Recently, we rearranged our living room. We’ve been in our current place for about two years now, and I guess that’s how long it takes before we start itching to rearrange and add new decor. Our TV used to be on the mantle (I know, terrible, but we don’t have a whole lot of options). It’s now in front of a window, which I’m not sure is much better, but we no longer have to strain our necks way up to watch movies and, the best part is that it opens up a huge new project space: a mantle to decorate! And, I am not taking this responsibility lightly.
I found some old framed needlepoint woodland creatures that I’ve deemed mantle-worthy, but that still left about 3/4 of the space left to be filled. Thinking about keeping with the woodland theme, I rummaged through all the old frames, canvases, etc. I have lying around. I came across this wooden plaque (which are super cheap to pick up at Hobby Lobby) and a few frames. The plaque actually fit perfectly in one of the frames and I got the idea to make a faux deer head “mounted” on the plaque.
This is a seriously easy project that’s fun and whimsical but visually bold. You could really use any image or colors, but I wanted to play off of the idea of (the animal-friendly version of) a mounted deer head, and I mounted the plaque to the outside of the frame, instead of to the back, to enhance this feeling.
Silhouette of a deer ( I just googled it and printed out my favorite, found here)
Self-healing cutting mat ( I love this one for small projects)
Acrylic Paint (background color of choice, I went with black)
Silver or Gold Sharpie or paint
9001 or other high-strength adhesive
Paint wooden plaque desired color and let thoroughly dry. Make sure silhouette is properly sized for the plaque. Once you have the right size, cut on the image outline with an X-acto knife on a self-healing mat. Once your image is cut out, secure it with a few small pieces of tape to the plaque, so it doesn’t move around and trace with a pencil.
Remove image and make any adjustments or artistic changes to the outline. Then, trace the pencil line with a silver or gold Sharpie. The silver and gold Sharpies have more of a paint-like quality to them, so I don’t recommend trying black or other colors. Fill in the outline once and let dry for a few minutes.
Going the other direction, add a second layer of Sharpie, using the side of the tip to sort of paint it on. Last, retrace the image to make sure the edges are clean. You can do any small damage repair with a black Sharpie. Once the plaque is dry, apply adhesive to frame where the plaque will be. Let the adhesive become tacky for a few minutes before pressing the plaque into place. Once in place, set a heavy stack of books or other objects on top of the plaque to bond. Let sit for a few hours. There you have it!
I know this will be a lovely addition to the the rest of the little creatures I’ve already got pegged for the wall. Stay tuned to get a view of the full mantle once it’s finished!
I always seem to get into the Valentine’s day spirit pretty early. Not because I’m a particularly mushy person. Not because I love pink and glitter and stuffed bears and chocolate. Nope. It goes back to the fact that I have to have plenty of time to get Valentine’s crafts in. Every year growing up, I would make valentines for everyone in my class, my teacher, friends, and relatives. All completely homemade.This tradition went back to my great-grandmother and each year, my mother, brother and I would pore through heaps of paper doilies, glitter glue, sequins, buttons, ribbons and books with old Victorian photos we’d cut out and use.
We would sit around our dining room table coming up with new variations on “Roses are red, Violets are blue…” only sometimes reusing what we had masterfully crafted in years past. And we would write each poem with care into the little construction paper heart cards covered in all kinds of lacy, heart-filled goodness. This was a real commitment, folks. And worth every second. The whole Valentine’s season just screams “be crafty!”— it is ingrained in me.
Not until recent years have I continued to come across retro valentines with hilarious, corny and sometimes downright creepy sayings and characters. The last time I saw some in an antique shop, I knew I had to snatch them up, though I didn’t know what I’d do with them.
Since our Christmas decorations have come down (admittedly a little late) there has been a void of candles and mantle-type items. The fact that we have an odd amount of votives (or vases I use as such) and the inspiration of the weirdest of all valentines with a girl in a cauldron being cooked over a fire, I thought these would be the perfect use for the valentines.
All you need is:
clear candle votives
old valentines or clippings
tissue paper (optional)
Let’s get started:
First, wash the votives with hot soapy water and dry. Make sure your clippings or cards are cropped as you’d like them. For heavier stock paper that will be adhered to a round votive, it’s best curl the paper to the shape of the votive by placing your thumbs on the underside, index fingers on the top, and rolling your wrists outward to make the shape into an arc. The paper will begin to conform in the same manner as if you take scissors to a ribbon. This will prevent the heavier stocks from cracking or peeling away from the votive.
Paint Modpodge onto the back of the valentine and stick the valentine to the votive. Starting in the middle, press the paper down in small motions, making sure to get out any air bubbles. Paint Modpodge over valentine and glass, going in one direction and paying special attention to the edges, where they are prone to curl up. If this is your first Modpodge experience, don’t be alarmed, it will dry clear though it looks white at first. Let dry completely, about 15-20 minutes. Cover with a second coat, let dry and viola! Mantle-ready.
Another variation is to use tissue paper as a background to the valentine. In this case, paint one stripe of Modpodge the length of the vase or votive. Press tissue paper gently onto this strip. Continue to paint in strips around the votive, pressing the tissue paper gently down each time, all the way around. Cut off all but 1/4 in. of excess tissue paper at the top and bottom. Fold in the top and under the bottom, and Modpodge them into place. Cut off excess where the seam meets and Modpodge into place. The Modpodge will soak through the tissue paper, so allow to dry completely before touching, or it will tear. Once dry, cover the back of the valentine with Modpodge and add to the tissue paper covered votive. Cover entire votive with one coat of Modpoge. Allow to dry, then cover valentine portion with one more coat. There you have it!
I hate to play favorites, but the girl in the cauldron is really taking the cake on this one.
At some point in high school, I came to own the book Perfect Pairs. It’s an adorable little picture book with stars from black and white films. Immediately, I knew I couldn’t keep all of these wonderful images pent up in this book, so, knowing I would find some way to display them, I cut out my favorites as silhouettes. I ended up arranging them on canvases as a collage multiple times, but never liked anything enough to glue it down.
Fast forward 7 or 8 years. I had carried these cutouts with me for years in one craft box or another… I was an art major after all, so I have quite a collection of these boxes.
Sometime between snagging 75 cent “damaged” (or charming, character-filled) frames from Hobby Lobby‘s clearance section and coming across these cutouts, I was struck with an idea to put the two together. Knowing I would need a little splash of color, I decided to put scrapbook paper behind the images.
Besides the intricate gold frame below on the left (which my brother picked up for me at a junk shop), I estimate that this project cost me around $10 total.
This project is ridiculously cheap and an incredibly easy way to fill up wall space with multiple small frames. And I can say, after years of carrying around these movie star scraps, I couldn’t be happier with how they ended up being displayed.
You could really cut out silhouettes of anything you like, including black paper into shapes or pictures you took yourself. Have fun making your own silhouette art on the cheap!