The Octopus & the Mermaids

Tropical House Closeup
A little piece of paradise – Isn’t that what we all want? That means different things to different people. For many, the idea of a cozy grass shack on a tropical island is a common fantasy. Of course it goes without saying that we’ll expect all the comforts of home in that “shack,” but that’s not important. Visualizing the dream is the focus here. This time of year so many people visit the seashore. An ocean-themed centerpiece, created one piece at a time, brings memories of vacations past to mind, and inspires dreams of vacations yet to come.

Beach House Before & After1
Before & After Photos: Tropical Home – Front Facade. What was once a home for tiny gnomes transforms into a tropical retreat with orange silk flowers, and a bamboo pattern drawn by hand on the exterior walls using a brown Sharpie marker.

Beach House Before & After2
Before & After Photos: Tropical home – Back Facade. The bamboo pattern continues across the back, giving it that island vibe.

Light House Before & After
Before & After Photos: Lighthouse. Whoever heard of a lighthouse without a roof? To make the roof shown, fold the paper into a cone and staple it as needed to hold its shape. Glue a soup can lid to the bottom of the cone and paint it gray to match the lower portion of the building. Add twine along the edge and down the sides to resemble a standing seam metal roof. Tie several knots in a piece of twine and glue it to the peak of the roof. Tint the glass votive holder yellow using a highlighter, and line the inside with orange paper to suggest a brilliant light glowing from within the tower.

Sailboat Before & After2
Before & After Photos: Sailboat. This sailboat only needed minor adjustments. The faded white stripes needed a fresh coat of paint, and the middle stripe was changed to orange. Because the opposite side of the sail was unfinished, the stripes and shells were duplicated on the back. A cute little blue bird was glued on top of the mast.

The Star of the Show: A Blue Ringed Octopus
Octopus Before and After 2
Before & After Photos: Octopus Closeup. It’s hard to believe the monochromatic octopus on the left is the same one on the right, but it is. It’s amazing what a difference a little paint can do.

Octopus with Candles
Original Octopus Candleholder: This whole project started with this silver metal octopus candleholder. As you can see, it looks top heavy with the large pillar candles, and the octopus is rather hidden underneath. Round candles were another option, but he looked like a juggler! (lol)

Blue Ringed Octopus
As with all creative projects, it’s helpful to gather a few photos for inspiration. The blue ringed octopus is a fascinating creature. Fans of James Bond 007 will remember the movie, Octopussy, in which Maude Adams had an aquarium with this beautifully patterned octopus, and she also wore a white silk robe emblazoned with its colorful, exotic image. Each octopus has a unique pattern, and the blue iridescent rings are impressive creations courtesy of Mother Nature.

Paints
Supplies:
Octopus (7-1/2” high x 4-1/2” wide x 1-3/8” thick)
Acrylic Paints – tan, brown, black, yellow, white, & metallic blue
1) Bottle fabric paint – white
1) Bottle fabric paint – brown
2) Paintbrushes – one for base coat, and a fine brush for details
Paint Palette
Clear Spray Paint

Octopus without Candles
This is how it looks without the candles. The large metal plates are too big, overpowering the beauty of this piece.

Octopus without Plates
The plates were removed using a Dremel cutting tool, and the tips of the tentacles were filed smooth. Now you start to notice the amazing sculptural details created by the artist.

Painted Tan
The color was the next issue to be addressed with two coats of tan paint. The artist painstakingly created a realistic looking octopus, but that thick coat of silver paint had obscured all those intricate details.

Painted Brown Spots
A brown pattern was applied to the entire body and the eyes were painted black.

Painted Black Spots
Black spots were added, overlapping the brown.

Painted Blue Rings&Yellow
Blue iridescent rings were applied over the black spots. Random yellow stripes wrap around the legs and head. A white dot was added to the pupil of each eye.

Painted Brown Irises White Outlines
The eyes were made more realistic with the addition of brown irises and white outlines.

Clear Coat & Suction Cups
Two coats of clear spray paint were applied to protect the acrylic paints. White suction cups were added to the underside of the tentacles and allowed to dry. Next brown fabric paint was applied over each of the suction cups to provide shape and depth. This beautiful sculpture now has the rich, colorful appearance it deserves, and makes an interesting conversation piece.

Finished Centerpiece
Photo: Completed Centerpiece. Black pebbles form little volcanic islands amid a vast ocean. In front of a cozy tropical home, a mermaid sits quietly reading, as a sailboat glides along the water. Another mermaid leaps out of the sea with a treasured seashell in her hand. The lighthouse makes a welcome rest stop for wildlife and a sunbathing mermaid. A feisty octopus playfully thrashes about the water’s surface. Palm trees swaying in the breeze display a pair of small signs that says it all: “Beach Please!”

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Unforgettable Baby Elephants

Bath Time for Baby

Baby Elephant & Family

All babies are cute, but baby elephants are so expressive like the one above having the best day ever!

Baby Nuzzles Mom

Baby Elephant & Mother

Standing beside their watchful mothers, they look so small and somewhat fragile.

Baby’s First Steps

Baby Elephant Walking on Dirt Road

With those big floppy ears, it’s easy to imagine them taking flight, playfully floating upon the breeze and coming to a landing in our love-filled hearts. Let’s bring some of that joy into this week’s project.

