Saturday, August 11, 2012

Helmar August Challenge

Want a challenge? Did you know that challenges help keep creative block at bay? Did you know Helmar hosts a Monthly Challenge? All you have to do is fallow this image's suggestions and add them to your next project/Layout and upload it to our Flicker account each month.

So its as EASY as that. Just include the required Elements and load your 
completed project to the Helmar Flickr page  

 Embellishment challenge

Monday, August 6, 2012

Today's Readers are Tomorrow's Leaders - Melted Crayon Canvas

Welcome once again everyone!

Just a quick note:

I am excited to show you a terrific altered, melted, distressed, torn up, colored on and painted canvas I made as one of my many back to school projects. Okay, so its not your normal "distressed" look but I can guarantee you these crayons were all up tight and pretentious looking, you know the type... perfect right out of the box. They NEEDED to find a way to be de-stressed, oh wait that was me. Hehe. Leave a comment below if Crafting helps you relax... atleast until you see the mess you made and have to clean up... LOL!

I have seen these projects all over Pinterest, so I decided to make one up for my Happy Helmar Home, it would be great for a home work/education station or even a classroom gift for a teacher, oh, Oh, OH even in the library at school! That is the PERFECT place for this project!

Helmar Gesso Faber Castell Crayon Canvas Readers are leaders

Hope you have a cup of coffee or tea with you right now and a snack. Stick with me for the long haul... it will be worth it. I had to give you fair warning.
Helmar Gesso Faber Castell Crayon Canvas Readers are leaders beginingh canvas

If you know me I tried to do this as cheaply as possible. So let me break it down for you.

Knowing we are all in the need for great projects that cost very little in this Economic times I do my best to keep my cost down. "Decorating on a Dollar" as I like to call it.
Yard Sale find! See this golfing canvas? It is 2'x2' and would cost me a pretty penny at craft and hobby stores for a blank one. However I found this one at a yard sale... for how much you ask? Not $15 markdown price ... not $4.99 and not even the final yard sale price marked on it of $3... I bought this for $1.50! I am a haggler! Compare that to $30 - $40 for the new one.

The only thing I bought for this project (that was not in my craft room was the crayons. But I made sure I got those on sale. and this time of year there are plenty of great back to school prices on crayons. It took me three packs of them to complete this project once I took out the blacks, greys, whites and browns. I bought each of the 24 packs of crayons for $0.49 each totaling $1.47 cents.

Helmar Gesso Faber Castell Crayon Canvas Readers are leaders first layer of gessoThis project cost me less then $3 to put together! Now that is frugal!
Here is how it was done.

Step #1: Clean and let the painting dry completely

Step #2: Brush a smooth layer of Gesso over the entire canvas. Because of the dark and light high contrast in this canvas print I decided to do two layers to make sure the image was completely covered. Let it dry between coats and again completely before moving to step #3.

Step #3: Remove pages from a old damaged children's book and lay them out on the canvas to the desired pattern and placement. Then cover the canvas with Decoupage And Craft Paste by Helmar, and use it to adhere the book pages into place. Let dry completely before moving on to step #4.
Helmar Gesso Faber Castell Crayon Canvas Readers are leaders Decoupage book pages

TIP: I worked in sections and then added a couple of pages at a time to avoid the paste from drying prior to me applying the book pages. This also helps to give you time to work all the bubbles out.
Helmar Gesso Faber Castell Crayon Canvas Readers are leaders PIT pen drawing letters
Step #4: Water down some Gesso to create a white wash. Cover the entire canvas (now covered with book pages) with the white wash. This allows the book pages to fade into the background of this project. Again let dry completely.

Step #5: Print out and/or trace you phrase of choice onto the canvas in the placement you have chosen. Color in with Faber Castell's PIT Pen in black india ink. This pen works great on the dry gesso with crisp clean lines and color that wont fade when Decoupaged over at the end of this project.
OPTION:I f at this point you would rather use die-cut letters and glue them on that would be fine to. I would use Helmar's Decoupage to adhere them to this project.

Helmar Gesso Faber Castell Crayon Canvas Readers are leaders sanding edgesStep #6: Using Core'Dinations Sand it Gadget to "cut" my excess book pages off the edges. Sanding from the front of the canvas towards the back at this angle gave it a slight distressed edge and thinned out the paper enough after a few swipes with this sander to pull the excess off the edges.

