Wednesday, September 19, 2018

bowling ball turned into garden art

I've read posts about turning bowling balls into a gazing ball or some type of garden art and always wanted to try this.  Then a friend gave me a old bowling ball.  She was an avid bowler but hadn't bowled in a long time.  She was happy to give it to me rather than have it collect dust in a closet.  Now I'll admit this project sat in my pile of "to do someday" projects for a year or so.  I'm glad I finally got around to doing this and it's out of my studio and into my garden.

I just love copper and verdigris color so that was my starting point when planning out a design. I wanted a look of embossed leaves in a copper patina. 

Now I forgot to take a photo of the original bowling ball but it started out as a plain black bowling ball.  I decided to plug the holes with some pieces of wine cork then topped them off with leftover grout from a house project.   Since this would be outside in the garden I didn't want to clean out dirt, mulch, or spider nests from the holes when I brought it in for the winter.  I let the grout set for 24 hrs.

After the grout was set I painted it using Rust-oleum Paint & Primer Spray Flat White.  I let this dry overnight. Oh I should also mention I used a ring from a mason jar as a stand to hold the ball when painting.

Besides copper and verdigris color I love leaf designs. To get a raised leaf design I used a tube of dimensional fabric paint with a thin point and painted leaves and swirls over the ball.  The color of the fabric paint really didn't matter since it would be covered up with spray paint.

Next step was to paint it copper.  I had an old can of Rust-oleum copper spray paint and gave the piece 2 good coats, allowing for drying time in between.

Then I wanted to give the copper an aged look.  I used alcohol ink (surprise, surprise) Teakwood by Ranger. Using a rag I dabbed the alcohol ink over the ball keeping some spaces clear to show the shiny copper. 

Next came the process to give it a patina look.  I had a bottle of Patina ink "Verdigris" for metal by Ranger that I bought for some metal charms. This bottle looks like an alcohol ink bottle but formulated for metal.     I thought it would be perfect to give it that verdigris patina finish.

Last step was an important one - sealing.  Since this would be outside I wanted to make sure it was sealed and protected from the weather (although I will bring it indoors for the winter).  First coat was Kamar Varnish by Krylon.  I let that dry overnight.  Then 2 coats of Rust-oleum 2X Ultra Cover Matte Clear Spray Sealer.

And the piece has been sitting in the garden since June and has held up well. I enjoyed turning this old bowling ball into a piece of art that can be enjoyed in the garden.


Friday, July 13, 2018

Fairy Garden creations

I enjoy fairy gardens and since they've been so popular lately it means there are lots of pieces available to purchase to make your fairy garden unique.  I bought a few pieces but then wanted to try my hand at making some.  These pieces were from a winter project that I finally got around to sealing and putting out in the garden. 

Now as many of you know, fairies really don't need sign posts.  I think the signs are more for us so we know the possible places they are in when not in our gardens.  Here's the sign post I created for my fairy garden.  The sign pieces are made from popsicle sticks and the main post is a square wooden dowel I bought at Michaels. The locations are simply the places that our garden fairies love to visit.

And what would a garden be with some bird houses?  These were made from pieces of wood from a kitchen construction project. Wooden chopsticks were used for the posts.  The roofs are made from pieces of thin craft copper-like metal that I had lying around the studio.  After everything was painted I gave the bird houses and the sign post a few coats of outdoor matt sealer.


The fairy garden pieces are  in a raised bed planter that mainly holds herbs plus other small fairy garden plants.  A few more fairy d├ęcor pieces are being planned.  Hope to get them done this year!

Monday, March 5, 2018

a new year and more alcohol inked tiles!

As I brushed off the dust of this art blog I find it's almost a year to the day from my last post. And lo and behold it's the same thing...alcohol inked tiles!  Too funny. 

This is a tile I created last year but I added some Zentangle-ish designs with a Micron pen. I really liked how it turned out. It is a 4 x 4 inch ceramic tile purchased at a hardware store.

This one is a glass tile - approx. 5-3/4 x 3 inches.  You can also find this tile at hardware stores in the tile department. It started out as a clear glass tile and I kept adding different blue inks till I was satisfied with the results.  I used a white zig pen to add white highlights the tile had dried.  Still not sure how to display this.  Would be great to have some type of band around the tile to hang in a window.  Need to give that some thought.

