The Steps to Making Adorable DIY Bracelets

The Steps to Making Adorable DIY Bracelets

Do It Yourself (DIY) bracelets are a unique way of expressing style that is as individual as the person wearing it. Not only are they an inexpensive way to showcase creativity, but DIY bracelets are quick and easy to make. Many DIY bracelets can be created in under an hour with the right materials.

 

In addition to fast fashion, DIY bracelets have been known to foster and cultivate friendships. They signify time well spent as well as a dedication to meaningful relationships. Friendship bracelets can validate a special bond that isn't easily created elsewhere. When someone takes the time to make a bracelet by hand, it can be much more personal than a gift store-bought gift. Anybody can purchase a piece of jewelry, but only a best friend understands the meaning behind it.

 

Whether you are creating a friendship bracelet or a singular bracelet, DIY bracelets are affordable, artistic and as attractive as the mind of its owner.

 
 

What Are DIY Bracelets?

A DIY bracelet can be made in many different forms. Whether you're interested in beads, rope, metal, cord or leather, bracelets made by hand can be stylized in almost any material. For a decorative but simple look, wrap bracelets are made with multiple colors woven together in a tiny, looping pattern. Chain bracelets are another style of DIY bracelet that involves looping metal together, but there is no braiding involved. 

 

Depending on what type of hands-on project is right for you, bracelet styles may differ by age and experience. Some people are naturals when it comes to using pliers for detailed jewelry. Others excel at looping string in small knots of twine. DIY bracelets can be made at any stage of growth.

 

One of the most popular homemade bracelets is the friendship bracelet. This bracelet is as fashionable as it is symbolic.

 

What Will I Need to Make a Friendship DIY Bracelet?

Making a friendship bracelet does not have to be expensive. Like different types of friends, DIY bracelets can also vary. Since these bracelets are not complicated and do not require any knowledge of knitting or crocheting, this is a particularly popular bracelet.

 

The 3 Materials Needed

  1. Floss or a thin type of yarn. There are many different
    types of floss, but for this type of bracelet, embroidery material is important. Both embroidery floss and yarn have a variety of colors to choose from.
  2. Safety pins. There is no need for specialized safety pins. Any regular safety pin can be used to make a friendship bracelet.
  3. Scissors. Extra sharp scissors are not needed for this type of DIY bracelet.
 

As you can see, the materials do not have to be expensive. These three staples will provide the basic structure for a friendship bracelet.

 

How Do I Make a Friendship DIY Bracelet?

Measure the yarn or floss from your shoulder to your fingertips. This may seem quite long for a bracelet, but when braiding each strand together, the length may change. This also allows room for any mistakes along the way.

 

Generally speaking, six strands are best for a friendship DIY bracelet. Six strands will leave a detailed pattern without becoming too complicated to braid. Alternating colors can change the pattern and fashion of the bracelet. Depending on what you and your friend like, a bracelet can have two alternating colors or several.

 

By creating an overhand knot at the end of the yarn, the following braid will be held in place. After three inches of regular braiding, tie another overhand knot.
For the main portion of this friendship bracelet, you will take the first strand and pass it over the second. Then make a tiny knot over the second strand. This particular pattern of creating braided knots is the standard friendship DIY bracelet design. Regardless of how many knots you make, tying them in a smaller size will create a daintier design.

 
 

What Will I Need to Make a Wrap Bracelet?

Wrap bracelets are one of the most trendy DIY bracelets to wear. For a unique style with several bracelets stacked together, a wrap bracelet is easy to make. There are only a few things needed to create a wrap bracelet. While most of these materials can be found at home, some may require a trip to the craft store.

 

The 5 Materials Needed:

  1. A silver ball chain. This type of chain usually comes on a spool. The metal balls are small and connect together in a tight, well-woven fashion.
  2. Silver ball clasps. Sterling silver ball clasps are usually small with tiny metal loops on both sides.
  3. Tape. Scotch tape is fine to use. There is no need to buy specialized tape.
  4. Scissors. Kitchen scissors or any other type of non-sewing scissors are fine to use for chain bracelets.
  5. Embroidery floss and thin yarn. Embroidery floss can come in a number of different colors and is manufactured specifically for embroidery. Thin yarn is much softer and slightly thicker than embroidery floss.
 

How Do I Make a Wrap DIY Bracelet?

First, use one color of embroidery floss and one color of thin yarn. Cut the piece of yarn one and a half times the length of the ball chain. When using embroidery floss, it's normal to need one full spool depending on your chosen length.

 

By pairing the chain next to the yarn, you can now tie the embroidery floss around both the chain and yarn. This is where the wrapping comes from. Wrap the embroidery floss in between the silver balls. This can be wrapped as thick or thin as you like. By wrapping each section approximately 3 times, you will get a reasonably thick style.

 

Additional Styles for Wrap Bracelets

In addition to using embroidery floss and thin yarn, leather can also be incorporated into the bracelet for a more intricate look. Using three lengths of leather, knot the top of each length together by tying them to the top of the chain. Loop the leather into knots that enclose around each silver ball.

 

To do this, first take the pair of leather strings and create a “4” shape. The bottom will then be placed underneath the chain. Then bring the pair of strings back through the loop and pull. This type of wrap can form a spiral, giving it a deeper sense of unique style.

