Friday, October 23, 2009

How to Select Paint Brushes for Silk Painting

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When painting, having the right kinds of brushes makes a world of difference. This is especially true for silk painting. Silk is a delicate fabric, and using the wrong brushes could have devastating effects. Besides that, the paints and dyes used on silk are very different from the paints used on canvas and other materials.

Experienced and frequent silk painters often have a veritable arsenal of brushes. They have rounded brushes, flat brushes, thin brushes and flat brushes. Many are dedicated to a specific brand, and they often prefer those with animal hair as opposed to synthetic bristles. The brushes they use tend to be quite expensive.

It's true that animal hair brushes offer certain advantages over synthetic ones. They have a softness that simply can't be reproduced with man-made materials. This allows them to soak up much more dye, making it easier to fill in areas large and small. It also makes them safer to use on fragile silk and silk blends.

Many professional silk painters use sumi brushes with bamboo handles and goat hair bristles, which become stiffer in the center and soak up more liquid than regular brushes. Sumi brushes have been used by Chinese silk painters for centuries.

But for beginners, it may not make sense to spend a lot of money on high-end silk painting brushes. Until you decide whether or not you want to do silk painting on a regular basis, it's probably best to use less expensive brushes. Synthetic watercolor brushes work reasonably well for silk painting. They may not hold as much paint or dye as natural ones, but they will not harm the silk. They should do fine for your first few projects.

Foam Brushes

No silk painting brush collection is complete without some foam brushes. The larger ones work very nicely for coloring in large areas, and they're especially useful when applying fixatives and primers. You can also purchase smaller ones (which look similar to eye shadow applicators or cotton swabs) that are great for applying resist and creating details with silk paint.

Foam brushes are usually very inexpensive. However, most of them must be replaced frequently. If you find them useful, it might be best to buy them in bulk.

The sizes and types of brushes used by one silk painter might be completely different from those used by another. The brushes you'll need depend largely on your preferences and the techniques you use. Just remember that there is no one brush that will do everything you need to do. In order to be successful at silk painting, you'll need at least a few different sizes of brushes, and probably a couple of different types.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Beginners' Silk Painting Projects for Children and Adults

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Silk painting is a unique and beautiful technique. Silk was once frequently used in paintings in the same manner in which canvas is used today. Using silk as the basis for a masterpiece is less common now, but silk may be used to create a wide variety of projects. Here are a few that are appropriate for beginner silk painters of all ages.

Silk Scarves

The silk scarf is a luxurious accessory, and it makes a wonderful gift for almost any woman. And when it's painted by hand, it takes on an even more special meaning. A silk scarf is a great first project for those who would like to try their hand at silk painting.

One of the great things about silk scarves is that they do not necessarily have to have an elaborate pattern. Dyes can be used to give them a tie dyed look. This is great news for newbies, because working with silk dyes and paints can be rather tricky at first. Simple abstract designs allow you to get a feel for how these mediums interact with silk without having to worry about precise detail.

Shirts

Silk shirts may be larger than scarves, but they too look nice with less defined patterns. As long as you choose colors that complement each other, there's little chance of ruining the shirt. This is a good project to move on to once you've gained confidence with scarves.

Suncatchers and Ornaments

Stained glass suncatchers add a touch of color to any home. But did you know that you can make suncatchers out of silk, too? You'll have to learn to use resist to keep colors in confined areas and apply dyes so that they are of the correct intensity, but with the small size of most suncatchers, you won't lose a lot of silk if you make a mistake.

You can also make ornaments for Christmas and other occasions in much the same way you make suncatchers. You'll need little more than a small frame, some silk, dye or paint, and brushes. You can find kits to make these items at some craft stores, as well as online.

Greeting Cards

Making silk-painted greeting cards requires some assembly, but otherwise it's as easy as painting a scarf. You can use resist to create some definition, or go abstract with dye only. Cards designed to hold painted silk usually feature a cutout of some sort of shape, so it's hard to go wrong.

These projects are great for learning the basics of silk painting. And when they're complete, they make lovely gifts. If you love the look of painted silk, why not give one of them a try?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fun Halloween Craft Ideas

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Kids always have fun making crafts, especially holiday-themed crafts. Here are some fun Halloween craft ideas for your kids to make this year.

