Art Blog

Art Carts

What’s inside MAY Red’s Art Cart?

VaseFlowers banner

Ever heard an artist say, “once you have painted with oils, you will never go back”. I heard it time and time again and when the timing was right I bought a few cheap oils to have a go and never looked back! I began buying good quality oils and brushes and had a love affair with oil painting for the next 4 years!

The MAY Red’s Art Cart is themed around water mixable oil paints and not having picked up a brush and done an oil painting for well over 5 years now, I frighteningly absolutely LOVED putting this Cart together! So much so I began looking at upcoming exhibitions and, in my mind, have already painted a large Still Life of teacups and cakes. There is just something about oils, the butter like consistency, the texture they give, the way you can take a break and not have your work dry on you and also the smell they give off along with the turps.

May18Contents

There are a handful of paint brands who are producing water mixable oils and included in the Art Cart this month is the Daler-Rowney Georgian water mixable oil paints. I chose to go with the 3 primary colours and a white so that the Art Carter’s can mix a rainbow of new colours. The Georgian brand is a perfect price for entry level oil paints. And I have to admit, apart from if you stick the tube right under your nose, there is no odor at all. When cleaning, you wash your brushes in a bucket of soapy water, however I didn’t feel this was enough. A brush cleaner would help as well. I didn’t try it, but I would be inclined in future to still use turps on final clean up. The brushes still felt oily after soapy water and when I wiped brushes on paper towel I got paint residue.

VaseFlowers lr

Also featured in the May Red’s Art Cart is a 6”x6” stretched canvas. These are fairly new to my supplier and a nice quality canvas for a nice price. You can purchase different sizes through Mrs Red by simply emailing the size you would like. Brushes by the supplier have also been added to the cart along with quite a handy palette. This palette folds into itself, making it quite compact for travel and although it served the purpose for the Cart I would be more inclined to use a traditional oil palette as it wasn’t easy to clean. It is made of stong thin plastic so for oil paints it really needs to be seen as a throw away palette.

As always, make sure you check out the YouTube video’s below to see the Vase of Flowers painting coming together and if you want to subscribe to the Art Carts then please follow the links on this website. PLUS, Mrs Red now holds two online art classes per month where the Art Cart subscribers can come together for an art class, show their work, discuss materials, ask questions and get advice on their work, all in the comfort of their own creative space at home!

Red’s Art Cart is perfect for hobby artists, people who live in rural areas, artists who need that push to just get moving on something and is a great way to hold accountability for your monthly creative time. You will also use products that you would not normally purchase and some Carts contain samples of products that normally have to be purchased in larger amounts. The feeling you get from sitting down and having a dabble is such a wonderful and healthy way to spend your down time. Give it a go!

Finally, if you have purchased this cart, please show us your artworks via Instagram or the Facebook page which is mentioned on your information card inside your cart. This way we all get to see your beautiful oil paintings.

Happy painting everyone!

Mrs Red
x

Art Carts

What’s inside APRIL Red’s Art Cart?

Zentangle cropped

The theme to the April Red’s Art Cart is not really obvious until you know what it is. I have themed the Cart to be all Japanese products and the combination worked really well together. And although my example art work always features what is inside each months Cart, you can do whatever you like with your new exciting art supplies.

By now, everyone has heard about Zentangles. And if you haven’t, which rock have you been living under!!! They have been around for the best part of the last decade now and in my own brief description, a Zentangle is a pattern with structure and repetitiveness. Doodling can often be confused with Zentangling however doodling is all about just letting the pen take you where it wants and doesn’t have to create a pattern. I am definitely a ‘doodler’ although it was a lot of fun creating the artwork example for this Art Cart.

