Thursday, February 9, 2012

Key to My Heart, a Valentines Day collage

 I have a fun, easy Valentines Day project for you!
  This sweet collage is all about vintage ephemera, romantic lace, rusty antiques, and love- just look at all those hearts!!
 Best of all, it's a very affordable project you can make for that special someone, all you have to do is follow the directions below :)
All of the photos below were taken in the evening as I was working on the project. Please excuse the poor lighting!

Here is what you'll need to complete this project:

  • A collection of old paper and ephemera. I recommend using no less than 6 different kinds of paper with distinct patterns, shades and images. 
  •  Four cream colored photo corners.
  • Glue. I used decoupage glue as well as Zip Dry! paper glue. 
  • One 11 x 14 inch canvas panel.
  •  Rusty, old, large key. Mine measures approximately 6 inches long. 
  • A piece of solid colored ephemera that is slightly bigger than the key. 
  • Lace of your choice. One side should be straight/flat. The lace I chose is about 4 inches thick. 
  • Glue. I used decoupage glue as well as Zip Dry! paper glue. 
  • One 11 x 14 inch canvas panel.

Now that you have all of your supplies, lets get started :)

1. The first step is to paint or stain your canvas with a color that matches the ephemera you will be using.  I didn't do this, and I wish I had. It will make your life a little easier when trying to cover the entire panel. 
2. Next,  you will want to cut out all the hearts that will be used to cover your entire canvas. It will take many more than you think, and variety in size and shape is good. Free-hand cutting is great, and the imperfections are charming! As I cut my hearts out I piled them according the the pattern/type of paper, and this proved to be helpful when it came time to glue. 

Here is a glimpse at the ephemera I chose and the heart shapes and sizes I worked with. The smallest is approx. 1.5 inches long, and the largest is about 3 inches long. 
 3. Now, you'll begin to glue your hearts to the canvas. Using decoupage glue, you will completely cover the back of the paper hearts and begin placing them on the canvas.  Start at the top and cover edge to edge, leaving no gaps. (I recommend NOT gluing one after another right down the row (like you read text), but rathe jumping around along that line.) Along the top and side edges of the canvas simply fold the hearts over the canvas and glue to back.
 4. Continue to glue the hearts down in overlapping fashion, leaving no gaps in coverage.  As you can see, I don't continue to glue row by row, but rather let it happen organically.  
I had two general rules when choosing which patterned heart to choose to glue next. First, that the same pattern never be placed next to each other. That's why its a good idea to have at least 6 different patterns. It will make your life much easier, and make the coverage process go faster! Secondly, I didn't overlap the hearts too much. I wanted to cover as much space as possible with each heart, so the overlap of each heart wasn't too great. See the two photos below: 

 Once you have collaged half way down the canvas you will flip it and start to collage from the bottom up, until the hearts meet and overlap at the middle point of the canvas. 

 Please set aside to dry overnight. (decoupage glue often leaves the paper somewhat wrinkly, but don't worry, as it dries the paper becomes taught and flat)
 5. Next, you will cut two pieces of lace approx. one inch longer than the canvas on each side.  These pieces of lace will be butted up against each other along the straight edge, and with the seam at the half way point of the canvas. 
 6. Using glue, such as Zip Dry (which dries quickly) glue the lace onto the paper covered canvas. I found it helpful to use the end of a paintbrush to push the lace down onto the glue and spare my fingers from the glue-y mess :)
 7. Using Zip Dry you will now glue the excess lace edge to the back of the canvas. Simply fold the lace onto the back of the canvas.
8. Next, repeat the same procedures using 1" thick cream colored grosgrain ribbon that covers the seam of the lace across the front. Secure by gluing in back, but resist the urge to glue across the front as the glue will show through the ribbon. 
9.  Use your key to measure the size of paper that you will be using in the center of the collage. I left approx. 3/4" border around the key on all sides, then used the fold then tear method to rip out my desired size rectangle. 
 10. Glue the photo corners on all four sides once the desired size has been achieved. 
 11. Using the decoupage glue, cover the entire back of the rectangle and photo corners and glue to the center of the ribbon and lace. Press firmly and allow to dry completely as the decoupage glue tends to moisten the paper and adding the key at this point may cause the paper to rip. 
12. Once the center piece of paper has dried completely you can glue the key to the center. I used a hot glue gun, and it seemed to work very well. 

Voila! Your Key to My Heart collage is complete!

P.S. I have a pile of paper hearts that I didn't need for my collage, and if anyone is interested in making this collage and would like the hearts I've used please comment and email me your mailing address. (mathews.liz(at)gmail(dot)com) I will get them out to you asap! They will go to the first commenter/emailer.


WW said...

I would love to use your hearts. I love your piece.

Kathy Barrick said...

What a wonderful project! Just in time for Valentine's Day! Great directions too. Wow!!

Carmen Sutton said...

What a great piece of art!

Mare said...

What a great piece! Would love to see it up close and personal. I am constantly in awe of how your creative mind works!