DIY: Rubber Stamp Tutorial

Yesterday I found myself at the art store replenishing what seems to be the never ending pile of broken x-acto blade replacements. There out of the corner of my eye I spied some wood carving knives and for $16, I couldn’t say no.

Coming home with new art supplies is like the gift card in your wallet. You just HAVE TO USE THEM. This morning I decided to bust them out for some play time and figured I would make something and share the process with you, hence the birth of the “Make Your Own Rubber Stamp Tutorial”. Celebration!

So here is what you will need to make this magic happen, as so…

TOOLS

– 1 piece of rubber carving goo (speedball speedy-carve or most art supply store sell it in loose pieces. The piece shown is approximately 2×3″)
– drawing tools of choice (pencil, micron, pen, etc.)
linoleum cutters/wood carving knives

First you need to draw your design on the rubber. Keep in mind what you want to be negative/positive. I used pencil and freehanded my design on it but if you’re not as comfortable with drawing you can always print out your design of choice and use transfer paper to get your outline in place on the rubber.

DRAWN

Slowly carve away at everything you do not want to be part of your stamp. Tedious, messy and somewhat therapeutic. Tip: Always carve away from your body and hands cause if you happen to slip you could puncture a fingertip AKA “won’t stop bleeding in forever and a day”

CARVED

Now this is where the fun happens. Bust out your ink pad and do a test run. The impression will show you pieces that may need be chipped away at a little more. I had a few. Maybe you want to add details, like in this case I decided to add small veins on the leaves. Clean that B up!

TEST

And you’re done. It’s pretty simple when you get the hang of it. Just keep in mind the smaller the stamp, the harder it is to get small details. Start bigger and go from there. If you want to make it easier for use, glue it onto a similar sized piece of wood.

FINAL

the fart by the window

So the new year is here and one of the many things I have seen going around on people’s Goal List is “spend less time on Facebook”. It’s true, we catch ourselves endlessly scrolling in the evil vortex of doom and all it is doing is pissing us off and sucking up your time. Meanwhile your laundry has piled up, you’re arguing with someone over politics and ultimately what is fun is no longer fun. YET THERE WE ARE. It’s hard! I know cause I have tried and failed miserably.

One thing I have noticed, at least in my own personal experience, is that I am seeing a lot of the same, a lot that bothers/pisses me off/is irritating or lot of things I really don’t care about….

Examples?
Articles from Fox News
Posts from George Takei and you aren’t George Takei (let’s face it, everyone is his “friend”)
Political topics and conspiracy theories I do not wish to engage in
Check Ins, apps, games.

You catch my drift.

Why am I spending so much time getting annoyed at something that is meant to be social, fun and entertaining?! I like networking, I like keeping up with friends, shit, I like making new friends! I have met some great people because of fb. I am not alone here. But in a day and age where it has almost become a necessary evil, how do you make it tolerable or even enjoyable? I have devised a plan and somehow it is actually working for me. I figured I would share.

MY GUIDE TO MAKING FACEBOOK FUN AGAIN

The FAQ on that site can be lame, unhelpful or confusing. I am going to make this nice and simple.

1. Get rid of the ads.
Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 7.50.32 PM For those of you on the desktop version, you are bombarded with a bunch of crap you don’t want to look at. Many months ago I installed AD BLOCK and let me tell you, it is a godsend. No more pesky ads to places you don’t shop, weight loss bullshit, you name it. Do it! You won’t regret it. It is available for many browser versions.


2. The Art Of Unfollowing
This comes in multiple parts…

While in your feed, say you see a post from a person you don’t like, hover on the top right corner (under the line) and you will get a drop down menu that looks like this

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 7.47.58 PM

– You can hide just that post
– You can unfollow that particular person
– You can hide EVERYTHING that is being shared from that particular website they shared from.

That last one is a nifty option. You will never see a post from website X again, unless you go there.

3. It’s Not You, It’s Me

There comes a time where your friend or relative starts posting a bunch of malarkey, to the point where you really don’t want to see anything from them anymore. IT’S OK! Don’t feel bad if you do. We aren’t all the same, we differ in opinions so much and there is nothing wrong with closing the door to something that is only going to upset or offend you. It doesn’t mean you have to write your Aunt Jane out of the will, you just don’t want to see the stuff she posts. Again, IT’S OK.

This is the tough one for people cause they feel bad that they put you on the hide list. Look, don’t feel bad about it! You’re not removing them all together (unless you want to *snicker*), you are just removing them from the daily and sometimes multiple times a day invasion. Besides, if your friends, family or acquaintances base their relationship on whether you read their Facebook feeds then you got to wonder if hiding them was actually a good thing.

