A Guide to Beginner’s Acrylic Painting Part 2: Paint!

So now that we’ve covered brushes, now let’s cover paint on those brushes. Today the basics of paint, from cheap to expensive, I will show you what’s worth it an whats not.  Let’s begin with the grades.

What’s The Difference Between Student Grade and Artist Grade?

This is a very frequently asked question in the paint world, so let’s get our facts straight. Student grade is what the very beginner would use. It’s cheap, and less high quality, yes, but let’s face it. Your first painting is going to be no Mona Lisa. So wouldn’t it make sense that you work up to the dollar signs?

That’s where artist grade comes in. Artist grade is the true, expensive, high quality stuff the professionals use.

What Does Light Fast Mean?

Light fast is something quite important, that all beginners should know the basics of. Basically, light fast is the difference between red roses that turn into white roses a few years later due to the sun, or red roses that stay red. No painting should be placed directly into the sun, due to this fact. Student grade paint is less light fast (more common to make red roses white in the sun) and artist grade is more light fast (less common to make red roses turn white in the sun) you shouldn’t have to worry too much about this, because if you keep painting your favorite will turn into your least favorite and what used to be on the walls won’t be on the walls in a few years most likely. However, this is important, and not to be ignored. So, don’t buy the cheapest of the cheap, which in a few minutes I will get to the best brands to buy… But until then, just keep this in mind when hanging up those beautiful paintings, and next time that tube of paint runs out.

What Paint Should I Buy?

Liquitex is a pretty trusting brand. They do have a line of student grade paint that is perfect for beginners called Liquitex Basics. This is great if you’ve just picked up your first brush, and want to try out this media. It’s also nice to get familiar with artist grade shades, and color names, which we will get to in another post. Craft paint, like Apple Barrel, or Ceramcoat, is nice for paper projects, that won’t be hung up, and just some simple practice. Although you may get confused about colors, since they have all those weird names that are similar to house painting names.

If you are ready to get into the artist grade stuff, brands like Liquitex, Matisse, and Golden are an option. Liquitex Heavy Body is great for your first artist grade paint. Matisse and Golden are dipping more into the pricey side, but are also very nice and quite high quality paint. Matisse is an Australian company, and Golden is USA manufactured. Don’t be worried about trying all those different brands, that’s a good idea! Trying different brands an different colors, and branching out of things you might be a little comfortable with, is great because you’re making yourself a better painter, seeing if you might like something else a little more.

What Are “The Medias”?

Well, there are many medias, but the most basic ones are Acrylic, Oil, and Watercolor. These are three different types of painting, and completely different to each other. Acrylic is the one we’re learning about, a quick drying paint that carries many techniques an methods, including wet on wet, and others. Another thing to know about acrylic painting is it cannot be wet down more than 20%, the exception to this rule being that you can wet it down as much as you like if you are on an absorbing surface such as paper, or wood. Acrylic brushes include synthetic brushes,  and are relatively fairly firm, depending on the artist’s preference.

Oil painting is another type of painting, that has more colors than acrylic, and dries very very slowly. You have to wash your brushes with oil instead of water, like acrylic.  A painting takes several weeks just to dry, especially with cold weather. With oil painting you’re likely to get a texture with the paint. Oil and acrylic can be used together, although you must be very careful when doing this. Oil can be covered onto acrylic but acrylic cannot be covered onto oil. Oil painting brushes include hog hair bristles and are relatively rougher. Last but certainly not least, we have watercolor.

Watercolor painting is relatively new to the world, this meaning you won’t see watercolor paintings in many museums. There are many of the same colors in watercolor as there are in acrylic, and the cool thing about watercolor painting is that the paint can be reactivated with water, meaning once the paint is dry put a wet brush on and you have paint again. This cannot be achieved by acrylic or oil. The  bad thing about watercolor is that you have to have an absorbent surface, such as watercolor paper. Therefore you cannot hang watercolor paintings as easily. Watercolor brushes are softer and include natural hair brushes, so they absorb more water.

If you enjoyed this post, please like and share with your friends. If you have any questions or comments, please state your thoughts in the comment section below.

