Studio Play – February – Lighthouse Mini

Hi guys! I was playing around in the studio yesterday and decided to prep a bunch of surfaces for some new work. I got some great ideas from other artists about using some recycled materials for backgrounds that I had never thought of and decided to try it out. I literally combed through my garbage bag near my work station and dug out some packaging that I had thrown away. I gesso’d it up, and began to play with it.

In this blog post I am sharing the transformation of the packaging strip in the photo below, marked This One. I will show how I took this packaging and transformed it into a piece of art – my Lighthouse Mini!

Lighthouse Mini by Danita Lyn

The first thing I did was add a gesso layer to the front and back of the cardboard packaging. After the gesso layer, I added some dimension and stability using modeling paste and some stencils.

Lighthouse Mini - 01 by Danita Lyn

I then added some paper layers to the front and back. By this time, it was firm enough to work on, and there was no indication that it was ever a piece of packaging!

Lighthouse Mini - 02 by Danita Lyn

I added some pigment so some of the modeling paste and added a bit here and there.

Lighthouse Mini - 03 by Danita Lyn

Then I added some bits of this napkin (which did NOT come out of the garbage). I love using these beautiful napkins in backgrounds. I find that I prefer to open the napkin up and separate the layers so that I can use just the printed layer like tissue paper. I add this layer with matte medium or decopauge glue. I literally melts into the cracks and crevices created by the previous layers and looks amazing.

Lighthouse Mini - 04 by Danita Lyn

Once I had my background down, I added some paints and  a bit of ink to it, then finished off the piece with my embellishments. I used some die cut paper decor, a bit of burlap, vintage ribbon, twine and of course a sea shell.

Lighthouse Mini - 05 by Danita Lyn

It’s a little shiny because it was still a little wet when I took the photo. I cover everything with a coat of matte medium so that it has a flat look because that’s just what I prefer.

Lighthouse Mini - 07 by Danita Lyn

I love the way it turned out. There’s no way I would look at this and know that it was made from recycled packaging!

Originally, I wasn’t planning on making this a tutorial. I just took some shots while I was working just in case I wanted to review them later. Anywhoo, I hope you enjoyed it!

~Danita Lyn

DIY:Staining Concrete Floors

Aside

Staining concrete floors is a breeze, and a great way to create a big impact with a little dent in your wallet.  We recently remodeled our home, and staining the floor of  my vintage room, was a big project but TOTALLY worth it.  When we removed the old flooring, and I could see that the concrete underneath was a beautifully worn out, old, golden concrete and I loved it! Instead of covering with another flooring, I decided to leave that and work with it to keep the aged, worn look and just add a stain to the existing concrete floor.  Staining a concrete is not too difficult, and can be a great DIY project to try!

After researching the basic ‘how to’s’ online, I went to Home Depot and Lowe’s to check out the staining materials.  They have kits there with everything you need to create a beautifully stained floor.  The staff at Home Depot was quite knowledgeable about the process.  I bought one of the kits for about $100 and headed home to create my masterpiece.

Realizing the kit was more than I needed,  I decided to return it the next day, and just buy the stain, sealer(much cheaper this way), a few brushes, and drop cloths, and wing it.

What I am trying to say is…don’t be afraid of it.  It was easy peasy.  You can buy the kit, and follow the directions, uses the sprayer and stain the floors(the kit even comes with a CD to teach you), or you can clean your floors, draw a pattern, and hand brush it.  Either way, is the right way.  Once I finished I rolled on 3 coats of varnish and ta-daaaaa…it came out gorgeous!!

This is basically how I did it. First you will want to clean your floor, to remove any residue that might resist the stain, like glue, sealed paint, oil, things like that.  If the stain can’t ‘stain’, it won’t work.  The concrete has to absorb it, so remove anything that might interfere with that.  The floor should be completely clean. However, if there are previous stains, and marks it may enhance the look you are trying to create.  For me, I loved the grunge of the old flooring left behind…so I left it.

Once your floor is clean, you will want to mark out your pattern.  We used a chalk line to make our grid marks for the harlequin pattern.  If you’re using a stencil, follow their directions.  Notice…this is NOT the final design…we had to erase and re-snap the lines a few times until I felt it was right…and that’s ok.

After looking at these lines on the floor I decided I wanted more of a ‘rug’ look, so I opted to add a border.  The border eliminated the need to get the lines on the edge perfect in an imperfect room.  I created a perfect box in the center of the room and just stained the floor all the way to the wall.  It helped to hide the fact that the room’s imperfect lines tremendously!! Many rooms are not perfectly square, so by creating my own rectangle from the center out, made it easy to get the harlequin lines perfect and not worry about the outer edges.

Then it was time to put in the pattern. We snapped the lines with chalk first, then I went over them with a contractors pencil.  The pencil graphite actually mixed with the stain and added a cool charcoal looking outline to the stain.  If you are going for a more clean look, you may want to use white chalk instead.

Then it was basically like coloring in a coloring book.  I painted the stain inside my pattern, let it dry, and then sealed it.  It was time consuming, but overall, not too hard.  It came out beautifully, and is VERY easy to maintain.  I love it, and would do it again.

I love to entertain in this room, and have friends. I sit in my vintage room every morning to drink my coffee, and plan my day.  It’s my favorite room in the house.