How to Paint a Wooden Baby Elephant:

Raw Wood Elephant

Raw Wood

In previous painted wood projects, the animals had feathers, scales, or fur. Elephants present a unique challenge: wrinkles. I must admit this took much longer than expected as I progressed through a series of trial and error to achieve the desired appearance by layering. Let’s get started…

Supplies

Supplies

Supplies:
Wooden Elephant (5” high x 6-1/4” wide x 1-1/4” thick)
Acrylic Paints – Gray & Black, (Pink is optional)
Paintbrushes
Markers – Gray
Pens -Black Fine Point
1) Bottle fabric paint – Brown
1) Bottle fabric paint – Black
1) Bottle fabric paint – White (not shown)

Texture Building

Build Texture

Start building texture with three-dimensional fabric paint. I used white, but any color will do because we will paint over it in a later step. Draw both eyes with a pencil. Thicken and shape the ears and outline the eyes with fabric paint.

Paint the Body

Paint Gray

Paint the body gray, including both sides and all the edges.

Draw Details with a Marker

Marker Details

Define the wrinkles using a gray marker.

Add More Wrinkles

Add Wrinkles

After viewing numerous photos, I added wrinkles all over the body using a marker but immediately regretted it. I should have followed my own advice: Draw or paint what you feel, not what you know.

Repaint the Body

Repaint

A fresh coat of paint gives us a clean slate to try again and allows the marker lines to lightly show through, which is great for the next step.

Cautiously Draw Wrinkles

Pencil Details

Using a pencil, slowly add details in key areas to imply overall wrinkles. Build up the eyes with brown fabric paint.

Trace with a Marker

Marker Details

With a gray marker, trace the wrinkles and outline the eyes. Finish building the eyes up with brown fabric paint and allow it to dry. Add pupils and a white spot in each to bring them to life.

Trace with Fabric Paint

Fabric Paint

Retrace the wrinkles with black fabric paint. You are probably thinking, “Here she goes again. Jumping in with both feet,” and you are correct. The difference is this time … I like it! Don’t worry about too much contrast because we will tone it down in the next step. Develop the eyes with the same fabric paint.

Repaint & Create More Texture

New Texture

By repainting the body with gray paint, the raised wrinkles recede, becoming part of the thick skin. Next, mix black and gray acrylic paint to create a darker gray. Dip a cotton ball in the new dark gray paint and dab it on a piece of scrap paper to remove the excess. Lightly dab the cotton ball all over the body to create new subtle layers of texture. Repeat as needed.

Trace with a Marker

Accent Marker

Retrace the wrinkles, ears, and eyes with gray marker. Add lines around the mouth and tip of trunk. At this point you could stop, but I wanted to add a few little details to make this elephant look like a baby. For that we need a little inspiration.

Adorable Baby Elephant

Baby Elephant

Three things stand out: eyelashes, the pink inside of the mouth, and peach fuzz hair running along the spine from top of the head to the tail. Markers or paint will work nicely for the first two details, but the third requires a special ingredient…

A Longhair Cat

Long Hair Cat

Yes, I am recommending the use of cat hair for an art project. I must say it is the oddest ingredient I have ever used. Longhair cats require daily brushing, so collecting soft hair is no problem. (lol)

Completed Baby Elephant

Add Hair

Glue on the hair with Elmer’s glue. Adjust and trim the hair as needed. Add eyelashes with a fine point black pen and paint the inside of the mouth pink.

Closeup of Elephant’s Face

Close Up

Although these details are minor, I think they provide softness and a “cuteness” factor to this baby elephant, just like his living counterparts.

Baby Elephant – Before & After

Elephant Before & After

This completes our project. Persistence pays off. Experimentation is a tremendous help in solving artistic problems. If you are not happy with the results, let it sit for a day or two and the inspiration will come to you just when you need it most.

Have you faced any artistic challenges like wrinkles? Have you used an unusual item, such as cat hair, in an arts and crafts project? Please share your ideas in the comments section. Thanks for joining me. Good luck with your future works of art.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Tyrannosaurus Rex – The Original Mr. T

T-Rex Skeleton

Sixty-five million years ago the Tyrannosaurus Rex, also known as T-Rex, spent his days hunting, eating, and making little dinosaurs. Archaeologists, writers, and world-renowned movie directors have been thrilling us ever since with all the gory details of this master predator.

T-Rex Hunting

Did they roar like lions? Were they solitary animals or did they mate for life? Having such short arms, I wonder, how did they get back up after a fall?

T-Rex Waiting Outside a Tent

After viewing this photo, who wants to go camping? (lol) The mere thought of facing a creature, capable of eating its prey whole, leaves us with mixed feelings of fear and awe. And we love it. To bring a few of those Jurassic thrills into our lives, let’s jump into our next project:

Inspiration

T-Rex Closeup

Huge jaws, piercing eyes, and razor-sharp teeth – what’s not to love?

Inspiration

T-Rex Roaring Sideview

When we look at large lizards alive today, we can visualize tyrannosaurs having thick, textured skin, consisting of scales and bony plates, with a ridge along the spine.

Inspiration

T-Rex Roaring Front View

Predators typically have camouflaging patterns and colors to give them an advantage while hunting. With these ideas in mind, we can begin the creative process to bring the T-Rex back to life. Let’s go!

How to Paint an LED Tyrannosaurus Rex:

Raw Wood T- Rex, Front

Original Raw Wood Front

This wooden T-Rex (available at Michaels) has preprinted details and cut outs to enable green light from a concealed LED bulb to penetrate the figure and cause an eerie glow in the surrounding area.