Yours Truly, The Blue Eyed Crafter

How To: Dye Yarn Using Koolaid!

So today we’re going to dye yarn with koolaid. Koolaid dyeing has become super popular because normal yarn dye cost a lot of money, and are staining to the skin, therefor they can be dangerous for kids to use and take a long time to dye. But with koolaid, dyeing can become super easy, kid-friendly and very cheap. Today we’ll be creating a solid color yarn. If this is your first time dyeing with koolaid, you’ll want to do a solid color instead of multi-color. Why this is is as you can imagine, more colors are harder than one color. But don’t worry, it can be variegated if you want.  Let’s get started!

 

Supplies Needed:

100% Wool Un-Dyed Yarn  (If this is a gift and you don’t know much at all about yarn, don’t worry. Look for the words “natural” or “un-dyed” and for the thickness of yarn, look for “worsted weight” or “4 ply” and make SURE the yarn is 100% wool)

a Mason Jar with Lid an Cap

Distilled White Vinegar 

a Small Plastic Container/Bowl

Koolaid

a Measuring Cup

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Time: 1 Hour and 30 Minutes – 2 Hours

Let’s Dye!

The first step to dyeng this beautiful yarn, is soaking the yarn in warm water for at least 30 minutes. If your yarn is in a ball instead of a skein, you’ll need to roll it into a skein. (Again, if you don’t know much about yarn, if the ball of yarn doesn’t look like the picture below, rap the yarn loosely around a chair, securing one end with some string so it doesn’t knot. Then with your hands as far apart as they can go inside the large loop of yarn, twist your yarn a lot so then when you pull your hands together the yarn twists up, then pulling one end of the yarn through the other end. You’ve now created a skein!) Submerge the yarn fully into the jar of warm water, then screw the lid on and wait.

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Our second step is the fun part!! Inside the plastic container, take out the soppy yarn for a moment. Empty the water out into your sink, and then measure out 1/4 cup of your vinegar. Using a fork, mix in the koolaid packet. If you’re using the cherry color to create a peachy pink color, put only half the packet in. Mix WELL! Make sure all the powder has dissolved fully, and then put it into the mason jar, half full of new warm water. Inside the plastic container, FULLY submerge the soppy wet yarn into the jar. You may want the yarn in a larger mason jar if you want it to be all one not variegated color. If you do want it variegated, use a small-ish jar so the yarn is touching the edges of the jar. We use the plastic container in case the jar happens to overflow, and to not make a wet mess when taking the wet yarn out. Now screw the lid on tightly, and put in a warm/sunny spot for 1 hour to an hour an a half. You know the yarn is dyed fully when clear water comes out of the jar.

 

 

 

 

In the third and final step, take the yarn out of the mason jar and squeeze as much water out of the yarn as possible. NEVER ring the wet yarn. EVER. For me, the yarn takes about 24 hours to dry fully before I even think about rolling the skein into a ball. If you are gifting this yarn, make sure to not roll it into a ball, because you want the recipient to be able to feel the softness of the yarn completely. There you have it! How to make super simple koolaid dyed yarn in a pinch.

If you enjoyed this post, please like and share with your friends! If you have any questions or comments, please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Yours Truly, The Blue Eyed Crafter

 

DIY: Washi-Tape Flower Pens!

You might have heard of that fad a while back about duct tape flower pens. No. This is not that. It’s so much prettier (and not to mention easier, and quicker! Which is what we all want, right?) So instead of getting out the scissors and the rubbing alcohol after this craft, get out your to do list an see what’s next! Don’t let me keep you waiting from the craft… Let’s get into it!

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      Supplies Needed

Washi-Tape (any kind of a green, and some sort of flower color. I find that a slightly multi-colored tape for the flower petals work best, so each individual petal stands out and it’s not just all one blob of color)

Clear Cap Pens (What I mean by this is that it’s harder to use the pens that you hit the button and click up and down that have a spring in them, but the ones that have a cap instead work much better)

a Ruler (this is handy to measure your tape with, it doesn’t have to be exact, we both know I am never exact)

Scissors (if you are a perfectionist and want to cut your tape with nice straight lines you will want scissors, or you can be like me and have those beautiful uneven torn strips)

a Terracotta or Painted Flower Pot (If you also want a place to store your fabulous pens, this is a perfect touch!)

