Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tutorial - Hand Colored Rugs on Velvet

Some time ago I saw some lovely rugs from the 1980s on Ebay made by Ione Van Beckum and advertised as “hand painted”.  I was amazed at the detail – intricate designs in lovely colors.  I wondered how she did this with paint on velvet type cloth.  I looked up an article about her in Nutshell News (April 1981, p. 38 if you have it) and attempted to use her techniques to create my own rug.

One of Ione Van Beckum's rugs

Nutshell News article about Ione Van Beckum

I realize that I am no Ione Van Beckum!  Her colors are so subtle, her borders so perfectly even and her ovals perfectly shaped.  But I will share how I did my version  - the round scalloped one shown at the top of this blog (along with hints from the article).

1)    According to the article, she used cotton velvet or no-wale corduroy (I found off-white cotton velvet.)

2)    She backs it with “muslin sewn on with tiny little stitches” .
I didn’t back my velvet.  But I did use muslin (double layer) to make fringe (see further down). 
To get the scalloped shape I created a pattern using drawing tools in Microsoft Word (it was not easy).  I cut the rug out then sectioned it (using water erasable sewing marker) so the design could be spread out evenly.

3)    She paints the design using waterproof marking pens.
I looked for permanent markers and had a hard time finding delicate colors.  Office Depot sells fine point Sharpie pens in many colors.  But so many of those were bright and dark colors.
Finally I found some more delicate colors on Amazon by “Bic” brand.  I purchased a 36 count set called “Fashion Colors” in “Ultra Fine” tip size.  Though I can see where a wider tip would come in handy for shading in larger areas.  I didn’t buy any of the wider tip though.

I tested colors by marking each color on my fabric and writing the name of the color so I could remember which was which.  Sometimes the caps didn’t match the actual color when written on the velvet.
I also practiced making different designs and motifs:

4)    She draws the designs free-hand (how did she do that??)
I drew some by hand (scrolly border) but used some paper patterns to create sort of a “stencil” so I could make my repeat motifs the same size and shape.  You can see in the following photos.  I used light and dark tones for shading and adding details.  The photos show the colors of pens I used.

(Moonstone Yellow used for scrolly design)

The plan was to create two different designs, each on half of the rug.  One was more of a border and the other had a couple of different scroll French style motifs.  This was kind of a practice rug.  But I ended up using it in a dome project where half the rug was in one room and the other half in the other room (you’ll see in later photos).

5)    She applies the colors in tiny dots to assure even shading.  You can see this in the photo of Ione’s rug but I didn’t do this.  I didn’t really fill in any background.

6)    To fringe a rug, she pulls threads from both the velvet and muslin, carefully brushing out the pile.
I made my fringe by folding over a length of muslin and fraying the raw edges (two thicknesses).  I then cut the fringe straight and glued it around the scallops of my rug. I covered the edge with unraveled bunka (below).

7)    She then ages the rug with a pale beige marking pen. (I didn’t age my rug)
In the photos below you can see my finished rug.  Much simpler than Ione’s but she probably took more time than I did.  This is a simple technique if you can use some stencils or patterns and have the pens in colors you need.

Here is a better view of the side with the scrolly motifs:

Here are some more photos of other rugs by Ione.  She is a very talented lady.  The oval one is from my own collection.

 Next blog - maybe a slipper chair??

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Tutorial - Dome Project - Carved Shelf Niche

This is a project hosted by SAM – Society of American Miniaturists (minisam.org).  I have been a member for 20-something years (on and off).  I have blogged about other projects.  We get together for an annual themed birthday which is celebrated by a day-long workshop (free to members who pay $25 yearly membership!!).  It is always an awesome day.

The project made last February 2017 was called “A Dome of My Own”.  It was created by some of our SAM members in the San Antonio, Texas area.  Everyone received cut out wall and round base to fit inside an 8 x 12 glass dome (like you find at Hobby Lobby).  Members had to purchase their own domes but the workshop included the walls, floor, window, and optional window box and awning (in case your wall separated an indoor and outdoor space).  I should mention also we received lots of wonderful tote bag favors!

I wanted my dome to have both sides be interior spaces– don’t ask me why I would have a window between two interior rooms – that’s just how I want it!

Since there was very little space on each side for any furnishings I thought I would “expand” one side of the wall by cutting into the ½ inch foam core wall to make little inset shelf units.  Here is a tutorial on how I did it.

  1. After wallpapering both sides and cutting out my window, I decided on how big to make the shelf units and marked them on the wallpaper.  Start with a new blade in your X-Acto knife.  I marked my X-Acto knife with blue tape to mark the depth of the cut – so I didn’t go all the way through to the other side of the wall.  Believe it or not this worked well (I was careful).  I never did cut through.
  2. Push the knife into the foam core just to the tape and slowly trace around the area to cut out being very careful at the corners not to over-cut.
  3. Peel off the outer ‘card stock’ layer.
  4. With the X-acto knife, section off the large area with horizontal cuts.  I made about 5 or 6 sections.  Again, make sure you don’t go all the way through.
  5. Take something blunt (like a flat head screwdriver) and dig it into the slice made by the X-acto and slowly wiggle it to loosen a chunk of the foam.  Carefully pry it out trying to peel it from the bottom layer of card stock (which is the opposite wall so try not to make nicks or dents). It will look very messy at first.  Worry about that later.
  6. When most of the foam is removed you can clean it up with your blunt tool, scraping the bottom GENTLY to remove the stray chunks.  This will be covered later with another layer of index card (back of the shelf) and wood strips (shelf edges).
  7. What it looks like when all cleaned out.
  8. Here is what the opposite side looks like – no knife marks!
  9. Here is the final product.  I covered the backs of the niche with a painted piece of card stock (index card will work).  The inside edges of the box were lined with painted ½ inch wide strips of 1/16th inch thick strip wood (Hobby Lobby or hobby stores).  For the bottom shelf I made a shaped piece from 3/32 or 1/16th thick bass wood (can’t remember which) to extend beyond the wall a little so it could hold a larger doll.  The other shelves were made from scraps of thin acetate (to look like glass shelves).  I had some left over from a door or window project.  Sometimes I have used a thin clear plastic used to cover posters (again, Hobby Lobby) in the framing department.

Hope to be posting more of this project in the coming weeks!