It’s All in the Details

Detailed Floral Wood Carving
We deal with so many details every day. I thought it would be fun to take a look at some craft photos to demonstrate how small changes can make such a dramatic difference. Let’s go!

Acrylic Painted Rabbit
Painted Bunny Face
This cute rabbit has blended fur colors, but a rather blank expression.

Acrylic Painted Rabbit with 3D Details
Bunny Face 3D Details
The 3D paint creates facial depth, and provides a twinkle in eyes filled with personality.

Acrylic Painted Flamingo
Acrylic Painted Flamingo
Flamingos are so colorful and unusual. The color scheme captures the essence of the bird but lacks the textured feathers.

Acrylic Painted Flamingo Layered with 3D Texture
Acrylic Painted Flamingo Layered with 3D Texture
Now he appears to be staring back at you while he proudly shows off his brightly colored plumage.

Two-Tone Green Man
Green Man Original
Mother Nature’s counterpart doesn’t look very happy, does he?

Two-Tone Green Man with Metallic Gold Highlights
Green Man Gold Accents
After brightening the whites of his eyes, he had his “hair” highlighted and now he looks rather pleased with himself.  lol

Black & White Photo vs. Colorized Photo
Black White Photo vs Colorized
The black and white portrait is nice, but look how soft, warm and romantic the second photo is thanks to the addition of color and dreamy special effects.

Metallic Silver Octopus
Octopus Monotone
Metallic silver is an odd choice for such a fluid sculpture of a living animal.

Full Color Octopus with 3D Details
Octopus Full Color
A vibrant new color scheme brings this blue ringed octopus to life, and the three-dimensional suction cups add texture as well as a more realistic approach to this wriggling octopus.

Gnome House vs. Bamboo Tropical Hut
Gnome House Original vs Tropical Hut
Originally this little house was part of a collection of gnomes. A bamboo pattern combined with a few brightly colored silk flowers transformed it into a tropical hut for an ocean-themed centerpiece.

3D Painted Celtic Cross
Celtic Cross Green & Black
Celtic designs are famous for their knot work. The three-dimensional green paint contrasts nicely with the black background and textures the entire surface.

3D Painted Celtic Cross with Metallic Gold Accents
Celtic Cross Gold Accents
The introduction of three-dimensional gold accents brings a bit of sparkle and opulence to the design.

Acrylic Painted Seahorse with 3D Accents
Acrylic Painted Seahorse with 3D Accents
Seahorses are known for their brilliant colors and textured bodies. The 3D paint adds a bit of texture along the contours of the body and upon the spiny back.

3D Painted Seahorse
3D Painted Seahorse
By using only 3D paints, the entire seahorse springs to life in glorious color and texture.

Fashionable Snowman
Fashionable Snowman
No snowman is complete without a few knitted accessories.

Fashionable Snowman with Lights
Fashionable Snowman with Lights
The addition of lights not only adds sparkle, but also enables him to shine at night in any window to complement your exterior decorations.

Halloween Witch vs. Christmas Elf
Halloween Witch vs. Christmas Elf
How can a Halloween decoration become one of Santa’s helpers? The answer lies in accessories! Cover the hat and tuck in the hair, add a scarf and candy cane and voila you have a Christmas elf.

Instructions for most of these items can be found on the “How To Projects” page.

It is said: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Little details have a strong influence over our perceptions, but sometimes we become so accustomed to our surroundings that we barely notice. Look at your home from a new perspective. Check out those little details to see if something could use a touch of color, a bit of whimsy and a little tender loving care. You’ll be glad you did!

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Skeletons Like Makeovers Too

Eerie & Otherworldly
Spooky Cemetery Skeleton
No Halloween display would be complete without a skeleton or two. Each one has its own personality.

Unexpectedly Playful
Funny Skeletons

Culturally Festive
Day of the Dead

Bone-Chilling & Terrifying
Snake Skeleton
Every year manufacturers introduce new items to thrill, amuse or frighten avid Halloween fans. With a few easy steps, you can personalize store-bought skeletons to express whatever style or attitude you desire for your Halloween décor. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Fierce Makeover:

Deep Sea Fish Skeleton
Original Fish Skeleton
This skeleton is based upon a real life deep-sea fish called an Anglerfish. To attract prey, a bioluminescent fishing lure is cast in front of its head and in no time, those strong jaws snap shut as vicious teeth make short work of consuming the meal. Check out the illuminated photo below.

Illuminated Deep Sea Fish Skeleton
Original Fish Skeleton Lit
As a Halloween decoration, it certainly is more unique than the usual offerings. When lit, the lure is bold yellow and the stomach has an eerie purple glow. While he does have a menacing appearance, I think we can do better! I really like the purple glow but when the lights are turned off, the bones are a neutral color without any contrast. In other words, he needs an upgrade!

