Friday, November 30, 2012

How To Make Holiday Word-Art Decor, an Audience Participation Friday

It's officially past Thanksgiving, and tomorrow it'll be December, so I finally feel comfortable showing off our home's holiday decor here.  Our halls have actually been decked for the better part of three weeks now, because it was a good break for me in-between writing enough wedding thank you notes to give myself carpal tunnel.

If you'll allow me to show off for just a second...

Our front door wreath, Christmas-ified.

Our guest bathroom and living room.
I really like how the NOEL wreath arrangement turned out.  Thank you pinterest.
I feel like even if we had a real fireplace mantel, for our house the bookshelf is a much more appropriate place for such mirth as Christmas stockings.  (AND MISTLETOE).

Our dining room table with tree

The tree itself.  Every year I become more and more acutely aware of my obsession with red, gold, GLITTER, and jinglebells.  Click on that upclose shot to see it bigger.  There are only 2 ornaments in that entire shot that do not feature a bell or glitter.  Can you spot them?  It's almost sick.  
And of course, Mr. Mac, who is sporting his jinglebell Christmas Collar.  
He will turn 4 years old next week.  We're very excited for him.
(Bubba has some mistletoe on his collar, but he was not about to let me take a picture of him this morning)

Today I'd like to do a mash up of two regular features here at KpQuePasa:  A tutorial and an Audience Participation Friday.

I have a real love for word art.  Using multiple typefaces, sizes, shapes, skews to make a quote or phrase look all the more interesting for display.  Said displays are becoming more and more trendy lately, and I wanted to join in on the fun.  SO.  Immediately below here I'm going to post my tutorial for how to make a wooden word art plaque for your home using stuff you likely have lying around (if you craft or have kids).

IF YOU SCROLL DOWN TO THE PICTURE OF THE GRINCH, you will find the rules for today's audience participation:  Have a KpQuePasa designed word art quote of your very own to use for this project!

*I will be the first to admit this is an intermediate-level project.

First off, here's what you're gonna need:
  • Plaque or appropriate sized, light colored piece of wood (not pictured).
If it's not a plaque you got from a craft store, you're also going to need a hook for the back.
  • A nail (to hang it up!)
  • Hammer
  • Masking tape
  • Dark- color stain pen (I used "Dark Walnut," but whatever you have around in your junk drawer for fixing dinged furniture will be fine).
  • White chalk
  • Clear coat spray paint
  • A pens
  • A regular pencil and a mechanical pencil
  • Spray paint
  • A printer and a sheet of paper (not pictured)
  • Sandpaper
  • Acrylic paint in the color you would like the letters (I used white)
  • ACRYLIC paint in the color you would like the background (I used "Christmas Green")
  • ACRYLIC paint in a brown similar to the color of your stain
  • Scissors
  • Paper toweling
  • Water
  • A paper plate/ something to mix paint on
  • Patience.

Got all that?  Awesome.  Let's begin.

1.  Use your regular pencil to lightly draw a background pattern on your plaque.  Because of the nature of the quote I used (from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas), I thought these funky snowflakes were appropriately Seuss-ish.  But you could also draw swirlies, lines, dots, stars, whatever strikes your fancy.  Keep in mind your stain pen has a larger drawing diameter than your pencil.  Do NOT use a mechanical pencil for this step - if the wood is soft and you press hard you will dent your wood.  Don't get all nuts about making it perfect.  You barely see this in the finished product.

2.  Go back over those pencil lines with your stain pen.  

3.  Use your sandpaper to sand that stain (and residual pencil lines) almost completely back off the plaque. Because distressed looks are, like, so totally in right now.

4.  [optional] run your vacuum because you wanted to craft in the living room so you could watch TV at the same time and all that sanding made a mess.  Move from sitting on the couch to the floor because the next step involves paint and you don't wanna ruin the upholstery.
5. While your horribly neglected (ha) dog looks on from his spot on the couch, get your two ACRYLIC background colors (brown + whatever.  I could see any of your basic ROY G BIV colors working well here, pastels, not so much), a paper plate, some paper toweling, and a cup of water out.

6.  Mix your background colors (using your pencil because you didn't think about bringing a mixing tool into the living room and the pencil was still right there) until you have a "rustic" hue.  You will not need a lot of paint.  If you squirt more than a quarter-size bit of paint onto your plate you're just wasting stuff.  Promise.

