A couple of weeks ago while picking around, I found something that intrigued me. I forget what I was looking for, but I stumbled across some magnetic sheeting on Ebay.
Now I am not one to generally shop at Ebay. Once in a while I will see a copy of a ‘vintage’ painting book or something like that but other than that I don’t really want to take the time to scout it out and bid and all of that. Besides – by the time all the charges are added for shipping to Canada, it never really is a bargain for me to get stuff there. Even when I go to ‘Ebay Canada’ the majority of the items are shipped from the US.
But anyway, I saw these magnet sheets and they got me thinking. When I received the pattern for the little Boo Bunnies by Peggy Harris, she had originally painted some of these little fellas on a magnetic sheet and wrapped it around a metal bucket. I thought that was a clever idea because the sheets could be easily stored and you could change the scene on the bucket to suit the season. I also started thinking about the possibilities of using these sheets for other applications – perhaps when painters don’t have access to the scroll saw or know how to cut wood pieces. It seemed worth looking into anyway.
So I see this offering of magnetic sheets that can go through your printer like a sheet of paper. I looked them up at Staples and they were quite costly – five sheets cost anywhere from $14.95 to $19.95. I thought that was a bit much. But while surfing around, I noticed this company in Ontario that sold all kinds of magnets and magnetic products and they had a good price on them if you bought them in bulk. I thought ‘What the heck?’ and ordered up.
I received them in a matter of only a couple of days. That was quite impressive, I thought. And when I got them, I was surprised at how thin they were. I had purchased vinyl faced magnetic sheeting several years ago and it was quite a bit thicker. This stuff had kind of a paper face, but it is not really paper. I was curious as to how it would hold up to printing and ultimately painting.
The past couple of weeks have been busy, but I got the second scroll saw lesson posted in as many days yesterday by noon and I thought I would take some time (after laundry and house cleaning!) to play around with this stuff.
I found the website of one of my favorite painting designers, Annie Lang. She was one of the ones that made me fall in love with painting in the first place. Her cheerful and whimsical characters always made me smile and since cartooning is not my forte, over the years I had painted many of her designs. (I think I own just about every one of her painting books too!)
In the many years since I have followed her, I see she has branched out to many other things. With scrap booking so popular, she has all of her books and also many different types of scrap booking designs and papers available to download and print from home. I love this idea, as it is not only instant gratification when you buy something, but you can print just what you want in the size and format you want and on the media you desire for your own application. What better way to try out my magnet sheets, I thought?
So I purchased one of the packages from her site (Halloween Cats, of course!) and I gave it a try on the magnet sheets. I sized them to what I wanted to get the most mileage out of the sheets and printed away. They looked great!
I also printed out the color picture that she included with each line drawing. Although she offered a color picture, there were no specific instructions on painting. It was kind of up to me to do what I wanted with them (which was fine because I rarely follow the instructions anyway! :)
Then came the real test – seeing how they would hold up to the acrylic paints. Since the paints are water based and many of the techniques that you use in the process of painting require the use of water, I was not sure if the material would peel off or hold up. I also use a technique called ‘dry brushing’ for highlighting that may make the material flake off, as you need to rub it with a stiffer brush. I wasn’t sure if it would stand the test.
I am happy to report though that all went well and the design came out beautiful! I painted it in about an hour and a half, and it was fun and easy and I didn’t have to mess with transferring any lines. I just printed and painted. When I was finished, I just cut out the piece and it looked really cool.
This is a great discovery for me. With being involved in both the painting business and also the woodworking business, I realize that some painters don’t have access to wood cutting for their specialized painting projects. These magnetic sheets would be a wonderful alternative for them to work with.
I was thinking that I could design my own pieces and sell not only the patterns, but also the pre-printed magnetic sheets with them. They could be a wonderful way to involve children and start to teach them and they could even be fun for parties and other events. I could even offer my own paintings on pre-printed sheets. They seem to accept the color very nicely and it would be like selling finished products of my own work. The magnet sheets would cost no more to mail than regular paper and since everyone has a refrigerator, they would already have a nice place to display their creations. I think it is something that is worth thinking about a little more for me and may be a good way to expand my customer base.
Of course, I could also still offer the wooden pieces to what I am designing, but the magnetic sheets is a nice alternative and may be something that people will like. I suppose I will have to see.
Working on new ideas such as this is such a fun part of my job. I love to try new techniques and new products, and whether they catch on or not, it is still fun to experiment. I suppose that if I didn’t try, I would never know. If you want to give your feedback on the idea, feel free to do so. I would love to hear your thoughts on this idea.
Oh, and if you are into scrap booking or painting or are looking for cute designs to print on stationary or make cards or stuff like that, be sure to go over and visit Annie Lang's Site and see her cute, digital artwork. It is really a nice source for some cute stuff! :)
Thanks for reading and I hope you have a wonderful Sunday.
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"