April contents

Sakura has put together three different Zentangle packs and the one in this month’s Art Cart is called the Renaissance set because of its earthy tones. Included in the set is a sepia and a black 01 Pigma Micron pen (Mrs Red’s favourite drawing pens), a graphite pencil, a white chalky pencil and two tortillions. Also included is 5 mini tiles, a soft recycled paper, which too be honest, the chalky white pencil and the tortillions did not like at all. They were too hard for the papers soft grain. So that is what is included in just the Zentangle set. Then we also included 2 x SAI watercolour brush pens. These markers are not as common as say the Tombow Dual Brush pen however I wanted to give another brand the limelight. I might have to do a separate blog post and ‘compare the pair’ between the Tombow and Sai brush pens. Stay tuned for that. Each Cart received one Sakura Gelly Roll Glaze pen. These pens are cool as! They are like a gel pen, but the ink is thick, and it will dry raised and glossy. There are not a whole lot of colours in the range however they are more of a ‘highlight’ kind of pen so it’s nice to only have a few colours to choose from. And lastly, a Sakura Foam eraser. Again, another Mrs Red fav, mainly because they are very soft, require no pushing and the foam rolls into a little worm as you use it, meaning little mess!

Zentangle

As always, make sure you check out the YouTube video’s below to see the Zentangle being created and if you want to subscribe to the Art Carts then please follow the links on this website. PLUS, Mrs Red now holds two webinars per month where the Art Cart subscribers can come together for an art class, show their work, discuss materials, ask questions and get advice on their work, all in the comfort of their own creative space at home!

The contents of each month’s Cart are a big secret that only my art suppliers and myself know about. For you, it cuts out the decisions of what art materials to buy, finding the time to buy them and to explore products you would never select yourself. It is also a way of ‘just getting started’! There is never anything wrong with having too many art supplies!

Finally, if you have purchased this cart, please show us your artworks via Instagram or the Facebook page which is mentioned on your information card inside your cart. This way we all get to see your beautiful artworks.

Happy Zentangling everyone!

Mrs Red
x

Art Carts

What’s inside MARCH Red’s Art Cart?

Koi close up

The best part about receiving this monthly art subscription is that you never know what is going to be inside. It’s like having a birthday every month of the year! The Cart is always stocked with professional art supplies, from all over the world and although the art example piece has always been done by myself, that will not always be the case.

Product image

March theme is around coloured pencils and the Derwent Colour Collection is the perfect way to sample different ranges from the Derwent brand. All the Art Carter’s received the tin of 12 pencils which includes 5 Coloursoft, 4 Studio, 1 Metallic, 1 Blender and 1 Burnisher pencil. But what I love the most about this tin of pencils is that it is a go anywhere kind of pack. There is an adequate colour range so very handy for travelling.

Also included is a Koi Aqua brush and the reason for including the aqua brush, apart from just being very handy to have, is that the metallic pencil is also a watercolour pencil! I have used every pencil in the tin for the drawing of the Koi fish.

Koi Fish

There is a Cretacolor coloured pencil sharpener which although feels different to use, it is designed to not allow too much of the coloured graphite to be exposed, which was hard to get used to. And finally, everyone received one of the 7 sample books from the Fabriano Boutique Paper Range. These are pocket size books with one of the 7 different grades of paper.

As always, make sure you check out the YouTube video’s below to see the Koi fish drawing taking place and if you want to subscribe to the Art Carts then please follow the links on this website. The contents of each month’s cart is a big secret that only my suppliers and myself know about. For you, it cuts out the decisions of what art materials to buy, finding the time to buy them and to explore products you would never select yourself. There is never anything wrong with having too many art supplies!

Finally, if you have purchased this cart, please please please show us your artworks via Instagram or the Facebook page which is mentioned on your information card inside your cart. This way we all get to see your beautiful artworks.

Happy drawing everyone!

Mrs Red
x

Art Carts

What’s inside FEBRUARY Red’s Art Cart?

Feb close up

And just like that, the first month of the new year is gone and we are well into February! We have gone for a paint/mixed media theme this month and one thing I can tell you, there will be more ‘sample pots’ to come!

Atelier Free Flow acrylics came onto the market approximately 2013 and has changed the way acrylic paint can be applied! Personally, I had to have my arm twisted to give it a go and also sell it in my then art shop, on the Gold Coast. Good job I caved because this paint can do so much more than be applied to a canvas! This is however, not a liquid acrylic as it is way too thick for that, however it can be mixed with pouring mediums, dispensed into squeezy bottles and even with a little extra water, into an aqua brush for a more water like consistency. The surface dries with a velvety matte finish and dense colour. It’s spreadability is that of gouache and water colour and with 36 colours available in different Series, the colour palette options are limitless!

