Thursday, 8 November 2018

Paint your own folky Polar Bear

Following the success of our Folky Fox recently, we have gone from Autumn to Winter with this brand new tutorial.  

To complete this level 2 tutorial, you will need: 

DecoArt Chalky Finish paint in Honor 
Sandpaper, tracing paper* and transfer paper* 
Dotting tool*, Flat Brush* & Liner brush*
DecoArt Titanium (Snow) white* (or any white you have), Lamp Black and Antique Rose* 
DecoArt Dazzling Metallics in Shimmering Silver 
Sakura Gelly Roll pen in White 
DecoArt Metallic lustre in Silver Spark

*All included in our Flat Brush Starter kit 

 Preparing your plaque: 

 Using the sponge, base coat the plaque using the Honor chalky finish paint.  You can speed this process up with a hair dryer if you like. 
After applying a couple of coats, lightly sand the MDF plaque before transferring your design on to the surface.  

Practicing your brushstrokes: 

For the Polar Bear you will need to practice the C stroke taught in the Rosebuds kit.  When you are confident painting single ones, practice painting each one side by side in rows.  

Painting your polar bear:

Using the warm white and flat brush, base coat the whole of the polar bear.  Using the Antique Rose, paint the inner part of the bears ears.  When this is dry, paint rows of c strokes over the whole of the bears body starting at the top and working down, leave to dry. Take care to try to overlap the rows a little to create your fur pattern.  

Next, using your liner brush and the black paint, add his eyes and nose. 

Final touches: 

Using the silver paint and Dotting tool, add dotty snowflakes on the plaque. Leave to dry.  If you wish to add the lettering, use the Gelly Roll pen (or a fine Uni Posca paint pen) to copy over the transferred lettering.  You may need to keep wiping the tip of the pen with a tissue to make sure the tip does not get clogged with paint.  Finally, using the sponge, add the Metallic lustre around the edges of the plaque and add some ribbon to hang.  

If you did not wish to add the writing we have provided why not stamp a name on to personalise or just add more dotty snowflakes.  

Happy Folking x 


Monday, 29 October 2018

Paint your own Autumnal wreath in 5 simple steps

Paint your own autumnal wreath

The days are getting shorter and the air is adopting a chill, Autumn is certainly taking a hold both inside and outside of Folky HQ.  

Over the last couple of weeks we have been cracking open those warm orange and golds, deep, rich browns and earthy greens to create a few Autumnal projects to fit with this months #funwithfolkit theme.  After sharing this on social media, so many of you asked for the pattern so here is a quick tutorial.  

You will need: 

Practice paper, transfer and tracing paper*
A brown, green, gold and red paint 
(Sandra used Asphaltum and Autumn Red but you could use Traditional Burnt Sienna and Country Red)
We also used Emperors Gold and Avocado
No 3 Round Brush & Dotting tool*

*Available in our Round Brush Starter Kit 

Step 1: Take your pattern and transfer it onto your practice paper or project 

Step 2: To paint your comma strokes, fill your round brush with Avocado or Raw Umber and tip your brush with the Emperors Gold (a technique taught in our Daisy Details kit

Step 3: Paint alternating bunches of green and brown comma strokes to add variety to your wreath. 

Folk It autumnal wreath

Step 4: Using the red, add berries around the wreath and leave to dry. 

Step 5: Add a little gold to your brush and on a paper towel, gently rub off the excess. Dry brush a little gold over each of the berries and dot a little brown in each one. 

Your wreath is now complete! If you fancy a more festive look, why not try using two shades of green and red and gold or use a paler green and grey tipped with silver - this would look great finished with white and silver mistletoe berries! 

Happy Folking everyone x   


Monday, 22 October 2018

Paint your own pumpkin tray - perfect for Halloween

You will need:
You Can Folk It! Brushes & Tools
Medium Liner, Flat Brush, Dotting Tool
DecoArt Americana: Tangelo Orange, Burnt Umber, Warm White, 
Avocado, Bright Yellow
Other: Practice paper, tracing paper, transfer paper

Before painting your project, practice all the elements on the practice paper. (You can find the patterns on our Folk It patterns Pinterest board.)  It's always a good idea to try painting the larger Pumpkin from the practice sheet first before moving onto the smaller ones.

1. Add a touch of Burnt Umber to Tangelo Orange and paint around the stem

2. Add a touch of Burnt Umber to Warm White and paint the stem

3. Add water to Burnt Umber and with this watery mix & your liner brush apply uneven diagonal lines to the stem

4. Add a touch of Tangelo Orange to Warm White and starting at the back paint each section of the Pumpkin using a 'C' stoke. 

