Monday, 19 March 2018

How to paint on to soap

Painting on to soap, decorative painting, folk art, painting project. butterfly, lavender

I first learned to paint onto soap years ago when I first discovered Folk Art. I had seen decorated soap before but always thought it was something other people did, not something as easily achievable as it is.  

Sometimes, when you are learning to paint, you want to try something different, sometimes you wish to give a unique gift...the great thing is this project ticks both boxes.  I was recently on holiday in Mexico and their complimentary soaps were so lovely, I just couldn't resist painting them! 

For this project you will need: 

A bar of soap of your choice 
Paint Adhesion Medium or Multi Purpose Sealer 
The design of your choice (I chose Butterflies and the Lavender design taught in our Round Brush Course
For these designs I used the No3 Round Brush, Liner brush and Flat brush from both of our Starter Kits 
DecoArt Americana Acrylic (I used Blue Violet, Warm White, Plum, Lamp Black and Hauser light Green)

Painting on to soap, decorative painting, folk art, painting project. butterfly

Step 1: Begin by applying a coat of Sealer (or Paint Adhesion Medium) to the area you wish to add your design to.

Step 2: Once the sealer is dry (you can speed the process with a hair dryer if you wish), paint your chosen design. With both of the soaps, I tried to choose designs that worked with the shape/detail already on the soaps. Leave the design to dry.

Step 3: Finish by painting 3 more thin layers over your design, drying with a hairdryer each time to help the drying process along and dry each layer.

Step 4: Leave to dry for a couple of days for the paint and sealer to cure (dry and harden completely).  The layers of sealer creates something similar to a transfer on the soap.  Once it has been allowed to cure, this means you can use the soap as you would a normal bar of soap and the design will remain firmly in place.

Painting on to soap, decorative painting, folk art, painting project. lavender

I hope you have fun with this project.

Happy Folking,

Carol x

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Our time at #SBSevent2018

You Can Folk It meets Theo Paphitis Birmingham ICC, small business

What a week! Our social media has been going crazy once again following our recent attendance at Theo Paphitis' SBS event at the Birmingham ICC last week.  If you haven't heard of Theo's SBS Sunday, it is a fantastic initiative he created back in October 2010.  With the idea of supporting small businesses around the UK, he invites business owners to send him a tweet describing their business every Sunday between 5-7.30pm.  Each Monday, he chooses his favourite six and retweets them to his 500,000+ followers.

You Can Folk It SBS winners

Fast forward 6 years to Oct 2016 and we were chosen as one of his favourite...our Twitter account went crazy.  From congratulations tweets to new followers, RT's to questions, we wondered what on earth was happening as our phones were pinging like crazy.  

The highlight of an SBS winners year is the free yearly networking event hosted by Ryman Stationary (one of Theo's successful businesses).  As we couldn't make it last year, we were excited to see what all the fuss was about and to have our photo taken with Theo himself.  

After a long journey from Sheffield and an interesting hour arguing with the Sat Nav (Birmingham road works are interesting to say the least!) we arrived.  There were lots of talks and presentations and many lovely people to chat to.

One of the highlights of the day for us was getting the opportunity to meet lots of lovely SBS winners in person, people we had been chatting to via Twitter for a while including the lovely Carmen from Joyful and Mellow who makes delicious alcoholic spreads.  Placed within the 'Creative' category, we also had the pleasure to chat to Kirsty from KA Graphic Design who makes fantastic cards, Sophie from the gorgeous Pip Box and Sarah (Charlotte Designs) who specialises in painting such a wide variety of stunning wall murals. Honestly, there was so much talent in one room our heads were buzzing, we wanted to talk to everyone! 

Joyful and Mellow, You Can Folk It, SBS winners, #SBSevent2018
I found myself sitting next to the lovely Carmen from Joyful & Mellow, a fellow #SBS winner and #womaninbiz over on Twitter
Theo Paphitis SBS event

Waiting for the event to begin, we collected our notebooks got our pens ready.  It's safe to say, listening to Theo that he has a passion for small business and helping them flourish.  The event is totally free for SBS winners and their guests thanks to sponsorship from companies like Square Up, Ryman, HP and DHL to name a few which is fantastic for small businesses. 

SBSevent2018, Theo Paphitis, John Roberts

The main event was the fireside chat with John Roberts from John started his business following a £1 bet that he wouldn't be able to succeed with a white goods business on the then newly introduced thing called the internet.  It was nothing short of inspiring to listen to his journey that's taken him from a small company consisting of a group of friends playing at their business to a multi million pound company thriving in an area where large brands such as Currys have dominated for so long.  

To listen to 'just a guy from Bolton' as he puts it, sit in front of the audience and be so humble and so honest about the successes but also the failures (large and small) he has faced since he began was so refreshing and inspiring.  He started where many of us did, with an idea and a bit of money and has built his company on honesty, integrity and what some in business may call 'old fashioned values'.   

