Friday, June 22, 2012

Easy To Make Projects With Your Own Artwork

"O" Is for "Oriole"

Easy To Make Projects With Your Own Artwork
click on image above to see larger

Handmade Bookmark/Tag 
mixed media collage/painting
3.50 x 8.50" on watercolor paper

Not long ago I painted an "Oriole" for a client.  The painting was done in oil (on canvas) and then delivered to the client once finished.  I always photograph my paintings before they go off to their new owners, so I have built up quite a portfolio of my "bird" paintings now.   I needed an "oriole" for a series of miniature daily paintings I have been working on.  I decided to make a "handmade" "card" or "bookmark" out of some various materials I had on hand.  

They are very simple to make.  Here is how I did mine:

Supplies Needed:
Your printed image of your artwork
watercolor paper
canvas paper (if you can find it, or use whatever you have on hand)
hole punch
acrylic gel medium
misc. collage elements (see ideas below)
acrylic paint
thread, ribbon or string
gold paint pen (to outline border)
varnish (if desired)

1.  Make a copy of your painting on your home printer.  I found some pads of "canvas paper" at the crafts store, super cheap.  (Jo-Ann's or Michael's).  My pads are 5x7" with 36 sheets to a pad.  It works with either oil or acrylic, but I tried it in my little Epson printer, and it works great. The paper is light weight and has a nice tooth to it, which helps give your printed image the "original" look once printed.  (You can experiment with whatever paper your printer will accept), but it should be as thin and light as possible, because you will be coll-aging it onto heavy weight watercolor paper later.  

2.  Cut out or hand tear your watercolor paper to the size you want for your finished bookmarks.    I recommend doing it to a size that will fit nicely into your envelopes once finished.  You can use a nice linen envelope from the office supply store, or a beautiful parchment envelope from any craft store.  You can even make your own, but remember to leave plenty of room for your tassel/ribbon to be tucked into it once finished.  When I am making a group of these at one time, I will usually  make myself a little template out of foam core board to use to draw the exact shape of my cards onto the watercolor paper.  That way you don't have to spend so much time measuring each one out.  

3.  I paint my watercolor paper with acrylic paint, and then collage various things onto it leaving room for my "oriole" to be added.  I use acrylic gel matte medium for my collage elements.  I soak my papers first, and while wet apply gel matte to both sides with a sponge brush to adhere it.   Be careful not to tear your collage elements because they are more delicate when wet.  Once they dry though, they are there for good.  You can use a water bottle to spray your collage elements, but I just usually use a shallow Tupperware to soak them for just a few seconds first.

Some of the collage elements I love to use are:
  • old sheets of music paper
  • vintage postage stamps
  • old letters
  • textured papers that I tear up and gold leaf (wallpaper samples work great for this)
  • skeleton leafs
  • any pretty papers you have collected (stay away from glossy ones)
 Here are a few of my favorite stamps I have used in past projects:

Note:  All of your collage elements work fantastic with acrylic gel medium.  That is the "glue" that holds everything together.  The image of your artwork however, might have to be sprayed with adhesive if your printer ink runs.  You should do a little test first.  I sprayed my printed "oriole" on the back side with spray adhesive in this project, then I did some collage over it.  The home printed images cannot be soaked first, they will run, unless you have a printer that has color toner, like at Kinkos.  (Their printer ink works great and wont run, so your paper can be soaked in that case.)     

4.  Once all of your design elements are in place and are dry, you can add your finishing touches.  I  use a fat gold paint pen to outline the edges of my bookmark.  I also outline the back side of the card because it looks nice.  I leave it blank though so it can be used to write a note, poem or special message to the person who receives it.  I also finish it off with a light coat of varnish if it needs it.

5.  Don't forget to punch a hole for your ribbon or tassel.  You can use anything from string to various yarns.  Just bunch up as many as you like and carefully slip it through the hole.  I sometimes even add a few beads to my ribbons for that extra special touch.  

I package my cards with a foam core backing, the envelope and then put them in clear bags to fit the overall size of my "bookmarks".  I sell them at my art shows and add a professional looking label on the back side of my clear bag.  I usually sell out of these so fast that I can hardly keep them in stock for long.  I sell mine for $35.00 each, but a little more for the ones with extras like rare postage stamps etc.  

I hope you enjoy your own "do it yourself art project".  Have fun!  You can email me anytime with questions too.

Click on the comment link if you would like to leave a comment.

Barbara Rudolph


Pam Holnback said...

Wow! thanks. I'm motivated to do something like this!

Barbara Rudolph Fine Art said...

Thanks for your comment Pam, take a picture of your finished piece and I'll post it. It is a fun project.