5. Apply a second coat of this mix if necessary.  Tangelo Orange is a transparent colour, therefore we are creating a base so that the colour stays vibrant.  If you are painting onto a light coloured surface you can omit this step.

6. Next apply a coat of Tangelo Orange to the front sections.

7. Float Burnt Umber. (This is a technique we teach in our Flat Brush Cupcakes and Babushka kit) Before beginning this step, study the pumpkin below for a moment, bearing the following in mind... The Burnt Umber is going to create a shade, so we are floating the darker colour to any section that is behind another.  

8. Float Warm White on the edges of the Pumpkin that sit in front of another.  By using this technique, we help flat objects take shape. To the eye, dark colours recede so look further away and light colours advance and so appear closer. 

9. Make a wash with your flat brush using plenty of water and Bright Yellow and apply over the whole Pumpkin, see how this has reduced the whiteness of the floated highlights, this is a great way to dull your floated colours if you have just started also gives the Pumpkin a lovely warm glow.

10. The leaves are created using the wiggle stroke as taught in the Butterflies lesson, a comma stroke using the flat brush and combining the 2 together.  If you have not yet progressed to this level, then use your favourite leaf. 

11. The blossoms are as taught in the Oriental Blossom Lesson.  Use Warm White to paint each of the Petals and apply dots using Burnt Umber & Tangelo Orange.  

Once you are happy with your skills, you can create your final design.  If you wanted to create your own wreath design, you can learn more about how to do that here. To create your wreath, begin by painting the pumpkins.  When painting the stalks, try to paint them in different directions to add variety. 

Next, add your leaves.  Using single leaves and clusters, aim to fill the majority of your circle.  If you do not feel comfortable using the ruffled technique, use whichever technique you do feel comfortable with.  We painted leaves in a few sizes, again to add interest to the design.  

Next, add single blossom flowers around the wreath - don't worry if they overlap areas you have already painted.  Finally, identify any areas that look empty and add dots (using the small end of your dotting tool) and small comma strokes using your liner brush.  

To seal your work, you could use DecoArt wax however, if you have painted a tray as we have done, it is better to opt for a couple of coats of varnish to protect your project.  

Friday, 12 October 2018

How to paint your very own Folky Fox

October is all about Autumn for our #funwithfolkit challenge, from leaves to pumpkins, this theme seems to have inspired so much creativity.  When we shared our cute folky fox recently, the response was amazing and so we put together a tutorial for you.  This quick and fun little tutorial is perfect practice for your comma strokes, plus you can create a cute furry friend at the same time! 

You will need: 

Black practice paper*
Tracing paper*
Transfer paper*
No 3 Round Brush* 
Dotting tool*
DecoArt Americana Acrylic in Lamp Black* and Warm White*
DecoArt Dazzling metallics in Bright Copper

*included in our Round Brush Starter Kit 

To begin, print off our Folky Fox pattern to the desired size and trace the pattern.  

Next, using your transfer paper, transfer the design onto your black paper. Do this four times (as above) on to your practice paper as this will allow you to practice painting each part of the fox individually.  

First, begin practicing the face. 

Load your Round Brush with Warm White.  Begin the comma stroke at the top of the line and follow the line, aiming your comma stroke down to his nose.  Repeat this comma stroke until you have filled his cheeks, each time beginning from his cheek and ending at his nose.  Try to make each comma stroke overlap slightly so that you cover his cheeks.  This is great practice for painting those comma strokes in both directions! 

Next, practice the top part of his head.  Using the Round Brush again, load it with Bright Copper.  Place your brush one the line (the same one you began with for this cheeks) and again, paint your comma stroke, following the line down to his nose. 

Move to the other side of his head and following the line, repeat the comma stroke on the other side. Continue to alternate your comma strokes on one side then the other until you reach the middle.  By alternating this way you will build up his layers - again making sure your comma strokes overlap so no black is showing through. 

As you work your way towards the centre, you will notice that you will need to paint smaller comma strokes to cover the area, this is ok. 

The body: 

Using your round brush loaded with Bright Copper, paint a long comma stroke down one side of the body so that the tail of the comma stroke wraps around the tummy area a little.  Add two more comma strokes to fill the line that again, tuck under the foxes tummy. Repeat this on the opposite side  (you will only need two comma strokes on this side to fill the lines) making sure that the comma stroke finishes under the tummy.  

For the tail: 
With your Round Brush loaded with Bright Copper, paint four comma strokes ending in a point (left). Next, when these comma strokes are dry, load your round brush with warm white and paint three smaller comma strokes on the end of the tail, again ending in a point.  Now you are ready to join the tail on the body. 

When you have practiced this and feel confident in your comma strokes, it's time to create your first folky fox. 

Starting with the ears, use your round brush to fill in the triangles, first with Bright Copper then (once dry) add two smaller triangles with the Warm white. 

