Tag Archives: Zen Tangles

Raclette, meet rack

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Raclette, meet rack

Last winter I discovered raclette, the absolute perfect food. Potatoes, melted butter, melted cheese. What’s not to love?

Ah, that. The pure liquid fat dripping off the fork and right onto my chest. And the plain t-shirt I was wearing for the first time. Raclette, just like salad dressing, likes big busts and it cannot lie.

Solid color tees, so great because they go with everything, are always the most endangered item in my closet. If they make it past a third wearing without being consigned to the pile of formerly wearable at work clothing, it’s a minor (and temporary) miracle.

My Pinterest board titled “T-shirt Renovations” is chock full of ideas for t-shirt fixes, so I thought I would share some of my attempts to rescue splattered tees.

The first one I did quite a while ago, shortly after the Raclette Incident. I found a perfect stencil in a pack I had bought, using my oil paint Shiva Sticks. The bigger circle in the center is right where the raclette spot was. It filled in nicely (though the iridescent charcoal and silver paints came out looking pretty matte black and grey on the cotton jersey).

Hit me with your Shiva stick, hit me, hit me!

Until it went through the wash. Then the paint over the grease spot faded out. I started drawing it in with a Sharpie in a moment of boredom, but I figured that might not end well. I have had some thoughts on how to deal with that center bit, but it involves a little something I have lost track of and I didn’t want to go buy another (and the hardware stores are closed on Sunday anyway). It’ll make a return engagement when I find the missing piece and get the project done.

Just recently I saw a P.S. — I made this! post about spraypainting a top through a yard or so of lace. So happens I bought 2 lace curtains at a Goodwill recently for under $5 total, so I cut one of the panels and spraypainted copper fabric paint onto this brown tee. The result is so subtle in person that the lace effect is pretty lost, but it looks like the stain was taken care of.

Um, well.

Neither thing appears to be true in this photo. Haven’t decided if it needs something further, or if I should just wear it as is. Since it’ll be 97 degrees F tomorrow and this has long sleeves, I have some time to think.

I also have a big piece of painted lace to use on some project.

I have some thoughts on that, too.

This last picture is the t-shirt rescue I like best. I’ve seen this one on Pinterest too. You make a design with the Chlorox pen on a colored shirt, let it rest 30 minutes, then wash. I freehanded the design, based on one of my favorite ZenTangle designs, the henna drum. I simplified it way down because the fine point of the double sided bleach pen is still pretty wide — it’s for stain treatment and not drawing, after all. There’s bleed, but I still love how it came out.

Life’s a bleach and then you dye.

I’m really looking forward to wearing this one.

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Now was that so hard?

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Now was that so hard?

Well…sort of.

I got up first thing and took 2 pictures of my project and as I was cropping them on the computer I noticed something that’s barely noticeable on the actual thing, so I had to fix it. Did that, photographed it, and now I’m ready.

So, the project itself. This is one that started out in one of our women’s art gatherings. I’d brought another project to work on, but I saw what everyone else was doing, and I was all, “Ooooh, shiny!”

Literally, because we were using shiny silver metal tape [tm] to make fake pewter medallions. This was a project I’d seen done before (when I was also hell-bent on some other project) and thought was cool, so I jumped on the second chance. There’s a lot you can do with this method — adding them to altered Altoid tins (and I really would love to have a supply of these tins, but I am not a person who regularly sucks on mints), or make art cards of them, or do what I did here, adding it as a decorative element to a box.

The shiny silver metal tape [tm] can be found at hardware stores or places like WalMart. I hear there’s now a lookalike of plastic so you have to be careful you really have the metal type. It’s on a roll about the size of duct tape.

The big thing you can do with this tape (other than whatever its actual purpose might be) is play with texture. I’ve seen some very pretty cards made where it’s been taped onto card stock and then rolled through an embossing machine. But for this project we used pre-cut chipwood shapes and used little shaped paper punches on card stock. One of our group uses old plastic cards as her design base — used gift cards, stowaway hotel key cards and the like. Some of the group combined different shapes and came up with some really cool abstract designs. I found a paper punch with a tree design (probably for Christmas card projects) and decided to make a wee forest, and I chose a round chipwood precut as my base, since I decided to put it on a round paper mache box.

The box, by the way, was one of those items that sometimes appears in the stash of art materials in the famous back room at these art gatherings. Sometimes people start working on something and then lose interest, or they’re only there for one time (we get the occasional tourist passing through who comes to art night, which is pretty cool). So this box was one of those pieces, with a patchy coating of white paint. I kind of liked the effect, which made me think of birch bark, so I left it as it was. It could probably look more like birch bark, but I decided I’d rather have it be suggestive of such than be taken too far so it looks nothing like it.

