Welcome (back) to Mixed Media Artist!

Hi, I'm Cyndi, and I've been writing and updating  Mixed Media Artist since 2005.  If you're a new visitor, welcome! Come tr...

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Where to go online when dumpster-diving fails you!

Lee Valley Tools
Check out the hardware and tools sections. You won’t be sorry!

American Science and Surplus
Incredible stuff at unbelievable prices! Lots of junk you’ll just have to have. Be forewarned…

Woodworks Ltd
An amazing selection of wooden craft parts to build with.

Sky Blue Pink
Advertises cool stuff for non-fancy prices!

Volcano Arts
Handmade book and bookbinding supplies, paper marbling, clock parts, kits, etc etc.

Ready Stamps
This is the place that you must use to have stamps made from your own designs. Not only are the prices competitive, but Ready Stamps is a community-based business of The United Cerebral Palsy Association of San Diego, promoting the independence of disabled persons through training and employment.

A full selection of art supplies. Together with Dick Blick (below) you’ll be able to find all the put-it-together stuff you’ll need.

Dick Blick
Another very complete art supply shop. Between Dick Blick and MisterArt (above), just about all your non-specialty supply needs can be filled.

Collage artist Susan Pickering Rothamel has made available all the supplies she most likes to use herself.

Suze Weinberg
Rubber stamping and collage resources.

John Neal, Bookseller
Bookbinding supplies, plus the know-how to do it.

Bookbinding supplies, decorative papers, and workshops.

Paper Source
Paper, paper, paper…and more paper! Great papers.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Creating a shadow in Photoshop

Start with a beautiful picture taken on a clear sunny day.

Add a touch of menace.

Why would you want to do this? I don't really know, but it's fun to know how! With Photoshop, there are always multiple ways to accomplish tasks, but here's how I did it:

1. Open image you want to use to make a shadow. Make sure background is black. Note - I used a dragonfly image by R.A. Nonenmacher, available on Wikimedia Commons.

2. Select the shape with the lasso tool. Delete the selection.

3. With the shape still selected, use Cntr-J to create new layer with only black image.

4. Apply a Gaussian blur.

5. Drag and drop the "shadow" layer to your background image. Reduce the opacity to about 30%. Try different blending modes to see which looks best with the light conditions of your image.

6. Use Edit-->Transform to make the shadow the right shape.

Copyright 2009 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Artsy blogging round-up!

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery

See how to make a card and card album themed for a rock and roll mom to be that uses cute die cuts in a cool way.

The Artful Crafter
“Panadieres for Zambia” is a neat story and one small example of crafters helping crafters – all around the world. As Eileen likes to say, “Crafters are just the nicest people.”

The Impatient Crafter
Madge shares a technique in this post about embossing on slick surfaces!

About Family Crafts
What are your cleaning tips for crafting with kids? Please take a moment to share your tips and then browse through tips shared by others.

Aileen's Musings
Hard as it was, Aileen has narrowed down the playing field and needs your help again to choose from her favorite sayings that have been posted for her blog giveway! Stop by and pick your favorite.

Cathie Filian
If you are wondering what to eat, craft and play on the 4th of July then head over to Cathie's blog for ideas.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week at Craftside you can watch the latest Look, Learn & Create video that includes tips on drawing, two techniques and projects for cutting photos up, a bit of fabric eye candy, and a free paper stencil and project from the new book The Art of Decorative Paper Stencils 2 and if you leave answers to the day's questions you are entered to win free books!

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy uses her jewelry making skills to create some beautiful and functional stitch markers.


Sister Diane reviews an intriguing new book: Micro Macrame, by Annika DeGroot

Cross Stitch at About.com
Work at Your Own Pace - An encounter with a critter in the yard has Connie thinking about Cross Stitch (imagine that!) and speed.

Naughty Secretary Club
Arty Masterpieces are overrated, it's all about the Glittery Crafterpieces! Take a peek at the handmade art around my house and try your hand at making a fun glittery deer picture!

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Brian Sawyer’s bookbinding links round-up

Thank you Brian, thank you thank you thank you!! Don’t miss Brian’s own tutorials as well :-)

Bookbinding links

Brian Sawyer’s tutorial

In all his spare time, Brian Sawyer is craft writer, including contributions to Make and Craft magazines. The man knows what he’s talking writing about!

