Pinterest Pin Review: Colorful Wood Frames

Me and my husband have lived in our house for almost two years now, and I hardly have anything on the walls! I finally hung a few prints, but no family pictures. Seriously, I had a wall full of family photos in the apartment we occupied prior to buying our home. Pitiful, I know! Part of my reasoning for not hanging anything is, the frames I have are cheap, and are falling apart, and I haven’t brought myself to replacing them all. The other reason: pure laziness!

This week I’m going to use Pinterest to motivate me to finally put pictures on the wall! Today’s pin is from Chic Shindigs. She has a few DIY home things to enjoy, and recently she blogged about her new house, and I hope she has more to share! The chosen pin: colorful wood picture frames.

I have to admit, I almost didn’t do this pin. When I walked into Hobby Lobby, a few steps into the store, there they were! Already painted and (some) ready to be hung wood plaque frames! So, I decide to check them out. They are really nice, and would save time, but there was a few things I didn’t like. Only some of the frames were ready to hang, and the ones that were, only came in one size. The larger sizes were basically wood plaques with a square cut out of them. No backs, no hanging wire on them, and no glass. My biggest hang up was the price. Prices ranged from $15-$30. I would not mind to pay that if I didn’t know I could make it cheaper! If you’re like me, you prolly have half the things you need for this project; mod podge (and if you don’t have that, you can make some), paint (I’ll be using spray paint), you may even already have some pictures you want to use. All I had to buy were the wooden plaques which were 2.99 for the size I picked. I didn’t make time to check other stores, but, you may be able to find them cheaper. By the way, one of my favorite places to get pictures, especially if I want them fast and cheap: Walgreens. I only paid $.80 for 4 4×6, and they always have great deals!

This project hardly took a day to make. Like I said, I used spray paint, and I would do a quick coat in between taking orders from my baby (sometimes that would mean I would only have a 10 minute window of time!). One thing I love about this project is how creative you can get. I decided to center a smaller picture, making the plaque frame the work. The blog took the picture to the edge, which. My next set I think I might experiment with texture like lace. I also like how fast the turn over is. Waiting for things to dry is the longest/hardest part! The one down side to this project is figuring out how to mount it. The blog shows you one way, by using a stand. I have a picture hanging kit that I will be using. I’m sure you more creative people out there could fashion some kind of hanging system…channel your inner MacGyver.

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Our favorite spray paint is Valspar paint and primer in one. It takes less coats to cover your object, and it has such a beautiful finish!
You’ll notice that the pictures look white from the mod podge, don’t worry! It dries clear! Make sure to do light coats of it though, and with each coat, finish in a different direction. It’ll give it a beautiful, hatch mark finish, like a canvas and, if you bought the glossy mod podge, there won’t be such a glare in the finish. One of my pictures I thought I did hatched, but didn’t, and you will see in my final pictures, it looks a little more glared, and it looks like I painted it VS a more canvas finish. Also, on my blue picture you’ll notice I used too much hod podge, and you can tell. It’s still a nice product, but, it’ll be something I will notice forever!

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Here’s a picture of my final product! I let them dry over night. Another boo boo I made last night was, I didn’t wait long enough between coats, and the previous coat tried to come off. So, be patient, and allow ample time between coats.

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I love this way of framing pictures! I love bright, bold colors, and my color choice on my walls can attest to that! The best part though, when people come over and ‘ooh’ and ‘aaah’ ‘where did you get those done?!’ You get to tell them ‘I made it!’ And please, give your best super hero/heroine pose when you say it! You’ll be beaming, I promise!

This is an awesome project, it didn’t take up a lot of time, space, or money! Have fun, and post any ideas for this project in the comments. Also, I recommend giving any blog I link a read! These are some awesome people, with some kickass ideas!

Hello Linoleum….We Meet Again!

New haircut, new beginnings, same me

Hello one and all!  It has been, if you look back through my posts, Ca-RAAAAA-zy to say the least.  I’ve moved out of the apartment I’ve shared with my (former) significant other for almost 5 years which, let me tell you, was a bit harder than I had an anticipated.  Still, it was the move that had to be made.  Neither of us were very happy and we all know two unhappy people trying to be happy so the other will be happy = no one happy or I would accept one happy the other not.  That’s not a way to live and, saying that, I want to wish Doug much happiness and love.  It’s been pretty amicable with me only having a few – a few – minor breakdowns.

ANYHOO…. More

Episode III: Adding Color to the Print

Let’s do a brief recap of what’s been going on with my linoleum print.  For those of you interested, the supplies I’m using have come from Dick Blick Art Supplies.  These supplies include the block print paper, linoleum cutter, brayer (roller that applies the ink), and barren (used to press the paper onto the block).

1) A concept was developed

2) The concept was drawn on piece of linoleum in pencil, then retraced with Sharpee

3) Using a linoleum cutter, the areas that were to remain white were cut away

L-R: plexiglass plate for ink, brayer, yellow ink, lino block, baren

Now I’m adding color, which isn’t really difficult (once you practice), but just takes time.  Keep in mind you need a glass or plexiglass plate to mix the ink on and spread with the brayer.  You will know that the ink is just right when it makes a tacky sound when the brayer is rolled over it.  Ink can be applied, and I suggest it is applied, in multiple directions.  This allows for even application.

