Artsy-Fartsy Stripey-Washi DIY

Yum yum all the pretty stripey colors!

Yum yum all the pretty stripey colors!

I know what you're thinking - "Oooh, washi up to today!?" (haha. PUNS! ALWAYYYS awesome.)

OK, So I had seen this really cool crafty DIY thing on (where else?) Pinterest several months ago, and finally got around to doing it last night during what feels like Week Twelve Hundred and Forty Ninety Seventy Eleven (a long time) of my annual art studio cleanout / restructure. 

Original blogpost I saw this on: Taped Work Table by Elise @ enJOY it

Now watch me take this boring white drawer unit *I think this was actually my oldest kid's original baby dresser that's been repurposed over the years. He's 20 now. Ahhhh, I KNOW! They just don't make cheap particleboard furniture like they used to ;-) and turn it into a fabulously colorful striped decor piece! I chose to do it on this piece for the size, and the fact it had nice straight edges that would work well with strips of tape and would be easy to keep straight lines.

Snoozy ol' boring white assemble-it-yaself drawer unit, approx 20 years old

Snoozy ol' boring white assemble-it-yaself drawer unit, approx 20 years old

Several bright, solid colors of paper tape - about 3/4" wide

Several bright, solid colors of paper tape - about 3/4" wide

I used the same paper washi tape as Elise did - the solid color Kid Made Modern brand sold in the arts & crafts section at Target. Only *my* Target wasn't carrying it at the time I started looking for it,  and I ended up getting mine on eBay, so I have somewhat different colors than the ones you might find. (OH, how I wish I'd had the purple rather than pink!)  It's a nice thick quality of matte finish paper and has pretty good adhesive (except for one yellow roll that was a dud halfway thru and was almost completely PAPER, with no TAPE, weird ...)  I knew I wanted solid stripes and nothing with a pattern, but I figure you could use any decent quality washi with no problem.

I cleaned the drawer top and up underneath the edges really well with a spray cleaner and once it was dry I basically just started at one edge, rolled out a strip of my first color, and kept going from there. I had no color scheme or plan, just eyeballed it as I went. I made sure to go right up under the lip of the drawer-top, and after I was finished with all my stripes, I ran a strip of clear packing tape (cut in half lengthwise) along the washi tape ends on back of the unit - remember it's pre-fab particleboard furniture, that has the cardboard backing, so the paper tape would not have stayed firmly stuck to that for long - As well as one under the front edge, where all the tape ends went up under the lip; you can't see it, and it doesn't affect the opening and closing of the top drawer at all.

All taped, sealed (on edges with clear packing tape) and putting my cubby shelf back in place!

All taped, sealed (on edges with clear packing tape) and putting my cubby shelf back in place!

Took me about an hour start to finish, and that was WITH a brief pit-stop in the kitchen to make some pasta for dinner! I replaced the cubbies unit that normally sits atop these drawers, and love the whole look. This room has A LOT of color, and this project really perked up what was probably the most plainest white space in the whole room. LOVE it! And it cost me like $2 (what I paid on eBay for the tape) so it was probably my singlemost easy & inexpensive DIY ever!

I don't use this unit as a work surface, usually just -a place to stack random piles of stuff- I mean: storage - so I am not too concerned with protecting the tape, but I may see if the Mister has some spare Plexiglass in the garage and have him fashion me a top to go over it, just in case. On a full size desk or other work surface, I would definitely go for a custom cut glass top - and of course you could always varnish or seal with some kind of acrylic - but I like the rather temporary and easily switched out nature of leaving it un-sealed.

TA-DA! Easy-Peasey DIY-sy!

I love how it looks like a little striped awning on the roof of a shop or something <3

I love how it looks like a little striped awning on the roof of a shop or something <3

Prompted Intuitive Collage

Cleaning out some bins and baskets in the studio over the weekend - came across a bunch of old works I'd forgotten about, including this Asian flavor mixed media postcard. Done using a prompted intuitive collage technique (yes, I know prompted & intuitive seem like they'd cancel each other out, but just trust me, it's a fun process)

I may have a tutorial on this technique somewhere in an earlier blog post, and if I find it I will update with a link to it here. But in case not, here's the breakdown of this card:

PROMPTED COLLAGE - "Legendary & Beautiful" - April 2, 2007
started with plain white cardstock, cut down to 4x6 inch postcard size
I have a container with the prompts printed & cutout on individual slips of paper, and they are:
3-D - chalk - charcoal - draw - ink - magazine - paint - paper - pastels - pattern - pencil - photograph - sand - stamp - scratch - smudge - spatter - surprise - text - wipe - write
and I draw one out at a time - that's the prompted part! the intuitive part is obviously however you choose to interpret and use the word you've pulled.


1 ) STAMP - rubberstamped cherry blossom branches in black StazOn ink
2) PAINT - painted entire card surface with watercolor wash
3) PAPER - added some Asian joss paper acccents
4) PENCIL - colored in the branches of the cherry blossom stamps
5) SURPRISE - added printed image of geisha
6) DRAW - used silver pen to add swirl accents at edges
7) MAGAZINE - added title text from magazine clipping
8) CHARCOAL - edged the magazine text with charcoal
9) SMUDGE - smudged the charcoal to blend it in
10) 3D - added the shimmery butterfly (a broken necklace bit)

Sprayed the card with matte acrylic sealer and called it done!

Hope you liked this little blast-from-my-artistic-past! I used to use this technique all the time to jump start me when I was feeling stuck on a piece or just not feeling particularly creative, and I'd totally forgotten about it until I was cleaning things out! So now I am looking forward to using it again real soon. Print out your own prompts (doesn't hafta be my exact list - use whatever you want!) and have a fun time making something, with just the *teeniest* bit of guidance You'll love it!

xoxo gem

Upcycled Rice Bag Pillow

Ta-Da! As promised (to myself) I made a quick & easy craft today - one I've been meaning to do for awhile but yaddayaddablah just put it off along with everything else.

Anyway, I've made a cute decorator throw pillow upcycled from a rice bag.

I got a

buncha cool ricebags

from my friend Patricia over the summer, and I figured I'd either make a tote bag or pillow out of them - the pillow seemed easier and quicker

(and just all around more doable with my limited patience and sewing skills)

This one was a practice run with the smallest of the bags - and while I could have gone the

"Super Easy Cheaty Route"

and just stuffed it as-is with fiberfill and zipped the sucker closed, I didn't! I cut off the top portion with the zipper and handle, re-sewed around the entire perimeter with a straight machine stitch, filled it with polyfill, then sewed the top shut. It's a bit wonky

(Unstraight Threadlines! hello, good buddy!)

and the top is kinda "rustic" with it's ravelled edging, but I think it turned out cute enough for what was literally a 20 minute top-to-bottom completed project. Including the 5 minutes it took me to rethread my sewing machine, which I still have to haul out the manual for cuz that's how often I use it :D

I ran outta polyfill so I only made the one, but since that was my goal, I'm happy :) And I plan to do a bit more involved of a job on the others and might even use pillow forms on them - we'll see!

Let's hope this is the start of a nice, productive, creative roll for me ...


~ gem ~