Fish Skeleton Paints
Fish Paints
Supplies:
Deep Sea Fish Skeleton (8” high x 17” long x 5” wide)
Acrylic Paints – linen, metallic periwinkle blue, & black (not shown)
Paintbrushes

Fish Tail – Before
Fish Tail Before

Fish Tail – After
Fish Tail After
Paint the tail and tips of the spine with metallic periwinkle blue. Notice how the bones stand out against the metallic blue. The reflective quality of metallic paint contrasts well with matte finish bones.

Fish Head & Fins – Before
Fish Head Before

Fish Head & Fins – After
Fish Head After
Paint the eyes black. Paint the webbing of the fins and crevices around the eyes with periwinkle blue. The fleshy, darker contrast makes the eyes look meaner in a zombie-like fashion. Linen paint can be used to touch up unwanted marks on the head.

Finished Fish
Finished Fish
The individual bones in the tail and fins really show up now, resembling creepy skeletal hands for seizing prey or curious trick-or-treaters.

Illuminated Finished Fish
Finished Fish Lit

Portraits – Before & After
Before & After Portrait
The first photo is the original fish and the second is the finished makeover. The purple glow now extends across the entire body. With a ferocious expression and intimidating attitude, this Anglerfish is ready to strike, perfect for a Halloween scare.

Fantasy Fashion Makeover:

Spider Skeleton
Original Spider
Spiders often have a very creepy aura and you could certainly go in that direction. This lucky lady prefers a haute couture makeover and we know just how to bring it!

Spider Skeleton Paints
Spider Paints
Supplies:
Spider Skeleton (6” high x 8” long x 13” wide)
Acrylic Paints – metallic blue sapphire, metallic copper, & pure black
Paintbrushes

Spider Head & Feet
Spider Black & Copper Paint
Darken the eyes with black paint, and paint the facial details and feet with metallic copper. Feel free to experiment with the colors.

Spider Joints & Spine
Spider Metallic Blue
Turquoise and brown are a very fashionable color combination, making metallic blue the perfect complement to the copper. This bejeweled spider is ready to make her debut on the fashion runway! lol!

Finished Spider Pulling Wagon
Spider Drawn Carriage
Why not show off her new look by participating in a Halloween parade with a few friends?

Fairy Tale Makeover:

Frog Skeleton – Before
Original Frog Skeleton
This little guy has a heartwarming smile. I believe we can add a little more charm.

Frog Skeleton Paints
Frog Paints
Supplies:
Frog Skeleton (3-1/2” high x 5” long x 4-1/2” wide)
Acrylic Paints – metallic peridot green & pure black
Paintbrushes

Frog Skeleton – After
Finished Frog Skeleton
Sporting his new color, he’s bound to win hearts and maybe even garner a few kisses for luck. Who knows – maybe he will turn into a prince?

I hope you enjoy these fanciful skeletons and apply these ideas to your Halloween décor..

Thanks for reading! Happy Halloween & Happy Crafting!

Why Just Paint? Faux Finish.


Faux finishing is a great, inexpensive way to transform a room and can be easily done over a weekend, and sometimes in a few hours with minimal effort.

There certainly is no shortage of ideas and inspirations for faux finishing including: retail stores, restaurants, shopping malls, magazines, books, websites, videos, craft and paint stores. Instructional videos can be found on YouTube, but don’t forget to check paint manufacturers’ websites as well.

You may already have many faux finishing tools in your home without even realizing it. Paint can be applied using rolled up plastic wrap or fabric; synthetic sea sponges; brushes, sponge rollers; and trowels. Application methods include dabbing, rolling, splattering, brushing, and glazing. Additional supplies and advice are available through local craft stores, and home improvement or hardware stores.

                          Faux Marble                                               Faux Metal
Faux Marble and Faux Metal
Faux Marble has a mottled background and white veining applied using a feather.

Faux Metal is created using a specialty iridescent metallic paint applied on the diagonal for a hammered metal appearance.

                       Crackle Finish                                      Faux Venetian Plaster
Crackle Finish and Faux Plaster
Crackle Finish involves painting a background color first, followed by a special antiquing medium, which cracks as it dries, revealing the color beneath for an aged, weathered look.

Faux Venetian Plaster has color and texture applied at same time with a trowel, which is a two step process, followed by a drying period, and sanded afterward to create a soft sheen finish.

Textured Wall Paint
Textured Wall Paint
Textured Wall Paint is probably the easiest faux finish to apply. No special skills are required. If you can use a paint roller, you can texture a wall. After it dries, the wall will resemble the texture of plaster, and the softness of wallpaper. With a bold punch of color, it can be used as an accent wall in a living room, dining room or master bedroom.

Textured Wall Paint
Textured Paint
Faux Plaster can be created simply by applying a thick layer of paint and using assorted “tools” to texture the surface while the paint is still wet.  Additional layers can be applied for greater texture and depth.