The Liquitex Glass Beads which has been included in a 40ml sample pot would usually come in a 237ml tub. The Glass Beads are one of many painting mediums in the Liquitex range and can be applied over the top of dry paint and mix it into acrylic paint. I did a lot of experiments with the glass beads, both with the Free Flow and with heavy body acrylics and the examples of these experiments are shown in the ‘What’s Inside’ video, attached below. Check it out as I will save you time (and beads)!

FebContents

It was exciting to be able to feature a sample pot of a medium and now that I know this is completely do-able, I will make up more pots of different mediums for the online art shop and in the Art Carts.

As always, make sure you check out the YouTube video’s below to see the still life jug artwork being created and if you want to subscribe to the Art Carts then please follow the links on this website. The contents of each month’s cart is a big secret that only my suppliers and myself know about. For you, it cuts out the decisions of what art materials to buy, finding the time to buy them and to explore products you would never select yourself. There is never anything wrong with having too many art supplies!

 

Finally, if you have purchased this cart, please show us your artworks via Instagram or the Facebook page which is mentioned on your information card inside your cart.

I look forward to seeing what everyone creates with the Free Flow and Glass Beads!

Mrs Red
x

Art Carts

What’s inside JANUARY Red’s Art Cart?

HNY

 

Nothing says HAPPY NEW YEAR like a bit of shimmer! For a brand new year, we need to add a touch of sparkle to our artworks and included in this months Red’s Art Cart is a Liquitex Metallic Ink!  The Liquitex Ink! range can be used in so many ways including watercolour, stamping, calligraphy and pouring mediums.

Also included is a Winsor & Newton Cotman’s half pan watercolour to add a touch of colour to your artwork. And because of the ink and watercolour being so fluid, we have gone with a dagger tip brush because these brushes hold the fluid like no other brush can and if you are someone who can paint swirls or calligraphy then you will love this brush.

We have also included a fine and brush tip Faber-Castell PITT artist pen which are lightfast and waterproof, although I found they need a bit of time to become waterproof, possibly 24 hours. And for the calligraphy touch, included is a Sakura Pen-touch calligrapher in white which sits perfectly on top of the PITT pens.

JanContents

Make sure you check out the YouTube video’s below to see the Metallic Balloon artwork being created and if you want to subscribe to the Art Carts then please follow the links on this website. The contents of each months cart is a big secret that only my suppliers and myself know about. For you, it cuts out the decisions of what art materials to buy, finding the time to buy them and to explore products you would never select yourself. There is never anything wrong with having too many art supplies!

Finally, if you have purchased this cart, please show us your artworks via Instagram or the Facebook page which is mentioned on your information card inside your cart.

I look forward to seeing what everyone creates with this metallic themed month!

Mrs Red
x

Creating art

What is a Bullet Journal?

estee-janssens-396876
Photo by Estee Janssens (Unsplash)

Have you heard of a Bullet Journal? Do you know exactly what one is? Personally, I had heard of them, mainly on YouTube, and recently found myself watching this random video of one YouTuber who was showing her 2017 Bullet Journal and I realized that I didn’t really know about them at all.

Surprisingly, to me anyway, the Bullet Journal was created by Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer living in Brooklyn, NY. You can go to bulletjournal.com to hear his story and the reasons behind the journal. However, I have got to say, what he has created and what is now all over YouTube is a colourful extension of a very useful journal about the past, current and future of the owner of that particular journal. Ryder does not use creative lettering or do any doodling, in fact he just sticks to one black marker pen the whole way through. I must also make it very clear that Bullet Journal is a registered name, hence why I am using capitals every time I mention it.

So, what exactly is a Bullet Journal? As Ryder explains, it is a quick fix for writing a journal by using topics, page numbers, short sentences and bullet points. Anyone can go and purchase a yearly diary but in all their shapes and forms, the diaries are not unique to the user. The Bullet Journal is designed in a way that you customize every page the way you want to. Some layout a page per day of every month. Others will make it more of a journey through the year with goals, movies to watch, books to read, even down to weight check-ins and how many Insta followers you have each month. From what I have seen, there are creatives out there putting hours and hours into these journals and will become an incredibly valuable keepsake for themselves and their families in decades to come.

estee-janssens-396889
Photo by Estee Janssens (Unsplash)

I did a search on YouTube of videos on Bullet Journals and there are 748 000 video’s, which is why I am not about to tell you which ones to watch, other than Ryder’s https://youtu.be/fm15cmYU0IM. But if you are inclined to find out more on Bullet Journals, then I do think you should invest some time into watching a few random video’s as they are all very different and personal.

Then there is the journal itself. You can purchase a Bullet Journal off bulletjournal.com for a very reasonable price. Moleskine also do a range of blank and dot lined journals that would suit. Leuchtturm also have a dotted journal. Honestly though, if you can get your hands on a blank journal booklet, then this will do. They are not intended to be mixed media journals and the paper weight is usually around 90gsm which is the same as a standard year diary.

Who is the right person to have a bullet journal? The good news is you don’t have to be a creative type, but it helps because you actually get to use all the gazillion fancy pens you have in your pencil cases, drawers, cupboards, bags and car! Bullet Journals are perfect for people who like to write ‘to-do lists’ on paper, who are into goal setting and habit tracking, who love the smell, feel and appearance of a journal (I mention smell because I smell all my art products and know I’m not alone on this), organized people who like to visualize their day/week/month, and also people who like to hold on to their yearly diaries to look back on the years hand down to the generations.

mike-tinnion-327565
Photo by Mike Tinnion (Unsplash)

What you need to get started! Of course, you need a journal. Blank is perfect but if you can get your hands on a dotted grid, they just help with us perfect types who don’t like it when lines or letters are not straight. Ryder uses one black pen throughout his Bullet Journal but if you are the creative type, then go to town on your journals with an array of different marker pens and pencils. I wouldn’t recommend watercolours though as the pages are thin and not designed to work with wet media.

Need inspiration? Like I mentioned, go to YouTube and search for Bullet Journaling and also go to Instagram and search the hashtag #bulletjournal. The ideas for your Topic pages are seriously endless and if nothing else, it gets us all hand writing again not to mention spelling!

As mentioned in my last post, I have set up a group page called Mrs Red’s Art Accountability. It is here that you will find me mentioning that I am going to create a Bullet Journal for next year. I have just ordered a Moleskin and although it won’t arrive until early January, that gives me a few more days to plan how I am going to tackle this, be accountable for it and plan it so that it is achievable. I guess you could say it is my yearly goal for the new year!

Have fun!!
Mrs Red
x

 

 

Creating art

New Year Resolutions for Arty Types

dawid-zawila-261127
Photo by David Zawila (Unsplash)

Does anyone successfully stick to their new year’s resolutions? Mine for this year was ‘Meatless Monday’ and I loved it and looked forward to our vegetarian meal every Monday. My kids on the other hand were less than impressed. My reason for Meatless Monday was saving a bit of cash. Meat costs a lot of money and I have 2 teenage boys in the house and they can eat! By having a meat free meal once a week, was a saving of $15-25 every week. I managed to pull this resolution off until mid-September and my reason for ending it was very valid. My uncle owns a lot of land and keeps cattle to mow the grass. Problem being, the cattle love their home so much that they decided to all have babies and it got out of control. So, I was told to buy a chest freezer because I was about to get steer and lamb and it was coming every couple of months. We now have an endless supply of beef and lamb so was saving more on meat than when I made the resolution.

Do you make new year resolutions AND do you stick to them? What about an ‘ART’ resolution. Who has said “I’m going to draw/paint every day for the year”? And did you pull that off? There doesn’t seem to be any available statistics on this but I am going to say that it is less than 10% success rate.

Photo by Nik Macmillan (Unsplash)
Photo by Nik Macmillan (Unsplash)

I do believe it is important to make some sort of new year resolution for us creative types. We need to check in on ourselves and understand that apart from the enjoyment and outcomes of our creating, that it is actually incredibly valuable to our mind and soul to be creating.

Here are 6 easy steps for ALL of us to follow and get through the next 365 days.