 
 

What Will I Need to Make a Chain Bracelet?

Chain bracelets do not require braiding. Instead, they are a simple and classic style that can be paired with any fashion.

 

The 4 Materials Needed:

  1. Chain. There are a variety of different chains available for chain bracelets. Cable chains are commonly used because of their oval shaped links made of wire. In addition to this style, there are also similar chains like flat or drawn cables.
  2. 1 clasp. Clasps are widely used when making jewelry because of the way they easily open and close a bracelet.
  3. 2 jump rings. A jump ring is made of wire and has two un-welded edges that are left open. This can be manipulated for closure.
  4. Round and chain nose pliers. Chain nose pliers can be used for multiple different projects when making jewelry. These pliers are able to open and close jump rings. Round nose pliers are able to bend and shape loops.
 

How Do I Make a Chain DIY Bracelet?

First, use the chain and round nose pliers to pry open the edge of the jump ring. Instead of trying to pull the ends out, try twisting them. When the jump ring is open, carefully attach it to the end of the chain. Repeat the same process to the other end of the chain. This should look like a link.

 

Because of the size of the jump rings, it's easier to hook the necessary metals together when using a large chain; but all chain bracelets do not have to look alike. An alternative to wearing one large chain bracelet is wearing several medium-sized chains to create an interesting layered effect. To band the layers together, you can use different types of chain. Some combinations often used together consist of light or dark silver strands of chain. Some people like to mix gold into the bracelet for a multi-toned look.

 

However you choose to create your chain DIY bracelet, this type of style works well for a bold and sophisticated look.

 

Conclusion

For over twenty years, people have been creating and wearing DIY bracelets. It's a way to show how much you care for others as well as yourself. DIY bracelets celebrate individual expression in an artistic and fashionable way. Natural and organic materials often used in these bracelets among different communities include hemp, organic beads, twine and wood. With so many materials available, the options for new and diverse bracelets are endless. They are used in different cultures all over the world.

 

There are many different types of DIY bracelets, but no two bracelets will ever look identical. Because of personal preference, style, and inspiration, each bracelet is as unique as the person who made it.

Featured Image Provided By Unsplash

October 29, 2019 — Halie Heindel
33 Washi Tape Bullet Journal Ideas You'll Want to Do Now

33 Washi Tape Bullet Journal Ideas You'll Want to Do Now

Are you feeling unorganized? Maybe missing payments or forgetting to be at the right places at the right times? Perhaps you're going back to school and need to keep track of everything? Maybe you want to have a way to keep track of life events on your way to achieving a personal goal. If any of these statements apply to you, it might be time to consider a washi tape bullet journal. Here we'll discuss what a washi tape bullet journal is, why you might want to consider trying one, and ways to make them customizable to fit your individual needs while adding fun and creativity.

 

What Is A Washi Tape Bullet Journal?

A Bullet Journal can come in two forms. First, a bullet journal can refer to whatever notebook you're using to journal in. Another work that people also use in place of a bullet journal is bujo.

Second, a bullet journal can refer to the way that you use your journal. Bullet journaling is an efficient, adaptable organization system that keeps track of anything and everything in your life.

It's a seamless way to keep track of your past, present, and future in a way that works best for you. Finally, a washi tape bullet journal is performing the art of bullet journaling using washi tape to further enhance customization, organization, and easy access—while adding color and fun.

Washi tape is decorative, colored adhesive tape. There're countless colors, designs, themes, and features. Some washi tape is glossy, while others have a matte finish. Some washi tape can be written on, while others can't. You will want to choose your washi tape and bujo based on what you like and how you'd like to arrange it.

 

Why Try Bullet Journaling?

Organization

Bullet journaling is a smart way to keep every single life detail all in one place. It can be the perfect way to keep track of all the things in your life in a way that suits you and tailors to the way your brain works.

Customization

Have you ever shopped at the store for a notebook or planner? Some are plain; some come with boxes and lines or both. Some display one day per page while others display one week per page. Some of them give you plenty of space for weekdays but not for weekends.

Not everyone has a life that fits in any of those parameters! Bullet journaling gives you the opportunity to lay things out the way you need them, while washi tape helps provide a fun yet useful organizational purpose.

Community

There is a bullet journaling community! There are countless people who love sharing their take on a bullet journaling and endless possibilities, ideas, and creativity. This can help you decide what you want and give you options to explore you've never even dreamed of. This can also provide a fantastic way to meet others who are working on a similar project.

 

Different Uses For Bullet Journals

  1. Goals
  2. Reward tracker
  3. Bucket list
  4. Time log
  5. Countdown
  6. Tasks
  7. Focus
  8. Habits
  9. Challenges
  10. Stocks
  11. Routines
  12. Cleaning
  13. Chores
  14. Projects
  15. Maintenance
  16. Wedding
  17. Baby
  18. Crafts
  19. Family tree
  20. Pets
  21. Birthdays
  22. Phone numbers/addresses
  23. School
  24. Income
  25. Money
  26. Lists
  27. Meal planner
  28. Food log
  29. Travel
  30. Health
  31. Self Care
  32. Recreation
  33. Passwords

How Are Washi Tape Bullet Journals Used?

Washi tape bullet journals can be used however you want to; but there are a lot of solid ideas if you're not sure how or where to start.

