Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Grungy Style 8x10 Stretched Canvases PLUS Discount

Even though there seems to be a lot of those mega deals for stretched canvas products, it can still add up pretty quickly if you are doing enough to spell a word or name.  Get this great canvas look with a twist for much less!

ESPECIALLY when you use  Coupon Code: 8X10DISCOUNT 
you'll get 30% off your entire purchase of 8x10 prints.
(applies to 8x10 galleries only; may not be used with other promotions,
sales, or coupon codes.  Expires April 22, 2012)

Here's what you'll need for this project ...
8x10 stretched canvases -I needed 7 for the word IMAGINE
Stores like Michael's, Jo-Ann, AC Moore, etc. carry these
8x10 prints of your choice at
one or two sheets of heavy scrapbook paper (I needed two)
spray adhesive
small sponge brush
paper cutter
black acrylic paint
newspapers to protect your work area 

 Start with your paint.  It can be any color, but I went with black to complement the black & white photos I selected and the paper.  Work from a disposable plastic plate.

Paint each of the canvases around the edges like shown above.  
You won't need to paint the whole canvas - you'll see why later. 

Do all your canvases at once and let dry.

Measure the depth of the canvas - it was 1/2 inch.
You'll want to make cut your strips of paper slightly smaller than the exact measurements of a side.
The scrapbook paper I chose had black in it plus a bunch of other colors.
It had a grungy look to it, so that's the style I decided I wanted.

You then need to cut strips of paper - 4 for each canvas you'll be using.
So for IMAGINE I needed a total of 28 strips of paper.
14 of the longer size and 14 of the shorter size.

Lay a strip of paper upside down and spray the back with a little adhesive.  
Use sparingly - it doesn't take much for the paper to stick!  
I found it worked best to hold the canvas between my legs for stability.

Take your sprayed strip of paper and start at one end.
Get it positioned so that there is just a little space around the edges.
Then press on the end you have positions and work the other end into position.
When in place, move you finger up and down the edges to make sure it is adhered securely.

TIP:  The spray adhesive that I used works EXTREMELY well!  The newspapers would
quickly get saturated so I just kept throwing newspapers away and laying down fresh ones.

Work through all your strips one at a time until you have all sides of your canvases complete.
Let dry.

To get an idea of how your print will look on the canvas, place it on top of a dried canvas.  

OPTIONAL:  My photos were just slightly larger than I wanted them to be - 
I wanted some of the black paint to show on the sides.
Using the paper cutter, cut off just a little of each photo ... about 1/4 inch on each side.
Prep all your photos to the size you want.

Spray the back of a photo with adhesive.  Again, use sparingly!
Holding the print on either side, get it positioned so that just a little birth of black is showing.
I started at the bottom, got it positioned, and then slowly lay it down towards the top.
Use a clean cloth and press the photo onto the canvas evenly.

Turn the canvas over and press on the inside evenly to make sure it adheres well.
Repeat with all images and canvases.
IMPORTANT:  Again, the newspapers will get sticky with adhesive as you go along.  
Make sure to throw away sticky newspapers and replace with fresh ones.  
It will go smoother and you won't get adhesive anywhere you don't want it!

Here's what it looks like so far.
I didn't really like the look of the edges of the paper, so I decided to go back to the black paint.
With the small sponge brush, I lightly dipped just the tip/edge in the paint.  
Carefully dab the paint onto the edges of the paper.  

You'll notice that the difference is not huge, but it has kind of a grungy, burned look to it.
Plus I think it hides little imperfections of slightly off-centered paper placement.
I'm not a perfectionist, so this was a great solution!
Imperfect perfection.  ;-)

Let them all dry, clean up the work area, and then check out your artwork!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

DIY Alphabet Photos on Wood

Guest Designer Kylie Comfoltey of The Sassy Pepper wanted a custom made piece of artwork for her entryway.  Here's Kylie's explanation of how she created this beautiful personalized wood design of her last name ...

I wanted to create an original project similar to the way we've created Mod Podge canvas projects  in the past to show you that you can use the same methods but different materials to achieve a different look. You can take the idea of my project and simplify it by creating a simple rectangular or square sign of your own. The guys at your local wood source can cut the wood for you. You don't need all the tools and you don't need to spend as much time as I spent on this project! Don't be intimidated by words and phrases like "jig saw" and "beveled edge."

I started with a plain piece of 1/2" MDF (50"x25"), which cost me less than $9. Using a pencil, I traced the shape I wanted to cut onto the board.

 Then I cut it out with a jig saw!
Beveled the edges with a bevel tool attached to my router. Oh, I just love beveled edges. A pretty edge gives any project a more finished and professional look. More "handmade" than "homemade," if you know what I mean. (My husband says it is a "profile tool" not a bevel tool. Just a little FYI.)
 I brushed off all the saw dust and sanded the board until it was smooth and uniform. Then I primed it (twice) and sanded it smooth again.

I painted the sign with two coats of leftover paint from previous projects. I wanted a semi-neutral sign, but decided to paint the edge a bolder color to give it a little oomph. I was going for depth with this project. 
 Along with the 1/2" MDF, I also picked up a very thin 1/8" MDF for just under $4 to use as backing for my letters. I painted it to match the sign's edge.
 I cut the thin MDF with a circular saw, measuring a 1/8" excess on all sides to make it slightly larger than the 4x6 images. In other words, I cut out nine 4.5"x6.5" backings for my photos. Then I inked the edges to give some extra depth and definition.
 Once that was completely dry and smudge-proof, I Mod Podged the images to the backings.
 Mod Podge Tip: when working with photos, it is best to paint a layer of Mod Podge to the back of the photo itself, then affix the photo to whatever medium you're working with (wood, canvas, children--I'm kidding, don't Mod Podge your kids). If you paint the Mod Podge to the wood/canvas first, it will cause for an uneven, bumpy finish or "sucked-in" areas. This is because the wood/canvas material is very porous, whereas the photo paper is thick and non-absorbent.

Paint Mod Podge to the back of the photo, then line your photo up where you want it and smooth it on for a perfect finish.
See how the Mod Podge dries clear? I can tell you were a little worried about the milkiness of the previous picture!
 I decided that, after all the work I'd put into this project, I really wanted to love the end product. So I splurged! I spent as much on these two little decorative mouldings as I did on the rest of the materials combined. But it was worth it.
 I painted the mouldings to match the sign. They really gave my sign a beautiful finish.
 I meticulously measured and spaced, centered and nudged until everything was just where I wanted it to be. I used E-6000 adhesive, which dries clear, to permanently affix everything to my sign and voila! The finished product, at a whopping 24.5"x48.5":

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Coming Soon ... DIY Projects and Tutorials

I've been providing alphabet photography images since 2008 and have loved every minute of it!  I recently decided to start this blog to provide information on how to create your own unique artwork with prints ordered at

Let me know if you'd like to team up and create a project!