Wednesday, April 29, 2015

My Art Therapy: Spring Laser Wood Craft with Chalk Paint

Spring is a tricky time for me.  I’ve written about how difficult it is for me to go from winter to spring. I wrote a post about trying to create a ritual for that officially marks spring.  During this time, I realized that I don’t have any spring decorations to help me embrace spring.  Well, I take that back.  I have some super tacky fake flowers from my first apartment about 15 years ago, but decided it was time to freshen up the spring d├ęcor.

I really needed something for the mantle.  I didn’t see anything at my regular places, but when I was at Michaels, I saw a display of laser cut wood art with chalk paint.  Inspiration struck!

I had never really crafted with anything other than paper and glue, so this was a bit out of my comfort zone.

I practiced on this little bird first since I had no idea how the paint would go on to the wood.



Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot Art Therapy Spring Laser Wood Craft with Chalk Paint

I learned that a little goes a long way, and the wood just soaked up the paint.  I experimented with sanding it with steel wool, but it turned the bird gray.

Here is what the piece looks like without paint.

Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot Art Therapy Spring Laser Wood Craft with Chalk Paint




I painted the inside of the filigree frame with 2 coats of white paint, waiting for it to dry in between coats.  I then took 320 grit sandpaper and sanded it.  I didn’t think the sanding would make a difference, but it totally did. 

Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot Art Therapy Spring Laser Wood Craft with Chalk Paint
I felt like a bad ass going into Home Depot and getting
sandpaper for the craft.  Like woah.

I was then going to start painting the filigree blue, but when I showed my parents, my dad suggested that I paint the inside of the curly cues  a different color.  Making something that should be fun and easy more tedious and difficult is one of my dad’s superpowers. 

And at first, I was super pissed that I listened to him.  Ironically though, this is where the most art therapy happened.  I became so focused on the task at hand that I became calm and thoughts just floated through my mind instead of getting stuck and replayed and replayed and replayed.  I didn’t feel itchy to check my phone or do the laundry.  It’s what I always hope happens when I meditate or practice yoga (but rarely does).

Caught in this tedious, detail-orientated work, I felt refreshed . . .  and a little guilty for being mad at my dad for suggesting doing it the hard way.

Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot Art Therapy Spring Laser Wood Craft with Chalk Paint
Pro tip: Use a stiff brush so paint doesn't slosh to the outside.


Once I did the two coats of lavender on the inside, I was ready to do two coats of blue on the outside.  Again, be sure to use a stiff, small, straight edge brush.  I waited for the paint to dry between the 2 coats and then sanded the next day.  Here’s how the bird turned out with two coats of blue and sanding it, too.

Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot Art Therapy Spring Laser Wood Craft with Chalk Paint


I struggled with the next part.  I knew I wanted to use this pretty blue scrapbook paper and the wooden bird.  I kind of played around with the size until I got this:

Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot Art Therapy Spring Laser Wood Craft with Chalk Paint


I printed “happy spring” on white card stock and using the Special Elite font from PicMonkey.  I hot glued the wooden bird, card stock, and scrapbook paper on the frame.

Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot Art Therapy Spring Laser Wood Craft with Chalk Paint


Then I put on two coats of matte Mod Podge on the paper.  It started to wrinkle, and I began to freak out that all of this work was going to be ruined.  But I gently smoothed out the paper in between coats, and there are just a few tiny bumps which give it character.  And, as a recovering perfectionist, I will remind myself this as many time as I need to. 

Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot Art Therapy Spring Laser Wood Craft with Chalk Paint




And here’s the thing about perfectionism and art therapy – it really has helped me embrace imperfection and enjoy the journey.  Sure, it doesn’t look professional.  But making it makes me happy.  That’s what I remember when I look at this piece.  Not all the little bumps in the paper.

Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot Art Therapy Spring Laser Wood Craft with Chalk Paint



Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot Art Therapy Spring Laser Wood Craft with Chalk Paint



Have you gone out of your comfort zone lately? 

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