Friday, February 25, 2011

Recycled Book Wreath

Earlier this week I made a new wreath for the front door, since the holiday one I made has once again been put into storage for the year.

I've seen people make wreaths out of books and sheet music before, so I thought that would be fun to try with some discarded library books that I had. Originally, when I thought of the project a while back, I was going to cut out lots of leaves, but I decided that would take too long. I had seen one made of sheet music on Etsy before where the papers were rolled, so that seemed like a good method to try for this project. I flipped over a large pad of newsprint drawing paper to use as a work surface, since I was sitting on the carpet and didn't want to get any stray glue on it.

I started off by cutting a base ring out of a cardboard box. If you have trouble drawing even circles, and don't have a compass, you can use different size plates and bowls to trace.  The book I used for this project is a discarded paperback copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone that I took from the free pile at the library (I feel that the choice of book makes the wreath all the more suitable for my home). Just ask at your local library, or even a used book store, to see if they have any books they are discarding or giving away.  I am always picking up discarded books to save for future projects.  The only other materials I used are scissors and a hot glue gun. You could probably also use regular Elmer's Glue instead of hot glue, but I was impatient and I also thought that the hot glue might be a bit sturdier in the long run.

I separated the book pages from the glued binding by ripping the book into a few smaller sections and then carefully tearing the pages off one by one. It came apart pretty easily and I hardly had to use the scissors at all. I quite like the slightly ragged edges that some of the rolls of paper have from ripping them instead of clean cut edges.

After separating the pages, I then rolled them into tubes, securing them closed with a strip of hot glue at the end of the roll. I started hot gluing the rolls of paper around the cardboard ring. The first layer of paper rolls was glued so that half the roll was on the cardboard ring and half was sticking out. The second layer was then glued on top of the paper rolls, moving in towards the center of the ring. Eventually there were three of four layers of paper, with the top layers being made of paper rolls that were cut in half to add some shape variety.

Ideally, I should have more carefully planned out the spacing of the tubes before gluing them, something I figured out too late into the project. I may have also been slightly distracted by watching Dr. Who on Netflix while I was sitting on the carpet working. Oops! There are a few gaps I might try and fix, but I only have a couple pages from the book left over and I don't want to mix in pages from another book and risk having the difference in paper color stand out. I might try again at some point with a different style of wreath, but overall it's not too bad for a first attempt.

All in all, the wreath measures about 18 inches across. It's not heavy at all, and all of the layered rolls of paper actually make it quite sturdy. I cut a U-shape out of cardboard and hot glued it to the back of the cardboard ring to make a hook for hanging it on the door. The wreath is easily lightweight enough to hang from a 3M hook.  I'm pretty happy with the way it came out, and it didn't cost me a penny since I either had the supplies on hand or was recycling.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Pair of Foxes

Last Valentine's Day I painted this watercolor painting of two foxes for Jeff. This year, I thought it would be fun to make him a small sculpture of the two foxes from last year's painting. I first sculpted it out of clay (you can see an unpainted photo below) and then painted it with acrylic paint after firing it. I had debated about using glaze to finish the sculpture, but in the end I decided that paint would help me better reach the finished look that I had in my head, and luckily it worked out great. When it was all done, I sealed the paint with a flat spray finish by Valspar. The completed sculpture is approximately 3.5" tall.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Paris Street Art

While I was in Paris, I saw a lot of interesting street art. There were a lot of the Banksy and Shepard Fairey variety, as well as some interesting other little bits.

I had a lot of fun keeping an eye out for the little 8 bit video game characters that we started to notice around the city that someone has been making out of little glass and ceramic tiles and attaching high up on the sides of buildings. I looked it up when I got home and found out that the tile street art movement was started by an artist who calls himself Invader. Apparently he's been posting his tile art around Paris and the rest of the world for a few years now. I also found this post on another blog that shows more tile art in Paris, including some that I saw.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sketchbook - A Fabulous Floppy Hat

Today was a snow day because of the big storm that rolled through the area. While I was enjoying the surprise day off, I had some fun looking through vintage clothes on Etsy. I stumbled across one store called Astral Boutique and had a blast looking through the 1960s and 1970s style dresses that she's selling. I picked out two dresses at a good price, and can't wait for them to arrive in the mail! But really, I just had a good time looking through the photos of the clothes she's selling and wound up doing a sketch based on the fabulous floppy hat that is used in many of the photos.

This was done in my moleskine sketchbook with an archival pigment pen and watercolor paint.