It’s a good thing I make detailed notes as I work, because this kitchen backsplash project underwent a two and a half year hiatus! I didn’t really plan to neglect the project for that long, but in 2013 and 2014 I did a lot of art and craft shows and my studio space and time was necessarily diverted to that pursuit rather than home improvement projects. In 2015 I’m doing fewer shows and determined to finish some of what I started earlier!
After absorbing inspiration and stockpiling tiles for my kitchen for three years, how did I begin the process of actually getting some tiles on the wall?
It’s going to take years to complete the decor in my condominium – if I ever complete it. My timetable won’t work for everybody but it’s ok for me – decorating is a satisfying hobby activity and I enjoy doing as much as I can myself, for example even to the point of designing rubber stamps that I use to make ceramic tiles to incorporate into tile work.
Read more on the Schnarr’s Blog.
Learn how to make a planter like this in my latest blog post for Schnarr’s!
A lot of gifts and products come in decorative metal tins. Usually I don’t like the design already on the tin and prefer to cover it with something else. Turn a humdrum tin into a treasure with decoupage!
What you will need:
Images on paper to decoupage
Optional: rubber stamps
Timber Brown StazOn stamping ink
Small flat paintbrush
Paint palette with wells
Old credit card
Water based matte medium (if you prefer a glossy surface, use gloss medium)
Aleene’s Turbo Tacky Glue
Metallic Silver StazOn or other silver paint appropriate for metal
- To begin, gather together paper pieces with imagery that you like. This project will work best if they are on thin, opaque paper (not tissue paper). For my sample I wanted to create decorative tins for the bath, so I collected nostalgic images with a bath and personal products theme. Some of my images were downloaded from the Internet and printed for me at an office supply store. Some were cut out of magazines and catalogs, some vintage, some newer. Others were purchased from craft suppliers.You can also stamp images onto paper with permanent ink, such as the StazOn Timber Brown I used in this project. I stamped words from the rubber stamp set “Products on the Kitchen and Bath” onto narrow strips of torn scrap paper. Use any color of stamping ink you like as long as it is waterproof.
- Trim the images and cut to the size you want to use. Some images will look better cut out cleanly, some look good torn by using your metal ruler as a straight edge. You can also cut some with decorative paper edging scissors for variety. This project looks best if you prepare images in a variety of sizes.
- If you have any pieces larger than 1 inch square, there is a risk of the paper wrinkling as you apply it. Here is how to prevent wrinkling. Put down some scrap paper to protect your work surface. Pour a little matte medium into one of the paint wells. Paint the larger paper pieces on one side. Let dry, then flip over and paint the other side and let dry. Now they are ready to apply, wrinkle free!
- Prepare the tin to accept the paper – Sand the tin to rough up the painted surface to better accept the glued on pieces. Wipe of the dust with a damp rag. Let it dry.
- Now for the fun part, applying the paper pieces! For now, set aside the lid and only work on the body of the tin. Squeeze out some Aleen’s Turbo Tacky Glue into one of the paint wells. Start with larger paper pieces first – brush some tacky glue onto the back of each, then smooth in place on the body of the tin with your fingers (we’ll be using a different technique for the lid so set the lid aside for now). If you have to, roll the handle of your brush over the paper after you apply it or burnish with the edge of an old credit card to force any excess glue out and make the paper bond tightly to the tin with no gaps. You don’t have to worry about wiping or brushing away any excess glue if you don’t have big globs of glue oozing out – it will dry clear. Repeat this process until the whole bottom portion of the tin is covered. Let dry, then coat with a varnish of matt medium.
- Now we’ll work on the lid and a silver ribbon to wrap around the bottom edge of the tin. Sponge silver StazOn ink or other paint or ink of your choice around the edge of the lid and about a half inch onto the top. Cut two pieces of silver ribbon that are long enough to go around a tin one time. Tape them to a piece of scrap paper and sponge them with the silver ink or paint too – even though the ribbon is already silver it’s best to match it to the ink.
- Once the silver ribbon is dry, glue it around bottom edge of the tin with Tacky Glue.
- When the silver paint on the lid is dry, varnish lid and body of the tin with matte varnish.
- Get a piece of cardstock and decoupage it all over with more pieces of decorative paper. Let dry and coat with matte varnish.
- When the cardstock is dry, cut out a circle that is big enough to cover any unpainted areas of the lid. Glue down this paper circle with Tacky Glue, and let dry with a weight on top to keep it flat. You’re done!
Stamping on tissue paper can be very useful for planning out rubber stamped designs. This arrangement was made while I was designing a stamped border of hand carved rubber stamps for my kitchen, to which I’m trying to give a Santa Fe look.
You could use plain ordinary scrap paper and not tissue paper, but tissue paper has the advantage of being transparent. Transparency is a great aid to planning designs in which the paper bits might overlap, since you can see the orientation of the design below through the translucent paper. In the example below, I am upcycling a worn out and cracked wooden cutting board. I filled in the cracks with spackling paste, sanded, and am in the process of building up the design with sponging, stenciling and stamping. I will put cork strips on the bottom to make it into a trivet.
Some of the stamp designs you see above are available in a smaller size in my shop – check out my Petroglyph Rubber Stamps.
DIY beaded curtain made from recycled beads
I’ve been saving assorted plastic beads for many years. I decided to select some of these in colors that go well with the tile work I’m doing in my bathroom and make a beaded curtain for the doorway from them. I’ve wanted one of these since my childhood in the 1970s, but never had one until now!
Fishing line and different kinds of cord and string will stretch when loaded down with beads, so I decided to experiment with stringing on recycled florist wire. I like the results – I won’t ever have to restring these because of stretching, and they are easy to attach to the screw in hooks that I used to suspend them.