As small business owners, it can sometimes be difficult not to compare yourself to other businesses; at their social media following, their success, their journey and think they have it made, that they are flourishing while you are taking one step forward and three back.  Listening to John it reinforced that you never know where another company is unless you own it.  As small businesses, we need to be proud of where we are, nurturing our company and moving forward.  Take time to enjoy being a small company and to build those relationships not only with your customers but with everyone.  John relayed how he still takes time to sign letters himself to customers he's replying to, how he takes time to do market research while he is socialising, and touches base with his employees.  Now I know it won't all be sunshine and roses at AO but what struck me was the commitment John still had to his customers, the commitment to stay at the grass roots level to ensure that he still understands what his customers want.  It reinforced in us that you don't need to think big to be big.  Strengthen your foundations, nurture your fan base and never forget where you came from.

Needless to say, we left the event with plenty of food for thought, new contacts and lots of ideas running through our heads.  Will we be attending next year? Absolutely.  

So if you are a small business owner and are on Twitter, do tweet about your business each Sunday.  The SBS community is supportive, fun and such a great group to be a part of.  Good luck and you never know, we might see you there in 2019.  


Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Colour us happy this winter

As we paint our way through February, we have seen temperatures drop along with the occasional snow flurry and ice.  Even though the sun is bright, our days have been somewhat grey here in Yorkshire and so we have been escaping in to a world of colour and creating a little happiness and sunshine at Folky HQ.  

When painting, we often tell our followers to make a note of the colours they use so that, if they find something they love they can use it the same way, if they find a colour they do not like or feel a little uncomfortable with a colour scheme they have chosen, they can avoid it.  As you move through your journey, you can look back at projects and colours you loved and become inspired all over again.  This week, we decided to look through our archives and be inspired by projects old and new and here is what we found. From deep rich palettes to bright ones with a tropical feel, we almost forgot it was still winter :) 

We hope you enjoy them... 

Happy Folking x 

PS If you would like to discover more about the theory of colour and how to develop your colour mixing skills, check out our Colour theory posts here

Vintage roses can be painted in any colour, including this gorgeous tropical inspired colour palette

Cherry blossom inspired colour palette - perfect for a spot of upcycling

Dusky pinks and deep burgundy's work so well together in this colour palette

A classic colour palette inspired by the Canal boat art of England

Vintage inspired colour palette characterised by rich reds, deep blues and soft greens

Rich yellows and browns look beautiful together in this folk art inspired colour palette

Folk art poppies painted in earthy tones with a pop of orange.  A beautiful colour palette with a bit of a retro feel.


Friday, 26 January 2018

10 reasons why we all should be painting

why we should paint

Children are encouraged at nursery and school to create - to explore their environment through play and art, using whatever medium they choose (often the messier the better!) but as we age, we often forget the importance of creativity, we find excuses to ignore our hobbies because of demands on our time or because we have told ourselves (or have been told)
we are not creative.  As we seemingly move away from art in education and as we get busier, it seems more important than ever to nurture the creativity within us all.  If we ever needed any reasons to open up our painting kits and get started, they're all here! 

1. It improves motor skills.  All the time you are holding the brush (or dotting tool!) the muscles in your fingers are exercised and strengthened - all while doing something you enjoy. 

Happiness, creativity, painting, quote, find your happiness, folk art

2. It creates an outlet for emotions you may find it difficult to express verbally.  Studies of stroke patients have found that it can create more positive emotions and reduce depression. Being able to communicate through colour, pattern, brushstrokes and texture can release emotions in a healthy way. 

3. It can help boost self confidence. Learning a technique, mastering a brushstroke, finishing a project you are proud of can all lead to a sense of accomplishment and pride.  

Look up but never give up, quote, motivation, words to live by

4. It develops your levels of persistence.  When your brushstrokes aren't flowing as they should or a painting project doesn't turn out the way you would like it to, you become determined to rectify that.  As a result it not only increases your level of patience but it can help build your problem solving skills. 

5. As we imagine and think about our painting projects, plan our colour schemes and recall techniques and past projects, it can all help boost our memory and sharpen our minds.  Studies into the benefits of painting for individuals with Alzheimers have found that it can help them recall better, boost their imagination and strengthen their memories. 

6.  It lowers our stress levels.  Engaging in art gives us something to focus on other than our problems and worries and gives us the chance to engage in a spot of fun and feel good for a while.  

Creativity leads to creativity. quote, Maya Angelou

7. Creativity increases creativity. People often make the decision or are told that they aren't creative from a young age but just by engaging in a spot of painting strengthens everyones creative skills. Painting triggers our dopamine levels (the neurotransmitter that helps regulate our emotions and when it spikes, it creates the feeling of pleasure) and it engages both sides of the brain as it gives our brain the equivalent of an aerobic workout. 

8. It helps develop an optimistic attitude.  Every painter or artist will set themselves goals - to learn a technique, paint a design or create a specific project.  Once they reach that goal and improve their skills it increases their confidence and helps them feel more optimistic and positive of what they can create in the future.

9. You become more observant of the world around you. As you begin to paint shapes, colours and patterns you will start to search for and look for these within our surroundings. As your concentration improves thanks to your creative pastimes, you will notice the details that surround you that passed you by before. 

10. It helps us have fun. Through painting, we can laugh, learn something new and socialise with others. In addition, when we create, when we paint, we connect with others who enjoy doing the same. We share ideas, encourage others and we inspire - whether it is in person or online. There is nothing better than a creative community! 

Find something you love and do it forever, quote, inspiration

We don't know about you but we are convinced (more than ever!) that painting is so good for our mental, physical and emotional health. If you would like to share how you feel painting has changed your life, feel free to get in touch and share your story.  

Here's to creativity! 

The You Can Folk It team xx 

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Gorgeous painted napkins in 10 easy steps.

Christmas is a lovely time to create personal gifts and this year, we had fun indulging in a bit of fabric painting.  This is a fantastic project for anyone wanting to add some personal touches to their dinner table - simply change the napkins and paint colours to match the time of year or event you are wanting to use them for. 

For this project, you will need: 

A set of napkins
Round brush Starter kit and any extra 
Fabric chalk/crayon
Cardboard template 
Scrap cardboard 

Before we even got started painting our napkins, we washed them using washing powder containing no softeners as this would prevent the paint from adhering properly to the fabric.  Once we had ironed them, we were ready to begin. 

Step 1: Create your template.  The heart template in our Round Brush starter kit was too large for what we wanted so we created our own. We chose a heart but this would look lovely as a wreath shape too.  

10 steps to beautiful handpainted napkins. If you want to add a personal touch to your dinner table, click through to find out how simple it is to create your own with You Can Folk It. #handmade #tutorial #howto #painting

Step 2: Using the fabric chalk, draw your template where you want to paint them.  We chose to paint one heart in the corner of each napkin.  

10 steps to beautiful handpainted napkins. If you want to add a personal touch to your dinner table, click through to find out how simple it is to create your own with You Can Folk It. #handmade #tutorial #howto #painting

Step 3: Squeeze out your paint onto your palette and add DecoArt Fabric medium to each colour in equal amounts (1:1) Adding this medium not only makes your design permanent and washable, it makes the paints softer so they move with the fabric instead of peeling and cracking.  

10 steps to beautiful handpainted napkins. If you want to add a personal touch to your dinner table, click through to find out how simple it is to create your own with You Can Folk It. #handmade #tutorial #howto #painting

Step 4: Before you begin, slip your piece of scrap cardboard under your napkin to prevent the paint soaking through to the layers or table underneath.  Using the dotting tool, add your dot roses around the heart as we teach you in the Round Brush Starter kit

10 steps to beautiful handpainted napkins. If you want to add a personal touch to your dinner table, click through to find out how simple it is to create your own with You Can Folk It. #handmade #tutorial #howto #painting

Step 5: Still using the dotting tool, add dots to fill the space between the roses.  We used Hauser Dark Green but you could use the Avocado from our Flat Brush Starter kit (or any other darker green you wish). 

10 steps to beautiful handpainted napkins. If you want to add a personal touch to your dinner table, click through to find out how simple it is to create your own with You Can Folk It. #handmade #tutorial #howto #painting

Step 6: Using the Hauser Light Green from the Starter kit and the Round Brush, start adding 'leaves' to your heart around (and sometimes over) the dots you've just created to fill out your wreath shape.  Remember to leave a few gaps for the next layer of colour too. 

10 steps to beautiful handpainted napkins. If you want to add a personal touch to your dinner table, click through to find out how simple it is to create your own with You Can Folk It. #handmade #tutorial #howto #painting

There is no technique to this, we just used the tip of the brush to dab on small leaf shapes.  This is a fantastic project for anyone starting out with fabric painting as you will quickly realise that painting on to fabric is completely different to painting on to a smoother surface and it creates a beautiful, almost worn look.  You may find you wish to go over a few of the leaves as they do dry darker. 

10 steps to beautiful handpainted napkins. If you want to add a personal touch to your dinner table, click through to find out how simple it is to create your own with You Can Folk It. #handmade #tutorial #howto #painting

Step 7: (Optional) Using your round brush and Warm white from the Starter kit, as you did with the Light Green, add 'leaves' of white to create a snowy effect.  This is down to personal preference as you may find you would prefer to stick with different shades of green to fill out your heart.  

Step 8: Repeat all the above steps to complete the design on each napkin you need.  

