Sunday, October 20, 2013

Canvas #1 - Shabby Chic with a Vintage Vibe

Shabby Chic is a softer style that usually incorporates a soft color palette with an aged appearance.  The layers can include lace, trims, pearl, floral, and silver elements among others.  It lends itself to the vintage side, but can have more modern touches.  

For my first canvas, I went with a more vintage feel.  Many of the items and techniques I used can be adapted for other styles.  Let's start with the finished canvas - then I will break down how I completed it - step by step.  (For more info on styles and the canvas I used - please see previous post)


I used a pressboard canvas as my base.  You can easily use a regular canvas or even chipboard cut to size.  If you use chipboard - coat with gesso first.

Step 1.  Select two colors of paint.  For this style I like to use contrasting colors.  I chose chocolate brown and titanium white.  I really wanted a softer white but didn't have it so I had 4 options:  buy more paint, live with it, tint it before and using spray ink, distress reinker, or another color of paint, or tint it after.  I chose after.  Brand of paint doesn't matter in this technique - I used the cheap brand for the base coat and Americana for the top because it was what I had on hand.

Step 2. Paint your first coat of paint.  Make sure your entire area is covered.  Although it isn't necessary, I like to do two coats. 

Step 3.  Let it Dry.  Do not move onto the next step until it is completely dry.  This important with any paint techniques that require more than one color.  If you don't wait - your top coat will take on some of the color of the bottom coat.  black and white - you may end up with grey.

Step 4:  Apply the crackle medium.  Thickness and direction do matter.  If you paint it on with vertical strokes - the  crackles will be more vertical - same with painting it with horizontal strokes. The thicker you put on the medium the larger the cracks.  Personal preference I put the  crackle medium on to where it ends up being thicker in some spots and a little thinner (more of a medium coat) in others.  I like the variation as it looks more natural. 

Step 5:  Let it dry until tacky.  Varies on the type of product you use.  If you are using a white glue based product then wait until it turns clear.  I used Weathered Wood by Delta and it took about 20 minutes.

Step 6.  Paint the top coat.  I prefer to use a foam brush for this step.  It is important to get enough paint on the brush. Make single strokes and try not to go over the same are more than one (twice at most).

Step 7. Sit back and watch it crackle.  It happens almost instantaneously and it is awesome to watch.  Okay I am easily amused. 

Step 8.  Tint if you would like to.  I did so by just taking my Frayed Burlap Distress Ink paid and rubbing it all over the surface.  Then taking a slightly wet paper towel piece I rubbed over the entire canvas, wiping off most of the ink.  The amount you wipe off is going to determine how much it will be tinted.  I still wanted my canvas to be white, just not bright white.  So it has an aged look.  I did after the fact add a little spun sugar distress stain in a few spots and then wiped leaving me a very light tint.

Step 9: Optional (I did not do) Seal - you can seal with a varnish or other sealant.  I don't usually seal mine but some people like to.

Money Saving Tips:

Canvas - find bases on sale or things from your stash that you can use as a canvas.  I have some cool dollar store small kitchen platters that have a metal finish that would be cool for this.  Chipboard works well too.

Tinting paint saves money use products you already have.

If you don't have crackle medium, you can use white glue such as Elmer's, generic Elmer's, Aleen's tacky glue.   - Just make sure it dry's clear before adding your top coat.  Here are examples of using the other two brands.  On the Aileen's I should have added more paint for my top coat (had more on the brush)...On the Cheap Elmer's knockoff...would have done a thinner layer.  All in all they will work well.


First let me start with I have tried this technique using different techniques. Sadly, not always with great success...some worked better than others.  I tried something different than this...and if I could...I would do a backflip.   It work absolutely flawlessly.  I will not do it differently again.  I am in love with how it worked out.

Step 1.  Cut an image out of paper.  I used an image from the Graphic 45 Le' Romantique collection.
Step 2.  Cut a piece of canvas the same size as your image - doesn't have to be exact.  (I am die cutting it later).  I used Claudine Helmuth sticky back canvas because I had a piece close by.
Step 3.  Slather your image in Modge Podge Matte.  Don't be skimpy in your coat.  I have tried other mediums...this worked best for me.
Step 4.  Place your image on to the canvas face side down.
Step 5.  IMPORTANT - make sure you rub on the paper so that it you get a good seal with the canvas.  I used a clean brayer to roll over the top and it worked terrifically.  This step is where something could go wrong...if you have a little spot that doesn't get a good seal the transfer in that spot may not come out as well. 
Step 6.  Let dry completely  Steps 1 - 5 take just a few I do before I go to bed then it is ready for me in the morning.
Step 7.  I just use a spray bottle or mini mister, you can use droplets of water.  Spray the back of the paper and start rubbing of the paper.  As you go through the layers spritz some more water.  Let dry and see if you have spritz and rub some more. 
Step 8.  Once you have removed the will still have a little fuzz and the image may appear to be a little faded...this is how it is supposed to look - don't panic.  Step 12 will fix all of that.
Step 9.  I cut the image out using the Tim Holtz oval die.  I also cut a piece of patterned paper the same size. 
Step 10. Distressed the edges on both pieces and inked the edges.  Then I cut little nicks in the edges here and there of the image so that it gave it a more worn look. The picture below doesn't show the full color because of the lighting - it is still as shown above under step 8.
Step 11.  I removed the backing and placed it on the pattern paper.  Just tiny little peaks of the pattern are visible. 
Step 12.  This is where the magic happens.  Paint a coat of Glossy medium - whether it is modge podge glossy, Aleens Glossy Modge Podge, or Claudine Helmuth's multi-medium glossy.  The point is it has to be glossy for this to work.  It is will brighten your image without making it "bright" - you will still have that vintage look.  It will eliminate the look of the fuzz left behind.
Step 13.  I added trim around the edges.  I used double sided tape on the back. 
Step 14.  I added a silver shabby charm to her hat.
Step 15.  I dry brushed a very little bit of white gesso in just a few spots to lighten the image.  (Dry Brushing - add a little paint to a coarse paint brush. White most of it off with a a paper towel so that there is very little paint on the brush (almost dry) then just swipe some on back and forth.  

