Saturday, 29 August 2015

Changing the history of colour

Colour is so important isn’t it? As we are always surrounded by it, we often forget about the effect it can have on us, and our work. It can be the difference between something being seen and fading into the background. It can determine whether something is seen as ‘on trend’ or dismissed as ‘dated’. 

As painters, we have to understand a bit about colour to be able to use it successfully in our work.  At Folk It, we are never far from a colour wheel and it is so fun to create our own to work with as we did here. 

Colour wheels are a fantastic resource to help you to see which colours compliment each other, which do not work together and allow you to create the perfect colour scheme for your project.  The first colour wheel was created in the 1600’s and until recently, we thought colour charts such as Pantone’s colour guide was created in the 1960’s.

That is why this latest historical find is creating such a buzz around the world. When we were emailed news of this amazing book, we were in awe. Erik Kwakkel, a book historian, recently discovered ‘Traité des couleurs servant à la peinture à l’eau’, or 'Treaty of Colors Used to Paint Water'.  

A selection of pages from Boogert's book - he set each page out the same to display a vast range of colours, shades and tones.

It turns out that a Dutch artist, known as A. Boogert painstakingly created over 700 pages containing endless colours and hues. Not only that, but Boogert hand wrote explanations of how each colour could be created and how an artist can change tones by adding different amounts of water.   For painters like ourselves, this book would have been a goldmine of information, a reference like our colour wheels that would never be far from our side.

The book is entirely handwritten by Boogert

Believed to have been created around the early 1690’s, it was certainly before its time. Maybe that is why it was never published, more likely, maybe it was just not possible to reproduce the book accurately.  Now we are living in a world where resources are so readily available it is difficult to imagine a time where such knowledge and information did not exist. The thought of someone spending hours cataloguing valuable information like this for no-one’s use but their own shows a love of colour and a passion for art and painting that certainly has to be admired. 

Each page is beautifully created - it is a work of art in itself. 
Thankfully, thanks to technology today, you can see the book for yourself, page by page, to admire and appreciate this piece of artistic history and understand why it has created such a stir in the creative world. To read more about Kwakkel's discovery, you can visit his Tumblr account here

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

You can Folk It | Stencilled Filing Cabinets

Everyone has that one room or one piece of furniture that no longer works don't they? As we go through life we fall out of love with something that used to co-ordinate so well with our home as it begins to look tired and dated. As our lives change, we need different storage options to suit whatever we want to keep. Although new furniture and storage solutions are now freely available often at low prices, we often spend hours searching for that perfect item that suits our taste and decor. We spend even longer looking for something we feel confident won't fall apart after a few months.

The good news is though that with some time and patience, the solution can be found at the end of a paintbrush. Today, we will show you how to re-vamp an old filing cabinet into a storage solution that will take pride of place in your office or craft room.


Storage of your choice

Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint in Primitive and Everlasting

DecoArt Americana acrylic paint in Lamp Black 

DecoArt stencils - we used Paris Street, Old French Script, Fleur de Lys and Brocade. 

DecoArt 4" flat brush 

DecoArt 1" Angled brush

DecoArt Round Brush

Matte wax 

Kitchen towel 

Mount Board 

Stanley knife

1. To ensure a good finish, before we get started with any painting, you need to remove any handles or plates from the piece you are painting. These will be added back on (or replaced) when you have finished. You will also need to remove all the drawers. 

2. At Folk It we just love DecoArt's Chalky Finish paint as it requires no special preparation before you start painting so this was the perfect choice for these metal cabinets.  Using the Chalky Finish 4" flat brush, cover the surfaces with two coats of Chalky Finish in Primitive.  Allow each coat to dry thoroughly before applying more paint. 

DecoArt's Chalky Finish paint is available is a gorgeous range of colours so there are plenty to choose from if you don't like what we have used.

Note: Unless you want a distressed finish, do not sand the piece in-between coats as this will remove the original colour and allow the metal/original colour to show through. 

3. Next, place the Paris Street stencil onto the top of the cabinets. Using the Chalky Finish Angle brush, dip it lightly into the Lamp Black paint. Next, rub your brush gently onto the kitchen towel to remove excess paint. Your brush should be almost dry before you begin to apply paint to the stencil to prevent the paint bleeding through the stencil and creating a messy finish. When your brush is ready, apply paint to the stencil using a 'pouncing' action and continue until all areas of the stencil are covered and even before removing it. 

