As I am writing this morning, the sky is a very light blue and it is filled with puffy clouds. The bottoms of the clouds are an incredible peachy/orange hue that blends into the peachy/grey tops. If I painted a picture like this, some would think it looked ‘fake’, as the colors are so unusual. But it is there and it is a beautiful sight to wake up to. I can feel already that it will be a good day.
I made pretty good progress yesterday on my project. The second version of the ornaments that I showed yesterday is done, and I believe that I like them even better than the last. I know there are the purists that may disagree with me – and I can picture them cut from some beautiful exotic pieces – but my own personal opinion is that I love the splash of color that I have applied to them, and that is my first choice.
I wanted these ornaments to be really special. Originally, I had intended on using some gold leafing on the frames of the second version. A very talented painting friend of mine made some beautiful ornaments earlier this week in which she applied some silver leafing around the edges of her ornaments which offset the painted polar animals beautifully. After seeing this technique, I remembered that I had some gold leafing sheets, as well as the adhesive and top coat and had been waiting for a nice project to use it.
I didn’t want solid gold coverage though, I wanted a mottled/variegated look. I planned on using intense colors with the metallic gold kind of marbled through it. I thought that perhaps applying the gold leaf would not only make the pieces really special, but introduce a new technique as well.
I was a big shy about using it though, as I had never done so before. I spent some time on YouTube, looking through the various videos to see what I was up against. It looked easy enough, although it was a bit messy. And I began to wonder if it would be possible to achieve the look I was thinking about on such a small area – only the tiny frames of the ornaments.
I followed my own advice (for ONCE!) and decided to TEST the process on a scrap of wood. I must say, this was the smartest move of the day. I am constantly telling others to TEST things first on a scrap, but there are times (I admit) when I am in a hurry and bypass that step. Usually with regret. But I worked so hard on cutting these ornaments and they were sitting here looking really beautiful (even though they were still naked) and I didn’t want to take chances on botching them up. It would have broken my heart.
I decided that I needed to shred the sheet of leaf so that I would have little “flakes” to work with. That task alone was a clue that things weren’t as easy as they looked. The metal flakes definitely had a mind of its own, and either stuck to my hands like the styrofoam ‘peanuts’ did, or floated around the table. I already had a little mess on my hands and I hadn’t even opened the glue bottle yet.
I tried a few spots of glue and applying my flakes and I was not happy with the results. The flakes stuck wherever they touched – very uneven looking. I tried again to apply the glue with a stipple brush – with the thought that if the glue was staggered, then the flakes would be as well. That didn’t work either, as there wasn’t enough glue present to hold the flakes at all.
I reached for the “Liquid Leaf” that I had also bought and tried a bit of that, stippling it on for minimum coverage. Besides the horrendous odor it emitted, the color was darker gold than I wanted, and looked more like brass. It was dull and uninteresting.
It was at that point that I decided that it was futile to try to reinvent the wheel. I had in my arsenal of paint several beautiful shades of gold acrylic paint from DecoArt. It was all water based, had no odor and was not only beautiful, but cost very little and was easy to use.
Why was I trying to reinvent the wheel?
The rest of the process went like clockwork.
I used a deerfoot brush to tap the deep colors on the top only edge of the frames of the ornaments.
As you can see from the photo, even the deep red paint doesn’t spill over to the edge. I have found that using a brush like this to apply paint to the top of a piece is the way to go. The bristles are so stiff that they don’t allow the brush to go below the top edge and mess up the side edges. To do this, I use a moderate amount of paint, start in the middle of the section I am painting, hold the brush at 90 degrees from the surface and gently tap the paint into place, moving toward the outside edge. As I get to the edge, I lessen the pressure and as you can see, little or no paint falls over the edge. It makes a beautifully clean line – especially important when painting with a deep contrasting paint like this.
After the deep base colors were dry, I used an airy sea sponge and “SPARINGLY” applied some light gold metallic paint to achieve the marbled effect I was envisioning. The marbling process to only about three minutes. The trick here was not to overdo. LESS IS MORE! :)
After that was done, I sprayed the frames only with a GLOSS varnish – to enhance the metallic gold effect. I then added coordinating crystal colored rhinestones as I had done on yesterday’s ornaments – this time using a deeper green and the jeweled tones of sapphire for the blue ornaments and tanzanite for the purple.
Below is the results:
I am very pleased with how they look. While natural wood can be very beautiful, I like the combination of the light ash and the painted frames. The best part of this is that the technique is (dare I say?) FOOL PROOF and you need no painting skill at all to accomplish these.
Christmas is about COLOR and SHINE and dazzling to me. From soft shimmers to bright and bold colors, these ornaments fit the bill I think no matter which way you make them. Wouldn’t they also look nice in a soft pastel? With over 300 colors of DecoArt acrylics to choose from, I am sure that they would look pretty in a variety of ways.
Today I am going to be working on writing up the packets for these. The pattern that I am making will include both versions of ornaments – those I showed yesterday and those here today. Yes – it takes more time and effort to make several versions of the same project for a packet – but that is what I feel I want to do. As I said yesterday, offering options is something that I believe in.
For those of you who feel these may be too difficult to cut, I am also working on a simpler, yet (hopefully) just as pretty version of some Damask style ornaments. I don’t think you will be disappointed.
All of the new patterns will be available for the next site update, early next week. After drawing and cutting the final little set, I need to sit down and write the instructions and create the packets. I hope to have them done by the end of the weekend. (I know people will ask anyway! ;) )
Thank you all for your wonderfully positive feedback and support this week. I have had so much encouragement that I can’t begin to thank you all. You all know it really keeps me going (and smiling!)
Have a wonderful Wednesday! I hope your day is filled with fun and creativity. I know mine will be!
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"