Burlap Canvas DIY!

Burlap seems to be everywhere now a days: Christmas trees, wreaths, pillows, curtains, flowers, baskets…you name it! It’s funny because not so long ago, it was a last resort itchy fabric used for Indian and scare crow costumes! Burlap and linen canvases are attention magnets on their own, their natural color and texture requires very little done to add elegance to any home or office decor. The problem is that -as all things “new”- they are a little over priced, provided that you keep in mind that you are buying burlap not silk!

Online you will find advertisements for burlap canvas ranging from $0.79 to even $1.09 on Clearance. Great right?! But don’t be fooled, the all say “Available in Store Only”, and there is no such thing in the store; is more like $5.99 for a single 5×7 burlap canvas vs $4.99 for a pack of two white stretch canvas of the same size. It gets worse when it comes to linen canvases: $8.99 for a single canvas of the same size! Remember, we are talking about one single, non professional grade canvas. I’m not cheap, I just value my money and I’ll pay the set price for a professional grade canvas for my paintings, but some craft projects don’t need a $25 canvas if you get what I mean! So, what can we do?!

We can wait for those wonderful 50% off a regular price item + 20% off your entire purchase coupons we love so much, or we can make our own! Here’s how:


MATERIALS:

  • Laminated burlap roll

Laminated burlap has a thin plastic coating on the back that makes it a little more stiff. It’s perfect for printing purposes and is more durable. If you cant find it, no worries, buy a yard of regular burlap and some Freezer Paper, follow this simple tutorial and you will have laminated burlap of any size for any use!

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  • Wood frame

You can either build a frame using a 1×2″ board, or simply buy an unfinished wood frame at your local craft store. Your frame should be a simple “wood” (basswood or pine) frame. Plastic, metal or pressed wood frames will not work for this purpose and it would be a waste to use a decorative frame since you will be covering it.

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Cost: $1.00

  • Staple gun

Make sure your staples are not longer than the width of your wood, you wouldn’t want them showing up on the opposite side of your frame! A regular office stapler is not strong enough for this project.

  • Glue

I used wood glue, but if you’d like you can use any strong glue. Remember you are working with a thick fabric that doesn’t absorb the glue as easy, regular craft glue might not be strong enough to hold it down.

  • White Cardstock

Covering the back of your new canvas is optional. If your edges are perfectly trimmed you can leave it as is.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. First cut a piece of burlap big enough to cover your frame. Leave enough room to fold the burlap over the back of the frame, you can trim excess later. 20150210_160042
  2. Remove the cardboard piece from your frame, you don’t want a strangers face showing through your work! You could leave it off, but you’ll notice that you can see through the canvas, if that is not a problem continue to step 3. Use a piece of white cardboard instead, that way your canvas will look better front and back. 20150210_160110
  3. Now is time to staple the burlap. Make sure it is as straight as possible, you can see a cricket burlap canvas long before you can see the artwork on it! Staple on side first, stretch it as much as possible and staple the opposite side. You have to make sure your canvas is stretch before stapling. 20150210_161353
  4. Once you are done with that side fold the corners nicely and stretch and staple the other side. Do one side at a time; stretch then staple.
  5. Trim any excess. It’s ok if you have areas that are not 100% perfect, you can always cover them up. 20150210_161811
  6. When covering the back of your canvas you have two choices: partial or full coverage. I went for the partial coverage with the purpose of making it easier to hang. I just cut 4 even strips of white cardstock and glued them. Half of my strip cover the burlap and the other half the frame, that way it not only looks good but it secures the burlap ends. 20150210_162356
  7. In order for the cardstock to dry flat (not buckled) I put the canvas in a home-made book binding press and left it for about an hour (that’s how long the wood glue needs to bind). Then I removed it and left it to completely dry over night. You can use anything from heavy books to a couple of wine bottles to keep it pressed, the heavier the better. 20150210_163221

That’s it! A home-made burlap canvas that cost only $2.46 and I still have enough burlap left to make 2-3 more canvases depending on the size!

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You can use this technique to create all sort of fabric or linen canvases, so next time you see a piece of fabric with an awesome print, make a frame and hang it! This is my canvas put to use:

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Have fun! See you next week!

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Good Ideas… Bad Ideas! 2

Feeling creative during this long winter?!

Here are some more tips and tricks for our Good Ideas, Bad Ideas Series!


