Thursday, July 05, 2018

Art Supply Steals, Deals and Hacks

I have an addiction to buying art supplies - buying, not necessarily using.  I have the best of intentions when making a new purchase.  I get a project in mind and while committing to purchasing whatever it is for whatever I plan to use it for, I promise myself that this is going to happen.  Like I said, the best of intentions.

Sometimes I start a project and realize it is going to take much too long and give up before I finish.  Other times I realize the fantastic project I had in mind is beyond my skill level and that I need to start out out simpler.  Often it is just that I simply take on too big of a project and realize that I have to start smaller and build up to something bigger.   In the very worst of cases, I start to get a compulsion to have something.  I start obsessing and really feel like I HAVE to have whatever it is.

I started to feel guilty of spending so much on art supplies.  Even though I am a bargain shopper art supplies are costly.  To reduce costs I slowly started buying "used" art supplies.  Often these are new or like new.  I buy a good number of my supplies second hand now - 1) because the cost is reduced, 2) because I get more bang for my buck, but also 3) because I hate to see waste.  I am passionate about recycling, upcycling, reusing, etc.  The consumerism in America is really horrendous - it is excessive, especially compared to other countries.  As much as I am against this in theory, having a compulsion to buy something does not help so I feel less guilty when buying second hand.  I am saving something from being dumped in a landfill and hopefully putting something to use that would have been otherwise wasted.

Where do get my art supplies?  New supplies I buy from both small, independent stores and large, big box retailers - I will list my favorites in a separate post.  For second hand supplies I mainly buy at garage and yard sales, ebay, and other online retailers but my favorite place is the Scrap Exchange, a re-use center in Durham.   Some of the pricing can be inconsistent but I generally get a great deal on markers, pens, pencils and inks.  I also my vintage papers, old office supplies, storage containers, etc.

Whatever the case I have a sh*t-ton of art supplies.  I committed this year to using what I have, minimizing what I buy (especially if new) AND repairing or making my own art supplies.  Lately I have made my own ink pad refresher, blending pen refills, DIY gelli plate and modeling paste (new post to follow soon).  I have revived dried out markers (water and alcohol based) and invested in ink pads AND ink pad refills.  In addition to re-inking old ink pads the re-inkers are pretty versatile - these can be used for water coloring, dying different materials, etc. I'll be posting and sharing how-to's and such.

I look forward to sharing all of these with you so please visit often and feel free to share your own tips, tricks and hacks.  For my first post please see colored modeling paste hack .

Colored Modeling Paste Hack

Modeling paste is one of the pricier art supplies.  I have a sampler kit that I love but the full size products can be very expensive.  I found a few recipes online to make your own modeling paste. 

Out of the recipes I found the one I chose to go with was:
- 1 part white acrylic craft paint
- 1 part talcum powder (dollar store)
- 1/2 part white glue / school glue

When mixing the modeling paste I ran out of white craft paint so substituted with gesso.  I wanted the mixture a little thicker also so kept experimenting until it was the consistency that I desired. 

After I finished the first batch I decided to try mixing with stamp dye refill.  I ended up making two batches but kept a larger jar of the white modeling pasted.  These film canisters were the perfect size to stir and store the colored samples. 

How to:
- Pour homemade modeling paste into a film canister or other small container - fill no more than 2/3
- Add a few drops of your favorite dye (I used Stampin' Up and Memento Brand dye ink refills)
- Stir until fully blended.  It helps to keep scraping the sides to get an even mixture.  Since the container is clear it is easy to see if you need to continue scraping and stirring.
- Repeat adding color and stirring until you are happy with the results.

I kept adding a few drops until I got the color I wanted.  I found that some colors (yellow and blue for example) took much less dye where others I had to add quite a bit more to get the right amount of color saturation.  Once finished I labeled each container.

I also made a small sample using dye and Pearl Ex powdered pigment.  The iridescent finish is very subtle and I unfortunately had to use quite a bit of the pigment.  I think it would be more cost effective to use a white paste, then apply pearl-ex as normal once the modeling paste was dry. 

My review:

- Quick and easy to make
- Inexpensive
- Practically effortless color customization

- Mixture was a little thinner than commercial modeling paste.  I found that it was easier to apply by dabbing vs. spreading it.
- The homemade paste worked better on the stencil designs that were not as fine or intricate.  The larger the area to cover, the better. 
- Drying time was longer.

Please note that the finish was matte.  If you want a glossy or translucent finish I would suggest coating with a glaze once finished.  Using  a glossy paint and less powder may also give it less of a matte finish.

If you try this I would love to hear how it worked for you!  Please feel free to share in the comments below :)

See the photos below.  

Back to business!

After a long sabbatical I have slowly decided to blog again.  Why the long break?  We simply became so busy in our day to day lives that I really no longer had the time that I once did.  The children - now young adults - had become so busy with school, sports, social lives, etc.  I also have several interests (reading, art, working out, etc.) so really had to prioritize what I wanted do with the limited time I  had (and still have).  I had also simply lost an interest in blogging.  I really felt like I wanted to be sharing information about things that I am passionate about so although I may still do product reviews and host giveaways, it will be more tailored to where I am at in my life now.  The content will be more closely mirrored to my current hobbies, interests and day to day experiences. 

I hope to slightly reformat the blog but realize how much I have forgotten - my tech skills are definitely a little rusty.  Unfortunately I had to delete most of the former content from my blog - one of the links I had posted for a partner was against Google's TOS.  Unfortunately they would not tell me which blog post so in frustration I eventually deleted most of them.  I tried re-posting all of the content but it was simply too time consuming and then I honestly just did not even see the point of doing so.

I hope that my former readers will still choose to re-visit Momanthology.    I have missed your visits and your comments and have also missed liaising with other bloggers and PR partners.   It will be great to hear from you again and rejoin the land of the living - cyber-living anyways! 

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