Here is a cool little video I created from my Instastory. It shows one of the many ways I make printmaking stamps, using plain ol’ craft foam.
Here is a cool little video I created from my Instastory. It shows one of the many ways I make printmaking stamps, using plain ol’ craft foam.
Up until recently, I had been printing on a makeshift table cobbled together from an Ikea closet door, and 2 too-tall kitchen cabinets. As we all know, most Ikea furniture is sawdust, held together by mostly cardboard and veneers. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Ikea, but most of their ‘affordable’ pieces are not suitable for heavy use. This cabinet rig-up situation was the latest in my line of attempts at making that slab door work as a table top. The rig-up worked okay for a few months, the height, the massive waste of space and clunky arrangement really started bothering me. Plus it was ugly. Its time was up.
I had been pushing off building the table I really wanted, because well, I’d have to build it. I love building things out of wood, however I don’t do it more often because I don’t have the space to build things. Oh the things I’d build if I had space to lay out all my tools!
When I do build, It is usually out of necessity (Champagne taste, meet Kool-Aid budget, hello!).
I finally decided to build the table I really want, once and for all, instead of rearranging every few months in an attempt to compensate for what I didn’t have.
I saw this table on Pinterest, and decided that was the one.
What I loved about it was the cubby sandwich underneath the work surface. Since I would be giving up some storage in the form of the lone drawer in the kitchen cabinet, I knew I’d need some place to keep my printing necessities.
I also loved the OSB surface for the industrial look. I had seen OSB used as flooring at a friend’s house and loved how clean and simple it looked. It was also shockingly smooth. I expected that it would be rough to the touch, but it really wasn’t. Plus it’s cheap, to be honest.
What I didn’t like so much in the picture above was the sawhorse legs. I wanted legs that would not eat up too much floor space (again, storage). I did some more Pinterest searching and saw this table:
Same table, but they built their own legs. I loved the little design detail of the tapered legs, but I didn’t think I’d be able to do all that… I figured I’d just leave the legs rectangular.
The first thing I did was to get to work on the legs.
We had a whole 12ft length of 2” x10” board left over from our recent basement steps remodel. I quickly cut it down to 4 29” pieces, using my compound miter saw. SN: It’s really best to use a circular saw if your miter saw does not cut all the way through the width of the board. It’s really hard to line up the board perfectly to cut the rest from the other side.
I quickly painted all sides of the legs, thinking that this assembly would come together fairly quickly, once I got the OSB.
And it would’ve, if I hadn’t had several detours… A wise woman once said, ‘don’t mistake detours for shortcuts’. I had an assortment of 2 x 4s left from a variety of projects, so I thought I’d cobble those together to make the cubby sandwich part.
The only thing left to do was to go get the 2 OSB panels. Off to Lowe’s I went.
I then assembled the sandwich like so:
It looked straight enough laid, but…I quickly realized how hard it is to make a cubby sandwich with so many moving parts. Even more, it’s hard to do this blindly (screwing in the pieces from the top). After much heaving and ho’ing (haha!) I had half of the sandwich made.
After flipping the assembly right side up, I wasn’t really pleased with how crooked the pieces were. I tried to tell myself that I was fine with it, and that I wouldn’t really see that part of the table anyway, since it would be hidden. I went on to put the legs on:
Through my mounting panic, I knew, that crooked cubbies would be problematic if I plan to put in rectangular bins. I also know that if I didn’t correct it now, I’d be rebuilding the table in a couple of weeks. The legs were also wobbly. The example from ABM was very skimpy on details about the build, so I was guesstimating what they did. My table was also substantially larger than theirs, since I opted to use the full 4’x8’ sheets.
I decided to start over, and really build properly, or live to build again.
I looked at my dining table for inspiration on how the legs were attached. They were attached using the traditional ‘apron’ style, so I decided to do just that. I also suspected that I would need to make pocket holes, to have really strong joints. The table was wobbly because I was putting in screws on the end cap of the boards.
I also realized that, I did not need to use 2×4’s for the aprons or the cubbies. The 1”x 4”s would do just fine. This also meant that the table would be not so massively heavy.
So, what I set off for Lowes. Again. I went in for 1 by 4s, I came out with 1×4’s and a Kreg Jig. A Kreg Jig is a tool for making pocket holes. Pocket holes allow you to make stronger joints. This is a tool I’d been drooling over since I first saw it on Ana White’s website. Can I just say that the Kreg Jig blessed my very existence?! I mean, it made the assembly so much faster! It was definitely worth the money.
