Thursday, October 10, 2013

DIY Vinyl Letter Art :: Your Addiction Starts Right... NOW

As you may have heard through the "grapevine", I have a bit of a "fixation" with "collages".

And while I'm truly not as crafty as you think, once in a while I stumble on something that works for me and my "quirks".

I present to you my requirements for a slam-dunk craft:
Kid friendly
Can be done while watching reality TV

*Were you a scab-picker as a child? Do you enjoy plucking your eyebrows? Pulling weeds? Peeling a sunburn? Were you obsessed with Biore strips in college? If so, not only are you neurotic like moi, you're also a prime candidate for an FPFG "satisfying" craft. Read on!

Here's what you'll need:
Flat board canvases (or rigid cardboard) (Got mine in a pack of 8 for 50% off at Michaels with a coupon)
Removable vinyl lettering from a hardware store (not scrapbooking lettering!) (Got mine at Ace.)
Mod Podge/glue
Old magazines, sheet music, love letters, book pages, etc...
A significant (and short!) quote or word

The first step is to lock down your base coat. For my first run, I used sheet music.

Then the addiction firmly took root and I wanted to make more, so I got my shorties involved and we collaged up some canvas using old catalogs. (Land of Nod, Boden, PB Teen)

Since I was doing these as a test-run for Craft Weekend, I went through and cut out the scraps then let the kids glue them on. We did a super-sloppy glue-down using regular Elmer's glue for the first batch.

On subsequent runs, I carefully Mod Podged everything down in a smooth later. There are no rules.

It was so much fun tracking down the pattern and color!

While we worked, I asked each of them to think of a word that was special to them.

Ruby chose "Peace". (please recall this was in early February, on the heels of her MLK obsession)

Silas wowed us all by choosing the suspiciously respectable "Sing". (I had my money on "Lamp" or "Extension cord".) (Dude can sing!)

(Calvin was being a grump that day and didn't want to play.)

Next, you place your vinyl letters.

For this one (a birthday gift for Sarah featuring one of her fave song lyrics by her beloved Over the Rhine) I wanted the text to be right-justified, so I actually placed the lettering backwards, to get the spacing quasi-right.

Note: This craft is not for perfectionists. Repeat after me, "It's okay to be wonky!"

Next, you paint over the entire shebang with regular old craft paint. (I don't have a photo of this step. Sue me!)
Let it dry.

Then, you peeeeeeel, baby.

You can't imagine the initial terror. You're sure you might wreck it all up. You're seized. Gripped. But it's soon replaced by intense gratification. Or at least that's what my neurotic, recovering scab-picker friend told me.

Sometimes the letters peel off but you realize there are parts that blend in with your top-coat. It's okay, just bust out the Sharpie.

Sometimes there's just the right amount of contrast between under-layer and top-coat, but the letters pull part of the paper off. Just call it the "faded" look.

"It's okay to be wonky!"

Listen, we're not trying to win any awards here.
We're all wonky, all the time.

We like bumpy texture and crooked lines. We wear dots with plaid. We eat cereal for snack and snacks for breakfast.

Sadly, I do not have a pic of Sarah's finished product. (Why?? I do not know.) But close your eyes and picture a swoony aqua top-coat and letters that peeled off like a dream. I loved how it turned out.

This is the canvas I made at Craft Weekend.
I meant to paint over it like regular, but then I talked too much and worked too little and ran out of time and then I couldn't bear to part with my swoony underlayer, so I hauled it home as-is and called it a day.

"It's okay to be wonky!"



Check out some of the canvases people drummed up at the legendary Craft Weekend. They were all super quirky and fun.

Once I got my bad-boy home, I found that I wanted to see it and be around it all the time, so I tossed it up on the "mantel" with my BFF Canvas People bargain (85% off right now!!) where they collaborate daily for the perpetual happiness of yours truly, except for right now, as they've been temporarily replaced by vintage autumnal paint-by-numbers.

So that's it, homies.

Give it a whirl! Report back.

Flower Patch Scab Picker