DIY: Watercolor Mother’s Day Card + Free Printable

DIY: Watercolor Mother's Day Card + Printable

Mother’s Day is coming up and I’ve been itching for another watercolor project to play with so I decided to try making a fun little “MOM” painting that could double as framable art or a greeting card. I invite you to make your own version using the steps below as a guideline. I’m also offering a free printable greeting card for download!

Step 1: Sketch Letters

Using a ruler, pencil and eraser lightly sketch out letters ” M O M “.

DIY: Watercolor Mother's Day Card + Printable

Step 2: Paint flowers

Then with a fine tip watercolor brush, fill the letters with little flowers and leaves. Take your time with this (I worked on it while watching Alias on Netflix). To start, I painted a few flowers first, then filled the areas around the flowers with leaves and vines.

DIY: Watercolor Mother's Day Card + Printable

Continue this process until you’ve filled in all three letters.

DIY: Watercolor Mother's Day Card + Printable

Click Here To Download A Free Printable Mother’s Day Card

Download the PDF and print out onto white card stock. Cut out and fold in half where indicated on the template. Pair with an A1 size envelope and give to your mom for Mother’s Day!

TOOLBOX: Water Color Masking Fluid

IMG_7722
I love playing with watercolors, I’m going to admit that right now. I love the way the colors run together, the little blotches of pigment, and basically everything else about it. I’m not a watercolor expert, which means that whenever the paint does something unexpected I have the giddy feeling that I just discovered something amazing. (What did I tell you? I love the process.)

My philosophy teacher in high school used to amazing things with watercolor, and I would always try to sneak a look at his paintings before and after class. One day I noticed him using something to cover up portions of the paper while he was working– cut to 15 years later and I finally decide to buy myself a little bottle of masking fluid to play around with. (I bought Winsor & Newton Colorless Art Masking Fluid.)

IMG_7588
Still a little overwhelmed to jump in, I watched this introductory video, decided on a test project; and gathered my brushes, paints, and spirit of exploration.

IMG_7677
A note: the first time I used the fluid, I ruined my brush. It was a cheap brush, granted, but after that I sharpened up and coated the next brush in dish soap before dipping it in the masking fluid. I coated the whole thing in the dish soap, then squeezed the excess out. (This video shows you how.) Trust me. It’s better that way.

IMG_7610
I drew a basic outline of the words I wanted to mask out with pencil. After coating the brush in soap, and gently rolling the bottle of masking fluid to mix it up, I dipped my brush in and saturated it.

IMG_7611
Bit by bit, I covered the words with the masking fluid.

IMG_7612

All the lines are covered in the fluid now. I’ll be able to erase the pencil lines once everything is done.

IMG_7619
I let the masking fluid dry COMPLETELY before I began to paint with my watercolor. (The dry masking compound feels like rubber cement. You’ll know it’s dry when it is only slightly shiny, and your finger does not stick to it.) The watercolor will not stick to the mask, so you will be able to see what you’re working with.

IMG_7685
When I had finished my first layer of paint, I let it dry COMPLETELY, then added a little more masking to what would be the little abstract windows in the buildings.

IMG_7691
Then I let those dry COMPLETELY (do you see a theme here?) before I went in and darkened all the fields of color.

IMG_7703
When I was done working around my masked areas, and everything was dry, I lightly rubbed the masking agent off with the tips of my fingers. (This alone is worth the trouble. I love pulling glue off of things.)

IMG_7708
Once the mask was off, and I did a little erasing, I had crisp white lines to work with.

IMG_7712
The masked areas were pale enough to let me add a little light yellow watercolor. I love the way the white letters stand out.

Tips to remember

• Test out the water color paper you’re going to be using before you start your artwork. Some of the papers I tried stuck to the masking fluid terribly, and I had to tear the paper to get the dried mask off.
• Coat your brush in soap, or you will ruin a brush, and most likely the piece of paper you’re working on. The first brush started to pull the drying mask fluid back off the paper, and it totally ruined one of my projects.
• Let everything dry COMPLETELY before moving from fluid to paint, or paint to fluid. The fluid will cling to wet paper, or your wet paint and make a wet mess.
• Remember to have fun! Let that childish sense of wonder take over for an afternoon… and when you’re done experimenting, send us the outcome! April’s DIY Challenge is Watercolor, after all.

