Make Beautiful Things


chalkboard diy

Make beautiful things.

It’s what I try to do everyday. Not a bad job description.

I especially like making beautiful things out of not-so-beautiful things.

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That’s how this “chalkboard” started out. I found this Dega-ish painting at a thrift store. (Love it when I can nab a framed canvas for less than five dollars!) I sure hope the original artist of this painting is not reading. Sorry Mr. or Mrs. Ford! I paint over my old paintings all the time! Don’t feel bad!

Here’s how the transformation took place.

I like to make these projects as effortless as possible. Why take the whole thing apart? I just left the frame on and painted the canvas with black gesso. Why black gesso? Because I was out of the black acrylic craft paint I had planned to use. Roll with it, baby. I actually think the gesso ended up the better choice because it is naturally flat and chalky.

Lettering is next! I recommend working from an image on Pinterest that has a phrase or style that you like. Use a white charcoal pencil or white chalk to try a few layouts, drawing out the words right onto the black canvas. The charcoal pencil or chalk wipes off with a damp cloth so no worries. Just keep trying until you like it.

I then freehand painted the letters. I know, I know, you think you can’t do that. I think you can. Try it. If you can write in cursive, you can do this. Study some good examples and look at where they make the lines thicker and thinner. That’s the secret!  It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful! I used white acrylic paint with a narrow round brush, but a white paint pen will do the trick too!

To finish it off and make it look more authenticly chalkboard-ish, I rubbed white chalk in the gaps between the words. It’s very convincing!

Now I have a daily reminder to do my work.

Make beautiful things…the laundry can wait.



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Painted Paper Garden

There are hints of spring in the air here in Michigan, so we are going to plant a garden.

It’s still to cold for that outside, but take a look at what blooms inside at Great to Create!

Kristi Lynn Studio

Follow along to make your own Painted Paper Gardens at home!


tissue paper

cardstock or watercolor paper, any size

tempera or acrylic paints

white school glue

foam brushes


Step One: Painting Tissue Paper

Kristi Lynn Studio

Spread out cheap plastic table cloth to protect your table.  ( I don’t recommend newspaper–we had a problem with it sticking!)

Lay out tissue paper.  White tissue paper works well, but color tissue paper is also a fun option.

Squeeze desired paint colors right out of the paint bottle onto your tissue paper, just like mustard on a hot dog!

Take a wet foam brush and gently spread the paint.  If you are doing this with young ones I recommend taping the tissue down to the table as the tissue paper wants to move around as you paint it.  Let dry completely.

Step Two: Cutting and Gluing

Choose your background paper.   I recommend something heavy weight like cardstock or watercolor paper because of all the gluing involved in this project. We used light blue cardstock, but a painted sky would be beautiful too!

Decide if you want to compose your garden horizontally or vertically.  Either option is great!

Kristi Lynn Studio

Cut a 1-2 inch wide strip of green to fit across the bottom of the paper to create the grass. Glue down with white school glue.

Cut narrow strips of green in varying lengths for flower stems.  Glue down stems.

Now lets make the flowers!

At this point I encourage the children to experiment and create their own unique flower designs.  It helps to start by cutting out a simple circle the size that you would like your flower to be.Kristi Lynn Studio

Our  room was buzzing with creativity and exploration!   It was fun to watch these flowers bloom before my very eyes!

After about 20 more minutes of cutting and gluing, everyone had created their own colorful garden to take home and enjoy while we wait for the rest of the snow to melt.

Kristi Lynn Studio

Great job, paper gardeners!  I bet those gardens bring cheer to everyone who sees them!



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Irresistable Bugs

Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio

This fun project was inspired by an art lesson I found on the lovely blog of “That Artist Woman“.

It is called Pastel Resist Bugs and this tutorial will show you how we did our oil pastel resist in Great to Create class!  Not familiar with the term “pastel resist?”  Then you are about to learn something new!

Begin with a directed line drawing in pencil.  In other words, students follow drawing directions step by step to create the basic form of a bug.

Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio  Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio

I recommend doing a Google search for insect coloring pages if you need some bug inspiration to get you started.

Once we have the basic bug form, the students add their own details and designs.

This is where the bugs begin to develop their own unique personality. So fun!

Next, trace over the pencil lines with a black Sharpie.

Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio

Use oil pastels to fill in the drawing with colors and patterns.

We used many colors, but not too much green because we knew we’d be painting with green later.

Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio  Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio  Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio

Encourage the kids to use firm pressure with the pastels! This will help the colors pop after the paint is applied.

Leave small spaces uncolored which will allow areas for the paint to settle in.

Look at those gorgeous patterns! LOVE!Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio

The bugs look super fun already and you could stop here, but then it wouldn’t be a resist project, would it?

Go ahead!  Be brave and paint over each bug in a watered down wash of green tempera paint.

We chose green for the feel of a tropical jungle, but you could use any color.

Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio    Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio   Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio

Oh no!  We lost our bugs under all that paint!  Never fear, the oil pastels resist the paint!

Before the paint can dry, take paper towels and gently wipe or blot the excess paint from the paper, revealing the gorgeous oil pastel bugs beneath. (Even after the paint dries you can still remove some paint with a damp paper towel.)

Now the bugs are living in their lush green jungle habitats and our work is done!

Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio  Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio  Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn StudioPastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio  Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio  Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio

Well done, creators!  These bugs are ir-RESIST-able!


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A Cozy Scarf Wreath Tutorial

I see potential in things. Things that probably should be left on the shelf at Goodwill have a way of making their way into my shopping cart, then my car, and then my overstuffed basement storage. I’ve developed a little more self control over the years, but there is still a closet full of “potential” in my basement. I like to be prepared when the urge to hot glue something strikes. What? Don’t you ever get the urge to fire up the glue gun?

 I had this chunky old scarf from Goodwill that was just too long and bulky to hang around my neck. I kept it anyway because I loved the color and texture and it looked to be handmade. I just knew it had potential to be…something else! Hum…how about a cute and cozy winter wreath?

This is what you need to get started on your own wreath: a 14″ straw wreath,  push pins, and a very long scarf.

cozy wreath tutorialBegin by securing one end of the scarf to the wreath at a slight angle using push pins. As you can see, I did not even bother to take off the plastic wrapper. Wrap the scarf around and around. Hopefully your scarf is long enough to wrap around the whole wreath! If not, you need a longer scarf or a smaller wreath. The end of the scarf is secured on the back side with pushpins.

The options are endless as to how to accessorize your wreath. I used leftover felt, burlap, and cotton fabric to make rolled flowers. I’m not going to go into flower making details, but hopefully these pictures will help you visualize how I like to make them. You Tube has rolled fabric flower tutorials if you want more detailed instruction.

Now that you’ve got your flowers made, have fun pinning them on with push pins. Just stick the pins between the folds of fabric and they’ll hide away from sight. I started out with three large flowers, but after I hung it on my mantle, it looked a little blah next to all the greenery. Why yes, that is my arm photo bombing my own picture.

2013-12-14_0020Back to the stash closet for a green wool sweater. You could use felt for the same effect. Cut out a few leaves of varying sizes. Again, secure with pushpins.

There, that’s better.

2013-12-14_0022Christmas is long gone, but the scarf wreath still hangs above my fireplace looking all cozy and cute. I’m thinking maybe I should tuck in some hearts for Valentine’s Day and let her hang around a little while longer.

You want one too, don’t you? Well then, fire up that glue gun, raid your closets, or hit the nearest Goodwill.

Re-purpose that old scarf and re-LOVE!!!



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