Raw Wood T- Rex, Back

Original Raw Wood Back

The back is plain wood with the on/off switch and battery compartment. The wood on the front is smooth, however you might want to sand the back lightly, however that is entirely up to you.

Supplies

Supplies

Supplies:
LED Wooden T-Rex (5-3/4” high x 7” wide x 1” thick)
Acrylic Paints – Cappuccino, Light Fuchsia, & Dove Gray
Paintbrushes
Markers – Brown & Black

Marker Drawn Details

Color Scheme Markers

Use magic markers to figure out the color scheme.

Painted Basecoat, Front

Painted Basecoat Front

Paint the entire body with the basecoat.

Painted Basecoat, Back

Painted Basecoat Back

Paint the basecoat on the back. I did not add any details, but you can if you wish.

Marker Drawn Details

Painted Details

Go over the details with markers.

Painted Gray Background

Painted Background

Paint the background gray to contrast with the tan body. At this point you could stop.

If you have been following this blog for a while, you know there is a more advanced painted version. Please read on to discover how to give this dinosaur a more reptilian appearance.

Advanced 3D Painting:

Three-Dimensional Fabric Paints

Fabric Paints

Supplies:
1) Bottle fabric paint – Brown
1) Bottle fabric paint – Black

Painted 3D Details

Painted Three Dimensional Details

Using brown fabric paint, apply nubby texture to the body. The black paint is for the teeth, pupils, and claws.  I outlined the eyes in black too but didn’t like it. To me, he appeared to be wearing a pair of sunglasses. (lol) You can see the revision below.

Completed T-Rex

Completed T-Rex

This is the completed Tyrannosaurus Rex in all his glory.

T-Rex Before & After

T-Rex Before & After

I am always surprised seeing the plain original wood side by side with the completed project. Caught up in the creative process, it’s easy to forget where we started.

Lit T-Rex with Flash

Lit T-Rex with Flash

This photo, taken using flash photography, shows the soft glow of the LED light.

Lit T-Rex without Flash

Lit T-Rex without Flash

In a dark room, this T-Rex makes a cool nightlight.

I hope you enjoyed this transformative journey. Thank you for coming along for the ride. What is your favorite dinosaur and why? Please let me know in the comments section.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Painting 101 – Part 2

Watercolors

Welcome to part two delving into the inspiring art of painting. As we go, we will examine different types of paints and techniques to pique your interest. By the end, I hope you will have better insight into the many artistic possibilities and take away a few ideas for future creative projects. Let’s go…

Oil Painting: Produces incredible effects ranging from translucency to rich sculpted textures.

Oil on Canvas

Oil Painting Artist

Compared to other options, oil painting requires more supplies, such as solvents, primer, and varnish, and as a result the chemical fumes necessitate working in well-ventilated rooms or outdoors.

Smooth Application

Oil Painting Dog Portrait

Applying oil paints with brushes produces intricate details and luminous colors.

Thick Textured Application

Oil Painting Flowers

When oil paint is applied with a palette knife (a.k.a. painting knife), textures can be achieved with sculptural, three-dimensional accuracy found in nature such as leaves, flowers, and trees.

Fine Arts Collectibles

Oil Painting Egg

Prior to using oil paints, surfaces must be prepped with primer or gesso, and upon completion the finished work should be sealed with varnish to protect the paints.

Wall Art

Oil Painting Nightscape

The preferred choice of world-renowned artists, such as Van Gogh, and Michelangelo, and da Vinci, oil paints are excellent for a wide variety of subjects in styles ranging from classical to abstract and everything in between.

Paint Pens: Offer precise control for detailing and illustration.

Assorted Paint Pens

Paint Pens

Paint pens are prefilled with water-based paints, oil-based paints, or fabric paints in a variety of colors. Since many have strong fumes, you may need to work in a well-ventilated room or paint outdoors.  

Specialty Finishes

Paint Pens Butterfly

Tip sizes are available in fine, medium, and broad. You can create layers of colors and finishes, such as metallics and glitter.

Any Materials

Paint Pens Rock Painting

Whether you plan to paint rocks, plastic, metal or just about anything else, there is a paint pen for it. The only limitation might be very thin materials, which may allow the paint to bleed through, so remember to have a protective cover underneath to protect your worksurface.

Exterior & Interior

Paint Pens Birds

Interior or exterior projects are no problem. Be sure to check pen labels for usage because sometimes store displays become mixed up. Find the right pen for the job and it will last for years to come.

Hand Drawn Designs

Paint Pens Birdhouse

Let your imagination run wild on new DIY projects or existing items with a fresh coat of paint and custom hand-drawn designs.

Paint Pouring: Represents playful self-expression, where each combination of colors results in freeform, one-of-a-kind designs.

Mixing Paints

Paint Pouring Artist

Although acrylic paint cleans up easily with soap and water, you will need gloves, an apron, a covered worksurface, and drop cloths to protect the floor.

Abstract Art

Paint Pouring Abstract Art

Cups of paint are simply poured onto a canvas or any object, and then tilted back and forth allowing gravity to handle the initial composition.

Decorative Items

Paint Pouring Easter Eggs

Paint pouring utilizes unusual tools, including a hairdryer, wooden craft sticks, balloons, drops of silicone, and a kitchen torch.