 

Supplies

You can spend anywhere from about $5 and up on your supplies. At the very least you'll need some type of bullet journal that might also be referred to as a bujo; or any notebook. You can choose one with blank sheets or lines or grids, or whatever else you come across that might work for you.

You'll need your washi tape which can be purchased in 1 color, or different colors, patterns or styles, and you'll need something to write with. You can use a pen or pencil, or you can get all kinds of fancy colored pen sets, highlighters, pencils, watercolors, gel pens, or markers.

Index

Starting with an index allows you to keep track of the location of everything in your bullet journal. It can be thought of as the brain of the washi tape bullet journal. There are different ways to do this, because like everything in a bullet journal, it is customizable. You could try styling it like a traditional table of contents logging collections and page numbers in a running list.

You could also flip flop this idea by putting page numbers first and then a collection of contents. You can separate the index into two columns, one for daily/weekly/monthly planning and the second column for other collections that are not time specific.

If you are a minimalist, your index may only contain collections; using the front for events and tasks, the back for the collections. If you plan on organizing your pages by theme, you can bold the main topic, and corresponding spreads underneath for simple reference.

If you want to get more elaborate, you can create a grid to log spreads. Indexes can also be color coded by using different color pens or highlighting. You can highlight small portions if you need space to write extra notes. Color coding can also be done on the outer edges of pages to easily see where you need to flip before opening your bujo.

Key

This is a shortcut in your bullet journal that uses symbols, signs, and signifiers to label entries or collections. When combined with your index, this creates a winning combination to have the most organized and easily identifiable bullet journal possible.

Good reasons for having a key are to prioritize the urgency of things that need to be completed, show status of tasks, and to classify or assign certain information pertaining to a particular theme. It is common to us an X to show completed tasks and an arrow to show tasks that have been started, and a line through to show that a task has been canceled.

You can track many other things as well, though! You can track your mood by drawing faces, the weather by drawing weather pictures and graphs to track the progress of goals. You can come up with your own ideas or look online for inspiration.

 

How Can You Make Your Journals Stand Out?

Washi tape is one of the best ways to make your bullet journal really stand out!

 

Showcase

One of the first things many washi tape fans do is start by making a spread to showcase all the beautiful colors and patterns they have. Be sure to leave room for future washi tape purchases!

 

Side Index

By placing a piece of washi tape over the front and back of one sheet anywhere in the bullet journal on an outer edge, it acts as an index and easily lets you know where to find things.

 

Dividers

Similar to an index, you can create divider tabs with your washi tape to make sections in your washi tape bullet journal.

 

Paper Clips

Maybe you're not so sure exactly how you want to set up your washi tape bullet journal yet. You can dress up paper clips by looping washi paper through a paper clip and sticking it to itself, so no sticky part is left exposed. You can then use your paper clips anywhere you wish. The best part is you can move them around as needed!

 

Key

Washi tape can be used as a key by using each color, design, or pattern to act as a code. For example, if you wanted to track your moods at different times throughout the day, you could use different washi tape for a code you can easily understand, but those around you won't.

 

Embellishments

You can use your washi tape to simply add color to your page. You can underline words, put a line going down or across the page, or add little pieces to brighten things up. You can experiment with making cuts in your washi tape to see where your creativity leads.

 

Header

Using washi tape to highlight the header of the page will make things super clear and easy.

 

Banner

Similar to using washi tape as a header, you can make cuts into it to give it a different look and use it as a banner to draw attention to the main idea on particular pages.

 

Negative Border

This is an interesting idea! Try laying a piece of washi tape and writing a word; your name for example, directly over it in large writing. When you remove the washi tape, you have a negative space, you can either leave blank or fill in using a different color or design.

 

Conclusion

Sometimes life can feel out of control. If you want to create some stability, creating a washi tape bullet journal could make a big difference in your life. Not only is it a great creative outlet, but it can serve an important purpose if you set it up in a way that will help you improve your life.

Featured Image Provided By Unsplash

October 29, 2019 — Halie Heindel
How to Make Vinyl Stickers from Scratch

How to Make Vinyl Stickers from Scratch

You see them everywhere — on car windshields, bumpers, and doors; on storefronts and shop windows; even as giveaways during an event. Vinyl stickers are affordable and are easy to make, yet they grab attention and can do wonders for your personal or professional purposes. You'll be glad to discover that learning how to make vinyl stickers is quite a simple task.

Vinyl stickers come in various designs and lettering styles, so you can pick the best design or lettering style that suits your purpose — whether as a decorative element or as signage for your business.

What Are Vinyl Stickers?

Vinyl stickers (also known as vinyl decals) are often used to decorate or provide information. Most vinyl stickers only use one color but have become a lot fancier — it is now possible to print various images on a vinyl sticker.

Vinyl stickers vary in size — they can range from very large formats which cover entire walls down to a small vinyl sticker that you can use as a giveaway or as a decorative element on your car's windshield or bumper.

The materials and adhesive used for a vinyl sticker depend on its shape, size, and purpose. Before embarking on learning how to make vinyl stickers, it would be wise to know the types of materials and adhesives available so you can choose the best type that suits your purpose.

The Different Types of Vinyl

Not all vinyl stickers are made of the same material or adhesive. Most vinyl stickers can only be used once, but reusable types are now available as well.