Handy hint: Apply paint to a small part of the stencil on practice paper - this can also be a lovely addition to your painting journal. 

4. Next, apply the corners of the Fleur de Lys stencil to the corners on the top of the cabinets using the same technique and Lamp Black Americana Acrylics. 

5. To add interest to the drawer fronts, place the 'Old French script' stencil across each one and stencil the design on.

Creating a project like this is down to personal taste and at this point you may feel you want to stop there. However, if you do wish to continue...

6. Add the Brocade stencil to the back and side panels of the cabinets. 

7. Using the Chalky Finish brush and the Chalky Finish paint in 'Everlasting', dip the 4" Flat brush into the paint and remove the excess paint using kitchen towel to leave you this time with a dry brush. Using long even strokes, brush horizontally over the whole project.  

8. Using the plates as a template, cut out rectangular inserts using a Stanley knife. 

9. Before adding the hardware, using the 4" brush, apply a layer of Matte Wax to the whole project. Although the Chalky Finish needs no preparation, for an item that will be used a lot, it is invisible and helps to protect the finish. 

10. Add your handles and plates back on to enjoy your brand new, beautiful piece of storage. Put it in its new home and admire your handiwork :)


Sunday, 2 August 2015

You Can Folk It! | Daisy Drawers

Upcycling with Delicate Daisy designs from You Can Folk it
Hey, welcome back for another batch of Sunday Inspiration over here at Folk It! HQ. This week we're looking at storage and a simple folky way in which you can completely transform it. Storage units are dirt cheap and available all over the high street, we grabbed this set of three drawers from Matalan and decided to give it a daisy makeover. 
Note: The headers were already printed on the drawers. 

Storage of your choice
Folk It! Starter Kit - Level 1

1. So let's get started, we're going to paint the whole unit (minus the drawers) with a wash, so remove all of the drawers prior to painting. To create the blue wash - mix 2 parts of Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint in 'Escape' with 1 part Water and brush the mixture all over the unfinished wood, remove any excess with a soft dry cloth. 

Folky Tip: The wood needs to be unvarnished/unpainted to allow the wash to soak into the surface. The water will raise the grain of the wood slightly making it feel rough, so always lightly sand it using a fine sandpaper, this often removes a little of the wash we have just applied which can give it a nice finish. If you'd rather have a stronger colour then just apply a second layer of the wash but this time don't sand afterwards. 
Upcycled drawers, decorated with Folk Art Daisies - learn how with You Can Folk It
2. Now open up your Folk It! Starter Kit, we're going to use the Folk It! Dotting tool along the top edges of the individual drawers to create simple dot daisies. The piece of storage that you are painting will alter the way in which you wish to decorate it, we popped our dot daisies either side of the type already present on our drawers. 
 Folk Art comma strokes, learn traditional painting techniques with You Can Folk It
3. Next up are the comma stroke daisies, we're going to use the round brush and liner brush from the starter kit and by following the steps from our Daisy Details kit (we've included an instruction page form our kit to help you above) you can learn to paint your very own. The kit teaches you how to use your brush to create a highlight and a shadow in one single stroke, perfect for creates those leaves and petals. 

Folky Tip: When painting a comma stroke you are learning a 'technique' so it's important not to try and 'draw' the shape. The technique is to press the bristles down and lift the bristles. It is this action that you make and the bristles of the brush that are creating the shape. This is the first step in learning more advanced brush strokes and techniques.
4. Once you've mastered our comma stroke daisies, there are tonnes of daisies you can paint. Play around by drawing different sized circles and ovals and place the centre in different places - to the top - side - middle - bottom and see what happens when you paint the petals. This is where you can let your creativity take over and really customise your piece of storage. 
Folky Tip: Why not paint inside the drawers? Or on the sides of the drawers so the design peeks out every time you open a drawer? That's the beauty of decorating a project yourself, you can place the design wherever you desire. 

So that completes our Daisy Drawers tutorial, it's super easy and diverse, why not be a little adventurous and apply it to a wardrobe or a bedside table? 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
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