Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Comfy Make: Word Art

I feel like I'm slowly finding a kind of 'normal' again, and am managing to find time here and there to indulge my crafting and blogging interests.  I have to choose my moments and just go for it if I'm in the mood - to be frank, I'm not always in the right frame of mind just now. But today, here and now, is one of those times when I'm feeling more upbeat and my head is a little clearer; I can feel enthused and the words are flowing with relative ease.  So let's see what happens!

I thought I might ease myself back into Comfy Marmalade land with a post on word art.  In the last couple of years, it feels like word art has exploded in popularity in the world of home décor.  Anything featuring typography, sayings, poetry, instructions or quotes (be they famous, rude or otherwise) seems to be very much in demand at the moment.  It would seem that folk just can’t get enough of it; I read more than my fair share of homes magazines and they're all choc-a-block full of 'em.  I think the word art boom probably started with the 'Keep Calm & Carry On' poster, which was fun and quirky when it first came on the scene but has sadly been flogged to death ever since, and re-written to suit each and every anniversary, event, hobby and happening.

Funnily enough, word art is one area of home décor that I've never been overly keen to explore.  Having a list of 'family rules' to adhere to, for example, doesn't really do it for me, probably because I know full well that the same (mass-produced) rules are on display (and most likely ignored) in thousands of other homes around the country and, besides which, most of the rules are common sense and are (hopefully!) being instilled and exemplified by parents in any case without the need of a reminder list.

Or at least I thought I didn't have a thing for word art - until I started looking around our home!  Seems I have more of an interest in it than I previously thought!

Monoprint letter 'D' by Frond & Feather

I bought this monoprint from a lovely friend of mine, Sarah, at Frond & Feather - 'D' is the first letter of our surname, and this beautiful print sits in our lobby, next to a set of drawings of our family that the Girl did a couple of years ago, and just under my beloved collection of Matryoshka (Russian) nesting dolls.

I bought this mug for pennies at a local store a couple of months ago - I keep it in my craft room and it holds all manner of bits and bobs.

Indeed it is...

This card was sent to me by a good friend when I plucked up the courage, took a deep breath and left my last job - I love the card for its colours, sentiment and message.  It sits on my 'inspiration' pinboard in my craft room and makes me smile every time I look at it.  Which is what a good greeting card and good design should make you do, right?

How pretty are these?

I bought this gorgeous box of Jessica Hische drop caps postcards last year when I visited relatives in Frome, Somerset.  I think Frome is probably my most favourite place to shop and to browse - it is stuffed full of quirky, independent shops and I could spend an absolute fortune.  I have plans to display these postcards on a wall somewhere in the house, but I haven't got around to it yet.

And I have allowed myself a little creative and crafty fun with words in our home.  I have just two examples for you here, both of which are currently on display in the lobby as you enter our house.  I thought you might like to see them, and learn how to make them.  As with all things Comfy Marmalade, they are very easy and very cheap to make, with neither costing more than a couple of pounds or taking more than an hour or so.  They're also great projects to do with the kids over the school holiday break, and make a lovely gift.

The first is a funky piece of welcome art, which draws visitors into our home.


I made it using oven bake polymer modelling clay; you can buy this easily online or in a craft shop, and it comes in a wonderful variety of colours and finishes.  The one I've used is a Premo brand one but others are available, such as Fimo.  You generally buy it per colour rather than in a set - I only used one colour here, and one pack did me for the whole thing.  You can use multiple colours but of course the cost will then start to go up, too.

Here's what you need...

You will also need:- a picture frame. I used one that I found in a charity shop for about £1.  You need to carefully discard the glass as you won't be using it.  I chose to keep my frame with the bare wood showing, but you could paint yours, or get the kids to decorate it maybe;- some backing paper.  Mine is a sheet of paper which was a giveaway in a craft magazine, but you could use wrapping paper, brown parcel paper, newspaper, whatever you like.- a piece of strong-ish cardboard, the same size as the backing board of the frame;- stick glue;- super strong glue;- a craft knife (or a kitchen knife if needs be);- the use of an oven.