So here you go…

If you can’t do it like I explained in #1, go to their page and you will see this…

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 7.49.19 PM

Click on “following” and it will change to “follow”. AKA you will no longer see their posts in your feed. No, it’s not going to send them an email telling them either. (This is the best option for those of you on your phones)

All of this sounds horrible doesn’t it? See it this way… your feed is an open window and every time someone farts, smokes or coughs near your window, that business is coming IN YOUR HOUSE. As much as you don’t want to admit it, the things we subject ourselves to online trickle into your headspace and not everyone has the capacity to just let it roll off their back. I know I don’t.

Trust me, you will feel liberated and after a while you don’t even think about it anymore. You can still check in on your people from time to time but you get to do it on your terms. Try it.

I know this because I recently went on a massive hiding/unfollowing spree. Why? Because my house smelled like fart and I wanted it to change. So now all I see is art, friends who don’t post a bunch of shit, music, musicians, people who inspire me, websites I subscribe to and enjoy reading. That’s it! And guess what? It works. My use of Facebook has decreased, I am not on there so much cause my feeds are significantly shorter and I am subjecting myself to something that can be fun, useful and it’s on MY terms. Bonus: more time to do shit I should actually be doing… like art and folding the ignored mountains of laundry.

Pretty cool place to be, yo.

adventures in printmaking

Do you ever spend your time trolling online, you see something, you tell yourself, “I can totally do that!” and then you chicken out? I’m looking at you fellow Pinterest junkies! Yeah. The art field can be challenging and frustrating as all hell. In fact, anything is… just cause you can make a quesadilla doesn’t make you a chef, right?

Anyway I finally grew a set and bought some printmaking supplies using linocut blocks. I am excited to give this a go because this medium really lends itself to what I do. In order to acquaint myself with the process I decided to do a trial run via the styrofoam method…. and hell, included the nugget in the process.

So this is what we did!

Here is what you need:

pencil, styrofoam cut to spec (take that leftover containers!), a rubber Speedball brayer (roller), tube of water soluble Speedball paint, wooden spoon and a little spatula (which I didn’t even end up using), piece of glass and the paper you plan on printing to.

Set up/Execution:
I covered the table with paper to avoid a disaster even if the paint is water soluble. Tape down the glass, you will thank me.

Take a pencil to your styrofoam and draw out your design.

Run a small, horizontal strip of paint on the top portion of the glass, distribute with the roller. Then spread that goodness nice and evenly over your design.

Once you have the paint evenly spread over the design, take it and press it on to the desired surface.

Now this is where the spoon comes in! Carefully flip it over and you take the spoon to the paper. In firm, circular motion you run the spoon all over the paper so it adheres to the styrofoam. Do this for a few minutes.

Gently peel off your paper and there you go!

Set them aside to dry and immediately go wash your roller and glass for future use. Soap and warm water will do.

One thing I will say, the styrofoam method while faster and easier to create a master, you will not get many quality prints from it cause it degrades with every use. I think I got a good 3-4 out of the deal so if you want longevity, go wood or linocut blocks.

That’s next!

antique key frame tutorial

It is no secret that since moving to this side of the country I have discovered my love of antique store hunting. I always go with intent of specific items: medical, glass, old photos and antique keys.

I have amassed a nice collection of keys and skeleton keys over the past couple of months. It was always my intent to get them put together in a frame but somewhere between Procrastination St. and Slacker Rd. I just never got around to it till today.

I could have easily gone out and bought a shadowbox style frame but I wanted something that wasn’t so thick. Doing it this way it would not protrude from the wall so much. It wasn’t nearly as complicated to do so I figured I would share my crafty hour with you.

Here is what you will need…

1 8×10 photo frame. I got myself the trusty and cheap Ribba frame from IKEA. ($9.99)
double sided tape ($2-4 depending where you get it)
double sided clear mounting tape ($5-7)
a piece of cardstock/paper for use as background. I went with black.
keys, lots of them. I used a dozen.

Step 1:
Take apart the frame and on the backboard of the frame, line edges with double sided tape. Mount your background paper onto that so it stays in place. Trim the edges with scissors or x-acto.

Step 2:
Lay your backing down, place your matte over it. This is where you may take a little time cause you take the keys and play with the placement of each item till the desired shape is achieved.

Step 3:
This is where it gets tedious… you take each key one by one and add tiny strips of mounting tape to each one. I found the best way to do it is to cut the strip, place it and then peel off the label to expose the sticky side. Now, you can use a glue gun if you want but I chose not to cause that would basically ruin the keys. This stuff comes off. After you have it ready for mounting, set it down in the place you had chosen for it but don’t press down, you do that at the very end once all of them are adhered and in their spot of choice.

Step 4:
Set aside the key/backing and grab the matting. On the back of the matting you layer the mounting tape as such. This will give the frame some dimension and depth.

