MODERN BOTANICAL DIY PRINTS

EASY DIY BOTANICAL PRINTS WITH A TWIST

This is a simple way to create your own botanical prints with a contemporary twist.  This weekend I picked up two very nice simple black chunky frames on offer for 2 for £10 at Homebase, with mounts inside already cut to fit A4 prints.  I then made the prints myself at home, using downloaded botanical and paper images, normal photocopier paper and a printer.  I have seen examples like this on sale for a lot of money in smart home decor shops, galleries and on Etsy, but you can make them yourself which is far more satisfying and far cheaper.

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HOW TO MAKE THEM:

Start off by finding large sized botanical prints on-line.  There are lots of places to find them for free:  The Graphics Fairy and Botanicus are great paces to browse, especially the latter for thousands of botanical themes.  Download the picture you want to use, in Botanicus it comes as a large pdf of a botanical collection of the book’s plates, whereas at The Graphics Fairy is it just one image as a pdf or jpeg.  You do not need to print them out, but the below are examples of ones to look for, they need strong colours and lines to show up in the finished piece.

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Enclosed here is a ready to print dictionary piece of paper, (but you could use old sheet music cut to A4 size, or other old text paper you may have available).  Print this out in colour onto a piece of A4 paper, and make it fit the whole page as much as possible on your printer by using the ‘scale to fit’ option..

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When it is dry, reload this printed paper into the printer, and then print out the botanical flower of your choice straight onto it.  You may need 2-3 runs to get your grade right for your own tastes, (and not to do it upside down which I am guilty of a lot!). You can tweak your grade in your photo browser directly if it is a jpeg, or if it is a pdf you will need to convert it to a large sized jpeg first.

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Then frame up your print, and hey presto… done in a jiffy….

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Have a go, it is really not that hard to do and the possibilities are endless for printing images.  Just make sure they are dense in colour and line.  You can even do a 3rd print run with text on to personalise it for someone.

Creating a Gallery Wall

Once Upon a time…

I used to help out at an Art Gallery where the positioning and hanging of the art was as important as the pictures themselves.  I think that apart from basic hanging ‘rules’ about eye levels not being too high, hanging pictures is a very personal thing.  However some people get very nervous about putting up art, so here is hopefully a helping hand…

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Here is my latest area where I am going to create a gallery wall, a finishing-off part of a dining room makeover.  You can read about the main bulk of work doing the room here.  After finishing the room I was left with a really large wall which has a mirror and two very large formal prints on it placed very formally.  I do like them, but wanted to create more interest and jazz it up a bit.  In fact, I noticed that when I was trying to find photos of that wall, I had hardly any as it was never that inspiring, so that is a bit telling!

I want to create a gallery wall that is much more contemporary, and uses a variety of artwork and interesting pieces.  I find I always lean towards hanging art very symmetrically and I suppose that is my comfort zone, but this time I am intentionally going to offset the pieces and push the boundaries for myself.

Can I apologise in advance for glare on the photos, the wall faces a large french window and the reflections were murder in my pictures!

So you can sort of see the wall in the back of the pictures, and it is definitely time to make it more interesting.  It is nearly 4 metres wide and has 1.7 metres clear vertically in the dado to picture rail space  There is a radiator below the dado rail bang in the middle, and I might have get a cover made for it as it does stick our like a sore thumb, but that can be a later project.  I know some people paint their radiators in the same colour and paint as the wall behind, so that could be an option…

STEP ONE

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An evening event at Anthropologie

anthropologieI will be at the Anthropologie store in Bath this week on 22nd September, where there is an event showcasing Bath design businesses, ranging from food to drink to decorating to arty crafts.  There is also late night shopping, a glass of fizz, plus food and drink tasters.

I teach art and craft courses through The Workshop Cabin, and we will be highlighting what craft activities and sessions will be coming up in the autumn and spring. There are some great ideas, like workshops for Hen parties who often come to Bath, where they can make table decorations and wedding favours for the Big Day whilst sipping some Prosecco, (always a plus!).  Plus there are courses in paperwork, plaster, sculpture, photography, wood carving and more.

The Workshop Cabin is also offering new event design services for any size of gatherings; weddings, parties, special occasions, dinners and so on.

Tickets are available here which are reedemable against any store spend over £20.

