Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Whole Enchilada. Or something.

We lost our internet.  For two full days.  And, as they always say, there's no better time to lose your internet than directly in the middle of a two week series you're co-hosting with another awesome blogger.  I don't know who "they" are in this case, but it's true.

Well, here it is.  The finale.  The last one.  The caboose.  The piece de resistance.  The whole enchilada.  Ok, that last one doesn't quite work.

As I expressed earlier, the final project was one of small yarn bits, dimensional magic and wearability, which was lost in the dark recesses of my small office area.  When (if) I find it, I'll let you know.  However, I'm glad I lost it because it gave me the opportunity to test this idea out - something I'd wanted to do but had put on the back burner.

I present to you:

Yes, you read right.  Spaghetti Wall Art.  You know how when you cook spaghetti just right it will stick to the wall?  Well, that's what we're doing here... just kidding.  It just looks like that's what we're doing here.  Basically we're creating some scribble art.

You've gotta have:
Yarn in two colors (you can pick any, obviously, but I went with white as my base color as it is clean and modern)
Mod Podge (I couldn't find my matte (insanity, I know) so I went with glossy.  More about that later)
Plastic Utensil of some sort
Freezer Paper
Baking Sheet
Napkins.  Copious amounts of napkins.

Alrighty, this is a tutorial in two parts.  Part one I have entitled:
What NOT To Do.
Just call me the Stacy London of DIY world.

A lot of the elements/general idea of the project are the same between the first part and second.  I'll just give you the run down with photos and a summation at the end so we're not all confused about what you should do versus what you should avoid and whether or not I told you to hop and then skip or skip the hop.  You know.

Ok.  Part One.  

Starts out pretty well.  

Pour your mod podge into a plastic container of some sort.  Add some water - not so much that it's totally diluted and watery, but enough that the glue is no longer opaque and thick.  Stir it up with your plastic utensil.  It should easily run off of your knife (or whatever other plastic utensil you've chosen to use.)

Line your baking sheet with  Oh, wait.  That's right.  Mistake one: no baking sheet.  Now, if you don't have a baking sheet that's big enough to accomodate the dimensions of your artwork, you CAN stick your wax/freezer paper on the oven rack without it.  It's harder to maneuver, however, and you may get some little dips in the spots that settled between the wires of the racks.  So anyway....  Lay out your wax paper --> (more on this later).

Now, begin with your base colored yarn.  Cut yourself a nice long strand - but not TOO long because untangling yarn that's covered in a mod podge mixture is super messy.

Dip the yarn in the mod podge mixture.  Poke it down with the knife.  Make sure it's all covered/saturated.

Grab one end with one hand and pull, while sliding the yarn through the fingers on your other hand - thus draining some of the mod podge mixture off and making the yarn less sloppy.  

As you pull and drain, lay the yarn down on the wax paper in squiggles.  You'll want to cover the wax paper in one direction, then go over the yarn that's already there in the other direction.

So, for instance, I started out by laying my yarn horizontally all along the wax paper.  I draped the yarn in one direction, then turned when I got to the end of the wax paper and went back the way I'd come.  Make sure you aren't making your rows perfect - you want the yarn to be wavy, overlap in some areas, and even make little curls and dips every once in a while.  Once you've covered the wax paper horizontally, going back and forth across the paper from bottom to top, you'll want to change direction completely.  

Get more yarn, drench it in mod podge solution, pull one end while draining between two fingers and lay it starting at the top and moving vertically down to the bottom.  Once you get to the end of the wax paper, turn and go back up the way you came.  Make sure to leave uneven spaces, overlap your yarn, make squiggles and waves and loops in some areas.  The more imperfect the better.

Anytime you run out of yarn, simply cut another length, dip, drain, and drape, starting where you left off.  

After you do three layers - horizontal, vertical and then horizontal again - take a moment to look over your piece.  You will likely notice some bare areas or some that don't look like they have many layers of yarn.  Take more yarn pieces, dip them, drain them and layer them into the bare spots with no yarn and the thin spots with less layers of yarn.  

Keep in mind that you don't want to fill in the entire wax paper completely.  You do want holes here and there - holes add to the "scribble" look, which is what we're going for.

Once you're done laying the foundation, you can add your word.  Choose a word that means something to you or your family, or compliments the room you'll be hanging it in.  "family" for the living room... "eat" for the dining room (actually, that's hilarious... since it's spaghetti art...), or you could do a child's name and hang it in their bedroom.
I chose love.  In yellow, of course.  But obviously you can use whatever color you want.

Cut a loooong piece of yarn in your accent color.  Fold in half, then fold in half again, and then again.  You'll want to fold it in half at least twice, I did it three times.  The length of your word will determine how long you cut the initial piece of yarn - obviously.    Once it's all folded, dip it in the mod podge mixture - careful not to unfold it.  Then, pulling one end and draining off the excess with the other hand as before, pull the whole length out of the mixture.

Now, place it where you want it on your artwork.  I chose the bottom right corner because that's trendy, no?  Just start writing with it - I did cursive because it's a long piece of yarn and a continuous piece of anything seems most conducive to cursive writing.  Right?  So, lay your letters on down there.

Now.  Here is where I totally botched up PART ONE.  So, to make perfectly clear, do not do the next few steps.  Unless you want to throw your art away in frustration.