7.  Pour some of that water onto the plate.  Water your paint down until it is the same consistency as skim milk.  If you have not used acrylic paint for this step it won't be water-soluble and you've ruined everything.  This is why we can't have nice things.

8.  Dip your paper toweling in that mixture and then rub it over your plaque.  Realize it's 3PM as you make this tutorial and you are still in your PJs.  Contemplate your life choices.  Decide that's pretty awesome.

9.  You are essentially staining your wood with color.  Don't slop a lot on at once.  The color builds slowly.  You're going to have to do multiple coats, but since you're doing thin layers they dry quickly.  (above: the green after two coats, and the green after 4 coats)

10.  [optional] mix ONE more drop of brown paint into your remaining paint/water combo and go around the edges like described above to "age" it a bit.  LET IT DRY for at least a few hours.

11.  Print off your word art (see APF below for personalized options). 
12.  [optional, though I promise you'd never select this option on purpose] Change all your clothes because your kitchen sink decided to EXPLODE dirty garbage disposal water on you while you were just trying to cook dinner.  Have your awesome husband come home to a horrific mess and not even bat an eye but simply roll up his sleeves and try to help.  Count your blessings.

13.  Flip your printed words over.  Rub your chalk ALL OVER that thing.
(note:  Because of the length of this quote, I ended up doing it in sections and cut my paper into pieces.)
14.  Tape your paper into the spot you want it on the plaque, and then trace all the words with your pen.  Press decently hard.  When you lift the paper, the outline of the words will be visible.  (this picture is not as clear as it was in real life, promise).  Around this point your husband will finally notice that you are taking pictures as you do this and also that his legs are in the picture.  Tell him it's okay, he's on his way to internet viral stardom for his super glamorous feet.

15.  Get way more excited than you should be about your white paint.  Fill in your letters using your paintbrush.
PRO TIP:  I used the back-end of the paintbrush like a pen here instead of the bristle end.  It works a bit like a nib pen and you have more close-up control over where the paint goes.  For thinner lines I used the tip of a mechanical pencil dipped in paint)

 16.  [likely] Get horribly frustrated that it is taking longer than you imagined because you decided to use a quote with like a THOUSAND (or 73) words.  Keep going.  There will be a point where you think it looks horrible but I promise it turns out pretty rad in the end.

17.  [not pictured]  After you let that dry overnight, use a wetted paper towel to wipe away the residual chalk dust.  This is where you realize it actually looks good enough to post on the internet and you haven't just wasted all that time for naught.

18.  [also not pictured.  I was lazy this morning, so sue me.]  Spray a quick coat of clear spray paint on top to seal all that in, and hang it on your wall!


As mentioned above, I heart word art.  But I need practice at making the stuff.  Thus, if you would like to make the project above, or if you just want some fun holiday words to put on Christmas cards, print out and hang on the office bulletin board, whatever, I'm here for YOU.

Ready for the rules?
  1. Pick out your favorite holiday-themed phrase, quote or word (under 75 words).  the mister and I celebrate Christmas, and since we'd started dating he's had quite a turn of heart on his thoughts toward decking the halls and being generally merry, so the Grinch who Stole Christmas seemed so super fitting for our home.  Perhaps you have a similar phrase that fits your family.  It does not have to be a Christmas phrase - whatever you celebrate, yo.
  2. Post your phrase in the comments.  Please note if you use another language - I need to know if there are umlauts or accents and where they go.  I'd also, just for curiosity sake, like to know what it means in English.
  3. I'll read the comment, and create masterful pieces of word art that fits on a, 8.5x11 piece of paper.
  4. You return to this post later and I will have added a jpeg of your word art which links to a file for you to download, print, and use that art for whatever holiday festivities you like.
  5. SPREAD YOUR CHEER.  Send me a picture of how you used the art!
  6. You have until Saturday at midnight eastern time time to make the above 7 steps happen.
*Example of aforementioned Masterful pieces of art created by moi:

Click to download .pdf.

What're you waitin' for?  Get to it!


Holly, I know it's not really holiday-ish, but you seemed to need a pick-me up.  
I couldn't resist.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wedding Wednesday - Paper Pieces

You know what day it is?