Step #7: COLOR TIME! WOO HOO! Take all your crayons out of the box and remove all unwanted colors. Now organize them into color families and arrange them so they "fade" from one color to the next. Being that this was for our family education center I wanted to use all the colors of the rainbow and I had to add pink since it's my daughter's favorite.

Step #8: Using Helmar 450 Quick Dry glue the crayons onto the canvas at the very top with the sharp tips of the crayons pointing down. I wanted to see the names of the colors so I placed them down to keep that portion of the crayon wrapper visible. I placed three glue beads down so the crayons would be adhered to at the top, middle and bottom of the wrappers.

Helmar Gesso Faber Castell Crayon Canvas Readers are leaders 450 to glue down crayons 
TIP: Allow this to dry and set completely before moving on to the next step. I waited overnight even though it was dry to the touch and the crayons were secure in place in just about a min. I waited because I wanted to make sure it was cured and would not be affected by the next step.
Helmar Gesso Faber Castell Crayon Canvas Readers are leaders crayons all glued on
Helmar Gesso Faber Castell Crayon Canvas Readers are leaders crayons being melted
Step #9: Using my hair dryer I took my time melting these beautiful colors. I didn't use my embossing tool because I was afraid it would over heat the crayons to fast and I would not be able to control the distance they melted down or where they melted. Even with the hair dryer I had a few issues. Here are my tips on how to make this work
  1. Hold the dryer at a 90 degree angle to the canvas. This will keep the "wind" from the blow dryer blowing splatters all over the canvas. As you can see in this photo... I tried to just wave it around and got several splatters at odd angles. (might be a cool affect fro a different project tough)
  2. Start melting the crayons at the tips not the middle. The tips at the bottom of the crayons need to be melted frist in order to allow the melted crayon in the middle of the wrapper to flow down the canvas. I melted the middles first on some then the tips and a volcano of color burst down the page almost uncontrollably once the tips was melted enough to "release" it.
  3. Slow and stead wins the control race. Took some time but was definitely fun as you move from color to color. Instant gratification for sure.
Step #10: Take the time to seal this project. I used the Decoupage by Helmar because it is what I had on hand. However please know that I had to do multiple layers over the crayons due to the wax resisting this type of product. If I had to do it again I think I would try a silicone base clear sealer like Helmar's Silicone Adhesive Sealant painted on as thin as possible. I highly suggest you don't sip the sealer because crayon will mark up anything and everything it touches and exposed gesso can take on a dirty thumb print and it won't be able to be washed off. As in my case I had a little 7 year old intrigued with this project pick off one of the pink drips (my fault for adding the pink for her I guess) and then drawing over part of the letters and the book pages. I had to fix this with more  melting, more gesso and a very small brush. Then I decided it needed to be sealed. LOL!

Helmar Gesso Faber Castell Crayon Canvas Readers are leaders
Thank you for taking the time to read this post and I hope you have been inspired to make something for your kid's teachers or your home as well.

Please leave me a comment below with your thoughts and have a Happy Helmar-ific Day!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Luau Cake with Tiki totems and a Waterfall


Yes I am a firm believer in this... "but pie has delicious fruit!" you say? Cake can be filled with fantastic fruits also. See... like I sake Cake is better then pie... plus you can be extremely creative with cake too.

Last month my neighbor contacted me about making a cake for his wife's surprise Luau Tiki party, for her 50th birthday. Now I just do this for fun for my family and friends, so I was thrilled he asked me and had a chance to get creative in the kitchen again.

As I spoke with her best friend we settled on a cake that would look like this one I found online at "MoniCakes Tiki Luau Cake with Waterfall". Great inspiration for sure!

This cake is five layers high with chocolate and vanilla cake layers. The Tiki totems, waterfall and flowers are all modeling chocolate and a gel glaze has also been poured down the front of the waterfall. Brown sugar sand resembles the beach on the back, sides and second layer. I am not a fan of the taste of fondant or gum paste, so I use butter cream to ice the cakes I make and modeling chocolate.

 My favorite side of the cake... I really like my tall tiki man totem...

 The full waterfall view...

The back...

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