Read these 22 Surfaces Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Folk Art tips and hundreds of other topics.
First if you are starting with raw canvas you will need to build a frame to stretch it onto. To get a floor cloth ready to paint you need to prime it with a coat of gesso. For really detailed instructions go to http://folkart.about.com/arts/folkart/library/weekly/aa022498.htm
The alternative is to purchase a made floorcloth ready to go - but remember to keep it nice and flat while you are working on it.
Emu Eggs are a great surface to paint on. Sometimes the texture will be rough, other times smooth. Be sure that the inside and outside of the eggs are clean. The shell on the eggs won't break easily and can be kept steady for painting by resting them on a towel, or a wheat bag or cushion. As for basecoating, consider leaving the natural colour. If not, give it a coat of all purpose sealer and allow to dry for a few days. (The cure time is important) Then apply the colour. Complete your painting and them finish with a spray varnish. Finish the egg of by hunting down the right stand or finding through the Egg Artistry industry.
Just for something different try painting on canvas. Canvas panels and boards come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and are fun to do. You could try stretching your own, but this means a bit more work. Stick with the ready made kind and all you will need to do is paint it. These are preprimed so just go for it.
Gourds make a great painting surface when cleaned. They are a plant not unlike a pumpkin and grow into some pretty cute shapes. They are 90% water before dried and tend to go mouldy, so need to be cleaned up to find that great painting surface. They can also be cut into open vessels as well.
Terra Cotta pots are great painting surfaces. First and foremost you can Use Patio Paint. This paint is formulated to handle the moisture and the sun without cracking and peeling. It adheres well to terra cotta and concrete. This means no prep and no varnish! If you can't do this, then seal the pot with a multipurpose sealer. Then decorate and spray varnish...but! when wet these pots leech salt and chemical to the outside...so planting directly in the pot is not a good idea. Leave plants in their plastic pots!
For quick and easy painting gifts try painting plain wooden frames. These are available at lots of stores. You can just paint them a colours, crackle them, texturise them with decorating paste, marble, sponge and glaze them. The possibilities are endless if you look at all the faux finishes you can apply to them.
Delta makes it easy to decorate candles and soaps with Candle and Soap Colors Acrylic Paint. Candle and Soap Colors are specially formulated to adhere to waxy surfaces. Candle and Soap Colors is the ONLY one step acrylic paint with no medium required. The specially formulated paint adheres quickly and easily to waxy surfaces without lifting or crawling. Candle and Soap Colors are available in 14 bright and beautiful colors. Plus - all of the colors can be intermixed to created even more choices!
To join your light bulb and hat together get some fine wire and some match sticks. Wrap the end of the wire around the middle of the match stick twice, then leave a length for a loop of about two inches. Do another two wraps of the middle of the match stick. Now cut away excess match and wire with wire cutters. Insert this through the hole in the hat and then glue the hat to the bulb. The match will hold the wire for you and the hat and bulb glued together means there is a strong bond.
You can paint on used or new electric light bulbs and create the most gorgeous Christmas Ornaments with them. Make sure they are clean by wiping over with Vinegar and water or alcohol wipes. Avoid touching them with your fingers. Then prime them ready for your acrylic paints by spraying with 'Krylon' 1311 matte spray, or another brand of spray as long as it is matte.Or, you can brush on some all-purpose acrylic sealer - any brand. Then leave them to cure for a day or two. Base coat in the colour desired and decorate away.
Is dinnerware a good surface? While paints these days are considered non-toxic, none of them are recommended to be directly in contact with food. The paints would also not hold up to the wear and tear of being in use all the time. They are generally excellent for decorative purposes but for daily use lots of care is needed to keep them in good condition. For example, I painted coffee mugs. The paint goes soft when heated - and can be scratched off. They haven't stood up in the dishwasher over time either. If you do go down this path be sure to use paint specifically designed for the purpose: Liquitex 'Glossies', Decoart 'Ultra Gloss', Porcelain 500, 'Vitrail' etc.
Warning: Making these can be dangerous to your health! If you suffer from any kind of lung condition DO NOT DO THIS! You will need a well ventillated kitchen area - turn on all the exhaust fans and throw open the windows!
Pre heat the oven to 220 degrees celcius. You will do these one at a time. Get an oven mit and a light bulb handy. Place one cup in the oven and count the seconds down - 1 and 2 and...to about 25 and take a peak at the cup. The point at which it melts and starts to collapse is where you will find the variation in hat designs you can make. leave it too long and it will burn, giving off it's payload of TOXIC fumes.
Be prepared to experiment a little with how you count the seconds and how your oven works. It's a bit like playing it safe with the kids at the pool - not good enough just to be there...you have to WATCH. Pull the melted cup from the oven. It will not be too hot to touch so pick it up. It will be all soft and floppy. Place it over the end of the light bulb and mould into shape. Don't mould it so tight to the bulb that you can't get it off. Work quickly as they cool fast. Now heat up a steel meat skewer and poke a hole into the top of the hat for your wire to come through. Once the hat is moulded you can then paint it with an all purpose sealer and then decorate it.
Plaid has a book called "Ornaments to light up your Tree" by Rita Grisham
and Helen Nicholson that has an angel made from a light bulb. It also has
some Santas, snowmen, and a penguin. Very cute!
Tolefriends is a mailing list for decorative painters.