Friday, June 27, 2014

bleach pen painted burlap sign

I wish I could tell you I've spent the last two weeks on some incredible exotic vacation. Oh wouldn't that be lovely! But alas, I've merely be in the midst of the everyday doldrums of life. Where days are long, but weeks are short. Today I've finally found a few fleeting quiet moments to sit down and tell you about the newest project to hit the lakehouse walls.

Remember a month ago when I shared a progress report of our current diy adventures in their varying stages of doneness. Well, some of those projects have turned out to be real pieces of work. In fact in honor of said projects, I've made my own rendition of everyone's favorite obnoxious song; "This is the project that never ends yes it goes on and on my friend..." Your welcome. Thankfully, this pheasant cafe sign now resides above our coffee station as proof that projects can actually be completed.
First, we must address the giant bird in the room. Why pheasants? Well, I've asked myself the same question many many times. If we owned this place, believe me those drab birds would be gone in an instant. I don't care how charming or vintage they are. But when you rent, well things are a bit more precarious. And so we've chosen to embrace the peeling, faded pheasants by naming our little coffee station after it. The sign will be a lovely reminder of the good olde granny chic lakehouse days when it's time to leave the pheasant wallpaper behind and move on.

Now that we have the pheasants behind us, let's get down to the diy nitty gritty. This is a fairly simple project. Find a shape. Print it out. Trace with a bleach pen. Add some lettering. Attach to a frame. And presto a new fabulous piece of art to decorate your walls with. And yes, you can use other types of fabric. I know the burlap trend is on the demise, but the look fits perfectly in our cabinesque place. Besides I prefer to walk on the wild side and set my own trends. Life is a lot less expensive that way.

Just in case you're curious about the bleach pen effect on other fabric, check out this shirt I made for the hubster a few years ago. It's still going strong. And yes, he still loves pesto.
P.S. That cake was an epic failure of mass proportions. Proof that not every recipe you find on the internet is a good idea...

Burlap (I got a yard and only used half)
Bleach pen (or two)
Straight pins
Staple Gun
Permanent Marker

1. Find a frame. Use an old one, thrift one, or shop the clearance aisle at Home Goods. I rescued an old frame we had originally used as part of our wedding photo booth from our yard sale pile. Since it had already been painted a few times, I just sanded it down with a fine grit sandpaper to give it a rustic, worn look.
2. Cut burlap. Give yourself an additional two inches on each side of the frame. If you're unfamiliar with cutting burlap, check out this post. There's a real way to cut it that makes it look professional instead of a hack job.
3. Decide what object you'd like to create a bleached print of. Perhaps it's just letters for a monogram, a cute little elephant for a nursery, or a silhouette of a child. Whatever it is - size it to fit your frame, print, and cut it out.

4. Arrange the shape on the burlap exactly where you want it be in the finished product...there's no going back with bleach! Use pins to attach the pattern to the burlap. I covered my work surface with a large flat box and pinned the pheasant and burlap to the box.
5. Time to bleach! Make sure your bleach pen is flowing. Trace the shape completely.

Then very carefully remove the shape and fill in the remainder of the inside with bleach. If you're pen is almost empty, be aware of bubbles that will spread bleach in places you may not want it to be. I'd recommend having an additional bleach pen handy just in case you run low and a wet paper towel on hand to quickly wipe away any mistakes.

6. Allow the bleach to dry then thoroughly rinse in cold water to remove the bleach smell. Hang to dry. Preferably outside on a line where you can take a super cute and totally country photo of it. Be sure to send me a photo when/if you do!
7.  Once the bleach is dry, iron the burlap before you begin lettering.

8. If you're really artsy and never mess up, then letter away with a permanent marker. But if you're like me and don't have those genes, then type and print out what you'd like the sign to say. Place the printout under the burlap as a guide and write over it with marker.
Oh and for all you uber observant readers: I originally painted the "the" with black acrylic but didn't love the look of it. So I flaked off what I could once it dried and went over it in marker changing the lettering a bit in the process.

9. Stretch the back of the burlap over the back of the frame and staple with a staple gun. You'll need quite a few staples. Try and stretch as evenly as possible otherwise, the letters might have a slight slant...ahem...

10. Attach a picture hanger if needed and hang!
The options for painting with a bleach pen are truly endless. If you try this technique, I'd love to hear how it went! Happy crafting!

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