DIY: 8 Watercolor Inspired Projects

Since the theme for this month’s April DIY Challenge is watercolor, we decided to dig through our archives to find our favorite watercolor inspired posts. We hope you’ll enjoy revisiting these ideas!

1. DIY Watercolor Affirmation Cards

DIY: Watercolor Affirmation Cards #tutorial

2. DIY Watercolored Business Cards

Watercolored Business Cards

3. DIY Dip-Dyed Treasure Bags

DIY: Dip-Dyed Treasure Bags #craft #gift #dye

4. DIY Appearing Leaf Drop-Dyed Tissue
IMG_3541

5. DIY Hand-Dyed Paper Flowers

flowers_12

6. DIY Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland

DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland #craft #recycled #decoration

7. DIY: Tie-Dye Tissue Paper

tie-dye-paper-3

8. Free Printable Watercolor Gift Wrap

gift-packaging-eye-pillow-1

TOOLBOX: 8 Watercolor Techniques for Beginners

TOOLBOX: 8 Watercolor Techniques for Beginners #watercolor #tutorial #diycraftchallenge
After sharing my thoughts on basic watercolor supplies and techniques last week, I thought it might be fun to show you some more techniques to try. There are a lot of fun ways to use watercolor and today I’m going to show you 8 of my favorite techniques that are perfect for beginners (or any skill level).

You can try one or two of these ideas, or make your own page of all 8 techniques. To do this, use a pencil and ruler to measure out 8 rectangles on your watercolor paper. Label each box with each technique as shown in the photo below.

TOOLBOX: 8 Watercolor Techniques for Beginners #watercolor #tutorial #diycraftchallenge

Note before you start: I would recommend allowing each rectangle to dry completely before moving onto the next technique. You can use a hair dryer to speed the drying process along.

Technique #1: Salt

Salt is my absolute favorite technique to use in creating textured backgrounds. I keep a small container of sea salt with my supply kit. To use the salt first choose one or two colors and paint the first rectangle (or area) completely. Then, while the paint is still wet, sprinkle the salt over the top. Let the paint dry completely and then use your fingernail to flake away the salt.

Note: The wetter your painted area, the more your salt will spread. Try letting the paint dry partially (enough that water won’t run when you move your paper but still has a sheen) and notice the difference in texture you create.

TOOLBOX: 8 Watercolor Techniques for Beginners #watercolor #tutorial #diycraftchallenge

Technique #2: Tissue

Fill in the next rectangle with a wash of color(s). For best results you’ll want the surface to be wet and saturated with color.

TOOLBOX: 8 Watercolor Techniques for Beginners #watercolor #tutorial #diycraftchallenge

Crinkle a piece of tissue paper and place it on top of the wet paint. Being careful to cover the entire area, position the tissue over the wash and gently press down onto the paper with the palms of your hands. Allow to dry slightly (but not completely or the tissue could become glued to the watercolor paper) then carefully lift the tissue from the paper.

TOOLBOX: 8 Watercolor Techniques for Beginners #watercolor #tutorial #diycraftchallenge

TOOLBOX: 8 Watercolor Techniques for Beginners #watercolor #tutorial #diycraftchallenge

Technique #3: Alcohol

This technique is sorta fun to do. Fill the next rectangle with a watercolor wash.

TOOLBOX: 8 Watercolor Techniques for Beginners #watercolor #tutorial #diycraftchallenge

While the paint is still wet, dip a Q-tip into rubbing alcohol and drop it onto the wet paint. For best results let the alcohol drip from the Q-tip (rather than touching the q-tip to the paper).

TOOLBOX: 8 Watercolor Techniques for Beginners #watercolor #tutorial #diycraftchallenge

Technique #4: Crayon

You can use a crayon to create a ‘wax resist’ technique. First draw your design with a white crayon making sure to press firmly onto the paper.

