Thursday, 31 January 2019

How to paint your own Folk Art Valentine's card

White card painted with a traditional folk art design in red created by Carol Sykes from you Can Folk It.

So you've got our kits but Valentine's Day is coming up (or some other special occasion) and you just don't want to paint any of the usual designs, you want to create something different, you want to try something new. Well, we may just have the thing for you. 

The great thing about Folk Art painting is that the same basic brushstrokes can be used in so many different ways, once you've learnt these brushstrokes, you can create something entirely new without learning any new techniques. Here, we have used elements from our painting kits to design something a little more traditional, we hope you enjoy the tutorial. 


You will need:

A card and envelope (or gift bag!)
A round brush  
A flat brush 
DecoArt Americana Acrylic in the colour of your choice 
(we used Lamp Black, Warm White, Country Red, Hauser Light Green and Baby blue*)
Transfer paper* 
Dotting Tool*

*available in our Round Brush Starter kit 

I began by creating a basic template for you to trace onto your card that you can find here. This is larger than the mountboard as I use a wooden heart as my template. 

Begin by transferring your design on to your card. We tried this design in a variety of colour ways - white on black, black on white, red on white and colour on white.  The choice is yours, play with colour and see which you are drawn to the most. 


Speaking from experience, begin in the centre of the design and work outwards to prevent smudges! 





Black paper with a traced design and painted heart next to a folk art pattern on tracing paper

Using your round brush, fill the centre heart in the colour of your choice. When it is dry, add three comma strokes down the right hand side of the heart using the liner brush. 

Black paper with three brushstrokes showing you how to paint a folk art tulip

Paint your tulip using the round brush.  Begin painting the centre comma stroke. For the side petals, flick the tip in the opposite direction.  Optional: if you feel confident, side load your brush with a contrasting colour when painting your side petals. 

Red heart and folk art tulip being painted on to a white greetings card

If you wish, add comma stroke leaves using your liner brush to complete the tulip. We did this for some versions we painted and not for others - play with your design and see what you prefer.  

White traditional folk art design by Carol Sykes being painted on to a black beckground

Using your Flat Brush and the s stroke we teach in our Rosebuds kit, add leaves around the heart. Using the liner brush, add branches through the centre of the leaves.  Using a contrasting colour, connect each leaf with smaller branches (see below).  If you don't feel confident using your liner brush, draw the line using a Uni Posca Paint pen in a matching colour.   
Add two leaves at the bottom of the pattern.

Black card painted with a traditional folk art design created by Carol Sykes from You Can Folk It next to some white roses

Using your Round brush, add bluebirds under the heart.  

A black greetings card painted decorated with a white traditional folk art design against a brick wall.

Optional: tip the brush with your contrasting colour when painting the birds (something we teach in our Bluebirds kit).  

Handpainted white card being decorated using dots of paint

Using the small end of your dotting tool and your chosen colour, edge the larger heart with dots of paint. To do this, paint triangles of dots with the points facing outwards not inwards. 



Three cards all painted using the same folk art design inspired by Valentines day in different colours.  Black on white card, white of a black card and colour on a white card.

Play with colour.  We painted the design using white/black on black, black/white on white and also a colour version using the colours from our Round Brush Starter kit


Black card hand painted with a Valentines inspired folk art design using a monochromatic palette.  Pictured against a brick wall with a porcelain bird

As you can see, in some versions of the card, we have added dot daisies and details, in others, we have painted the main design only.  The choice is yours, play with it and have fun! 

We hope you enjoy our take on a more traditional Folk Art design - perfect for Valentines Day.  

Happy Folking xx 










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Thursday, 17 January 2019

Inspired by music and having #funwithfolkit

Canal Art Roses and Daisies painted on to a vintage vinyl record.

This month, our challenge has been to find inspiration in music.  While we may turn up our favourite tunes in the studio while we paint, that is usually where our inspiration ends! We are pleased to say however, that our inspiration and yours has taken us by surprise. Pairing our painting kits with music has created a range of great ideas and we thought we'd round up a few for you.


You Can Folk it's folk art daisies painted to create musical notes

Musical notes - when you're practicing brushstrokes, it can be fun to create something new with them and play with ideas without committing too much time in case your idea doesn't work out.  These daisy notes by In Blume are a lovely twist on our Daisy Details kit.

                         Black and white handpainted birthday card. The card has a large A painted with musical notes and symbols

At the Painting Table has created this lovely card by painting a little music using her liner brush.  Painting with your liner brush is a little different to painting comma strokes but once you've mastered it, this brush is perfect for painting more delicate designs. 

