Painting Glass Paperweights

Applying paint to the bottom of your paperweights is a brilliant way to frame your artwork in color.  In the example paperweight (PhotoWeights: Heirloom Square), I painted the field of glass around the display area with metallic gold paint.  The gold instantly transformed the clear glass into a splendid frame for the rose artwork.

Here's how I did it:

Clean your paperweight with a good, streak-free glass cleaner or rubbing alcohol.  Make sure there are no dust particles on the back of the paperweight prior to painting.  Use a durable paint that's appropriate for use on glass or ceramics (such as Plaid FolkArt Enamels).  It may take 2-3 coats of paint for complete coverage.

Important:  Allow the paint to dry between coats.  The paint should be completely dry prior to adhering the paperweight kit's bottom pad to the base of the paperweight.

Once the paint has dried completely, clean the interior of your display area with a soft cloth.  Place your artwork face-down onto the bottom of the paperweight and cover the base of the paperweight with the velvet pad to finish.

I wanted the paint to have a smooth texture, so I applied it with a paint brush using even strokes.  If you'd like to take a more artistic approach, you can use a variety of painting techniques and tools to create patterns and textures.

If you haven't used paint in your paperweight projects yet, I hope this project will inspire you to give it a try.  If this is something you've already done, what has been your experience?  What kind of materials and painting techniques have you used?


Photographing Pets

I wanted to share the following article from the April 17, 2011 issue of Woman's Day.  I hope these tips will help you take more incredible photographs of your pets.

Better Pet Portraits
-Brooke Nevils

Take pet photos that are the cat's meow with these tips from Steve Grubman, photographer of Friskies and Alpo ads and author of Orangutans Are Ticklish.

Turn off the flash  It can frighten your animal.  Plus, there's no easy way to get rid of red-eye, says Grubman.  Instead, shoot in a place with plenty of natural light.  If your pictures come out blurry, use a higher ISO setting, which allows you to take clearer photos with no flash.

Let Fifi be the location scout  It's best to capture your pet in her favorite hangout spot, doing her own thing.  "Putting your animal in an uncomfortable or unfamiliar setting for the sake of a picture is destined to fail, because she can become skittish and withdrawn," explains Grubman.

Get on Fluffy's level  Shooting on hands and knees - from your pet's perspective - helps your furry friend connect better with the camera.  "People tend to take snapshots from a human's point of view, looking down on their pet, which can make a photo seem impersonal," says Grubman.

Focus on the eyes  "Animals talk with their eyes," says Grubman.  "It's how they tell us if they are fearful or excited or content."  Focus the lens there, and you'll instantly capture your pet's personality - and make your picture feel more dynamic.


Fender Guitar Pick Paperweight

It's easy to display small mementos in your paperweights.  In most cases, you'll just need a background to attach your item(s) to.

I have to give my husband credit for this project.  He was playing his guitar in his office this morning when I asked him if he had an idea for today's blog post.  He grabbed a package of Fender guitar picks, a royal blue presentation bag, and an Heirloom Rectangle paperweight kit.  The result is pretty impressive.

When it comes to backgrounds, I prefer using decorative paper or fabric applied directly to the mounting board.  You could also apply a small piece of painter's canvas, wood veneer, or other sheet material.

If you'd like a background with the look of velvet, our velveteen presentation bags are an excellent option.  These are available in eight colors (shown above) and include enough fabric to cover two mounting boards.

Before you attach items to the background, you'll need to decide if it's important to preserve them without causing any damage.  If this is the case, be sure to use a non-permanent adhesive that won't result in discoloration or scarring.

You should always allow any wet adhesives to dry completely prior to finishing and sealing the back of your paperweight.


Pinned to My Heart Paperweight

This paperweight was designed around a single object, an antique stick pin that came with an old needle cushion I picked up at a tag sale last fall.  The stick pin has some depth to it, so the generous bottom recess of the heart paperweight was the perfect fit.

Here's how I made it:

I started by covering the mounting board with a scrap of antique linen.  The mounting board is self-adhesive, so glue isn't needed for this step.  I just applied the fabric and trimmed the overlapping material.  I then applied a second layer of linen over part of the heart-shaped background using tacky glue.  The second layer has a scalloped, stitched edge and a single eyelet which adds a lot of character and dimension.

Once the mounting board was prepared with the linen, it was time to apply the additional elements that include the antique stick pin and a vintage ribbon.

The stick pin was applied directly to the background with hot melt glue.  (I needed a glue that would dry immediately and secure the pin in place.)  The ribbon was positioned to hide the hot melt glue and was held in place with a small amount of tacky glue.  The ends of the ribbon were folded over the edge of the mounting board and held in place with glue and tape.

Once the tacky glue dried completely, the design was ready to display in the paperweight.

Paperweight Kit Used:  Heart PhotoWeights


Cheese Graters as Votive Covers

This is an idea I absolutely love!  It was taken from the November 2010 issue of Good Housekeeping.  (Styling by Laura Fenton, Photo by Andrew McCaul).

How have you repurposed cheese graters?  I remember using one of my grandmothers old, flat graters to hang my earrings when I was a teenager.

Posted on Tuesday, April 05, 2011 | Categories: