I always like to offer handmade gifts for the Holiday Season...last year I made colorful "Artist Chic" beaded bracelets and this year I am working on beautiful little 8x8 canvas quilt blocks which combine my love for painting with my love for vintage quilts! I used to have a lot more time to sew but lately I've discovered a satisfying alternative using beautiful papers and canvases instead of fabric.
Here's how I do it!
First, using acrylic paints, apply heavy layers of white and a complimentary color to your pre-primed canvas. I chose an 8x8 square which completes a perfect "Grandmother's Flower Garland" quilt square. Use choppy brushstrokes in alternate directions to create a textured effect.
Collect assorted papers choosing a specific color scheme or mix it up! I use a lot of my own floral illustrations and clip art which I print to create my own papers. There are some beautiful papers out there including this gorgeous elephant design from Paper Source. I based my color scheme on this particular robin's egg blue. Don't worry too much about being matchy-matchy because the final coat of white wash will tone bold colors down.
Next you can start cutting hexagons. The easiest way to do this is to print out a 1.5" hexagon shape and trace it onto cardboard to create a sturdy template. You will need 7 hexagons to complete your block. Lightly trace the shapes onto the canvas so you will have a guide when you are gluing.
Starting with your center hexagon, use a permanent glue stick to evenly and thoroughly coat the back of the paper. Make sure you press your hexagon down flatly against the canvas, smoothing any air bubbles as best you can.
Then add the rest of your hexagons in this same manner.
Once the hexagons are all adhered and dried take a slightly damp paintbrush and dip the edges into some watered down white acrylic or goauche. On a test sheet of colored paper lightly wipe the brush over the surface so you can see how much paint will be distributed. The idea is to cover the quilt block with a very light, uneven coat of white paint to create a vintage patina. This will also harmonize any bold colors that might clash with your main palette.
You may wish to cover the entire canvas with a sealer like Mod Podge but I prefer to leave it as is for a truly "shabby chic" look! I also find the pencil markings quite charming and evidence of the handmade nature of these pieces.
Assorted quilt canvases will be on sale in my Holiday Boutique beginning Nov. 15th!