Just to give you an idea of the types of vinyl available in the market and how they are being used by the signage industry, here are some examples.

1. PVC Plastic Vinyl

Traditional vinyl is produced using PVC plastic. It is usually cut from a single color using either a vinyl cutter or a laser cutter. However, full-color images can be printed on the vinyl and can be cut around the contours.

2. Wrap Vinyl

Wrap vinyl is used for vehicles and requires high-performance materials (such as UV laminate) for longevity and protection. Full-color images are printed on the vinyl for the design.

3. Cut Vinyl

Cut vinyl makes use of a solid one-color vinyl which is then cut and transfer-taped.

4. Translucent Rolled Vinyl

For back-lit signs, translucent rolled vinyl is the ideal type to use because it allows light to pass through. This type of vinyl is also high-performance — it usually lasts from between 7-10 years.

5. Intermediate Rolled Vinyl

Intermediate rolled vinyl is typically used for short-term promotional materials or giveaways. This material usually lasts up to 3 years.

6. Reflective Vinyl

This type of vinyl can either be printed or cut and is often used for emergency vehicles because of its reflective properties.

7. Temporary Vinyl

For short-term advertising on walls, floors, ceilings, sidewalks, etc., temporary vinyl is the ideal type to use because it does not damage the surface it's placed on, nor does it leave any sticky residue. This type of vinyl can also be printed on.

What Can You Do With Vinyl Stickers?

Vinyl stickers are typically made with cut vinyl because it's the most affordable and convenient type to use. You can stick them easily on vehicles, window displays, walls, or any solid surface.

Here are some ways that you can use vinyl stickers for your business:

1. Mobile Advertising

Advertising while you're on the road is one of the most effective means of creating awareness about your business. It doesn't have to be fancy — a simple vinyl sticker on your back windshield or bumper can show your logo and your business website or the name of your business and an easy-to-remember contact number. This is an easy way to send important information across.

2. Storefront Lettering

Whether you want something decorative and eye-catching, or you just want to relay a simple message such as days and business hours of operation, using cut vinyl for your storefront lettering is a practical and effective way to deliver the information.

3. Sticker Giveaways

This is a great way to publicize your business presence, especially during events. An interesting promotional sticker could wind up on someone's bumper — adding to your advertising mobility

4. Branding Stickers for Products or Promotional Merchandise

Vinyl stickers are also a practical and less costly way to label your products or promotional merchandise with your brand. When it comes to durability, vinyl stickers last longer because they adhere well and don't fade quickly.

Besides being long-lasting, vinyl lettering stickers also ensure that your letters are precisely drawn and cut — leaving little room for errors as compared to hand-painted letters.

The best part about using vinyl stickers for these purposes is that you can actually do the task yourself! Vinyl stickers are easy to install, thus cutting down costs on what usually requires extensive manpower.

Learning how to make vinyl stickers and actually using them for your advertising and branding efforts also saves the environment from harmful chemicals released into the air when doing high-pressure painting.

How to Make Vinyl Stickers the Easy Way

There are several techniques you can use when creating a vinyl sticker, but just to get you started, we will be teaching you what is perhaps the easiest way of how to make vinyl stickers — by using materials that are readily available to you. You can actually do this technique at home.

Before making a vinyl sticker, it is important to have a solid design first. Using any graphics software (such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw) will be most helpful since you can view your design and make it fit on the printable area.

If you're unable to come up with an original design, try to find inspiration from existing printed material, or you can experiment with simple fonts and typography in the meantime.

In order to produce a high-quality vinyl sticker, you will need these three very essential things:

  • Inkjet printer
  • Inkjet white waterproof and printable vinyl
  • Polyfocus glossy over-laminate

When you have set your design properly on the printable area, you can print the design using a regular Inkjet printer but print it on the Inkjet white waterproof and printable vinyl.

You can actually use the printout as your sticker, but placing a glossy over-laminate on top will add to the glossiness and overall durability of your vinyl sticker.

Transferring the glossy over-laminate might be a little tricky, so make sure you have an ideal work area to do the deed. The secret is to prevent air bubbles from appearing between the over-laminate and your printable vinyl. To be able to achieve this, you have to peel the backing off the over-laminate slowly and part by part.

Once you've set the laminate in its proper position on the edge of your printable vinyl, slowly but firmly put pressure on the laminate and the edge of the printable vinyl with your fingers to make sure that it's airtight and completely flat — no air bubbles should appear.

When you've secured the edge of your printable vinyl with the over-laminate, make sure that the rest of the printable vinyl is smooth and wrinkle-free before you start the process of covering the rest of it with the over-laminate.

Use a straight-edge ruler to flatten the over-laminate against the printable vinyl while simultaneously peeling the over-laminate off from its backing. Make sure to put enough and consistent pressure on the whole sheet as you go along to ensure that it's airtight.

After completely covering your printable vinyl with the over-laminate, give it another pass with your straight-edge ruler just to make sure that there are no air bubbles or pockets in between the printable vinyl and the over-laminate.

Now you can cut your vinyl stickers to your desired size and shape. You can be more exact by using an X-Acto knife and a metal ruler or you can simply cut away with a sharp pair of scissors.

After you're done cutting the stickers to their final shape and size, you can now use your vinyl stickers as you please!

This is just one of the many methods for how to make vinyl stickers — there are far more sophisticated techniques that you can still learn.