Tabletop

Paint Pouring Tabletop

Lively patterns resemble natural stone, undulating waves, or clouds drifting upon the sky. Turn ordinary tabletops, ceramics, coasters, picture frames and more into unique works of art.

Abstract Art

Paint Pouring Abstract Art

Set your inner child free by exploring the playful world of paint pouring.

Watercolor Painting: soft and dreamy with vivid colors and subtle nuances.

Watercolor Basics

Watercolor Painting

For many people, watercolors are the first introduction to painting with beginner’s trays prefilled with paint. Watercolors are nontoxic and cleanup is easy with water.

Dreamy Gardens

Watercolor Painting Flowers

Be sure to paint on watercolor paper, which dries flat. Regular paper is too thin, resulting in bubbles when wet followed by warping when dry.

Water & Sky

Watercolor Painting Notre Dame

Watercolors are the perfect choice for painting water and sky, accompanied by reflections rivaling those in nature, but architecture presents a challenge. As you can see, the edges of Notre Dame Cathedral lack definition. Please refer to the photo below for the solution.

Watercolor Painting & Technical Pens

Mixed Media Taj Mahal

When you are painting a world-renowned landmark like the Taj Mahal, you really need to get it right because people will notice if something is out of place. Watercolors can be combined with technical pens, creating clean crisp edges for the structures and soft fluid movement in the reflecting pool and sky.

Aquatic Scenes

Watercolor Painting Sea Turtle

Ocean vistas and all the denizens of the sea benefit from the use of watercolors, which ebb and flow onto the page like the tide upon the sand.

Painting Gallery:

Oil Painting

Oil Painting Forest

Watercolor Painting

Watercolor Wall Art & Cards

Paint Pens & Airbrushing

Painted Cats Mixed Media

Paint Pouring

Paint Pouring

Painted Pottery & Ceramics

Painted Pottery

Oil Painting

Oil Painting Wood Plaque

Paint Pens & Acrylic Painting

Mixed Media Figurine

Watercolor Painting & Mixed Media

Mixed Media Hummingbird

Paint Pens & Airbrushing

Mixed Media Guitar

Oil Painting

Oil Painting

Mixed Media Sculpture Painting

Mixed Media Metal Sculpture

Watercolor Painting

Watercolor Lynx

I hope you have found some inspiration to paint whatever appeals to you in a style all your own. To narrow down the options, review the painting photos above and search for more online. Notice the colors, patterns, textures, subjects, and special effects. Notice which ones really capture your attention. Do you have any favorites? Please let me know in the comments section. In case you missed part one of this series, please click here. Good luck with your painting endeavors!

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Painting 101 – Part 1

Have you ever wanted to give painting a try? Anyone can paint. With a little patience and a lot of creativity, you will feel like an accomplished artist in no time. It’s fun, relaxing and reduces stress. What are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

Acrylic Painting: Bold colors, unlimited finishes and surfaces, ease of use

Paint by Number

Acrylic Paint by Numbers

One of the easiest ways for beginners is with an acrylic “Paint by Number” kit, which comes complete with paints, brushes, and a preprinted canvas. Simply match the numbered paints with their corresponding locations on the canvas. There is a wide range of themes for all ages and skill levels.

Decorative Painting & Wall Art

Acrylic Painting1

Acrylic paints can be used in almost any application. Brushes are cleaned with soap and water, and the paints have low or no odor, which is great for those sensitive to strong fumes.

Furniture Painting

Acrylic Painting2 Chair Back

Make a new piece of furniture look like an old friend with decorative designs and an antiquing finish.

Statues & Figurines

Painted Statue

Upcycle a garage sale purchase with a fresh coat of paint and colorful accents.

Faux Finishes & Decorative Painting

Painted Wall Faux Finish Sponge Painting

Upgrade walls, or any surface with acrylic faux finishes and decorative painting, including Sponge Painting, Marbleized, Faux Wood Grain, Crackle, Metallic, Plaster, Textured, Stenciling, Stippling, Mural Painting, & Tromp l’oeil.

Airbrush Painting: Street art, murals, and no size limitations

Airbrushing

Airbrushing 1

Airbrushing requires compressed air to disperse paint onto any surface. Cans of spray paint work in the same way and are often used on building-sized murals.

Large-Scale Painting

Airbrushing 2 Telecom Equipment

This handsome German shepherd painting disguises an otherwise unsightly telecommunications box.

Automobile Painting

Airbrushing 3 Sports Car

Riding in style has a whole new meaning when your car becomes a mobile work of art.

Mural Painting

Painted Mural Butterfly

Let imagination run wild as any wall, inside or out, can be adorned with flights of fancy.

Tromp l’oeil Painting

Painted Transformer Airbrush

Tromp l’oeil means “Fool the Eye” and in this photo three-dimensional painting turns this electrical transformer into a lovely stable, complete with bales of hay and a friendly face.

Fabric Painting: Art, fashion, and home furnishings

Hand Painting

Fabric Painting1

Fabric markers can be used to layout your design, followed by fabric paint applied via brush or easy-squeeze bottles for three-dimensional paints.

Silk-Screening

Fabric Painting2 Butterfly

Silk-screening is like stenciling for fabrics. A separate screen is used for each color, which is applied using a squeegee.

