It’s been an eternity since I’ve actually posted any completed art here, and it’s only partially because I haven’t been creating. I’ve been working on some projects, albeit slowly and sporadically, but I’ve not completed many lately.
However, I have a few things I finished up a while ago and just never got around to posting.
First up, here’s a return to something I love, but don’t do a ton of anymore, and that’s upcycling. The last upcycled project I completed had to be, uh, like six years ago, which, holy shit, is longer than I thought, but I was definitely in our old apartment and Bear wasn’t around yet, so yeah. Jesus.
That time around, it was an old, rusted out decorative birdhouse that had been languishing and rusting away in my parents’ yard, and after a fresh coat of paint, some rub on appliques, and a bit of decoupage, it looked awesome. This time, it was the broken pieces of an old pedestal ashtray.
Most of it was pretty broken down, but for some reason when they pried the ashtray base off, my father turned to me and asked if I wanted these two pieces, “to paint, or whatever.” I mean, I probably need to start saying “no” to some of these offers of refuse, lest this become an Altoid tin situation¹, but I was pretty sure I had a decent idea for what I wanted to do with this.
My first thought was decoupage, but now that I’m no longer doing mail trades, scrapbooking, or thrifting the way I used to, I’m fairly limited as to my materials; really all I have are back issues of Cosmo, and that’s a pretty narrow range of thematic options to work with. So I finally settled to straight up repainting.
I did all the work in craft acryllic (Applebarrel); undilluted black for the base background, and very thin wash of navy, blue, and white for the nebulae. I also used a cheap children’s paintbrush with stiff plastic bristles to splatter the stars (in antique white), and then free-handed the planets (loosely based on those in our solar system). I sort of wish I had a stencil for these , but I’m okay with the shapes for the most part (the exception being the ersatz-y Jupiter, which looks a little wonky). I textured them with a round brush, using stippling, and a lot of layering with diluted paints.
I finished it with a coat of gloss Mod Podge, and layered the two pieces to create the idea of planets orbiting the sun. Sadly, when I actually assembled it, the hot glue I had on hand didn’t hold well enough, so I attached the pieces with nails… which sadly split the wood on the ring, but only on one side, so I don’t think I have to worry about it falling apart. Still, I’m sad about the way the crack mars the project, which overall I’m very happy with. This is going to hang in Bear’s room once the Mod Podge cures fully in a day or so.
I’ve got to keep my eye out for more things to transform, because upcycling is so crazy satisfying, to take something people have given up on and make it something people are, like, envious of (seriously, I got more comments on this project on Facebook than on any of my original art in the last year).
What are you all working on lately?
¹The nearly 50 empty Altoid tins my parents collected for me when I was doing altered boxes — which I keep meaning to return to, but haven’t yet — and are currently taking up a ton of space in my craft corner.