Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Folky Tips to stay creative

Tips to keep living a creative life from You Can Folk It. Benefit from the mindfulness of creative pursuits and art.

In 2017, compared to a decade ago, we are more aware that we need to nurture our mental health and take steps to combat the fast paced lives many of us lead and achieve a state of mindfulness - time to reflect, be present and achieve an almost meditative state.  Creativity has been found to have many benefits, for our moods and problem solving to hand eye co-ordination and dexterity.  

This all sounds great but running a business, looking after a family or generally dealing with whatever life brings your way means that sometimes creativity, hobbies and having fun often get tossed aside. 
So, we thought we would put together a few of our favourite ways to stay creative…..

Spend some time every week being creative. Schedule time for yourself to paint for no other reason than it makes you happy. It doesn't have to be a project - it could be a practice sheet or doodling a new pattern that you can add to your journal. 

Do something different. Try something you haven't done before or that you think you don't have time for…bake a cake, go do some gardening, read a book. Breaking out of your routine even if just for 5 or 10 minutes can uplift and inspire you. 

Whether it's flicking through a magazine or browsing Pinterest (our personal favourite!), you can find inspiration everywhere. Pinterest in particular is an amazing way to stumble across the unknown, things that you would have never even thought of searching for. 

     Each folk art kit contains a full colour instruction booklet and a DVD to follow - a painting workshop in your home

Sometimes thinking can be our downfall when it comes to creativity.  Often, the idea of letting go and not being bound by rules can be a scary thought for many.   For example, the guides that come with our kits are fantastic at teaching you how to paint the basics and are incredibly helpful but feel free to explore them and adjust them to suit the style you desire. 

5. Practice. From mixing colours to brushstrokes, practice is key. No one is perfect and just practicing our technique and playing with colour can inspire new colour schemes, build confidence and trigger new ideas. 

These are our favourite five but there are so many other ways to stay creative. We recently discovered this amazing post from Jennifer about the healing that can come from creativity.  It emphasises to us yet again, just how important it is.

Happy Folking!  

Sunday, 26 July 2015

You can Folk It! Decorations on a budget

Carol Sykes from You Can Folk It shows you how to transform cheap supplies into beautiful table decorations

Hey! We're back with a purse friendly project that you'll definitely find handy if you've got any party planning on the horizon. 

So, parties can cost a pretty penny, what with food, music, drinks…the list goes on. So when it comes down to the decorating it's always handy to scrimp and save where possible. We're going to show you just a few ways you can create an effective but more importantly cheap alternative to those pricey table decorations on the high street using inexpensive objects and just a few folky hints and tips. 

So what are you wanting to repurpose? We've opted for plastic plates and tin buckets (available from stores such as B&M, The Range and a lot of local supermarkets) as well as one of our popular MDF hearts which are available from our 'Art Supplies' section of our website. 
Create wedding decorations on a budget with You Can Folk It, DecoArt and Uni Posca pens
Plastic plates, MDF hearts & tin buckets
Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint in Relic, Carbon & Lace
Tracing & Tranfer paper
Dotting Tool
Posca Paint Pens (White & Black)

First things first, start by painting up your pieces with Americana Decor Chalky Finish paint in shade 'Relic' - there's no need for a primer here as this paint gives an instant overall opaque finish. Go ahead and let that dry then we'll move onto decorating each pieces individually, starting with the plate (or soon to be…candle holder!)
Basecoating cheap plates and buckets with DecoArt Chalky Finish paint
Create beautiful table decorations for a fraction of the cost with Folk It and DecoArt paint

1. Take your dotting tool and using the chalky finish paint you originally used to paint the plate with (we've used white paint in this tutorial just to show you how we paint the design) go around the outer edge creating dot hearts or flowers. 

2. Leave this to dry fully, the design shouldn't be obvious at this point but more like a raised pattern on the surface. 

3. Take a dry brush and dip gently in white paint, using a piece of tissue wipe off the majority of the paint leaving as little as possible on the bristles. 

4. Lightly sweep the bristles of the dry brush across the surface of your painted design, the raised areas should pick up the limited paint on the brush revealing your design with a rough, rustic finish. Keep brushing your design until your get your desired finish.
Create your own DIY wedding decorations using You Can Folk It and DecoArt paints

1. Take a dry brush just as before for the plate, apply a small amount of paint and wipe the majority off on a tissue. 

2. Using repeat motions, sweep your brush in multiple directions across the surface of the heart, this transforms the look from a completely smooth and consistent colour to a rustic and textured look. 

3. Once fully dry again, using a paint marker, write the required number. 

4. This is where you get to add a little decoration, using our favourite paints from Americana Decor with our Folk It! comma strokes and dot details using the Folk It! dotting tool and medium liner brush.

5. Finally, thread some twine through the predrilled hole and it's ready to be tied around anything from a vase to a plant pot or in our case…a candle. 
Create DIY wedding centrepieces with You Can Folk It and DecoArt chalky finish paint

1. Using a piece of tracing paper, draw up the design you wish to transfer onto your tin, we're going to paint a heart to use as a name plaque. 

2. With a sheet of carbon paper, you can easily transfer the design without any hassle.

3. Paint up the heart with Americana's 'Carbon' and leave this to fully dry before attempting to write on it, this time we used a white Posca paint pen.

4. Pop in some flowers, we've used this lovely faux roses and it's all good to go. 

Folky Tip: Why not try the same dry brush process that we used on the heart and plate to add some texture to the outside of the tin?