Faux Wood Grain over an Abstract Background
Faux Wood Grain
Faux Wood Grain requires the use of a stencil.  Paint the base coat first in a light or medium color.  When it has dried, go over it with the stencil using a darker color to simulate the natural wood grain, or try using metallic glitter paint as shown above.

These faux finishing techniques are not limited to walls. The same processes can be applied to ceilings, furniture, and just about any other surface.

How To Faux Finish A Room
Research faux finishing ideas and installation methods. Choose your design. Choose the paint colors. Having several color combinations is fine because the first step will help you narrow down the choices. Purchase the paints and corresponding application tools required for your chosen faux finish.

Trying something new for the first time can be a stressful experience. What if you make a mistake? What will you do if you fail halfway through the project? If the paint colors looked great in the store, why do they look so different in my home?

Sample Board
Paint Sample Board
Crafter Tip – Sample Boards are your best friends.
You need to experiment with your color schemes and methods of paint application. The simplest solution is creating a sample board. Sample boards give you a chance to get your feet wet, so to speak, without the overwhelming feelings that can come when faced with full-size wall or an entire room. Hone your skills on the sample boards. With proven skill and newfound confidence, you’ll be ready to take on the full project. Keep your sample board handy for reference while you are painting.

24” x 36” poster board is an easily manageable size. Another option is foam board, also known as foam core, which consists of two pieces of poster board with a piece of foam sandwiched in between for strength. The ability to pin inspirational photos is an advantage of foam core over standard poster board.

Gold Metallic Paint & Synthetic Sea Sponge – (2nd paint color, taupe, not shown)
New Bath Paint
For the technique demonstrated in the bathroom below, first paint a coat of the background wall color on the sample board, and let it dry. Apply each group of colors on different areas of the sample board, being careful to label or make note of colors used. Feel free to experiment with various brush and or sponge techniques. Let the paints dry.

Faux Finish Close Up Detail Sponge Painting
Sponge Painting Detail
Now lean the sample board against a wall in the room to be painted. It is important to see the colors under the existing natural and artificial lighting. Begin the elimination process. Some will be very obvious missteps for one reason or another. A few usually rise to the top of your list. At this point, you can do some additional testing. You may want to create another sample board with larger samples of your top picks.

Sponge Painted Bathroom
Sponge Painted Bathroom

Sponge Painted Bathroom
Once you have decided, it’s time to tackle the faux finishing of all the walls in that room. Take your time, and remember it doesn’t have to be perfect. The beauty of hand-applied finishes is the variation and artistry. If you are using multiple colors, apply one color at a time, and then repeat the process.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Tropical Splendor

Tropical Inspiration
Ah the tropics! I’m sure we all wish we could be basking in the sun on a tropical island -sand under your feet, a soft ocean breeze, and a cool fruity drink within reach. Our travel plans may be on hold for now, but we can dream. A tropical project may be just what we need to brighten the day and lift our spirits.

Inspiration
Tropical Inspiration
The thick vegetation and unusual wildlife is a constant reminder that this is a whole new world, and we are invited to come inside to explore.

Inspiration
Close-up Tropical Leaf
There’s an infinite variety of foliage and tropical leaves provide many interesting shapes, intricate patterns and vibrant colors.

Original Metal Leaf Wall Sconces
Original Metal Leaf Wall Sconces
In this project we will be refinishing these metal, leaf-shaped wall sconces. Purchased from an online home furnishing store, it was a great disappointment to open the box and discover their color schemes were completely mismatched. Because we liked the size and shape of these leaves, we decided to keep them anyway, with hopes of one day fixing the problem. That day is today!

Supplies
Paints
Supplies:
Metal Leaf Wall Sconces (18” high x 11-1/2” wide x 6-1/2” thick)
Acrylic Paint – medium green, dark green, yellow, and brilliant blue
Paintbrushes
Clear Spray Paint – gloss or matte finish

Paint the Base Coat
Leaves Painted Green
Step 1 – Paint each leaf medium green. They look better already. As you progress, remember this is your chance to experiment with colors as well as painting techniques. If you don’t like something, you can easily paint over it with another base coat and try again.

Choose your Color Scheme
Blue Wash vs. Blue Stippling
Step 2 –On the left, a blue wash was applied over the surface, using very watered down blue paint. The right leaf has a blue stippled pattern, made by applying blue paint with short brushstrokes. I like the light and shadow effect of the wash technique on the left, which provides depth and richness in the color, while also helping to define the leaf’s structure. The texture on the right leaf is interesting, but visually breaks up the surface, making it appear to be clustered leaves as opposed to one large leaf.

Define Light & Shadow
Highlight & Veining
Step 3 – The position of the sun in the sky creates the marvelous effects of light and shadow. I chose to have the light coming from above on the left. This means the left side of each leaf is lighter than the right. Washes of blue and green were applied, with the darker hues upon the right side of each leaf. The veins were given dimension with blue shadows beneath, which lighten gradually as they approach the next vein below. The leaf photo on the right has light yellow veins. Other shades were tested as well.

