Paint up a present

Waterloo Region Record - - Real Estate - DEB­BIE TRAVIS Writ­ten by Deb­bie Travis and Bar­bara Din­gle. Email dec­o­rat­ing ques­tions to house­[email protected]­bi­etravis.com Fol­low Deb­bie at in­sta­gram.com/deb­bie_­travis, face­book.com/thedeb­bi­etravis, deb­bi­etravis.com

Dear Deb­bie;

Any ideas for Christ­mas crafty projects with the kids. I like to get them into the spirit of mak­ing or per­son­al­iz­ing gifts. — Fran­nie

Dear Fran­nie;

Chil­dren love projects, es­pe­cially when work­ing and play­ing along with mom or dad. It’s a won­der­ful way to share time with your kids and the re­sults may sur­prise you … did you know they were that artis­tic? There are so many ideas, but let’s start with de­sign­ing wrap­ping pa­per.

For this recipe you do need oil­based paint, so care must be taken when han­dling toxic paint thin­ner. You need a pan large enough to lay out the pa­per you are dec­o­rat­ing. (A plas­tic kitty lit­ter pan works well.) Be­gin by mak­ing the gel. In a saucepan dis­solve 1 ½ cups corn­starch in 1 ½ cups cold wa­ter. Add 3 cups wa­ter and bring to boil stir­ring and whisk­ing con­stantly. When it reaches a boil, take off the heat and pour into pan. Let it sit un­til it cools and turns into a thick gel, about 15 or 20 min­utes. Mix artist’s oil colours with paint thin­ner so that they are quite runny. Lib­er­ally ap­ply the first paint colour to an artist’s brush, then, with a stir stick, tap and splat­ter the paint over the sur­face of the gel. Add as many colours as you want. Blend the colours us­ing the wooden end of the paint brush to make de­signs. Lay the pa­per flat over the sur­face, mak­ing sure that it is all touch­ing the paint. Lift the pa­per out care­fully and carry it to the sink. Rinse the gel off the pa­per. The paint will ad­here be­cause it’s oil. Hang the pa­per to dry overnight. Iron flat us­ing a low heat set­ting. This makes beau­ti­ful re-us­able wrap­ping pa­per, or can be cut out in shapes for tree or­na­ments.

Kids are al­ways bring­ing art home from school. Although it’s im­pos­si­ble to keep ev­ery last piece, here’s an al­ter­na­tive to stick­ing them up on the fridge. Make a colour­ful in­door clothes line for hang­ing the pic­tures. Cut lengths of string about four feet long. Colour the string by dunk­ing it into wa­ter-based paint, squeez­ing it out and hang it to dry. Paint wooden clothes pegs, and dec­o­rate them with dots or sparkles. Hang the string on a wall, the best height for kids to reach and clip their art­work on with the pegs. This way they can man­age their own dis­plays.

Craft and dol­lar stores have lots of un­painted wooden items in­clud­ing frames, lit­tle bird houses, boxes, let­ters, num­bers and or­na­ments. Why not try some cre­ative fin­ishes to dec­o­rate these pieces. De­coupage sim­pli­fied is the art of cut and paste. Choose a theme, for ex­am­ple, bugs, birds, or geo­met­ric shapes. Find small pic­tures and cut them to fit around a frame. Over a dry, painted frame ad­here pic­tures with de­coupage glue. Ap­ply 3 coats of acrylic var­nish to seal the pic­tures and fin­ish the frame.

Dear read­ers;

I am ex­cited to an­nounce the pub­li­ca­tion of my new book, DE­SIGN YOUR NEXT CHAP­TER: How to Re­al­ize Your Dreams and Rein­vent Your Life. Draw­ing from my own ex­pe­ri­ences and the up­lift­ing sto­ries shared by oth­ers, this in­spi­ra­tional book is for any­one who has ever asked them­selves “What is next for me?” Avail­able Novem­ber 20 – pre-or­der now: www.ama­zon.com; www.in­digo.ca.

Home­made wrap­ping pa­per makes a gift pack­age even more spe­cial. Thinned down artist’s oils are splat­tered over a corn­starch gel, then the pa­per is laid over the paint de­sign, rinsed and hung to dry.

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