I like the fun, bright colors of this tile.  Unsure if I want to add a word or quote, or an embellishment. I'll let this sit around an percolate for awhile (but hopefully not for a year!)


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Alcohol ink on tiles

really enjoyed working on these tiles.  These 4 inch square tiles from a hardware store make for a perfect and inexpensive small canvas. 

supplies: 4 inch square ceramic tiles, 91% isopropyl alcohol, Ranger Alcohol Inks (various colors), Q-tips, brushes, small spray bottle filled with some of the isopropyl alcohol, artist pallet tray to hold inks, gloves, paper towels.

The tiles were cleaned with 91% isopropyl alcohol and paper towels.  Then alcohol inks were poured, dripped, and brushed to mix together.    I gave a light spray of the alcohol to move the inks around.  It was fun to experiment.

This one is my favorite - just swirls of greens, blues and yellows.   

For this look I dropped ink and them blew through a straw to get most of the petals and leaves.  added dots in the center with ink and a q-tip.
For this tile I first applied a Peel-Off Sticker of a butterfly on the clean tile.  Peel-Off Stickers are very thin laser cut stickers ( I love the silver ones since you can alcohol ink them any color you want).  After the sticker was applied I carefully dabbed ink over the open areas of the butterfly and different colors for the background.  When it was dry I used a craft knife to pick up and remove the sticker revealing the butterfly outline.  
Had to try my hand at painting a scene.  still need some practice in this area but it was a fun experience.  The trunk of the tree was made my removing the ink with a brush dipped in the 91% isopropyl alcohol.  I used a fin brush to paint with the ink colors.
now I'm reading tons of blog posts on how to seal these tiles.  Lots of info out there and apparently lots of problems getting a good sealer on the tiles that won't make the inks run.  I'm not planning on using these are coasters so I won't need anything heavy duty. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Alcohol Inks on Yupo paper

There is quite the buzz in the crafting world about Yupo paper.  I heard it is a fun medium to use with alcohol inks so I was really looking forward to working with it. 

Before I got the paper I kept thinking it must similar to glossy paper cardstock, but it isn't.  Yupo paper is a synthetic, machine-made paper of 100% polypropylene. It was made for the printing industry, not the art supply industry, but artists discovered it is a fun surface to work with.  The slick surface is a matt finish and alcohol inks play very well on this paper. 

The best point I can say about this paper is to experiment with it.  I haven't tried any other medium on it but heard that you get interesting results with other inks, colored pencils, water colors, and acrylics. I also haven't tired any masking fluid with any of the alcohol inks projects yet but I think that would be the next step to try.

supplies used:  kraft sheet, palette tray, alcohol ink blending solution, 91% isopropyl alcohol, brushes, variety of alcohol inks, gloves, Ranger White Yupo 5" x 7" paper.

I found an article on Ranger Industries website with step-by-step instruction on painting red poppies.  I found this very helpful in getting to work with this medium.  I did try the alcohol ink blending pen they mentioned but it just didn't work well for me and I ended up using a fine brush instead. Here's my attempt and a link to the website.

Another technique was pouring ink over the paper and spritzing with blending solution or 91% alcohol and letting the inks run and move over the paper.  When the inks were almost dry I gave a light mist of the 91% alcohol to give the dot effects.  I like the movement of this print.
Finally tried my hand at painting a scene.  Since you can't control the ink on the paper like you would, say acrylics on canvas, the inks could either drive you crazy or be very freeing (depending on your mood of the day).   I put drops of the ink colors in a palette and dipped brushes in 91% alcohol sol, then in the ink before applying to the paper.  A fine brush just dipped in alcohol was used to remove ink to provide the path, clouds, etc.  To make the leaves I loaded up the brush and dropped drops on the paper.  It was fun to experiment with this painting process.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Alcohol Ink on Canvas

A good friend of mine joined me in the studio for a day of painting with alcohol inks on different surfaces.  It was a great day of playing with ink! 