Veining details
Finalized Colors
Step 4 – Bright green (a mixture of yellow and dark green) was applied to all the veins on both leaves. The beaded edge around the perimeter of each leaf was painted yellow.

Completed Flat Finish Leaves
Finish Option 1
Step 5 –At this point you could stop. I highly recommend spraying each leaf, front and back, with a matte finish clear spray paint to seal the paints. Before installing candles, please see the Crafter Tip below. For a gloss finish, please continue to Step 6.

Flat Finish versus Gloss
Flat Finish versus Gloss
Step 6 – Tropical islands have high humidity and frequent rain. To achieve that wet-look, you will need to spray a few coats of glossy clear spray paint. This photo shows the dramatic difference between the flat and gloss finishes. Notice how much more vibrant the colors become with the gloss finish.

Completed Gloss Finish Leaves
Finish Option 2
These are the completed tropical leaves with new navy blue candles.

Crafter Tip: Each wall sconce has a metal spike to hold a candle. If you try to push a taper candle down onto the spike, it will inevitably split the candle. How do I know? I broke two! To avoid this, pre-drill a hole in the bottom of each candle using a very thin drill bit.

I hope you enjoyed this makeover process. These steps can be applied to all kinds of home décor. You don’t have to settle for anything. Take out your paints and let your imagination bring crafts to life in your own personal style.

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

How to Decorate Wood Crafts

Fawn
When I was a little girl, my bedroom was decorated with Disney’s Bambi characters. Each wooden plaque was painted in full color and beautifully detailed. Before falling asleep at night, I would sit and admire each one, imagining they came to life before my very eyes. You can create painted wood art (and memories) for your home.

Raw Wood Owl
Wooden Owl
Wood cutouts, figures and plaques can be a fun, inexpensive project. The projects described below are ocean creatures, however, many themes are available, including sports, nature, and holidays. This owl is predominately raw wood, with just a little color to accentuate the face.

Painted Wooden Heart
Wooden Heart
Decorating can be done with magic markers, acrylic paints, fabric paints (for 3-D effect), stickers, and self-stick gems. Finished items can be used as wall art, Christmas ornaments, wreath décor, place cards, window charms, and refrigerator magnets. These techniques can be used for larger woodcrafts as well. Outdoor items will require waterproof paints, and you will want to consider the fading effects of the sun.

Seahorses:

Inspiration
Seahorse
It’s always helpful to refer to a few photos to inspire your color palette. Note how textured the body is and any patterns naturally found in this unique sea creature.

Raw Wood Seahorse
Raw Wood Seahorse

Turquoise Seahorse Supplies
Turquoise Seahorse Paints
Supplies:
Wooden Seahorse (5-1/2” high x 3” wide x 3/8” thick)
Acrylic Paint – turquoise, yellow, and metallic blue (plus black for the pupil)
1) Bottle Dimensional Fabric Paint – light blue
Paintbrushes

Seahorse Close Up Detail
P7 Turquoise Seahorse Detail
Seahorses – Step By Step Process: Apply base coat of acrylic paint over the surface, and be sure to paint over all the dark brown edges. When it’s dry, you may want to draw details to define your design.

Choose accent paints and begin working across the body, being careful not to smear the fresh paint as you go. Allow the piece to dry for several hours.

Dab a paintbrush in undiluted acrylic paint to create the subtle bumpy effect on the seahorse’s body. The metallic paint down the center of the body gives it an iridescent finish, which visually transforms the flat wood into a rounded, three-dimensional figure.

Finished Seahorse
Finished Turquoise Seahorse
Lastly, the blue fabric paint was applied to form spikes along the contours of the body. You may need to do a second coat on the spikes to achieve the texture as shown.

Purple Seahorse Supplies
Purple Seahorse Paints
Supplies:
Wooden Seahorse (5-1/2” high x 3” wide x 3/8” thick)
Acrylic Paint – orange, fuschia, and metallic light purple (plus black for the pupil)
1) Bottle Dimensional Fabric Paint – light blue
Paintbrushes

Seahorse Close Up Detail
Purple Seahorse Detail
Follow the same steps noted above for the turquoise seahorse.

Finished Purple Seahorse
Finished Purple Seahorse
For a more three dimensional look, please click here to see a more advanced version of these seahorses.

Dolphin:

Inspiration
Swimming Dolphins
Unlike the seahorses, dolphins have smooth, sleek bodies with a glossy sheen. To reproduce that wet-look, dimensional fabric paints will be exclusively used for this project.

Raw Wood Dolphin
Raw Wood Dolphin

Dolphin Supplies
Dolphin Paints
Supplies:
Wooden Dolphin (3” high x 5-1/2” wide x 3/8” thick)
3) Bottles Dimensional Fabric Paint – white, pearl silver, black
Paintbrush

Dolphin Close Up Detail
Dolphin Detail
Dolphin – Step By Step Process: You will be working across the body one color at a time, being careful not to smear the fresh paint as you go, and cover all the dark brown edges.

