Foil Glitter Flock Adhesive Rub on Kits

In my quest for interesting products to experiment with I decided to try a product that I hadn’t  seen before called Foil Glitter Flock by a company called We R Memory Keepers http://www.weronthenet.com/. This company specializes in scrapbooking products.  Their website offers ideas for interesting crafting projects that involve photograph embellishment, bookmaking and more.  This product can be found at your local arts and crafts stores, in my case, I found it at Aaron Brothers and it retailed at 9.99. 

I have used rub ons before but never like the ones I decided to work with here.  This product comes with a variety of sheets from foil and glitter, to a bright color that’s flock.  Then in a separate package, they give you a variety of imagery and lettering on two long sheets that are adhesive on both sides.  The concept is to take an image and rub it onto your working surface, whether it be a card, a paper, or anything thats intended for decoration.  Then you can choose a foil, glitter, or flock sheet to rub onto the adhesive side.

The concept seems fairly simple so I decided to take some of my tissue paper creations from the previous article to decorate with some foil and glitter.

You are going to need some scissors, a surface to work on such as decorative paper, or a blank card, and the packet of foil, glitter, and flock. 

The packet comes with a small wooden popsicle stick, this you will need to rub on the image and the foil.  If you lose it, you can substitute it with a pen (be sure you have a lid on it).

The next step is to decide what look you are going for.  I decided to use the word “BLISS” rub on for this project.

Then take your pair of scissors, and very carefully cut around the word.  This part can be very tricky because if you’re not careful you can remove the surrounding stickers just by touching them.  You can also cut edges off of other stickers. 

Next place the image where you would like it on your card or paper.  Be sure that the sticky side is down.  Then take your popsicle stick and rub the entire image very well.  You want to be sure that the entire image adheres to the surface of the paper.  Once you are finished rubbing remove the plastic.

The next step is to decide what you want to use to adhere to the image.  For my project I decided to use a green glitter to match the colors in the flower. 

Take the sheet and cut out a piece large enough to fit on the entire image that has just been adhered to the paper.  Once you have cut it out place it directly on top of the image. 

For the glitter sheets you want the shiny side of the sheet facing up.  Once you’ve placed it over the image rub the glitter firmly over the entire surface. 

For this step you may want to use both hands, one to hold the glitter sheet down and the other to rub the glitter in.  I noticed that the sheets, if not held in place shift around. 

Lift the glitter sheet, and VOILA, your image should be nicely in place.

Although, the concept of this product seems fun, with many pros, I felt that there were a few cons.  First, for the amount of foil, glitter, and flock sheets that come in the package there doesn’t seem to be enough adhesive images to use them up.  As a result, you are left with several sheets that you cannot use.  Second,  When you are using the foil sheets the fact that they shift around so easily is quite frustrating at times.  When I am working on crafts  frustration takes away from the overall experience.  Finally, I being the perfectionist that I am, felt that I should have had a practice round before using the product on something that I was planning to keep for the long run.  Since I was using this product for the first time, I had to get the hang of it first.  If you look at rub ons in the image of the bear below, you will see that this was my first round and there were several areas where the rubs ons didn’t take too well to the paper.

If you’re going to use this product I would recommend a practice round on something that isn’t that important before you get started to get a feel for the product.    Be sure to be relaxed and in a good mental place before getting started. 

Good luck with it! 

Come check out some cool art at www.luciaperez.info use the search engine below!

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Pink Soap

I recently came across another brush cleaner that I was curious about so I got a bottle to give it a try.  This product is called Pink Soap by a company called Mona Lisa Art Products.  You can find this product just about anywhere, I happened to find it Aaron Brothers and the price ranges from 5.99 to 11.00 dollars retail. 

Now I mainly work in acrylic with about one semester’s worth of experience with oil paints, and the products that you need to work with oils.  So I will let you know in advance that I experiment with the acrylic paints to get a feel for how well a product works, or doesn’t.  According to the Dick Blick website if you are working in oil paints, you can use the Pink Soap on a paintbrush after cleaning it with a solvent.  You take a small amount of the soap and apply it to the bristles and rinse it with water.  If the soap does not retain its pink color repeat the steps until the the soap rinses off pink.

My first experiment was to try to remove very old paint from my brushes.  I applied a small amount of pink soap to a shallow lid and added a small amount of water to the mix.  I found that working the brush back and forth against the bottom of the lid would help gradually break up and remove old paint.  After I was satisfied with the cleanliness of the brush, I rinsed it out for a few seconds under running water until all of the pink soap was completely removed.  

The next step was to take a paintbrush, work some red paint into it and then wash it with the pink soap.  Repeating the steps from above, the soap came out quite easily and completely.  Since there was more of a saturation of paint in the brush it took a little bit longer for the brush to completely clean, however the brush was left like new. 

