I didn’t have an idea in my head. I just knew the word I wanted to evoke. It’s my all time favorite word.
I drive my girls crazy because I talk about it all the time. I text them images when I come across the word in a book. I mention it to them during casual conversation although it never comes off as casual as I would like. I point it out when it comes up in a movie or television show. I feel it is the most critical personality trait a person can have in life. It sustains you and helps you move forward whatever the world throws at you. I believe you can develop it but whether a gift from birth or learned you must have it.
That word is GRIT! Resiliency, Bootstraps, Tenacity, Perseverance. There are many words. Grit is my favorite.
I wanted to create an art piece that would remind me of this word at a glance. I’m sure on my deathbed my girls will be throwing it in the donation bin but hopefully I’ll get to enjoy it for many years before that time comes.
I landed on attempting a xerox art transfer. I’ve done some small scale versions of this in my scrapbooking using a similar technique but I wanted to go big. I wanted to try this technique on a larger scale. I found a great tutorial on YouTube from Marlene Weisman who sounds like she’s had the most creative, amazing life. Check out her video if you want to try this craft. She does an amazing job of walking you through the steps. She had me convinced I could do it.
I purchased some acetone nail polish and I was ready to go. But, what image should I use?
I started looking at free vintage images on google and something that has never happened in all my many years of crafting happened. The first image I looked at was the one. Maybe it’s living on a lake. Or, life during a pandemic where we all constantly feel like we’re underwater and need a way out but this image hit me in the gut. That feeling of drowning but seeing a glimmer of hope in those stairs telling us we can do this. We can get our heads back above water. I really can’t put words to the instant connection I had when I saw this image. That is the true beauty of art. We don’t always know why it speaks to us, but sometimes it just does.
Here was the image I found on pexal of metal stairs underwater by Francesco Ungaro. I modified it to be black and white and resized it to a square image:
I had my image, so now onto the craft. I printed it out in reverse as I wanted the image to be the same direction visually as the original. My husband made multiple copies of the picture for me at Staples. You can’t use an ink jet printout for this craft. It needs to be a Xerox or laser print in order to be transferrable. I wanted to have extras as I planned to do a few practice runs before attempting to transfer it to my wood block.
This turned out to be incredibly important decision. It took me a few tries to get into the groove.
Below is how I worked my way through this project.
I taped the picture in place on my practice sheet of white shiny paper.
I cut a small piece from my sponge. I was using what I had on hand so one side was scrubby but the other side was smooth which is the side I planned to use. I poured some acetone nail polish into a metal bowl. I have a metal bowl that I use exclusively for crafts. It is not for food use.
I dipped the sponge into the acetone and wiped it onto a small section of the paper with the image.
I rubbed the back of the paper where I’d put the acetone to transfer that section of image.
This is where I made some mistakes. I originally tried to burnish using a popsicle stick which is what I normally use to transfer rub-ons. This resulted in an uneven striped like transfer.
For the second attempt, I found a metal rectangular piece and used that but it was too sharp and kept tearing up the paper which negatively impacted the transfer.
Third time I found the right tool to burnish. I grabbed a small metal tape measure that had a rounded top. This was bigger than the popsicle stick but not as sharp as the metal piece I used previously and it worked great.
I finally had a decent transfer! I had one piece of paper left and decided to try one more time. I was starting to get a feel for the amount of acetone and rubbing needed. For this final transfer, I taped all four sides down and applied the acetone and rubbed across the entire image and then did it again going in the other direction. I had peaked as I was going along on my first few attempts and even though I had a side taped down it was hard to keep the image from moving so by taping all four sides there would be no peaking and no movement of the paper.
The final transfer was my favorite. While not perfect, the stairs were clear and visible. I had a working image. The images below show my progress in transferring the image from my first attempt to my last attempt.
Time to embellish.
Using some photo markers, I highlighted the stairs in pink and the water above in blue. They were the two components I wanted to jump out. I also added a little green to the area around the stairs which made the pink even more of a statement. I loved the little touch of color.
I had a wood block that I had tried to do the transfer directly onto during one of my failed attempts. I wanted to use it to display the image so I painted it black and then glued the image to the top.
I created a small accent using a circular chipboard piece covered in decorative scrapbooking paper with the word grit on top.
I added a few coats of mod podge for durability and then hung it up in the bathroom my daughters use.
I asked my oldest daughter if she thought I was being too passive aggressive by hanging it in their bathroom. She responded, “There’s nothing passive about it.”
Now they’ll be reminded of the importance of grit every single day. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it even if they don’t know it.
Do you have a favorite word?
I’m participating in a Blogging A-Z Challenge for April 2021. I will be posting new content every day this month except most Sundays. Each post is associated with a letter of the alphabet, starting with A and ending with Z. My theme for the challenge is Craft Projects for my Home. To read more of my A to Z posts from this year, click HERE.