 

Children’s Art Week

In-between the ongoing house renovation, I nipped up to London for a week to run an Arts Week for  the KS1 classes in a school.  The children were aged 4-7, and I had 270 of them over a week to create 3 large pieces that could be kept on permanent exhibition in the school.  This seems to have become an annual event, and although it is the most hectic and pressured timescale, I absolutely LOVE doing it.  The only downside is the amount of stooping I have to do to get down to their level, plus trying not to touch heads in case I catch nits.  So far no nits, and Pilates sorted out my aching back and knees.

Artwork 1:

This was done by 90 children in Year 2 (ages 6-7) over one and half days.  They were staggered into groups of 6 throughout their allocated times.  We took the artist Paul Klee as a starting point, and looked at his landscapes.  I love his little villages and towns.  We showed the children his work, talked about his art, and we broke down his style into a series of shapes and perspective tricks so they could get inspired to create.

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The children started by hand printing miles of coloured paper and card with patterns in acrylic paint.  These were then cut up into various sized rectangles, squares, triangles and semi circles.  A huge MDF board was primed, and a basic sky painted and sponged onto it.

The fun then began when we got the children to work out a staggered townscape.  They had to think about perspective, layering, scale and so on, and work from the back of the town forward as they created a collage of the shapes.  Finally they added embellishments with inks and created line drawings on top to enhance the details of the buildings.

Finally the piece looked like this, brilliant and colourful, the children named it ‘City of Lights’.

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Artwork 2:

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3D Paper Pictures and Botanicals

I love botanical prints, and have many old ones over the house.  However, I had a space for some artwork and some box frames lying about, so decided to make my own modern version of botanical prints. They looked great, and I sell mine a lot, they can even be customised for clients with text:

Using royalty free images found on-line, I pick one image and then print it up either on aged paper or pages from old books, in varying scales of size, about 5 copies per image.  It needs to be strongly coloured to work well.  Then I cut them out carefully with a scalpel.  Mounting them is trial and error, starting with the biggest at the rear and then building them up.  Pinching and curling some leaves etc added to the 3D effect. Using small pieces of sponge cut to size and a glue gun, you attach each layer so it protrudes.

You can also print straight onto old pages if you do not want to do a 3D effect.  I used old encyclopedia pages, and printed the botanicals straight on top of them:

I have now started on birds and trees:

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Paper Flowers and Wreaths

IMG_7950 I saw this idea online, and decided to have a try.  They are really easy to make, and look beautiful.  I sold a load at a craft fair at Christmas, and people now commission them with specific central ornament colours to match their home decor colours.

IMG_7963You will need: 120 pages of a standard sized old book.  The older the better as the pages are yellower and have a great patina.  I only use books from junk shops that are falling apart as I do not feel guilty when cutting out the pages. Scalpel and ruler Sellotape Stapler Foam Board Hot Glue Gun Decorations  – These can be baubles, natural cones and dried fruits, shells (lightweight), feathers… anything light and that you like.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Cut a square piece of foam board slighter larger than a dinner plate.  On the board, draw circles decreasing in size in pen or pencil, (I use a dinner plate, bowl, side plate & mug turned upside down and I draw around them).  Then draw through the circles 2 x lines forming a cross, so you have a graphic resembling a target.  This is your guide for when you stick on the paper cones.
  • With a scalpel and a ruler, cut out 120 pages from the book.  Try and keep them equally sized.  At this point I normally settle down in front of a good movies and start making the cones as it can take a while.
  • Roll each piece of paper from the bottom left inwards into a cone shape, use a small piece of sellotape to secure the wide back of the roll so that it is unseen, and then staple once across the bottom point horizontally.
  • Once you have all of your cones ready, heat up the glue gun.
  • Start attaching the cones to the board, put small blob of glue at the back bottom part of the cone where the back of the staple is.  Use the widest circle as a starting point and stick a circle of cones around it.  Then moving inwards, repeat the circles.  The trick is to keep it neat and uniform.  Once you start nearing the middle, you may need to trim the bottom of the cones so they are shorter and re-staple before attaching.  Leave a space in the middle the diameter of a mug base.  Once all of the cones are stuck on, just glue in the decorations you want to use.
  • That is pretty much it.  To hang, I use a bulldog clip attached to the top of the foam board with a ribbon attached, as it is all paper and foam board, the flower wreath is very light.

IMG_7945 I also been working on versions with folded paper sheets rather than cones. The central area is shredded paper rather than decorative elements: IMG_0097 IMG_0098