The pink soap doesnt have any harsh chemicals, and the product makers were thoughtful to add a nice mild fragrance as well.  Some sights claim that the soap will also remove paint from clothing and fabric.  That will be our next experiment!!!!!!

Have fun with it!!!

Come check out some cool art at www.luciaperez.info


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Tissue Paper Art

I remember when I was in kindergarten we were asked to work on a project that required the use of tissue paper.  For this article I would like to revisit this experience because its a very simple project that you can do with your children that is not only a lot of fun but requires very few supplies and a lot of creativity. 

Before we get started, I would like to assume that everyone knows what tissue paper is, however if you’re not familiar, it is a very common product that has very interesting uses.  For starters, tissue paper is used for giftwrapping.  Its array of colors can be coordinated with premade giftbags, that fit a variety of sizes.  It’s an easy and convenient way of wrapping presents since the tissue paper is what hides the gift in the bag.  For anyone running late to a party or wrapping last minute gifts its a great way to make a present look like a million bucks! 

In Mexico, tissue paper is the decorative element used to make pinatas*.  Pinatas are a cardboard and newspaper structure, usually made to form common shapes like animals, flowers, dolls, and much more.  Once the structure is constructed the tissue paper is used to decorate the outside to bring the pinata to life.  They are meant to be used in celebrations such as birthday parties, quinceneras, and other festive occasions.  Once they are selected for a party a hole is made usually along the top of the pinata and emptied of any newspaper, then it is filled with surprises such as candy, nuts, toys, or coins.  They are hung usually on a stable structure and then broken by the party attendees, with a bat or a decorated stick.  Pinatas are meant to be very colorful and bright, and come in a variety of sizes from small to very large.

Tissue paper can also be used for creating decorations for parties, such as flowers, and round spheres.  Their colors can be coordinated easily by a decorator to fit the theme.  They are very easy to make and dont require a lot of supplies.

Tissue Paper Collage

Getting started will require few supplies.  Tissue paper will be the main component.  It can be purchased in several common places such as arts and crafts stores, your local drug stores, or any party supply store.  Its retail price varies from 1.99 to 3.99 depending on how much you purchase and where you purchase.  For this project I recommend a variety of colors to keep things interesting.

You will also need glue of your choosing, for this I decided to use Mod Podge Classic Matte, two different sized paintbrushes, a container for water to clean your brushes, a small container like a lid to pour your glue into, a paper towel for wiping off excess water from your brush, a ruler, and a sturdy paper. 

As a side note, when choosing a paper for your project, or any project for that matter be sure that you are working with a paper thats archival (acid free).  Most product labels will indicate this.  Its important because working with archival products will preserve your art for a longer period of time.  When your children are making their first drawings most parents save them and frame them later on, so keep that in mind. 

Finally, more importantly, be sure that you work with papers that are precut to standard framing sizes.  For example, 8″ x 10″, 11″ x 14″, 5″ x 7″, are all standard sizes that are easy to frame.  Once again, when it comes time to frame your art it will make life much easier.

If you don’t have any precut papers to work with you can always cut down a larger sheet into smaller sheets.  For this project I cut down a larger sheet of paper to smaller standard sizes like 8″ x 10″, and 4″ x 6″.  You can do this by first measuring your paper to the right size, then use the sharp edge of your ruler and hold it down against the measured line.  With one hand hold down your ruler and with the other hand pull up your paper along the sharp side of the ruler.  This method will not only give you a straight line but it will also give your paper a deckled edge. 

Once you have decided where you are going to work be sure to cover your workspace with plastic or newspaper for protection.  Next take your tissue paper and begin to tear it into small random pieces.  The size and the shape does not matter in the least.  The more variety the better.

Fill up your smaller container with a small amount of glue, and have your water on hand to periodically clean your brush.  What I have found with this project is that its more fun to work without a plan.  Because the pieces of tissue paper are so different, they seem to take on a life of their own once you begin to make your collage.  If you are doing this project with your children let them have fun putting colors together.

When you’re ready to get started dip your paintbrush into the glue.  Spread a generous amount onto the surface of your paper.  Take a piece of tissue paper and lay it down onto the glue.  Dip your paintbrush into the glue and paint over the tissue.  Repeat the steps until your picture is completed.

What is fun about this project is that the transparency of the tissue paper creates very interesting visual effects that can be manipulated in many different ways.  Your results can be framed, made into cards, or given as gifts to your family.  Plan a day for art and have fun with this!!!!

Come look at some cool art at www.luciaperez.info

*I am aware that the word pinata and quincenera are spelled with a tilde, however I was unable to access it on my keyboard.   Thanks for your understanding!

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Thanksgiving and Art

It was my wish to publish a special tribute to the Thanksgiving Holiday this year.  As I work in retail, immediately after Halloween we are required to play our holiday music.  Customers are left a bit baffled since we haven’t had Thanksgiving. Yet here we are, time keeps zooming by and Christmas is right around the corner.

