Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ghost Family Halloween Wreath

I have thought for years, that it would be so fun to create a family out of ghosts!!! When I saw the new peg shapes at Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago, I knew this was the year!!!
This was another one I mostly made in the minivan during family vacation, so I don't have a ton of process pictures. It was very straight forward. You wrap your ribbon around a foam wreath base (Hobby Lobby).  I cut and pinned, because I was being cheap, but ended up gluing anyway.
Cut a divet in your wreath with a knife, and slide a piece of wood in (Hobby Lobby). This is not highly scientific. I just shoved it until it fit.
Paint your peg ghosts however you like.I did white tops and black bottoms. I painted the details on with a toothpick.
Last minute, I decided to add some tulle circles over the top of each ghost. I thought it was a little fun and unexpected. I pinned them in the back, but didn't glue them, incase I wanted to take them off. They are still on. I think I like it that way best.
I also got a tree in the unfinished wood section of Hobby Lobby, and painted it grey. I hot glued everything in place.
I cut a moon out of foam, and hung it by a strip of tulle, and a pin. It really looks better than these pics. I don't know why I couldn't get a good one!
My baby LOVED it when he saw it, and named off each member in our family!
I do think it's pretty cute myself. It's a little more, "cutesie," than I have been in the mood for lately, but it's fun anyway!

Thanks for stopping by.

Have a Happy and Creative Day!


Monday, October 20, 2014

DIY Zombie Art

This year for Halloween, I wanted to bring some zombies into my home, without all the gore. This diy Zombie silhouette art was just the way to do it!

There were three things I wanted with this project:

1) Custom muted colors. 
2) Inexpensive and Easy to create. 
3) Customizable size and scale to fit my front room. 

I LOVE how it turned out!

For this project, you will need:

Scissors, Paper, Pencil, Craft Paint, Paint Brushes, Toothpicks

A piece of foam board. I got mine from Hobby Lobby. It was $2.50. I am sure you could use dollar store foam board also, but this seemed a little higher quality, and worth the extra $1.50.

Zombie clipart. THIS BOY SET & THIS GIRL SET. I bought both, for a grand total of $3 on Etsy.

Follow the instructions in THIS TUTORIAL, but put one zombie per page, using the previous one to size the next, like this:

I cut the heads off the dad and mom, knowing that I could draw them bigger later.

I printed each page, and took it on a road trip this weekend. I had lots of hours in the minivan, so I got to work cutting! We went to St George to stay with #HunkyMrB's brother and family. It was a blast!

Okay, back to zombie art...

After you cut the pieces out, place them on your foam board the way you want them spaced. I liked them kind of crammed close together. I ended up flipping some of the pieces after I set them down, because it looked better that way.

Outline each piece, adding a bigger head if needed. I felt like the girl heads looked way bigger than the boy noggins. Head - Pants - Now!!! So I made the boy noggins a little bigger. Please forgive the nighttime cell phone photo.

Then, paint around the silhouette in the color of your choice. I mixed my own grey. A little tip... use a toothpick dipped in paint, to get into the small areas. I put lots of paint on at the end, and felt like that made the foam board curl a little bit,  but I kind of like that anyway. It is Halloween, and they are Zombies, after all...

 Now that you have seen my Zombie art, would you like a closer look at the rest of the spooky decor?

This is the glass skull I got at TJ Maxx, and put succulents in.

I am loving my coffee table. I kept the basic idea from THIS POST, and just tweaked it a little.

Noticed I brought in some darker books?

Love the Dracula Book, and tiny pumpkin as a nod to October. I also LOVE that I am still keeping the gold. Love the gold!

I still use geodes whenever I can include them in a space! Here's a top view.

I love decorating in the fall, and am so happy to bring grey into my Halloween decor this year!

Thanks for stopping by! Now go make your own family into Zombies!

Have a Happy and Creative Day!


