DIY: Ombre canvas tote bag

Being stuck at home yesterday (hope everyone’s safe and dry!) means more time to do household chores and craft! I chose to craft first, heh. I saw a photo of a similar ombre tote bag featuring three colors: pink, blue and violet in instagram. It was just a photo though, so I decided to try and make a bag inspired by summery tones. In my first attempt, I was inspired by mint ice cream, and the sea.

What you’ll need:
– A canvas tote bag
– Acrylic paint
– Mixing surface. I used the plastic cover of a microwaveable container
– A foam roller brush (got mine from National, only Php30 I think)
– Masking tape or plain plastic tape (My paper tape ran out in the middle of my second tote so I used sparkly plastic tape from National)
– Lots of newspaper and a cardboard (optional) to protect the other side of the bag
– A palette knife for mixing the paint

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HOW TO DO IT:

Cover the areas that you want covered with the tape. For my first attempt, I just made a simple alternating stripey pattern. Place some newspapers inside the bag, and some cardboard if you have some, to protect the other side of the bag from paint stains that would probably seep through. Keep in mind that it has to be flat, or you’ll have a hard time rolling your brush on top of the bag and it will result in uneven coloring.

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Cover the top and bottom of the bag too, if you wish.

Prepare your paint mixture. Since we’re going to make an ombre effect, start with the lightest shade. I opted to add more color instead of adding white paint since I planned on making it darker at the bottom. You could also start with the darkest shade and then add white after every few stripes. Mix it thoroughly using the palette knife. Work quickly since acrylic’s prone to drying up quickly too! But you can make it last longer by adding a few drops of water and remixing it every now and then.

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Roll your roller brush into the paint, you can use the palette knife to spread clumpy paint.

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Start rolling! Roll from left to right, top to bottom, but stop in the middle area of the bag, since you’ll be adding the other color to the right side.

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When you’re halfway near the bottom, time to change the color. Add more paint (what I did) or more white, if you went for the dark to light ombre route. When you’re near the bottom, change the color again by adding paint or white.

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After you’re done with the first color, do the same with the other color. Do it from the right side of the bag to the left. When you reach the part where they’re supposed to blend, use your fingers to blend them. I think having a spray bottle with water would work too, but I didn’t have one, so finger-blend it is. Like what you did with the first color, add a darker shade when you’re in the middle, and another darker shade when you’re near the bottom.

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When you’re satisfied with the colors, remove the tape!

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Tadah!

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Inspired by our glorious sunsets, I made another one, this time with the colors from light pink morphing to a dusky peach. I arranged the tape in a criss-cross pattern, and colored from left to right from one edge of the bag to the other end. Then I built up the intensity of the hue by adding more orange this time.

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Have fun trying out various patterns: Chevrons, mimic embroidery stitches, cut the tape into waves and enjoy making your unique ombre tote bag!

 

DIY: Quick, cheap, and easy monotype prints

The other night I made some monotype prints. A monotype is a print that’s made by pressing paper against an inked or painted surface.

It’s slightly different from a monoprint. Basically a monotype uses a featureless plate that would result in one unique print, while a monoprint uses a plate with permanent features like texture or lines that will persist in each print, depending on how the plate was inked before the printing process. This link explains it in more detail.

Since I have little patience and even less moolah, I’ve revised the usual way of doing monotype print (meaning it usually involves a brayer and a glass sheet/plexiglass which I don’t have). I’m sharing my quick, easy, and cheap monotype tutorial with you!

What you’ll need:

– Watercolor paint in tubes. Or if you want it to not dry up so fast, try oil paint.

– Palette knife (optional-you can also use a chopstick, a straw, a blunt knife, old credit cards or old call cards, ballpen cap, matches, or none at all, since I primarily used my fingers heh)

– Flat plastic packaging (recycle! I used the plastic from the art paper but if you have extra plastic cover that will also probably work), use only one side, so for the plastic packaging, cut it so that you’ll have two plastic sheets

– Sturdy tape (I used strong paper tape which I got from Daiso)

– Paper for making prints (I used plain oslo paper, and neon construction paper)

– Newspaper for the mess

– Brush (optional)

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HOW TO DO IT:
1. You’ll be using the plastic sheet as your pseudo-plexiglass surface. This is your printing plate. Stick it to the newspaper and stick it again to a smooth surface using your tape. Or not. I stuck mine to the newspaper atop my yoga mat since that’s where I craft (and eat and do yoga but that’s another story)
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2. Squeeze your paint directly onto your plastic sheet. Or you can mix up the colors that you want first, but this is how I did mine:

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I squeezed all the colors I wanted here onto the plastic sheet:

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3. Now the fun begins! Using the palette knife or whatever tool you want), move the paint around the plastic sheet to make your design. Work fast, or the paint might dry! I just made random swirls. Imagine you’re the great artist Rafael Pacheco and try finger painting, which is what I did. Highly enjoyable and relaxing as well. I like the feeling of making a creative mess with my hands:

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Interlude: My messy hands:

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The top of my paper tape was waxy, so that’s what I used as a makeshift mixing plate:

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4. When you’re happy with your design, it’s time to create your print! They often said that the paper should be damp, but I didn’t have a spray bottle for the water or a huge flat pan so I used dry paper. Try working with damp paper next time, and make sure you pat it into a semi-dry state using a towel, so it’s not that drippy. In printmaking class, we sandwiched the dripping paper between a folded towel. You can try that if you want, experiment and see which technique you like best.

I used dry oslo paper. It helps if you hold the two diagonal corners while pressing it down to your design so that there are no air bubbles. Work quickly, before the watercolor paint dries! Which is what happened to me, oops. Press the paper against the paint with your hands or the back of a wooden spoon or a brayer if you have one, but what I did was to use my body weight for less effort. Meaning: I stomped on top of the paper (but to be more effective, you must walk slowly in every area of the paper. Careful not to drag the paper accidentally!). I read about this technique from this wonderful printmaking book called “Hand Printing from Nature: Create Unique Prints for Fabric, Paper, and Other Surfaces Using Natural and Found Materials” by Laura Donnelly Bethmann. A must-read if you’re interested in creating your own prints!

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5. You now have your finished one-of-a-kind print! What’s great about the monotype technique is that the results are wonderfully unpredictable, so if you like surprise artworks, you’d definitely like experimenting with this printing technique. πŸ™‚ If you’re using watercolor paint, you have to keep in mind that you have to work pretty fast or else the paint will dry up in the plastic sheet. Some details did not appear since they were already dry, but that’s okay.

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Here’s my first attempt. I did abstract works for now, but am looking forward to making monotype merbirds in the near future!

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P.S.
I poured a lot of water atop the plastic sheet and pressed paper against it and loved the wash I got:
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Take a peek at my other tutorials here. πŸ™‚

Read more about my printmaking adventures here.

DIY galaxy Chucks

I’ve been seeing a lot of galaxy prints lately in clothes, bags and shoes, and I’m glad about this trend because the cosmos has always been a source of fascination for me. Saw a nice pair of shoes with a pinkish galaxy print in Forever 21 but for around the same price, I thought it might be better to invest in a new pair of Chucks. My ratty old pair celebrated its tenth birthday recently and it’s so worn out that when I step on puddles, my heels get wet because the sole has tons of holes, heh.

I treated myself to a new pair and chose an all-black one because I wanted to try customizing it with a galaxy print. Why buy when you can DIY, right? πŸ™‚

There are lots of tutorials online (google galaxy print shoes. Thank you, lovely generous people of the interwebs) but this is the lazy-arse way of doing it, with cheapo materials from local bookstores. The original plan was to make a detailed tutorial but my hands got too messy and I forgot to take photos of some of the procedures because I was so engrossed with the process, so apologies for the lack of photos.

What you’ll need:

– Shoes made of canvas material, preferably black or dark blue so that it’d look more “spacey”

– Acrylic paint. I used an acrylic paint set from Color & Co, around Php100+ from National. You’ll probably just use the blues, the reds and the white tubes.

– Masking tape

– Very important: A sponge brush. I got myself this nice sponge brush from Fully Booked for around Php90, but I think you can also try using plain sponges.

– An old toothbrush

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HOW TO DO IT:

1. Cover the non-canvas areas with masking tape. I originally used yellow, but that ran out, so I switched to blue, but that ran out as well, so I ended up using brown paper tape from Daiso. It’s better to use plain masking tape, though, since the brown tape wouldn’t stick to itself.

2. Mix the paint so you’d get a nice royal shade of blue, purple, and pink. It’s up to you. I saw a tutorial that used bleach, but we didn’t have bleach so I wasn’t able to try it. The results of bleach against black canvas would be orangey, and that’s also nice. Try it in a small hidden area first to see if you like the results. Dab the paint with the sponge, spreading it gently. A small amount of paint goes a long way, so it’s better to layer them. Use alternating colors. You can search for galaxy images online and use them as reference if you want.