I wanted to take some time to stop and really think about what the Thanksgiving holiday means to me in this present time.  I decided to stop and look at all of the things in my life I had to be grateful for. 

For the past two years I have made it a priority to practice gratitude.  I started out making lists every morning while enjoying coffee, and even expressing it through my art as time passed.  By continuing this good habit I have not only seen many positive changes in my life, but I have been working my way towards a more positive future. 

For this Holiday, I decided to create a few artistic objects that expressed my gratitude visually.  Although I would have loved to make several, I made a few to give the idea. 

For my project I decided to make small charms with Memory Glass, Memory Foil, which I recently wrote about in the previous article.  I also decided to use two other products to give me more to work with.  Both products are meant for crafts.  They can be used in several different ways but I wanted to keep things simple. 

The first product is another one from the Inkssentials line called Memory Frames.  These were designed to hold Memory Glass, and can be used to make charms, jewelry, ornaments or anything creative.  They open very easily and can hold two small sheets of glass.  The price for a package retails at 4.99 and you get three per package.  The ones I chose were copper.  These can be purchased at Aaron Brothers, Michaels or you can find them online.

 The next product that I decided to use is ATC Transparencies made by a company called 7 Gypsies.  In this package you get approximately 20 sheets of transparencies with elegant black designs printed on them.  The designs vary, and you get two of each.  These sheets are meant to be used as pages, but I thought that they would be fun to use in my project.  They retailed at 5.99 and can be found at Aaron Brothers as well. 

Along with the new goodies I gathered family pictures, that I knew I had several copies of, scissors, a fine point black Sharpie marker, decorative paper, some glue, flower petals, rubbing alcohol, paper towels, a very thin shiny satin material that was on my flower bouquet and I was ready to get started. 

The idea for the project was to create a piece that showed a simple statement of gratitude, and then to have another piece that accompanied it.  The statement I chose was I am grateful for my ChildrenFor this piece I wanted to be able to see completely through it.  It was also important to incorporate as many elements of sentimental value to both pieces as possible. 

Statement Piece

For this piece I used four sheets of glass.  From the sheets of ATC, I chose one that had a large blank space and a very nice design surrounding it.  I chose this so that I could write my statement on there with the Sharpie marker.  This was to be placed between the first two sheets of glass that would be seen from the outside.  Once I knew where to place everything I took some rubbing alcohol and carefully cleaned the glass with the paper towel.  Then I placed a small drop of glue onto the ATC sheet and placed it on the glass.

In the center layer, I cut out a small square of the satiny material that I salvaged from my flower bouquet and two flower petals.  I placed them in the center of the glass between the first two sheets, always making sure the glass was clean. 

Finally, I took the second sheet of ATC with the same pattern and placed it between the third and fourth sheets of glass.  On this sheet, I had the option of writing another gratitude statement.  The piece was now complete and ready for the Memory foil tape.  I completely wrapped the glass with tape, and started on the second piece.

Accompanying Piece

This piece only required two sheets of glass.  I decided to add imagery to both sides to give the piece more interest.  I chose a photograph of both of my daughters standing together.  For the 2″ x 2″ inch piece of glass I had to make sure that my image was small enough and clear enough with space to decorate around it. 

I used the same materials to decorate the front side of the image.  I wanted the main focus to be the girls so I didn’t want to add too much.  I found a nice piece of ATC and cut it to fit the image along with a small piece of my satiny material. 

For the back side, I decided to use small strips of pictures to create a collage.  Each picture that I cut had a significant meaning.  For the final touch I cut out another small square of the satiny material and covered the entire collage.  After, I was satisfied with the results, I took foil tape and wrapped it around the edge.  Finally, I took some rubbing alcohol and cleaned the glass.   

Memory Charm

For the Memory Charm I wanted imagery on both sides.  For the article, I am only going to show one completed side.  For this side, I chose a sepia picture of my daughter.  Then I chose a nice design from one of the sheets of ATC and a small piece of my decorative paper.  After I was satisfied with my layout I cleaned two sheets of glass, opened the top of the memory charm holder and slid the sheets in. 

When I was working with the memory charm holder it was important for me to remember that I was limited on how much I could place between the glass.  There is not a lot of room so I had to plan carefully and work with a simpler yet eye catching layout. 

After I was satisfied with the appearance of the charm, I pushed the top back down and closed the charm.  I cleaned the charm with my rubbing alcohol and VOILA, I had a beautiful charm to remind me of my family!

I have so many things to be grateful for, my family, love, my car, my job, and my love for art.  I hope that this holiday season you can stop to share your gratitude with loved ones and notice how it shifts your energy to a more positive light! 

Have fun with it!!!

And come and look at some cool art at www.luciaperez.info

Here are some more I made on Thanksgiving!