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Halloween Paper Clay Doll Tutorial

Sometimes I become obsessed with things. Often, I become obsessed with personalized family art. Halloween is no exception. I lOVE anything that can be personalized, in representation of my family. The best way I have found to do this is through art or dolls. These little, "art dolls," are no exception. Aren't they adorable?!?

What is an art doll, you ask? An art doll, is an object of art, rather than a toy. They can be made if different materials, including: polymer clay, wax, wood, porcelain, natural or synthetic hair, yarn, wool, felt paper clay, or fabric. They usually require some kind of a skill to complete, weather sculpting, painting, or costuming, and are usually one of a kind. Because they are OOAK - one of a kind, they can fetch high prices. The mass produced dolls you find in stores are fine, and less expensive, but isn't it more fun to have a one of a kind in your home? The thing I have enjoyed about making my own dolls, is that I really had no idea what I was doing when I started, and the more lopsided and lumpy they are, the more character it adds. I have loved watching them come to life.

I  have to say, I believe art dolls are always in fashion. I have trended through many Halloween decorations over the years, but the look of the art doll is something I have held on to, even when I have decided to, "be done," with other items in my Halloween collection. It is timeless, and a modern-day throwback. 

Before I started my dolls, I watched a few youtube how-to videos, but the process seemed a bit long and drawn out. I am always looking for a cheap and easy way to do things, and I believe I have found it!

In this tutorial, I am only sharing the basics, and giving you creative license to do whatever you want with what you create. You may be pleased as punch that you did it yourself when you are finished. I know I was. I have never seen the art dolls I created. That makes them even more special to me.

I knew I wanted three dolls, to represent my three kids.

You will need:

Styrofoam balls - for the head and base, possibly the body.
Styrofoam bricks - for the body.
Styrofoam tools - optional, but kind of helpful.
Das Clay to cover the styrofoam and dowels.
Dowels - (I used barbecue dowels from the grocery store.) for the legs and neck.
Hot Glue or Tacky Glue - To hold the heads and bodies in place. (I didn't do this, but should have.) and to glue fabric on for clothes.
Strong but bendable craft wire for arms (and hairlines if you want).
Craft paint and paint brushes.
Fabric scraps or paper for finishing.
One day to allow for dry time in between sculpting and painting.

I had most everything on hand. The only things I didn't have on hand was the DAS paper clay, and the styrofoam tools. I got the clay at the craft store, and used a coupon. I think I paid between $4 and $6, and have ton left over! This is what you are looking for:

I found it here on Amazon also.
I got the styrofoam tools at the craft store as well. The tools were kind of helpful, but not totally.

They are HERE on Amazon as well.

Step 1:
Set your styrofoam out, and decide what size you want your doll to be. My dolls started out much smaller than they ended up. Choose a ball for the head, a ball or part of a brick for the body, and a ball sawed in half for the base.

Step 2:
Choose the size of the arms, neck, and legs. Tuck your dowels in, and see if they feel rightly proportioned. I didn't glue mine, because I was wishy-washy, thinking I might change my mind, (and the glue was on my second floor, and I on my main floor, was feeling lazy). I should have just trusted the proportions I chose, and glued it (after step 3).

Cut a piece of wire, that when folded in half, is still long enough to be the proper length for an arm, and still go into the doll by about an inch. I decided I wanted my dolls to have exposed wire arms. You can cover the wire with clay if you want, but I didn't want to deal with fingers and all the detail.

Optional - I stuck wire into the  into the head of the girl doll to create a hairline and pony tails. I had never seen that done before, and wasn't sure if it would work, but it worked beautifully!

Step 3:
Cut or shave your styrofoam down to the size you want it to be. You can do this with your tools, or a kitchen knife... even sand paper or a file. I did like the sanding tool. Remember, the clay will help even things out.

Step 4:
After you have shaved and shaped the styrofoam into the shapes you want, stick your dowels and wire arms in, and make sure the doll can stand up on it's own. When I made the basic structure of my first doll, I thought wire was going to work for the legs, and it was no where near strong enough, so I used dowels.