As you can see, I chose to go with a cheery 'hello' as a welcome to our home, but you could use whichever word (or words) tickles your fancy.  I've used a backing paper with a retro theme which complements other items in our lobby - play around with your paper stash and work out which colour of polymer clay would best suit your needs.

Once you've decided on your word or phrase and colour palette, type out your word(s) on a computer.  Make the letters roughly the size you'll need them to be, and choose a chunky font style - mine is Cooper Black.  Print out the letters or, if you don't have a printer, trace the letters off your screen.  Cut the letters out and out aside.

Roll out your clay to approx 5mm thick.  Place the letters on the clay and cut around them with your craft knife.  You don't have to be too accurate; once the letters are cut out you can smooth them down with your fingers and re-shape them as necessary.  And if you're really arty, you can skip the first step and sketch directly onto the clay.

Place your letters onto a baking tray (place them on a sheet of greaseproof paper if you don't want them to make direct contact with the tray) and bake them as per the instructions on the packet.  Gently press the letters down onto the tray, to ensure that the back of them is as flat as possible - this is the surface that will be glued onto your paper.  It takes very little time to bake them and they don't expand, they'll stay the same shape.

While the letters are baking, cut a piece of cardboard and a piece of your backing paper the same size as the backing board of your frame (draw round it to get the exact shape).  Using your glue stick, glue the paper to the cardboard.  I prefer a glue stick here rather than liquid glue as it doesn't wrinkle or warp the paper like the liquid stuff has a tendency to do.  Place the paper/card into the frame, facing upwards on your table.

Once the letters have cooled down, place them exactly where you want them to be on the card / paper.  The reason I've suggested doing this while the card is in the frame is that the first time I did this, I forgot that the edge of the card sits behind the frame and consequently my spacing was wrong!  Taking one letter at a time, use the super strong glue to stick the letters to the paper.

And there you have it!  One piece of totally unique wall art, designed and made by you.  Why not make one for a friend's housewarming, to decorate a child's bedroom, or point guests in the direction of your bathroom?  The possibilities are endless…

Here's my welcome art in situe in our lobby.  The 'Home Sweet Home' sign came from Laura Ashley,
I bought the 'HOME' letters in a charity shop a couple of weeks ago, and the fabric artwork (bottom) came from
an artist at the Alnmouth Arts Festival.  The bauble in the window is a Christmas one that never got taken down!

The second piece of word art hanging in our lobby features our family surname, and I made it from old Scrabble tiles.

Now, I can't show you the actual art that hangs in our lobby as it has our last name on it, and that would be telling…! So I've mocked one up to illustrate this Comfy Make.

You can buy old Scrabble tiles online specifically for crafting purposes or, if you're lucky like me, you could find an original Scrabble game in a local charity shop for two pounds!

My Scrabble tile stash in my craft room

Your art doesn't have to feature your surname, of course - it could be a pet's name, a phrase, anything you like really.  Just remember you're likely to have a limited amount of Scrabble tiles available so you're probably best to keep it short and sweet.

You will need:- Scrabble tiles;- a picture frame, glass discarded;- decorative backing paper;- a piece of strong-ish cardboard, the size of the backing board of the frame;- stick glue;- super strong glue.

Start by cutting out the card and the paper to the size of the backing board of the frame, and glue them together using the glue stick.  Place them into the frame and arrange the Scrabble tiles on the frame as you want them to be.  Taking one tile at a time, carefully apply glue to the edges of the tiles and stick them to the paper.  All done!

You could try a simple 'hello'...

... or a 'hello you'...

... or 'Sweet Dreams' on a lovely polar bear craft paper...

... or a cute 'Walkies!'.  The dog design is actually a gift bag I bought
from a local shop for 99p earlier this week

Why not embellish your creation?  You could use anything you like - dried flowers, Lego blocks, drawings the kids have done… Or just keep it simple, as I've done, using the tiles and nothing else.I hope I might have inspired you to create some funky, individual word art of your own!

Bye for now xxx

© Comfy Marmalade 2017

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