Thursday, July 9, 2015

DIY Home Decorating with Gelli® Prints

Can you answer YES to the following questions? If you do — I have a FUN project for you!!
  1. Do you have a large and growing stash of Gelli® prints?
  2. Do you like DIY home decorating projects?
  3. Do you want to create an artful environment?
  4. Do you have stairs (or a 'bare' area) in your living space?
Yes? Great!! I answered "yes" to these questions, too!

The 'bare' spot in my home is a back staircase. It's straight up, slightly narrow — and screaming for some ART!

At first, I didn't have a clear idea for how I wanted to decorate the space. Hang prints on the empty walls? Then — my vision snapped into focus! A collage of Gelli® prints covering each of the risers!!! Here's the transformation!

Once the idea takes form, and the spark of enthusiasm gets you fired up — it's all about figuring out the logistics. There are endless ways to approach this project. I'll explain how I went about making my stair collages. You may come up with a different plan — and that's great! There's no right or wrong way — just what works best for you!

Fun, isn't it?!!

The first decision is what to use as the substrate for the collages. To be honest, I was looking for a process that would allow for a removable installation — just in case! I considered a variety of materials including primed canvas, stiff non-woven interfacing, wallpaper, heavyweight kraft paper and a few others. Each seemed like it would work. I decided to use primed canvas for its sturdiness and flexibility. Turns out, it's perfect for the job!

The risers on my staircase measure 34.75 inches wide — by 6.25 inches high (accounting for a small strip of moulding across each). It helps to make a paper template, and it's a good idea to check it against each riser. If your risers aren't even, you can make a template for each one, if needed. Then cut your substrate to size — one piece for each riser.

All of the prints selected for this project are from my stash — and printed on either card stock or bristol. The plan is to cut the prints into strips, making them easy to arrange and line up next to each other.

I cut up a TON of prints — way more than I needed!

Cutting the prints into strips goes pretty fast using this Fiskars® 12" paper trimmer. The little blade zips right through the prints. But cutting all that heavyweight painted paper dulls the blade after a while. So if you're slicing up piles of prints, it's good to have an extra blade on hand. The replacement blade drops right into place — easy to swap out.

The next step is deciding on an appropriate adhesive for gluing the prints to the canvas. Again, there are so many different adhesives to choose from. I considered gel medium, matte medium, PVA, decoupage glue and tacky glue — and each would work for this project. But I went in a different direction and used Aleene's® Tack-It Over& Over — applied to the primed side of the canvas.

Here's why:  It's a pressure-sensitive liquid adhesive that's very sticky when dry — which means it turns the canvas substrate into a self-adhesive surface. So you simply lay the printed strips in place on the sticky surface and press — then burnish the whole collage with a bone folder. No buckling wet papers! No drying time! Easy peasy :) The adhesive is designed to create a temporary bond for attaching embellishments to fabric (making them removable) — but I find its bond between paper and canvas is strong.

NOTE:  I discovered when a using a thin coat of Aleene's® Tack-It Over & Over, the papers can be carefully removed after they're in place. When I used a heavy coat of the adhesive, the paper grabbed onto the sticky adhesive and didn't let go — and tore when I tried to remove it. It's worthwhile to do some testing first — especially if you've never worked with this pressure sensitive adhesive before.

Aleene's® Tack-it Over & Over is a very sticky adhesive to work with while wet. I wear disposable gloves to keep it off my hands — and definitely recommend it. I use a 3 inch wide Colour Shaper to squeegee the glue onto the substrate. An old credit card, hotel key card, or piece of mat board would work too. I find scraping the adhesive onto the canvas (instead of brushing it on) is a fast and easy way to apply an even coat with good coverage. Also, be sure to work on a disposable table covering. I place a large piece of heavy kraft paper under each canvas substrate. Remember, this stuff is super-sticky when dry, so you don't want it on your work surface!

After the collages are constructed — while they're still on the kraft paper — apply a coat of DecoArts® Americana Decou-page Matte for a protective finish and let them dry. These are now nice sturdy, sealed pieces — ready to install!

Here's the step-by-step directions for how I created the collages:
  1. Cut prints into strips.
  2. Create a template for the risers.
  3. Cut a piece of primed canvas for each riser.
  4. Apply a layer of Aleene's® Tack-it Over & Over to the primed side of each substrate with a scraper tool.
  5. Allow the glue to dry completely. It goes on white — dries clear — and is very sticky when dry.
  6. Place cut print pieces on the substrate and press in place. Burnish with a bone folder to create a strong bond. 
  7. Squeegee on a thin coat of DecoArt Americana Decou-Page Matte to seal the collages. Let dry.
  8. Remove collage from disposable kraft paper. Trim the pieces that extend beyond your substrate. 

The last step is installing the collages on the stair risers. My risers are painted, and I used Glue Dots® Removable Dots. I applied the dots liberally to the back of each canvas — then firmly pressed each canvas in place against the riser. The collages are holding up nicely in their vertical space! When I tested the removal — the glue dots stuck to the paint, not the canvas — but peeled easily off the paint without any problems. There are various adhesives designed for hanging posters on painted walls (that are supposed to offer easy removal) that may be another way to go. You can explore different options — but test them in an inconspicuous area first.

What a difference! The whole staircase comes to life with colorful FUN! What a great way to display Gelli® prints!!

And one of the best parts is that I've used so much of my Gelli® print stash — it's time to start printing again!!! More fun!!!

If you don't have a staircase, look around for an area that could use a big blast of color. Henry, at Gelli Arts®, creatively mounted some of his prints over the doorways in the Gelli Arts® office!!! Fabulous!!!

You can always interpret the basic idea here to a large stretched canvas or panel — and hang it where it'll make you happy :) So go ahead and "Gelli® up" your home!

Remember, we now have Gelli® partners all over the world, so it's easier than ever to find a Gelli® retailer near you!

One last thing... if you haven't joined us on Instagram - please do! And if you're sharing your Gelli® artwork on Instagram - please be sure to tag us  — @gelliarts! Don't forget to use the hashtags #gelliplate, #gelliprint or #gelli (or all three!!)  — so that way we can find you too!


Have Fun and Happy Printing!

Materials Used In Today's Blog:
Gelli Arts®
Printing Plate
Kraft Paper
Canvas Roll
Fiskars 12"
Portable Trimmer
Aleene's Tack-it
Over & Over
Ergo Teflon
Floder/Folding Rib
Disposable Gloves

Silicone Wide Firm
Flat Brush: Size 3
DecoArt Americana
Decou-Page Matte
Glue Dots
Removable Dots

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