Glue all your pieces together.

Step 5:
Get a small cup or bowl of water. Dip your fingers, and wet the styrofoam. Break off a small piece of clay, and massage it in your hand for a second, to warm it, then spread it over the moistened portion of your styrofoam and or dowels. Repeat these steps for the entire doll and base. You might find the clay to be a bit lumpy. You can smooth it out easily, by wetting your finger, and running it over the clay. You can also add additional clay to make things like noses. I didn't do this, because I wasn't entirely sure where my  eyes and mouth would be when it came time to paint. Be sure to keep any unused clay covered, as it will dry out if exposed to air.

Step 6:
Let it dry for a day, or according to package instructions. The color will be light when it is dry.

Step 7:
Paint the body. I painted skin color first, then added hair and clothes over the top of the skin color. I liked using gloss paint wherever possible, because it gives a more, "finished," look. For the eyes, dip a toothpick in paint, and dab it where you want the eyes to be. Draw the mouth with a toothpick as well, practicing on a paper first. For the cheeks, find the color you want (I used the same as the mouth color), and add a small drop of it to white paint. Mix well. Daub a paint brush in it, and daub it on a paper until it is nearly dry, then daub it on the cheeks of the dolls. This will make for a transparent, blushing look.

Step 8:
Dress your doll!

For the Mummy, I simply painted the face arms and base, because I knew those would be the only things showing, and then I tore strips of white fabric, and started gluing them in place using a hot glue gun and wrapping. It couldn't be any more simple. This doll was so fun to watch come together.

For the Witch, I found a black flower in my scraps, and glued some black fabric into a cone and attached it to the flower to create the hat. I then glued it on the head. For the skirt, I found some old lace, and gathered and glued as I went.

Dracula might be my favorite! I painted the basics on him - black pants and base, white shirt, black hair blue vest, then using a toothpick, I painted the gold buttons of his vest, and the medallion around his neck. I decided his pants were too low, so I painted another black band around his waist, helping the proportions to look better. I held fabric next to him, and figured what I thought would be the appropriate cape length and width. I then cut out a shape that I thought would work. 

I have a very important tip that I used with Dracula's clothes. I was not about to line or hem his cape. I used Fray Check.

You can also find it HERE on Amazon.

I just ran a thin bead along the entire perimeter of his cape, and the raw edges ribbon of his cape collar, and the lace of his shirt collar. The fray check works like a sort of glue, to seal the fabric in place, and now it won't fray, but will look crisp! The ribbon and lace were each hot glued in place as well. 

My kids got so excited when they saw these characters. The dolls were way less work than I expected, and they turned out more adorable than I ever could have imagined! This is a project I will for sure tackle again! I might even let my kids do it...

Thanks for stopping by. 

Have a Happy and Creative Day!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pic Monkey Tutorial and Personalized Family Halloween Portrait

*This post contains affiliate links.

I shared a shot of this cute personalized Halloween art on my instagram and Facebook, and everyone was asking for a tutorial. I thought it was a great representation of my little family!

So... here we go.

First, I must tell you where I found the adorable clipart I used for this project. I found it on etsy. 

to buy the clipart for yourself.

I find most of my clipart on etsy. You can expect to pay between $2 and $8. I usually only pay around $3 to $5 for a set.

A rule of thumb, when using clipart, is always use a .png file, never use a .jpg. Files that end in the .png, will have a transparent background. Files that end in .jpg will have a white or grey background, and not layer nicely, because they will cover up whatever is underneath them.

Let's get on to the tutorial, shall we?

You will need one tool only, and that is pic monkey. They have a free version, and a Royal version for $33 per year. The Royal version gives you access to everything you could possibly need. I highly recommend it! It's the best $33 I ever spent. Much more affordable than buying a program like illustrator or photoshop.

