Ok people, heads down. Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt incredibly creative then realized you just sat on the computer for three hours pinning crafty projects on pinterest without actually doing much of anything at all… no peaking.
Yep, that’s me.
But this week I actually visited my pinboards again and got the supplies I needed to work on a few projects that have been on my mind for awhile. All of these projects involved the use of Enamel in some way, shape or form.
So what is Enamel? Well I’m not sure what it technically is, but for our purposes it’s basically craft paint (similar to acrylic) that is dried, then baked in the oven to create a glassy, glossy, hard finish on whatever you paint it on. It’s somewhat idiot proof but I did discover some helpful tips that I’m happy to share.
First of all- I tried a few different kinds of paint. Some were NOT conducive to the projects I’m about to show you i.e. anything that says transparent. Transparent is NOT what I was looking for. Try these:
Americana Gloss Enamels. They’re about $2 each at JoAnn’s or Michael’s (wait until you get a 20% off your total purchase coupon- $2 doesn’t seem like too much moolah but if you get a whole bunch of colors, it quickly adds up). Other useful (but not entirely necessary) tools include electrical tape, q-tips, exacto knife, scissors, paintbrushes, and a damp washcloth. I also found the cute little wooden beads at JoAnn’s for just a few bucks each. And, you’ll have leftover beads to make your kiddos a necklace too- bonus!
All right where to start…
Painted Margarita Glasses:
These are a shower gift for a good family friend who is having a destination wedding in Mexico. Her shower is on Cinco de Mayo and she happens to love margarita’s so… voila! A fun little addition to her gifts. (Plus, to be honest, you can get glasses incredibly cheap at Bed Bath and Beyond. Add a 20% off coupon on top of the already cheap price, and it’s a totally doable, handmade gift idea for many occasions- teacher’s gift, 21st birthday, showers, graduation- and it wouldn’t have to be a margarita glass either- wine glasses, tumblers, clear travel coffee cups, candy bowl etc. Just make sure they are all oven safe up to 350 degrees!)
Here’s where the electrical tape comes in handy. Use it to create a hard edge anywhere on your glasses. It’s harder that I thought to get a clean line. The paint is slippery and unlike paper, there is no grit for your paintbrush to cling to. Slippery, slippery, slippery! But beware- this paint dries like plastic so you need to carefully release the tape by running an exacto knife around the tape edge very gently. Otherwise, the paint will peal right off the glass with the adhesive on the tape.
If you want solid colors on your glass item you are going to need about 3 coats. If you are going for a more clear, stained glass look, one coat will do the trick. This paint dries quickly so it’s a good project if your pressed for free time. Case in point- me!
I got a little bit enamel crazy and decided to paint my phone case and my moleskin journal. Two material possessions that are near and dear to my heart. I am a lover of all things tech but I will always be hopelessly addicted to paper of all kinds, especially journals. Advice- it is hard to get a bright color on dark objects. Mix a little bit of white into each of your colors to get a more solid paint. Or- and this was my method- use a q-tip to apply the paint. It will go on more thickly and show up better. You can see in the “J” on my journal that the base coat of pink is pretty dark. The colored polka dots jazz it up a bit more and show up much better. Same goes for my cell phone case. Use the damp wash cloth to blot excess water off your paint brushes in between colors, you don’t want to water down the paint.
Now not that I would think any of you are idiots, but please for your oven’s sake, do not bake these two items. The phone case will melt and the paper journal will go up in flames. Don’t burn your house down.
The wooden bead necklace (another pinterest idea) was super easy except for the fact that it’s difficult to hold the bead and get a clean line. Maybe those of you with tiny, deft, little fingers will do a better job. But just be patient, you’ll get it.
These beads look great on a sleek silver or gold chain, or strung onto a pretty satin ribbon. I hooked two of my old silver chains together to create a longer necklace. I think the necklace looks great over a plain gray or black t-shirt. Just a little something fun for spring! L also died making her own. I let her go to town with the paint, make a mess, then string the beads onto her own necklace using chunky yarn and a knitting needle. She now wears her necklace absolutely everywhere, so proud of her little project.
And now for the crowning glory of my enameled-stuff explosion:
My wooden spoon collection! It’s my personal motto that you can never have too many glass bowls or wooden spoons, so here is an ode to that. I already had quite the collection of spoons on hand but if you don’t, Crate and Barrel has cute cheap ones and so does Target. Did I really just call a wooden spoon cute? I have issues, man. But anyway, it’s money well spent because you will actually USE the spoons all the time!
Use your electrical tape again to mark off your spoons. I taped them all at different lengths just to mix it up a little bit but you could be a little more calculated and make them all match, you know, if you are feeling a little too type A today.
Here’s where you will definitely want to lighten *all* of your colors with white. Even if you don’t want pastels, add a tiny bit of white because it will help you get better coverage on the spoons. You will definitely need a few coats for these so allow adequate time. The best way to dry the spoons is like this:
Shoved in between books on a bookshelf (out of reach of the kiddos of course). Trust me, it is the best way. You can thank my stained pants and carpet for this little tidbit of information.
Now you have to use your brains. READ the back of the paint bottle. Do what it says. Something along the lines of drying each object at least 48 hours, painful I know, BEFORE you bake them. Not sure how this makes that much of a difference but don’t ruin your project by being impatient.
Spray the spoon handles with a coat of food safe shellac and you are good to go.
Anyway, there you have it. Some lovely little enamel projects to sink your teeth into this weekend. You’re going to love it so much, everything will soon become enameled… well not really. Not if your husband has anything to say about it… oops!
P.S. G was excellent company during said enamel projects. She just hung out next to me checking out all her toys. What a good little G!