Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sign Painting Using Vinyl Letters

I got to go to a really fun sign painting class last night at B Street Mercantile in Petaluma.  This is the cutest shop!  It is full of handmade items from around the Bay Area. The shop has monthly crafty classes but I can never seem to make it to one.  But I did last night!!!

I didn't quite finish with my painting but here it is:

Before we came to class, we were able to submit the words or phrase that we wanted to use. The ladies had the vinyl letter pre-cut for us.  I am going to do some more distressing with sandpaper and maybe some embellishment to finish my sign.

Here is what you need to make your own:

Canvas (any size)
Acrylic paints
Vinyl letters or repositionable poster letters
Assorted papers for collaging (optional)
Mod Podge
A roll of clear sticky adhesive back plastic film with grid backing that can be cut to size (optional)
(Similar to this)
X-acto knife

The ladies who ran the class used a Silhouette Cameo to cut the vinyl letters for us.  I have used my Silhouette machine once since I got it.  This may inspire to me to break it out again. The vinyl letters are essentially used for masking.  You will be throwing them away.  You can also use sticky repositionable poster letters.

1. Decide on whether you would like a collage background or a painted background.  Whatever you choose to do for your first layer will show through as letters.  I chose to do a painted background.  I painted the entire base a burnt sienna color.  My friend Susie collaged papers on her first layer.

(Susie's piece)

You can see how the collaged papers who through on her letters.  A WORD OF WARNING: if you are collaging papers, make sure they are completely dry before starting the next layer.  I hit my first layer with a hairdryer before moving on.  A heat gun would be even better.

2. Once your first layer is dry, decide where you want your letters. The instructor taught us a neat trick. Rather than going letter by letter, she cut us a large piece of of the sticky back plastic film. We placed the sticky film on top of one line of words/letters and rubbed them with a scraper. A credit card would work too. Then, we gently peeled up the film and it carried the letters with it.  You then place the film where you would like it on the canvas, gently rub the letters again and carefully peel off the plastic film leaving the letters behind. This can be a bit tricky. My letters had trouble sticking to the canvas. The main thing is to make sure they are flat on the canvas so paint won't get under them.

After you have all your letters where you want them, it is time to paint the second layer.

3. Decide on your top layer of paint.  You will be painting this color over the entire canvas including the letters.  I chose yellow. Susie did multiple colors.  I was disappointed that my yellow wasn't more uniform. I really didn't want the burnt sienna to show through. In the end, I glopped it on to create texture since I couldn't get the heavy uniform color I wanted.  We used Liquitex acrylics for this project.  Try not to get the paint under the letters.  Be careful when painting over them.

Make sure this layer gets pretty dry before moving on.  It should have a tacky feel to it.

4. Once the top layer is pretty dry, use your fingernail or an X-acto knife to start peeling up your letters.  I found that the X-acto knife was most helpful. Gently peel off the letters and see the results!  Susie had trouble with hers because her sticky letters were peeling off the collaged paper. We think this was because her first layer wasn't dry enough. She had to go in and make some fixes.  But I love how she painted a heart for the center of her circle.

Since my piece already looks distressed, I am thinking of going over it with sandpaper to distress it more. I may even paint some flowers in the negative space. When you are completely finished, you can seal the whole thing with Mod Podge.

Cute and easy!!!

Interestingly enough, this technique is almost exactly the same as a project I attempted awhile back that was a complete and total failure. Remember this? 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Friends, I am in a crafting rut.  I am supposed to be keeping up with two online classes.  One of them is year-long. I gave up in early February. Not a good start.

I am on lesson one for my Brave Girls Club class which I think may be over now.

I just can't find the time to do anything creative.  Just keeping up with work and motherhood and running our Sunday school program is taking all my time.  My workroom has become a room to throw things into. I can barely get through the door past the giant laundry basket full of clothing I am trying to sell on eBay.

I wish I could say that I spend time being creative or otherwise productive after Noodle goes to bed but I usually end up watching tv because I am so tired.

When weekend roll around, I am desperately running around trying to spend quality time with my son while catching up on all the household stuff I am unable to get done during the week.

Tomorrow night, I am going to take a class in sign-making at a local shop.  I am hoping it will reinvigorate my creativity.  After all, Easter is right around the corner!