Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Decorating Pumpkins the Folk It way

As we welcome in the signs of autumn, the golden leaves and colder weather, it also means that its nearly time for Halloween. For some, this event is the best day of the year and while we are some way behind the US for celebrating the holiday, it is certainly becoming a bigger deal in the UK as the years go by. 

As pumpkins fill the supermarkets, we could not resist the urge to take a few home to decorate.  We could have got out the knife but we were inspired by this recent blog post we saw and decided to follow the 'no carving' trend. 

If you want to have a go at decorating your own, here's what you will need: 

DecoArt's Chalky Finish paint in Carbon
Paintbrush - we used a DecoArt 2" flat brush 
DecoArt metallic lustre wax in Gold Rush 
Our Series 1 medium round brush 
DecoArt Americana acrylic in warm white 
Paper towel 

First we painted the pumpkin in DecoArt Chalky Finish paint. As we keep saying, the beauty of this paint is that it needs no prep - grab your pumpkin and get painting. It gives a gorgeous matte finish which gives the perfect look for Halloween. 

We painted our pumpkin with DecoArt Chalky Finish paint in carbon
Paint one coat of Carbon onto the pumpkin.
Once this coat was dry, (you could speed it up with a hairdryer if you needed to) we dry brushed the pumpkin with DecoArt Metallic wax using long vertical strokes to follow the curves of the pumpkin. To do this, lightly press the brush into the wax and remove the excess by brushing it onto the paper towel. When the brush feels almost dry to the touch, lightly brush the wax over the pumpkin. If you wish to build the colour, add a second layer of the wax to the pumpkin. 

Dry brush the pumpkin with DecoArt metallic lustre
Create a thing of beauty using Metallic lustre!
Now comes the fun bit! Grab your round brush, your chosen colour paint and get Folking! The beauty of this project is that you can paint whatever design you want onto it.  The curved surface of the pumpkin presents its challenges when painting but you can make your design as simple or as intricate as you wish. The important part is to have fun with it. 

We chose to decorate ours with comma strokes, flowers (from our bluebirds kit) and dots. Let your imagination go wild!
Here is our beautiful Folked up pumpkin 
Now we've got the bug we are going to have fun carving one.... 

If you have created a Folk It pumpkin, or if we have inspired you to have a go at painting one up for Halloween, we would love to see it. You can share it here

Happy Folking...and Happy Halloween, 

Carol and Sandra x

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Five great ways to add writing to your Folk It projects

So you have painted up something you are proud of and you want to add writing as a finishing touch but what do you use? There are a number of options available and your choice may depend on the finished look you want and personal preference so here are a few of our favourites for you to choose from.

1. Transfers

Our Series 2 kits contain phrases and words for you to transfer onto your projects. For each project we have created tailor made transfers for each one.  We understand that not everyone likes their handwriting or you may want something a bit more formal to finish off your masterpiece and once you have got to grips with using the transfers you can create your own to add to those projects and to ones from Series 1 if you wish.

Use DecoArt Matte medium to transfer writing to your project in our Folk It Series 2 kits
Transfers make it easy to add phrases and words to projects. 
2. Painting

Trust us, if you practice enough, you can learn to use your liner brush well enough to write with it. It's true, it takes commitment and yes, there may be times when you want to throw the brush and your paints through the window and wish to never see them again.  However, trust us when we say it is so worth it when you paint with a flow that wasn't there before. Give your work a finished look by adding dots of paint at the ends of your lines.

Use a liner brush to write onto your Folk It projects
It is possible to use a liner brush to write onto your project 

Another option is to draw letters onto your work and fill them in with paint. This is quite difficult on smaller projects but possible on larger ones.  We have pinned a great tutorial showing you how to do this here.

Draw on letters and fill with paint
Draw and paint on letters to your project 

3. Permanent markers

These are a great option for writing onto your project and like paint, using different colours can give you a different look. There are a few things to remember when using these though...

You have to leave your project to dry. Yes, it seems like an obvious thing to say but we've all been there; we are excited, we think the paint is dry or we hope we can get away with it, or most irritating of all, 99% of it is dry and just as we are finishing off our masterpiece, the paint catches and you can't hide it. If in doubt, leave it for an extra couple of hours. When you are writing with the permanent marker, you will find it does clog up. You're paint is dry so why is this happening? The reason is that your paint will still pick up a bit of 'transfer' that clogs up the end of the pen. Don't worry, all you need to do is keep wiping the tip of your pen with a piece of tissue.

It is easy to write directly onto your Folk it project with a permanent marker
Add writing with a permanent marker - play with colour and nib widths.

4. Uni Posca Paint pens

Available in a range of sizes (the tips range from extra thick to ultra fine) and colours (including metallic) these pens can be used on a wide range of surfaces. If you have seen some of our previous tutorials, you will have seen that Carol is a fan of these and has used them to personalise table decorations recently for her sons wedding.  These are a great alternative to using a liner brush, especially on curved and uneven surfaces.  If you would like more information, you can find it here.

