Saturday, October 29, 2011

Gel Medium Canvas Transfer - Angels

I've been working on several projects for an upcoming show, but my favorite project has been my canvas transfer.
  I started with a box of 4 canvases I bought at a garage sale.

I'm always on the hunt for art supplies at garage!

I think the box was marked low because of the "guidelines" that were already stamped on the canvases.

I quickly covered the lines with Gesso so they wouldn't bleed through on my final project.

The pictures I chose where taken during a trip to New Orleans.  My husband and I spent a day visiting the old cemeteries around the city and taking pictures of the beautiful headstones, vaults and mausoleums. It was a cool, crisp day and the sky was unbelievably blue!

I printed all my pictures on my home INK JET printer. 
I seems "all the others" out there in blog land tell you that you must print on a laser printer or take your pictures and have them copied on a professional copier because your ink will run. can do that, BUT this project can be done with an ink jet printer. 
There is minimal run with the ink and I think the "old world" look of the prints is what adds to the charm of the project.
Be sure you use REALLY CHEAP paper (I like to use the recycled brand paper, it's easier to peel away.)

To begin, you will cover the canvas with your gel medium (a nice even coat). I like the matte finish, but you can use the gloss if you prefer.
Place your photo print side down and press it into the gel on your canvas.  I like to use an old credit card to smooth out the print onto the canvas. 
The image of your picture will begin to show through and you can feel the change in the texture of your paper as you work.

As your print continues to dry the image will become clearer through the back of the paper.

I let the project completely dry (usually over night) before I peel back the paper.
You can wet your canvas under running water, but I use a spray bottle to wet my paper.
Starting at a corner you can begin to peel the first layer of the paper away.  It's easy to "roll" the paper away with your fingers as you move across the canvas.

You will notice I did not press my picture all the way to the edge of my canvas.  I do go all the way to the edge on some of my pictures,  but because I wanted these to look like "old" canvases, I let the gel medium become lighter (painting less) along the edges.
Once you have peeled the first layer away let your picture dry again.  You will notice there is still a "milky" appearance to your canvas.  You will need to repeat this last step several times until your canvas is to your liking.  I let mine dry between each rubbing.  Each time you spray water on your canvas you will notice how much darker the picture will continue to work away the pieces of the backing paper on your picture.
(NOTE:  Be careful when rubbing where the wooden frame is along the edge...your picture will more easily rub off along that hard edge.  I try to place my fingers underneath the edge where I'm rubbing, without stretching the canvas!)

I wanted to add words to one of my pictures, so I printed them and set my printer to "mirror" so they would print backwards.  (You can use this setting on your printer if you do not have software to flip the image.  Look in your advanced settings.)

I cut the words out and painted the gel where I wanted to place my words.

Again...once the image is dry peel away the backing and continue to work the paper until it is to your liking.
(In the future I will print my words onto my picture and have it become part of my first layer rather than an additional layer to peel away.)

Here is another color image I printed from my ink jet printer and affixed with the gel to a canvas.
The image is crisp and clear and the color did not run.  The softness of the angel and the leaves surrounding her makes her appear very ethereal.

Another example of a color print. I embellished her with vintage lace around the edge and chipboard letters.
(Notice along the top where I rubbed along the wooden edge of the appears more noticeable because of the color of the sky.  This is what I was warning you about...go easy or you'll have that marking along each of your edges.)

Here is an angel I printed in a Sepia tone.  I have also hand tinted prints with watercolor pencils to add unique details. Totally  up to you!

I'm very pleased with how they each turned out, and want to encourage you to give it a try using your very own home printer!
The tricks for this project:
1. Print your picture using the "best" settings on your printer.  This will ensure good color.
2. Really get your picture pressed into the gel.  You can press pretty hard with the edge of the credit card to lay the picture down onto the canvas.
3. Don't rush..let your canvas completely dry before you begin the initial peel of the backing.  This will ensure your picture has time to "set" into the canvas.
4. With each successive peel, work in a circular motion on the wet canvas to rub off more of the paper.
I use a slightly damp rag to rub off the "piles" created with the rubbings. (This step may have to be repeated several times, until you are happy with the look.  This is also VERY messy!)
5. My next step is to use the soft side of an emery board to "sand" the surface to a smooth finish. Be gentle.  You can work the edges to look more worn with this technique.  You will also be able to smooth out any of the roughness left by each peel.
6. Finish your project by top coating either with another layer of gel medium, or with a water based finish.
Each picture will be your very own unique creation!
(Let me know if you have ANY questions!)

