This is the time of year when Mother Nature slowly wakes up and begins to amaze us with her renewed splendor. I find that I do my best designing during this particular time of the year. The seasons momentarily coexist; therefore, my subconscious doesn’t focus on a particular season or trend. In light of this fact, what better time to share with you these wonderful creative tools that complement any season and any art style.
Silver Scrubber Brushes
Silver Brush Limited
The new Silver Scrubbers are truly multitask workhorse brushes that everyone should own. They are made of a very fine quality stiff white taklon (which enables them to hold their shapes in all types of paint—even thick, dense paints, like oil sticks, tube acrylics, and oils). The firm hairs in the Silver Scrubbers are perfect for fabric painting; stippling effects on canvas art; and stenciling on walls, paper, and wood. They are also a great lift-out brush and scrubber for watercolor painting. I also use Silver Scrubbers in my pencil and pastel art to create a painterly feeling in my drawings. (Loose pigment particles can be brushed, stippled, etc., and the effects are amazing.) Silver Scrubbers are currently available in four different three-piece brush set styles: the Stiff Dome Round Synthetic Brush Set (SS-153), the Stiff Round Flat Synthetic Brush Set (SS-154), the Stiff Oval Filbert Synthetic Brush Set (SS-155), and the Stiff Angle Synthetic Brush Set (SS-156). Each set features three popular brush sizes: 1/4", 1/2", and 5/8". Silver Scrubbers can be ordered online at silverbrush.com or check with your local art supplies store.
DecoArt Americana Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paint
I’ll be honest with you, when I first saw yet another type of paint being introduced, I said, “Why on earth would I buy this stuff when I’m sure that I already have something else in my studio that will work just as well and do the same thing.” But after experimenting with this paint line, I have to eat my words, because these paints really are truly unique and bring something new to the table! Americana Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paints are a true “do-it-all” paint. Multi-Surface Satin paints were formulated to successfully bond to wood, ceramics, canvas, Styrofoam, metal, paper, terra cotta, glass, fabric, and most plastics—and they do just that! The coverage was excellent on every surface that I painted.
I’m an “options” kind of girl, so any product that can offer me yet another design choice for my work excites me. True satin finish, you say? Satin has a look all of its own, giving me yet another painting option—this is so exciting. Some other positive attributes of this line are as follows: the pigments bond well to both indoor and outdoor surfaces; once cured, the paints are rust and moisture resistant; the paint is waterbased and nontoxic; the pigments are permanent and lightfast; it is a true satin finish (no additional varnish is required to keep the satin feel and look); and best of all, the paint is self-sealing, meaning that no primer or sealer is required (I love this part). Be sure to check this paint line out—you won’t be disappointed!
Transform Mason Products
Mason jar art is a very hot trend, and thanks to the innovative minds at Loew-Cornell, designing on glass jars just became even more exciting and fun! Their new Transform Mason jar art embellishment products are specifically formulated for glass surfaces and they are compatible with most brands of glass paints. Adding Transform Mason products to your present glass-painting product arsenal allows you freedom to embellish jars in ways not possible before. Here is a sneak peak at these wonderful products.
If you love creating collage art and painting on glass, Transform Mason Decoupage Paste is going to be your new best friend, because it makes creating collage art on glass possible. This full-body paste effortlessly adheres specialty papers of all widths and weights onto Mason jars and levels out smooth—no unwanted bumps appear under a paper surface. The formula in this paste also contains properties that bond deeply to both the paper and the glass surface; therefore, paper-lift will not occur. Transform Mason Decoupage Paste also acts as a glue, sealer, and varnish on glass surfaces, making it a wonderful multipurpose product.
Now it’s even easier to create chalkboard-paint areas on glass jars—how great is that! Organizing pantries and labeling jar contents or expiration dates has never been easier or prettier! Transform Mason Chalkboard Paint is formulated to bond tightly and quickly to any glass surface; it will not lift, crack, or peel when you are removing old chalk messages to create a new label message; and the consistency of the paint levels out beautifully on glass to create a smooth, flat chalkboard area surface. If you have never created a painted faux chalkboard before, here is a great tip for you. First, season the chalkboard before writing on it. To do this, take a piece of chalk, lay it on its side and rub a layer of chalk over the entire chalkboard; then wipe off all the chalk with a damp rag. If you do this first, all future lettering will lift off completely, leaving no ghost mark images behind.
If you love the look of etched or embossed glassware, you will be amazed at how quickly and easily you can create a faux-etched design on glass, porcelain, or tile using Transform Mason Frosting Paint. This amazing product contains no harsh chemicals and has just the right consistency (not too thick and not too thin) so that it can be used with stencils and stamps. You can also spread it on a surface and then use brushes, sponges, and other tools to create a variety of texture designs. It dries fairly quickly and you can even paint over it once it is dry if you desire.
Stenciling on Mason jars is a great way to create a quick, fun design, but trying to get a flat stencil to securely bond to a round object can be tricky at times. The Transform Mason Silk Screen Stencils eliminate this potential problem, because the back side surface of each stencil has a built-in “sticky” grip, allowing it to grip the glass and stay in position. Another unique property is that each stencil has a tiny screen in each cutout area of the stencil to ensure there is no distortion in the shape when the stencil is formed onto a rounded surface.
The possibility of paint seeping under a stencil edge and blurring the design is something that painters battle from time to time. To combat this potential problem, Transform Mason incorporated a variety of silkscreen tools (tools used by printmakers for paint applications over stencil templates) as part of the product line. What is silk screening and how do you do it? Well, it is a process where paint or mediums are applied over a stencil template using rubber-tip tools instead of stencil brushes. When paint is applied in this manner, it evenly disperses onto a surface in a thin, smooth layer (which alleviates seepage and paint buildup) and delivers a smooth, precise transfer of an image. Another advantage to using silkscreen tools for paint application is that the variety of assorted shape tips allows you freedom to apply as much as or little paint in any size or shaped area. Even detailing individual small areas within a section is possible plus you can also utilize any of the rubber-tip tops to add texture within an area (your paint must still be wet to do this). Silk screen images are always crisp, clean, and contain beautiful details. The technique is easy, and all you need to get started is a Transform Mason Silk Screen Stencil and the Transform Mason Small Stencil Stylus tool set (#1026273), which contains a cone, flat chisel, and double flat chisel stylus tool.
Tape is a wonderful tool to utilize when designing on glass and the Transform Mason Detail Masking Tape not only bonds well to glass (no bleeds occur), but it also comes in hard-to-find 1/4" and 1/8" widths. Giselle Pope (a very talented artist friend) is a huge fan of this thin tape. It makes creating decorative borders, pin striping, and line art patterns a breeze. She shared the following tip: To ensure that you get a smooth, even, crisp, paint edge when using tape, remove the tape while the paint is still wet. If something calls you away for a minute and the paint dries before you get back, go back and apply another thin coat of paint over the dry paint, wait a second for the underlying paint to reconstitute, and then remove the tape while all layers of paint are still wet.
Transform Mason thought of everything when it comes to jar art creations—they even carry Mason jars in assorted sizes and jar embellishment items. I personally am a flower fan, so I love their Frog and Daisy Jar Inserts. Just place one of these decorative inserts in the top of a Mason jar and it instantly transforms it into a great vase. The Transform Mason line also features an assortment of different-size and different-shape paintable wooden tags that would look perfect hanging from a jar proudly displaying someone’s name or a label.