These keys are relatively flat but they still need a little room to breathe so they aren’t flush to the glass. I am sure you can use the foam version of mounting tape. I added 2 extra layers (right) on the corners and once I was ready to mount it you peel off the corners and adhere it to the backing with the keys.

Step 5:
Assemble frame and hang it somewhere awesome.

It just so happens that today I also finally got around to start hanging my wall art and knick knacks in my attic room. We have guests coming this weekend and it was time yo! That entire wall will eventually be clad with frames and loot from ceiling to floor.

In case you were wondering, no, I have not gotten sick of this wall color one bit. Still absolutely in love with it.

rainbow in the dark

Reza and I had a short girl outing to the mall yesterday. She has been imploring for another nail polish color and I can’t say I blame her since most of my colors are dark in nature. So I took her to Sephora and let her pick out a color.

Wide eyed in front of the nail rack, she went from red, to purple, to glittery gold, and finally settling on this little number by O.P.I. for Sephora. Well played Reza, well played. I took the opportunity to do my own as you can see.


colors used:
Spark-tacular! top coat by O.P.I. for Sephora, Union Jack Black by Butter London, clear coat.

It’s pretty basic stuff really, 2 coats black, dust/stagger the glitter polish on the tips to look like your nail tips are dipped (1-2 coats depending on how you want it to look), top with clear coat. The glittery coat is clear based so it’s pretty fool proof.

enjoy!

matte+gloss nails tutorial

You have seen it all over Pinterest and tumblr and said, “that looks awesome!” but how many actually go through with doing it? I saw it, loved it and finally did it! After a couple of jacked up nails, I figured out the easiest “how to do this” and now you can too!

So here is the skinny….

This is what you will need.

1. Black polish. I used the one by Butter cause it rules. $14 at Nordstrom
2. Matte About You matte-ifying polish by Essie – $10 at Bed Bath & Beyond (Target probably has it)
3. Nail polish remover, cotton and a brush for clean up/possible mistakes.

Step 1: Paint the entire nail with the black, 2 coats. Let it dry.

Step 2: Apply ONE coat of the Matte polish. Make sure you do even strokes from the bottom to the top. If you do this any other way it looks all wonky and wrong. Do it as quick as possible, making sure you get everything if not you will have random glossy corners peaking out. Let it dry.

Step 3: And this is where it gets tricky… If you have a very steady hand, paint just the tips with the black gloss polish and let it dry. You’re done! If you don’t have a steady hand I would recommend you get the french manicure tape thingies. I don’t know if they will work though cause I never use them. One hand ended up looking better for me than the other… I am steady but not ambidextrous. 😉

Step 4: Once you are fully dry, use the brush with some remover to clean up around the cuticle areas.

You’re done. A sexy and classic take on the french manicure! You know, without all that white and pink stuff *gag*

Now, not sure how long it lasts since you cannot put a clear coat over it since all it will do is undo all your hard work. Can you do this with other colors? Absolutely.

anatomy of the cell phone photo

So the other day, I posted this photo on facebook and I got a ton of very nice comments on it. Whether they were genuine or throwing me a bone, I really don’t care. But, in the effort of fairness I am letting you in on my secrets. I have never been the kind of person that only posts the super good photos and if you have known me, you will know this is true.

I make a lot of really wonky and unflattering faces and make no apologies for the fact that people will see me that way, see the wrinkles, the bedhead and all the other crusty factors that make people double take and not in a good way.

So the photo in question….

Step 1:
take the photo. Work a decent myspace angle. I also happened to snag this one fresh out of the salon so the hair was working to my advantage. Shot? Meh, kinda dark but can be salvaged.

Step 2:
Brighten photo. This will help knock out some wrinkles, dark spots, sun damage on my chest… (thanks for teaching me how to use sunscreen as a teen Mom!). Brightening was done with Adobe Photoshop Express for iPhone app. The app is free and allows you to do a lot of basics like brightness, contrast, cropping, flipping, rotating, filter application. It rocks and the price is awesome.

Step 3:
Ok, so step 2, nice… nice, but could use a little punch. So I ran the photo from Step 2 in the ShakeitPhoto app. This app is 99 cents and dishes out awesome photos that annoy people cause you’re trying to be like, OMG, avant garde with your cell phone *cough* loser *cough*. It automatically crops the photo, punches some color and made it look all soft and fuzzy. Decent, if you will.

Step 4:
End result. Post it and lead people to believe you always take awesome photos of yourself. WOO!

So there you go. If you ever wondered how I manage to pull some of these camera phone photos out of my ass, it is cause I usually process them through multiple apps at any given point in time. Sometimes up to 2-5 steps to get them there too. No apologies y’all, I am a cheatress and now you know.