Add his cheeks as you practiced, then fill his tummy with Warm White.  

Next, using the Copper, paint the other half of his head before adding his body and then his tail as you practiced.  

When your Folky Fox is dry, add his nose using your round brush and a little Lamp Black before adding his eyes with the larger end of your dotting tool.  

And that's it...your Folky Fox is complete! 

UPDATE: With winter fast approaching, we changed our Copper paint for Zinc and painted our very own Arctic Fox plaque - what do you think? 

If you have a go at painting your own, please do tag us in your posts to let us know you have had #funwithfolkit 


Thursday, 27 September 2018

Falling in love with Mandalas

When we chose September as Mandala month, we wondered whether it was a little ambitious.  We admire mandalas across social media on a daily basis but the great thing about them is that there is so much variety. From dotty mandalas to more intricate designs, they can truly be as unique and beautiful as each individual snowflake that falls. 

This gave us the idea that for September, instead of getting overwhelmed by all the different mandalas we could create, we would use one mandala template and have fun finding different ways to decorate it.   

A great mandala to practice your painting skills

Each project we have created we have started by transferring our design onto our journal using transfer paper before choosing our colours and designs.  Sometimes, we have had an idea in mind of the techniques we wanted to use like the one below... 

Mandala handpainted by Carol Sykes from You Can Folk It using folk art techniques

Here Carol used a simple floating technique to float DecoArt Americana in Snow (Titanium) white
 (this is a technique Carol teaches you in our Cupcakes and Babushka Flat Brush kits). This created such a delicate, ethereal look we couldn't help but love it.  

Carol Sykes from You Can Folk It created this mandala using Folk Art brushstrokes

Keeping things simple, using DecoArt Silver Sage Green, Carol painted each line using comma strokes with her liner brush before adding a few dots and filling any gaps with tiny hearts and a little French Mauve and warm white.  

A beautiful handpainted mandala created using delicate lace folk art techniques and comma strokes, all taught in the painting kits from

Here, Rose chose to round off the mandala to simplify her pattern and filled it using our Delicate lace pattern and a few comma strokes.  

Bright mandala with a touch of metallic paint from You Can Folk It

Adding a touch of DecoArt Shimmering Silver along with Razzleberry and Teal Green, we used a mixture of dotting, delicate lace and comma strokes to decorate this one.  Delicate lace and comma stokes are a great way to fill a large area without painting solid blocks of colour and creating a more delicate mandala.

Handpainted mandala created using colours inspired by Jamaica

Our customers also decided to use our design and paint their own mandala.  Here, Vanessa from The Arc Shed has been inspired by the colours of Jamaica and we were amazed at how well our rosebuds work as the centre of this mandala. We would never have thought of it but it looks fantastic! 

A work in progress.... beautiful handpainted mandala using painting techniques from You Can Folk It

Still a work in progress, we are interested to see how this one turns out.  The painter behind At the Painting Table has combined a limited set of colours to create a mandala with quite a bit of unfilled space but instead of looking empty, it looks striking! 

Using one mandala template, you can decorate it in so many ways

Our painting challenge is open to everyone so if you fancy using our mandala or creating your own, we would love to share it.  Just tag us or use #funwithfolkit. You can find a copy of our mandala here. 

We are so glad we tried something new this month, we hope you will be too x 


Wednesday, 29 August 2018

How to paint wreaths - part 3

We may have welcomed another month of the painting challenge this August but our head is still buzzing with ideas from last months wreath theme. The answer? To combine them both of course! This August, we took out our bright paints and set to work creating this beautiful heart wreath. Painted wreaths can come in all shapes and sizes as you demonstrated last month and we love this heart shaped one.

Here's the colours we opted for - styling our roses with a lighted background and more vibrant petals to really make them pop but have a play with colour and see which colours you prefer and find a look that suits your style.  

When we began to paint this idea, we did wonder what we had let ourselves in for. After all, when you have a new idea buzzing away in your head that you are excited about, it can be a little scary to try and translate that onto the page for fear that it won’t measure up to your imagination. We were so pleased when the risk paid off and so we have put together a little tutorial to help you create your own heart wreath. We have drawn the template using circles where the roses should be painted, however there is nothing stopping you from replacing those circles with daisies, oriental blossom flowers, or even butterflies if you’re really thinking outside the box. Try something new today.

Step 1: Using your template and transfer paper (this can be found in the starter kits or in our online shop) to transfer the po using your template and transfer paper (this can be found in the starter kits or in our online shop) to transfer the pattern to whatever surface you’re working on. Depending on surface you may need to resize the pattern to fit.