Because I’m doing a reduction print, after each color is added, the matrix is reduced.  In other words, I cut away from the linoleum every section that I want to stay a certain color.  As I did with the initial cutting, I really try to cut in the direction that I want the viewer’s eye to move should some “noise” appear on the print.  When all the colors are added, I will have the outline of the shapes available and will be able to make prints, but the color will have to be added by hand.

Color has to be added from lightest color to darkest color – which really makes sense, because a lighter color won’t cover a darker color.  It’s similar to painting in a lot of ways.

Registration becomes an issue now as well.  When I talk about registration, I just mean lining up the print with the block so the colors aren’t off.  The registration being off slightly doesn’t really bother me too much, but you don’t want the lines to be so off from one another that its hard to look at the image.

Some tips to keep in mind while printing:  you want to apply the ink as EVENLY as possible.  If there is too much ink on the block, it’ll soak through the paper.  Not enough ink, the under color will show though.  You also want to watch for pieces that get on the brayer or the lino block.  Those little pieces will cause spots to show up on the paper.

Not enough ink

Be careful with your alignment for the registration.  I like to mark on the board where the paper and board are placed.  This helps me keep everything in line.

I have added yellow and pink (or lightish red), and plan on adding two more colors (blue and green) before the black outline.  I’m hoping this will provide contrast within the piece.

Now, I’m just waiting for the block to dry so I can cut away the other firework and add the next color.  Hopefully I’ll be finished by the end of Tuesday.  I’m really excited to get my characters finished and on their first work.

With Red added

Yellow color first

Plate after color

Episode II: Linoleum Printmaking – After the idea

Pencil Drawing on Linoleum

Earlier this week, I began work on my first linoleum print in nearly a year. Having the idea and the materials is just the first part, now the drawing, carving and inking begins.

I’ve decided to do a reduction print. This means that I’ll cut out only part of the matrix (linoleum), print the lightest color, then cut out what I want to stay that color. I’ll repeat this process until all I have is the black outline. The upside to this process is that I’ll be making a limited edition run on the color prints. The downside is that I’ll be making a limited edition run on the color prints. Once I’ve cut away the various colors, I will only be able to print the image with one type of ink.

First, the drawing has to be put on the linoleum. That is done in pencil so that mistakes can be erased. After the pencil drawing is completed, I then use a Sharpie to go over the lines, and make which parts will be left solid at the end of the printmaking process. I have found that a Sharpie will allow the lines to be visible to make the reduction print easier to complete since I’ll be able to see the lines that I want to keep for the final product. To show a value change with this medium, I have to use hatching, cross-hatching, and stippling. These techniques also provide a variety of lines to make the artwork more interesting.

Drawing post Sharpie treatment

Once I’ve gotten all of my line work completed, I can now begin cutting away all the parts I want to remain white. I try to cut the linoleum in the directions I want to viewers eye to move. This is in case some “noise” occurs. “Noise” is when ink gets on the ridges left after cutting and appear on the paper. This isn’t something you always want to get rid of because it gives a nice effect, but you want the “noise” lines to serve the same purpose as the lines you’ve decided to keep – variety and direction(s) for the viewer to follow across the artwork.

Cut Linoleum, ready for first color

I can now ink the matrix with the lightest color I will be using. I could always hand color the image, of course, but that has a different look than printed ink. It’s not a bad look, and if you are afraid of how your registration will line up (making sure each time you print, everything prints in the correct space) I do recommend hand coloring. This can be done with ink, as if you are painting, acrylic paint, and even color pencils. You just have to be careful because the paper you’ll be printing on is usually really absorbent, so think applications of color will soak though. Below are some pictures of the process so far.

Tomorrow, I’ll ink the first few colors on – but that depends entirely on how fast the ink dries. Hope you are enjoying the process, I know I am!

Now, I’m off to karate class and then the Captain America midnight show.

Detail of first cuts

Outline cuts before using large gouges

V and U gouges used to cut large areas of linoleum

Linoleum Printmaking – From the Beginning

Oohhhhh.....Aahhhhhhh....

For my next project, I had every intention of working on a painting. I’ve been working on a lot of paintings lately, and it just seemed right to continue on this same course of action. Still, since working on this blog, I’ve had so many ideas and so many things I’ve wanted to do that it just seems right to go back to what I enjoy doing most: printmaking!

Printmaking incorporates the things I like about drawing and painting: line work and color theory. I freely admit, my line work can always use work and my color theory (use of color in an artwork) is sometimes screwy, but I love it! Every time I draw or add color to a work, I learn something new that I can share with others (mainly my students).

While a lot of artists use wood, copper plates, or stone for their prints, I prefer linoleum. It’s affordable, water-soluble inks can work with it, and it can be used in a classroom. Those were the criteria I used when I first chose this medium (what the artwork is created with/from) as a Master’s student at Morehead State University. I was first introduced to printmaking though at the University of Kentucky where I took a woodcut class taught by Derrick Riley (great instructor, fantastic artist!). The same skills are used in both, but I found the linoleum to be easier to work with and just more fun over all.

For this next project, I wanted to go through step by step in my process for those of you interested in creating your own prints. I will be using golden linoleum which is a little easier to carve than battleship linoleum – typically used in a classroom because its cheaper, a Speedball lino cutter, and water-soluble inks. Before any of the tools can be used though, I have to decide on a subject. I will be using the characters shown above from my earlier painting sketches (seen in previous blogs) and I’ve set them watching fireworks. I still haven’t decided whether or not to do this as a reduction print, but I’ll decide by the next time I post.

Linoleum (prior to re-sizing) and Speedball cutter w/ gouges