Doodle School: Dippity Do Dah, Er, Pen!

I pulled out my old dip pen and ink bottle this week for a little tutorial. I learned how to use a dip pen when I was studying art in college (sounds so educated, but I actually only completed two courses) and it was always fun. I love the expression of line you can get with the flexible nib of a dip pen, and the scratch of nib on paper is very tactile.

Check out the video to see how it’s done! Dip pen supplies are found at most art supply stores.

Have a dip pen? Want to share your own project?

Doodle School: Shrinky Doodles!


This week I have done two craft techniques that I’ve never done before and always wanted to do! Both were really fun and both were techniques I could do with my kids. Bonus! I have been so mojo-brimming lately that though this week was intended for house cleaning and back-to-school planning, I’ve spent most of the time at my craft desk. Doesn’t help that Paper Crafts magazine has a new call for submissions out.

For today’s Doodle School I want to share a little fun with shrink plastic. I bought a package of shrink plastic (Lucky Squirrel brand) about six months ago and I hadn’t even opened it before this week. It looks a lot like overhead transparency sheets, only slightly thicker. I easily die cut several flower shapes using Spellbinders Blossoms dies.

Because it’s plastic, I wasn’t sure what medium to use to write and colour on the die cuts. The instructions say that after shrinking, most colour media will be permanent, but I didn’t want it to rub off in the process. I chose a pigment pen from Staedtler and Copic markers for the colour.

I doodled sketchy shapes on my flowers, keeping in mind that when the flowers are shrunken, the lines will grow thicker and the design stronger.

I flipped the flowers to colour them in, since I knew the alcohol inks would smudge the pigment ink. On paper this isn’t an issue but on a non-porous surface it could happen. The colours darken when the flowers are shrunk so I kept the colours fairly light.

The shrink plastic can be heated in the oven or with a heat gun to reduce it. And since I had a heat gun on hand, it only took seconds to shrink the flowers down. At first the shapes start to curl and that’s a little freaky, but as they reach their finished size (45% of original, according to the package), they flatten out. I allowed them to cool and admired the finished product! So cute!

The final card was thrown together using Sassafras paper, Spellbinders Labels 4, a Stampin’ Up! punch and a sentiment stamp from Lawn Fawn.

So I encourage you to try shrink plastic! It’s affordable and fun to use!

Doodle School: Watercolour Pencil Techniques

For today’s Doodle School feature, I made a little video sharing some techniques for using watercolor pencils.

Covered in the video:
– How to sharpen your pencils and tips on even coloring
– Three different ways to paint with watercolor pencils
– Mixing colours with watercolor pencils
– Childish background noise
– Quirky reminiscence about my first set of watercolor pencils

It’s really just a quick overview but if you’ve been holding onto your watercolor pencils and want to use them to their potential, this will get you started.

Doodle School #6 – Monogram Magic

I was determined not to allow another week to pass without posting some Doodle School art, but this week has been busy. I am painting my daughter’s room the most brilliant shade of apple green. Perhaps a little more brilliant than I had planned.

With the room re-paint, we’re going to do a bit of a decor makeover and hopefully improve their organization and storage as well. I’m hunting for inspiration daily and love for ideas, all in one place! I saw this artwork yesterday and thought it was too cute, if a little babyish for my daughters, who are seven and eight.

from Pinterest

First step: Give the boy some glitter glue so he doesn’t want to “help.”

He’s proud of his art armor.

Supplies Needed:
Faber-Castell Gelatos (white)
Golden Liquid Acrylic (Green Gold)
Folk Art Acrylic Craft Paint (Light Lavender)
Faber Castell Big Brush Pitt Pen (Black)
Krylon Matte Finish Spray
Mod Podge Matte
pages from vintage children’s dictionary
carbon paper
9×12 canvas

2. Print large letter outline on paper. Transfer to canvas with carbon paper.

3. Outline letter using black permanent ink pen (Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pen Big Brush). Add the occasional flourish. I also wrote my daughter’s name at the bottom of the canvas. I wanted to use my own handwriting, but you could print and transfer a word at the bottom as in step 2.

4. Decoupage dictionary page strips to edges of canvas. I used pages from the “S” section, for obvious reasons. Allow to dry.

5. Brush Green Gold paint over centre of canvas, rub off excess using a sponge. Allow to dry.

6. Brush lavender paint on flower stamp (mine is from Unity Stamp Co.). Stamp randomly across the canvas. Allow to dry.

7. Using a white Faber-Castell Gelato, lightly colour areas of the green painted canvas. Soften and spread the colour with a damp brush. Allow to dry, then spray with matte fixative.

8. Outline letter again using Big Brush pen. Add swirls, flourishes, leaves, small flowers to pretty up the monogram. I used more Faber Castell Pitt Pens in light green and purple for additional detail.

