Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Watercolor Paper Flowers from Old Book Pages

Today I am so excited to share how to make paper flowers out of the pages from an old book.  Here is a peek at the finished product:
This isn't my first time making paper flowers.  I made a lot of the stuff for our wedding 5 years ago including all the boutonnieres, corsages, and centerpieces which featured dogwood blossoms made out of crepe paper.  
They took me awhile to make as I had to individually cut out each petal using a template that I had.  For this project I simplified things a ton by using my Silhouette Portrait.  The shape I used was the 3d peony flower from the Silhouette Online Store.  I wanted a different center so I ungrouped the shape and deleted the center and leaves.  If you don't have a Silhouette you can totally still do this project. Just look for a paper flower template that you can print out online.
Instead of cutting the shape out of paper or cardstock, I decided to use old book pages.  Now books are a sacred thing in my family so I didn't just take a book off the shelf and start ripping out pages.  I found a book in an antique store that already had lots of damage including a broken binding, tons of pencil and pen marks, and water stains.  I used an exacto knife to cut out the pages.  
For cutting purposes I made sure to select a book that had thick enough pages to cut with the Silhouette. The settings I used were blade 4, speed 6, and thickness 4.  This seemed to work with the book I had but you may need to experiment since not all books are created equal.  Also, I suggest using an old cutting mat with this project otherwise you might have trouble taking the petals off of the mat without ripping them.
After taking the petals off of the mat I painted them with watercolor paints.  I mixed the colors until I came up with a nice orange red which reminded me of poppy flowers.  I painted both side as the book pages were too thick for the color to soak through.
For the centers of the flowers I took black cardstock which I cut into strips and then snipped like I was making grass.  For assembling the flowers you will need floral wire pieces, a glue gun and glue sticks, and floral tape. Here is the process of assembly:
1. Put a dot of glue on one end of the center piece, then place the floral wire in the glue.
2. Roll the center piece around the wire and place a dot of glue on the other side to secure it.  I separated the pieces a little bit before starting to glue on the petals.
3. Place a dot of glue on the 4 smallest petals and place on the center piece.  Start farther up the center piece but not all the way at the top.
4-6. Stagger the other petals until you have used all of the petals.  
7. Wrap a piece of floral tape around starting at the base of the petals until you get a little past the bottom of the center piece.
 I made the flowers for my porch decor and placed them in the bottles that are sitting on the chest I have out there.  I collected these bottles from various antique stores in South Dakota, Iowa, and Oklahoma this past summer.

I took a ton of photos because the morning light on my porch was so pretty when I was taking photos this morning. I am also very proud of how this project turned out.  
Well there you have it.  I love it when I project turns out exactly like you were envisioning it in your head! My favorite part are the printed words of the book pages on the petals. It is such a fun way to continue my book and reading them in the decor of the porch. Have a great day!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Etched Glass Window Frame

Hello!  I am back today with another project for my porch gallery wall.  Last time I gave you this project with a quote from my favorite Jane Austen book:
You can read more about that project here.  Today's project uses my Silhouette Portrait once again and actually uses the same contact paper stencil technique as the subway art project.  A few weeks ago I saw the coolest photo frame in the Target ad and knew that I had to have it.
If you want to purchase one of your own you can check it out here.  I love how it looks like an old window. After getting it home I knew almost immediately that it would be going on the porch and that I wouldn't actually be using it as a frame.  I have been wanting to try my hand at glass etching for awhile and this window frame seemed like the perfect opportunity for a project like this.  I made a stencil using a Frank Lloyd Wright inspired shape that I traced with the Silhouette software using an image found on the internet.
Then I cut the image out on contact paper using the adhesive vinyl setting with the blade set to 3 and the thickness set to four.  I actually cut 4, one for each of the panes (however I ruined one while taking it off of the backing which led me to another idea, we'll get to that later).
I made sure to cut the transfer paper to the exact size of the stencil so that it would be easier to center the stencil in the window pane. I cleaned the glass thoroughly before placing the stencils on the panes.
I then applied the etching cream by following the directions on the bottle.  I made sure to wear gloves because this stuff can be nasty.
I wiped the cream off using a rag and water and then removed the contact paper.
It isn't perfect and I like that because the frame itself has a old look to it so the imperfections in the etching really fit.  As I mentioned before, I had a little mishap with the stencil for the 4th pane.  I was ready to cut another when I got an idea.  I thought it would be cool to do another book quote in that fourth pane so I chose a quote from the book Matilda by Roald Dahl.
The e's and o's gave me a little trouble when transferring because the centers wanted to stay with the transfer paper but I made sure to work slowly and carefully.
The etching is subtle so it was hard to get an image that showed all of the design but here is my best one.

I LOVE how this turned out.  I am getting so excited to put up this gallery wall and I am getting close to being done.  It is now summer break so I am looking forward to more frequent posts and projects.  Yay summer!

Shared on That DIY Party

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Subway Art Using the Silhouette

Now that the weather is finally nice in ND again I am starting to get some bad spring fever.  All I want to do is be outside or be on my porch reading.  I spent a lot of time on the porch with these projects: painting the walls, floor and window frames, painting a rug, and making a window seat from some Ikea shelving units.  I also put up curtain rods, made curtains, and found a chest to use as a coffee table.   Here is a look at the porch now minus the antique bottles.

This spring and summer I have a few more projects that I would like to complete for this porch including finding and making more pillows for the window seat, making some paper flowers for my antique bottle collation that is sitting on the cedar chest, finding some storage bins for the window seats, and making a gallery wall on the wall next to the front door. Today's project is a part of that gallery wall.

I like the look of subway art mostly because I am obsessed with downloading fonts.  This project justifies my penchant for downloading fonts.  The theme for my gallery wall is books and reading since the whole project was about making a nice retreat where I could read in the spring and summer.  I decided that I wanted to create a piece of art from a quote from one of my favorite books by Jane Austen.  The quote I chose is from Pride and Prejudice and I also have this quote on my custom Kindle case.
I experimented with different fonts and arrangements until I found something I really like using the Silhouette software.  Originally I was going to do this project with vinyl but I thought that using contact paper would be much cheaper.  So I set my Silhouette to vinyl and changed the blade to 3 and and the thickness to 4.  I also did a double cut because my blade is getting dull and I wanted to make sure it cut well.
I found that it was easier to weed the design when I cut it into strips.  You could also put in weeding lines to make it easier.

I used a flat canvas that I bought in a pack from Michaels. I painted my base color which was a yellowish color on the canvas and then I began applying the contact letters to the canvas with transfer paper after the paint dried.
I then painted over the contact paper with the base color to seal the edges down to help prevent bleeding of the top color under the contact paper.
I then applied the top color which was a nice turquoise color with a little bit of a gray undertone.

I ended up applying two coats of the top color.  After it dried I got to do my favorite step which was peeling of the contact paper.  It was so cool to see how crisp the letters were underneath.
There were only a couple of places that had a little bit of paint bleed.  I am so excited about how it turned out and I am stoked to get the rest of the pieces of this gallery wall together so I can put it all up on the wall.
So there you have it.  Easy peasy.  Let me know what you think!

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