I am not fancy, so these are camera pics of my computer screen. High tech... right?

First thing to do is click on the box above to pull pic monkey up. Hover over, "design," and if will allow you to choose the canvas size you want to work with. I use this for EVERY card I design.

I chose 8x10.

I wanted it to be in landscape, rather than portrait. If you go to the left hand side, and hover over all the shapes in the column, it will tell you what they do. The first shape (looks kind of like a square) is basic edits, and will allow you to rotate your picture.

The next thing I did was to hover over the side again. This time, I chose the butterfly, which is, "overlays." Think of the project you are creating as if it is composed of layers that you lay on top of each other.

You can use what pic monkey has, or you can upload your own. I knew I wanted to use the DARLING clip art I bought from Etsy, so I went to the very top of the column, and clicked on, "your own."

I was then able to go into my files, and pull out the clipart. I keep all my clipart in a file, labeled, clipart. I clicked on my image, and hit, "choose."

This popped the image right into the project I am working on.

From there, you can size the image, by placing your mouse on the corner, and dragging the image to make it larger. You can also click on the image to drag it, and place it wherever you want on your screen.

Do the same thing for each of your images.

Next, you will add your text. To pull up, "text," options, again... hover over the menu column on the left, and click on, "text." This will bring up all the fonts that pic monkey has available. (I understand you can also use your own, but I have never needed to do that.)

If you see a font you like, and there is a crown next to it, that means it is only available for royal service. Like I said... I highly recommend paying for this. It is only $33/year, and for me, has paid for itself time and time again. It's totally worth it. I have done it for two years now.

So, click on the text you want.

Click, "add text."

A text box will appear. If you don't select the text you want, before clicking, "add text," nothing will happen.

One thing I always do, is hit the center button that can be found in the little box that is always on the screen with whatever you are doing. This will help whatever you type, to stay centered.

I also drag my side bars out, so I can click on it again, even if I have other, "layers," in my project that are on top of my text. You will understand the need to do this more, as you become more familiar with the tools and creative process. You increase the text size in the same way you increased the size of the clipart you brought in. It should look like this:

You can change the size of the text, by using the menu box, or your mouse.

Pull it out until you get it to a size that makes sense for your project. See why you want to have it centered? If I had the text on the left or the right, I would not be able to see it when I increase the size. That is just a little trick to make it easier.

I have now added all my characters, and the text. Uh-oh... the cute little devil is behind mom. No worries. You can being him to the front!

I have a track pad, so I two-finger-click. You can do that, or right-click, to get this menu to pull up.

I brought him to the front, and now, he is the top layer.

The sister witch on the side has her broom a little bit hidden. I don't really like the way her hat is facing either. Never fear... the menu bar that is always there will help us solve that. Just click the landscape arrows, and she will flip. If you click the vertical arrows, she will end up upside down. You tried it, didn't you? 

Ahhh, that looks MUCH better! The grouping seems to make more sense.

Pretty darling, right!?!

Now, you just need to save your work. Click the save button on the top of the screen.

Always save this kind of work in the highest possibly quality. If it is just text, and I have no plans to blow it up, I don't worry about it, but for images, I always save it highest quality.

Name it whatever you want, and save it wherever you want.

Hit the save button, and you are finished!

It will take you back to the edit screen after you save it, and you can tweak it more, and save additional copies if you like.

I not only like to display these in my home, but also give them to friends and family as gifts.

I created the image as an 8x10, but was happy with the look and quality of printing it on my home printer on card stock. I bought some 8 1/2 x 11 frames from the dollar store, and put the image inside. I wrapped them with tulle, and even put this CUTE card on the outside. I told my computer to print 9 per page, and it made them the perfect size!

I gave copies to a few friends and family members, and packaged them up with tulle,  and a card, like this:

Isn't it SO DARLING!?!

I hope you will love pic monkey as much as I do.

Thanks for stopping by.

Have a Happy and Creative Day!

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