  1. Set ONE long term goal for the new year. This may be as simple as enter one art award/competition in your local area. It may be to look at setting up an online shop and begin to sell your creations. What about attending a local art market twice a year? The goal doesn’t have to be big in itself, it just has to have a good few months to plan and prepare for it. Join an online challenge, Inktober is a good one, every October. This is also where a 30/30 could take place – 30 drawings/paintings in 30 days – just choose the month and plan ahead. I wouldn’t recommend that month being December (just sayin’).
  2. Set ONE monthly goal for 12 months. Again, keep it simple. For example, do one journal entry in the month, complete one artwork by end of each month, theme the month so any artwork you do in that month is based around that theme ie/items I wear everyday like glasses, earrings, shoes.
  3. Buy Red’s Art Cart! You know I had to mention this one! Doesn’t have to be a monthly subscription, could be a one off. But it is a great way to explore materials you wouldn’t go and buy yourself and does help you sit down and just do something. Click here to find out more!
  4. Visit an Art Gallery. Depending on where you live will determine how many times in the year you can do this, of course. If you live in a city area, then perhaps 4 visits in the year will work. If you are more remote, then this needs to be included in a holiday or cityscape getaway. The importance of a gallery visit is invaluable though as you get instant inspiration from the artworks and then there is usually the Art Gift Shop and if anyone gets away from them without buying something arty then you have more control than me!

    ryan-stefan-471377
    Photo by Ryan Stefan (Unsplash)
  5. Be accountable. I love this because as soon as you let others know, the pressure is on to make it happen. But don’t be one of those ‘go-na’ (Aussie slang for ‘going’) people. I have a family member who is always on a new diet. Her facial expressions are always very certain that this new diet is going to work. I have lost track of how many diets she has now done but I can guarantee every time we catch up she will be on one. She holds herself accountable but fails to deliver. Don’t fail to deliver. If you say you are going to do something, DO IT!
  6. Finally, do it for YOU! This is the one I suffer with. I am so busy doing my artworks with a purpose, possibly for one of Red’s Art Carts or one of the Student Carts that I never sit and draw or paint just for me. If we go camping, I will sit and draw, if on a flight I will draw but these don’t happen every month so in a year I probably have 2-3 goes of drawing for myself. In order for me to get ‘my time’ I am going to be setting myself a long-term goal. It won’t be a huge one but it will be something that can be achieved with a bit of planning.So now we have a clearer plan to head into the new year. BUT, and there is always a but! Please don’t set your art goals too high and unless you already draw or paint 4/5 times a week, I do not recommend jumping into a year of daily artworks. You are setting yourself up to fail. Start with a 30/30 if you have to and if day 31 rolls around and you are still going strong then go for another 30/30 and build from that. I personally would love to do a 30/30 but I know it is not going to happen so I will set a monthly goal of completing one drawing in my journal by the end of every week, for a month and if that works I will head into the next month.
rawpixel-com-472357
Photo by Rawpixel.com (Unsplash)

I have set up a Facebook group page, called Mrs Red’s Art Accountability, which anyone can join and share their yearly, monthly, weekly goals and also share their artwork. This will help with the accountability of our art goals. I look forward to seeing and reading about everyones new year goals for the year ahead!

Happy New Year!
Mrs Red
x

 

Art Carts

Meet an Art Cart’er – Wendy Patterson

December’s Art Cart’er lives in Kingaroy, Queensland and jumped on board a couple of months after the Carts launched. I began following Wendy on Instagram when she purchased her first Cart and love all of her posts about life, work and creating. Wendy jumps in head first with each new Cart and is usually one of the first to post her artworks on social.

Wendy is a busy lady and I appreciate her taking time out to be interviewed. Enjoy this great read through the life of another fabulous Art Cart’er!

KingaroyRiver

Describe yourself in 5 to 10 individual words (ie/fabulous, married etc)
Wife; Mother; nurse; creative; unique; friendly; caring

Where do you reside and who do you live with?
I live in Kingaroy, Queensland.  3 hours northwest of Brisbane.  I live with my amazing husband of 22 years and two incredible girls (14 and 15)

Where would you like to reside?
Sunshine coast…..  dreaming and planning to move there after the girls finish school.

MapWendy
My pup, “Isa” (short for “Is a dog”) is always begging to sit on my lap when I’m ready to paint!