1. Trick-or-Treat bucket

Supplies: ice cream bucket, construction paper, markers, crayons, glue, glitter (any craft supplies)

Directions: Use construction paper to draw ghosts, pumpkins, scarecrows, etc. Cut out your decorations and glue them to the outside of an ice cream bucket.

2. Trick-or-Treat goody bags

Supplies: small brown paper bags, Halloween stickers, markers, treats (candy, pencils, erasers, bubblegum, etc.)

Directions: Decorate paper bags in Halloween themes using your art supplies. Put treats inside bags. Fold the top of the bag down and tape shut with a Halloween sticker.

3. Tiny pumpkins

Supplies: acorns, orange paint, and green paint

Directions: Lay acorns on a sheet of newspaper. Paint the bottom of the acorns with orange paint. After the orange paint dries, paint the top of the acorns green (for the stem of the pumpkin). Allow to dry thoroughly.

4. Spooky Spiders

Supplies: black construction paper, cotton balls or cotton stuffing, black pipe cleaners, small bowl or saucer, and a stapler

Directions: Using black construction paper, trace around a small bowl or saucer. (Cut out two circles per spider.) Place stuffing or cotton balls on first circle. Lay second circle on top of cotton stuffing and staple half-way around. Insert 3-4” pipe cleaners on each side, then staple the second half of the circles together. Bend pipe cleaners to make the “legs” of the spider.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

We're having a GiveAway!!!

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We're having our first Giveaway ever!!!

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Make Your Own Halloween Greeting Cards

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Making your own Halloween greeting cards can be a fun exercise for the entire family, but especially for the kids.

There are several ways you can make these cards. One way is by downloading Halloween designs from the Internet and pasting them onto blank greeting cards. In addition, there are also templates online which you can print out and have your kids color for their cards.

Another way, and more fun for the kids, is to simply use construction paper and crayons and let them be as creative as they wish. They can draw pumpkins and spiders; bats and witches; ghosts and goblins, whatever their hearts desire. Then cut them out and paste them onto black construction paper. They can write their own greeting inside and send the cards to friends and relatives.

The kids can also use pictures taken in their Halloween costumes and paste them on the front of a blank greeting card and write their own message inside. Think how proud their grandparents will be once they receive these cards in the mail.

Halloween stickers can also be purchased at your local card store and used to decorate the envelopes.

If you or your kids are familiar with Print Shop, you can make any type of Halloween card you choose. Print shop allows you to place images and text on the front, inside and back of the card. Your kids can make wonderful and colorful cards using this software.

Considering the cost of postage these days, perhaps you may wish to have the kids draw their greeting cards and you can then scan and email them to relatives or friends as well.

Whatever method is chosen, kids will have a great time creating greeting cards for friends, relatives, and mom and dad too. Save the cards for your scrapbook, so that you can recall the wonderful memories of Halloweens past, present, and future.

Please support us by visiting http://TheMagickalEwe.etsy.com for all your spinning, needle felting, felting, crocheting, and knitting needs. SOAK is appearing on the Dragon's Den Wed. Oct.14th. We have SOAK. Trial Kits are only $3.00

Monday, October 12, 2009

How to Make a Pumpkin Seed Autumn Mosaic

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Mosaic is an ancient art form that involves creating images by arranging small pieces of various materials into a pattern. Examples have been found that date back as far as the 4th century BCE. Today, mosaics new and old grace art museums, and they have also been incorporated into the d├ęcor of homes, businesses and places of worship.

Traditionally, mosaics have been made out of colored glass or stone. But you can make a mosaic out of almost any small, flat object. For fall, pumpkin seeds are a fine choice. They are small enough to make patterns with, yet large enough that you don't have to labor over every detail. And if you carved a pumpkin for Halloween, you should have plenty of them to work with! Here's how to create your own pumpkin seed mosaic.

What You Need

* Pencil
* Poster board
* Clean, dried pumpkin seeds
* Several small disposable containers (margarine bowls work well)
* Plastic fork or spoon
* Tempera or poster paints (dark colors work best)
* Waxed paper
* White craft glue

Instructions

1. Using the pencil and a light touch, draw a picture on the poster board of anything you like. For autumn, colorful trees, turkeys or cornucopias would be good choices. Make the drawing large, and keep it fairly simple.