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Paper and string: the stuff you’ll need for book arts

To make your own handmade books or altered books, you’ll mostly need things that you can get for free, or very inexpensively, especially if non-traditional bookbinding appeals to you! For serious bookbinding, or if you plan to do a lot of it, you’ll probably want to purchase some basic supplies and tools, especially if you want to make your books from materials that will last. Some suppliers are listed below to help you get started.

If you want to try altered books and you don’t have a book at home that you care to sacrifice, try your local library where there may be shelves of books for sale…either donations or books that have been removed from the collection (big word for the day: that’s called “deaccessioned”). Trust me when I say that there are so many books that end up in landfills, perfectly good books, that you are actually doing the world a favor by turning these books into artwork.

John Neal, Bookseller
Bookbinding supplies, plus the know-how to do it

Bookbinding supplies, decorative papers, and workshops

Volcano Arts
Handmade book and bookbinding supplies, paper marbling, etc

Gaylord Brothers
Archival library and bookbinding supplies

The Book Arts Web
A site you can get lost in if you’re serious about book arts in all forms! Be sure to download the free e-journal, “The Bonefolder”, with lots of information on bookbinding and book arts.

Serious bookbinding supplies of professional quality

American Academy of Bookbinding
For serious professional as well as amateur bookbinders

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Fabric painting techniques

Here's a round-up of many of the fabric techniques we've covered here. I'll be adding to the list in the future, so I'm going to add it to the sidebar under The Basics so that you'll always be able to find it quickly. Many of the techniques covered in Creating backgrounds for artwork, although they were designed with paper arts in mind, can be used for fabric painting too, so don't forget to check them out as well!

T-shirt transfers

Transparency transfers

Painted fabric trim

Leather-look felt

Rusted fabrics

Painting fabric in a bag

Twisted fabric painting

Wiped and striped fabrics

Shibori fabric

Snow painting

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Artsy blogging round-up!

Naughty Secretary Club
Think all the marketing at a craft show is already taken care of for the vendors? Think again. Jen shares some marketing tips.

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
Another of Stefanie’s Happy Bunnies-This one created using the help of the cool book: Stray Sock Sewing

The Artful Crafter
What new mom would not be delighted with this precious keepsake pendant? Eileen gives you step-by-step instructions for making it using polymer clay and decal paper.

The Impatient Crafter
Madge went on a bead buying trip to NYC! Get the scoop!

Vickie Howell
Craft Corps Stencil Kits are in! Check out Vickie’s How-To on making your own, stenciled gear. Stand up, shout loud, you’ve joined The Corps and you’re proud!

About Family Crafts
What is in your craft cupboard? What craft supplies can you not live without? Has there been a craft item that your purchased thinking it was the greatest invention of all time and then never used?

Aileen’s Musings
Aileen needs your help! She’s created another whimsical character in her curalicious series and needs a saying or quote to go with her! Post your quote or saying and enter to win a curvalicious coffee cup!

Cathie Filian
Recycle old jeans and fabric scraps into a quilted 4th of July Table Runner in under 2 hours!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week at Craftside there is Jenn Mason’s episode of Look, Learn & Create where she shows us how to make a fun matchbook card and dyed plastic tube necklace, a window-screen art journal tutorial from the new book Re-bound and a mini journal with a recycled scrapbook paper catalog, a discussion of rule breaking in logo design and a recipe for roasted chickpeas.

Crafty Princess Diaries
Cat Domination at Jewelry Bench! Where oh where can I work on jewelry, Tammy asks?

Take a handful of buttons and some craft wire, and make charming button monograms to wear as jewelry.

Cross Stitch at About.com
Dinosaurs rule in the Land of the Lost and they also rule at About.com Cross Stitch. There are three of them stalking through Connie’s latest free pattern collection.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Book review: Mixed Media Explorations

Beryl Taylor’s beautiful work is unlike any other! Her techniques are clearly presented, and somehow you just end up believing her, that you could do stuff like this too. One of the most valuable parts of the book for me is where she shows how she breaks down a very complicated-looking design into quite manageable elements. Even if you don’t want to work with fabric and paper, the visual aspects of this book are worth the time to read it.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Make It From Scratch Carnival

The Make It From Scratch Carnival is being hosted by Jen on 11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven! I want to thank Jen for including my post on twisted fabric painting :-)

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Wiped and striped fabrics

I’m ending our short series on painting fabric surprises with a technique that takes a bit more time. Although it starts out with unpredictable results, the second half of the process is much more deliberate and controlled. Double the fun!
For the first two fabric painting techniques, visit these links:
Painting fabric in a bag
Twisted fabric painting
This time, you'll need the usual ripped or cut piece of plain muslin, acrylic paints, a large soft brush or painting sponge, tape of different widths, and a large stamp or two.