Pebbles or Decorative Gems (this is to put inside the pot, to make sure the pens stay in place, a very optional step)

How’s It Done?

The first step is to rap your pen with the green tape. The trick to doing this step is to begin your tape at an angle, so it spirals down like a candy cane. Make sure to begin the rapping process at the end of your pen (opposite of the end the ink comes out of). If you have any trouble, use the pictures below for guidance.

 

In the second step we will create our flower petals. Cut a piece of tape around 2″ (around, NOT exact at all is perfect)  and on the left side, fold it in towards the middle MAKE SURE to angle it down, this way the petal has some stick at the bottom to attach to the pen. It helps me to visualize that I’m making half of a triangle. Now do the same on the other side. Folding it towards the middle, making sure to then angle it down to leave sticky at the bottom. This takes practice and your first one might be waiting for the trash can…. But you will get the hang of it, and it is easy once you get the hang of it.

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Our next step is optional, just in case you want to make a cute flower pot to hold your new pens in. With the terracotta pot, use the instructions in my How To: Painted Flower Pot! post. Now with the newly painted and fully dry pot, put in some pebbles or decorative gems. Pop in the pens, and there you go!

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If you enjoyed this post, please like and share with your friends. If you have any questions or comments please state your thoughts in the comment section below.

Yours Truly, The Blue Eyed Crafter

 

DIY: Easy Ladybug Card!

It’s so like me to find the cutest little card on Pinterest, fall in love with it, and then see that the instructions are in some language that I will never know. Thankfully, the eyes don’t speak different languages and from the finished product picture I was still able to make this cutie! So sit back, relax, and let’s craft!!

Supplies Needed:

Card Stock or Construction Paper and Printer Paper (in the colors red, black, and white. The white can be printer paper)

Scissors

a Ruler

Some Wireless Chenille (basically a pipe cleaner without wire, you can also use yarn)

School Glue or a Glue Stick

a Hole Punch (you can also use a knitting needle and some force 😉

(optional) Googly Eyes

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How Do I Make It?

First take your white piece of paper (remember this can be card stock, printer or construction paper) and cut it into a circle. If you’re comfortable with drawing your circle you can do it that way, you could also trace from a small round object laying around your house, or use a circle maker, whatever works. This will be what you write on as a card. You can glue a piece of red paper to the back of the circle, if you are worried about bending but NOT yet. Wait till the end so you can cover up the yarn and head of the ladybug. (this is recommended if you did use printer paper).

Next: I find it’s helpful to imagine the paper in thirds. At the top of the white circle of paper  (the first third) make a small hole that the yarn can fit through with either a hole punch or a knitting needle. Make either a slightly larger circle or the same size circle as before, but this time with red paper. Cut the circle in half. I find it’s helpful to use a ruler to make sure I get it exactly half, and also make a straight line. Once you have two half circles of red paper, put the two half circles together on the corners of each one (the sharp point) and make a hole the same way you did a few minutes ago.

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Decorating the Card: put a few small black circles of paper onto the red half circles with some school glue. Now make a slightly larger circle of black paper. There’s a lady bug head!! You can glue on Googly eyes with some school glue now if you want. Once that’s dry, glue the head to the very back of the white circle. Make sure to stick it out enough, so it still looks like a ladybug head. Now with the yarn or wireless chenille, go through both pieces of red paper with them slightly overlapping of course. Now pull it through the holes we made in the white paper. On the back tie a knot (loose-ish! You should be able to move the wings). Optional – glue another circle of any color paper you want on the back to cover up the back. And your done! The red wings should be able to move fairly well.

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If you enjoyed this post, please like and share with your friends! To share, click on the title of the post, scroll down, and click the many sharing options including Facebook, Pinterest and more. If you have any questions or comments don’t be shy to leave them in the comment section below.