The over all effect looks like the image had been painted or printed directly on the canvas.  The texture shows through.  I found by using the modge podge and having a good seal I could rub the paper off without worrying about the image coming off as well. 


To be honest I didn't get a ton of pictures of this step.  I was starting of with a Tim technique from chem 102 so out of respect, I wasn't going to show that part.  I ended up not liking the result and did my own thing in the end.  So as you create...don't be married to an idea....if it doesn't work - tweak it until you do like it.

Step 1.  Die cut a shape for your base.  I used the cameo base die.  I love the shape of it.
Step 2.  I primarily used distress paint to do his technique.  Since I changed it after the fact you really could use regular acrylic.  Base coat the die in a darker color - very little of this will show through - I used a dark brown (vintage photo).  (This coat has to be completely DRY...before moving onto next step. - Don't forget to paint your edges.
Step 3.  I covered up the technique - so I will move on to the next step. 
Step 4.  Brush on a lighter color. I used Spun sugar.
Step 5.  Before it completely dries....wipe some of it off revealing little peeks of the brown. 
Step 6.  Dry brush on a little bit of white paint here and there. 
Step 7.  Using a versa mark pad or other embossing pad go around the edges of the die.  I tilt the pad so that I get around the inside edges of the front of the die as well.  I don't like it to be perfectly even so this works well.
Step 8.  Add embossing powder - I used Shabby Pink Embossing enamel by Stampendous.  It has glitter in it as well so you get bits of sparkle in it. Since it is chunkier than regular embossing powder, you get great texture as well.
Step 9.  Ink edges in brown.
Step 10.  Add lace in the middle. (Adhered the edges to the back of the die with double sided tape so I didn't have to mess with glue and lace.
Step 11.  Sprayed with Glimmer Mist - Crème de Cocoa.  Very very little color but lots of vintage shimmer.  Subtle but beautiful.
Step 12  Add image to the top.


Step 1. Die cut doily from MFT from textured cardstock. Then cut in half.
Step 2. Cut a partial circle from patterned paper (same I used to back the image).
Step 3. Distressed edges of circle.
Step 4.  Inked edges of both the die cut and the circle.
Step 5.  Inked the edges of the inside of the doily cuts with a pen. 
(Side Note:  I believe inked edges give projects a more finished and complete look. Ink color and how much ink use can create different effects).
Step 6.  Painted on a coat of Ranger's distress Rock Candy stickles paint that comes in a jar.
Step 7.  While wet ....added Ranger's distress Rock Candy dry glitter.  Don't pack it on just pour on and dump of the excess.  This glitter is going no where and not messy at all.  I couldn't believe it - I usually get glitter everywhere.


Step 1.  Layer the image piece over the edge of the doily.

Step 2.  Add embellishments.  I tend to select embellishments based on scale of what I am working on.  I had some larger elements that I picked out for this piece...but as a personal preference I didn't like how they looked on such a small surface.  Choose what you like best.
I added a white skeleton leaf first.  Then layered on two pearl bead sprays and two pink gem sprays.  to cover the stems I added three roses from I am Roses.  I liked the color of the two brown ones, but not the third flower.  It was originally white with a pink center.  I painted on a little bit of spun sugar distress stain and it came out beautifully.  I finished off the embellishments with a triple bow made from dyed snug hug in spun sugar distress stain.   I took a Tim Holtz pearl drop and glued the edge underneath the bow.

Step 3.  Dry brushed a little bit of gesso over the flowers (already had done the image).  Usually I do a little more of this step all over, but felt like since that the base of the canvas was white, it really didn't need very much.

Step 4.  This is my pet peeve step.  I am so picky about this step. Okay, you took the time to make a beautiful piece...why not finish it.    Imagine them taking it out of the box and examining it you want them to see the back like the first picture or the second?  It just took an extra minute to cut a piece of coordinating paper.  I usually use a piece from the stack that I know I probably wouldn't use.  Ink the edges and presto.  Big difference.  You never know if they are going to hang it on a wall or put it on a plate hanger or tiny easel where the back would be visible.   It just gives a more complete and finished look.


 If you have any questions, put them in the comments section and I will reply to them.  I would love to see your take on a shabby chic canvas.  Please put a link to your creation in the comments section so we can all check it out.


1 comment:

  1. Beautiful as is all your projects you create