1. Wet your fabric until it is dripping. Stick your brush or painting sponge into thinned acrylic paint and wipe it clean on the fabric. To do this, wad the wet fabric up in your hand, and pull the brush through the folds, squeezing to clean all the paint off of it. Reapply paint and repeat. Splatter the fabric with some random drops of paint as well.  Color used: Primary cyan

2. Use additional colors and repeat the first step. If you allow the fabric to dry in between colors, you will get a different result from mine: I kept the fabric wet and added color until I liked the result. Color used: Dioxazine purple

3. Allow the fabric to dry and iron it flat.

4. Tape the fabric to a waterproof surface and create a grid pattern with the different widths of tape. Mix up a color that's a bit darker than the background, and use your large soft brush or sponge to pounce it around the edges of the tape. Don't fill each of the squares of fabric completely. Let the fabric dry.  Color used: Medium magenta

5. Remove the tape from the dry fabric and apply stamps as desired. I used a metallic acrylic paint for this last step.  Color used: Iridescent copper

6. Iron the fabric thoroughly in order to heat set the paints.

This post contains affiliate links

Copyright 2009 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Twisted fabric painting

Last week we looked at how to paint your fabrics in a plastic bag in order to achieve unplanned but beautiful results. Well, here is another method that will keep you in suspense until it dries and you unroll it!

Again, you'll need to rip or cut a piece of plain muslin, gather up the acrylic paints that you want to use, and find an old bottle (wine bottles are perfect), some paint brushes, and a rubber band.  Again, I will note here that I use heavy bodied acrylic paints, diluted with plain water, not fabric paints or textile medium.  My fabrics are all used in projects that don't need to have a soft feel or stand up to repeated washings. 

1. Make sure your fabric is thoroughly dampened, but not dripping wet. Holding diagonal corners, twist it. Start at one corner which you'll anchor to the bottle with the rubber band. Twist the entire piece and tuck the second corner under the band as well.

2. Using your first color, thinned with a fair amount of water, paint a thick stripe along the outer edge of your fabric.  Colors used throughout: Dioxazine purple and Quinacridone magenta

3. Add an additional color or colors to the rest of the coil. Use a lot of paint and a lot of water to ensure that the color seeps through the entire coil.

4. Let it dry undisturbed. Most of the time this will take overnight at least.

5. Unwrap and untwist the fabric, and iron it flat to heat set the paints.

This post contains affiliate links.

Copyright 2009 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Painting fabric in a bag

Over the next couple of weeks, I want to turn our focus to fabric painting. Now that it's getting warmer, this is a wonderful activity to do, maybe on your picnic table or on a sunny porch table.

Painting your fabric in a plastic bag is a great technique to choose when you want a surprise: you never know what you're going to end up with when you let everything swirl around together in a bag. So rip off a length of plain muslin and gather up your acrylic paints, small cups, water, and oh yeah...a gallon sized plastic bag.  Note: I do not use fabric paints or textile medium.  Since these fabrics are going to be used in fiber art projects and not washed, I am not concerned about the stiffness of the fabric or fading. 

You can see what I used this fabric for here.

1. Wet your fabric thoroughly, and ring it out so that it is wet but not puddling. Place it into the plastic bag.

2. Working from lightest to darkest color, mix your paints with water if they need it until they are very thin. Pour a thin stream of paint into the bag as you knead the fabric around.  Colors used: Hansa yellow light, Cobalt teal, Turquoise phthalo

3. Repeat with the other colors. Don't overwork the fabric or you'll end up with nothing but solid colored blend. It is usually best to work with analogous colors, avoiding complementaries or triadic colors which will blend to become muddy.

4. Remove the fabric, but keep it wadded up. Let it dry undisturbed.

5. Iron the fabric flat.

6. Choose some stencils or stamps and add any more layers of paint embellishment that you wish to liven up your design.

7. Iron the fabric again, this time ironing slowly and thoroughly to heat set the paints. Once they are properly heat set, you will even be able to wash the fabric without ruining the patterns you've created.

This post contains affiliate links.

Copyright 2009 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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