9. Colour the monogram again with white Gelato. Smudge with a damp brush. Allow to dry, then spray again with fixative.

I think if I made this again, I would use a square canvas and omit the word at the bottom. I will be painting another for my older daughter (she needs an “R”) and I might reverse the colours, using purple for the background and green for the accents.

Does this project give you an idea for a monogram? Link up below and I’ll feature my favourites on the blog at a future date!

Doodle School – Photo Defacement, er, Embellishment!

It’s just as well that I haven’t had time to make a Doodle School video – with the massive amounts of rain we’ve been having, it’s dark and gloomy all day, not so conducive to great film-making.

I love my white gel pen – I use Sakura Gelly Roll brand as it seems to cover well without having to go over the lines again and again, and the ink flows pretty smoothly. Writing on photos is popular – Wilna Furstenburg does it all the time, but I rarely have a photo with a light enough background for a black pen. Here’s where the white gel pen comes in handy…and now I’m wondering, if the background is a mix of dark & light, would it work to alternate ink colours? Something to try…

I used American Crafts paper and embellishments and a simple layout. I love the title treatment and the way the ‘white space’ draws your eye to the journaling. Simple and fun.

Your assignment for this week: Write on a photo – one word, a paragraph, or go nuts and draw mustaches on your photos! (We used to have such fun writing hilarious speech bubbles over the models in the Sears catalogue!) Link up below – I’d love to see your work!


Doodle School #4: Photo Tinting with Copic Markers

Gel-a-tins blog hop post is here – visit & comment for a chance to win stamps!

I went all batty making projects for the American Crafts Design Team call, and then I decided against applying. Call me crazy, call me impulsive, call me a quitter but I don’t want to apply for design teams willy-nilly when there is so much I don’t have time to do already. I do have some great projects out of the impulse to apply, though!

I rarely scrap with black & white photos. I’m a colour-addict and that’s the truth. But colour photos paired with vibrant paper can make for a busy layout, so I had a few photos printed in black & white from our Mother’s Day photo session. And then, when I went to scrap them, I started wondering if I could hand-tint the black and white photos – it’s a look I’ve always loved, and the hobby store in town even sold photo tinting markers for a while (but I was always too cheap to buy them). So I decided to give it a try using my Copic markers. What do you think of the result?

Now I believe that the professional way involves first treating the photo with something to remove some of the gloss so your colour medium will stick, but I figured that since Copic markers are alcohol based and will stick to non-porous surfaces, this step wouldn’t be necessary. I chose very pale hues to tint my photos, and used a circular motion to lay down the colour. The markers did leave a bit of a darker edge as I filled in colour, and if I coloured over a layer I’d already inked, it tended to disturb the colour beneath. The nice thing is that the blender pen lifted off colour that went on too dark, which was good for delicate areas, like my daughters’ cheeks.

All in all, I had a lot of fun for my first attempt at hand-tinting photos, and you can bet I’ll try it again. I’d love to try using other mediums like Faber-Castell Gelatos, and maybe being a little more daring with vibrant colour as well! I’d love to see your own attempts at hand-tinting photos – why not share them below?


Doodle School Episode #3: Sunshine Marker Card

Do you ever see a stamp set that you are just dying to have – like, right now? I felt that way when I saw Chan Vuong’s “Make Me Happy” card in the July/August issue of Paper Crafts magazine. The stamp set is “You Are My Sunshine” from Green Grass Stamps. While I definitely want  to add that set to my collection, I just couldn’t wait, and set about with markers to doodle me some sunshine. The kids got excited about participating too, and made their own sunshine cards.

Funny thing – when I went to write the sentiment I wanted to write something different than “You make me happy…” on the original card. So I went with “You Are My Sunshine,” and then my daughter showed me her card – she’d written the exact same sentiment as I had! Great minds…

So, check out the video, enjoy the soundtrack (giggle) and the kids’ projects are super cute too – you’ll see them on the video!

And don’t forget to come back tomorrow to get your chance to win – I’m blog hopping with the Stamping Royalty chicks and Paper Crafts magazine!

Doodle School #2: Faux Stitching

So I thought of a catchier title than “Draw It! Thursdays” – Doodle School! I’ve made the executive decision to change the name – this is only week two after all!

Like I say in the video, drawing a dashed line is a pretty basic way to add hand drawn detail to your papercraft projects. And it’s flat, which makes it great for minimizing bulk and mailing. (though Canada Post is on strike right now…grrrr) I’ve made two Father’s Day cards – watch the video to get the details, and post your faux stitched projects below.

My apologies for the poor lighting (you would not believe how cheap and tiny my little camera is!) and see if you can figure out my big mistake before I do!

Materials Used: Paper, Cosmo Cricket Social Club; Stamps, Waltzing Mouse Half Pint Heroes; Ink, Jenni Bowlin Spice Tin, Stampin’ Up! Craft Whisper White; Sakura Gelly Roll White Gel pen; Zig .05 Pigment Pen in black; EK Success Corner Rounder