Monday, March 20, 2017

DIY Photo Canvas Using Modge Podge Transfer Medium (National DIY DAY post)

Hello peeps. I am thrilled to e working with the Craft Box Girls as a  National DIY Day Ambassador. What the heck does that mean? Well we are celebrating the 'let's make something' spirit with inspiration, tutorials and a crafty brunch I'm hosting here in Louisville April 2nd. Today is my turn to share a DIY project you. Hard job, huh?

If you have been around for a while you know I love unique ways to share photographs I love. Browsing Michaels one day I found that Modge Podge has a photo transfer medium and an idea was born.  I have always loved this picture of my parents on their wedding day. Look how young they are!  It didn’t take long for an idea to form and I really love how it turned out.  Curious how this came together? Let’s get started!

SUGGESTED SUPPLIES    white canvas (I used 8x10), and laser copy of your chosen photo, Modge Podge Photo Transfer Medium, sponge brush, spray bottle with water, clean sponge, scraper (or an old credit card),  acrylic paint and I used a black paint pen for script, any embellishments you want to add (I linked up to the products I used, but you could definitely improvise and use what you have.  I am an Amazon affiliate, so I get a small commission when you buy using the link. Thank you for supporting my small business!)


Please note – this project will take TWO DAYS to complete. You have to let the image dry with the transfer medium on it, so keep that in mind, if you are like me and NEVER read ahead on directions

1.  Make sure you have an LASER printer copy of your photo for this to work. A lab printed photo or an INKJET printer copy will not work (according to the website).  If you want room to add doodles or paint to the outside you want to pick a picture with central detail to highlight and a fair amount of negative space.
2. Using your sponge brush apply a thick coat of the Modge Podge over the image. You don’t need the liquid to puddle, but you want it to cover the image so you can’t see it .
3. Flip it over and lay it sticky side down onto the blank canvas. Use your fingers (or your scraper) to smooth out air bubbles and make sure it is good and stuck. You’ll see later I did not take enough care on the edges and they lifted off. Not a big deal to me, but just shows I did not take enough care in those areas.
4.  Now the hard part – leave it along for 24 hours !! Ugh. I hate waiting. I also don’t like projects that take too long, so OF COURSE I wanted to pull it up early. But, don’t. If it doesn’t cure thoroughly it won’t transfer the image.

5. Here we go! When fully dry and cured the paper will feel stiff on the canvas.  Now we will work to remove the white paper and show the picture. I did this is three parts:
                - I peeled off the topmost layer of paper.  I just used my fingers for this part, and honestly I may have pulled a bit too much off. As you can see in the image here some of my wedding picture pulled off the canvas. You just want to peel a thin layer of the paper
                - Next I used my spray bottle get the white paper wet, then I used my sponge and scraper to get that paper all the way off. WORK GENTLY. You might think (as I did) that you will have to scrape to get the paper off, but all you’ll do is scrape the image off the canvas. You can see spots above my parents’ heads where that happened.(top pic below)

- (2nd photo) Here you see what it looks like at this point, 95% of the paper is off, but there is still a white ‘haze’ in spots. That is paper residue. Let the canvas sit and dry for a bit, then spray with water and use your fingers to GENTLY scrape off the residue. See how clear and bright it is now! (3rd photo) As you can see- a bit of the image scraped off the edges. I definitely think I was too rough when scraping off the paper. I could have redone it, but I decided just to fill in the empty spots with paint. Like any new medium the more you use it the better result you will get.

6. Let your canvas dry again. Now it is time to gather your paint, embellishments and decide what you are going to do! Every canvas is going to be unique and everyone has their own idea for what they want to do, but I have a few tips for helping you achieve the look you want.
                - Start with a lighter touch and lighter color than you think you might want. You can always add more paint and a darker color, but you can't take it away!
                - I think colors work well in groups of three: a main color and two accents. Here I used: gray, green and coral. You can add more colors if you want, but this is a good starting point!
                - I used this simple rose shape to accent the corners, and it is an easy shape you can replicate. Just get a bit of color on your brush, put the tip of your brush on the paper and move in a spiral pattern. I mixed the coral with a bit of hot pink and just swirled them together to make it pop. I also added a bit of white to the green of the leaves.
                - I used a gray that matched the color of the car in the photo. I used that to add color to the spots that rubbed off. I think it gives a bit of interest around the edge, and this was a case of ‘go light’. It would have be really easy to add too much paint, but I was careful to step back occasionally and look at the whole image.

7. To finish off my canvas I used glitter glue to accent the flowers, hot glue to add a few pearls and then a paint pen to script a name and date. 