Conclusion

Making vinyl stickers is an exercise in precision — it's not as hard as you think, but practice always makes perfect. Knowing how to make vinyl stickers is an advantage, especially for start-up businesses who have tiny budgets for advertising and promotions.

As a beginner, you are better off starting with smaller formats so that they're not as hard to manage. Once you get the hang of it, you can transition to doing cut vinyl stickers — for example, cutting around the edges of vinyl lettering with precision and accuracy.

Learning how to make vinyl stickers need not be all about cost-savings for business. You can also have fun with it! Create humorous vinyl stickers for your family and friends, or start a sticker campaign for a cause.

 Featured Image Provided By Unsplash 

October 29, 2019 — Halie Heindel
Helpful Things to Know about Watercolor Pencil Art

Helpful Things to Know about Watercolor Pencil Art

Watercolors are a favorite teaching medium inside schools around the country. Basic sets are inexpensive and will last a long time. If you were like most children back in grade school, whenever you used watercolors you ended up with a smeared brown mess of every color running together. Thankfully, after a little finesse and practice, you may have learned just how incredible watercolors can be. It's a true art form that, much like other kinds of paint, requires both patience and an understanding of how it works to use it effectively. Watercolor pencils work in a similar fashion to watercolor paints and can be a fantastic addition to the tools you use to create your art. Here is everything you need to know about watercolor pencil art.

What Are Watercolor Pencils?

Watercolor pencils are part colored pencils and part water activated pencils. The main difference between a colored pencil and a watercolored pencil is the kind of pigment used inside of the circular wooden casing. With a regular colored pencil, the pigment is made up of an oil-based wax. This oil-based wax does not react to water, so even if water is combined with regular colored pencils, nothing will happen. On the flip side, a watercolor pencil uses a water-based binder within its pigment. When the water-based solution comes in contact with water, it will begin to break down, similar to the dry color inside of a watercolor paint tray.

Outside of the difference in pigment, a watercolor pencil and a regular colored pencil will function the same and may look exactly the same, as well. Similar colors can be used (or purchased), so if you have a favorite color in regular pencil, you won't have a problem finding it in watercolor (especially if you have a favorite brand).

 

Helpful Things to Know about Watercolor Pencil Art

One of the best ways to discover more about watercolor pencil art is to test it out and experiment on your own. You should use the tips and suggestions here and then make it your own. Discover how much water works for you and whether you like to dip the pencil in water or if you like adding water to the pencil pigment after it's on paper. There's plenty to experiment with and discover when it comes to watercolor pencil art, so feel to have fun with the medium.

You Get What You Pay For

Art supplies are one of the few areas where you really do get what you pay for. You can find cheap products and you can find products that cost more. Typically with watercolor pencils you'll want to invest in a quality product. Cheaper watercolor pencils may break apart easier, or the internal pigment may become separated from the wood around it. These also do not hold a point as well as the more expensive options.

As you work through different kinds of watercolor pencils, you'll find a brand that works best for you. Every artist has a particular brand or product they like better than others. The best way to test out different brands is to buy smaller packs. You can find watercolor pencil packs of four or eight (or at some stores you can purchase individual pencil colors).

By shopping around you'll find what works best for you. When buying watercolors and testing the colors out you want to look for which brands can maintain the best point and how different brands react to water. Some may take more water to break down, others may seep into the water more easily.

Sharpening Your Watercolor Pencil

Don't put your watercolor pencil into a pencil sharpener. Don't even use it in a portable sharpener. Instead, use an art utility knife to sharpen your point. The blade will allow you to cut a better point than you can achieve with a regular sharpener. You also can cut away more of the wood if you want a longer point.

Paper

The paper you use for watercolor pencils and regular pencils will be different. With regular colored pencils you can use just about any kind paper. However, with watercolor pencils you'll want to invest in a different kind of paper. Watercolor paper is a great option, but it also has more texture. Some artists love the texture, while others would rather have something smooth. It all depends in how much water you like to use. The texture helps not only absorb the water but prevents it from dispersing to other areas of the page, giving you more control.

Much like the brands of watercolor pencils, you'll want to experiment with different kinds of paper to find what works best for you. Many arts and craft stores will sell individual sheets. Consider purchasing individual sheets of paper to experiment with to see what you like the best.

Paper Towels

Whenever you are working with watercolor pencil art, you should keep paper towels on hand. If some color bleeds into an area of the paper you don't want it to be in, just take the paper towel and dab it away. You don't want to press too hard; otherwise you might push the pigment into the paper. As long as you move quickly, you should absorb the water before it is absorbed into the paper.

If the pigment is absorbed into the paper you can always take a damp brush with clean water and brush over the color you want to remove. Once wet, use the paper towel to lift up the color.

Activation

With watercolor pencil art, activation occurs when the pigment comes in contact with the water. There are a handful of ways you can activate the pencil's pigments. Each will provide you with a different visual result. One of the best ways to really get a handle on these kinds of activation methods is to use one of your sheets of paper and to just try each out.

The first way is to lightly shade in an area you want colored with the watercolor pencil first and then dip a paint brush in water and brush over the colored pencil. This will give you a clean, smooth application. The darker you press and the more pigment you leave from the pencil the darker the painted image will appear.

