marker. 

once that was dry, i used a small round brush with white paint to fine tune the area around the face and fill in any other areas of the white part that looked thin.

to make the hat, i used an old red tshirt that my son had grown out of.  first i cut off one of the sleeves.

then i put the part of the sleeve with the seam around the light bulb where i wanted the hat to sit.  once i had the material pulled back tight enough to have the hat sitting where i wanted it, i sketched a line with pencil to mark it.  you can't see the pencil line on the picture, so i marked it with tape to show you.  it is the inside tape line.  it is close to the light bulb, but not right up against it because i know i have to sew a seam.  i think i also put one sewing pin on that line to hold the material together before i carefully pulled it off the light bulb.

now, i have a sewing machine, but it is not set up.  so instead of doing that, i decided to just hand stitch the seam.  if you don't want to stitch it, you could use fabric glue.  even staples might work if you don't pull too hard on it afterwards.  you couldn't see my stitched seam in the picture, so i added white dots on the line to show you.  while it was still inside out, i cut off the extra fabric.  make sure you don't cut too close to the stitched seam.

then i flipped it inside out so the seam was on the inside and placed it on the light bulb where i wanted it.  the top off the hat was still open and ugly from where i cut it, so i pulled  down and marked with my finger where i wanted to attach it.  i carefully pulled the hat off the light bulb and put in a couple of stitches to hold the top of the hat down.  now, i'm just telling you how i made my hat.  you could do this many different ways.  if you do this with your kids i encourage you to let them problem solve a way to make a hat.  my art students are doing their own.  like is said earlier, it's a great problem solving activity.

my hat is just sitting on top, but if you wanted to, you could add a little hot glue on the hat to attach it. 

viola!  a cute and super trendy upcycled santa for the holidays!

i also wanted to show you these ornaments my boys made the other day.  these were sort of an accident while we were looking through what i had stored in the studio.  i had some of these clear glass balls.  

my 6 year old found some shiny pipe cleaners in another box.  you know kids love all things shiny, so he couldn't resist messing with them.   he started bending them and shoved one in the glass ball.  i saw it and encouraged him to shove in some more of different colors.

then we grabbed zac, and they both started making them.  they had such a good time!

now, i really tried to get a good picture of this for you guys, but this was the best i could do.  

i think you can tell that these came out really cute!  i just added a christmas ribbon to the top and, boom, instant gifts for the boys to give.  and so easy, fun and cheap!

happy holidays!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

not made in china

today's confession: i can not make everything myself.  hmmm... maybe i should rephrase that: i should not make everything myself.  these ikea chairs from my boys' room are exhibit a.

my boys love these chairs.  but how long do you think it was before that white pad (and that is your only choice when you buy them!) was filthy?  so i did a search online and found 1 person who made designer covers for that chair.  i then decided that i should just go ahead and make them myself.  12 hours and 1 ginormous headache later, i had them!  not bad, huh???

well, here they are again...1 month later.

so i gave in and ordered them from jcaroline home.  and look at them now!  for $45 i got a completely new pad covered in a very durable, deep orange fabric.  and she has all kinds of fabrics and patterns to choose from.  they still look great over a month later, i might add.  and trust me, they've had some wear and tear!


my next search was for some bird earrings.  i wanted them to be very simple, so i thought surely i should just make them myself.  then i came across these from off beet on etsy.  i love these so much!  it was well worth $12 (and that included the shipping) to not have to drag myself all over town trying to find the stuff to do it on my own.

and did you know i am a huge football fan?  it's true.  you can blame it being raised by a football coach.  well, check out  my new game day tassel earrings from  paper taxi.  she did not have purple in her etsy shop (which i need for my tcu games) so she made them special for me.  love!

i found these totally quirky, super awesome skull earrings for a gift for one of our artist friends at sora designs on etsy.  i haven't given them to her yet, and truthfully, i really don't want too!

and how about these halloween name tags my sister-in-law made for my son's 4th birthday party?  could not have made these better myself.  perfection!

or this moss covered "h" by green crow gallery?!  love, love, love! 

and don't you just love these ornaments, also by green crow gallery.  simple and natural yet elegant, they look like something straight out of better homes and gardens!  her website is not up right now, but if you want more information on these items, let me know and i'll give you contact information.

so, if you have the time, money and inclination to make something yourself...i say go for it!  i know i'll never stop.  but, sometimes it's nice to have it done for you. 

this christmas season i raise my glass and toast to all the artists and artisans out there following their dreams and all their wonderful and unique items, not made in china!

have yourself a handmade christmas,


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

pinterest results

back on october 11, i posted a pinterest challenge- 5 weeks, at least 1 finished project that i had pinned on pinterest.  i also invited anyone else who was interested to join me.  now, i know 5 weeks is a long time for a challenge like this, but as i am a working artist, i had to be reasonable in allowing time for my commissioned artworks, my art lessons, and the production of a quality pinterest project. oh yes, and that family that i'm raising- lol.  after a lot of initial interest, i ended up with 2 pictures from friends who finished.  julie from the amazing art blog spaark- artistcally afflicted made a beautiful terrarium .  click here for pictures and a little tutorial on how she made it!  my friend, christine, from adorabelle design made these super cute clam shell cookies for her daughter's mermaid birthday party.

clam shell cookies by adorabelle design

You can also see the pics of the beautiful party decorations she made for that same party here.

as for me, in that 5 week time period, i actually used several ideas i had pinned.  this painted pumpkin was the result of the combination of 2 ideas from pinterest- a  painted pumpkin i had pinned, and the dia de los muertos theme i discovered here at teach kids art.

dia de los muertos pumpkin

my art students and i also did some fantastic dia de los muertos prints, which you can see here.