I was really looking forward to working with alcohol ink on canvas - I've been wanting to try this for some time. A few online posts recommended sealing the canvas first with Kilz Primer/Sealer Paint so that's what I did.  This paint is a white, water-based primer found in most hardware stores. Alcohol inks work best on a non-porous surfaces and priming the canvas provides this, otherwise the ink would just soak into the canvas and not blend.

supplies used: Kilz Primer/Sealer paint, white canvas on wood frame, Ranger alcohol inks, alcohol ink blending solution, 91% isopropyl alcohol, mixing palette, eye dropper, brushes, spray bottle filled with isopropyl alcohol, paper towels, gloves.

I applied the Kilz paint primer in all directions on the canvas and let it dry overnight. 

Painting with ink is different than painting with paints so I knew some experimenting would need to happen.  I had this image in my mind of large leaves and some flower petals but I couldn't get the leaves to work out. 
A few wipes with paper towel and blending solution removed most of the ink but still left faint color areas.  So if my initial idea won't work then why fight it?  I just let went with the flow (so to speak) and kept pouring different colors on canvas.  I switched to blues and liked how it was looking then added some purple and a bit of green.  Can't remember all of the ink colors used here but I know Sailboat Blue was one of them.  I dipped brushes in the 91% alcohol solution to move the ink around, and then this image started forming.   It reminded me of a nebula so I added a few splatters of regular white paint for stars.   I love the result. 

With this next piece I wanted a watercolor looking wildflower meadow look.  After a few attempts that didn't seem to be working too well either.  When I started dropping the ink on the canvas it was spreading out way too much and mixing around and I didn't get the circle effect I wanted. 
You really need to be careful when making drops of ink on the canvas, they keep spreading and spreading!  So I wiped off the ink and set the canvas aside to dry, intending to cover the canvas with Kilz and start again. 
After it dried the canvas still had small areas of lavender which made me think of Allium flowers, one of my fav spring blooming flowers.  So I carefully dropped small amounts of purple alcohol inks with an eye dropper onto the canvas.  Inks used for the flowers were:Eggplant, Purple Twilight, and Wild Plum.  I added different amounts of 91% alcohol sol to  "water down" the ink to get some shading.  Also I waited several min between drops so the colors wouldn't all pool together.
When the circles seemed dry to the touch I took a small brush, dipped in 91% alcohol to pull the color away from the center. A small brush, also dipped in 91% alcohol, then in alcohol inks, was used to make the stems/leaves.  Ink colors: Botanical, Citrus.
so overall I was happy with my first attempts at painting on canvas with alcohol inks.  Watch for upcoming posts on other alcohol ink paintings from that day.

Monday, February 13, 2017

wine charms

Using leftover wine corks for craft projects is very popular.  Practical when you have many guests, or when you just feel like adding some bling to your own wine glass.
This is an easy project to do and there are lots of variations on the internet.   What I like about these charms is using metal binder rings to attach to the glasses.  The ring binders are super easy to attach and remove from the glass stems.

supplies used: leftover wine corks (the cork kind, not plastic), metal binder rings (from ART-C), metal screw eyes (from Tim Holtz Idea-ology), VersaMark Black Ink pad, various rubber stamps, acrylic paint and brushes, Weldbond Glue, Modge Podge, craft knife, and something to hold the cork to keep your fingers safe (small clamp, large binder clip, pliers, etc)

I used a pliers to hold the corks and cut them into disks using a large craft knife.  I didn't measure them - just eyeballed the size of the slices.  Now I've read (but didn't try this) if the corks crumble when cutting then try steaming them.  Place the corks in a bowl over a pot of boiling water and steam for a few min until they get soft and pliable.  Allow to cool before cutting.  If I decide to do another wine cork project that requires larger cut I may try this.

Next I took the screw eyes, dipped them into glue, and hand threaded them into the cork.  I let them dry for about an hour.  Next I painted one cut side with acrylic paint and let dry for about an hour before stamping.  I found inking up the rubber stamp, laying it down, then pressing the cork pieces into the stamp worked best.  I let the inked pieces dry overnight before sealing them with Modge Podge.  Then I attached the rings and voila...some charming bling for my wine glass.