TOOLBOX: 8 Watercolor Techniques for Beginners #watercolor #tutorial #diycraftchallenge

Using a white crayon on white paper makes it difficult to see what you are drawing. Tilt your paper to the side to get a glimpse of your design.

TOOLBOX: 8 Watercolor Techniques for Beginners #watercolor #tutorial #diycraftchallenge

Next apply your color wash. The paint will ‘resist’ the areas covered with crayon.

TOOLBOX: 8 Watercolor Techniques for Beginners #watercolor #tutorial #diycraftchallenge

Technique #5: Pen & Ink

Another favorite technique of mine. Using a fine-tip permanent pen, draw or doodle your design.

TOOLBOX: 8 Watercolor Techniques for Beginners #watercolor #tutorial #diycraftchallenge

Then, fill in color as you would a coloring book. Remember to switch to a smaller round brush to paint in small areas.

TOOLBOX: 8 Watercolor Techniques for Beginners #watercolor #tutorial #diycraftchallenge

Technique #6: Water Drops

Apply your color wash. Then load your brush with water (or another color) and let the paint drip onto the wash while it’s still wet. You can gently shake your brush down towards the paper to help the dripping along.

TOOLBOX: 8 Watercolor Techniques for Beginners #watercolor #tutorial #diycraftchallenge

Technique #7: Splatter

This technique is a lot of fun, but makes quite a mess. I suggest covering any areas of your paper that you don’t want to be splattered. Load your brush with paint then hold it over the top of your paper. With the other hand, tap your brush and watch the paint splatter onto your paper. Rinse your brush, choose your next color and splatter away.

TOOLBOX: 8 Watercolor Techniques for Beginners #watercolor #tutorial #diycraftchallenge

TOOLBOX: 8 Watercolor Techniques for Beginners #watercolor #tutorial #diycraftchallenge

Technique #8: Transparency

Because watercolors have a transparent quality you can create beautiful layers and density in your work. To play with transparency, it’s best to start from light to more saturated color. I chose to paint some drop shapes.

Using your first, lighter color cover the area with shapes. Let dry completely, then choose a slightly darker or more saturated color and paint more shapes, overlapping first layer. You can repeat this process as many times as you like.

TOOLBOX: 8 Watercolor Techniques for Beginners #watercolor #tutorial #diycraftchallenge

I hope this post inspires you to try one or two new techniques. Don’t be afraid to just go for it and have some fun! And stay tuned for more watercolor inspired tutorials and DIY projects on Adventures-In-Making for the entire month of April!

TOOLBOX: 8 Watercolor Techniques for Beginners #watercolor #tutorial #diycraftchallenge

Share your watercolor experiments with us! Join our community and submit your creations to our April DIY Challenge. Your project will be featured in our monthly gallery and you could even win a special award!

Update 4/16/15

If you enjoyed this post, we invite you to check out: Basic Watercolor Supplies & Techniques.

TOOLBOX: Watercolor Basic Supplies & Techniques

Watercolor is one of my favorite mediums and since we are exploring this theme all month with our DIY Challenge, I thought I’d put together an introductory post for anyone interested in trying watercolor for the first time.

Paper

TOOLBOX: Watercolor Basics
There are three different types of watercolor paper available: hot press, cold press and rough. Cold press paper is what I use most often as it has a beautiful texture to it (whereas hot press paper is smooth). Watercolor paper is much thicker than ordinary paper which is very important to prevent buckling while painting. 140 lb is the typical weight of most watercolor paper. There are thicker options out there if you are planning to use heavy washes, but 140 lb paper works just fine for me.

Watercolor paper comes in single sheets, spiral pads and blocks. I use a Strathmore spiral pad for experimenting and practicing. Then when I’m ready, I’ll switch to my Arches block to create my final painting. I do this because Arches is quite expensive. Plus I like to carry my Strathmore pad with me if I’m painting on the go.