I also created these fabulous skulls from an idea i pinned from mega crafty

paper covered skull

paper covered skull

paper covered skulls

these took a long time and a lot of patience, but i think were worth it in the end!

and then there was this watermark tshirt (using elmer's glue gel as a resist!!!) from a guest blogger at ucreate.

wet tshirt with glue gel

finished tshirt

now, i actually think i need to do this shirt again.  i don't think i mixed the dye well enough, so there were some darker spots that i didn't care for.  but what a great idea.  the possibilities of designs are endless! 

i just have to add that doing this post was a pain because my beloved pinterest site was not working right.  i couldn't access my pins, so finding the links to the sites of my sources took a lot of searching.  i guess that also shows how convenient pinterest is when it is working.  so for now i know i'll keep pinning, and hopefully, keep doing!



Tuesday, November 8, 2011

studio life

it's sort of a somber day in the studio for me today.  i talked a little about the sudden loss of my father last may in this post here, and as we move into the holiday season, i feel the heaviness of that loss descending upon me.  for those of us with artistic souls, we know that sometimes there is no better medicine than making art.  that being said, my studio has been bursting with artistic life, for which i am profoundly grateful.  here's a little peek:

art lessons!  the opportunity of passing of artistic knowledge to other artistic souls is priceless for me.

carly and brandon at work

pinterest projects!  i will post the results of the pinterest challenge that i wrote about here next tuesday, november 15th.  no, it's not too late to join me! 

part of my halloween pinterest project!

a sneak peek at my other pinterest project!

then there is my own work.  i've got several pieces going right now.  most are commissioned, like that portrait there and that green canvas with the sweet little prints on it, but that large blue painting is my newest work in progress.

i have been feeling my momentum on this one slowing...taking me to that place where you're not sure what to do next and you don't want to mess up what you've already done.  you artists out there, you know what i'm talking about.  well, this post from my fiber artist friend at bohemiannie art came out at just the right time and has inspired me to just do it any way.  now, I just have to finish this blog post and go do it.  and here's to hoping that working on it will soothe my soul today.  

cheers to you,


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

dia de los muertos prints

i've been a little obsessed with the mexican holiday dia de los muertos (or day of the dead in english) this year.  not really sure why.  this year, my family decided we would each design our own pumpkin, and i painted mine to go along with my obsession.  what do you think?

it all started when i read this post at the art blog teach kids art.  i'm not a printmaker, but the project seemed so simple and fun, i couldn't resist.  and let me just say that every one of my kids loved it.  here are some of their finished prints!

carly age 11

brandon  age 9

max  age 6

zane  age 6

zachary  age 4

for this project we used scratch-foam.  this box has (12)  9" x 12" sheets in it, and ran me around $6 at dick blick. 

i also used a pencil, a wooden skewer, a rolling pin, and  water-based block printing inks by speedball.  oh yes, and a brayer.  i wasn't smart enough to put that in the picture, but mine looks like this and can be found at any of the craft stores. 

i cut each scratch-foam board in half to make them 4 1/2" x 6".  i also used 9" x 12" drawing paper, cut in half the same way.  on the drawing paper, i drew a basic skull template. (my students had the option to use just the outside line of my template or all of my template, and then they did all the decorations themselves.)

then i put the drawing on top of the scratch-foam and secured it with a little bit of tape at the top and the bottom so it wouldn't slide around.  using a semi-dull pencil, i traced the skull, making sure i pushed hard enough to scratch into the board below it.  then i pulled off the top paper, and used a combination of the pencil and the wooden skewer to carve the lines deeper and add my decorations.

 then on a disposable palette sheet, i put out three colors of ink.  i ended up running out of palette sheets during the course of this project, so i used wax paper.  just make sure you tape down the ends securely if you use wax paper. 

next, i rolled the brayer through the ink, making sure to cover the entire surface evenly.  i changed directions as i was rolling to help that.

once the brayer was inked up nicely, i rolled it over the carved scratch-foam plate.  once the color started to fade, i wiped off the brayer and changed colors.   i kept doing this until the entire surface of the carved plate was covered evenly.  (if you get a glob of ink on your carved plate, just run the brayer over it until it flattens out.)  then i carefully turned the inked up plate over and set it in the middle of a clean sheet of white card stock. i pressed down on it with my hands and then rolled over it a couple of times with my rolling pin.

zac printing his inked up plate

then, starting at the bottom corner, i carefully peeled away the plate from the paper below. voila! 

my example

i set the print aside to dry and rinsed off the brayer and the foam plate with water.  the foam plates can be used over and over if you're careful with them!

each of my students did several different prints with their plates, changing up the color choices and the background paper colors.  carly and i did a white one on black paper that was cool, and a yellow one on black paper that was even cooler!  like i said, my kids had a blast with this project, and we definetly plan to do more printing in the future. 

zachary (age 4)

 on some of the early prints, i taught them how a printmaker signs prints.

max (age 6) signing his print

with most of the prints, though, i tore the extra edges off, and we made a dia de los muertos banner.  here it is hanging in my studio!

now, don't you love dia de los muertos too!

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