#1 Printer Ink and Craft or Acrylic Paint

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Like I’ve mentioned before, there are several techniques that you can use when transferring images. You can check out my previous post: A Trip to the North Pole for more on this technique, but today I’ll be sharing with you some of the things I’ve learn along the way. Your printer ink might seem light and faded once transferred to your working surface, but don’t be mistaken, that puppy will show through paint!

Bad Idea: When it comes to correcting mistakes like a smudged blurry image, we tend to paint over the transferred image and start over. Unfortunately that doesn’t work as easily when your transfer method includes printer ink, the ink is designed to “repel or attract” it’s pigments in order to create it’s coating, big words?! It simply means that even when you try to paint over to cover your mistakes, it will literally fight trough the paint and show trough. This makes it difficult to paint over transferred images, specially when using light color paints. You have to make sure you nail the transferring process the first time or you will have a little trouble trying to cover it up.

Good Idea: This only concerns you if you are using light color paints underneath your transferred image (whites, ivory, beige, light grays, etc). In reality, it really makes no difference whether your paint is opaque or translucent, if it’s light and you try to paint over it, it will show through.

There are simple solutions to this problem:

  1. You can use darker paints to cover up the area -but you must consider that if you are planing on re-applying the image, it might not be as noticeable.
  2. When using no paint at all under your image; try to wash/brush away the ink, don’t scrub hard though, you might damage your surface. You will need to let it dry overnight before applying it again. Depending on your working surface, this step wont always work, but if your are working on wood the washed out ink will definitely give your piece a unique look! Try using water first, if that doesn’t work use alcohol or paint thinner, avoid acetone as it will make your wood repel future paint.
  3. If you are using light colors, don’t panic, you are just going to have to paint over it several times. Just let the paint dry before adding more layers. It will take multiple coats if you are trying to completely cover the area, but you might not need so many paint layers if you are re-applying the image in the same area. The only problem you will find when using this technique is that it will cover up all your natural wood texture. Your solution is to create new texture using a dry brush technique over your painted surface once it’s dry, and before re-applying your image.

    byLisandra

    byLisandra

  4. Your last and first solution here is: nail it the first time! Make sure not to move your transferring source once laid on top of your working area, make sure your image is clear before placing it, and remove it carefully. Let it dry fully before working on surface and you should be ok.

#2 Mod Podge Coating

Mod Podge is a world on it’s own! If you are unsure of it’s many uses, just check out their Mod Podge Catalog and be amazed! No matter the nature of your project, using Mod Podge is fairly simple, the key lies in finding the right Mod Podge for your project -since they don’t all work the same.

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Just to name a few!

Bad Idea / Good Idea: Your application method will determine the success of your final project, this is true whether you are using Mod Podge or any sort of paint.

  • If you are looking for a SMOOTH EVEN end result, avoid the use of any brush or sponges. Smooth finishes are best achieved by just poring large amounts over your project and moving it around until it fully covers it, then let it drip down to dry. tinted jar 3
  • STREAKS give your project a more modern feel. To achieve this, you most use a brush or a sponge. Avoid dabbing if your using a sponge. Long fluid hand movements work best, always use the same direction of you are looking for clean streaks. candle 6
  • GRAINY/SPOTTY TEXTURE is easy to achieve, just dab away and cover all areas. The less glue (or paint) you use, the grainier it will look. 104588-847x567-Technique7
  • If you are going for a GLITTER/SHIMMER LOOKI suggest just using the Drip down method for an even, streak free cover. glitter_jars2

The key here is to remember that everything shows through once the glue has dried. Mod Podge is not a paint medium, it can be use as one in many projects but it is not Gesso.

  • WATER/FLOATING EFFECT   I saw this project on Pinterest and I fell in love with it’s elegant simplicity, it was perfect for my Glass Makeover series.

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Since I wanted to create variety among my glassware, I decided to try this on a regular -no color- Floating Candle Glass Bowl I had. I did as the instructions said, but I wasn’t quite happy with my results; my simple changes made a big difference between what it should’ve looked like and what it looks like!

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First Mistake: Color. It doesn’t look as cute in clear glass.

Second Mistake: Big open surface to cover. In a small color vase this looks beautiful, but when you have to cover a large glass area, glue streaks are hard to miss.

I wouldn’t scratch out this simple DIY project at all, it looks beautiful and it would make for stunning mason jar centerpieces at any wedding or party! Just remember to use this technique in small areas or closed containers rather than open or large areas. If you don’t like your end results you can easily peal the glue off. I’m still debating whether to do that or make something out of my mishap, it does look good from far but not up close, I will let you know if I come up with something!