2. Place a handful of pumpkin seeds into one of the containers. Drizzle one color of poster paint onto the seeds, and stir with the plastic fork or spoon to coat. Spread the seeds out onto a piece of waxed paper.

3. Repeat step 2 for each color you wish to use, making sure to use a different container for each color. Allow all of the pumpkin seeds to dry.

4. Glue the colored pumpkin seeds onto the poster board with craft glue to complete your picture. Let dry.

Tips

* Most mosaics are made using plaster. You can use plaster to create your pumpkin seed mosaic if you like. Just remember that plaster sets very quickly, so you will have to work fast.

* If you don't have enough pumpkin seeds to complete your picture, you could use dried beans. Lima beans can be colored with the same technique you used to color the seeds. Or you could use beans that occur naturally in different colors, such as pintos, kidney beans and black eyed peas.

* It's okay if there are some bare spots in your mosaic. It may be difficult to completely cover your design. It's easiest to cover it well if you do the outline of the design first, then fill it in, and do the background last. It may also be helpful to arrange the seeds before gluing them down.


Please support us by visiting http://TheMagickalEwe.etsy.com for all your spinning, needle felting, felting, crocheting, and knitting needs. SOAK is appearing on the Dragon's Den Wed. Oct.14th. We have SOAK. Trial Kits are only $3.00

Sunday, October 11, 2009

How to Make a Pine Cone Turkey

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Thanksgiving is a holiday that brings families together around the dinner table. Since turkey is the traditional main course, it's no wonder that so many Thanksgiving decorations are designed around a turkey theme. This pine cone turkey makes a lovely centerpiece. And if you're so inclined, you could even make one for each guest and use them as place card holders!

What You Need

* Large, plump, dry pine cone
* Acorn
* Craft feathers in various colors
* Red and yellow craft foam
* Pencil
* Scissors
* Glue
* Hot glue
* Googly eyes
* Clay

Instructions

1. Place a small amount of clay on the side of the pine cone that will sit on the table. This will prevent the turkey from rolling around.

2. Remove feathers from bag. You will probably have to fluff them before using. To do this, gently run your fingers down the length from end to tip.

3. Dip ends of feathers in glue. Arrange them in a fan pattern on the top of the wide side of the pine cone to form the turkey's tail.

4. Use hot glue to attach the acorn to the top of the narrow side of the pine cone. This will be the turkey's head. Let glue set.

5. Glue googly eyes onto the acorn.

6. Draw a triangle on the yellow craft foam, and a teardrop shape on the red craft foam. Cut both out. Glue the yellow piece onto the acorn for the beak, and the red piece for the wattle.

7. Draw feet on the yellow craft foam. Glue them onto the turkey in front of the clay. Let glue and clay dry.

Tips

* To use as a place card holder, glue the end of a craft stick into the center of the back. Write the guest's name on a blank address label, and stick it to the front of the stick. Stick another address label to the back of the first one to keep it from sticking to anything else.

* If you don't have any craft feathers handy, there are a few things you could substitute. You could cut feather shapes out of different colors of construction paper or craft foam. Or you could bend colorful chenille stems into feather shapes.

* If you want to make a miniature version of this craft, just use a smaller pine cone, cut small feathers out of construction paper, and substitute a brown circle of construction paper for the acorn.

* You may need to place a piece of card stock on the bottom of the clay to keep it from staining your tablecloth. Or better yet, glue it on when the clay dries so that guests can take their turkey home and display it with no worries.



Please support us by visiting http://TheMagickalEwe.etsy.com for all your spinning, needle felting, felting, crocheting, and knitting needs. SOAK is appearing on the Dragon's Den Wed. Oct.14th. We have SOAK. Trial Kits are only $3.00

Saturday, October 10, 2009

How to Make Festive Indian Corn Napkin Rings

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AHow to Make Festive Indian Corn Napkin Rings


Autumn is a beautiful and colorful time of year. Fall flowers, the changing leaves, and seasonal crops all contribute to the vibrant colors of nature. These items provide the inspiration for a variety of crafts.