I decided that it looked unlikely that the yarn would hold together.  There were too many pieces.  Too many intersections.  It looked unstable.  So I decided to pour the rest of my mod podge/water mixture right on the project.  Yep.  Just right over the top.  Especially in those places that looked iffy.  

I even had mr snap several pictures of this step as I was so overly-confident about this working out.

To make matters worse, I was particularly concerned about my word falling off.  So I took some straight up mod podge (yeah, that's right.  Straight up.  NOT on the rocks) and slathered it over my letters and any other spots that looked really unsteady with my knife.

And then I baked it.
It was a two person job getting it into the oven (because of the no baking sheet thing), and mr DROPPED HIS END!  But that's beside the point...

After baking it for what seemed an excessively long time since there was w whole lot of mod podge on this thing, I took it out.  It was beautiful.

And then I had to peel it off.
You can guess what happened right?

This.  This is what happened.  All of the spots where I had NOT drizzled mod podge directly onto the wax paper were fine and the wax paper peeled off perfectly.  All of the spots where the mod podge and been poured on directly - which were a LOT of spots - were NOT EASILY PEELED.  
And by not easily peeled I mean stuck like a pig in the mud.  (I'd like to take this moment to add that contrary to popular belief all Wisconsinites do NOT live on farms)

It was awful.  I tried to salvage it.  I tried to cut around yarn and scrap things off... it just wasn't happening.  Even more pitiful was my word - were I had poured straight mod podge, it had become trapped between the yarn and wax paper and hadn't dried at all.  And this is after baking in the oven for over 2 and 1/2 hours!!

So, that, my friends, was what NOT to do.

Part two.  The Fix.
Freezer paper (parchment paper would probably be best)
Baking sheet
No straight podge
No drizzle

Use the same method as above, substituting freezer paper for wax paper.  Truth be told, I ran out of wax paper and instead of throwing in the towel as I sort of wanted to, I pulled out my freezer paper and lo and behold it worked even better.  Just be sure you lay it down with the waxy side up.  An unexpected advantage was that the wax sort of melted into the yarn and held everything together even better.

Oh, yes.  Using a baking sheet definitely made things easier as well.

So I did everything as outlined above - cutting, dipping, draining, draping, layering, more dipping and draining, more draping... etc - and I did the word in the same way as well.

Once everything was down on freezer paper, I DID NOT pour stuff over the top.  I was tempted.  Boy, was I tempted.  But I didn't.  I DID, however, take my knife and very gently and slowly press down on some of the more concentrated yarn areas.  Where there were a lot of yarn pieces intersecting.  Do it slowly and gently or you'll send your yarn flying.  Literally.

Then I put the whole thing in the oven and baked.  275.  1 hour.  Ish.  DO NOT FORGET IT'S IN THERE.  DO NOT IGNORE THE INCESSANT BEEPING OF THE KITCHEN TIMER, THINKING TO YOURSELF, "WELL, IT COULD USE A LITTLE MORE TIME..."  Because then you will burn the yarn.  And it will turn tan instead of white.  Not that I speak from experience or anything.  And yes, this IS still the number two attempt that I consider actually "working out."

Pull it out and - this is crucial - pull the paper backing off RIGHT AWAY.  Do not let it cool on the freezer paper.  (It might hurt your fingers, but this is ART, darn it!  Sometimes art hurts.)

After the paper is off, lay it on a flat surface and let it cool completely.

Once it is cool, it will be less pliable, though still slightly bendy.  Definitely solid enough to hang up, though.

So that's the last step.  Hang it up.  And admire.

So, here are some afterthoughts:
I think I'd like matte podge better.  I'm not sold on the shine that happens when you cook this in the oven.  Glossy is ok, but in the future, for this particular project, I would use matte.
Definitely use a baking sheet.  It might not be the exact size you want, but in the end, the headache it saves is worth it.
If mess scares you, wear gloves.  I am still picking mod podge off my hands.  Better yet, if mess REALLY scares you, don't do this.
Cover your surface.  See above.

And now, in summation form as promised, I will beat a dead horse.  I mean, I will tell you what NOT to do.

What NOT To DO
1.  Do not use wax paper.  Use freezer paper.  You'll thank me.
2.  Do not cover the entire paper - leave some holes.
3.  Do not, under any circumstances, no matter what, pour your mod podge/water mixture directly on your art.  No, no.
4.  Do not, under any circumstances, no matter what, pour STRAIGHT UP MOD PODGE onto your art.  BIG no, no.
5.  Do not let your art cool while on the paper.  Yikes.
6.  Do not cover the dirty dishes in your sink with the leftover mod podge mixture and forget to rinse the evidence down the drain before your husband goes to wash the dishes resulting in a not so happy husband and some gooey dishes.  Just sayin'.

mr commented that if it didn't have so many holes in it, it would look like a placemat.  Which got my wheels turning.

And I like it this way even better.
Now I just need to make three more that look exactly like it.

And there you have it!  
Features from the link party coming soon!
Oh, did you catch the winner of our Gnome Acres giveaway??  (pssss, email me!)

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Hani said...

nice idea.. love the "Love" :)
Your yarn series are always so much fun!

Michelle L. said...

Whew! This ended up PDC: pretty darn cute! Thanks for the great advice on what not to do!

Amie {Kitty Cats and Airplanes} said...

Haha, I still think it's awesome! And thanks for sharing all those tips, great to learn from ya know?

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