Create your own beautiful wedding centrepieces with this craft tutorial from You Can Folk It
So that's a quick and easy way to create your very own budget friendly decorations. Here at Folk It! we love to see your creations so if you give this tutorial a go be sure to share it and tag us using the hashtag #youcanfolkit

Have a folky week,
Carol x

Sunday, 19 July 2015

You can Folk It! | Using Weathered Wood Crackle Finish

DecoArt Weathered wood and Folk It's Vintage Roses was used to create this beautiful Folk Art painted art journal.
Hey! We're kicking off our weekly You Can Folk It! tutorials with this weathered wood tutorial. DecoArt Weathered Wood Crackle Medium is one of the easiest crackle finishes to use! Today I'm going to show you just how easy it is to create a project that looks 100 years old…  


 Blank Journal 
DecoArt Weathered Wood Crackle Finish
2 DecoArt Americana Paints (Colour optional)
Brush and sponge for paint/medium application
Posca Paint Pen

To use the DecoArt Weathered Wood Crackle Finish you need 2 colours of DecoArt Americana Paints. You can use 2 colours that are at the opposite end of the tonal scale - like I have here Yellow Ochre being light and Black being the darkest tone possible. Another option is to use two similar colours, each option will create a completely different effect.
The Weathered Wood Crackle Medium is called a 'sandwich' crackle, this is because the medium is sandwiched between 2 different colours of paints. How you apply the top coat determines how the crackle will look - if you apply the top coat with a brush it will look very different to if you apply it with a sponge.
This medium is great for creating an aged crackle effect to your painted project.  Add your Folk Art painting on top of the distressed effect

1. Start with a base colour, here I have used 'Yellow Ochre'. You can use any colour you like for the base coat - including the DecoArt Americana Acrylic Metallic Paints (Please note you cannot use the Metallic Paints for the top coat as these do not crack!)

2. Let this dry and then apply an even coat of the DecoArt Weathered Wood Crackle Medium. You can apply it with a brush or a sponge. Allow this to dry until you can touch it without your fingers sticking to the surface, this will take around 30 mins.

3. How you apply the top coat of colour will alter the way the crackle finish looks. (We go into a bit more depth on tailoring your crackle finish here.) We're applying 'Lamp Black' as our top coat, refer to the images above to see the effects of applying it differently….

(Photograph 2)

Using a brush gives a linear pattern, if the brush strokes go vertical or horizontal then the crackle pattern will follow the same motion. Sometimes this effect is desirable but if you are working on a chest of drawers or a wardrobe, then it becomes much more important as to how you want your finished look to appear. 

Folky Tip: Something else that will effect how the crackle looks is how 'thick' you apply the paint. Where the cracks are larger is where the paint is thicker - the finer cracks is where the paint is thinner.


(Photograph 3)

This time I have applied the top coat of paint with a sponge. Can you see how the cracks are more 'random' there are no straight lines going vertically up and down the square?

One very important folky tip, whether you are applying the top coat with a sponge or a brush is...

Once you apply the top coat of paint it will 're-activate' the crackle medium and so you must only go over the crackle medium once with the top coat. If you apply the top coat and then go back over with the brush/sponge then you will find that you remove the crackle and the layer of paint that you applied, so the rule of thumb is once you apply the top coat LEAVE IT - DO NOT GO BACK OVER IT!

Applying DecoArt Weathered Wood in different ways can create different crackle patterns

 In the first photograph above, I didn't put the crackle medium all over the square. For some projects, especially those where you wish to add areas of painting such as clusters of Vintage roses, you might just want to apply crackle in certain areas - this often creates much more interest to your project. Just apply crackle medium where you want the cracks and apply the top coat as normal. 

In the second photograph above,  I flipped around the colours so 'Lamp Black' as a base coat and 'Yellow Ochre' as a top coat. This is the best thing about this effect, two colours can give you so many options! To finish it off nicely I've added some DecoArt Metallic Lustre 'Iced Espresso' to the edges to create an antique effect. If you haven't yet tried DecoArt Inc. Metallic Lustre then be prepared to fall in love! Click on the pictures to see which colours I've used - but beware it's like buying the Glamour Dust - everything in sight will become metallic

In the third and final photograph above, I've gone back to our original colour choices but added DecoArt's Metallic Lustre in 'Gold Rush' to the edges. Metallic Lustre resembles a cream eyeshadow, you can just apply a little with your finger or avoid getting dirty with a soft cloth or dry stiff brush. 

Vintage roses, folk art, canal art, You Can Folk It, painting, comma stroke


Now to add a little decoration to finish off your journal, I decided to go with some gorgeous pink roses but allow your imagination to thrive here, you can literally add anything. 

Always, always play and try out different colours and effects and remember to put them in your journal. My gosh how many different options do we have when we're painting! It's almost mind boggling - but the Folk It! Team can assure you from our experience, playing and experimenting is not only very, very relaxing and theraputic - but you won't appreciate at the time just how much it teaches you, but on hindsight (oh how we are all so much wiser on hindsight) you realise it's the playing and the mistakes where you learn so much! So don't try and get everything right first time, just play, make massive big mistakes and most importantly just enjoy - it's very important. 

Folky Tip: Don't forget the details! I've added a tiny bit of Metallic Lustre to the metal buttons. Use DecoArt Paint Adhesion Medium first, then apply the 'Lamp Black' paint followed by the Lustre.

Decorated using Folk It's Vintage rose painting kit which teaches traditional folk art techniques
 Experiment with new products and make time to have fun. Whether you like what you create or not, no project or experiment is ever wasted, you are just preparing for your next project. Here at Folk It! we love to see your creations so if you give this tutorial a go be sure to share it and tag us using the hashtag #youcanfolkit
Have a lovely week, 
Carol x

Saturday, 18 July 2015

We are Folk it!

Thanks for visiting us here at Folk It! We're a painting company based in Sheffield, England. 
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