Till tomorrow...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Train Case...

 I love the name "Train Case"!  I think I like it so much more than luggage or suitcase.  It sounds romantic and makes me feel like there might be an adventure in my future...on a train!

The interesting thing about this Train Case is that it opens on the end, not the side like every other case I've seen.  Very interesting.

The inside lid of the case is in near perfect condition.  The mirror is in tact, the fabric is clean and snug in the case.  (I was trying to get a good picture of the inside of the case and Baby Kitty decided he needed to check out just what I was doing!)

As you can see...the bottom of the case has seen better days. Ugly stain...

Once all the "guts" are ripped out, you can see the case itself is made of wood and in excellent condition. The outside stitching and covering is in good condition and will just need a good cleaning.

Because I decided to keep the "reddish-orange" color that surrounded the mirror, I went with this teal floral fabric for the sides and bottom of the case.

To create a little more drama, I added some flowers and buttons around the mirror.

I also added some flowers around the back of the case.

Once again...with just a little bit of fabric and good ole' elbow grease you can tranform an old Train Case into something that is actually still very useable!

These past couple of weeks I've also been sewing my fingers off getting ready for an upcoming show. 

BUT...More on that later.
Till tomorrow...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Apron Sewing and Fabric Flowers

Sometimes in the evening I try to make time to read blogs I've saved to check out later "when I have time"!  They have either been recommended by someone, or I've accidentally stumbled on them through another blog.

One of the blogs I "stumbled" on earlier this summer was Sew4Home.  A sewing friend was talking about all the great projects you can find on this site, so I decided to check it out.  One of the things I REALLY wanted to follow up on was an apron project called
Citrus Holiday: Hostess Apron with Dreamy Bow.

I loved her fabric choices and the flirty skirt of the apron...however I was looking for a pattern I could easily convert to use with vintage fabrics.
I specifically wanted to use the vintage tablecloths I had purchased to make my sister something for her birthday.

One important thing to note...I do buy linens that can be cleaned and reused...but I also buy dirty, torn linens that can only be "re-purposed."
These are the best to use if you are going to cut them.  I can't bring myself to cut into a tablecloth that has no major defects.  I love using them, especially if they come clean and look almost new!

My linen choices for this project all had major issues!

You also need to be careful when you are cutting more than one layer since they become "misshapen" after so much washing and usage.  Make sure your borders and centers match up the way you want and that they won't twist when you get them sewn.

I wanted to incorporate this vintage dresser scarf for the bib portion of the apron because my sister loves birds, so this piece was a must.  I chose to use the bird piece in a way that kept the original small crochet edging.  The backing is more vintage linens, but it was top stitched along the inside edge so the trim would be visible. This small hole in the scarf has an iron on fix on the backside. 

(Sometimes you'll find that a prior owner has taken great care to properly mend your cloth.)

I lay out all my pieces to ensure everything can be cut using existing borders, designs while avoiding large holes and tears.  Sometimes it's not avoidable, but you have opportunity to adjust as to where the hole will end up!

For my waist ties I was able to use the good edges of one tablecloth.  They weren't quite as long as the pattern required (I think they were an inch short) but they had enough length to still tie.

The ruffles were created from two different tablecloths.
The background fabric is the center piece of the tablecloth I used for the middle ruffle.

I think the project was a success.

As I also promised yesterday, I want to show you how to make some fabric flowers.  I wanted to complete my apron by creating a fabric flower to cover the hole on the dresser scarf.
I started by cutting a long strip of edging.  I used pinking shears and followed the edging of the tablecloth.