Step two: Begin by painting the circles that will make up your Vintage Roses. Using the role of three/five from the first instalment of this wreath series, we filled in 5 circles using the pink and three circles of each other colour. If you are painting on black paper as we did,  you may find you need two coats of paint for each circle.  When these are dry, add the centres and the petals.  As you can see we have alternated the direction of the flowers around the heart and this has been marked on the pattern for you.

Step three: Once your Vintage Roses are dry, begin filling in your leaves. Here we used the round brush leaves as taught in our vintage rose kit.

Step 4: Once your leaves are dry, add the fillers to your heart. Here we used plain dots as well as dot roses in a variety of colours but you could add Dottie daisies or any other small design you wish.  As we mentioned earlier in the series,  keep taking a step back to look at your design as a whole and see if there is anywhere that needs filling.

Step five: finally using the liner brush from either  of our starter kits, add stalks to the leaves using comma strokes.

This would look great painted on to a A4 board and framed or onto a canvas.  If you have a go at painting this gorgeous wreath, do tag us on social media or use #funwithfolkit 

Happy Folking x 


Thursday, 26 July 2018

How to paint a wreath - part 2

So, the other day, we had a go at building a floral wreath, combining a few flowers and features to paint a full wreath.  This week, we are going to look at a few other options to consider when you are designing your own unique pattern.

Option 1: The incomplete wreath

This option works with a circle but instead of wrapping your design around the whole circle, it consists of two halves.  Here, we used our Oriental blossom which gave us an irregular shape but you could adapt this to use Rosebuds, daisies or a mix of flowers.

Step 1: Draw your circle lightly using a compass and pencil or by drawing round a circle using the chalk paper to transfer your markings.

Step 2: Imagine you cut your circle in half horizontally. Like last time, we are going to work closely to the circle but won't be afraid to detour slightly.  Starting just above the half way line on the right hand side, draw your branch outline and finish at the opposite side. Add small branches on both sides of your line, again following the route of the circle.  Next, leave a gap and draw a similar line from the left side round to the right.  Now you should have two branches trailing the circle shape.  Paint your branch using a shade of brown of your choice.

Step 3: Using the rule of 3 or 5, add your blossom flowers where you like.  This will mean you will end up with 1 or 2 on the bottom branch and 2 or 3 blossom flowers on the top branch depending on how big your circle is and what you prefer.

Step 4: Finish your wreath by adding individual petals one by one.  This is where you will need to keep taking a step back and seeing where your design looks too empty or where you need to even up your pattern.

Option 2: The Floral wreath

This wreath is quite tight and is perfect for those smaller flowers like rosebuds, lavender heads or dotty flowers.

Step 1: Begin by drawing a short line from your circle towards the inside of the circle, following the line of the circle.  Next, about 1.5cm/2cm along the line, draw a line away from the circle. Continue to draw alternating lines around the whole circle.

Step 2:  Using your liner brush, paint a line around the circle (but don't paint the stalks yet). Add a rosebud to the end of each line you have drawn (as you can see each rosebud follows the direction of the stalk).

Step 3: Fill in the gaps between each rose bud with s stroke leaves.  As you can see, we could fit one leaf in most of the spaces in the inner ring and 1 or two leaves between the roses on the outer circle.  Keep observing your wreath as you paint. The key to creating an eye catching wreath is to space out your elements and not squash too many things in to one space.

Step 4: Using your liner brush, paint stalks from the rosebuds and from each leaf to your original circle.

Step 5: Take a look at your wreath. Are there any areas that feel empty? We found a few and used the small end of our dotting tool to add three dots in places to complete the design and even up the wreath.

Option 3: The curved wreath

This is a great design for when you want to paint a limited number of elements such as lavender or foliage.  If you haven't attended one of our painting workshops and aren't sure how to paint lavender, you can easily use our dotty lavender from the Flat Brush Starter kit 

Step 1: Imagine you have used a curved line to divide your circle in to sections.  Draw the last section of these lines across the circle, keep turning your page as you draw each one to make sure they flow in the same direction.  You should end up with something like this (above). If you do not feel confident drawing out this template, pop over to our patterns board to use ours.

Step 2: Using your round brush or dotting tool, paint each lavender stalk using purple (we used Plum from our Flat Brush Starter kit and white).  If, like we found, this created a nice wreath but left quite a bit of space in between the stalks, add extras in between to fill your wreath out nicely.

Step 3: Step back and take a look at your wreath.  Are there any spaces? Using your liner brush and some green paint (we used Hauser light green) we added a few long comma strokes to fill some areas.  We also used the small end of our dotting tool to again even up the circle.

We do hope you enjoy these patterns and ideas and if you do create a design after reading this post we would love to see it - just tag us or use #funwithfolkit to share.

Happy Folking x

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