Friday, November 4, 2011

Crafting and Decorating

The top photo is a Faux Japanese silk screen I created for my apartment's living room. I believe decorating should not require a huge bank account. Also, the fact I made this myself, not only do I have a sense of pride, but it is more than just a decorative piece, it is a piece of myself.

The screen started as three inexpensive pre-stretched canvas panels from a local bargain outlet store (hint: big orange punctuation mark in their signage) that cost $7 a piece. Other items required were craft paints (bought on sale at a chain store for 49 cents a bottle), foam and various craft brushes (variety pack for under $5), lots of masking tape, pencil, and some mending plates.

The background was created by mixing a pearlescent glaze in white, copper and a bright metallic gold paint. The canvases already had a coat of gesso. I used a large chip brush (2 in wide) and applied layers of glaze mixture going in vertical and then horizontal strokes. This gave the effect of raw silk.

I then masked the edges and painted them flat black to mimic the lacquer frames on authentic Japanese silk screens. (Note: traditional screens are even numbers and silk painted and stretched on lacquered wood frames). I used a pencil and ruler to create the bamboo - I used to have this variety in my backyard and took the colors and form from the photos I took.

A dry brush technique is easy to master and gives the bamboo it's dimension. A bit of bright crimson gives my initials a calligraphy look. A couple coats of satin varnish and a thin line of gold leafing pen on the edges finish off the piece.

The key to this is project is simplicity. Bamboo signifies long life, strength and growth.

Not everyone is confident with handpainting. This look could be duplicated by using stencils or projecting an image and tracing.

I don't just paint, sometimes a simple accent finishes a room. The second image is a set of vinyl wall cutouts I made using my Cricut machine and a couple cartridges. My bedroom is decorated in a very romantic style, hints of Paris here and there.

It is an apartment and the lighting is very utilitarian, and I am limited on the number of "holes" that can go in a wall. The vinyl removes very cleanly, so my security deposit is safe. I wanted an old world feel, so I made a shield shape and applied my monogram over the top. The fixture shape falls right where the light hits the wall.

This project took less than a hour to complete. I hope these two projects have inspired you.

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