As you squeeze the bottle, apply the paint in a thick layer, using long “strokes,” to give the dolphin’s body depth. A damp paintbrush can be used to level the surface.

Allow the piece to dry over night. Be sure to wash the paintbrush with soap and water to remove fabric paint, which tends to adhere to the bristles like glue.

Finished Dolphin
Finished Dolphin
It may require several paint applications to achieve the look you desire. Don’t worry about getting a perfectly smooth paint finish. The irregularities look like water rippling across his skin as he swims through the ocean.

Sea Turtle:

Inspiration
Swimming Sea Turtle
Sea turtles having fascinating patterns on their shells as well as their heads and flippers.

Raw Wood Sea Turtle
Raw Wood Turtle

Green Sea Turtle Supplies
Sea Turtle Paints
Supplies:
Wooden Turtle (3” high x 5-1/2” wide x 3/8” thick)
Acrylic Paint – cream
2) Bottles Dimensional Fabric Paint – brown, green
Paintbrushes

Sea Turtle Close Up Detail
Sea Turtle Detail
Sea Turtle – Step By Step Process: You will be working across the body, one color at a time, being careful not to smear the fresh paint as you go. Apply a thick coat of brown fabric paint over the entire body to create depth. Allow the piece to dry over night. Now apply a thick coat of green fabric paint upon the shell. As you squeeze the bottle, apply the paint using long spiral “strokes” starting at the shell perimeter and working toward the center. Repeat this process several times to achieve desired thickness and raised dome shell shape.

Finished Sea Turtle
Finished Sea Turtle
The final step is applying the detailed scales on the head and flippers, and the pattern on the turtle’s shell using acrylic paint and a fine paintbrush.

I hope you enjoy painting woodcrafts in your own unique style. It’s a lot of fun for the child in all of us and makes a great souvenir from your creative journey.

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

The Beauty of Woodcrafting

Wooden Heart Pendants
Painted Wood Hearts
Woodcrafts are a fun and inexpensive way to express your creativity. From birdhouses to toys and home décor, there’s something for everyone and these projects are great activities to do with the kids. With a few craft supplies and a little inspiration, you’ll be ready to create your next masterpiece. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Blue Floral Birdhouse
Floral Birdhouse
Birdhouses are very popular, easy to complete woodcrafts. A quick coat of paint and a few freehand leaves and flowers were all that was needed to complete this project. A realistic looking feathered bird perched in front of the entrance would be a cute addition to this indoor decoration. Crafter Tip: For outdoor use, choose a birdhouse with an access door for easy cleaning.

Accessorizing A Birdhouse
Gingerbread Birdhouse
This artist took woodcrafting to the next level by layering multiple wood decorations, upon a simple birdhouse frame, including a gingerbread man, festive white picket fence, signage, and a miniature birdhouse hanging from the roof. Enhancing a ready-made item adds personality, and unique design flare. Crafter Tip: It is helpful to keep sandpaper on hand. Most woodcrafts are ready to be painted or stained, but sometimes rough edges need a little attention before additional finishes can be applied.

Painted Carved Wood Birds
Painted Carved Wood Birds
These colorful fellows have wire attached to their feet for easy attachment on branches, or stakes. Be sure to always use the appropriate type of paint (indoor versus outdoor) depending upon where you choose to display your creations.

Painted Wood Relief Plaque
Wood Relief Plaque
This three-dimensional plaque proudly adorns a two-tone raised panel on an exterior door. Similar plaques would be a great way for kids to express their personalities on their bedroom doors.

Purple & White Heart Wall Hanging
Purple & White Heart
Hearts are a favorite décor item. Instead of using the usual red or pink color scheme, this crafter chose a pretty purple and black floral scrapbooking paper with a touch of lace. Although they can’t be seen in this photo, be sure to paint the edges to match the background color prior to attaching the paper. Crafter Tip: As a more romantic alternative, the edges could be wrapped with coordinating ribbon or lace.

Toy Train
Toy Train
If you are looking for an absolutely effortless craft store project, you could purchase a few train cars, set it up at home and call it done. Natural wood grain is beautiful just the way it is. There’s really no need to do any painting, but if you feel you want to add just a little color, stickers from the scrapbooking department will work just fine. Crafter Tip: Or let your kids handle it and everyone wins.

Jeweled Box
Jeweled Box
To create this jeweled box, start by painting the exterior iridescent purple, which will peek through the beads. Apply large mirrored pieces first and establish mid-size purple beaded borders. Fill in the remainder with tiny seed beads. The inside could be lined with velvet or satin fabric. Crafter Tips: Use full strands of beads for borders to make the gluing process easier, and ensure they are glued firmly in place at the edges of the lid because they may loosen over time with wear and tear.

