Making memories is what the holidays are all about. Whether you're decorating or pondering presents that will impress, something homemade is always the way to go. That's why we like these gorgeous DIY Father Christmas plaques. Created by artist Laura Brewer (owner of Studio Primrose, Mesa, AZ), they're easy enough for even DIY newbies and are fun to make with kids looking to create something special for grandparents or teachers.
Laura's project features Olde Century Colors' new Chalk Powder, a high-quality commercial-grade product that mixes into our acrylic and simulated milk paints (as well as any water-based paint) to create the gorgeous chalk paint looks beloved both in the U.S. and in Europe. "The Chalk Powder stirred into the paint beautifully," says Laura. "And after adding it in, the paint applied very easily, then dried to a smooth hard finish. Love...love...love!"
Another unique twist to this DIY project? Instead of using a conventional paper cut-out for her decoupage image, Laura used paper napkins to show the range of items that can be decoupaged. "I've been collecting napkins for years and am always on the look-out for them when shopping," adds Laura, "especially in specialty gift stores and boutiques where unique ones usually pop up."
Ready to make some holiday memories? Here's how...
Olde Century Colors simulated milk paints:
Olde Century Colors #3020 Chalk Powder
12"x12" x 1/4" thick board (Laura used a board recycled from the side of a cabinet base)
Decoupage glue of choice
Vaseline® or candle wax
Lettering stencil or self-stick letters
Decorative border stencil
1-1/2” soft bristle brush
2" chip brush
220 and 320 grit sandpaper
Greenery, bell and ribbon
Laura Brewer, StudioPrimrose.com
•Mix a slurry of the Chalk Powder with water. Laura used 1 tablespoon Chalk Powder with ½ tablespoon of water. Once completely mixed, add ½ cup of the antique white custom color mixture. Set aside and cover.
•For plaque #1 (with white/black background), mix a slurry as described above and then add ½ cup Carriage Black simulated milk paint. Set aside and cover. For plaque #2 (with white/red background), mix a slurry as described above, but use ½ cup of Country Red simulated milk paint instead of Carriage Black simulated milk paint. Set aside and cover.
•Lightly sand plaque, then and wipe off with damp cheesecloth.
•Cut 2/3 of the bristles off of the 2" chip brush, then use brush to lightly apply Vaseline® (or candle wax) along outside edges and in a few interior areas (for distressing later) of plaque.
•For either plaque, paint 2 coats of the antique white custom paint mix to the surface.
•When paint is dry, use cheesecloth to rub white off of the edges and on a few interior areas of the plaque. Begin by rubbing gently and apply more pressure if needed.
•Finish distressing with 220 grit sandpaper. Then sand the entire surface gently with the 220 or 320 grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface in preparation of applying your image and lettering. After sanding, clean surface by dusting with cheesecloth.
•Remove the back piece(s) of napkin (you only want the napkin layer with the image on it). Laura chose to only use part of the napkin and gently tore the napkin instead of cutting away the image to create a softer, less defined edge.
•Determine image and lettering placement. Decoupage image by lifting the bottom or top half of it away from the surface and applying decoupage paste to the painted plaque surface. Apply paste beyond the edge of image paper, then wipe off excess with a damp piece of cheesecloth once the image is in place. Repeat with other half of the image.
•Gently (so image doesn't tear) apply decoupage paste over entire image. Dry thoroughly.
•Stencil Christmas phrase and decorative top border (for plaque #1 only) with Carriage Black simulated milk paint.
•Embellish top border with dip-dots of Country Red simulated milk paint that are applied with the tip of a small brush or stylus. Dry thoroughly.
•Lightly distress plaque by lightly sanding everything except the image.
•Drill holes in top of the plaque, than pull through the jute string and knot it at the back of the plaque. Decorate with greenery, bell and ribbon. Then hang or gift-wrap your charming plaque.
This year, why not start a new tradition? Leave the mall crawl behind. Stay home, put on some Christmas music and start crafting. The memories you'll make will last a lifetime!
Carla Jordan is a nationally published design, cooking/entertaining and lifestyle writer. Her work can be found in well-regarded magazines and newspapers; as well as online. She resides in a Dallas-area home of many colors because she can't resist painting this, that and everything.