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3. When you’re satisfied with it, dip the toothbrush in a mixture of white paint and water. Then flick the toothbrush atop your design to create stars. Another technique is to try drawing tiny stars with white paint and a toothpick, but I tried it and it messed things up so I’m not sure about this idea. Try it and see if you like the results more. Image

4. Peel off the tape and admire your masterpiece. Voila! I’m thinking of replacing the black shoelaces with something more striking, maybe shoelaces in hot pink or purple.

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Feel free to ask me if you have any questions, though, and I’ll try my best to answer them. πŸ™‚

Happy DIY-ing!

Tips, Tricks, and Techniques: Papercutting!

This is going to be a regular feature in this blog, because I want everyone to fall in love with the wonderful world of DIY. My crafting philosophy involves trying everything (with a bit of research online/through craft idols/books and magazines) and not being afraid of making mistakes–it’s all a part of the learning process! πŸ™‚ This philosophy has helped me to determine which artsycraftsy activities I love the most.

I’ll be sharing some DIY-related discoveries based on my experience with the craft, and I hope you find this guide (and future guides!) useful!

Papercutting involves the simplest of materials–a piece of paper, a cutter, and a self-healing cutting mat. Although I have tried cutting paper while sprawled on the floor (see previous post), I feel more relaxed doing it on a desk with a comfy chair. Safer, too.

I highly enjoy doing it inside coffeeshops that aren’t too crowded or distractingly noisy. I discovered papercutting some years back, when I saw the intricate paper cut artworks of Rob Ryan, and met the awesome Pergy with her ace papercutting skills.

I tried to make one myself, but I didn’t have a cutting mat back then so I used the yellow pages as a makeshift cutting mat, which didn’t work that great at all. My blade was also dull, so it kept snagging at my work, which frustrated me. However, I now have a nice cutting mat and a new sharp cutter, and Pinay crafters like Patricia, Richelle and Mansy (she’s going to have a papercutting workshop, do check it out!) inspired me with their beautiful papercut artworks, so I decided to give papercutting a second chance. We’re friends now, and my level of obsession reached that point where my day isn’t complete without doing a papercut. Heh.

Tips, tricks and techniques:

1.Plan, plan, plan. If you have a design in mind, consider which parts you’ll be cutting out and which parts you’ll be leaving. I like marking the areas I’ll cut out with an x or making marks on it with my pencil so I won’t be confused.

This is my most recent papercut entitled “Amelia’s Dream”. The outline of the face make up the positive space and the airplane cut out from her hair is the negative space. It might be helpful to read this post about positive and negative space. When making designs with a lot of positive space, bear in mind that everything should be connected though, so you can place tiny connectors between your border and your design, for example. In the papercut below, the lashes serve as my connector:

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2. Patience is a virtue. Intricate details look lovely and they also require a certain amount of concentration andΒ  so set aside a pocket of time for doing it, unless that’s how you roll. I am highly impatient and I have the attention span of a two-year-old, but for some reason, the act of papercutting puts me in a sort of relaxed trance, while I try to achieve cutting fine lines. Sometimes I hold my breath and it helps!

3. You don’t have to focus on one area. Because of my short attention span, I switch between cutting hard, detailed areas and huge easy chunks to minimize fatigue. It’s up to you.

4. Sharp cutters = <3. I use a Genmes cutter but I’ve heard others use X-acto knives or those usual thin cutters. Try various cutters to find out which suits you, but changing the blades ever so often spells a world of difference.

5. Angles, then curves. If you’re like me and you have a hard time cutting curves, cut them as angles first, then go back and round off the angles. It’ll be easier then.

6. To each their own paper. I like normal bond paper, but I’ve also tried using an index card, tracing paper and a thicker, almost board-like paper. I love bond paper the most because it’s easier to slice, but then your mistakes easily show too, and sometimes it snags, when I forget to replace my blade. The thick paper was more durable and hid mistakes easily, but it was harder to slice too.

7. Freestyle it. It’s nice to have a planned design (see first tip), but I highly recommend just taking a piece of paper and cutting shapes you like. I believe that papercutting is just like drawing, where we each have our own distinct style. Doing this will help you discover what shapes you enjoy making (mine are long, lazy waves and easy askew triangles). You can then incorporate said favorite shapes in your designs. This would also familiarize you with the kind of paper, cutter, and cutter angle you fancy.