The moral of the story is: use the right tools for the job!
I was able to drill the pocket holes pretty quickly so that assembly went smoothly.
I decided that I really wanted the tapered legs, so I got the right saw blade for my miter saw, and the cutting went really smoothly. I also decided to shorten the legs from the original 29”, down to 27”.
From this point on, the assembly went pretty smoothly.
I put the cubby sandwich in for in-table storage. The long channel down the middle will be used to store long items like my T-square and bolts of fabric. The smaller cubbies will hold smaller bins of items I use fairly frequently.
Here is the mostly assembled table with the cubbies visible:
One pesky detail I had to contend with, was the stamp put on by the manufacturers of the OSB panels. This stamp is put on to mark the panel in the event of theft. It makes for an unsightly mark on my table, so I ended up sanding off as much as I could. Nobody else mentioned this in their tutorial, so I assume this was not an issue for them.
So, 4 days after I started, I had my beautiful new table.
So far I’m loving it! As you can see, I have wasted no time outfitting the cubbies with dollar tree plastic bins for storage in the cubbies. I also attached a curtain rod (really a 1/2″ conduit pipe) to mount a bolt fabric on when I want to cut. It is long enough to hold the bolt, a water bottle and a roll of paper towels.
Here is my materials list and a more more concise explanation of the steps I took, minus the missteps 🙂
I know this was a lot to take in, so please feel free to email me if you have questions.
2 each – ¾” (or rather 23/32”) 4’ x 8’ OSB panels (used as is)
6 each 1” x 4” Pine boards (I sprung for the beautiful pre-sanded boards because I hate sanding)
1 each 2” x 10” x 12ft Boards (or 2 8ft, or 3 6ft pieces to make up the legs)
1 ¼” screws (at least 50)
2 ¼” screws (at least 50)
Sample size white paint.
Annie Sloan wax.
Power drill with phillips head bit
Aprons: 2 each: 1” x 4” Pine boards: 88”
2 each 1” x 4” Pine boards: 48”
Cubbies: 2 each 1” x 4” boards: 96”
8 each: 1 x 4” boards 11 ⅞”
Legs: 4each 2” x 10” cut in a diagonal to your specifications. (mine were (9” at the top, 3 ½ “ at the bottom
I am proud to announce my next event, Fabric Print ‘N’ Sip!
This is my take in the ever popular Paints & Cocktails concept. Here you can kick back, hang out with your friends, and create a custom piece of fabric for you!
There is no experience required, and I will provide all you need to print! I will have my premade stamps, and you will have an opportunity to make one, if you desire.
There will be fabric paint, wine, and lots of fabric!
If you would like to print a piece of fabric that you already own, bring it!
Oh, and there will be WINE! You are also welcome to bring your own.
Here are the deets:
Can you believe it? Fall is here, and before you know it, so will the holidaze!
I am NOT ready for this. This is NOT ok! Wasn’t it just blazing hot 2 days ago?
Alas, ready or not, here it comes!
As an introvert, I tend to be in my head a lot. Lucky for me, I am, married to an extrovert. Left to me, I’d probably never get around to actually inviting folks over, even though I love company. I’m just much better at asking a friend to meet for coffee, or Pecha Kucha.
Around here, we’ve been doing a bit of entertaining after a long hiatus. The Mr. had a horrible work schedule for a while which didn’t allow for weekend entertaining. I am happy to report that his schedule changed, and we are back in the swing of things. I love having folks over just to hang, talk, chill, and, ahem, drink! In this day and age, as we develop more and more ways to be in touch, true connection just seems to be getting more and more difficult. It is still so desperately needed.
I am so happy that we have managed to create warm oasis of good food, good company, and good atmosphere in our little corner of the world. (Personally I think it’s all the printed fabrics, and the warm ambiance of my old-timey christmas lights that we keep up year ’round).
I am planning some very awesome workshops for the near future, so look out for the emails! I have pinned down some dates, just waiting to confirm a location, and we will be good to go!
In the meantime, be well, do good work, and keep in touch, my friends!
I’ve been really thinking this week about laser-focus and the art of doing things well.
I’ve been witnessing how lovely it is to be intentional, present, and laser-focused on your craft, in your life, in the moment.