3-D Painting & Appliques

Fabric Painting4 3D & Applique

Fabric paints can be applied to any surface, bringing designs to life in three dimensions. They also function as glue, sealing the edges of appliques and adhering beads and other embellishments.

Tie Dyeing

Painted Fabric Tie Dye

Tie dyeing is easy for kids of all ages, and the end results are always a surprise.

Designing Home Furnishing & Apparel Fabrics

Painted Fabric

Large-scale patterns are perfect for upholstery, draperies, and pillows. Apparel styles are constantly changing. Launch the next fashion trend by creating and wearing your own designs.

Glass Painting: Illuminating color, and painting with light

Wall Hangings & Suncatchers

Glass Painting1 Window

Luminous colors and intricate eye-catching details, hallmarks of stained glass, bring character and beautiful style to any décor.

Mosaic Glass Gems & Jewelry

Glass Painting2 Mosaic Gems

Earrings, bracelets, necklaces sparkle with colorful glass beads. Mosaic glass gems are perfect accent on crafts as well as vases, flowerpots, etc.

Glassware

Glass Painting3 Drinking Glasses

Drinking glasses and pitchers take center stage with hand-painted colorful accents.

Christmas Ornaments

Painted Glass Ornaments

With a box of clear glass ornaments, you can let your creativity sore. Paints can be applied inside and out, and the finishes range from metallic, pearlescent, iridescent, and glitter in every color of the rainbow.

Stained Glass Windows

Painted Glass Window3

Museums, churches, and many secular buildings are adorned with spectacular stained glass. Sunbeams are transformed into a dazzling kaleidoscope of heavenly light.

Painting Gallery:

Acrylic Painting, Airbrushing, & Paint Pens

Birdhouse

Airbrushing

Painted Airplane

Acrylic Painting & Airbrushing

Painted Carousel Horse

Fabric Painting

Painted Fabric Thistles

Glass Painting

Painted Glass Bottles

Airbrushing

Painted Porsche

Acrylic Painting

Painted Mural Dove

Acrylic Painting & Airbrushing

Painted Mural Theater Mask

Glass Painting

Painted Glass Jewelry

Acrylic Painting

Painted Wall Stenciling Sponge Painting

Acrylic Painting & 3D Fabric Painting

3D Painted Flamingo

Glass Painting

Painted Glass Horses

Painting is a wonderful pastime, which enriches your life and can be easily shared with family and friends. No matter what your style and interests may be, there’s a type of painting to challenge your skills and engage your mind for experiences that will last a lifetime. Enjoy the journey!

Please stay tuned for part two next week.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

A View from Above – Giraffes

One of the most easily identifiable animals upon the face of the earth is the giraffe.  There is nothing else like it – that long neck, towering legs and a fur pattern that resembles mosaics.  Giraffes are so tall, that the babies are born at a minimum height of six-feet tall to feed from the mother. 

Adult Giraffe

Each subspecies has unique fur patterns and colors.  There is a ridge on the forehead and two horn-like protrusions on top of the head. 

Giraffe Herd

Some have spots down the length of their legs, while others have solid tan or white below the knee.  For this project, you will need to look at giraffe photos and decide which pattern you prefer. 

How to Paint a Wooden Giraffe:

Raw Wood Giraffe

Raw Wood Giraffe

Both sides and all the edges will need to be sanded and painted.  Ensure the giraffe stands without wobbling.  If needed, restore balance by gluing pieces of thin cardstock to the bottom the feet. 

Supplies

Giraffe Paints

Supplies:
Wooden Giraffe (8-1/4” high x 4-1/4” wide x 1-1/4” thick)
Acrylic Paints – red, brown, orange, black, tan
Bottles Fabric Paint – brown, black
Paintbrushes
Sandpaper
Pencil

Sand & Paint Base Color

Sanded & Painted

After sanding, paint the entire body tan. 

Reference – Giraffe’s Face

Giraffe Facial Close Up

I bet you didn’t expect to have a Giraffe anatomy lesson!  Typically, wood craft animals stand facing forward.  If you look at the close-up photos above, you will notice this giraffe is turning his head to the side.  This effects both sides of the head.  Both eyes need to be on the same side.  We will address the back of the head in a later step. 

Hand Draw Details

Draw Giraffe Details

Because this appears to be a baby giraffe, the facial features are cute but small, including the ridge between the eyes.  I began drawing some of the spots to understand what the layout should be.  To keep the pencil lines to a minimum, the remainder of the spots were freehanded with the paint brush. 

Mix Custom Paint Color

Plastic Covered Paint

Be sure to mix enough paint for the giraffe’s spots to last throughout the project.  To keep the paint moist on a paint palette, cover it with plastic wrap, ensuring the plastic is pressed down upon the paint surface and the edges are sealed.  You may need to moisten the paint, but the color will be preserved.  I created a reddish-brown by mixing brown, red and orange acrylic paints. 

Paint the Spots on the Neck

Painted Pattern

Use a fine brush for the spots.  Be sure to leave space in between, which resembles mosaic tile set in grout. 

Paint Spots – Right Side

Painted Body - Right

As you work your way down the body, the size of the spots diminishes.  Be sure to paint spots on the edges, including the front and back of each leg and the neck too. 

Paint Spots – Left Side

Painted Body - Left

For this step, the following areas will remain tan: the back of the head, the mane, the inside of each leg, the feet, and the tail. 

