For the past few years we have been making our own ecological greetings cards for Christmas. This not only saves resources and money but it creates a personal gift, which hopefully shows family, friends and neighbours, we took time to create something just for them. From past experience we know that people keep these cards, which being of wood are less ephemeral than the paper varieties and are meant to be hung up and used as small pictures or decorations. By using this method, which combines stencil, hand-painted additions, collage and découpage you can easily produce multiple cards but each design will be individual and thus unique.
In this first design we are using Snowy our Columbian Cochin as a model but the process is the same for any repeatable main subject. The second and third designs are for Christmas trees, including 3D designs for table decorations and place-settings and again using one basic pattern you can create a multitude of individual designs.
If you are interested only in the tree designs then move to the final step.
DESIGN ONE - 'CHIC CHICK'
The wood used in these and the tree cards, is from fruit crates. These come in various woods and qualities but what we are looking for is pine rather than poplar. This latter tends to be thinner and may have already begun to warp in transit. We get our crates from our local organic shop and we sort and store the quality pine for all kinds of wood working projects. You can identify them by the fact that the wood actually feels better quality and you will also see a reddish tinge to the grain.
The paints Sue uses are, for the main colour wash an acrylic water-based varnish. This she tints with a natural earth pigment (if you have never used these before and would like to find out more about them and how to mix them, then we have a post on just that topic on our blog this is the direct link The Green Lever ) For the other paint she uses an ecological water-based white paint from our local natural building suppliers. The additional materials are: water colour paints, collage & découpage items.
A tri-square (or CD case) and a cutting block.
A saw to cut the fine-grained fruit crate wood,
I find the best options are either a Japanese draw saw or a tenon saw.
Fine sandpaper to clear up any burrs.
A glue gun if you intend to add collage and découpage elements to the card
A craft knife for cutting stencils.
For the rest, you will need some PVA glue or similar to attach the paper on which to write your greeting and scissors.
Step 1: The Design - Creating and Applying
One extra item...
and most importantly, which in a sense is a tool or rather a useful contrivance if you are intending to use an image such as a chicken, taken from life - something large and juicy they love to eat. That way you can get the right pose to photograph.
You can use your computer like the old 18th century tracing-machine. Then once you have your design you can photograph it and reduce it down on the screen to the exact size you need but for a naive painting, you can just get the gist of the general outline in your mind and thus onto paper. From this paper template you will now be able to cut your stencil.
If you would like extra help with stencilling, including how to make your own stencil brush you can find the blog post that accompanies this project here Green Lever Home-made Cards
Step 2: The Design - Making It Unique for Each Card
You are now ready to apply your stencil and then leave it to dry before moving on to the next stage - the additional decoration, which makes it an individual unique piece.
In our case to decorate with additional touches of watercolour paint,
........thread through the picture 'wire' of string and ribbon,
........add collage and découpage. These are in the case of 'Chic Chick' feathers from a friend's turkey and guinea fowl and decorations, collage & découpage from a thrift shop - these 3 latter are made with vegetable dyes.
Then just attach some thick paper to the back of your card with PVA or similar glue and write your message.
Step 3: Tree Design Cards - Decorations, Ornaments and Table Place-settings
Following the same use of recuperated scrap materials but this time also using some thin pallet wood to create table place-settings and also using fruit crate wood to create 3D table and/or tree decorations.
Details are all included in the films.
All the very best and hoped you enjoyed watching and more importantly enjoy making some or all of these.
Season's Greetings and Peace and Happiness for the New Year
Andy and Sue (Organikmechanic aka The Green Lever & Pavlovafowl aka The Holistic Hen) xxx