8. Mask accidents with masking tape or washi tape. That’s what I do. Just stick some tape at the back and cut off the surrounding areas. πŸ™‚

Some papercutting links you might like:
Paper cuts by Joe
Elsita’s papercut art. She made a detailed tutorial here that I love.
Lovely blog. Here’s an interview with the artist, Naomi Shiek. (Lotsa tips there too!)

Have you tried papercutting? Do share your experience!

DIY: Collaged washi cards

I was organizing my craft box the other day and I stumbled upon an old MT tape brochure I got from Heima years ago. I remembered how my love affair with washi tape started and until now I’m still excited about the endless possibilities washi tape can offer. I saw a project in the brochure involving polaroid and colored paper as art, stuck to the wall with washi tape. It inspired me to make these collaged washi cards, using the most abundant material at home: magazine cutouts!

What you’ll need:

– Cardstock (I used blank index cards but I bet brown cardstock would look amazing!)

– Colored paper (Or interesting-looking paper: Construction paper, crepe paper, art paper, origami paper, scrapbook patterned paper, vintage book pages, graphing paper)

– Cutouts from magazines (You can also check out nice images from newspapers! Or use your own artwork. πŸ™‚ )

STEPS:

1. Fold your cardstock in half. Cut the colored paper in a size a bit smaller than the cardstock. I used pinking shears because I can never cut a straight line. Heh. Position it wherever you want.

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2. Decide where you’ll place your cutout, you can use a dab of glue to stick it to the cardstock too.

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3. Use washi tape to decorate the edges and to also stick all the elements to the card. I used the round edge puncher given to me by Nayna (Thank you!) to round off the edges.

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4. Voila! Instant collaged washi card!

Here are the other cards I did. I used a brown paper bag as the colored paper and cut the image with pinking shears for the first one. For the second one, I tore the colored paper for a distressed effect. Have fun making your collaged washi cards! πŸ™‚ I’d love to see what you can come up with!

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DIY: Merbird feather mobile

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I can’t get summer out of my mind. During summer, time seems to slow down and colors seem brighter. My fondest summer memories involve beach trips with family and friends and a great beach read, or maybe a notebook for capturing doodles and musings.

Here’s a very easy mobile I made to help me bring a little summer to our house. Each time I see it, I am reminded of my favorite season, and the wait doesn’t seem so long. I used summery colors like melon, yellow, blue, gold and pink and used washi tapes with animal and nature prints.

I made what I call “merbird feathers” but you can make any shape you fancy: hearts or animal silhouettes or hipster triangles, heh.

MERBIRD FEATHER MOBILE

What you’ll need:

– A pen for drawing the outline (or a pencil)

– Paper or soft cardboard (I used plain bond paper)

– Washi tape

– 1 paper straw (or a painted twig) You can buy washi tapes and paper straws from Hey Kessy (heykessy.com)

– String (I used yarn but you can use twine, abaca string or lace)

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Make it:

1. Insert the string through the straw. This will be your base.

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2. Cut the string to your desired length and tie a knot. This will serve as the mobile handle.

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3. Draw shapes in the paper, and then cut accordingly. Cover the shapes with washi tape. I did it diagonally. I suppose to mimic feathers I could cut them to a chevron pattern in the future.Image

4. Here’s how mine looked like in the front:

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5. Here’s the back part. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, I personally like the random pattern at the back:

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6. When you’ve finished cutting and washi taping all your shapes, it’s now time to position them on the paper straw. Cut string to desired length, and attach to the shapes using washi tape as well. For my merbird feathers, I’ve snipped off some edges to make it more feather-like in appearance.

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7. Get the other end of the string, attach it to the paper straw base using a knot, and secure it with washi tape. You can also add a dab of glue if you want. Do this to all your shapes, and you’re done! Easy peasy.

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Here is a closer look at the merbird feathers I have hanging on my summery mobile. πŸ™‚ I have it hanging in our room, but you can also make mobiles for your doors, your office cube, or all the nooks and crannies in your home that need a bit of extra whimsy. Have fun! Image

I was a guest poster at Hey Kessy’s blog! Click here for my tutorial on how to embellish your artworks with washi tape. Thanks for having me, Hey Kessy!

Also, thank you to Meream of boredandcrafty for featuring me in her lovely and creative blog. Check it out here. πŸ™‚