Have you ever used your handwriting on a DIY project? A lot of people are intimidated to do that, but here’s a couple of tips to hopefully help you achieve the look you see in your head:
                - Different pens will give you different looks, but you don’t need an expensive brush or pen to get started. Try writing with a Sharpie! Then a paint pen, then maybe a gel pen, then a brush and paint! Each one works differently and the ONLY way to be more comfortable is to give it a little time and PRACTICE. 
                - Hold your pen/brush and use a light touch, pressing too hard can cause too much ink or paint and might not be the look you are going for! Being comfortable means you will be more confident and get the result you see in your mind. That’s the secret.

Here you can see my pretty canvas hung up on my wall – I just love it. This was a really fun medium to work in and I definitely want to try it again. I thought this might be fun to do with a collage of pictures. Or maybe paint the canvas, then transfer a photo?


Are you inspired to try this out for yourself? I hope so! If you do, PLEASE come find me and share a picture, I love seeing what other folks make! Find me on Instagram HERE and Facebook HERE @hotwheelsandglueguns.  Also, make sure you follow all the fun over on the National DIY Day site. Almost every day there is something fun on the blog and the FB page.

Thanks for stopping by! 


Monday, March 6, 2017

Shop Talk- Benjamin's Baby Scrapbook

Hello! Today I want to share one of my favorite custom orders from 2016. Baby Benjamin turned one and his mama (who happens to be my beautiful cousin Kara) decided he needed a proper baby book! She also did the very-common-first-baby thing of printing ALL the photos. She came to me with a box of about 500 pictures, totally overwhelmed and not sure where the heck to start. She really wanted to document his first year, but had no idea how to organize it all- sound familiar

Using my method for large memory keeping projects we narrowed down what the most important stories were. I focused on those pages while she took the other pictures home and put them in his album using pocket pages.

 Interested in making your own one of a kind baby book? Email me to get started! 

Here is a peek at what I created for the highlight pages of Benjamin's baby book.

To preserve this special gift from a family friend I hand stitched the clothes to an acid free paper background. Easy to snip the thread and take out if they ever want to.

Thanks for coming by today! Baby albums are always a big deal to be a part of, I just love them! If you are interested in your own custom made baby album- email me ( and let's chat!


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Random Act of Kindness Day 2017! Join In A Little Fun (and a free download)

Hello peeps! I have schemed up a last minute fun project I am really excited to share with you today.

Kindness starts with me...and YOU!

Did you know that February 12- 18 is OFFICIALLY Random Acts of Kindness Week? I knew there was a group out there promoting little acts of kindness around the world, but I had no idea the designated time would be this week. Until I read about it... last week. The day before I left for a three day conference. Not the best timing, but I was so inspired! I really wanted to celebrate - to embrace the idea and maybe get a few other crazy folks to play along. On the way home (I had a four hour drive) I can up with a crazy plan. Truth be told - I got the original idea from The Alison Show. She is so much fun and she sells these 'I'm Doing Awesome' tumblers. I thought, how fun (and random) would it be to pass out a little cup of fun to someone having a bad day? And the 'Swag Cup' was born (patent pending, just kidding

So Monday night I made up 10 of the cups you see above. I filled them with: candy, confetti a few surprises, and a blank note card to encourage the recipient to keep the fun going.

 Then I called a few of my favorite people around town. I asked them to take a cup and give it out on Friday. And I'll be damned.... they said YES! I was a little surprised at how easy it was. ?These are busy people. Like, really busy. But somehow they bought into this crazy idea of spreading joy! So, now there are TEN SWAG CUPS floating around Louisville just waiting to surprise someone.


YOU GUYS. I am so so excited. I am hoping they send me lots of IG messages and texts with pictures so I be a witness to their craziness. We will be sharing with #HotWheelsandRAK.

Care to join us??

As much as I wish I could send all of you a SWAG CUP, well......this is kind of a last minute thing. Instead, I created a few FREE downloads you can print at home to use for your own Random Act! 

I don't want this to me an overwhelming or stressful activity.Simple plan, y'all.. Here's what to do:
1. Click over HERE to get your free downloads. Included in the download is 2 'You're Doing Awesome note cards, a note you can sign for your new friend, a tips sheet for playing along 
2. Print out your note cards , sign your letter and put something with it. Maybe some candy, a flower, it doesn't have to be anything big, be creative! 
3. Go out on Friday and give out your swag. If you can, snap a picture or two along the way. More on how to share that with me for a chance to be featured on social media below! 
4. Bask in the glow that comes from making someone's day a little brighter, and that we were able to pull it off in just a couple of days! (crazy impromptu schemes for the win)

OK, one last thing. I really want this to be a group project. I want to see YOU! I want to see what you put together and hear who you gave it to! Share it with your peeps on Instagram and/or Facebook . Use #HotwheelsandRAK  and I will be sharing your pictures all weekend long- I want  keep the warm fuzzy feeling going.

So....have I convinced you? I hope so! Go now and get your goodies, and tell your friends! You can use the links below this post to Tweet, FB share or Pin on Pintrest. The more people we have spreading fun around the city the better IMHO

Leave me a comment below with a HELL YEAH! If you are going to play along.

xoxo, Michelle