Welcome Sign & Lawn Decor
Welcome Sign
Part of your exterior décor may include “Welcome” signs, house number plaques, and humorous lawn ornaments such as garden gnomes and sheep. Large-scale seasonal items are also ready to paint, such as pumpkins and reindeer.

Personalized Wall Clock
Wall Clock
After staining this wall clock, a floral and checkerboard scrapbooking paper was applied along with self-stick black numbers. Craft stores carry kits, which include clock hands and the battery operated mechanism for the back. The unfinished clocks in several shapes and sizes are sold separately.

Floral Letters Wall Art
Floral Letters Wall Art
Letters have become popular wall art. Simply use your initials, or any words you like. In this photo, silk flower petals were glued on the top and sides of each letter. It’s super easy to do and ready to hang up. Crafter Tip: As alternatives, you could use mini pom poms, glass marbles, or self-stick gemstones.

Decorated “Home” Wall Art
Decorated “Home” Wall Art
A distressed paint finish in four different colors, a few sprigs of silk foliage, and a butterfly create a casual, welcoming message. Hanging an antique key enhances the warm feelings associated with “Home.” Crafter Tip: To achieve this distressed look, allow the paint to dry, and then use sand paper to “age” the letters.

Freestanding Inspirational Art
Wooden Owls
Whether you work in an office or from home, it never hurts to have a little inspiration to lift you spirits and bring a smile to your face. These cute little owls fit the bill, along with an empowering message too.

Wooden Serving Tray
Wooden Serving Tray
A plain wooden serving tray was spruced up with some spray paint, and lined with a bamboo placemat. If necessary, trim the bamboo to fit. The dark gray paint, which peeks through the wood slats, contrasts nicely with the light color bamboo. Crafter Tip: Pier 1 has a large variety of unusual placemats, which can be used for many crafting projects.

Please stay tuned for next week’s post featuring detailed instructions for painting woodcrafts.

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Problem Solving for Tree Frogs

Tree Frog
These beautiful candleholders were purchased many years ago in Sanibel Island, Florida. Unfortunately, there’s a hidden problem, and it’s not the tree frogs.

Candleholders Before
Thick layers of tropical leaves weave their way around the base with three colorful tree frogs crawling among the foliage. Can you spot the problem? If you think it’s the candles, you’re right!

Closeup Top Candleholder
As you can see from this photo, the glass top of each candleholder will only fit a votive size candle. Proportionally, they would look much better with tall slim candles but they just won’t fit. We’re going to change that! The same procedure can be followed for any candleholders you may have. Let’s get started!

Supplies:
Candleholder Supplies
Supplies:
2) Candleholders
6) 12” Navy taper candles
Cardstock (See Crafting Tip in Step 1 for alternatives)
Gluestick
Scissors (or an X-Acto knife)
Fillet glove (optional protection when cutting)
Circle template
2) Rubber bands
Crinkle Paper (or mini glass marbles)

Additional Supplies:
Candleholder Paints
Painting Supplies:
Acrylic Paint – brown
Bottles of fabric paint – brown, dark green, yellow, medium green
Paintbrush

Creating Candleholder Caps
Cardstock Circles & Glue
Step 1 – To accommodate slimmer candles, we need to create a cap for the top of each candleholder. Measure the top of the candleholder. If you are using cardstock, cut 3) small 2-1/2” circles, and 2) large 3” circles. Glue the small circles together, one on top of the other like a layer cake. Glue the two large circles together in the same fashion. Center the small circles on top of the large and glue them together. Repeat this step to make the cap for the second candleholder.

Crafter Tip: This project was completed during the Covid 19 lockdown. I had to work with what I had on hand. In hindsight, I believe caps made from matt board or a sheet of plastic would be more rigid, and would only require cutting out two circles, one for each candleholder.

Tracing the Candles
Trace Candles
Step 2 – I decided to use three 12” tall taper candles in each candleholder. Hold the three candles in the center of each cap and trace the shape with a pen or pencil. Cut out the center of each cap following the triad shape of the candles.

Finished Caps
Assembled Cardstock Caps
You now have two caps for the candleholders. Test each to ensure a good fit on the candleholders. Test-fit the candles for a snug fit in each cap. Make adjustments by trimming as needed. Because the taper candles vary in size, be sure to label the bottom of each cap with “L” for left and “R” for right to ensure the candles will fit in a later step.

Painted Base Coat & Glass Marbles
Cardstock Caps Painted Brown
Step 3 – Paint the tops and edges of the caps brown to blend with the branches in the base. You may need to add mini glass marbles or crinkle paper to the bottoms to adjust the candles to the desired height.

Candles in Caps
Banded Taper Candles
Step 4 – Slide the candles into the cap. Adjust the cap’s position as needed. Wrap the candles with a rubber band beneath the cap to secure their positioning.

Final Candle Placement
Fitting Tapers in Candleholders
Step 5 – Place the candles and cap into the top of the holder. Temporarily slide the cap up to fill the void with marbles or crinkle paper. This will stabilize the candles in an upright position. To ensure that the caps will stay in place, I tacked three spots along the edge of each cap with hot glue.