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Memory Glass and Inkssentials Products

Working at Aaron Brothers has exposed me to some very interesting new approaches to arts and crafts.  Although they specialize in framing, my main interest is the art department. 

I recently wrote about a product called Glossy Accents by Inkssentials, a Ranger company product line.  Well, in that same line I discovered a product called Memory Glass.  Basically, it’s a small plastic case that carries 2″ x 2″ sheets of glass for making crafts.  Each case carries 24 sheets, and retails about 5.99.  You can also find it at Michaels.  For retailers in your area you can visit: http://www.rangerink.com/store_locator.htm

How do you use these? 

There are several different things that you can do with memory glass.  The product is geared towards charms that you can hang and use to enhance larger projects.  The key is to be patient since you work on a much smaller scale.  If you’re used to working with very large projects, it may be a bit of a challenge, however a change may be refreshing.

The idea is to preserve images, leaves, decorative paper, or any such items that spark creativity and place them between the sheets of glass.  To keep it simple you can use two sheets and add something in between and seal it up or you can plan on layering imagery in between more than two sheets to create a more interesting visual effect.  Once you have decided on the organization of your imagery or objects, place them carefully between the glass.   

You are now ready to use Memory Foil Tape.  This tape is a very special, sturdy and thin foil tape that is made by the same company to wrap around the memory glass.  It can also be used for other projects, but it was cleverly designed so that you can wrap it around a few sheets of glass along the outer edge.  The tape comes in silver and copper.  It has a very nice shine to it, and gives the glass a very enhanced and elegant look.  This can also be found at Aaron Brothers and retails at 5.99 per package. 

When wrapping the glass, take the foil tape off of the non-stick paper and wrap from the roll, this will avoid cutting a piece that may be too short.  Once you have wrapped it completely cut the tape with a pair of scissors.  This will allow you to keep your roll in tact. 

As a final touch take a small amount of rubbing alcohol and a paper towel and clean the surface of the glass to clean off any fingerprints. 

From this point you can use your new enhancement for cards, collages, or even display in a miniature curio.  Hope this is helpful have fun with it!!!

Come look at some artwork at www.luciaperez.info!


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Winsor & Newton Brush Cleaner and Restorer

As a general rule, when it comes to art I make a conscious effort to take special care of all of my tools.  Among the many, I find that I use my paint brushes quite frequently, and have to make sure that I keep them clean.  I’ve never used a brush cleaner before because I work in acrylics and can do a decent job of cleaning my brushes solely with water and paper towels.  However, over time I have noticed a buildup of paint at the base of some of my favorite brushes. 

Since I started working in a framing and art supply store again I have been exposed to many supplies that could be, and seem quite useful to artists.  I recently came across a product called Brush Cleaner and Restorer made by Winsor and Newton.  I finally decided to buy myself a bottle to see how well this product works.

The product claims to completely clean dried acrylics, oils, and alkyds with no damage to the brush head or loss of fibers.  The product also claims to be non-toxic, biodegradable, water soluble, non-flammable, non-abrasive, and with low vapor.  I would have liked to buy a smaller container since I was trying it for the first time, but none were available.  So I purchased a sixteen fluid ounce bottle for 12.99 retail.  Your local arts and crafts supply store should carry it, or you can find a local retailer online.  I bought this bottle at Aaron Brothers.

For my experiment I took the two brushes that I use the most to clean with the brush cleaner.  All of my brushes I use with acrylic paint.  I do my best to keep my brushes clean immediately after using them, however over time paint stays at the base of the brush creating a slight buildup.  The brushes on the left have been stained with paint for over a year. 

I found a nice area outside to work, then I took a water bottle and cut off the bottom half to hold the brush cleaner.  Any type of container for cleaning a brush is acceptable.  For the purpose of safety I keep these separate from containers that I would actually use for drinking.  Next I poured a generous amount of cleaner into the container, approximately 1/2 to 3/4 cup.  Finally, I took one brush at a time and submerged it in the liquid. 

Almost immediately, paint from the brush began to stain the liquid.  This was a good sign that the paint was starting to come off the brush.  I added both brushes to the liquid and pressed them along the bottom of the container to work as much of the paint out as possible.

Since there was a lot of paint caked at the base of the brush I knew that this process might take a lot longer than a few minutes.  I would periodically let the brushes rest in the container to allow the cleaner to absorb into the stubborn areas.  The intructions also mention that for caked acrylics to allow the brushes to soak for a period of 24 hours.  On a personal note, I avoid leaving brushes in any kind of liquid filled container for very long periods because the bristles of the brush will lose their original shape.  Sometimes this ruins the brush.

As you can see on the left, the cleaner is pretty saturated with old paint that has come off of the brush.  I also found that the particles wedged in the bristles were very loose and could be worked out with my finger.  I suppose to get an extra clean brush I could have left them in the cleaner longer but I was satisfied with the result.

