Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I solemnly swear that I am up to no good

I saw this great inspiring pin quite a while ago that I thought was cute. I also thought I could do it better.

We aren't ashamed to admit we're a family that loves Harry Potter. In fact, I got my boyfriend to read the books for the first time within the last year. I'm just pushy good like that.

I told my friend Jessica what I wanted to do and last summer we went to a thrift store to find frames for the project. I'm sad I didn't take before pictures of what I bought. It was quite weird pictures embedded in these frames. How weird? Well,  one was of beans and one was of a pot with what turned out to be cabbage. There was some kind of French on it. If I remember correctly, Jodie translated it to something like "young/green beans" and "cabbage soup". And these pictured were really stuck in the frames. I think I would have had to break the frames in order to get the pictures out.

It took a long time for me to get the project done. Initially it took a long time because I couldn't figure out how to cover up the weird French stuff. Hint: white tempera paint, while sounding like a good idea is actually horrible. Eventually my art education friend told me to try Gesso since it was pretty much a surface primer. After I got the Gesso on, I painted the surface with a paint color called "parchment". I also figured out exactly which font I wanted to use. Then I had to ask my art education friend how I could transfer the font to the surface. He suggested I use carbon transfer paper. It worked really well (eventually).

There was something like a 6 month delay between when I put the Gesso and paint on and when I finally finished. What took so long? Well, I couldn't decide how to get the thing to look the way I wanted. So it sat around. And sat around. And I had to kind of hide the project in a corner so I didn't have to look at something I should have finished super fast.
Eventually my wonderful boyfriend was bored, wanted some kind of project to finish, and when presented with my situation suggested coffee.

I swear, no matter how long this story feels, it's way faster to read than it was to experience.

Well, to shorten part of this story, we had to rub coffee grounds on the surface of the canvas. It's not canvas, but it's what I'm going to call it because that's the easiest explanation for what it is. So we rubbed grounds around on the surface until we had a kind of interesting effect. I let it dry for a day or two, then we each took one frame, the carbon paper, and the corresponding words and spent a while tracing. The next day I very carefully painted the words. They're tiny and my smallest paint brush was almost too big. I actually used a toothpick on some parts.

After I let the paint dry, I decided to touch up some of the coffee ground parts. I let that dry then grabbed my Mod Podge and tried sealing the pictures. Oh no, it did not work. Mod Podge is too thick and it started to carry away the coffee staining. Of course, this led to panic. Needless to say, don't put coffee grounds on anything that's recently had Mod Podge on it.

Eventually I (mostly) fixed the staining on the Mod Podged frame. I found some spray Elmer's glue stuff I've had for a few years and sprayed a layer of that on each frame. I let that dry for probably 2 days before I decided it wasn't tacky and was sealed.

Here's what they look like:

I bet you can identify which one I had to re-stain. Anyway, these beauties sat around for another month and a half until this past weekend.

Jeff (the boyfriend) finally convinced me to hang them up. Originally I wanted one on either side of my back sliding door. Unfortunately, I used one side to put up my shelves of plants so they get light. I only have the one side left. We hung them up there anyway.

They don't look half bad, huh? They'll only be there on the wall for a few months. I'll be moving around the end of May, but these will come with me. I'm thinking wherever I put my library in my new apartment, I'll hang these too.

It's a long story, but I wanted to explain that these have been in the works for a long time now. I'm quite happy with how they came out.

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