3 different cards featuring strips of music sheets and painted using folk art brushstrokes.

Carol recently went to visit friends in South Africa and got creative with her friend Ronel.  Armed with some free music sheet printables, she used them to create a border before adding some liner brush patterns and hearts.  We think the black heart would make a great Valentines card for the music lover in your life. What do you think? 

An outline of a guitar painted by You Can Folk It! using folk art comma strokes and dots

Take a silhouette and decorate it with a few liner brush strokes to create your own unique design.  Sandra used a mixture of comma strokes, lines and dotting to create this pretty pattern.  For the strings she used a Micron pen.  If you don't feel comfortable using a liner brush for the longer lines and swirls, why not use pens or colouring pencils and just use the brush for the comma strokes?  

Handpainted cards, one black, one white.  Both feature a square of vintage music sheets that have been painted on to using You Can Folk It painting kits.

Get your hands on some old music sheets to create some Vintage vibes? Here we toned down the background (you don't want the music distracting from your painted design) using a little Antiquing.  If you want to know more about how to do this, check out our You Tube tutorial

A circle of music paper framed by hand painted lace like designs from You Can Folk it

Use a little music to create a centrepiece and add a little lace around it.  Learn to paint our delicate lace design using our kit and then follow our great tutorial to build on those skills and learn to create your own patterns. 

An old radio that has been hand painted with Roses using You Can Folk It's Vintage roses kit.  Photographed with painting in progress and the finished radio in the owners home

Jo from The Original Craft Co doesn't get much time to herself but inspired by this months theme, she knew the perfect project.  Sitting unloved in a corner of her home, she dusted off her tired looking radio and gave it a new lease of life with our Vintage Roses kit.  


Handpainted white Edelweiss flower on black paper.  White petals with a white and yellow centre.

Inspired by a song, At the Painting Table searched for this pretty flower and used her Folk Art round brush skills to create a version of her own.  Once you've learned the techniques from our kits, it just goes to show you can create and paint so much more.  

When we first came up with our monthly themes for our painting challenge, we thought it would give us a focus, a way to inspire us and we are so pleased that it has done that and so much more.  Once again, we are blown away with all that you can do with a few brushstrokes.  

Happy Folking! 




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Monday, 10 December 2018

Christmas Cupcakes in 10 easy steps



What you need: 
Card/envelope/mountboard (or bauble mount board) 
Tracing paper & transfer paper*
Flat Brush, Medium Liner Brush and Dotting tool* 
You Can Folk It Cupcakes painting kit 
DecoArt Americana acrylics in Razzle Berry, Holly Green, Lamp Black and Titanium (Snow) White 
Drying Time extender*

*All included in our Flat Brush Starter Kit


An outline of a cupcake with a snowman sat on the top.

Step 1: transfer our Snowman cupcake pattern to your surface. This will fit perfectly on one of our square mount boards or baubles. 


Painted white silhouette of the a snowman topped cupcake.

Step 2: To help the colours on your final piece pop, base coat the entire area of your design with white using your flat brush.  


White silhouette of a snowman topped cupcake with pencil lines marking out the details


Step 3: Transfer the lines you need back onto the painted area.  


Snowman topped cupcake - with painted areas of red (the cupcake wrapper) and green (for the Snowmans hat and scarf)

 Step 4: Using your flat brush again, base coat the cupcake wrapper in red and the top of the snowman's hat using Green.  Before base coating the rim of the hat and the scarf, add a little white to make it just slightly lighter.


Hand painted snowman topped cupcake with highlighted and shaded areas to make it look 3D

Step 5: Using the Razzle Berry, float colour onto the cupcake to add texture, just as you would in our cupcakes kit.  Don't forget to add rosy cheeks too! 

Step 6: Using white, float colour around the base of his hat to highlight it. 

Handpainted snowman topped cupcake design. The snowman is dressed in a green tartan hat and scarf to compliment the red festive cupcake wrapper.

Step 7: Using your liner brush, add a pattern to his scarf and hat.  Begin with Razzle Berry and Black before adding white lines, edging and tassels. (Don't forget to add a little bobble on his hat too!)   

Step 8: Using the large end of the dotty tool, add his eyes and mouth.  Using the small end, add two dots of white to each eye.  Add his carrot nose using the liner brush (or you can apply it using the dotting tool) 

Handpainted snowman topped cupcake design Christmas card. Thesnowman wears a green tartan hat and scarf and the red cupcake wrapper is decorated with white berries and leaves

Step 9: Float white lines on the cupcake (as shown in our kit) and add berries to the area using the dotting tool. 