I took the brushes inside and washed them thoroughly with soap and water.  After rinsing out all of the soap I patted them dry with a paper towel.  The results were pretty surprising!  As you can see there is a huge difference in the appearance of the brushes. 

IMPORTANT: Over the course of the time that I was using the cleaner I did notice the smell of the cleaner so be sure to work in an open area.  Also, be sure to store the bottle upright in a clean dry place away from children’s reach.  If your cleaner does spill be sure to clean it right away since it does have the tendency to saturate into anything that might be in the immediate area such as cloth, and paper towels.  Finally, if the cleaner is exposed to finished surfaces for long periods of time it will corrode the surface,  so be sure to use this very carefully.

Overall, I was very happy with this product and would highly recommend it for brushes that you’re not quite ready to get rid of but need a good cleaning. 

Water is still the best brush cleaner that you can find, so take precautions from the getgo when it comes to your tools!  I hope this was helpful!

Keep an eye out for new work at www.luciaperez.info


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Double Sided Felt Flowers

I was remembering a craft project that I came up with several years ago when I was living in Texas.  My sister came to visit and I thought it would be fun for the two of us to do something together.  I had some felt material, cardboard, and a few other items so I decided to make my own flowers to decorate the apartment.

This was several years ago and since then the idea for felt flowers has been revamped.  This time around I decided to decorate both sides so that they could be displayed in a variety of ways.  This also gives me the opportunity to display them in open spaces allowing them to be viewed from several angles. 

For this project, I wanted to incorporate elements from the previous article about Glossy Accents.  The idea was to continue combining textures to create visual interest.  Each step is a process in itself and requires more time and patience but in the end its worth the effort and the results are amazing and beautiful.

These flowers are great for brightening up a child’s room or simply for creating something thats fun and exciting for the whole family.

Supplies

For this project I used several different items.  Felt material ( a variety of colors), glitter, bead glitter, TOHO treasure beads (11/0 round)decorative paper, dowels (1/8″ by 12″), Glossy Accents by Inkssentials, pearl stickers by Recollections, Chenille Stems, cardboard, a CD, Sobo glue, a hot glue gun, small plastic spray bottle cover, utility knife and scissors.

Flower Body

Creating the body of the flower was really quite simple.  Look for a piece of cardboard thats sturdy, for easier cutting you may keep an eye out for cardboard thats more flexible.  Cardboard is harder to cut with scissors but with patience you can get a nice clean shape. 

Take your CD, and make an outline onto your piece of cardboard, and then cut the cardboard with your scissors.  You are going to need a smaller circle that sits in the center of each side of your flower, so look for a small jar or a smaller circle and do the same.  Take your time on this part it only gets easier from here. 

Once you have cut out all of your cardboard circles you are ready to glue the felt material to each side.  Be sure you decide on how you wish to coordinate your colors before adding any glue.  The fun part of the project is figuring out how to color coordinate!  Once you’ve decided take a generous amount of Sobo and spread it around the cardboard all the way to the outer edge and lay it onto the full sheet of felt.  For the larger circles be sure to glue felt on both sides.  For the smaller circles, only glue the felt material to one side.   Wait about an hour, to allow the glue some time to set and then cut the circles out from the felt material.  

Drying time for the felt material on the cardboard may be longer than an hour but while you wait you can move on to the next step of the project, the flower petals.

For this part you will need three chenille stems (use the color of your choice), your small plastic spray bottle cap, and your hot glue gun.  You are going to make your flower petals by forming your chenille stems over your small plastic cap. 

If you don’t have a small plastic cap of some sort, you can always free form it with your hands. 

You are looking to make four to five petals on each stem to cover the entire perimeter of the flower.  Once they are finished you are ready to glue them on.

By now, your hot glue gun should be ready to use.  The first step is to figure out the placement of your flower petals.  Take the cardboard center and look at the sides.  The grooves in the cardboard will allow you to insert your petals.  Be sure to leave the most central opening empty because this is where your stem will be inserted, this part will be explained later.

Once you figure out in what grooves you are going to insert the petals take your glue gun and add a small amount of glue to the groove in the cardboard.  Be sure you have a paper plate, or a piece of paper to catch any glue that may drip from the gun, and always handle a glue gun with great care.  They can cause severe burns if not handled properly.

Since the hot glue sets extremely fast, you can hold your petals in place in areas for a moment while the hot glue sets. 

Your entire flower should be covered with flower petals and you’re now ready to move to the next step.

Side One of your Flower

For this side of the flower we are going to repeat the steps for the larger flower but on a smaller scale.  By this point you should have a smaller circle that sits perfectly in the center of your larger circle. 

After you’ve decided what circle you are going to use repeat the steps above for the smaller circle.  You will only need one and a half chenille stems.  If you have any long pieces, just cut them with your scissors.  You can cut chenille stems very easily with scissors.

