Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A canvas full of crap - and how it can be awesome - a tutorial

My first full length, in depth tutorial. It's very exciting - I made sure to take pictures of every single step so it should be pretty hard to go wrong here. Though that being said there are a ridiculous amount of pictures. Just saying - I warned you.

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I made this for a friend who loves tacky pink lawn flamingos. All the junk canvases I had done previously were all black on a white background but I love the color here! More color must be used in future projects.

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Supplies Needed:
-Blank canvas
-Glue (I used Elmer's - works great although there is a bit of a drying time)
-Lots of tiny crap - think loose change, can opener thingys, misc. jewelery supplies, charms, random stuff from the junk drawer
-Contact paper
-Pencil
-Scissors
-Spray paint in your choice of color
-Sealer
-White gesso
-paint brush

So to start with you need a blank canvas - size doesn't really matter though keep in mind that you will be gluing a lot of stuff onto it so it will get heavy - I used an 8 x 10 in canvas and I probably wouldn't go too much bigger unless you're specifically using a lot of small light crap to cover it.

First thing you need to do is trace your image onto the canvas. I use an image and carbon paper but you can easily draw it yourself or use any other number of ways to get the shape on there.

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Now start gluing crap in the negative space surrounding the shape (or conversely you could fill in the positive space if that's what you're feeling). I try to glue down bigger items first as they will get harder and harder to find space for when you start filling in all the blank area. Then move to the medium sized objects, then the tiny. I try to save the really small stuff for filling in holes.

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Now for the last bit of gluing I like to pull out my random stash of mixed up seed beads. I apply glue to the edges of the shape to really define the outline and fill it in with beads (you can see I've done this in the areas circled).

Here it is filled in and complete.

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Let the glue dry completely before moving on.

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Now you'll need to get out the contact paper and scissors. You'll need to cut out the shape you drew onto the canvas so you can mask it out before spray painting. This is not a perfect science by any means - I usually cut out my shape and then cut it in to smaller segments to fit it perfectly onto the exposed canvas. Its kind of like a puzzle - you'll just need to keep cutting small pieces of contact paper to fill in the white area, until it's all covered. You can see in the picture below that I had a bunch of little pieces of contact paper layered over each other to fill it all in.

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I wouldn't suggest doing the contact paper step before gluing in all the crap. The chance of it getting glued down is just too great, and while this step is kind of a pain, at least it's not permanently adhered to the canvas.

Now you're ready to paint!

Go to wherever you can make a big mess in a well-ventilated area (i.e. outside) and put down some paper or whatever to lay your canvas on.

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Go over it many times with your spray paint at many different angles just to be sure you're coating the entire canvas and all the cracks and crevices - seriously they will show up if you're not thorough. I usually turn the entire canvas around too as I'm working.

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See! Not done yet.

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Now done.

Ok after letting the spray paint dry it's time to peel up the contact paper! This is always the magic step, when you finally see what it's going to turn out like.

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Go slowly. You can see there will be a few areas of overspray where the spray paint still managed to get under the contact paper but that is fine.

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Get out your paint brush and gesso and paint over the overspray several times until you can't see it any more. I don't suggest using acrylic paints for this step as it has a hard time sticking to the surface of the spray paint texture. Gesso will stick no matter what. After the layer of gesso dries, give it a spray of sealer and you are all done!!!

And look at your fancy tacky awesome artwork!

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Of course obligatory angle/close-up shots!

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Thanks for sticking with me this long! I'd love to see anything made using this tutorial =)

11 comments:

  1. This might be my favorite of the "junk art" pieces you've done. I love the color! And grats on your first tutorial!!

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  2. Fantastic tutorial. I love your junk art pieces.

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  3. Great post Emma. I liked the collage before you spray painted it too but pink is one of my favorite colors so I would try it both ways.

    Check out my blog!...and refer your friends. yummeblog.wordpress.com

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  4. Thanks so much guys! I'm really happy with how it came out.

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  5. I did one! I posted it on my blog if you would like to see it. So much fun!
    http://marikamakes.blogspot.com/2012/01/msed-bird-day-138-red-treasures.html

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  6. Marika - That is so awesome! Thanks for sharing it with me =D

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  7. I made one of these and sprayed with flat enamel black paint. I would like to use Decoart Triple Thick Glaze to seal but I'm not sure if it's compatible. Would you mind sharing what kind of paint & sealer you used? Thanks!

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  8. I used the Krylon brand spray paints and sealer. I've experimented with lots of brands (usually because they were cheaper) but generally I get the best results with Krylon.

    If you're not sure the sealer will work with the spray paint you used, test it out on something else that you don't care might get ruined.

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  9. I love this project! Would it be possible to lay down the contact paper before you start gluing on the bits?

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    1. It's possible but I'm not keen to try it just because when you're putting down the random bits and bobs it's just inevitable that they'll overlap the contact paper and potentially glue it down completely. It's worth a try - let me know if you give a go and how it works out for you =)

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  10. I just did this, as a gift for a friend. Thanks, this is soooo creative and lovely!

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