We’re so excited about the recent release of our first two books from the editors of Do It Yourself magazine! Do It Yourself: Kitchens gives you all kinds of ideas for bringing new style to an outdated kitchen, whether your budget is $1,000 or $10,000. Do It Yourself: 100+ Paint Projects features — you guessed it! — more than 100 cool projects to do with paint, from accenting walls and floors to making your own wall art to sprucing up a thrift store furniture find.
For this project, you’ll need semigloss paints, stencils, stencil adhesive, a stencil brush, and paper towels. Creative positioning of stencils is what makes this design one-of-a-kind. Notice how the cherry blossoms seem to grow right up the back of the hutch and over the doors.
1. Base-coat the hutch with semigloss paint and let it dry.
2. Spray a thin coat of stencil adhesive on the back of the stencil, as shown here, and position the stencil on the hutch.
3. Lightly dip a stencil brush into paint, dab off the excess on a paper towel, and brush in the open areas of the stencil using a pouncing motion. Work from the inside of the stencil toward the outside, making sure the stencil is stuck down tightly so the paint won’t bleed under. It’s best to apply the paint in two or three thin layers rather than one thicker one, but there’s no need to allow the paint to dry completely between coats.
4. Carefully remove the stencil and reposition it, or choose another of the stencils in the set, and continue stenciling until you have a grouping of motifs that you like. Remember, you can use a stencil upside down, backward, or any way that suits your design.
Today we are chatting with Jennifer Casa, the author of Teach Yourself VISUALLY Crafting with Kids.
Wiley Crafts: Tell us a little bit about your background as a crafter.
Jennifer Casa: I have always loved making things. My childhood memories are filled with the feeling that it’s fun to try new things — especially arts and crafts — whether it be mud pies in the backyard, string art, painting, stamping, sand art, pottery, sewing, etc. One could say it is a natural progression that I have been dabbling in some craft during my free time ever since. I made books using my own handmade papers and sold them in a nearby college town for a while, I was very active in a pottery co-op for a few years and a few galleries in the city featured my work, and I enjoyed taking classes and participating in workshops at the Cleveland Institute of Art. I like learning new techniques and experimenting with them in other areas. Nowadays, I do a lot of knitting and sewing, and I quite like to flip-flop designs from one form to the other. For me, arts and crafts is about the freedom to experiment, explore, and see what happens next.
WC: How has your crafting evolved since you became a mom?
JC: Becoming a mom has reminded me to embrace moments of magic in each day. I mention this in the book, and it bears repeating — kids are amazing teachers. They do what they do however they want to do it, and without fear of being judged. That is so awesome! Our dining room evolved into a fully functioning art room a few years ago and is now the hub of activity in our home. Everyone is always making something, and the warmth with which new creations are received is empowering. My crafting has evolved considerably over the past 6 years, and not simply because I have more time to do so. Creating with my kids is so inspiring, and making it a part of our daily lives benefits everyone. I know I am much more confident in what I do and make on my own, and I have my kids to thank for that.
WC: What’s a good age to get kids started with crafting? And what are some good types of projects to try with little ones?
JC: I think finger-painting is a great project to do with young kids — and a fun twist for the littlest ones (even in their high chairs) is to use vanilla pudding and a few drops of food coloring, or even food purees. What kid doesn’t love playing with their food? Follow their lead and be sure to take a few photos of them during the process — the expressions on their faces, detail shots of their hands at work, and of course the finished masterpieces. Print a series of the photos and start a simple portfolio for them! Another fun thing would be to upload an image of their work to have postcards or even postage stamps printed.
WC: What are some of your favorite projects to make with your girls?
JC: I asked my daughters first, who said they enjoy making musical instruments, sewing by hand, and playing with clay. Music is a big part of our lives, and so it’s no wonder they are always creating new instruments to play (usually from repurposed/recycled items). We’ll be making song books very soon for them to write down their lyrics — the books will be great keepsakes (as well as provide excellent writing practice). One of our girls recently made her own sewing cards by drawing animals on foam sheets and using a punch to make the holes. And the play dough recipe in the book is a favorite because the kids can do the entire process themselves, they take charge of measuring, mixing, and kneading, and then we all get to hang out and play together. They are at a great age (6) where they are enjoying their independence, but also really want me there, so I find it best to follow their lead. I also love cooking and baking with them, and oftentimes I will set out the ingredients and a recipe and then I become their sous chef. It’s great reading practice, as well as lots of fun for everyone.
WC: What inspires your own endeavors with crafting?
JC: With me, one thing typically leads to another. For example, I am working on some projects now that involve knitting and sewing. The fabrics inevitably inspire the colorwork for my knitting designs, and stitch patterns of a knit piece are evolving into sewn patchwork. I love to tear bits of images (particularly color and texture) and paste them in my sketchbooks as inspiration, which I then expand upon when I sketch. I also enjoy reading a variety of blogs and am blown away by other people’s creativity. Pinterest is quickly becoming a virtual inspiration board for me as well — as I find captivating images online, I am able to catalog them and their sources for later reference, or simply to swoon over. Since our kids are a big part of my everyday life, I tremendously inspired by them. I am planning to make as many of their summer clothes this year as I can, and one of my daughters has started to submit her personal design requests. It will be fun to see what develops!
You can read more about Jennifer’s adventures in crafting on her blog, JCasa*handmade.
With spring weather drawing kids outdoors again, it’s time to find crafty activities that you can take outside. This homemade sidewalk chalk is a great project because you and your kids can mix up a batch in fun shapes and colors in about 15 minutes (plus drying time), and they’ll be entertained drawing all over the driveway afterwards. Jennifer Casa shows you how in this tutorial from our new book Teach Yourself VISUALLY Crafting with Kids:
Prepare cookie-cutter molds by covering one side with duct tape.
Add tempera paint powder to the mixture 1 tablespoon at a time and stir well to combine. Add more paint if needed to achieve your desired color.
Pour or spoon the plaster mixture into your cookie cutter molds or an ice cube tray.
Allow to harden and dry completely. It can take anywhere from half an hour to overnight, depending on the size of the chalk you create. The larger the pieces, the longer they will take to harden.
Unmold the chalk and enjoy!
The lovely Jennifer is giving away a Make it Yourself KIT on her blog — enter here!
Visit our Projects and Patterns Page for Free Projects and Patterns from Wiley’s craft authors.