Step 9: Leave to dry for 24-48 hours to allow the paint to fully bond with the fabric.  When they are dry, heat set them using an iron for 30 seconds.

10 steps to beautiful handpainted napkins. If you want to add a personal touch to your dinner table, click through to find out how simple it is to create your own with You Can Folk It. #handmade #tutorial #howto #painting

Step 10:  Pop them in the washing machine once again with washing powder (and no softener) and wash on 30 degrees.  Once dry, iron and fold ready for your dinner table.  If these gorgeous painted napkins are a gift for a loved one, why not tie them with a gorgeous co-ordinating ribbon? 


Wednesday, 13 December 2017

3 beautiful Scandi style looks for Christmas

One of our favourite things to do at Christmas is to wrap the presents.  There's nothing better than sitting around surrounded by gift wrap and pretty accessories to decorate that one gift you handpicked your loved one. Of course, it has to be accompanied by a little festive music too.

Scandi style inspiration is everywhere at the moment so here are a few of our favourite ideas for gift wrapping this year....

Scandi style, gift wrap, DecoArt, handpainted, gift tags

There's nothing more festive than lovely shades of red and we just loved this Scandi Style gift wrap we spied in Paperchase recently.  Whether you choose red gift wrap or choose to add splashes of red on the gift tag or ribbon, it does not matter it's bound to put a smile on your face.   

Brown paper packages all tied up with string.... simple kraft paper, twine, we can't help but love this rustic look.  We teamed these clean, crisp colours with beautiful blue to tie this Scandi look together.  Why not add our dotty snowflakes on to our baubles for a quick easy gift tag? 

Scandi style gift wrap, hand painted, DecoArt, folk art

Scandi style isn't just for festive red! This gorgeous turquoise blue paper, again from Paperchase is just stunning.  Why not pair it with handpainted cards and gift tags using DecoArt's Chalky Finish paint in 'Treasure'

folk art, hand painted gift tag, uni posca, metallic

Deep blues and metallics are a match made in heaven. We chose DecoArt's Metallic acrylic paint in Zinc to co-ordinate with this gorgeous Paperchase Recycled Silver kraft paper.  Hand write your name or greeting with Uni Posca's paint pen in silver and brush a little metallic lustre around the edge of the tag to complete the look. 

There's still time to pick up a few accessories to decorate for the festive season but be quick, the days are flying by! 

Happy festive folking x 


Tuesday, 21 November 2017

3 ways to wow with Gift Tags

At the moment, you cannot go far on Pinterest without coming across blush.  The pink tones are coming into their own in 2017 inspiring home decor, art and more. 
Blush and grey, copper and blush are on trend at the moment - perfect for Home Decor, Craft projects and more

With many of us embracing the beauty of grey this year, it didn't take long for it to be paired with the popular blush but whether it is paired with greys, coppers or golds, there is no doubting that it creates a sophisticated, feminine look.  We love this colour palette we spied over at The Pixel Odyssey and thought we would use it as inspiration for a few gift tags to use this Christmas.  

Pink and Rose Gold create a delicate and feminine gift tag for a birthday gift

Our first gift tag was decorated using the beautiful Pink Chiffon from DecoArt as its background.  We painted the folk art flower from our Bluebirds kit using DecoArt's Metallic Lustre in Rose Gold, finishing the tag with a little brush lettering learnt at one of Nikki Whiston's fabulous lettering courses.  If you are interested in learning this on trend skill, there are many courses around the UK and of course you can find plenty of resources and tutorials on Pinterest.  

We painted DecoArt Rose Gold and Yesteryear grey to hand paint a few gift tags - the perfect finishing touch to the perfect Christmas gift

Completely in love with the Rose Gold we decided to transform our Dotty Snowflake and that it did! Inspired by this vintage look wrapping paper from Katie Leamon we reached for DecoArt's Chalky finish paint in Yesteryear, a warm grey that works beautifully with the metallic look here.   To complete the project, we lightly brushed Rose Gold Metallic Lustre around the edges of the card.  

Inspired by Kate Leamon's Vintage style gift wrap, we created this handmade angel covered gift tag for our Christmas gifts

Another gorgeous grey is DecoArt's Artefact in their Chalky Finish range.  Taking a step away from the coppers and golds, we paired it with Metallic acrylic in Zinc to create these cute angels from our Christmas kit using our Liner brush.  

These small tags did not take long to decorate but they made a huge impact on the gifts we have to give this Christmas.  If you cannot decide where to start, do as we did and look to your favourite wrapping paper or your ribbons and trimmings to inspire you.  We love picking out colour schemes from old gift wrap and this was interestingly how Carol first decided on the colours we included in our Round Brush Starter kit.  

If you would like to share your photos of your hand painted gift wrap this festive season, we'd love you to tag us in your creations or use the hashtag #youcanfolkit 

Happy Folking! x 

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