Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How to: From trashed art to Wedding Welcome Sign

Sad but true, one of my favorite nights in Philly is Trash Night. Especially in a neighborhood of creative folk like Northern Liberties, there's a good chance you could find an abandoned piece of art or a hip but unwanted frame- or both. 

The first thing you want to do is check the quality of your found item to make sure it's worth keeping. Lay it flat and make sure it's not warped. Check the canvas- is it cracked or moldy? Not stretched properly? You can easily remove it from the frame by pulling out the staples and re-stretch a new piece of canvas if the frame is in good condition. If the whole item is in good condition, you can usually whitewash over it and start a new painting. Sometimes you will find that the artwork is on cardboard or canvas board, which is excellent for this project.

Canvas or board with a frame that fits 
A few yards of tulle (in this example, it is sparkle tulle)
Sponge (for texture)
Water jug (to rinse your brushes) 
Acrylic paints 
White chalk
Palette or something to mix paint on
Rag (to wipe your brushes on)
Staple gun
Hot glue gun 

First, you will want to whitewash over the original canvas or board. Usually two layers does the trick. Let dry. 
Take your brushes and paint the board with the acrylic paints. Dab it with a sponge to give it a textured look. Make sure you rinse your brush between colors unless you are looking to blend them. Let dry.

You might notice that the colors are very bright; this is normal, and will be subdued once you layer the tulle.

Layer the tulle over 2 or 3 times depending on how subdued you want the color to be and make sure there is a few inches extra around the border so you can tack it down on the back.
Taking your staple gun or hot glue gun, tack the tulle down in the back, making sure the fabric is taut with no wrinkles. 
Remember it's the back and it doesn't have to look pretty :-)

Take your piece of chalk and carefully write your message on the board. If you mess up, you can pat it off gently if its a light color. You may want to use a measuring stick and practice a few times on scrap paper to make sure you get it just right.
Next, take your paint and go over the chalk outline. You will need to do this slowly and carefully to avoid paint blobs. The thicker your brush and paint, the thicker the letters will be. 

Let this dry for a few hours or overnight.

Getting the board or canvas back in the frame:

Hot glue, staple or tape the back of the board onto the frame. 

Turn it around and you have yourself a beautiful painting for next to nothing! I displayed mine on an easel outside at the garden ceremony, and now it is hanging above my dining room table. 

Good luck and post a comment if you have any questions!

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