Yours Truly, The Blue Eyed Crafter

DIY: Sticky Note To Do List!

Now that the school year has started for most of us, life’s gotten a little busier. For some  of us “a little” can be an understatement. So, today, I thought it’d be handy to have a sticky note to do list ready to be checked off. Maybe you have one already on your phone, but sometimes a craft is all you need to relax and get ready for your busy life. Are you ready?

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Supplies Needed:

Acrylic or Watercolor Paint (optional, option of using scrapbook paper or not a colored paper is available)

Card Stock, Mixed Media, Scrapbook or Watercolor Paper (printer paper not recommended)

a Piece of Cardboard (the size of your paper. This step is optional, only to steady the paper)

Markers or Pens (you can also use paint, it is a bit tricky though!)

Sticky Notes

How It All Happens:

Step 1: Take the paper you’re using, and decide if it’s large enough or not. My Canson Mixed Media Paper was a little too small for my preference, so I taped it together on the back. There is a slight seam that you can see, but that was better than having too small of a paper to me.

Step 2: (optional) Now cut a piece of cardboard the size of your paper. This is to stabilize and make the finished piece more sturdy, but this step is entirely optional and up to you.

Step 3: (optional) Paint your paper! Using watercolors or Acrylics, this step can get super creative no matter what you do. This step is also optional, you can totally use scrapbook paper if you have some scraps, or if you just aren’t the painting type. I used Acrylic Liquitex Basics, Titanium White and Phthalocyanine Blue to mix up a pretty royal blue, adding in some white streaks while the paint is still wet. I used the same technique we used in the Painted Notebook Cover sky for my background. If you just can’t wait, use a hair dryer to dry your paints quickly, but remember to hit the cold button for a moment when the paint is dry, this seals it.

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Step 4: Now for doing fonts and lettering, and the details!! Time for your up most creativity. First, I like to start out by taking a post it note, and sticking it to my paper where I want the sticky note square to go.  With either markers, pens, paint pens, OR just paint on a flat or round brush: loosely draw lines (a little away from the sticky note!) these lines don’t even have to touch, depending on how loose or strict you want the lines to be. Once you’ve done this several times (however many notes you want to be able to put on the board) you can go in with either chalk, a watercolor pencil, or a charcoal pencil to draw (in whatever font you want!) To Do’s, To Do List, Grocery List, or whatever you want the title of the to do board to be. I added in a few flowers for detail and just a little filler, so the list didn’t seem so dull. You can add swirls, spirals or anything else in the world. Let the paint FULLY dry before step five. Here are a few pictures, you can use these as a guide if you like.

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Step 5: (optional) Once the paint from step four is fully dry, with some school glue or simple tape, stick the piece of cardboard to the piece of paper. Let this dry COMPLETELY before hanging or using this. You can also coat the list with a thin layer of modpodge or some clear acrylic sealer, IF you used paint. Although you don’t have to do that step, it can help with preserving the list.

If you enjoyed this tutorial, please like and share with your friends! To share, click on the title of any post, scroll down and click Pinterest, Facebook, and more. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comment section below.

Yours Truly, The Blue Eyed Crafter

Clorox Cleaning Wipes: The Life Saver of a Lifetime

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If you are anything like me, cleaning is NOT a strong suit. Not at all. I had known about these wipes for a while, and yeah, they’re nice to have in the car when a sink is out of the question, but when you have a sink and some paper towels right there whats really the point? I now kick myself for thinking these silly thoughts.

Why Do I Want Them?

Painting is the reason. Sometimes, you might get some paint on the kitchen counter, or maybe in the white sink that water just won’t fix.. (both of these problems that I have encountered) but these wipes are purely magical when it comes to the question, what removes paint? These wipes are my easy-yay-I-finally-found-something-paint-remover. Here are a few simple example pictures of the magical ways of Clorox Cleaning Wipes.

Is There Actually Anything Bad About These?

The only thing that I can think of is that they don’t work on paper or cloth, which is a bummer, the reason being that it will get paper soggy and ruin it due to the wateriness of the wipe, but if not for the wateriness they would never work. They do leave a scent, I know they come in citrus, this being a good or bad thing is up to your nose, I personally think it smells good.