Describe your ultimate holiday escape.
I’m a bit boring in this area.  My idea of an ultimate holiday is glamping somewhere isolated within Australia with my family.  No TV, no phone, no connection to the outside world, but I MUST have a box or two of art supplies.

Describe your art style.
This is something I’m working on.  I’ve only started to get back into art work this year and I’m playing with many different styles and trying to push myself.  I’ve joined a local mixed media art group which has introduced me to so many different products and techniques.

SunGirl2

 

This year I’ve started trying my hand at whimsical characters.  A class I completed from LifeBook (https://www.willowing.org/product/life-book-2017/)

I love painting landscapes.  I work primarily in acrylics, but starting to play with oils and watercolours.

SiloBirds

Did you do art at school?
I did art in years 11 and 12.  Now this was 30 years ago, so the memories are a little fuzzy.  I can’t remember the teachers name, but I know they started a little fire for the love of art that has continued burning throughout the years.

Do you have an actual art space at home?
I’m lucky, do I have an art space at home.  I have one half of the old garage.  My husband has a gym in the other corner.  I think I need more space though 😊

WorkDesk

Do you earn any money from your creative talents? If not, do you want to or just happy doing it for yourself?
I have been asked to do commission work before, but haven’t felt comfortable painting for others.  I am my biggest critic and always worried about what other people will think about what I have painted for them.  I’m starting to feel a little braver lately and I’m considering beginning selling some of my paintings.

Where do you get your creative inspiration from?
I have to say I love YouTube, it has been an invaluable tool in learning assorted styles and techniques.  In the last 18 months my biggest influences have been Toni Burt; Sabine Belz (abstract painting), Jane Davenport, Lamara Laporte; Cinnamon Cooney and Jane Font.

At time of this interview, please note down the last photo taken on your phone and describe why you took it.
Currently in the process of making Christmas decoration for our work unit.  An acrylic pour come Christmas bauble.

XmasBauble

What was for dinner last night? Did you make it? Are you the main cook? Do you like cooking dinner?
Last night was left overs night with tuna curry bake and veggie soup. As a shift worker, I’m very lucky to have a husband that is a partner in house work and cooking.  I would consider the both of us to be very good cooks.  My favorite meals are those where all the family is involved.  Somehow it tastes just that little bit better.

Scroll forward 10 years. What is life looking like?
Living on the Sunshine Coast, working less and painting more.

How are you going with the Art Carts?
I really am thankful that I found Mrs Red via Facebook.  To have these amazing boxes of goodies turn up on my door step each month is just like Christmas for me.  I have received products that I normally would not consider buying and have ended up really enjoyed learning to use them.  The tutorials that have been provided have been great.  Looking forward to seeing more.

Do you have art galleries and art shops where you live? What about art style markets?
We do have a local art gallery.  Sadly, with my crazy busy life I still haven’t been.  On my bucket list for next year.  My favorite place to visit is Two Sister Scrapbooking and papercraft, in Kingaroy (https://www.facebook.com/twosisters.com.au/)   Tania holds mixed media art classes every Friday.  While the name suggests scrapbooking it is much, much more.

To check out more of Wendy’s creative talent please click on any of the links below.

Facebook

Instagram

Blog

Pinterest

 

 

Art Carts

What’s inside DECEMBER Red’s Art Cart!

Gelli print

The festive month has arrived well and truly and the Art Cart had to have a festive feel to it. So Mrs Red went for something a bit more art & crafty and nothing says fun like some Gelli Printing!

Gelli printing has been around since 2011 but really only became popular around 4 years ago when the art journaling movement went up a notch. The actual Gelli Plate is made from mineral oil and is a hypoallergenic polymer material, not gelatin as many would think. The Gelli plates are easy to clean and as long as they are looked after, will last many years to come!

Dec17 contents

The Student Gelli Kit comes with 5”x5” gelli plate, 2 x stencils and a brayer/roller. Then, Mrs Red has included a concertina art journal and 3 samples of acrylic paint. I imagine most of my Art Cart’ers already have a stash of acrylic paints but still wanted to include some paints in the Cart.