Step 10: Apply Crystal Glamour Dust to the design as you paint to create that all important sparkle at winter time.  

Hand painted snowman topped cupcake Christmas card design painted on to a card and mount board bauble shape that can be used as a gift tag

Don't fancy making a card? Why not try adding it to one of our baubles?







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Wednesday, 21 November 2018

The beauty of Bauernmalerai

November is about all things vintage at Folky HQ as part of our #funwithfolkit painting challenge.  This week, we thought we would indulge in a little Bauernmalerai painting - a version of folk art originating from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  Using the round brush, it uses our beloved comma strokes as well as the c and s strokes.  If you have some of our Flat Brush kits you may have learnt these brushstrokes, the only difference is that in this project you paint them using the round brush.  If you are up for the challenge, it certainly is a lovely design to paint. 

For this project, you will need:

Liner brush 
No 3 Round Brush 
True Ochre, 
Tomato or Country Red, 
Warm White, 
Antique Green,
French Grey Blue, 
Burnt Umber
To Antique and complete the tray you will need:
DecoArt Metallic lustre in Copper Kettle 
Soft, lint free cloth
Your chosen varnish

Traditional decorative painting - Bauernmalerai pattern outline


Once you have transferred your design, begin by base coating your roses in Red and Ochre.  

Step by step images of how to paint Bauernmalerai inspired roses and tulips using Folk Art brushstrokes.

To paint the roses load your brush with Red/Ochre and side load with warm white. 
First, paint 2 comma strokes to the bottom of your rose then fill your circle using C strokes to create the rose as shown above. 

An image of a plain tea tray and the painted design that will be added to it. The design consists of red and yellow roses and blue tulips with a decorative border


To paint the Tulip, load your brush with French Blue Grey and side load with Warm White. 
Using s strokes, paint the outer petals before using comma strokes to paint the centre.  

Using your liner brush (loaded with Antique Green) apply the stems. 

Painted white tray decorated with a traditional Bauernmalerai design featuring red and yellow roses and blue tulips

To paint your leaves, load your brush with Green and side load with the True Ochre.  Paint your S strokes to the tulips.  

Next, using the same colours, paint the comma strokes around the centre and edge of the design. 

A photo of the completed Bauernmalerai pattern featuring red and yellow roses and blue tulips on a plain white tray next to the pattern/design sheet


Next, paint the edge pattern around your tray. (If you are choosing to do this on a different project, you could use this design as a border or leave it out).

A photo of the sides of the tea tray decorated with hand painted daisies and leaves in the Bauernmalerai style

We have painted our flowers with the blue/red side loaded with white. Finish by painting the comma strokes with green side loaded with white. 

Once we were certain the tray was completely dry, we decided to complete the Vintage inspired project by Antiquing the tray.  To do this we mixed 3 parts Drying Time extender and 1 part Burnt Sienna before applying this to the tray.  You can check out our video tutorial here

Next, apply a little metallic lustre to the edges and handles of your tray.  Leave to dry before varnishing. 

A photo of a wooden tray that has been painted white and hand painted with a Bauernmalerai inspired design of yellow and red roses and blue tulips. A wash of brown has been applied over the top of the tray to tone down the colours and give the tray an antique look




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Thursday, 8 November 2018

Paint your own folky Polar Bear

A dark hand painted plaque painted with a polar bear and snowflakes. The handwritten quote on the plaque says 'Dream Big little one' and is threaded with silver ribbon to hang on a door.


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* 
Sponge*
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 

Practice paper, paintbrushes, DecoArt Metallic Lustre and the polar bear traced pattern from You Can Folk It

 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.  

A photo showing DecoArt Americana Acrylic in Warm white and practice rows of C strokes painted using the Flat brush in the picture


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. 

A photo of the completed dark blue rectangular wooden plaque painted with a polar bear and decorated with snowflakes. The phrase 'Dream Big Little One' is hand written across the top

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 

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Monday, 29 October 2018

Paint your own Autumnal wreath in 5 simple steps

Handpainted wreath painted in Autumn colours of greens, browns and golds with red berries

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.  

Handpainted folk art design in Autumn colours of reds, browns and oranges surrounded by pots of DecoArt Americana paint

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*
pencil
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 

Pattern outline of a wreath made up of comma strokes

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

Practice boards from You Can Folk It featuring an outline of a wreath and a painted version using red, green, brown and gold

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 painted in browns, golds and greens and decorated with red berries

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   







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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 learning...it 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.  
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