Monday, 28 September 2015

Beautiful and easy dot inspired makeover

Makeover tutorial

Moving house can be exciting and stressful in equal measure. For some of us, it means moving into the house of our dreams where every room matches our tastes. For some of us, we know our home is going to be a work in progress and there are many projects that are on our 'to-do' list. 

One of the best parts of moving home is inheriting items that you wouldn't have thought of buying before but there are also items that needs a bit of TLC.  Our most recent project was one of these items. One of our friends was discussing her new home the other day and mentioning how they didn't have the cash to update the dated decor. One of her solutions for now was to check out the sales and buy new accessories - much needed towels, toothbrush holders and mats.  When we saw this cute little shelf that she wanted to throw out, we had to step in and rescue it. When we saw it we thought it would be the perfect project for a dotty design - something a bit different from what we've created before. As we have recently celebrated International Dot Day and have seen how versatile the humble dot is we thought we would use them here.
Here we've put together a quick guide to how we transformed it.  

You will need:

Small storage item of your choice

Folk It Starter kit Dotting tool
Heart template from our Series 1 Starter kit
Folk It No 3 Round brush (from our Starter kit)
DecoArt Chalky Finish paint - we used Relic and Treasure
to co-ordinate with accessories.
DecoArt Americana Acrylics - we used Baby Blue, Warm White and Lamp Black from the Starter Kit.
Roller brush
Flat brush for painting the corners
Fine sandpaper
Vaseline for distressing (optional) 

up-cycling, tutorial, shelves, shelf
The original shelf - complete with dated decoration

We have said it before but the beauty of DecoArt's Chalky Finish paint is that you do not need to sand or prep your project before you begin. As the shelf had been sat in an empty house for a while, we did give it a wipe down with a damp cloth to remove dust and grime. Once it dries, if you would like to distress your shelf, add a layer of vaseline to areas where you don't want the paint to stick. We began painting the shelf with the Chalky Finish paint in Relic, using an old flat brush to reach the awkward corners on the inside. Allow to dry.

Paint a second coat and allow it to dry, if you have applied Vaseline, using a dry cloth, now rub the areas where you have applied it to remove the paint.  Next, we transferred the template onto the shelf by placing the template in the area we wanted the design, placing the transfer paper chalk side down underneath the pattern and tracing over it with the small end of our dotting tool. We chose to add a heart on the top and sides of the shelf.

Next, using the old flat brush, we added one coat of Americana Decor Chalky Finish in Treasure to the edges of the shelf. Once it had dried, using the sandpaper from our Starter Kit, we rubbed areas of the shelf (including the small handle at the bottom) to allow the Relic grey through. (Again, if you used Vaseline on these areas, you would simply rub off the paint instead with a dry cloth). In some areas, we kept sanding to reveal small patches of the original colour through too.

Decoart, paint, shelf, up-cycle, re-paint, basecoat
The new shelf is now ready to decorate :)

Now comes the fun part! Using our template as a guide and working our way inwards from the edge we started dotting. We mixed our dark blue with baby blue and black and started with that but as we worked around the heart we kept adding white to lighten the colour. This meant that it created a lovely Ombre effect on the design with the lightest dots being in the middle.  To fill the heart we used a mixture of small and large dots using the tool. Once we had completed the hearts on the top of the project, we used exactly the same process for the hearts on the side.

We filled the heart with dots, using a dotting tool. A great project for up-cycling/furniture makeover. Add white as you go for an ombre effect
Filling in the heart was rather therapeutic and we were pleased with the overall effect. 
To finish the project, we added small comma strokes below the hearts to add a bit more detail but these are optional. You could add whatever extra details you wish. As we are always telling our Folkers to remember the little details, we painted a small heart on the little handle at the bottom and added dots around it.

Added detail from comma strokes for the dot filled heart
Adding detail to the completed hearts
Finally, the little shelf was unrecognisable and the Relic and Treasure really compliment each other. Thankfully, our friend is over the moon with it and is so happy she didn't throw it away.  The great thing about this project is that anyone can do it whether they Folk It or not. All you need is a bit of paint, patience and a dotting tool.

Makeover completed. A dot heart project anyone can complete
Our completed shelf. 


Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Folk It spent their 1st birthday at The Handmade Fair

Well, the dust is settling and we have been busily unpacking after the Handmade Fair.  As we settle back into our usual routine back in Sheffield we are still bowled over, not only by the fantastic response we received over the weekend but also by the event as a whole; the quality of the stalls, the food and of course, the atmosphere. Only in it's second year, it is still relatively new but it can certainly stand up against the more established events across the country. 

As you may know, the team at Folk It were preparing for the Handmade Fair for quite a while before the show.  This event certainly had a special place in our heart as it was the event we used to launch our kits back in 2014. Last year we had a fantastic response and this year although we hoped for a successful weekend we weren't sure what reaction we would receive, whether we would see many people from last year or how many new faces we would see.  We are pleased to say however, that our fears were unfounded. Throughout the three days the Folk It team was kept busy with demonstrations, questions and catching up with Folk It regulars from our Social media and a few familiar faces. Among those we met were the lovely Carrie from illabella, blogger and crafter, Terri from Home is where the craft is and Susie from SK Cakes

It was fantastic to chat to Folkers about the projects they've created since last year and it was a great feeling to see projects posted on Social media from people who had gone straight home or to their hotel and cracked open their kits.