In this day and age of multi-tasking, constant busy-ness, and round the clock distraction, it becomes increasingly more difficult to laser focus on doing less, doing it well.
It’s even tougher when you have a bad case of shiny-object syndrome like I do.
I just realized I’m not Superwoman. And I don’t want to be.
This week I have had the privilege seeing what life could be, if I could let go of doing it all by myself. I got to be around, and work with some people who, who just being around them made me want to be not just better, but EXCELLENT.
They were so awe-inspiring and motivated to excel, that you just could not help wanting to be as good as them, if not better.
(By the way, who were these magical creatures? They are my fellow educators. By the way, those who teach…are magic. I dare you to say different.)
I noticed that what made them so gosh darn awesome, was that they are know the difference between 1. what they are good at, 2. what they do not know how to do, and 3. what they have no interest in doing. 1, 2 & 3 were crucial to their mission, but their expertise was in 1, and 1 only.
So what to do, what to do…
They did something that I have been really trying to master. They pass 2 & 3 to those who do those things, not just very well, but do it BEST. (Me being one of the minions, of course). This freed them up to focus on doing what they do best, #1.
When that happens, the result is pure Magic. I dunno about you, but I could use more magic in my life.
I know that this is not a new idea. It’s not even new to me. But somehow seeing it in action this week really drove the point home like never before.
Since I’m gifted with the ability, talent, and curiosity to do a lot of things, I try to do EVERYTHING. While I generally succeed with most things, I would be better served to stop trying to do it all myself.
Letting go of control is never easy, and I don’t yet know what it means for the future, but I’m open to finding out.
How about you? What amazing phenomenal thing could you excel at if you let go of the less important?
So, at loooong last, my continuation of the series. Thank you for your patience.
On the previous post I talked about how I modify and extend the paint with any of the following:
In this post will detail my process with Barbasol Shaving Cream.
Barbasol Shaving Cream is where it all began. Yes, Barbasol, the cheap stuff. I use Barbasol original, though I’ve used the one with aloe with no problems.
I was looking for a way to thicken the paint enough to pull through the screen. I had seen a blurb somewhere on the internets that mentioned mixing barbasol with paint. I thought, ‘hmmm, that’s a great idea. That will thicken it enough. Let’s try it.” So I did, and guess what, it worked!
And then something amazing happened. Upon drying, the fabric was super soft, like the paint became part of the fabric.
I was amazed! Elated! It’s a new day in printing! There was none of that stiff feeling of latex on fabric. This was the holy grail for me, as even some fabric/textile paints leave that heavy stiff hand.
Then it was time to see if it would hold up to washing. It did. Beautifully. I have fabrics that I printed years ago with this method that I have washed over and over. The colors still hold up.
My formula: 1 part paint to 4 parts shaving cream. I usually eyeball my measurement because shaving cream is so fluffy and unpredictable.
Mix together, and voila! you can print with it.
Mix to combine the mixture until you don’t see any more streaks of pure white, or pure color. Notice that the shaving cream turns the paint color juuuust a little bit pastel. Not to worry, this will correct itself later.
No need for textile medium.
Note: If you are doing a long print run, I suggest adding a retarder. I add .5 parts glycerin. This will slow down the drying of the paint on your screens.
There is also no need for heat setting, though I still do this so that I can be extra-super-duper-sure that my print will not fade.
Once your paint + shaving cream concoction is ready, it’s time to print:
So here is my print. Notice how the paint is still a little bit foamy and pastel?
Magically, after it dries (with the help of my heat gun), it goes back to its original color.
On the Block
Here is how the paint concoction performs with block printing:
Here is the same fabric printed with a rubber block, with the same paint. Notice that it does not have as much coverage as pulling through a screen. That is the nature of block printing. It’s also something I really enjoy about block printing. Not every print is perfect.
Here again, block printing on the bottom, screen printing on the top:
Here is the same piece of fabric after washing:
Notice that the color has stayed just as vibrant after the wash! Here is a caveat: Like any other textile paint/ink, the color stays true after washing only if I PREWASH the fabric. If you print on brand new un-washed fabric that has sizing, some of the color will fade. I also usually let the print cure for about a week before washing.
As with most things in life, if there are upsides there will be downsides. This is no different.
The Downsides (just 2):
Q: Does the paint finish matter?