Crafter Tip: I found that the crinkle paper provided firmer support than the glass marbles, which have a tendency to shift.

First Layer of Leaves
1st Layer Leaves
Step 6 – Create 3-dimensional leaves on top with fabric paint in colors similar to those found in the base.

Second Layer of Leaves
2nd Layer Leaves
Step 7 – Allow drying time. Add another layer of leaves overlapping the previous one.

Fourth Layer of Leaves
4th Layer Leaves
Step 8 – Allow drying time between layers. Add as many layers as you like to build up thick foliage.

Finished Candleholders
Completed Candleholders
These are the completed candleholders with their new candles.

Candleholders – Before & After
Before & After Frog Candle Holders
Note how much better they look with the taller candles. The blue candles and new three-dimensional painted green and yellow leaves accentuate the rainforest colors in the frogs and foliage.

When you can’t find the candles you need, it’s time to flex your creativity muscles. If you have had a similar creative challenge, please share your experiences in the comments section.

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Celebrating 100th Post

100th Post
Today marks a very important milestone – my 100th post! It has been a wonderful experience, and I thank all my readers and followers for taking this journey with me. Below are photos and links to each category of arts and crafts covered to date. Please take a few minutes to peruse your favorites.

Baking & Candy Making
Baking & Candy Making

Beaded Jewelry & Gemstones
Beaded Jewelry & Gemstones

Color Theory
Color Theory

Floral & Home Decor
Floral & Home Decor

“How To” Projects
How-to Projects

Inspiration
Inspiration

Miscellaneous Crafts
Miscellaneous Crafts

Painting – Decorative Techniques
Decorative Painting

Seasons & Holidays
Seasons & Holidays

Wood Crafts
Wood Crafts

Please let me know, in the comments section, if you have any suggestions for future arts and crafts topics. I am looking forward to the next 100 posts. This achievement would not be possible without all of you! Thank you!!

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Trompe l’oeil – Painting Not Politics

Ruby Slippers & Yellow Brick Rd
In “The Wizard of Oz,” Judy Garland and friends danced their way along the yellow brick road. The next time you watch the movie, take a closer look at the scene when Dorothy meets the Scarecrow. You can see a line across the yellow bricks on the road to the left. This marks the bottom edge of a very large canvas, suspended from the ceiling, which provides the illusion that the road winds through the countryside and beyond. You may not know the terminology, but that is a perfect example of trompe l’oeil.

Polka Dot Eggs
Polka Dot Eggs
Translated into English as “fool the eye,” trompe l’oeil is an art technique used to create three-dimensional illusions. In order to fool the eye, the artist must excel at utilizing perspective, light and shadow, color, and scale. Each of these aspects lends another layer in a composition created solely to entertain and challenge human perception. In the above photo, I’m sure many pedestrians walk around the “protruding” polka dot eggs for fear of walking into one, but it’s actually a cleverly painted illusion.

Mountain Path
Mountain Path
The arched niche in this photograph is real, but the stone path, lavender flowers and mountain vista are painted illusions. Notice how well the path aligns with the opening of the arch, inviting you to begin an awesome hike through a beautiful landscape. The mist and snow covered peaks lend a chill to the air in this amazingly realistic scene.

Fluttering Fabric
Trompe l'oeil Facade Toronto
We’ve all seen window curtains fluttering in the breeze. This building appears to have the “curtains” on the exterior, held in place by four tacks. Including the windows and architectural details, none of it is real.

Waterfall Bridge
Waterfall Bridge
While some illusions evoke wonder and awe with their fanciful, storybook qualities, others tend to be appreciated from afar due to a projected sense of danger, particularly in regard to depth perception. Probably the most disorienting 3D illusions are located upon the floor. When you see what appears to be a gaping hole in the ground, you’re going to walk or ride around it. Notice the people in this photo are walking along the perimeter of the bridge, not down the center. Interestingly, the black dog in the background is not fooled by the illusion. Maybe dogs have a different way of sensing depth than we do. The water appears to pour in from both sides to become beautiful waterfalls plunging into a deep gorge below. Painted to resemble rushing blue water, a portion of the left side railing nearly disappears. It’s a shame the painted water doesn’t match the green color of the existing river to complete the illusion.

Town with a View
Town & Landscape
A first glance, it’s easy to see that the canyon view within the archway is a painting. However, everything you see, with the exception of the brown-framed window, is an illusion. The wooden bench, the sidewalk and even the trash can look real. I wonder how many people walk toward that bench to rest?

Old Fashioned Storefront
Old Fashioned Storefront
The proprietor of this store stands ready to serve his customers, while his wife sits nearby people watching. Epicerie is the French word for grocery store. This family-run business showcases fresh produce and vegetables in front of the store and upon shelves inside the store windows. The stacked merchandise, cast shadows, and event poster upon the wall add realistic touches to this beautiful artwork. It was clever of the artist to use the words on the store windows to advertise his or her painting business. Perhaps that is why they chose not to show reflections on the glass.