Defining the Details – Right Side

Painted Face Tail & Feet - Right

Paint the head and facial details, except for the eyes, which will be completed in a later step.  Paint the tail and hooves black.  The muzzle and fur between the eyes are darker, while the cheeks are lightly spotted.  The “horns” are a combination of black and brown. 

Reference – Back of Giraffe’s Head

Giraffe Back of Head

Figuring out the back of the head was difficult.  Because our giraffe is looking off to the side, you will only see a portion of the face. 

Reference – Back of Head & Mane

Giraffe Back of Head

When the giraffe moves his head and neck, the mane twists and turns. 

Reference – Back of Head & Mane

Giraffe Back of Head

There are no spots on the ears.  Notice how the mane twists as the neck shifts. 

Defining the Details – Left Side

Painted Back of Head

Draw the details on the back of the head.  Be sure to show the twisting mane.  Paint all the details except for the mane. 

Paint 3D Details – Right Side

Finished Giraffe - Right

The eyes are painted with brown fabric paint for a 3D effect and outlined in black.  After it dries, add black pupils and white dots in the center to bring life to the eyes.  Using brown fabric paint, create a raised mane, centered down the entire length of the neck.  It will take two coats to make the furry mane to stand upright.  Create fur on the “horns” with black fabric paint. 

Paint 3D Details – Left Side

Finished Giraffe - Left

Paint the eye with brown fabric paint and outline with black.  Using brown fabric paint, complete the twisted mane on the back of the head.  Create fur on the “horns” with black fabric paint.  Allow it to dry overnight. 

Finished Close Up – Face

Finished Close Up - Right

The following steps apply to both sides: Because fabric paint is shiny, paint over the mane with brown acrylic and then highlight it with reddish brown and tan.  Paint the horns with black acrylic.  Some reddish-brown paint was brushed into the ears and up onto the furry horns. 

Finished Close Up – Back of Head

Finished Close Up - Left

Touch up any details as needed.  The spots on the left side of the neck, closest to the face, curve toward the face to give a three-dimensional roundness to the upper portion of the neck. 

Giraffe – Before & After

Before & After Giraffe

Here is a side-by-side comparison of the original raw wood giraffe and the fully detailed project at completion. 

I had a lot of fun painting this little guy.  Figuring out the anatomy was challenging and rewarding.  There are many wooden animal crafts waiting for good homes.  Check out your local craft stores or the internet to find one you will love.  Good luck! 

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Decorating Easter Eggs

Dyed Eggs

Dyed eggs are a staple of any Easter celebration. All you need is an egg dyeing kit and some vinegar, which makes it easily accessible for all ages.  Decorating doesn’t have to be limited to dye and farm fresh eggs. Options include paints, fabrics, markers, ribbons, and appliques, while the eggs can be wooden, foam, or plastic, just to name a few. Let’s look at a variety of decorated eggs to get your creative juices flowing. 

Painted Broken Eggs

Broken Eggs

Crackle Finish Egg

Crackle Finish Egg

Pierced Eggs with 3D Painted Accents

Pierced Eggs

Fabric Wrapped Eggs with Decorative Trims

Fabric Covered Eggs

Dyed & Lace Appliqued Eggs

Lace Decorated Eggs

Scrapbooking Eggs

Scrapbooking Eggs

Quilled Egg

Quilling Egg

Decoupage Egg

Decoupage Fairytale Egg

Multicolor Marker Egg

Marker Egg

Illustrated Egg

Hand Drawn & Colored Egg

Silk Flower Applique Egg

Purple Floral Egg

Dyed & Beaded Eggs

Beaded Eggs

Paint Pour Egg

Marbleized Paint Pouring Egg

Sponge Painted Egg

Sponge Painted Egg

Hand Painting Eggs

Hand Painting Eggs

Hand Painted Eggs

Hand Painted Eggs

Hand Painted Eggs

Hand Painted Eggs

3D Hand Painting Eggs

3D Hand Painting Eggs

Hand Painted 3D Metallic Eggs

Fabric Paint & Jeweled

Romanian 3D Metallic Eggs

Metallic Romanian Eggs

Ukrainian Egg

Oversized Ukrainian Egg

Fine Art Eggs

Fine Art Eggs

Hand Painted Abstract Art Egg

Chocolate Eggs

If you have an egg allergy or if painting is not in your skill set, chocolate eggs can be decorated using the same design principles shown throughout these photos.

I hope you have found some inspiration and will try your hand at decorating eggs.  Do you have a favorite? Please let me know in the comments section.  

Have fun decorating and thanks for reading.

Happy Easter & Happy Crafting!

Walk on the Wild Side

Triceratops
Whose turn is it to walk the dog – I mean dinosaur? Something tells me that 25-foot leash will not be long enough! Dinosaurs are real fan favorites. You can’t get much wilder than that. And what’s not to love?

Dinosaur Eggs
A Dinosaur Nursery – They’re kind of cute at this stage.

Dinosaur
Somewhere between adolescence and adulthood they seem to lose their charm! (lol)

Dinosaur Skeleton
Even when they’re dead, they instill an odd mixture of fear and fascination. Movie Director Steven Spielberg brought dinosaurs back to life on the big screen in the epic movie, Jurassic Park – an emotional roller coaster, that started with awe and wonder, but quickly escalated to bone chilling terror.

Stegosaurus
We love dinosaurs anyway. Want proof? Look at all the books, movies, television shows, and merchandise. At some point, every kid draws and colors his or her favorite dinosaur. Here’s your chance to feel like a kid again. Grab some paints and brushes and let’s go!

