Austin Avenues, Part II: A Catalog of Crafting Failures

Look, I screw up stuff all the time.

When I first made my Austin Avenues subway art piece, I just made it any ole size I wanted.  Then I went to the store to pick up a frame and found that frames really only seem to come in a few key sizes.  Since I’m not going to bust out the wood working skills and create my own custom frame, I decided to bust out the digital art skills and make my art piece work with something off the shelf.  I found a canvas at Hobby Lobby that was 10×20.  I simply added a few more streets and squeezed the fonts down a bit to fit in a narrower canvas and presto!  My new art piece was born.  Ain’t she pretty?

I sized it to have a one inch board all around the art piece.  I wanted to give the impression of a “mat” and then paint the sides as a “frame”.  So I carefully masked off the canvas and painted the edges brown.

It all seems to be going so well and then I took off the masking tape and realized that I didn’t do such a hot job of getting the edge of the tape down securely.

Yup, that brown paint bled all into the white section of the canvas 😦  After a few choice curse words, I decided to bag the idea of the white “mat” and just cover up this problem with more paint!  Perfect!  Just like I planed it all along….

After that disappointment, I went to print my fabulous art piece.  I had gotten a special piece of art paper which I’d carefully cut down to the exact size I needed.  I knew it fit into my printer (it’s only 8″ wide) and I knew I could create custom sizes on my printer, so no problem right?  Well my stupid printer was smart enough to know that my extra long piece of paper was hanging out over the edge of the paper tray – it couldn’t possible print under these extreme conditions.

More cursing.

Fine!  I’ll just print it in two pieces and learn to live with the horrible, horrible, what I’m sure will be clearly visible to EVERYONE, line right across the middle of the piece.  Whatever.  So I printed out my two halves.

I carefully pieced them together.  And then marked EXACTLY one inch in from all sides and I moved to the Mod Podging stage of the project.  It’s so pretty right now we should just take a moment to appreciate it as it is….not done, but not totally screwed up even though there is a clear line right down the middle of the piece.  Can we not even talk about the fact that I didn’t notice (until the last second) that the E in Enfield somehow got jacked up during the printing process and decided to look a bit wonky?

Oh yeah, I did fix that, but then I moved on to the true disaster stage of the project (because it’s all been going so smoothly until now, right?).  It’s been a while since I’ve Mod Podge’d anything, but I still remember the basics.  I got this piece down and worked out the bubbles with the assistance of a piece of waxed paper, my favorite fondant rolling pin and the only book in my house that would fit in the frame behind the canvas (Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein).

I let that dry for a good hour and then decided to coat the top of the project.  Here’s where I run into the serious trouble.  The key to Mod Podge is light, even layers.

Tragically, Mod Podge is water based.

Ink Jet printer inks are water soluble.

I think you can see where this is going.

As soon as I put the first brush stroke to the canvas, I knew it was all going to go so wrong.  So, so wrong.  I tried not to work the Mod Podge too much to avoid moving the inks around.  This lead me to really thick coats of Mod Podge….

Oh there is just no smoothing that out.  I tried to lay it down face down on a piece of waxed paper, weighting it down with magazines (and Shel Silverstein!) to see if that would help, but no.  In fact, yes, that DID make it worse.  It came out with some sort of old man wrinkly finish which, in other circumstances, could be an interesting finish.  But not here.  Not tonight.

So I let it complete dry overnight and awoke to find that it was, in fact, still ugly.  But I won’t let this beat me.  I WILL prevail.  I have a dream.

I admit, I did take some of my aggression out on the piece by taking my sander to it….it didn’t help.

There might have been more cursing.

I decided that, really, the best thing to do is just to start again.  With a fresh mind and spirit….or with a fresh canvas and a thirst for conquest.  So that’s just what I did.  It’s only $7.99 at the Hobby Lobby.  With painted canvas in hand, I decided I’d go the photo printing route rather than the card stock printing route.  I carefully printed my two pages and pieced them together (still bitter about that too) and I grabbed a can of spray adhesive.  Way less water, no running of inks and one shot at getting it in the right place on the canvas.

To say that worked out a lot better is a massive understatement.  And it took about 2.5 seconds to complete compared to the other Mod Podge method of failure.  I coated it with a few top coats of clear spray paint and stuck a fork in it because it was DONE.  That’s right.  Mission Accomplished.

See if you can tell the difference between the two pieces:

I’m guessing you can tell the difference.  Here she is all hung up on the wall.  I just need one of those metal stars to make the vignette complete.  I’m sure I can find one of those in this town that is obsessed with stars all over everything.

But what of the sad other canvas?  Don’t worry, I won’t throw him out, he’s going to get recycled.  In fact, I already have an idea of what I want to do with it….I just need the help of someone who lives in the Pacific Northwest and likes to drink wine….you know who you are!

And for those who just pine for an Austin sign in UT colors, that can be arranged:

I’ve got two words for you: Spray Adhesive.

–Martta

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One thought on “Austin Avenues, Part II: A Catalog of Crafting Failures

  1. Pingback: Austin Avenues | HMH Designs

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