TOOLBOX: Watercolor Basics

Block paper is just what it sounds like. An Arches block comes with 20 sheets of paper that are sealed together into one big block. Use an x-acto knife to carefully slice a single piece of paper off the block. Usually, I’ll paint directly on the block and slice it off when I’m finished. But you can also cut it off beforehand. To prevent buckling while painting I recommend using artist’s masking tape to tape down your paper onto a hard surface while painting.

Paper Brands We Recommend:

Strathmore
Arches

Brushes, Etc.

TOOLBOX: Watercolor Basics

There are three different types of watercolor brushes: rounds, flats and mops. All are made in a variety of sizes. The best brushes are made of natural fiber, most commonly sable. Kolinsky sable pointed rounds are prized for their ability to keep a fine point, which is very useful for detail work, but they are also very expensive. I’ll admit I tend to stick with synthetic brushes and usually will stock up on cheap student brushes rather than investing in the professional quality options. Maybe some day soon I’ll treat myself to a fancy new brush but for now these cheap brushes suite me just fine.

I use round brushes in a variety of sizes 90% of the time. If I’m doing a big wash, I’ll switch to a flat brush, but otherwise I use round brushes for all my painting.

Tip #1: You will ruin your brushes if you leave the brush end sitting in a glass of water. I’d recommend storing them in a jar brush side up. If you want to store them in a closed container make sure they are dry to avoid molding.

Tip #2: Rinse your brushes under running water after each painting session. If you find any traces of dried paint near the metal band, use a little soap to rinse them clean. Dry gently on a paper towel or cloth and reshape with your fingers.

Tip #3: Sponges, cotton balls and cotton swaps are extremely helpful tools in watercolor. They can be used to apply color or I like to use them to correct mistakes and clean up any extra watery areas. Cotton swaps are especially helpful if you want to create small highlights.

Paint

TOOLBOX: Watercolor Basics

There are two different types of watercolor: liquid tubes and solid pans. One is not better than the other, so it really comes down to your personal preference. I like to use a pan set as my base color palette and then I buy tubes whenever I want to try out new colors. Winser & Newton is an excellent brand that I use often (I love the Artist’s Watercolor Compact Set perfect for traveling). The paints shown in the image above are Schmincke brand which are very pricey but worth it for their amazing quality. Schmincke is my personal favorite because the pigment of their paints is so saturated and vibrant. I was lucky enough to receive this set at a birthday gift. Professional quality watercolors (like Winser & Newton and Schmincke) are expensive but think of it as a one-time investment. A basic pan set will last you a lifetime!

Professional Brands we recommend:

Winser & Newton
Schmincke
Holbein

If investing in a professional watercolor set is not an option for you never fear! Feel free to try out a student brand. I recommend starting with Winser & Newton Cotman. Student brands differ from professional brands in that they can have a lower concentration of pigment, have less expensive formulas and smaller range of colors available. That said, they are still a great option for anyone just starting out with watercolor.

Palettes

Palettes are great for mixing colors. If you have a paintbox set, then you can use the palette included with the box. But if you are using tubes, you’ll need a separate palette or pan. Palettes come in all shapes and sizes. I use a small plastic palette in addition to my paintbox.

Colors

TOOLBOX: Watercolor Basics

You can use as few or as many colors as you like. Some artists use only a handful of colors and mix whatever shades they like. My Schmincke paintbox comes with 24 colors so that’s what I use as my base palette. I also have a few additional tubes I love and use in addition to my paintbox.

Techniques

So you’ve gathered your supplies and are ready to paint. Great! Here are some basic painting techniques to try out.

TOOLBOX: Watercolor Basics

Blending

Blending is my favorite part of watercolor. I’d suggest experimenting with blending different colors together. To do this, first paint a shape or squiggle line with plain water only. Then dip your brush into the paint and add it to the watered area. Watch it spread, then clean your brush and choose a second color. Apply this to the opposite end of your watered area and watch the colors blend together. You can move your paper side to side to help the watercolor run together.

Marks

Next I would try out all your different brushes. Experiment with different mark-making and see what you come up with. Draw circles, dashes, lines, and dots. Try mixing lots of water with your paint and then try the opposite by applying paint with a dry brush. Play with different textures, shades and colors.