How to Paint a Wooden Stegosaurus
With a little paint you can design your own dinosaur. It can be as simple as a single coat of paint, or as detailed as you like. First we need a little inspiration.
Iguana
Iguana Closeup
Since dinosaurs lived sixty-five million years ago, there’s no one around to tell us exactly what they looked like. For this project, photos of creatures living today, such as iguanas and lizards, can be inspirational. Check out those spines!

Raw Wood Dinosaur
This carved wood stegosaurus, available at AC Moore, has sturdy legs, making it a freestanding, three-dimensional piece. Both sides and all the edges will need to be painted. Due to the raw nature of wood, it may require sanding, especially along the edges. (There are several types of animals in this carved wood collection. To see a painted flamingo project, please click here.)

Paints
Supplies:
Wooden Stegosaurus (4-1/4” high x 7-1/4” wide x 1-1/4” thick)
Acrylic Paints – black, brown & metallic green
1) Bottle fabric paint – brown
Paintbrushes
Sandpaper

Dinosaur Painted Green
Step 1 – Paint the dinosaur with green acrylic paint, including both sides and all edges. The great thing about paint is that it’s cheap. Feel free to experiment. If you don’t like the results, it can be easily changed.

Dinosaur Tail Detail
Seeing it in color revealed a major anatomical mistake in the tail design. If you loved dinosaurs as a kid, you’ll remember that the stegosaurus has spikes on the top of its tail. The artist chose to curl the tail underneath, and as a result, mistakenly placed the spikes on the underside of the tail. This poor animal would have trouble walking because the spikes would continually get caught on the ground as it moved through the forest, making it easy prey.

Dinosaur with Cut Tail
Step 2 – To make it right, cut off the tip of the tail as shown.

Dinosaur Painted Black
Step 3 – Turn the cut tail piece around, and glue it in place. Paint the entire figure black as a base coat, which will help delineate the scales added in a later step. Looks much better doesn’t it?

Dinosaur with Fabric Paint
Step 4 – Paint the top of the head, the back plates, and the tail with brown fabric paint. Paint the sides of each plate with green fabric paint and add spikes along the sides of the tail.  Brown acrylic paint was applied with a brush in between the back plates, because it was too narrow to fit the tube of fabric paint.

Dinosaur Scale Pattern
Step 5 – Add brown fabric paint on top of each leg and more spikes along the entire length of body. Create a scale pattern on the body using metallic green paint, and use the same color in the sides of the plates on his back.

Finished Dinosaur
Step 6 – Add a small dotted pattern to each leg. Paint the head brown, and add a few green scales along with the eyes. Congratulations! You now have your very own pet dinosaur. Fortunately for you, he’s a “Veggiesaurus,” unlike the one in the next photo.

Dinosaur Jaws
What a view, right? Thank goodness this is only an observation tower! Because if it was real… It would be the last thing you ever saw.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Inspirational Christmas Tree

This Christmas tree is unlike most.  It consists of individual flat pieces of wood, much like a signpost, ready for your painted decorations and inspiring words.

Words/Poetry

Most of my craft projects do not call for poetic or inspirational words.  Grab a piece of paper and a pen and scribble down some possibilities.  Take as much time as you need.  Listen to song lyrics, read poems, or notice seasonal phrases from movies, books, or advertising. 

Christmas Magic Sign

Magic Christmas Sign

You will need to consider how many words/lines will fit. 

Santa Christmas Sign

Santa Christmas Sign

Use any fonts you like.  You could use stencils for the lettering or freehand. 

Merry Christmas Sign

Merry Christmas Sign

Add decorative painted accents such as holly leaves and berries, or enhance your project with accessories like garland, and lights. 

Decorated Christmas Tree

Decorated Tree

Even though this Christmas tree is made with flat pieces of wood, you still need to consider how to decorate it, starting with a color scheme. 

Warm Colors

Warm Colors Ornaments

The warm color palette consists of reds, oranges, and yellows. 

Cool Colors

Cool Colors Ornaments

The cool color palette includes greens, blues, and purples. 

Monochromatic

Monochromatic Ornaments

With a monochromatic scheme, all decorations are the same color, and the variety comes from unique designs. 

Multicolor

Multicolor Ornaments

Create a festive atmosphere with all the colors of the rainbow. 

Christmas Tree Lights

Christmas Tree Lights

Instead of painting Christmas ornaments, you may want to paint lights with metallic acrylics.  Another option is wrapping the tree with mini, battery-operated string lights. 

How to Paint a Wooden Christmas Tree:

Raw Wood Tree

Raw Wood Christmas Tree

This freestanding, raw wood tree may need light sanding, especially the edges. 

Supplies

Paint Supplies

Supplies:
Wooden Signpost Tree (28-1/2” high x 10-1/4” wide x 1/4” thick) (base 8”x4”x1/2” thick)
Acrylic Paints – green, yellow, brown
6) Bottles fabric paint: black, purple, blue, orange, pink, glow in the dark white
Paintbrushes

Paint the Tree & Star – Front

Painted Tree & Star Front

Using acrylics, paint the star, the “branches” and the trunk.  You will need a thin brush to paint the trunk between the slats of green.  Paint both sides of the tree, the base and all the edges. 

