Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mother's Day Suprise

I just wanted to do a quick post on the gift I put together for mother's day (which inadvertently made my siblings look bad...  not my fault).  Personalizing readily available, plain ceramics is in vogue, and many people (see Pinterest, if ever in doubt, see Pinterest) have attempted this with sharpies with mixed results.  I was trying to think of other ways of applying the ink.  Plenty of people have used stencils, a look I generally like, but I was thinking of this dish ware from Antrhopologie early on though, so my mind went to stamps.

Stamps would be able to convey the detail I desired, and I had fond memories of using markers with some rain forest stamps I had as a child.  Now I had more projects in mind, for which I planned to have custom stamps printed (I always hate the idea of using other people's art, and even when I do, I feel embarrassed), but Michael's had all of their stamps half-off, and I found some beauties, most with a nautical theme.  Ryan and I never did find the porcelain markers at my Michael's (I am under the impression that these are a lot more reliable than the sharpies, and I will get them for later exploration), but we ended up picking some Martha Stewart Crafts paint that would handle my ceramic project and his glass project.  It was dishwasher safe, but it did not say it was food safe, so we made sure not to make anything that would endanger food.

Next stop was TJ Maxx, to figure out what exactly to print for the Mominator.  They definitely had a wide array of plain ceramics to choose from.  I ended up choosing a rectangular dish, thinking it could be for necklaces and jewelry or soap and perfume.  I was a little lost at this point, but I needed hand soap and thought I'd see how much the designer stuff went for at TJ Maxx.  Then bamn!  I see all of this soap with nautical labels.  I had my pick.  So I decided to do kind of a gift basket.

I should mention, the trip to buy the paint was after this trip, and I ended up with a navy blue and a pink to coordinate with the soaps.  I also found a travel mug at Michael's, and I know my mom has a half hour commute to work and is trying to cut down on buying coffee at the drive-thru.  All that was left was to get this work printed!

I washed the ceramics, and rubbed them down with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol to remove any human oils and lint.  I started with the travel mug.  I assumed that anything with a convex curvature, as long as it was not complex, would be stamp-able, as long as the stamp was steadily rolled over the curve.  This proved to be much more difficult than I had anticipated.  Also, the curve was a bit complex, as the mug had a rounded taper towards the base.  The best method I ended up using was to get the stamp loaded with paint, and lay it paint side up on the counter.  Then I placed the mug on one edge, and rolled it over the stamp.  The hard part was to not slip and smear the application.  Also, I tried to pick a height on the mug which would have the least complex curvature.  The difficulty here would decrease with stamp size, as you can guess.  Luckily for me, Martha Stewart Crafts paint can be easily wiped away with wet paper towel before it has cured—I definitely took advantage of that feature.  Once the mug was done, I was on to the dish.  And after Anchor Man and The Campaign, here's what I had:

Opposite side:


To cure Martha Stewart Crafts paint, as long as it does not have sparkles, you can oven bake at 350º F for 30 min, allowing the work to heat up and cool down with the oven (translation:  a heck of a lot longer than 30 min, but far less than the 21 days to air cure). 

I baked in the convection mode, and it worked fine.  I set the timer for 30 min once the oven and work had finished pre-heating.  Maybe these are trivial details, but I was very nervous about them before hand.  I also assume you don't always know what you are getting with ceramic, and if it's glaze will take on what you add too it.  I will say that after curing, the paint had the quality of any decoration I have seen on dish ware.  I did not chance washing them, and I will ask my mom if she has yet, and update this post if anything bad happened, but my parents do not use a dishwasher, so it may not be very useful information if the paint stays intact.  This is how I wrapped them for presentation:

So, they turned out nice, and were relatively easy to do, curves aside.  The amount of paint to load the stamp with also took some getting used to.  Now, however, to avoid becoming some kind of un-original Pinterest trend follower, I want to print my own stamps (a service offered by Office Depot and online retailers) and decorate some truly unique dish ware that will be perfect for me (and super affordable), and more on the level of those plates from Anthro.

*I hope I do not offend anyone with my sometimes anti-pinterest sentiment, but I am trying to push myself to make original work, especially where this blog is concerned.  I like to post anything I do in the arts & crafts arena, but I think long and hard if it seems like it is something you can read about on a host of other blogs.  I want to inspire fresh thinking!  A great professor once told me, "Extraordinary art takes you somewhere you couldn't have gotten on your own," and I am trying everyday to hold my work to this standard.

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