I had bought a pack of painting canvasses some time ago and, having just finished decorating the en-suite in my new craft room (well, it can be a bedroom when we come to sell the house!) I decided I’d put these on the wall to complete the job. I thought I’d chronicle the whole process so you can follow how they were done:

Step 1
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Step1

This first photo shows the planning, I laid out the canvasses and put some small, round mirrors on them (bought these from Ikea a while ago). I staggered the placement of the mirrors, used some Maya Road decorative cutouts on the corners and the same brand of large letters spelling out the word B-A-T-H.

Step 2
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Step2b

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Step2a

Once happy with the general layout I sprayed the reverse of the decorative shapes with a temporary adhesive and then placed them back onto the canvasses. To add colour, I found my Adirondak colour washes and sprayed lightly – from a height – over all the canvasses.

Step 3

I only have 4 colours of this spray so choice was limited, I applied the spray to all four canvases and then had a cuppa while waiting for them to dry! (Actually, they were dry almost instantly but I enjoyed the tea break – my butler, Nigel, brought this for me in my current favourite china mug).

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Step 4
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Step4

This shows the effect once the masks were removed, I thought afterwards (which is the way I usually work – act first, think last!!!) that I should perhaps have coloured the blanks first so they weren’t so stark white but then, they are going in a bathroom with white tiles so maybe they’ll be OK.

Step 5

I moved on to the letters then. Coated them in embossing ink and then dipped them in clear UTEE – 3 times each to get a nice thick coating. Stuck my finger to the ‘T’ at one time whilst it was still very hot – Oh dear! I said!

While they were still hot from the final coating of UTEE I sprinkled them with a gorgeous kingfisher blue chunky enamel and heated them for the final time.

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Step 6
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Once happy with the way they looked I tried them back on the canvasses whereupon I had a revelation – I was hanging these in a bathroom without a bath! It has a lovely shower cubicle so really, spelling out the word BATH on them didn’t make a lot of sense.

Step 7

I found an old scrabble set and practised punching with a crop-o-dile – no problem! I played about with different words that seemed relevant and then coloured the chosen tiles with a dye ink pad and then embossed it with UTEE. Now I know you’re not supposed to use dye inks with embossing powders (dye/dry pigment/powders – that’s how I was taught to remember it) but it worked to add a little base colour.

After they were triple embossed I dipped the edges in the kingfisher crysals, while the enamel was still hot, and heat set that. They do look a little like miniature bathroom tiles.

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Step7e

Step 8

These are the words I chose: scruB, relAx, sTeam and sHower and Step8b shows how it was going to look on the canvas. I threaded beads on some fine silver wire and curled it and then found some heavy wire which our electrician had left strewn all over the floor while he was working! I stripped the outer layer off to find this lovely silver stuff and I’ve also got some copper from other work he did. I know he thought I was rather mad wandering around picking up his trash but I love to recycle stuff like this. Anyhow, it’s rather hard stuff to curl so I used the thickest mandrel in the pack and then wrapped some pre-strung, larger beads around it.

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Step8g

Step 9

Did you know that if you heat Othello tiles with a heat gun they come apart? And that the white part is softer and more flexible than the black? What a fount of useless information I can be!

Well, I dipped the black half in that same dye ink I used earlier and tripple embossed it then stamped into it with my stamp inked with clear ink to help release. How worrying is it when one of your prized stamps has a hot, sticky mass adhered to it? And how hard to leave it alone until cool!!!

Some of them I didn’t stamp into and they look a little like seashells – if there are such things as black seashells.

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Step 10

Out came the hot glue gun to firmly attach that heavy, twisted wire and the ‘shells’, I also used it to add some glass mosaic tiles I had in my stash and to attach the fine, curly, beaded wire onto the mirrors. I coloured round the edge of all the mirrors with that same dye ink just to take the starkness off the white and then stuck tiny tear-drop beads on the opposite edge with some pva. The little flowers were added to hide the hot glue dollops, and I put on a couple of pieces of shrink plastic ‘bits’ that I had in from previous playtimes.

The letters were hung onto the fine wire with jump rings and then ribbon brads pushed through the canvas (and glued in place!) were used to hang the wires from. I coloured these a little with some silver metallic rub-on.

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Finished!
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finished

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They will be hung on the wall at various levels, as shown here on the floor – mainly ‘cos it’s far too hard to hang four things in a straight line! And you can see here the ‘bath’ they refer to, it’s something you can scruB away your worries; relAx while listening to your ipod; sTeam open your pores and then sHower yourself clean in.

I just pray that, once they get hung on the wall, they look as nice as I hope. If you would, I’d appreciate your thoughts. Thanks for sharing with me. Joanna

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