Another form of activation for watercolor pencil art is known as the layered and activated method. This is where you apply two different colors of pigment prior to bringing in water. Using this form of watercolor is excellent when you want to blend two colors together. You might apply more of one color at the bottom of an area and then fade up, while you apply more of a second color at the top of the top and then fade down. You can then use a brush dipped in water and blend the two colors together. It is important to wipe off the brush prior to going from the top to the bottom of the two colors, otherwise you may end up picking up the top pigment and displacing it into the second color.

A third form of activation for your watercolor pencil art is when you draw over a wet surface. This will give you a bolder, stronger color than if you applied the water over the applied pigment. To do this, take a brush with clean water and apply it to the area you want to add color to. With the water down you'll now draw over the area. Some pigment will bleed into the water. You may want to draw over a small amount and then switch back to the paint brush, or you may want to just color over the entire area.

The final way to activate your paint is to dip the tip of a watercolor pencil into water and then apply it to the paper. When using this form of application for watercolor pencil art, you will start off with more of a watercolor beginning and then it will blend out to look like colored pencil.

Paint the Background First

If you've ever watched Bob Ross, outside of feeling relaxed and discovering the magic of happy little trees, you'll notice he paints the background first. While he isn't using water colors, he is using a wet on wet paint application method. This provides a thicker paint appearance, but it does share some similarities to that of watercolor. You will want to replicate this and paint the background first, after you have drawn out the outline of the object you're creating using a light outline with a drawing pencil.

Conclusion

Watercolor pencil art is a fantastic way create new works of art and to explore a different take on the medium. It is also a fantastic bridge between using watercolor paint and colored pencils. If you've been struggling with watercolor paint, watercolor pencils will force you to slow down and can help you learn about using the water-based pigment. Plus, you can add the smooth texture of watercolor to that of colored pencil, all without changing mediums. You may also take your watercolor pencils and combine it with regular watercolor for fine details. So whether you're curious or want to try something new, watercolor pencil art offers a great opportunity.

 
 
 
October 29, 2019 — Halie Heindel
How to Master the Art of Simple Hand Lettering Styles

How to Master the Art of Simple Hand Lettering Styles

In the age of handheld mobile devices and emails, even something as basic as handwriting is quickly becoming a lost art. Handwriting has been relegated and overshadowed by the ease and convenience of typing and the use of technology. However, there are still a few who are willing to keep the art of hand lettering alive. If you possess the dexterity to do hand lettering and hand lettering styles, consider it as a gift — one that should be practiced, developed, and honed to its full potential.

 

What Is Hand Lettering?

You might ask, what's the difference between handwriting and hand lettering? Handwriting simply pertains to “writing with a pen or pencil” or refers to “a person's particular style of writing.”

 

Hand lettering is not about writing letters with basic strokes but rather “drawing” them. When you're doing hand lettering, you perceive each letter as a design element rather than just mere text. Each lettering is done by hand to fulfill an artistic and decorative purpose. Hand lettering requires the use of embellishments as well as a strong sense of composition.

 

So why not just use existing font types from your computer? While it's tempting to tweak and manipulate fonts to meet your objectives, it makes for a less challenging and therefore, less satisfying endeavor. Your purpose is to create something unique and personal. Making your hand lettering style from scratch is the only way to achieve the extraordinary results that you are aiming for.

 

Besides, isn't it more fun to create something on your own? Your unique hand lettering style can set a logo, a t-shirt design, a book cover, or a poster apart from the rest because you came up with a design that's exclusively yours.

 

A Brief Definition of Terms

It's good to note that hand lettering is different from calligraphy and typography, although it's not surprising that one may practice all three disciplines.
To distinguish one from the other, let us define the meaning of these terms.

 

Calligraphy is similar to handwriting because it uses basic strokes in forming letters of words. However, unlike regular cursive writing, it requires variations in width when it comes to the upstrokes and downstrokes for each letter. This makes calligraphy an art form in itself.

 

Typography is a measured and repeated system which involves techniques in arranging type for appearance, legibility, and readability. Here, typefaces, point sizes, leading (or line-spacing), tracking (letter-spacing), and kerning (spaces between letters) are all parts of the type arrangement process.

 

What Qualities of Hand Lettering Make It Unique?

Because there are no set rules and they are made by hand, hand lettering styles possess unique qualities which sets them apart from the rest.

 

Hand-lettered pieces are typically imperfect and inconsistent: the same letter will most likely not look the same. A hand-lettered artwork is also created for a singular purpose. Each element is rendered to be intrinsic to one and only one unique configuration.

 

Imagine cutting up a beautiful painting and then re-configuring and re-arranging the parts. The painting would definitely not appear as coherent nor as visually appealing in its altered state. The same principle applies in hand lettering.

 

Getting Started with Hand Lettering Styles

Now that you're ready to embark on your first hand lettering project, it's time to get started.

 

1. Choose Materials That Suit Your Purpose

As a beginner, it's best for you to start with the more conventional writing tools: namely pencils, pens, and paper.

 

Don't think, either, that hand lettering can only be done the traditional way. Digital tools have made it possible to do hand lettering through the use of tablets (such as iPads and Surface Pros). You can move up to digitizing your renditions after you've honed your drawing skills and have developed your own hand lettering style.

 

Pencils and Pens

Don't resort to buying the most expensive pencils and pens right away. Any drawing pencil set should be fine, whether mechanical or lead. Just make sure to have an ample supply of pencils to use.