Carol used Posca paint pens to personalise these wedding table decorations
Carol used Posca pens to personalise table decorations
5.  Stamps and stickers

Although this is not a medium we use at Folk It, we know a lot of our Folkers, being a crafty lot, have other resources available to them.  Providing beautiful, uniform writing, stamps and stickers are a fantastic option and our many people often use these to add sentiments and writing to their project. With many great designs available, there is one for any project. Whether stamped directly onto the project or onto card and added as an embellishment, it can be the finishing touch to your work.

Add stamps to your Folk It project to add detail
Stamp directly onto your project or, create a little embellishment as one of our Folkers has done here. 

So there you have our top five ways to add writing.  These are by no means the only options available  but these are the ones we use and see most often.  If you use a different method, we would love to hear about it.

Happy Folking,

The Folk It team x

Thursday, 8 October 2015

How to create beautiful storage by painting on glass

For many people discovering a new hobby can be exciting and addictive. Once we delve into learning a new skill, our confidence grows and soon, all we want to do is create. It is often the same with our Folk It kits. When I discovered Folk Art in Australia, I would drop my children off at school and take up residence in my teachers studio to take part in back to back lessons, only leaving when I needed to pick them back up again. There comes a time when paper is not enough and we want to use our brushstrokes on anything that doesn't move. We know that we are not alone in this feeling and a while back I created this tutorial for our newsletter subscribers. Following the Handmade Fair and our weekender on Create and Craft recently, we have started receiving questions about how to paint on glass. We visited our newsletter archives, gave it a tweak or three and posted it here for you to enjoy. I hope you find it useful. 

Happy Folking, 
Carol x 

DecoArt understand the lure of painting on glass - to create beautiful glass tree ornaments, upcycle jam jars or create beautiful storage. They have done a fantastic job creating many different paints that allow you to paint straight onto different surfaces. If you wish to paint on glass, you can choose some lovely DecoArt Gloss Enamels. However, DecoArt Multi Surface Satin is a great all rounder for painting onto most surfaces. 

However, the best paint for Folk Artists like us, is Americana Acrylics. They are a perfect consistency and dry to a beautiful matt finish. The problem with using these paints on their own and painting directly onto glass is that they can be very easily scratched off. However, the solution can be found in DecoArt's Paint adhesion medium.  You can either paint a thin layer of the medium directly onto surface you wish to paint as we have done here, or you can add it into your acrylics (1:1 - you will not lose quality in colour or consistency) and paint directly on to the plain glass. 

So lets get started...  
Use used jars and canisters, Folk It and DecoArt's Paint adhesion medium to epicycle them.
Any old jar...
Step 1: Choose your glass item you wish to paint. I chose an empty pickle jar - it doesn't have to cost a fortune to look pretty. This was a jar I had at home but I chose it for its lovely shape and detail - any raised detail will look lovely when you lightly sand some of the paint off.
Before you start to paint you need to ensure the surface is absolutely clean. While it is tempting to miss this step out, (especially if you're excited to get started) it really does ensure the best finish. Use a 1:1 solution of vinegar and water to wipe down your glass. We have a lot of natural oils on our fingers that can ruin our finished piece so be careful not to handle the glass after you have cleaned it. 
The ultimate grease remover is pure alcohol called Isopropyl. It is worth investing in some if you wish to paint a lot of glass and can be bought from Pharmacies. 

Step 2: Paint a layer of Paint Adhesion Medium onto your glass and allow it to dry completely.  
Step 3: Paint one layer of your paint on top of the dried medium. For this project, I created this soft green by mixing Baby Blue and Hauser Light Green (both from the Series 1 Starter kit). Again, allow your paint to dry completely before the next step.

Paint a layer of DecoArt's Paint Adhesion medium before painting it with your chosen colour.

I am a big advocate for using leftover paint. DecoArt's Americana acrylics really do go a long way and so here, I also covered a Kenco Millicano coffee tub (shown in the background). 

Step 4: (optional) With fine sandpaper, lightly rub over the jar to pick out any detail - like the words on these jars. 
Step 5: Using your traced pattern and transfer paper, transfer your design guide onto your surface - don't forget all sides and any lids you may have!
Decorate with a Folk It design - here we used our Vintage Rose kit available from www.folkit.co
Paint on your design 
Step 6: Paint your design onto the dry base colour. These roses were painted using a mix of Baby Blue and Tomato Red from the Series 1 Starter Kit. 
Step 7: Sit back, admire and wait for your paint to cure. 

Painted jar created using Folk It's Vintage rose kit
Leave to cure! 
Things to remember.....
All paint needs to cure. A cured paint will be solid throughout, not just dry to the touch. Acrylics often feel dry a few minutes after being painted but in order to cure, it usually needs a couple of weeks. Factors such as humidity, number of coats and thickness of paint will also influence this time. A slick surface will mean paint is easily scratched off after a couple of days but becomes more robust after a couple of weeks.
Always remember, your painted objects are like a car. Scratch a car with a key and paint will come away. Similarly, if your object is scratched with some force, because it does not have that 'key', some paint will be removed, regardless of the paint used.  

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