Wednesday, 9 May 2012

My First Canvas

At the March meeting of the Redditch Craft Club, Sue showed us how to do a canvas.  As I had never attempted one before, I had no idea what I would need, so took nothing with me except tools.  I planned to find out how to do it, then finish it off at home.

The canvas that Sue provided was 12" x 9" and was already gessoed.  Following Sue's design, I painted the canvas brown with some emulsion paint, then stuck on some old music paper and some paper with text all over it.  Luckily, I found some "titles" on the papers, to add visual interest.  Sue very kindly cut out the bird and cage for me, by hand, as I didn't have that die at the time.  She provided a length of lace, the key, the die-cut butterfly, some buttons, the heart frame and picture, and the papers for the clock, tickets and animals.  She had brought some beautiful large artificial flowers, but I decided not to use them, as they were bright blue.  Once I had stuck on the background papers, I decided that I needed more time to think about where I was going with the rest of the project.

I have a 12" x 12" pad of scrapbooking papers from Papermania called "Nostalgia Warm", which are in a lovely soft vintage style, mostly in browns and pinks, but with some toning darker colours.  I had a fun day die-cutting the papers with my Tattered Florals die, then inking, stamping and sticking them together to make 12 very different flowers.  I used buttons with the shanks cut off for the centres of the 2 largest flowers, and some beads and bling for the centres of the smaller open flowers.  Two of the flowers are "grunge roses", made with 3 or 4 layers of the medium-sized 6-petal die-cut.  To go with the flowers, I die-cut some Tattered Leaves from the green paper in the pad.  Finally I smeared some gold RubnBuff over the flowers and leaves, to tie them all together.

I thought the paper and acetate clock looked a bit small and lost, and I wanted it to have movable Tim Holtz hands, so I decided it needed to be mounted onto something.  I found some wooden "washers" in my stash, that I had bought because I thought they would come in handy one day.  I painted one with a gold paint-dabber, then blasted it with my heat gun, so that the bubbles in the paint popped and left a lovely dimpled texture.  I covered the gold paint with black acrylic, waited a few moments, then wiped off most of the black, leaving it just in the dimples, to accentuate the texture.  I joined a length of brass chain into a circle, then stuck it on as a frame.  I stuck on the paper and acetate clock, then added some game spinners as hands.

I didn't really like the heart frame, but I didn't have anything better to use, so I tarted it up with some alcohol inks, bling and gold RubnBuff, and added a "collar" made from a piece of plastic net that some cheese came in.  I coloured this with alcohol inks and gold RubnBuff as well.

I used alcohol inks to colour one of the buttons, the key and the "screw" brads for the bird cage, and alcohol ink mixatives to colour the crystal stick-pins.  I used some jewellery findings and chain to join the key to the bird cage, and to make the crystal bead "dangler".  I distressed the lace with some pink and brown inks, stuck it across the middle of the canvas, and stapled the ends to the wood.  I used some jute cord and a broken bead to decorate one of the buttons, and then everything was ready to be stuck on.

I couldn't decide which of the flowers I liked best, so in the end I used them all!  I altered Sue's design a bit, putting some of the flowers at the bottom left, to try to make the canvas look more balanced.  I moved the die-cut butterfly up to the top, so that it didn't hide the word "Remembrance" on the music paper, and I added the metal butterfly, but I mostly followed Sue's design.

The canvas was fun to make, and I do quite like the result, but I hope next time I will have more confidence, and be able to "do my own thing", instead of using someone else's design.


  1. Your layered flowers look great - love the textured button centres and the beaded pins with them!

  2. Beautiful canvas and I love all the details

  3. I love the vintagey look you have created. I have never attempted a canvas before, I don't mind messing up a bit of card if it all goes wrong but I am a bit nervous of ruining a canvas.

  4. It is really pretty-have fun with your next one!

  5. Thank you for your lovely comments, everyone! They are much appreciated!

  6. This is great, can't believe it is your first canvas, Christine,

    Lucy x

  7. Hi Christine, stunning canvas, so so pretty. I adore your gorgeous handmade flowers they are gorgeous. xx

  8. What an awesome canvas, so many things to look at. Michelle xx

  9. Hi Christine,
    This is absolutely lovely... I've not used alcohol inks yet, but I'm very tempted - and you've given me another nudge. And the flowers are just gorgeous. Thanks for dropping by and following me - I'm now on board with the Sailing Stamper too.