Layering

My favorite part of watercolor is the process of creating different layers. I’ve painted a simple flower to give you a taste of what layering is like. First use a pencil to lightly draw a flower. I found a photo of a flower for reference. Once your pencil drawing is finished, carefully cover the entire thing in water and then apply a ‘base’ layer. This will be the bottom layer that we will then build from. I blended two different colors to create my base layer.

TOOLBOX: Watercolor Basics

It’s very important that you let each layer dry completely before moving onto the next. I use a hair dryer to speed the drying process along.

TOOLBOX: Watercolor Basics

Once your base layer is completely dry you can begin adding in more detail. Start with one petal at a time, using your photo as reference for shading and color.

TOOLBOX: Watercolor Basics

TOOLBOX: Watercolor Basics

I hope this post demystifies watercolor for any beginners out there and gives you a place to start. Don’t be afraid to experiment and play! I also recommend checking out a great watercolor series by The Alison Show.

Be sure to share any painting experiments with us by entering our April DIY Challenge!

Update 4/16/15

If you enjoyed this post, we invite you to check out: 8 Watercolor Techniques For Beginners

Toolbox: Drawing with Gouache and a Nib

IMG_7509
A while back I took a calligraphy class from Tara Bliven, and it opened up a whole new world of drawing tools. Not only did I get to try out new tools and techniques, it was the first time a pen and nib really worked for me. (Sometime I’ll give my whole “It’s tough being a lefty” rant.) As a lefty I need to use a special Oblique Pen Point Holder to write left to right– but with a little practice I learned to use a plain pen and nib to draw with gouache.

All the dark blue lines on this piece were done with a pointed pen, the rest is watercolor.

What’s so great about drawing with gouache?

• You can draw any color you can mix, for cheap. Instead of buying half a million different markers, buy a primary set of gouache and mix the colors you love.
• Gouache colors are opaque, which means you can do light lines on a dark background.
• Skinny paintbrushes are a pain. Although some people *ahem, Rachel* seem to be able to make magic with a brush, I have no luck doing fine lines with a paintbrush. A pen works much better.
• Gouache mixes wonderfully with your watercolor projects (#diycraftchallenge)
• The quality of line you get with a pointed pen is awesome.
• You look like a total bada** when you’re using a pointed pen. Trust me.

IMG_7205


For this piece, I put down a dark blue background in watercolor, then used gouache to add the white words and flourishes.

IMG_7350
There is a little learning curve when you’re working with a pen and ink, and practice makes perfect. I like to do little doodles on scrap paper to practice my lines, play with color, and generally mess around.

Supplies

• Gouache– like this Winsor & Newton set.
• A pen holder– like this one from Speedball
• A pointed pen nib– I used a Nikko G pen for this project, but Tara also recommends the Brause EF 66 which is better if you’re not as heavy handed as I am.
• A dropper of distilled water.
• A couple of ratty paintbrushes for “ink” application, mixing, and cleaning.
• The rest of your usual painting tools– a paint tray or plate, a jar of water, paper towels, paper, pencil, etc.

IMG_7366
To start, I put a drop little bit of gouache into my paint tray…

IMG_7369
and add a couple of drops of distilled water. I add just a little bit of water to start, because it’s easier to add more water to make the consistency I want.

IMG_7374
I mix my water with my paint until it’s consistent (using a cheap kids paintbrush). I like to play with different degrees of “wateriness,” more water means that the “ink” will be thinner and less opaque. Typically I used a mixture that’s about 3 parts paint, 1 part water.

IMG_7383-2
To apply the paint/ink to the pen, I saturate a paintbrush, and slowly slide it against the backside (concave side) of the nib. The ink will cling to the nib and seem to fill it partially. When it seems full (this part takes some practice) I will gently point and shake the pen downward towards the tray to get any extra blobs of ink out before I start drawing. In some cases (like today), I will actually drop the extra bits of paint onto my paper, for fun.

IMG_7444
Then it’s time to draw. I place the nib gently again the paper, concave side down, at an angle. Then I slowly pull the nib along, rather than pushing like a lefty with a ballpoint. (If you’re having trouble, check out one of the amazing tutorial videos on youtube- like this one.)

