Tips for Stamping with Foam Rubber

bird printFor my first home project for the new appartement I did some experiments in stamping with foam rubber. I really like this technique, because it’s easy and cheap.

Basically, you just cut out the desired shape from the foam rubber, glue it onto a piece of cardboard and use this as a stamp.
I printed quite big pieces of fabric with a bird pattern, so I had some time to practise and figure out what works and what doesn’t.Here are a few tips for stamping with foam rubber:bird print1

  • Use a rather thick and sturdy kind of cardboard to glue the foam rubber on. It won’t bend as much and you will have less smudging.
  • Carefully lay the stamp onto the fabric and roll over the cardboard with a roller. This way you can evenly apply pressure and the print will turn out more even, too.
  • Take your time to find the perfect amount of colour to put on the stamp. If you apply to much it will smudge, if you take too little, your print won’t be bold.
  • Clean the cardboard arround the foam rubber from time to time or let it dry to avoid smudging.
  • You can always touch up the prints with a brush.
  • Don’t be worked up if it doesn’t turn out perfect. An a little bit messy look makes half the charm of printing.bird print2

I will share the project I used the fabric for, soon. If you have any questions or tips, please let me know!

Projects: Painted Mug

tasseThere’s still a lot to do around our new appartement, so I didn’t have much time for blogging this week. But at least I wanted to share a project from my archives.

This was a present for my Mum, too. I transferred the image to the mug by cutting the bird from paper and taping it to the mug, than I outlined it with pencil. The inner lines I drew freehand. Afterwards I dotted the lines with porcelain painter and burned it in the oven.

The hardest part was to transfer the picture, but all in all it was really easy! The idea was inspired by this Dot-Painted China. I also made one for my Dad, but since the motive refered to a family joke it doesn’t make sense to share it.

Since than I painted quite a lot of mugs, I think they make great presents since you can personalise them easily and everyone needs a favourite mug (in my opinion). The only problem is that the paint often doesn’t last as long as promised, especially if you put them into the dishwasher.

Have you painted mugs before? Have you any tips for a long-lasting porcelain paint?

You can make this! Feathery Birds Tutorial

bird-tut-8On Monday I posted some crazy-looking feathery birds and promised to show you how to make them. Here it is. By the way, I’m really sorry for the (even more than usual) bad pictures I took in the last time. My camera is broken and I usually use my boyfriend’s one, but he’s on vacation and took it. My roommate kindly lent my her camera, but I just don’t seem to be able to take a sharp picture with it and the lack of sunshine didn’t exactly help, since I don’t like to use flash. But taking my camera to repair is on my to-do-list today. I hope they can fix it.

Ok, here we go –
You need:bird-tutorial

  • Two polystyrene balls or cotton wool balls, a big one (about 8cm) and a small ne (about 4cm)
  • Craft feathers and craft feather boas in different colours
  • paint (I used acrylics)
  • brushes
  • toothpicks
  • glue
  • scissors
  • not pictured: black felt tip
  • brown paper
  • pin
  • thread
  1. Stick a toothpick into the balls and paint them. Let dry. (It really helps if you have a plank flooring with large gaps between the planks. It’s perfect to hold the balls while drying…)bird-tut-1
  2. Stick the small ball on top of the big one using the toothpick you already put in. The small one should sit on top but slightly offset to the front of the big one. The toothpick already stuck in the big ball should be facing down in an angle, forming the tail of the bird.bird-tut-2
  3. Stick in two more toothpicks to the points where the wings should sit.bird-tut-3
  4. Now comes the fun part. Decorate your bird by gluing long feathers to the toothpicks forming the wings and the tail and pieces of feather boa anywhere else you like. If the toothpicks show through the feathers you could paint them in a matching colour.bird-tut-4
  5. Paint on the eyes and patterns using black felt tip. Cut a diamond shape out of the brown paper and fold it in half, forming the beak. Glue the fold of the beak onto the small ball.bird-tut-5
  6. To hang it, cut a piece of thread and do a knot at one end. Stick the pin through the knot and put the pin into the bird. You’ll probably have to try where to stick it best, depending on in which position you want the bird to “fly”.bird-tut-6
  7. Done! bird-tut-7

If you have any questions or comments…well, leave a comment.
Have a great day!

Projects: Feathery Birds

birds1  As I mentioned before I’m a co-organizer of the La.Meko Filmfestival. Among others (like making the collage for the print products), it’s my task to make the decoration (or actually, I insist on doing it). Since we decided to do kind of a spring theme this year, I’m currently experimenting with different DIYs matching this theme. One idea were these birds – on the one hand I love birds and on the other hands, I absolutely associate them with spring.

birds4I made birds out of paper before, but since I get bored doing the same over and over again, I wanted to come up with another way.bird2The yellow one is looking a little bit tousled. It was the first one I made so it was a lot of trial and error.

birds3

After I was finished I nearly looked like a very tousled bird myself, since little feather pieces were sticking all over me!
I’ll show you how I made them on Wednesday, although I’m not completely satisfied (again), I think they are a little bit trashy….what do you think?

Have a good start into the week!