 

Lead pencils contain graphite and vary in hardness. Harder lead pencils are best for doing light sketches while soft and darker lead pencils add definition.

 

When it comes to pens, it's good to have a combination of varying tip sizes ranging from fine to thick. Fine-tipped pens are best used for rendering details while thick-sized ones make filling letters a lot quicker. If you're planning to do a more free form style, it would be good to have a set of brush pens handy as well.

 

Paper

Choosing the right kind of paper can be a bit tricky and overwhelming, especially with so many options to choose from. For beginners, it's advisable to use tracing paper during the initial stage because it has a smooth surface and absorbs less ink. The use of graph paper is also recommended when practicing because it helps you measure width, height and thickness more consistently.

 

During the final stages of your hand lettering, using Bristol paper is advantageous because of its thick weight and smooth surface.

 

2. Build Your Confidence Level by Doing Some Exercises

Now that you have all the tools necessary at your disposal, it's time to do some warm-up exercises. You'll be reminded of those days when you first started learning how to write. Do some exercises on swirls, curls, and more complex curves and shapes on graph paper since it already has the straight lines you need to do so.

You can also put a sheet of tracing paper on top of a graph paper so you can still use the lines while being able to do your exercises on tracing paper with a smoother surface.

 

Try to do your swirls, curls, curves, and shapes as consistently and as evenly as you can. Do as many as you deem fit until you are fully satisfied with the results.

 

3. Start Working on Your Hand Lettering

This is where the fun begins. Don't think too much about perfecting your hand lettering styles; just let your inner child out and your creative juices flow. Pick a letter or a word and do several variations in style, technique, and execution.

 

Do the same process every day and practice as much as you can. Don't get frustrated if you don't come up with the best ideas right away. Use references for inspiration if you have to and improve on ideas that you think might have potential.

 

4. Create a Final Artwork

Put all that practice and built confidence to use by working on a final piece. You can use a quote or a phrase and artfully execute each letter and each word. For reference, pick the best ones from what you've been working on during practice and start sketching for your final artwork. Don't stick to one hand lettering style: you can mix and match different styles as you please and as you deem necessary.

 

Helpful Tips to Remember

While you're on your way to developing your own hand lettering styles, it pays to take some helpful tips and advice into consideration. Here are some that we've gathered from hand lettering experts that might help you achieve better work habits and techniques as you go along the process of creating your own hand lettering styles:

  • Use a light tablet to have a clearer view of what you're doing
  • Use guidelines (such as circular shapes) before creating your letters
  • Study the different types of paper to know which one will work best for your project
  • After creating a sketch, look at your hand lettering from a different angle to see if there are errors
  • Take your time and don't rush
  • Practice, practice, practice
  • There is no such thing as perfect when it comes to hand lettering
  • You can transition to using digital tools, if you so choose

 

Conclusion

Hand lettering is an enjoyable and fulfilling hobby that you can use for both personal and professional projects. Don't be shy and put into action what you've learned from practicing and doodling ideas. Do a final piece from time to time and see it through.

 

Add a personal touch to your home decor by framing your hand-lettered artworks. You can even give them away as gifts to friends and family during special occasions!

 

As you develop your own sense of hand lettering style, you can volunteer to take on bigger projects such as yard sale signs or t-shirt designs for a community group. This way, you will become more adept with different formats and orientations, not just the ones you've gotten used to. Step out of your comfort zone from time to time to test and hone your skills even further.

 

Remember, the more you practice and conceptualize your own hand lettering styles, the better the results will be. Build your confidence, be creative, and just have fun with it. Who knows? You might even come up with your own set of tips and advice to share.

 Featured Image Provided By Unsplash
October 29, 2019 — Halie Heindel
Fun and Easy Doodles Anyone Can Do

Fun and Easy Doodles Anyone Can Do

Are you a doodler? Do you draw animals or faces of people during a boring meeting? Did you know that easy doodles can improve your listening skills, help you remember information, and concentrate better? Something as simple as sketching some doodles can relieve stress and make you more productive. Scribbling easy doodles related to words, numbers, or images also makes it so information is more likely to stick in your mind.

 
Most of us doodle to create simple stick figures or funny faces. And that's fine; these doodles are yours and there's no such thing as a mistake. But what if you could create even better doodles? In this article, we will show you some easy doodles you can draw anytime and ones that you can show off to your friends. Grab your pencil and paper and get ready to create some doodles you can be proud of!

 

What Are Some Easy Doodles Anyone Can Draw?

Doodles can be standalone pieces or the basis of a more complex work of art. Da Vinci and Picasso were famous doodlers and filled notebooks with easy doodles that sometimes became well-known works of art. So if you're a doodler, you're in good company. Here, we will look at some easy doodles you can create quickly. Let's get started.

Doodle Dog

For this, we'll use simple sausage shapes and one small triangle to create a funny doodle dog. Take a piece of paper and a pencil. Draw one long sausage shape, pointing downward in the center of the paper. This will be the nose of the dog. Next, draw a large circle at the top end of the sausage. This will be the dog's head. Then, draw a large sausage that connects to the head. This is the body of the dog. Add a small triangle at the end of the body for the tail.