A: It does not matter what finish the paint is. I usually just get the sample pots, which tend to be the satin finish.
This is all I can think of for now, but please, definitely post your questions in the comment section, and I will answer them and add to the FAQs.
In my opinion, shaving cream is the most effective method of extending and modifying latex paint to print textiles. You do not need ‘textile medium’ to make the fabric wash-fast and it leaves the fabric with a soft ‘hand’.
But of course, I am never satisfied, and I’m a chemist/engineer at heart. I set out to find out what else I can use in case, say there’s suddenly a worldwide shortage of Barbasol. Tune in next time to see what else I’ve tried….
I promise, the very next post will be about screen printing with latex paint. I promise, no more detours.
This post struck me out of the blue as something I really needed to write. If you are wondering where I’ve been (or not), I have been busy scraping myself off the floor from exhaustion and maybe even (undiagnosed) depression.
Welcome to the Sandwich Generation.
It sounds so lovely doesn’t it? Like, “excuse me miss, might I trouble you for a sandwich?” (in a british accent of course). This term conjures up delicious images of the most decadent fillings, pressed together by a yummy glorious bread…oh great, now I’m hungry for carbs…
Anyway, this quaint little term is what we use to refer to people like me: balancing parenting and household responsibilities, full time work, part time business, AND taking care of our elderly parents, while trying to maintain the highlight reel that is our social media presence. Oh yeah, that last one is a recent phenomenon.
My father was diagnosed with Dementia a few months ago, although we have suspected it since he moved down from Alaska into our town 4 years ago. His legendary shenanigans just seemed to depart of his personality quirks. He has always subscribed to magical thinking, especially about money. When he started to lose money to scammers, I knew something wasn’t really right, but he seemed lucid most of the time so I was not sure what to make of it.
Of his 4 children (2 of them teenagers), I am the only one that lives locally, and the only one saddled with the responsibility of caring for, and managing him. If I don’t seem overjoyed about this task, it is because our relationship was difficult and awkward prior to this. Despite our awkward relationship and my resentment of his irresponsibility, I find that I cannot just let him wither away with no one to advocate for him. I manage and care for him out of a sense of duty, not because I really want to. I have long ago divested myself of any guilt.
In the last 2 months he has recently taken a terrible decline, taking me down with him.
With his decline I have been slammed head-first into the reality of the indignity of old age when you have a lifetime of regrets. Those same regrets fuel your delusions, causing you to torture the people who are tasked with caring for you. That is a fate I will do my very best not to repeat.
A wise man once said, “Every man thinks that his burden is the heaviest.” I know it could always be worse, but from where I am sitting, it is pretty bad.
I feel like I became a world-class champion at ‘rising above.’ I rise-above all day with my students, children, father, and husband (who by the way, still wants my attention too). It feels like everyone is constantly pulling at me, and all I can do is rise above and give a little more of myself.
Then I started to I notice that I was getting sick with more frequency. The day before the last Third on Third Market, I was so sick that I could literally only lie down on the sofa all day. I still did the show the next day because, the show must go on, right? I am still recovering.
I was getting sick because I was not taking care of myself.
I was not getting enough sleep because I was burning the candle at both ends.
I was getting more eye infections because I wasn’t resting my eyes enough (that’s my theory anyway, but could also be due to all the germs I’m around as a teacher).
I was getting fatter because I was not exercising and I was (am) eating my feelings (ice-scream daily, anyone?)
A sista was (and let’s be honest, is) tired! After dealing with crises all day, the last thing I want to do is put on a fake happy face for social media. So I have kind of dropped out. You may have noticed that I have been less present on social media. I’ve mostly been consoling myself with lots and lots of beautiful Pinterest pictures.
I was trying to do everything equally well at once, and failing miserably at most of them. I couldn’t catch my breath.
So I decided to just let it go.
Let. that. shit. go.
I have chosen self-care. I have decided to start getting the 8 hours a night of sleep I have heard so much about. I have even started breaking out my Yoga mat again, even if it’s just for a quick 5 minutes before bed.
I have accepted that I can not do it all. I simply just can not. So I have to let some things go for a little while.
Unfortunately, the things I had to release (just a little) are the things I would rather be doing.
None of my obligations are going away anytime soon, but yay for summer break! With summer break starting in a few hours, I hope to be back.
So please be patient. That follow up to the Latex Textile Printing post is coming.