IMG_7454
Unlike a normal pen or marker, a nib like this will need to be refilled rather frequently (using the brush method above.) I try to keep an eye on how much ink/paint I have in my nib so that I don’t run out in the middle of a line. When you’re using the nib, you’ll notice that the tip is made up of two pointed pieces. When there is enough ink, it looks like one point on the end, but when they start separating, I probably need more ink.

IMG_7486-2
Periodically, I stop to rinse and scrub my pen. I dip it in my jar of water, and use a clean brush to scrub any dried bits of ink/paint off of it. Then I dry it gently with a rag or paper towel, reink, and go back to work.

IMG_7489
For this doodle, I had both white gouache and blue gouache in my paint tray, and I went between the two when I was reinking.

IMG_7496
Can you see why I like drawing with gouache? The possibilities!

IMG_7503

I was inspired to pull out my gouache today by the April DIY Challenge: Watercolor. We’d love to see what the theme inspires in you, so pull out your favorite medium and tools and share with us!

April DIY Challenge: Watercolor

April DIY Challenge: Watercolor #diycraftchallenge #watercolor #adventuresinmaking

April DIY Challenge: Watercolor

Watercolor is a favorite medium of ours and what better way to celebrate Spring than playing with colorful paint. Whether or not you consider yourself an ‘artist’, watercolor is a wonderful way to experiment and create no matter your skill level. So get our your favorite paints and make something inspired by the beauty of watercolor.

HOW TO ENTER

Click here for details on how to enter your project to the DIY Challenge! Don’t forget to share your projects with everyone on Instagram using #diycraftchallenge.

The challenge officially begins today, April 1, 2015 and ends on April 29th, 2015. We will post our favorite projects + announce the award winners on April 30th. Have fun and happy crafting!

Need more inspiration?

Take a look out our Pinterest board for more watercolor project ideas.

March DIY Challenge Results!

This month’s DIY Challenge theme was close to our hearts, so we’re very excited to share a roundup of submissions we received from our readers. With a theme like ‘Letters’ you know you’re gonna have some fun. Without further ado, here are the April DIY Challenge Award Winners along with the gallery of everyone’s lovely submissions…

DIY Challenge Award: Most Brilliant

Check out these amazing billboard letters Rebecca Morrissey and Clarissa San Diego made for a (very lucky) friend’s wedding.
DIY Challenge Award Winner #diycraftchallenge #adventuresinmaking
DIY Challenge Award Winner #diycraftchallenge #adventuresinmaking

These are made of foam and painted to look like copper patina then lighted. So much fun to make and they turned out great!! Plus they’re light and easy to transport.

I live in Issaquah and this was for a Pi Day wedding at the Berkeley Faculty Club in California. Clarissa lives in Newcastle and helps run the SODO Makerspace in Seattle where we used a CNC Router to cut out the letters. The painting involved using copper, brown, green and teal with sponges for the desired effect. – Rebecca Morrissey

DIY Challenge Award: Most Resourceful

This entry by Deb Disalvo, inspired us to look at materials in a whole different way. We love the way she and her class in Dublin, Ohio put these mosaic letters together. (You can read more about Deb’s mosaic letters in her recent guest post.)
DSC06335-1

I was teaching a recycled arts and crafts class after school with kids in the 3rd and 4th grade. Over the years, I had accumulated hundreds of used gift cards. I came up with the idea of having each child cut out the letter of their first name. I, along with the kids, cut up the used gift cards in various shapes and sizes and then glued the shapes onto the letter to create a mosaic look. It was such a good way to use the colorful gift cards and the kids had a great time coming up with their own style mosaic letter. – Deb Disalvo

DIY Challenge Award: Most Character

Katie Smith shared her adorable art journal entry, and of course we swooned. We love her sweet painted letter. Katie lives in the Dallas/Ft Worth area and shares more of her work on her blog, Punk Projects.
DIY Challenge Award Winner #diycraftchallenge #adventuresinmaking