The Small Things: Paula and Victor

pauli-und-victor This post is long overdue, since these two green fluffy guys may be small but for me, they are great. Their names are Paula (usually called Pauli) and Victor, so obviously Paula is a girl and Victor is a boy. I adopted them from my former room-mate, together with a third one, Kiwi. Kiwi has died in the meantime (he was older than these two, I guess), and even though I was very sad when he died, I have to say that Paula and Victor are better of without him. I know this sounds hard, but he wasn’t very nice to them most of the time, he definitely was the alpha animal and clearly domineered over the two little ones, so since he’s gone they seem to be much happier. I once tried to separate Kiwi from Paula and Victor, but they kept on calling each other so this didn’t work out either, and they rather seemed to be a little annoyed by him than being seperated.Now they kiss and feed each other all day (which wasn’t possible when Kiwi lived, since he always disturbed them and shooed them around) and seem to be madly in love with each other. victorVictor is the more agile one of them, he’s jumping around and singing all day. In the picture he apparently isn’t satisfied with his apple. They like cucumber way better, they love it!

pauliPaula is a little bit bitchy, but this apparently is normal for female budgies. Here she’s sitting on one of their swings, which is one of her favourite places.

They both aren’t able to fly, due to an illness called “Französische Mauser” in German, but I couldn’t find an English term. This means that they loose their feathers during the first moult like every other budgie, but in case of the illness the feathers don’t regrow properly or at all. I guess that Paula and Victor have less or deformed remiges, since this is the only part of their feathering where I can see anything unusual, apart from that they look fine.
They live in a cage landscape build from two cages, which is long, but rather shallow, so it’s not too bad when they fall (what sometimes does happen).
Actually, they can’t do anything, they aren’t tame (since they were too old to tame them when I got them), they can’t speak and they can’t even fly, but I can’t help it, I just adore them and could watch them all day long being cute and go on and on about them. I would love to do a regular series about them, but I think this would get boring soon for everybody else but me (but if you think otherwise, please let me know, I would love to tell you more about them. I’m actually fighting hard to keep it kind of short in this post).

The pictures are actually old ones, but since they hate everything unusual around their home, I spared them (and me, I always suffer along with them) to take new ones. And they look young as ever anyway.

If there’s anybody who’s the owner of budgies or likes to talk about budgies or wants to share his thoughts on Paula and Victor (aren’t they cute?), please leave a comment!

You can make this! Paper Bird Tutorial

paperbird1Want to make some cute little paper birds, too? Here’s how:

You’ll need:

  • Paper (I used brown packaging paper)
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Watercolours and brushes or whatever colours you want to use
  • Black ink pen
  • Washi Tape
  • Glue
  • Needle and Thread
  1. Make a pattern or use this one (print in original size).paperbird-pattern
  2. Copy your pattern to the paper you want to use. I cut mine out, laid it onto the brown paper and drew around the pattern. Then I added the marks.
  3. Cut out the shape.paperbird-tut-1
  4. Colour your bird with watercolours, add some black ink and washi tape. I continued adding details after the bird was glued together.paperbird-tut-2
  5. Fold along the middle line of one of the marked triangles, the bend going inwards to the plain side.
  6. Fold along the left and right line of the triangle, the bend facing toward the coloured side. All creases should stop at the point where they meet. I hope it get’s clear in the pictures. Repeat with the other triangle.paperbird-tut-3
  7. Glue the both sides of a triangle together. Repeat with the other triangle. In the end you should have two corners extending into the inside of the bird.paperbird-tut-4
  8. Glue the ends of the wings together (marked by a cross and an arrow in the picture below), the paper should now form a loop. paperbird-tut-5
  9. Pull the tail downwards through the loop.paperbird-tut-6
  10. Glue the little corner (shaded in the pattern) onto the area between the two little dots.
  11. Add some more details using black ink or whatever you like.
  12. Slightly roll the part forming the head and glue it to the body (see the arrow in the picture), just at the point above the beak. paperbird-tut-8
  13. Carefully push the paper until you are satisfied with the bird’s shape.
  14. Add a thread through the bird’s back to hang it up.paperbird-tut-9

Done! If you have any questions, let me know. What kind of bird would you make and what colours would you use?

Projects: Paper Birds

paperbirds-1Since my love for birds was strongly reactivated the past few days, I wanted to make some to decorate my room. I like to work with what I have lying around, therefore I chose to make some paper birds. I tried to come up with something less boring than just cutting out bird shapes and that’s the result.

I’m not completely satisfied with the shape and will surely try to improve it, but I’m sharing them anyway, because I think they already turned out quite cute – even though a little bit strange.

paperbirds-2 paperbirds-3paperbirds-4

I tried to stretch my usual colour range a little bit, but of course the red-white-blue one is my favourite.

Which one do you like best? Any suggestions for improvement? I’ll show you how I made them on Wednesday (including the pattern I made), hope to see you then!

The Small Things: Bird Watching

birds1

Visiting my parents I could spent hours watching little birds through the kitchen window. They are so adorable! In winter you can find them flying and jumping around the birdbox and I am always astonished how they interact with each other. Each species has its own habits. The robin redbreast always comes alone, while the finches and sparrows always bob up in swarms. Tomtits always just take one grain at a time and fly to the next bush to break it there, while the blackbirds occupy the birdbox and throw more of the grains out than eating them. In summer there’s a good view to a nesting box, where you can watch little blue tits slip in and out, carrying nesting material and later on food for their offspring.

birds2Some time ago I started a little series featuring birds, using brown paper, gesso, watercolours, acrylics, inc-pencil and scraps of magazine pages. Two pieces of it are pictured above. Can you guess which species I tried to copy?

Do you have a bird house or nesting box?