Art Journal
I drew this portrait over the top of one of the printing pages in the concertina booklet. A combination of oil pastel, zest-it blend and black marker pens.

Make sure you check out the YouTube video’s below to see the Gelli Plate in action and if you want to subscribe to the Art Carts then please follow the links on this website. The contents of each months cart is a big secret that only my suppliers and myself know about. For you, it cuts out the decisions of what art materials to buy, finding the time to buy them and to explore products you would never select yourself. There is never anything wrong with having too many art supplies!

Finally, if you have purchased this cart, please show us your artworks via Instagram or the Facebook page which is mentioned on your information card inside your cart.

I look forward to seeing what everyone does with the Gelli printing!

Mrs Red
x

Uncategorized

The perfect handmade School Teacher Christmas Gift!

It’s that time of year again in Australia when busy parents have to think up something for their children to give to their school teachers as a thank you gift for all the hard work they have done throughout the year. I’m pretty sure this gift is going to get the teachers approval!

Mrs Red has come up with a unique and very practical gift that these teachers can actually use and will most likely be very grateful for. And really, how many boxes of chocolates does the teacher need?

Pen Candy Cane

A candy cane made of pens and blutac!

This gift cost me $34, with $29 spent on the pens and blutac and $5 on wrapping and decoration. The pens I purchased were not the cheapest nor were they expensive and I put a mix of coloured, traditional red, blue, black and the all-important highlighters. The main thing with choosing your pens is that they need to be of similar thickness and length, otherwise I think the end result won’t look as effective.

What you need:
Stack of pens
Whole pack of blutac (I found white at Officeworks)
Sheet of newspaper
Large piece of thick cardboard
White acrylic paint and large brush (optional)
One sheet of clear cellophane (75 x 100cm)
Ribbon and bows for decoration
Sticky tape, black marker, pencil, stanley knife and scissors

Pens

Let’s get creating!

Layout your sheet of newspaper and arrange the pens into a candy cane shape. When happy with the shape, take your black marker pen and trace around the outside of the pens, then cut this shape out. This becomes your template.

Pen layoutPen outlineTemplate

Take your template and lay it on top of the thick cardboard and now trace around it with a pencil. Best not to use marker pen for this as cutting the shape out of cardboard is difficult and you don’t want to see bits of marker pen around the edges.

Template on box

 

Now it’s over to an adult to use the stanley knife and cut out the candy cane base. You can neaten the edges up with scissors afterwards if you have made a bit of a hack job of it.

Cardboard template

If you wish, paint the top side of your candy cane with white acrylic paint. It wasn’t really an option for me, even though ‘Antler’ is kind of appropriate for this time of year, I still did not want the luggage brand name being seen. Yes, Mrs Red got new suitcases for a trip to Canada in January (so excited!!!).

Paint

Once the cane is dry, get the blue tack out and stretch throughout the centre of your cane as this is what the pens will stick to (and they stick well). Then begin by laying pens out with big even spaces and slowly make those spaces smaller with more pens. Don’t press them into the blutac yet as you may need to move them around a little for even spacing. Once all laid in place, gently apply pressure in the centre of the pens so they adhere to the blutac.

BlutacPen layout 2Pen layout 3Pen layout 4

This is where the fun really begins, not! I did not photograph wrapping the candy cane as I was figuring it out as I went along. However, I did use only one sheet of cellophane. I lay the cane down with all the pens facing down onto the cellophane and then I made a cut up the center and gently wrapped it all around and stuck it down with sticky tape all over the back. Use as much sticky tape as you want because cellophane tears easily. Again, adult help may be required here. Then if you choose to use ribbon as I did, wrap it around and stick more tape at back of cane and then place any further decoration on front of cane where you choose.

Ribbon

The only thing left to do now is get the kids to make a handmade card for their teacher and stick it on front of your pen candy cane!

Close-upSq

This whole project took less than an hour to do and apart from the cutting of cardboard and possibly the wrapping of the cellophane, the kids should be able to do the majority of this project themselves and what a fantastic gift to give! Better than a box of chocolates, don’t you think?

Make sure you send me photos of your pen candy canes either on social media or via email at create@mrsredsartroom.com.au

Enjoy!

Mrs Red
x