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byLisandra


#3 Using stencils

Now a days there are stencils for pretty much everything. If you can’t find what you are looking for, making a stencil is pretty simple, though it might be time consuming depending on your design. Using stencils is no rocket science, that is until you are in the middle of a project and you can’t seem to get a clear image out of your stencil! Here are some tips to help you do it quick, do it right, and do it once!

Bad Ideas / Good Ideas

  1. Use a sponge or a stencil brush (not all brushes are the same).
  2. Don’t load you sponge/brush with paint. A soaked sponge/brush will not result in sharp crisp edges. This is one of those cases where less is more.
  3. Expensive sponges don’t always give you the best results. Dollar store sponges (make up or cleaning ones) are as good as “Martha Stewart’s Craft Sponges”. The smaller the pores are, the less grainy your paint will look. 033572319256_503192500_lgSEASPONGE_OUT
  4. When using thin, paper like stencils, never leave the stencil on your surface in hopes to remove it once the paint is dry. Chances are the paint will tear off of along with your stencil.
  5. The less details your stencil has, the better the image will look. You can always hand paint smaller details after the paint has dried.

I hope these help on your next project!

For more details check out my Techniques Pinterest Board.

Have a great week!

A Trip to the North Pole!

Christmas it’s truly the best time of the year. How we celebrate it varies from family to family and it all comes down to our traditions. Whether they were passed down to us or we have started them ourselves, we find comfort in sharing them. I will admit that I am a Christmasholic and I’m eager to share with my son so many beautiful traditions in the years to come. Right now he is still too young to understand the true meaning of Christmas, but none the less we decided to start small.

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It’s always hard to explain to kids which gifts are from Santa and which gifts are from mommy and daddy, grandma, etc. Or “Why did Santa leave my gifts at someone else house?” Another famous one is: “Isn’t that godmother’s handwriting on the label?” Since I’m always up to some sort of project I know Jaden will grow up seeing mom’s “tricks” left and right; I can fake any handwriting and I looove to wrap (and make) gifts for Christmas and he’ll know all of that by the time he’s 6! So…. how can I buy, make and wrap gifts in front of him without ruining the whole “Santa experience” for him? A crate specially delivered from the North Pole on Christmas Eve with the gifts from Santa! What ever is on the crate is from “Santa” and that way there’s no dilemma if he’s sees me putting something under the Christmas tree!

Now onto the crafting part…


Your materials will vary depending on the technique you choose to use. There’s are many ways of transferring unto wood, a Pinterest search will prove that, but I can tell you by experience that it can go either way: really easy with awesome results or totally frustrating and not worth your time. I’ve included some of the most popular ones along with some personal notes, you can also find them in my Pinterest Techniques Board.

Wax paper method. Simple enough if you can manage your printer to print without jamming the paper. Paper jams happen 9 out of 10 times and are serious enough to damage your printer.

Wax paper method. Simple enough if you can manage your printer to print without jamming the paper. Paper jams happen 9 out of 10 times and are serious enough to damage your printer.

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You actually can use this method without the Spray Adhesive. The key here is transfer right away or the ink will dry. Paper jams are less frequent but likely.

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ModgePodge Gel Medium method. Great way to transfer images if you don’t mind the white paper residue in your wood.

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The success of this depends on the quality of your printer ink and/or paper. It works depending on your printer: laser printers work great for this but it doesn’t always work on inkjet printers.

If none of these work for you, there’s always the “good old hard way” of transferring images to wood: hand painting them. I know this might sound intimidating but surprisingly, hand painting my crate took me far less time to do, than all the time I spent fighting with my printer. After spending so much time designing my “North Pole Freight Co” logo, I was determined to see it on my crate, so I went old school and traced over the printed image with a carbon paper between my paper and the crate.

Logo

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Once that was done (it took about 5 minutes tops), I grabbed my fine brush and some craft paint and started coloring my drawing. This part literally took me about 15 minutes that included Jaden climbing on top of me and me reading him two story books. The fact that you can still see the carbon trace lines trough the sleight was not intentional but totally adds charm to the image!