Charming Italian Restaurant
Restaurant
Romance meets fairy tales in the lovely formal gardens adorning the second floor of this popular Italian restaurant. White flowers follow the railing as if they are growing alongside the staircase. The open door at the top of the stairs teases the viewer to step “outside” to walk along the beautifully landscaped paths. The only downside to this mural is the unfortunate location of the air conditioning vents near the ceiling, which detract from the grand garden illusion.

Flower Boxes
Flowers
Petals and leaves appear to spill over a low wall from this imaginary window box. As with the previous photo, the vent locations are unfortunate, but in this case the artist has camouflaged them well.

Ornate Window Frame
Ornate Window Frame
Artisans, who trained a lifetime perfecting their crafts, constructed old world architecture. This simple wood framed window exudes that same Old World charm “sculpted” in paint. The ornate details, use of light and shadow successfully combine to give this window frame depth and a richness found only in some of the most prized buildings in Europe.

Deep Sea Diver
Deep Sea Diver
Treasure hunting on a pirate shipwreck in an underwater mine field is not for the faint of heart. This diver appears to have been successful in his search, but he’s not the only one interested. The 3D rendering has effectively created the illusion that the diver’s upper body leans out beyond the wall. The gold necklace is so real you could almost take it from his hand. An octopus tentacle reaches into the painting from our side in the real world – Yikes!

Architectural Details
Libreria Piccolomini Italy
The faux architectural details, such as the coffered ceiling, archways, and the ornate building in the background, visually expand the space.

Candlelit Bridge
Candlelit Bridge
It appears a section of this ultra contemporary bridge has collapsed, revealing an ancient chamber hidden below. This moody, mysterious scene is reminiscent of a Harry Potter film. As we peer into this strange stone-lined room, we are met with the vision of sands in an hourglass, which appear to have stopped flowing, and a burning candle, resting atop a pedestal. Wax drips down the sides and the flame flickers above the walkway surface. What other secrets lie hidden in the darkness? Should we dare to find out, or turn and run? I’m guessing most people would find another way to get to the other side.

Hailing a Taxi Cab
Hailing a Taxi Cab
What a phenomenal painting! The artist has an impressive grasp of perspective and the effects of light. Check out the shadows cast upon the brick wall by the man, the car, and the signpost. Nothing has been overlooked. Even the single orange balloon and string cast a shadow. A floating car would be a very cool way to travel with virtually no traffic. Descending could be problematic. I wonder if they give frequent flyer miles?

Trumpet Player
Trumpet Player
Let’s end on a high note! (lol) I think it’s safe to say that the trumpet in this amazing painting is a tripping hazard. It really looks as if it’s sticking right out of that wall. The only way to improve this illusion would be the relocation of the central air conditioning unit around the corner away from the painting.

Artwork tells a story in a universal language we can all understand. It evokes our emotions and challenges our senses. The next time you find yourself sidestepping around an optical illusion, remember you are as much a part of the artist’s composition as the paint itself.

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Crafting Day & Night

Eiffel Tower Day & Night

“As different as day and night” is a common expression. As we find our selves stuck inside, we’re often looking for ways to be entertained. For many, crafting is the answer. A little effort goes a long way, and everyone loves seeing “Before” and “After” photos. These crafts will surprise and hopefully inspire you to create a little crafting magic of your own.

Sledding Centerpiece

Before:  Wooden Sled Wall Art.   After:  Snowman & Friends Centerpiece.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Foxy Santa

Before:  Misfit Christmas Decoration.   After:  Foxy Santa with new hat and tail.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Seashell Plaque

Before:  Drab Wall Art Print.   After:  Seashells, Sea Urchin & Starfish Framed Art.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Piggy Before and After

Before:  Colorless Pig Statue.   After:  Pink Pig with lots of personality.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Before & After Pumpkins

Before:  Faded Lawn Decoration.   After:  Bold Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns
(Click here for how to instructions)

Headless Dog Before & After

Before:  Snowman with Headless Dog.   After:  Restored Dog.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Light House Before & After

Before:  Incomplete Candleholder.   After:  New Lighthouse Roof & “Light.”
(Click here for how to instructions)

Octopus Before & After

Before:  Monochromatic Candleholder.   After:  Blue Ringed Octopus Sculpture.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Sneak Peak of Upcoming Projects:

Candlestick Before & After

Before:  Difficult Candle Size.   After:  Candleholder for Taper Candles.
(Stay tuned for how to instructions in a future post)

Leaves Before & After

Before:  Dull, “Muddy” Wall Sconces.   After:  Vibrant Tropical Leaves & Candles.
(Stay tuned for how to instructions in a future post)

I hope you enjoyed these projects. Take a look around your home for any items that could use a little refreshing. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish. Good Luck!

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!