Things You Should Know

These wonderful wipes do work on wet AND dry paint! The example photos above are used on dry. The results are just as good on wet paint as well. The wipes do come in a small soft packs great for the car, and on the go painting. They also come in the large canister shown in the picture at the very top of this post.  The canister is sold for about $4.50 (plus tax) which isn’t much to me, considering they are such a lifesaver.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comment section below. To share this post, click on the title and scroll down to the bottom to see Facebook, Pinterest, and more!

Yours Truly, The Blue Eyed Crafter

 

DIY: Painted Notebook Cover!!

Ok, so how many of you out there just had to  buy those notebooks at Walmart for 50 cents that look like your TV just went fuzzy? Well, me, of course. So today we’re gonna make that notebook  look from fuzzy to fabulous. How, you ask?

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Supplies Needed:

a Fuzzy Notebook

some Acrylic or Watercolor Paint (I used acrylic, Apple Barrel candy pink, marsh green, and pumpkin orange. Ceramcoat Caribbean blue, and brilliant blue. Liquitex Basics Cadmium Yellow Light Hue, and Titanium White. Last but not least Hand Made Modern lady bug red.

a Spray Bottle full of tap water

a Palette or Paper Plate

a Cup of tap water for rinsing your brush

Acrylic or Watercolor Brushes (using acrylics, I used a 3/4″ Flat Stroke Brush, a 1/2″ Flat Stroke Brush both by Snap! and a small round, about a number 4)

Mixed Media Paper or Watercolor Paper is using watercolors (using acrylics, I used Canson Mixed Media Paper found at Walmart)

Sizing The Paper:

I first measured my notebook, and then fit my paper over top like s o. I ended up using a 9″ x 12″ piece of paper.

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Now fold the paper inwards once your paper is positioned the same as the picture above.

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Your paper should mimic the one above. Make fold marks in your paper! Now unfold the paper and set the notebook not too far away. You should see a square in the upper and lower corner of one side.

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I want you to cute the square away. If this does not make any sense to you, you should have a scrap square after this step.

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Once both squares are cut, it should look like the picture above. Now cut two small triangles out of each square like so.

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Your end result of cutting two triangles out of four corners it should look like this.

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A.K.A. pure beauty. Now we’re going to unfold this from the notebook and lye it flat on a hard surface. It should look like this:

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*****VERY IMPORTANT******

While you are painting the paper should look exactly like the picture above, with the straight section of the paper to the left of you. If not, your painting will turn out upside down. Now you are free to paint! I am not going to do a full length tutorial on painting this as well, but I will show you the technique I used to create my yellow sky.

First, I am going to lightly spritz the paper with my spray bottle, this is just so my paints will glide better on the paper surface. Now, using my 3/4 flat stroke brush, I am mixing my cadmium yellow light hue paint and my titanium white paint together, making a very light yellow. I am going to coat the entire piece of paper with this shade.

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Next, I’m gonna take my brush and just dip the very edge of the brush bristles with this white like so.

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Now, with my hand very parallel to the ceiling, I’m going to paint in slashes of white like so. Don’t worry, we are going to soften this, it won’t be our finished sky.

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Once you’ve done that, take your brush (wipe off the excess paint with a paper towel) and soften the white streaks by just laying your brush hairs on the wet white paint. This will soften the white streak, and blend it with your sky like so.

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There’s that sky! Now I just added in some simple grass and flowers with my smaller round.

Once the painting is 100% dry, coat a thin layer of modpodge onto the paper. This ensures the painting won’t get smudged, or dirty, or have any water damage.

Once that is fully dry put a thin layer of school glue on the cover of your notebook and then place the back of your artwork on the glue like so.

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Now open your notebook so you can see the back of the card stock cover like so.

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Now brush on a thin layer of modpodge onto the edges of the back. Press down the flaps, it should stick.

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Now let this dry fully (overnight) before use. Voila!

If you enjoyed this, please like and share. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comment section below by clicking on the post.

Yours Truly, The Blue Eyed Crafter