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I couldn’t stop with the “North Pole Freight Co” logo, I had to add “North Pole Post Stamps” to my crate as well! I mean; it’s a special delivery after all! Originally I had planned to transfer these onto the crate, but when that didn’t work out, I figured I would print, cut and glue the “stamps” onto the crate. This actually turned out to be a great thing because now I have another new tradition! I have to designed new North Pole Post Stamps every year! -I did mentioned I was a Christmasholic didn’t I?!-

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Looking back I can say this project would have taken me a total of 1 hour had I gone straight to hand painting from the beginning. Lesson learned? my printer is not as cooperative as I thought! Though I wasn’t successful at transferring my design by using some of these techniques, I do encourage you to give it a try, your printer might not be as temperamental as mine! If you manage to print on wax or freezer paper, your possibilities are endless!

Next year we’ll add “Santa’s footprints” near the box! Until then all I have to worry about it’s where to hide the crate during the rest of the year! And in case you are interested, here is the printable file to our 2014 North Pole Post Stamps!

Etching Glass Technique!

So far we’ve done six different glass projects, today I’m sharing with you a technique that can be used on any glass surface! After this post you will look at glass and think…hmm, what if I…?!

  • Glass Etching

Simple versatile technique that can make a simple glass piece into an expensive one. It’s great for personalizing glass as gifts or, branding yours. I will warn you, the main tool; Etching Cream will cost you anything from $12 and up, depending on the size of your container, but I think you’ll agree with me in saying it’s worth it. It is an acid, so handle with care and keep it away from pets and children, avoid contact with your skin (if any, just rinse thoroughly) and apply with something plastic and disposable. Don’t worry, it sounds worse than it is, but those are just the precautions on the label and since it is some sort of acid, it doesn’t hurt to follow the precautions. On that note I will tell you, I got it on my hands and nothing happened, so don’t worry, it doesn’t irritate your skin as long as you don’t let it sit.

The great thing about Etching Cream is that you can create multiple pieces and not repeat yourself! I love the fact that even though it’s an acid, it has no fumes and it barely smells, so working indoors is not a problem. I’m sharing with you the original tutorial but I’m listing my instructions rather than the original ones. Feel free to compare and use the instructions that best work for you!

Materials:

Contact paper (clear or colored one), Etching Cream & plastic knife


Instructions:

1. Choose your image. Any graphic or drawing will do, just remember that if you don’t have a cutting machine, you’ll have to do the cutting your self and a simple image would be best.

2. If you have a Cricut Machine (or other machine like that), just cut your contact paper on a sheet bigger than your image and let your machine cut it out.

If you don’t have a Cricut, just cut your contact paper so that it fits on your printer, flip your image horizontally (mirror your image) and print it. It is very important you print on the paper side and not the plastic side (that is why we are flipping the image). Be careful, some printers jam contact paper sheets. If your printer jams the sheet of contact paper, you will probably have to buy a mold and trace or draw the image. Once your image is on your contact paper sheet, your next step is to cut out your image with an X-acto knife. This step might take some time depending on how detailed your image is.

3. Clean your glass with alcohol and once it’s dry, place the adhesive part of your contact paper in your glass. Remove all air bubble and make sure there are no gaps. This is very important in order to obtain a crisp image.

4. Using a plastic disposable knife and apply sufficient Etching Cream to the areas that were cut out (to your image). You don’t want it to drip, but you want to make sure the cream completely covers the area. If cream falls on an area of the glass that is not part of your image, wipe away quickly as any drops where the etching cream sits in the glass will be permanent.

5. Depending on the brand you buy, some bottles don’t have waiting time instructions. I will tell you that 10 minutes didn’t do anything to my glass, by experience I would advice letting it sit for maybe 2 hours before rinsing. If it sounds like a lot of time, you can do what I did: I kept rinsing and reapplying until the etching effect was visible enough. Maybe it all depends on the thickness of your glass, of this I’m not sure, the good thing is you can rinse and reapply without having to remove the contact paper.

6. Once your waiting time is complete, take you glass and rinse it with tab water. Don’t be afraid of touching the image and removing the cream with your fingers, it will not hurt or dry your hands at all. The etching effects are permanent so rubbing the image will not harm it.

7. Once you inspect to make sure your image etched correctly, remove the contact paper. You’re finished! Feel free to wash as normal, your image won’t be going anywhere!


The truth is that this technique is quick and simple once your image is cut out of the contact paper. Anything from birds (which I did, I loved the simplicity of it!) to monograms will look expensive!

On another note, I needed a desert tray and decided to make one out of my extensive glassware, check it out! Ikea Tea Light holder and a glass urn glued together with glass water proof glue! Not bad!

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byLisandra

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