Monday, August 1, 2011

Watercolors to go -- from Tip Junkie

Here is a wonderful tutorial for a wonderful idea!  This is something I want to try myself because maybe if I have this handy, I will be able to grab those moments when I feel inspired.  As it is, those moments are simply lost while I try to find things, or set up a place to work, or something. 

This is a great handmade gift to give to any children on your Christmas list, too.  I know I would have loved to receive one of these when I was younger.  Think how many hours of use this little kit will get from the busy and creative imagination of a child.

Hope you like it.  Hope you try it.  If so, leave me a note about the process, won't you?  You can visit the original site here to check out other ideas.


Every winter my dear friend Catherine Newman gives my kids the most inspired gifts- both handmade and boughten.  Last year she gave Ava a fantastic book called An Illustrated Life, a book about illustrated journaling and sketchbooking and it was a huge source of inspiration for her.  When I get her permission, I will post some things she has been working on, but for now I will share with you a little gift that I am currently making for her as she fills her personal sketchbook with beautiful and funny and original work of her own.  There was an idea for this in the book that an artist shared that I have changed a bit but it will allow her to carry water colors with her and as long as she can find some water (usually not difficult) she can transform her black line drawings into something even more spectacular.  And, it's easy, to boot.
  1.  a metal tin (I used a tin that a pair of scissors came in, which was a perfect fit for the "fantastix") polymer clay (sculpey or fimo- go for the soft type).
  2. tubes of watercolors (I went for the cheap type from Michael's for this first try but you could use fancy ones)
  3. Coloring tools such as "fantastix", which are inexpensive and you can find at any art or craft store. They are basically pens without the ink.  The body is filled with a sponge that holds water so you fill it with water and then can use it with the water colors without having a jar of water for your paintbrush.  You could even watercolor in the car!
  4. White metal paint OR a piece of white plastic cut from a tofu or yogurt container that is large enough to fill (or mostly fill) the top of the tin (this is for mixing colors- you want white for that).
  5. A tube of lip balm (you'll see why).
How to make it:
  1. Take one pack of white polymer clay and break in half.  Roll each half into a snake as long as your tin.

Smoosh them so they are flattened along both long sides and then take your lip balm and press 6 wells into each smooshed snake of clay (use the top of the lip balm that is flat).

2. Follow the manufacturer's directions and bake the clay inside of the tin.  After this cools, you can fill the wells with paint.
3. Fill the wells with paint.  Tap the whole thing to flatten the paint into the wells, or use something (like a paintbrush) to flatten it.  Allow this to dry and it will be ready to use.

4. Paint the top of the lid with white metal paint or glue in a piece of white plastic to provide a white area to mix colors.

5. Now it is ready to go.  If you need to, tie a piece of string or use a rubberband to keep the lid secure.  

If you can't find a long tin like this one, you could always just carry the color sticks in your pencil/pen bag.

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