After your petals are glued in take the glue gun and add a good amount to the center of the larger circle and press the smaller circle over the glue.  Make sure that the circle is where you want it to be and let it set in place.

Now, this side isn’t finished yet, but take a break from it because now its time to give the other side some attention.  Finishing details I save for last.

Side Two of your Flower

So for the other side I decided to work with a decorative paper that I had from a previous project.  The great thing about the larger sheets of paper is that they can be reused for several different things.  In this case, I decided that I would make a paper flower for my background to change things up a bit. 

After taking my CD and tracing a circle over the area that I wanted to use for the background I traced it and cut it out.  Then I placed it over the larger circle with the felt material and put the smaller circle on top.  I traced a small circle around the center of my newly cut piece of paper. 

The smaller circle will serve as a guide for the flower petals that I am going to cut out.  Decide how many flower petals you want, and carefully cut them out. 

When you are finished take a bit of hot glue and add it to the center of your larger circle and place your paper circle on top of it.  Before too much time passes add more hot glue to the center of your paper flower and press the smaller circle on top.  Let it set and get ready to work on the stem.

Stem

For this part you will need  a dowel, your scissors, the sobo glue, and a strip of decorative paper.  The strip should be almost as long as the dowel itself.  The dowel should have at least one inch exposed at either side it doesn’t matter which one. 

Cut your strip of paper, and be sure that it’s not too wide.  I would say 3/4 inch.  Next take your sobo glue and add a line all the way down the center of the paper strip.  With your finger, work the glue to the edge.  Next, take your dowel and carefully roll the paper over it from one end to the other.  It’s best to roll the paper as uniformally as possible to avoid wrinkles.

Once your stem is evenly covered, take a utility knife and carefully trim the inch that’s exposed so that you can insert it into the larger circle with more ease. 

Look for the central opening in the larger circle (mentioned earlier), add a small amount of hot glue and carefully insert the flower stem to the circle.  Allow it to set for a few minutes.

Final Touches Side One

By now we are ready for the final details that make the flowers complete.  You can make quite a variety of choices in the way to approach this final stage, and thats what makes it so much fun.  For the pink side, I used treasure beads, hot glue, and pearl stickers.

In order to not waste beads place your flower over a paper plate.  Take the hot glue and add a generous amount to the center.  Very quickly pour the treasure beads over the hot glue.  You will be able to add quite a few since the hot glue has the tendency to move a little.  This will allow you to add enough beads until the glue begins to set.  With an object like a pencil or just by using another dowel you can form the glue to a perfect circle before it sets.  I used my finger, since the hot glue sets and cools so quickly.  For your safety, I recommend using something else.  Remove the flower from the plate, and put any remaining beads back into the original container for other projects.

Take your pearl stickers and carefully remove them without touching the sticky part too much.  Add them to the area around the hot glue.  Side one should now be completed.

Final Touches Side Two

For this side of the flower I used glitter, glossy accents, hot glue and pearl stickers.  Like the first side I placed my flower over a paper plate to catch any excess glitter.  The first step was to add a small amount of hot glue to the center of the flower.  I poured a generous amount of glitter on top.  After the hot glue set I flipped over my flower and tapped off any loose glitter.  With my Glossy Accents I added a thin line along the edge of the outside of the smaller flower all the way around.  I added a generous amount of glitter to the glue to completely cover it.   Once its completely covered flip the flower over and tap off any excess onto the plate.  From the plate funnel the excess back into the glitter container.

Finally, take your pearl stickers and add them to the paper flower petals for the finishing touch.  Your flower is complete!!!!

I will have to say there are many detailed approaches to this project, but the results are amazing and worth the time.  I remember working with my sister and really enjoying the time we spent together making them.  It was not only fun but gave us time to bond as family.

Have fun with it!!   Please come see my art at www.luciaperez.info and keep an eye out for more useful articles coming soon.

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Glossy Accents

After writing a little bit about Mod Podge, I remembered a product that I really enjoyed using about six months ago, that has a similar effect as the Mod Podge glossy.  This product is called Glossy Accents by a company called Ranger Ink & Innovative Craft Products.  Their Inkssentials line, the website claims, are the essential tools for crafters, rubber stampers, scrapbookers, card makers and altered artists.  Products are basic or indispensable items required for ink application, heat embossing, embellishment and other paper crafting projects (http://www.rangerink.com/inkssentials.htm).

I came across this product at my local Aaron Brothers art and framing store in the craft department.  The cost for a two ounce bottle was around 6.99 retail.  The product has a very similar effect to Mod Podge, however the application is very different.  Glossy accents has a very fine applicator tip.  This feature allows for easy application, and the consistency is that of a loose gel.  It can be used as an adhesive as well as a sealer.  Finally, a feature that I really appreciate as an artist, is that it’s made acid free.  Mod Podge has an acid free version that can be used with paper as well, but their site doesnt indicate whether or not the finish is glossy.