1. Emma created this lovely hanging heart. 2. Lauren went home to practice the Starter kit designs.
3. Louisa has been bitten by the Folk It! bug and has been adding dot designs to everything :)
4. @thecrochetchain shared these lovely borders on Instagram

Every evening, you could find Carol in the Grand Makes tent putting her teaching experience to excellent use to show everyone how to create a dot rose design. Many people entered the tent very sceptical about how easy this design is to create and to see their designs and their faces when they realised we were telling the truth was amazing.  From old to young, men and women, they all left the tent with a huge sense of achievement and a card to keep.  We had to dash back to the tent each day to help out the rest of the team with the crowds of people buying kits afterwards. Word got round to the organisers as well and they congratulated Carol on delivering one of the best Grand Makes of the event.  

One of the lovely surprises of the weekend has to have been a visit from Kirstie Allsopp to our stall. Early Sunday morning, Carol found herself demonstrating the Starter kit to Kirstie who was amazed at how simple and effective it was.  Knowing how busy she was, it was lovely to see her stop by and celebrate our first birthday with us with a team photo :) 

The Handmade Fair Folk It team with Kirstie Allsopp 

One of the downsides to the event was that we did not get a lot of time to browse the amazing stalls and wares that were on offer (though that might have been a good thing for our bank balances!). As a Sheffield based company ourselves, it was lovely to see people from Ernest Wright selling their fantastic scissors in the other tent.   We were also introduced to the fun and wonderful world of Wild Things who create beautiful dresses and capes for little ones.  From beautiful dresses to Little Red Riding Hood capes and fancy dress outfits this stall was just gorgeous! One stall that also seemed to be constantly busy was the Arty Crafty Place and their Block Craft. Their Fair-trade hand carved blocks can be used to print on paper and fabric and their range of designs was stunning.  

Simply Vintage Designs had a beautiful stall and the Haywood Sisters were part of the HotchPotch Charity Events tea rooms. 

There was lots of cake decorating inspiration on the Fiona Cairns stall and the staff at Lea Lu were dressed in beautiful vintage outfits. 

With a relaxed, almost festival like vibe, we saw an array of outfits from vintage to crochet, sophisticated to unusual.  With Pom Pom jewellery and flower headband workshops there was an array of eye-catching head wear.  There really was something for everyone.  

Kirsty and One Man Crochet certainly turned a few heads at the weekend  
It is impossible to say which part of the event was our favourite as we have truly been blown away; by the amazing stalls we have seen, the people we have met and the feedback we have been given. One thing we are certain about though, it was a fantastic place to celebrate our first birthday.  With many exciting events on the horizon, we are definitely looking forward to The Handmade Christmas Fair in November.  If you can get to Manchester, it promises to be another fantastic (and festive) weekend.  


Friday, 4 September 2015

We are celebrating International Dot Day

We have all had those thoughts haven't we? Those thoughts that nestle in to our psyche and tell us that we aren't creative, that we couldn't possibly draw/paint/cook as well as we want to. Unfortunately, those voices often come from parents, friends or teachers and once they are there, they are so difficult to change. 
One teacher that understands the struggles we have with creativity realised that he needed a bit of assistance to convince his students that they were creative. On the 15th September 2009, Terry Shay bought Peter H. Reynold's book 'The Dot' into his classroom to share its story. In the book, a thoughtful teacher asks Vashti, a reluctant student who doubted her artistic ability, to make her mark. What begins as a simple dot develops into a journey of creativity. 
Our starter kit designs use dots to create beautiful and eye-catching designs. 

It is no coincidence that when we were creating our Series 1 Starter Kit we created beautiful and simple Folk Art designs that could be created using dots. From this dot, we can create roses, hearts and leave and no paintbrushes are needed. However, like Vashti, once you have started, you can experiment with those techniques and develop your skills using our other kits to include a series of brushstrokes, if you wish. 

Since that day in 2009, International Dot Day has been born and now (to date) 111 countries around the world celebrate this event. Millions have been inspired to discover their creativity starting with dots; from students to celebrities, they make their mark and the different directions this first step takes them in have been utterly astounding. 

This has become a huge event for teachers and educators around the world and you can download resources to help you plan mark making in lots of subjects beyond just Art. With the availability of social media, classrooms are even connecting via Skype to share experience. 
This year, we are so excited to be celebrating international Dot Day for the very first time and we hope you will join us. Over the next few weeks, we will be creating projects and inspiration using dots (in whatever form they take) and we challenge you to do the same. Even if you have only just discovered Folk It, pick up your Starter Kit and make your mark. Believe you are an artist - everyone has the potential to be creative, it can begin with a simple dot. 

We would love to see your creations. Why not share them with us on Facebook or email us at and we will be sharing lots of dotty projects on the 15th (and after) to celebrate creativity. 

We hope you're as excited as we are! 
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