Project Updates

How to fold an origami dragon:
Happy Chinese New Year!

I folded this dragon for the front of the store.  It’s from a 30″ square sheet of wrapping paper.  When using larger paper it’s better if the paper is heavy; this wasn’t heavy enough so I had to use a few staples to get the wings, head & tail to stay put and not sag.  After I finished folding & hanging the dragons, I sprayed them lightly with decorative snow paint to give them a winter look.

The Sketchbook Project Continues:  My Sketchbook – A Path Through the Trees
A Path Through the Trees is the theme from the Sketchbook project site … I still had to name my sketchbook and I’ve decided to call it “Life’s Path”.  If you’re interested in following my project and checking out others involved in the World Tour Sketchbook Project go to the Art House Co-op link and click “follow”

Page 1 of my journal is completed and I’ve outlined the sections that will be coming up.  This is a kelp forest with trees of swaying seaweed; it’s done in colored pencil and oil pastel.  The “Path” is done in an oil-based gold ink and the writing is Sharpie Fine Point Metallic Gold.

Outside Cover
Inside Cover

You can use this same process to make a journal of your own.  The base that the paper is wrapped around is just illustration board.  Decorative rice paper, with cut aways for the project information, is pasted to the exterior cover using adhesive spray.  The paper is slightly larger than the actual journal cover and then folded over the edges to the inside cover.

Textured Paper Inside Journal

Then another piece of decorative paper, this one heavier and with texture is pasted to the inside cover, again using spray adhesive.

Journal Ready for Artwork

Now here’s the journal, the pages are all punched and ready to join.  A friend suggested that I do the drawings before binding the pages; I think she’s right.  I decided to add some extra pages, so I had to split the cover to fit everything in.
That meant reinforcing the edge I’d cut and then putting in the eyelets.

Eyelets inserted on reinforced edge

Eyelets are easy; punch the correct size hole, insert the eyelet, and then tap with the correct spreader die and viola!  The individual pages are punched with large punch pin.  After I’ve completed the art I’ll bind the pages together with silk or linen cord.

It’s going to take some major effort to keep up with the shop and get this done before the end of January.  It has to arrive in Brooklyn by the end of the month!

The Framing Table is Finished:

So, the 2×4 Basics  brackets worked GREAT, check out their site, it’s really interesting, an entertainment system for the house may be in order next.  GNH cut everything perfect and the table went together in just a few hours, the directions were easy to follow … YAY!  The finished size of the table is 4 feet by 5 feet (it could have been as big as 4 feet by 8 feet if it would have fit in the room :)

Finished Cafe Set

The Cafe Table Project is Finished:
I cut the oil cloth fabric (vinyl coated fabric tablecloth) large enough to fit around the seats and added additional batting then used a power stapler to staple it into the wood circle of the seat.  After I finished stretching the fabric around and stapling it into place I added a circle of backing board (you could also use illustration board). Then I screwed the table top back on (still thinking I might change the top, but we’ll see) and the seats back on.  There was enough fabric left for a tablecloth.

The Cafe Table Project (the process):  Paint outside, or someplace well ventilated.  The temperature has to be above 50 degrees and if the humidity is too high the paint won’t dry properly.  Keep these things in mind when you’re getting ready to paint.  With the cool, wet weather we’ve had, painting the set has taken longer than expected.

Here we are, 2 cans of Rustoleum black paint and 1 can of Rustoleum Multi-colored Texture paint, later.  Be sure to follow the instructions on the back of the can for the most durable finish.  I will also add that you should wear proper attire when painting, I did not and I’ve had black, stripped feet for days (wore sandals).  I’ve also added new, little rubber chair tips to the chair and table legs.

I’m now working on recovering the seat cushions with a fabric oil-cloth (clear vinyl bonded to a cotton print back).  I have enough fabric for a table cloth as well.  Don’t be afraid to try something unconventional.  The oil-cloth I’m using is actually a really high quality table cloth (very heavy, needs to be since people will be sitting on the chairs) that I’m cutting up for the purpose.  I got it on clearance at Macy’s for nearly nothing.  By the way, when you’re looking for fabric for a home decorating project don’t forget to check the bedding department as well as the table linens,  you can often get sheets and table cloths for less than you’d spend on a similar yardage of fabric (and you can make use of the already hemmed edges :)

Cafe Table Project (the beginning):  Refinishing a metal cafe table and chairs for the store
I purchased this cafe set at the local thrift store for $12.99.  With a little work, and very minimal materials it’s going to be transformed into a really great set for my store.

The first step was to remove the seats from the chairs (a matter of unscrewing 2 screws from the underside of each seat) and removing the table top (4 screws).  Next I gave it a good cleaning up with some elbow grease and a wire brush (the wirebrush removes any loose paint).  I picked up a couple of sanding sponges and some tack cloth at our local hardware store, I already had regular sand paper (medium grit) and air spray.

Ready to Paint

Now the prep work, sand down any previously dripped paint, rough areas, rusty spots, smooth edges of chipped paint, etc.  You’re not taking it back to bare metal, just making sure you have a good surface for your paint to adhere.  When you’re done sanding spray with the air to get rid of the dust and then lightly go over it all with the tack cloth.  I spent about an hour; the prep is important.

This is a messy, dusty process, best for outside or in your workshop, which is why the dust mask is a good idea.  When your done, I seriously recommend a neti pot and a nail brush (you’re going to have tacky stuff on your hands from the tack cloth.  Not familiar with a neti pot?  Check out this link;  I don’t think I could manage without my neti pot.  It’s helped my allergies tremendously and I definitely get fewer colds, since I began using it.

Neti Pot & Kosher Salt

Be sure to check in again soon, my next steps will be to paint the metal, recover the seats and decide if I’m using the existing top, refinishing it, or making a new one.  Any suggestions?

Athens Lighthouse Project:  Completed, everything went great!

Tulips Passing in the Night

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Donna
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 12:57:07

    Thanks, Laura! It would be a fun way to do a cover for a children’s book to give as a gift too :)


  2. Laura
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 18:18:48

    I love your description of the journal cover construction. I can think of many uses including making a photo album. (I started one but never finished it) Perhaps I’ll use Donna’s info to inspire myself to finally finish it.


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