Archive for the ‘crafts’ Category

Art Supply Organizers + Process Video

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A few weeks ago, a neighbor of mine dropped these art supply boxes off and asked me to personalize them with her grandchildren’s names on them. Easy, right? 

They’re un-finished, which gave me a world of options for how to personalize them. Do I paint and lacquer them? Do I make vinyl decals? Ultimately I knew I wanted these boxes to be heirlooms; treasures for these kids to have forever to remind them of their awesome grandma. After all, I’m a huge sucker for sentimentality. My grandparents supported my artistic side when I was a child, so this really struck the right chord. 

I did a little bit of brainstorming and my assistant Hayley (she’s the best), suggested I get the wood burning tools out! Of course! It’s permanent, doesn’t need to be lacquered and relatively quick to do. I love when I get a win like that. Here’s what I used: 

Watch the video above to see the process from beginning to end for both of them, but let me walk you through it here, too. 

I lightly sketched out my design using the white charcoal pencil (erased any stray lines as needed) and allowed my wood burning tool to warm up. I put it on just shy of the hottest setting. I originally started it out at a low setting, but it just wasn’t getting uniform lines. The uniformity in the lines was an issue throughout this project, and I think it’s a limitation of the burning tool in general. It’s a very entry-level tool, so it’s bound to have it’s drawbacks. 

From the videos I’ve watched on pyrography (they’re quite dry, wow) and my own personal experience; I found that the screw-on “nibs” don’t heat up as uniformly as the nibs that are built in to the pyrography tool. FYI: pyrography is a fancy word for wood-burning. ;) That said, this tool is priced in the mid $30s. Whereas the next level in pyrography tools jumps up to the $170s+. It’s a pretty big financial commitment to get the next level up, so there’s that. I won’t likely be upgrading my set up any time soon as I’m only ever getting it out every 6 months or so. 

I followed along my drawn lines, but the nib kept cooling down considerably because of the debris it would pick up in the burning process. I ended up getting a scratch piece of wood to help clean it off every once in a while. That helped me achieve cleaner lines once I figured that one out. 

As far as style inspiration goes, Ella is quite a girly-girl. I added girly flourishes and embellishments to the already traditional style for an elegant “princess” look. Liam is a fun-loving boy, so I made his more of a whimsical foundational style. 

I feel like I do some of the same things day in day out, so this was a nice little challenge and switch up from the norm! Have you ever tried pyrography before?

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Post-Holiday Thank Yous for Kids

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Finally coming up to the surface after a very wonderful, but very busy holiday season. OH wow. It was great. My kids were spoiled, too. So, how do I include them in giving thanks for their massive haul of presents? They make the backgrounds and I make the cards out of them. It’s really quite easy. I made a video about it, but I’m sure you can figure it out on your own, though, too. ;)

SUPPLIES:

  • paper (I love this stuff, you can find it at Walmart usually for $5)
  • watercolors 
  • brushes
  • Sakura brush markers (they’re waterproof)
  • -or- a Thank You stamp/sticker (I made my stamp with the Mint)

No need to cut the papers down, give them to your kids and let them have fun! But not so much fun that they totally saturate the page with water and pigment. We need the paper to still have some integrity. So try (sometimes easier said than done) to pull the paper away and give them a new one to color once they have markings in all four quadrants of the page. Teach them how to splatter their paint (only if you have washable colors like crayola watercolors!).

Once you have a collection of pages from your kid(s), let the papers dry and cut the paper in fourths (5.5×4.25). Now add your Thank You phrase! You can write it by hand with marker or use a Thank You stamp (like this or this).

Now on the back, write your Thank You on the back on the left half of the paper. Be sure to leave room for your kid to make a mark, whether it’s a scribble or part of their name. Write the recipients address on the right half and stick a stamp in the top right corner. BOOM. DONE. Postcard postage is 34 cents now, so keep that in mind. :) 

I hope you get your kids involved in expressing gratitude with us! Let me know how it goes by tagging me on Instagram @melissapher. And if you’re looking to learn how to do that fancy-pants calligraphy on the front of the card, look no further. I teach brush lettering with personal coaching (one-on-one feedback that’s actually helpful) over at calligraphy.org. Hope to see you over there! 

*Affiliate links used for products I use and love.

Random DIY: Gigantic Yard Googly Eyes

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If you’re here from KSL Studio 5, WELCOME!! I’m excited to have you here! If you’d like to join my next calligraphy workshop in Salt Lake City, click here to register. If you’d like to learn calligraphy online, click here instead. ;)

Here’s the link to the Studio 5 segment, in case you missed it. ;)

This DIY is too simple and hilarious not to share. Last year I bought some 7″ googly eyes from amazon and hung them on my willow tree in the front yard. It rained. The googly eyes fell apart. $7 down the drain. I think those googly eyes would have been great if I had used them inside, or if I lived in a climate that never rained or snowed during the month of October. :/ BUT this year I decided I needed to keep with the googly eye tradition and just make my own. 

And honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t make a million of these bad boys before. They’re easy and cost basically nothing. I had everything on-hand because, well… I’m a craft supplies hoarder. I didn’t have black cardstock, but I did have black lined writing paper, so I used that. You can cut out your own by hand or on a craft cutter like the Silhouette (which is what I did) OR you can print out the eyeballs from the template I’ve designed by clicking the download link below: 

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SLC Craft & Calligraphy Workshop

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This Thursday (September 15, 2016) I’m holding a craft night at The Write Image! Click here for more info.

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We’re going to be exploring flourished brush calligraphy and we’ll be decorating mugs with our fancy skills. Materials and dinner provided.

REGISTER HERE

Calligraphy-worthy Paper

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For the last couple of months I’ve been pushing myself with flourishes through names. I started off thinking I could do it every day, but it happens a few times a week now. Check out #calligraphynameoftheday to see all the posts. I love taking time to write out someone’s name and discovering the meaning behind it.

Finding a good card stock that comes in fun colors that holds up to various inks and pens isn’t easy. Several months ago a friend mentioned in passing that she could get me some “amazing” card stock. I tried it. I love it. And here it is.

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Most scrapbooking card stocks have this obnoxious canvas/linen texture that’s impossible to write on if you have a sharp pen. And it all bleeds. Everything bleeds. Drives me bonkers. This paper rocks. It even works well with bleach!

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Until now, it hasn’t been available online. Check out My Mind’s Eye for 2 packs of this awesome paper in 2 different colorways: Tropical and Wildberry. They’ve got loads more colors than the ones I’ve pulled for these packs, so speak up if there’s something you’d like to see!

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Looking to get your feet wet with calligraphy? I’d love to teach you how. Check out calligraphy.org for more details.

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This post is not sponsored. I’m completely obsessed with this paper and I want you to be able to get your hands on it, too! I will receive a small portion of sales. This affiliate partnership is only because I truly believe and love this product. 
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