After this, we'll need four legs. Draw four small (leg-sized) sausage shapes connecting from the bottom of the dog's body. Add a small sausage-shape for the ear; tuck the other ear as a semi-sausage shape behind the dogs head to add perspective. Add eyes, a little detail to the nose, and use lines for the fur. And there you have your doodle dog.

Doodle King

This king is easy to make and you'll only need simple shapes to make a royal doodle. In the center of your paper, draw a large oval with your pencil. Halfway down the oval, draw a straight line from one side to the other. Next, we'll use the versatile sausage shape. At the top of the oval shape, draw a slanting sausage that covers the top, then put three triangles next to one another on top of the sausage, and finally top each triangle with small circles.

You should see the makings of the king's crown. Then add a drooping sausage in the center of the oval for the nose, and add two curved, vertical lines at the top of the nose on either side for the eyes. Beneath the nose add a horizontal oval shape for the mouth. Add detail to the crown, eyes, and mouth and give your king a beard if you'd like.

More Easy Doodles: Doodling Flowers, Vines, and Bushes

Flowers are one of the most popular and simplest doodles you'll see people draw. You may be wondering why this is. Flowers are everywhere, so there's lots of inspiration. Also, flowers are easy to draw using circles, ovals, and lines, so they are naturally a go-to for doodlers. Let's learn how to doodle different types of flowers.

Daisy

Draw a circle shape in the center of your paper, and color it in with a pencil or black marker. Then, radiating out from the circle's outer edge, draw eleven oval shapes; these will be the petals. Color the petals with a yellow marker, and there you have your daisy. Add a stem and put several in a vase, or fill your page with daisy blossoms. Get creative!

Rose

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Shakespeare immortalized the rose in Romeo and Juliet, and it remains the most popular of flowers today. The rose is a more complex flower to doodle than the daisy, but once you get the hang of it, you'll be creating doodles of roses in no time.

Begin your rose with a small, squiggly swirl. This will be the center of your rose, and then you will build subsequent swirls around this center creating a blooming effect. Make sure to use varying sizes and shapes for your swirls and place them around the center swirl, radiating outwards. You can create large or small rose blossoms using this technique.

Next, add two small, eyelid shapes that connect at the top or bottom of the rose. These are the petals. Add a center line to each and a long stem for more detail, and then you are done with your rose doodle.

Leafy Vine

Vines are simple to draw, but here we will show you how to add detail to make them more realistic. Draw a line and curve it slightly. Next, you'll draw the leaves. Remember the eyelid shapes we used or the rose leaves? We'll use the same concept here. Use this shape with one pointed side touching the stem. Start with larger leaves at the bottom of the vine and make them smaller as you move up.

You can add a line down the middle of each leaf with angled lines radiating from the center. This will give your leaves a vein pattern and add realism to your vine. Experiment with different shapes for your leaves. Leafed vines make great additions to a journal or diary pages as a natural frame for your content.

Spring Blossoms

Spring is a terrific time of the year to get out and look at the many varieties of plants, trees, and flowers in full bloom. With this doodle, we'll create blossoms on a stem.

Let's start with a vertical line. Now, add short branches that angle up from the vertical line. To create the blossoms, draw a small eyelid or teardrop shape on the end of a branch. Next, add two more to the side of each of the first shape you created. Repeat this as you work your way through all the branches. Try differently shaped blossoms or make smaller buds to show where flowers will bloom. Let nature be your guide.

Easy Doodles for a Journal or Day Planner

Today many people are ditching their digital calendars and to do lists in favor of paper or leather bound journals. These folks have discovered something that scientists and designers have known for some time. Namely, doodling has great cognitive benefits. “When you draw an object, the mind becomes deeply, intensely attentive,” says the designer Milton Glaser, an author of Drawing Is Thinking. When you use simple doodles in your journal as a means of expression, you're also helping your brain remember things.

Doodling Is Part of Who We Are

Today the benefits of doodling may be a way to rebel against the digital world that is all around us. People are rediscovering the simple pleasures of putting pen or pencil to paper and creating something they can keep in a hardbound leather journal. There is a timeless quality to that. And we've been doodling to express ideas since we lived in caves, so the need for expression may be hard-wired into us. Doodling is self-expression in its simplest form.

You can add interest to something as mundane as a grocery list by doodling bananas or a carton of milk. Believe it or not, you may not even have to refer back to your list because of the simple act of creating these easy doodles imprints what you need to remember on your brain. A picture is worth a thousand words.

If you keep a journal or diary, try adding some easy doodles. Did you attend a wedding or birthday party recently? These are events that can be memorialized with pictures. Frame your diary entries with some flowers, add a wedding cake, maybe doodle some happy guests. You'll look back fondly on your creation in the years to come, and these simple doodles are sure to bring a smile to your face.

Conclusion

In this article, we've shown the benefits of simple doodling and given you some pointers on how you can create easy doodles and apply them to your diary, journal, or to-do lists. If you come away with nothing else, remember that it's not the quality of your doodling that matters. These are your thoughts and ideas put to paper. Maybe these doodles are meant as a temporary reminder or to express an idea. Yet, think back to how many great ideas have been doodled on the backs of cocktail napkins over the years.

We may not all be artists, but everyone doodles. Doodling is important as it gives us insights and allows us time to think and create even in our most idle moments.

October 29, 2019 — Halie Heindel