Paint the Tree & Star – Back

Painted Tree & Star Back

Because this tree is meant to be seen from both sides, I came up with a finished design for the back.  Paint the trunk brown from the base to the bottom “branch,” and green for the remainder. 

Paint Details – Back

Painted Details Back

Apply fabric paints in thick dots to resemble ornaments upon the tree. 

Repaint Star – Back

Revised Star Design Back

I didn’t like the look of the squared off piece of wood on the back of the star and thought it would better to see the full star on both sides.  To accomplish this, I extended the star shape and filled it in with yellow as shown.  A smiling face was added to the star, using black fabric paint, to give it personality. 

Finished Tree – Back

Finished Tree Back

The back of the tree is now complete.  Only two more steps to complete this project. 

Finishing the Tree – Front

Finishing Tree Front Step 1

Using black fabric paint, write the words you have chosen upon each board.  Finish by giving the star a cute face.  Allow it to dry overnight. 

Finishing the Tree – Front

Finishing Tree Front Step 2

Using glow in the dark white fabric paint, trace the black letters to make them stand out better against the green tree.  Every night, when you turn out the lights, the glowing words will make you smile.  And what a nice way to fall asleep with inspirational thoughts floating in your dreams. 

I hope you enjoy this project and are inspired to explore your creativity.  Good luck in all your artistic endeavors and have fun decorating for the coming holidays!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays & Happy Crafting!

Dashing through the Snow

Santa's Sleigh

“Dashing through the Snow” calls to mind sleigh rides and Santa Claus on his gift giving journey.  With a wooden sleigh and a few accessories, you can create a wonderful holiday centerpiece.  Before we begin, let’s look at color schemes and designs of several sleighs to get your creative ideas flowing: 

Antique Sleigh

Antique Sleigh

Although this sleigh needs some love, wood in its natural state is attractive.  With a little polish, the brass runners will shine again.  The lights and evergreen garland are great seasonal details. 

Stained Wood Sleigh

Brown Wood Sleigh

The beauty of natural wood grain may not require color.  A clear sealant coat helps preserve wood for years to come.  Wood stain is optional. 

Green, Gold & White Sleigh

Green & Gold Sleigh

Green and gold are nice alternatives to the standard red and green Christmas colors. 

One Horse Open Sleigh

Natural Wood & Red Sleigh

A clear finish protects the natural wood color, while the open sides provide decorative opportunities for colorful pillows and blankets to keep riders warm on a cold winter day. 

Formula 1 Sleigh?

Red & White Sleigh

If Ferrari built sleighs, this would be the one.  This sleek aerodynamic design would allow Santa Claus to complete his rounds in half the time. 

Red & Gold Sleigh

Red & Gold Sleigh

The brilliant red and shiny gold trim are popular choices for Santa’s sleigh.

Red & Gold Sleigh with Lights

Red & Gold Sleigh with Lights

Dazzling string lights create a magical ambiance, day or night. 

How to Paint a Wooden Sleigh:

Unpainted Sleigh

Raw Wood Sleigh

There are many wooden sleighs available through craft stores or online. 

Supplies

Paints

Supplies:
Wooden Sleigh (10-1/2” high x 14” long x 6” wide)
Acrylic Paints – red, black, metallic gold, & white
1) Bottle fabric paint: white
Paintbrushes

Sleigh Painted Red

Sleigh Painted Red

Paint the sleigh with red acrylic paint.  It may take a couple coats to ensure smooth, even color. 

Black Painted Rails

Sleigh with Painted Rails

Paint the rails black on both sides and all edges. 

Painted Snow & Gold Trim

Sleigh with White Details

Draw snowflakes on all four sides and paint each with white acrylic paint.  To enhance the designs, go over each snowflake with white dimensional fabric paint.  Paint the edges of the sleigh with metallic gold paint.  This will most likely require two coats. 

This completes the sleigh.  Now it is time to think about making it the focal point of a new centerpiece.  Your next decision is: Who will pull the sleigh? 

Dog Sledding

Dog Sled

Dog sledding teams compete every year in an Alaskan race called the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. 

Horse Drawn Sleigh

Horse Drawn Sleigh

Riding in a horse drawn sleigh has been a tradition for centuries.  In warmer seasons the sleighs are swapped out with carriages for year-round enjoyment. 

Reindeer Drawn Sleigh

Reindeer Drawn Sleigh

Santa isn’t the only one using reindeer to guide his sleigh. 

A perfect 10 on the Cuteness Scale

Yorkie Sled

Holding the reins securely in his paws, this adorable yorkie steers a course straight into the hearts of viewers in this moose drawn sleigh. 

With your selections in mind, it is time to complete this project.  There are no wrong answers.  You may already have everything you need.

Christmas Sleigh Centerpiece

Finished Centerpiece

I chose a pig to pull the sleigh.  His hat is a floral pick, without the stick.  Fabric ribbon serves as reins, and I made a collar with a few jingle bells.  Tuck one end of the reins into the collar, and the other is held by a squirrel, wearing a red crocheted hat. 

Christmas Sleigh Centerpiece

Finished Centerpiece

A floral garland fills the sleigh with a harvest of red berries and green leaves.  It looks like this cute little squirrel is stocking up for the winter.  A male cardinal hitches a ride on the sleigh.  All the red accents unify this design, while the pig provides a bit of whimsy. 

Who will pull your sleigh and who will ride?  Please let me know in the comments. 

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!