One of the most interesting of fall crops is Indian corn. Unlike most corn, its kernels come in lots of different colors. This makes it a welcome addition to cornucopias and other fall centerpieces. But you don't have to have the real thing to incorporate its unique look into your Thanksgiving table decorations. These napkin rings bear a striking resemblance to Indian corn, and they are easy and inexpensive to make.

What You Need

* Construction paper (ideally orange, brown or another fall color, but any color will work)
* Pencil with an eraser
* Scissors
* Tissue paper in yellow, orange and burgundy
* White craft glue

Instructions

1. Place a piece of construction paper lengthwise. Draw a line about 1 ½ inches from the top to make a strip. Cut out.

2. Cut the strip in half.

3. Cut a piece of each color of tissue paper into 1-inch squares.

4. Spread a thin layer of the white craft glue over a 1-inch section of the construction paper strip.

5. Twist a square of the yellow tissue paper around the eraser end of the pencil. Push the twisted paper down onto the top corner of the glued section, and carefully remove the pencil.

6. Repeat step 5 with another piece of yellow construction paper placed next to the first one, and then with a piece of orange or burgundy tissue paper. Continue using two or three yellow pieces followed by an orange or burgundy piece until the glued area is completely covered.

7. Cover another 1-inch section of the construction paper strip with a thin layer of craft glue, and continue adding pieces of twisted tissue paper. Repeat until all but ½ inch of the strip is covered.

8. Bend the strip into a circular shape, with the tissue paper on the outside. Glue the ends together. Let dry completely before using.

Tips

* Each strip of construction paper makes two napkin rings. You should be able to make enough for all of your guests with a piece or two of construction paper.

* For best results, store the napkin rings empty and lying on their side until ready to use. This will keep the tissue paper from getting flattened.

* Be sure to roll napkins tightly so that they will fit easily into the napkin rings. If the glue does not hold, and you don't have time to glue them and let them dry again, try stapling the ends together.

Friday, October 9, 2009

How to Make a Thankful Tree with Handprint Leaves

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On Thanksgiving, we get the family together for a big, delicious dinner. We remember old times, and catch up on what's currently going on in everyone's lives. And, if we stick with tradition, we take time to reflect on the things we're thankful for.

Unfortunately, the idea of giving thanks is often forgotten during the holiday festivities. But there are ways we can encourage our children (and other children in the family) to think about the good things in their lives. This “thankful tree” craft works nicely, and it's also fun to make. Here's how to do it.

What You Need

* Brown kraft paper
* Construction paper in orange, red, yellow and brown
* Pencil
* Crayons, markers or pen
* Scissors
* Cork bulletin board
* Thumbtacks or stapler with staples

Instructions

1. Using the pencil, draw a tree trunk with branches on the brown kraft paper. Make it large enough to fill up most of the bulletin board. Cut out and tack or staple to the bulletin board.

2. Have a child trace his or her hand onto a piece of the construction paper and cut it out.

3. Have the child use a marker, crayon or pen to write his or her name on the handprint, as well as something he or she is thankful for. When finished, tack or staple the “leaf” onto the tree trunk.

4. Ask each child to make a leaf, or more than one if so desired. Arrange the leaves on the tree so that it is evenly covered.

Tips

* If you don't have a bulletin board, you could attach your thankful tree to a door or wall. If doing so, use thumbtacks for best results.

* Adults can participate as well, but their handprints may be too large if you're using a small bulletin board. To remedy this, you could simply cut smaller leaf shapes and have them ready for your guests to write on when they arrive.

* If you don't have enough handprints to cover your tree, have children make leaf rubbings by placing a leaf under a plain white piece of paper and rubbing the side of the crayon over it. Cut them out and add them to the tree to fill in the empty spaces.

* Want a more authentic-looking tree? Place a small tree branch into a flowerpot and fill with sand, marbles or rocks so that it stands up straight. Use a hole punch to make holes in the handprint leaves and tie them to the branch with string or twine, letting them hang down a bit. You could even add a string of white miniature holiday lights if you like. This makes a lovely centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table!