On to the fake pewter! One of the regulars taught us this project, which she’d gotten from a show on HGTV before they switched their programming all around to appeal to a different demographic. Take your backing chipwood piece and glue on shapes of card stock or more chipwood, then carefully tape over the whole thing with your shiny silver metal tape [tm]. Your edges will overlap a little bit, but you want to rub them down so they’re hardly visible. We used orangewood sticks like you’d get in a manicure set. The same stick gets rubbed over the shapes around the edges so there’s some definition there. It takes a while to get the tape pushed down over a complex grouping of layers, but you want to be careful not to punch holes in the tape.

Once that’s done to your satisfaction, the next step is to etch some designs into the surface of your medallion. I went with some simpler Zen Tangle filler patterns, varying the patterns in different areas, as I would in a paper-and-ink Tangle. This part of the project I did a while back, so I can’t remember what I used to make the etched parts — something more pointed than the orange stick, but not so sharp it would tear the tape.

That’s as far as I got the night of the art gathering, and the box and the medallion have been sitting among my stash for a while. So finally I pulled it out and finished it, which was pretty simple. The last bit for the fake pewter is to brush on black paint so that it goes into the etched lines, then rub it off with a tissue so that the paint stays in the lines but mostly comes off the rest. It might take a few times to get it right so all the paint doesn’t come off, and if you rub too hard over the seam where the tape overlaps, it can curl up or wrinkle.

Painting in progress

So after the paint dried I glued the medallion piece onto the round box, and then it was done.

Done. At least I thought so.

So there was a spot that looking at it in person I thought might pass for a part of the fake wood, but that is one photo that screams “tiny coffee stain!” So this morning I grabbed some craft whitewash and a tissue and dabbed some one, and I think I’ve nailed it.

Doodle bug

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Doodle bug

Somewhere along the line, maybe while putting a lot of my craft supplies back where they belong, it occurred to me what I should do to improve my mood while making something pretty — I made a ZenTangle[tm].

ZenTangle is a meditative form of doodling, basically. There are a multitude of doodle patterns (and more being developed all the time by its fans) but they can all be broken down into 4-6 steps each. There’s a general system to it, so you can concentrate on making your designs on the not-very-griddish grid called a string. So your main choice is which doodle you’re going to put in each segment of your string. They look very intricate and complicated, but they can be broken down to simple elements. It’s involving and soothing and you wind up with a pretty piece you could frame or make into a card or whatever. And artists work them into their art — including quilters.

So now that I’ve given my decidedly non-official description, you should go check out ZenTangle.com and TanglePatterns.com. There are better descriptions of what they are, what they accomplish, useful info on materials, and tons of patterns broken down into easy steps.

The Pigma Micron .005 pen is what’s recommended for the fine detail, and that’s what I used. There’s also a special card of a specific size designed by the ZenTangle creators, which I did not use. I used a scratch pad made from high quality scrap paper, somewhere around 4″ x 6″.

I drew my borders in pencil, as well as the string (004 on the Tangle Patterns string list). I’m pretty new at this, so I started the piece with my favorite tangle, Cadent. It can look a bit awkward as you’re going along, but when you get the dots connected in both directions, it comes together amazingly. I didn’t look up the steps, just went with what I remembered, so it began a little rough at the bottom until I remembered how it went.

Getting started. The earlier in the process, the more washed out the pictures, so this one’s a bit overexposed.

Connecting the dots:

I just love how forgiving this pattern is. It’s a great pattern for actual aimless doodling, too.

The next pattern I chose was Henna Drum, which was on the first page of the TanglePatterns blog. Very pretty, but I got the petals a little too spiky. I think it will look great when I’ve had more practice. I threw in a couple more once I realized my problem.

The spiky ones.

So I added in a couple more blooms, paying attention to rounding the petals this time. In the meantime I’d filled another segment of the string with Beadlines. This is one of the few tangles without an actual diagram of how to draw it, because it’s pretty simple and apparent.

Aaaaannndd then I skipped a couple of steps, or photographing those steps, anyway.

Here is the complete tangle. I added filler to the henna drum segment, and added three more tangle patterns.

The total Tangles I used here were Cadent filled with Ahh, Henna Drum, Beadlines, Squid (upper left corner, maybe a little too cluttered with the spiral filler I added; it’s hard to see the pattern well), Clothesline (next to Squid) and Limpitz (smished between Cadent and Beadlines). Ahh is also very simple and so without a diagram, but the others have step-by-step instructions linked from their page on the Tangle Patterns site, so you can see exactly how I did what I did and occasionally variations. I advise browsing through the collection and putting together a Tangle. It’s very engaging and enjoyable.

I have done a tiny bit of incorporating these into art pieces — I made a set of coasters with needle-felted tangle patterns in very 60s feeling motifs — and I’d like to do some more.

For now, here’s today’s tangle from a different angle:

Cadent wants to be at the bottom, either way I tilt it. I think mostly because of the amount of real estate that it occupies here.

So…Funk eased. Project done.