I folded under the straight end and sewed the edge so I could pull the bobbin thread to create a ruffle.

Once the fabric is pulled to create a ruffle, I began rolling it around the bottom sewing and stitching the bottom together as I rolled.  I started tight in the middle and rolled more loosely as I completed my flower.  You can always use this "rose" as is, but I wanted mine to be a fuller flower.

So..for the base of my flower I cut 6 flower shaped petals.

The bottom two petals are layered on top of each other,

and the four petals left are folded in quarters and layed on top of the bottom two flat ones.
I machine stitch a cross in the center of the petals to tack down the top layers to the bottom layers.

You can now use these flowers as is,

but I stitched my rose in the center of these layers to give it more dimension.  As you can see, I did not sew it on top of the hole in the bib (it seemed an awkward location once I got it made.)  I'll have to find "something" else to cover the flaw....

I also completed two other fabric flowers, but for these two I sewed a decorative button in the center.  You can make them your very own by laying more petals and using larger decorative's all up to you!

So...a very HAPPY (belated) birthday to my sister (who I love very much!) I know she'll enjoy many hours of cooking in her apron.  (I also found a second tablecloth to match her apron!)

More sewing in the coming week,
till tomorrow...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Creating with a Bleach Pen

I'll just make my confession right here...I'm a bleaching girl!  Sinks, tubs, tile, hair (ha!ha!ha!)...whatever can be bleached.  I have a white porcelain sink that I bleach at the end of every day when all the dishes are loaded in the dishwasher.  Or, I might bleach it when I get home from work at noon because it looks a little dirty.  Or, perhaps I bleach it when I sweep through the kitchen cleaning everything in my wake.  (You get the picture.)

My favorite form for bleaching is the "spray" version.  It does the job quickly and I'm usually happy.  However, it also has a tendency to "back" spray.  I try to remember to put on an apron or lean way no avail.

Now I also own a "favorite" cleaning's old and comfortable and is perfect for those cleaning days when I'm spraying everything.  Here's a close up of the spec of bleach that hit the shirt (I never see the over spray on anything until wash day.) 
This shirt is also a favorite for cooking ...grease popping bacon was the last adventure.
Needless to say, it's a pretty sad shirt, but perfect for my experiment of "rebirth"!

I came up with a swirly design and used my fabric pencil to make a few guide lines (just to be sure I included my bleach spot and a few of the grease spots into my design.) 
Don't forget to place something (I used a plastic grocery bag) between your shirt layers to prevent the bleach from leaking through to the back of your garment.

I used a bleach pen to draw out my design.  Be sure and shake your pen very well before you begin your project.  It tends to be a little watery, so keep moving with the pen.  You can always go back and retrace a line you want thicker or darker.  If you sit too long on one part of the fabric with the pen the bleach will slowly spread.

Once you have your outlines complete you can go back and fill in any area and make extra swirls, dots, etc.

You will want to let the bleach sit on your fabric about 10 minutes, or depending on how light you want your design to bleach out your fabric.  Once it looks "right" to you, rinse off the bleach.
I left my plastic bag inside until I rinsed all the bleach off the shirt.
I ran the shirt under warm water for several minutes.

When your bleaching process is complete, the fabric must be neutralized to stop the corrosive action of
the bleach.    

You can do this by first rinsing the fabric in water and then soaking it in a solution of 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 10 parts water for about 10 minutes. 

After neutralizing, wash the fabric in warm soapy water, and rinse it thoroughly.  You might want to go ahead and throw it in the wash and give it a good cleaning.  I did not put mine in with another load of clothes, just in case there was any active bleach left on the shirt.

Now that it is dry...I am ready to wear my new creation...and no new bleach "over spray" will even be noticeable.
BUT if I do get "over spray" on my "new" shirt, I'll just add more swirls and dots!

Here is my finished product...I might even be able to wear it in public again...

at least to take a walk!

Tomorrow I'll show you the apron I've been working on and some fabric flowers.
Till then...