Using Glossy Accents is quite fun, you simply have to decide how you want to use it.  I decided to use it to preserve a photograph.  It can be a process depending on how you like to work.

First I decided on a photograph that I wanted to use.  In this case, I decided to use a photograph of my daughter.  After cutting the photograph into the shape that I liked I glued it onto a decorative paper with warm colors and decorative designs.  The paper that I chose to use I purchased at Aaron Brothers as well and the cost for the entire sheet retailed at 4.99.  They had quite a variety of styles, but the one I chose was better suited for my project idea.                                   

Next I took my glue gun, seen here on the left, and plugged it in and let it sit for a moment to allow it to heat up.  Once it was ready for use I took my photograph laid it on a paper plate and added a line of hot glue around the outer edge of the photograph.  Once the glue was on I took a small tube of tiny beads and poured it over the hot glue before it set.  The goal was to create a textured and enhanced look.

By adding the hot glue around the edge of the picture, I also created a small wall to trap the Glossy Accents. 

When I added the Glossy Accents to the photograph I started from the outer edge and worked my way towards the center.  Once the picture was completely covered in glue I set it down to dry in a safe place.  I found that the drying time for the amount of glue that I used was twenty four hours.

The result was very nice, I was very pleased.  The glue dried very clear with a glassy look.  My picture is ready for use in other projects with a nice little enhancement! This product can be used in many different ways, I can only imagine this is a scratch on the surface!  Have fun with it, and keep an eye out for new work on my website www.luciaperez.info

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Mod Podge

After finishing up my Memory Box from the previous article I came up with another idea.  I decided to add Mod Podge to certain areas of the box, to create another look that is not only pleasing but will preserve the images for some time.

Mod Podge is a multipurpose product that acts as an adhesive and a sealer.  It serves as a varnish that dries clear.  It was created in the 1960’s and has been very popular in the world of crafts.  There are several different types of Mod Podge on the market currently, but for this project I decided to use the classic. I went shopping for it at my local arts and crafts store, and I came across the classic Matte, classic Glossy, and the Sparkle.  I had never used the sparkle before and I wanted a glossy smooth finish so I purchased them both.  They retailed at about 4.99 to 5.99 each. 

There are several different ways that you can apply Mod Podge to your art project when applying it as a sealer.  Like paint you can brush it onto your surface with a paint brush, keep in mind that there will be visible brush strokes on the surface after it dries.  For example a bristle brush will create a much more visibly textured surface than a Nylon fibre paint brush.  Depending on the desired look you may want to consider which brush to use.  Keep in mind that glue begins to dry fairly quickly and it would be very useful to have a container of water close to the working area to occasionally completely clean the brush. 

Depending on how I want the surface to look, its perfectly normal to add more layers.  More layers will build up on the surface and give it a very glassy look.  It was this look that I was interested in.  Using a fairly inexpensive nylon brush I layered two coats of the Sparkle to the inside of the box and lid to seal in the red acrylic paint.  The look of the glitter against the red paint gave it a nice touch. 

Because I was excited to use the Sparkle I poured a generous amount directly on top of the moon image on the Memory Box.  With my finger I smoothed it out as much as possible, then I gently banged it on the table top to work out any small bubbles from the glue.  I made sure that the surface was fairly smooth and then I set the box in a safe place to dry.

After the glue was dry the result was amazing.  The layers of glitter changed the quality of the image in a way that was very pleasing to me.  From the image above, the box in direct sunlight really sparkled!

When using this product have fun and experiment the results can be awesome!

www.luciaperez.info

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Memory Box

My memory box was inspired by my two daughters, the idea was to make something very special to remind me of our times together.  Most of the summer we worked with several different materials.  Most of which varied in texture and color.  To name a few we used pom poms, chenille stems, and glitter.  For this project I decided to factor in one more material that will be used again in the near future, and that is felt.  Felt is by definition a non-woven cloth that is produced by matting condensing and pressing woolen fibers.  It can be made in any shape and color, and either very dense or very soft.  For more detailed information about felt please go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felt

Felt material can be purchased at any arts and crafts store.  It usually comes in sheets approximately 9 inch x 12 inches.  They vary in rich bright colors, and cost very little.  They typically retail four sheets for one dollar making them very affordable.  They also make felt sheets with an adhesive side, or with glitter, these sheets will end up costing a little more per sheet.  For our project I decided to use three colors (shocking pink, light blue, and fire engine red).   

In addition to the felt material,  for this project I purchased my premade paper mache box, from the arts and crafts store which retailed 1.99.  The approximate dimensions are 3 inch x 3 inch x 2.5 inch, of course the boxes can be purchased at larger sizes depending on the goal of the project.  I thought, even with a little I could do a lot.   Finally, from my supplies at home I decided to use a pair of scissors, sobo craft glue, low to medium quality acrylic paint brushes, and a tube of Liquitex soft body cadmium red paint.