 I love everything crafty- scrapbooking, mixed media, sewing, quilting drawing, crocheting, etc,. So I do a little bit of everything. Inspired by your challenge, I got out my watercolors and practiced some hand lettering in my art journal! It seems like everyone is doing hand lettering these days and I really wanted to try it out! – Katie Smith

Letters Gallery

DIY Challenge Award Winner #diycraftchallenge #adventuresinmaking

Credits

1. Hand-letter J by Judith Laguerre from Teaneck, New Jersey.
2. Scrap Paper Ironwork Letter by Alison Lang from Issaquah, Washington.
3. La Casa De Hojas painted sign by Rachel Beyer in Sante Fe, Veraguas, Panama.
4. Alphabet Hoop Art by Rachel Beyer from Portland, Oregon.
5. Scrapbook Paper Word Art by Sarah White from Fayetteville, Arizona.
6. Faux-Etched Letter Frame by Alison Lang from Issaquah, Washington.
7. Chalkboard lettering by Bobby Pathammavong from Portland, Oregon.

Thank you for participating in the March DIY Challenge! For those of you who wished they could have joined in the fun, never fear! Our April DIY Challenge begins on Tomorrow!

Happy Making – Rachel & Alison

SHOW + TELL: Gift Card Mosaic Letters

DSC06328-1
With one week before our March DIY Challenge deadline, we thought we’d throw a little more inspiration your way! This letter project incorporates a bunch of our favorite things – thriftiness, recycling, bright colors, and kiddos! Here’s what Deb shared…

Hi. I’m Deb DiSalvo and I live in Dublin, Ohio. I’m excited to share with you a letter project that I taught with a group of elementary school kids. I was teaching a recycled arts and crafts class after school with kids in the 3rd and 4th grade. Over the years, I had accumulated hundreds of used gift cards. I am an avid Starbucks coffee drinker and loved the designs on their gift cards. I started saving them and had friends and co-workers saving their used gift cards for me as well. I came up with the idea of having each child cut out the letter of their first name. I helped with this part and cut the letters using heavy cardboard for the base of this project. I, along with the kids, cut up the used gift cards in various shapes and sizes and then glued the shapes onto the letter to create a mosaic look. It was such a good way to use the colorful gift cards and the kids had a great time coming up with their own style mosaic letter.
The kids are so excited that I submitted this project. They are so proud of their work and should be!

DSC06335-1

I bought the thickest cardboard I could find in the art section of the craft store (Hobby Lobby and JoAnn’s sell this), drew the letters and cut them out using an xacto knife.

IMG_2544-1

We used heavy duty craft scissors to cut the gift cards.

DSC06330-1

We used turbo tacky glue to glue the cut up gift cards to the cardboard. Double sided mounting tape works as well.

 

 

Well, we’ve been working on Letter projects all month, and now we’re inspired to do more! How about you?

DIY: Quick and Easy Faux-Etched Letter Frame

IMG_6714
I love the look of etched glass, but I try not to use my dremel on anything too delicate. When I rediscovered this awesome Window Film I knew exactly the project I wanted to do.

Want to make you own?
IMG_6653

Supplies

• Etched Glass Window Film: The version linked here uses water to cling to glass, which makes it repositionable, removable, and amazing.
• A printout of the letter you want to use.
• Transfer paper (or any other means of getting the design on the backer)
• A craft knife
• A frame with glass or plexiglass

IMG_6655First cut off a small piece of the film, remove the backer, and set aside. Lay your letter template on top of the backer with a piece of transfer paper in the middle. Hold your stack firmly and trace all the way around the letter.

IMG_6656
When you have your design on the backer, reattach the film by smoothing it down with your thumbnail until it it well attached. Using the template lines you can see through the film, cut the design out carefully with a craft knife, then remove the backer.

IMG_6661
Follow the instructions included with your film to attach it to the frame’s glass. (I put a thin layer of water down on the glass, laid the letter down, and used my nail to smooth out all the bubbles.)

IMG_6691
Voila! Quick and easy “etched” decoration for your picture frame.

IMG_6692 IMG_6717What’re you doing with letters?