Let's talk about wedding stationary today, folks.

What all did you end up printing off for your nuptials?  I had never put much thought into it before planning, but there are a lot of paper-product things you need to think about for the day of:

  • Save the Dates
  • Invitations
  • RSVP Cards
  • Information Cards (map and hotel info to go with the invites)
  • Programs*
  • Favor tags
  • Place Cards / Seating Board
  • Table numbers
  • Cards with the lyrics and English translation of your first dance song**
  • Thank You cards
  • Address Stamp (for when you realize that writing your return address that many times is just plain STUPID.)
  • Second Address Stamp (for when you realize that sending thank yous after the wedding means your name has changed.)
I'm sure all of these things cost an arm and a leg when you're having a service do it for you.  But when you're a gal with an art degree who has experience in graphic design, and a website where you brag all about how you love doing crap like this... well then you should probably make your own stationary, right?

Sure.  Yes.  Um, right.

Through no fault of anyone but myself, this "I should do this myself," idea turned into so much pressure to make it awesome x 1000, that it truly almost crushed me.

A good chunk of this pressure I put on myself came from knowing three things:

  1. Your stationary sets the tone for the whole darn wedding.  
  2. The tone we were going for was a little less formal than I'm betting many of our guests were expecting.
  3. Too many people know I am good at arting for me to not make these the most phenomenal arts I've ever arted.

Thankfully, almost all of the commentary I got back on anything we sent out was "oh gosh that's awesome!" so I can officially say I'm happy to show these off here and brag a bit.  That said, I'm super glad that I'm only getting married once.

Have I talked it all up enough yet?  Okay great let's get to the part where there are pictures.  (Sorry some of the pictures look smudgy - that's where I tried to protect the Mister's identity by blurring out his name?  Yeah.  So there's that.)  ((also yes I did use pinterest as heavy inspiration, that's how it's done these days))


Save the Dates:  These ended up being my favorite of the design projects.  Bummer that they were the first thing I did... all downhill from there?  Whatevs.


Inside - I totally glued a little knoted piece of yarn inside every single one of those.  
Tedious but an awesome result.  

Invitations, RSVP Cards, & Information Cards  Carrying through with the yarn and doodle-ish look.  Only fair that people know what they were getting into.

Each invite came in an envelope, and consisted of two pieces tied together 
with the same blue yarn that was in the Save the Dates.  
The first piece that opened out was the formal invite.

On the back of the actual invite was a map marking where the venue was located.  The second piece was folded in half.  The first (blue) half was information for them to keep (address of venue, menu, how many seats were reserved for the recipient, etc).  And the second (cream) piece was a Mad Lib/ RSVP.  We got... some interesting responses on those.  :)  Of course we included the self-addressed/ stamped envelope to send the RSVP back too.

Favor Tags  I loved the idea of thanking our guests for joining us at the party and for being a part of our lives.  I also thought that people might need a little explanation for why we would choose rubiks cubes for a favor.


Seating Board  I just... seating is probably the second worst thing about a wedding.  I'll touch on this in a later post.  But ugh.
Can I be really honest?  I think these turned out super ugly.  
But they did their job and kept me from dealing with place cards.

Table Numbers
 Mad props to the BFFJ and her gift of Cricut!  
My fave was for the sweetheart table - because it was a heart. *so adorable I barfed a little*

Thank you Cards
Blank on the inside.  I'm now *almost* done filling those insides with grateful words.  

Address Stamps
design (slightly modified for creepers) from the first stamp

The second stamp - no one's seen this one yet... a KpQuePasa exclusive!

How did you pick/ design your wedding stationary?  
Did you have a piece that we didn't?  
Anything you would have changed about it?  
Any fun stories about it?  
What was your least favorite part of your entire wedding planning?  
(because mine = Invitations. Hands. Down.)
COMMENTS.  Tell me things!

Meanwhile, Mac wants you all to know that he is being totally neglected as I write this post.  
This is me, typing this sentence and firing up the "photobooth" app on the computer.  
This is happening in real time folks.  

*We nixed programs because our ceremony was maybe 15 minutes long with no readings or audience participation.   I figured most people knew the ins and outs of a wedding to be able to follow along.

**We didn't think about this in time for the first reception, but we got enough questions about it that night... there were cards for round two believe you me. :)