For the memory box I chose a special picture of my two daughters and I made sure that it was a picture that I could easily reprint if I needed to.  I find that higher resolution digital images are very easy to reprint either through online services or photo printers from your home. 

I also wanted to make use of some Loteria cards that my sister bought just for the sole purpose of using the imagery for a project that she was working on.  ( Loteria is a very popular Mexican card game.  It is played much like Bingo but instead of numbers imagery is used.  Loteria sets can be purchased at any local Mexican food markets and cost about three dollars a set, prices may vary.  Since I made use of materials I had on hand I used the cards for the purposes of having a variety of imagery, however any kind of colorful paper can be used for a project like this. 

Getting Started:

For this project there was no side of the box or the lid that was left without decoration.  I started with the lid and worked my way down to the box itself.  There was no real rhyme or reason except that in the process of making the box I allowed one idea to influence another.  I only used the supplies that I had originally started out with and by doing so there was a visual flow and balance for the entire box. 

The Lid

Since the image of the girls was the focal point of the project, I decided to place the picture at the top of the box.  I took the lid and flipped it over so that I could measure and outline the square shape of the lid over the picture to have that exact shape on the picture.  Then I cut it out and glued it with Sobo to the top of the lid.  I cut off any paper that might be hanging off the edge.

I decided that two of the sides of the lid (opposite of each other )would have a piece of the Loteria paper glued to each side.  I cut out a piece of the Loteria card to fit the side and glued it on.  When I chose the imagery for the lid I was sure not to cut into too much of the white border around the image in order to utilize the colors.  I also cut the image at an angle to make it more interesting visually.  After gluing and cleaning the edges I added the mini pom poms over the white areas of the card to start giving the lid dimension. 

For the other two sides I decided I would add a piece of red and pink felt as the background.  On the red felt side I decided to leave alone, and the other side (pink side) I decided to add a few things to it.  For example, I rolled up a blue chenille stem to resemble a rosette and then glued it on.  Then I cut out random shapes of red felt and glued them on.   The tricky part of this was to use enough glue.  I noticed that the felt that I used for the background absorbed the glue like a sponge so I had to be very generous with the sobo.

The Box

Making every part of this box was a lot of fun, because each side gave me a new opportunity to be creative.  When I moved onto the box itself I had to take into consideration that I had to be able to decorate the box and still fit the lid back on.  Because I was working with felt I decided to put the lid on and mark a line where the lid ended so that I would not cover that area with the material.  This was helpful in allowing me to see how much space I had to work with the felt, and figuring out how I would decorate that particular side.

As I measured earlier with the picture on the lid, I measured and cut out a piece of pink felt for my background color.  I made sure that the material stayed right at the line and any material hanging over the outer edges could easily be cut off with the scissors. I used a generous amount of sobo and glued it on.  Then I took a piece of red felt and cut it down to the shape of a flower and glued it on top of the pink background. Then for the center of the flower I cut another piece of felt into a small circle.  Finally for the finishing touch I added five mini pom poms to the center, always using generous amounts of sobo. 

On the opposite side of the flower, I decided to glue larger pom poms in rows accross, on the entire side.  Since the box itself is fairly small in size the pom poms that I used weren’t too much bigger. 

For the remaining two sides, I came up with the idea to use imagery that represents my children, so for one side I decided to use the moon and for the other side I decided to use the sun.  So I cut out the sun and moon images from the cards and glued them as close to the center as possible below the lid line.  Then I decided to surround the images with felt.  I had an idea of what patterns I wanted to see on the box, but I was pretty open to anything.  The fun part of the project for me was not really having a plan and letting the creativity flow. 

So I started with a piece of red felt that covered the entire side of the box.  I glued only one side to hold into place.  Then I carefully cut the felt so that the image was showing through.  I cut out a little at a time so that the felt fit around the image perfectly.  After cutting the felt, I glued the rest of the felt onto the box.  Then I filled the empty space with pieces of felt that fit almost like a puzzle.

To complete the sides I wanted to cover the area that would be underneath the lid so that when the lid is taken off there would be a visual image there.  So I cut another strip of the loteria card and glued it to the small space that was exposed. 

To finish the outside of the box, I took a piece of red felt and measured it to fit the bottom.  After gluing it on I took my scissors and cut off any excess felt to get the perfect fit.

Inside of the Box

This part of the project was fairly easy.  I took a small plastic cup and filled it with the red paint.  Then I applied two coats of paint to the inside of the box and the lid.  After the paint was dry I was ready to put together my box and see it all together in one piece.

Of course I couldn’t wait to see the box finished.  But knowing how I think I could easily get carried away and find more things to do with it. 

In the meantime, I was very pleased with the end result!   If you try this project have fun with it!  I did!!!

Come look at my original art at www.luciaperez.info, and follow the links on my blog if you are interested in purchasing a print of my artwork.

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