Studio Sign Hanger

Button decorated signs made by Bleubeard and Elizabeth.

In collaboration with Totally Tutorials.

After I learned my tutorial had been approved, I began making a few backgrounds and dyeing fabric. Those of you who visit my blog often, have seen the fabric I dyed, in Part 1Part 2, and Part 3 of a three day tutorial on resist dyeing. Those of you new to my blog may click on the links to see these tutorials. I began with this flour-resist dyed fabric that was a favorite of my internet visitors, and mine as well.

I sewed this fabric favorite using gold thread. Next, I tried stamping Bleubeard's and my names using clear acrylic stamps I placed on an acrylic block, but the stamps kept falling off, so I ended up stamping each letter by hand (yes, just using my hands and the acrylic stamps). I'm not really a stamper, so this became a challenge right off the bat! Once I got the buttons, I added two "Archie" and two "Verneli" black buttons, one at each corner (please see screen captures above for a larger image of these and all the buttons I use and name in each piece). Finally, I attached the ribbon. If nothing else, one sign, the main one in fact, was finished.

The next photos are in no particular order, because I started the prep work on many, then finished them after I got the buttons.

For my bird watch I used a Tim Holtz stencil and walnut ink on a substrate of cardboard and a dictionary page. To that I added the flower from my yard I pressed and birds from paper I colored using a bingo dabber, then punched from a Martha Stewart punch. For the buttons, I used three "Waldo" buttons I thought looked just like love birds, and two "Ji" buttons to hold the ribbon in place, which I thought also resembled birds.

When I got the buttons, this was all I had ready for drinking tea. I had drizzled black tea on a sheet of watercolor paper, then cut the name from a green tea can. I debated which buttons to use that would best set off the rubber stamp. Luckily this was my final sign because sadly, I broke my next to the last needle I own when I ran it through the aluminum can, laminating material, watercolor paper, and fabric. Thankfully, I didn't need the needle to add two of the four "Glady" buttons I decided to use to attach the ribbon to this sign.

When altering a book, anything goes, but I fell in love with both "Jeannette" buttons I used to attach the fibers. I couldn't decide which side of these buttons I liked better, so used both sides. I thought they both went well with "Jackson," those two large buttons I used as a focal point. I fell in love with the heart holes and was so glad I didn't have to cover the button holes with thread. I placed "Wilbur" in the lower right corner over the hole of the metal embellishment.

I thought I had to wait until I got the buttons to start my polymer clay project. I'm not sure why I felt I had to wait, since I didn't use any buttons in the clay. Above are the supplies I used, including a rubber stamp, the pasta maker, and two types of polymer clay.

When finished, I took a coffee break. Besides the polymer clay coffee pot, which broke, I might add, when I attached it to the granite base, I also added some of the tea stained watercolor paper, then attached the deep blue ribbon using the other two "Glady" buttons, which I thought looked like flowers. The substrate was some hand dyed fabric. I'll show how I made it a bit later in the tutorial.

For someone who doesn't stamp, I used a lot of rubber stamps in this project. The cardboard substrate was covered with a piece of watercolor paper I painted and hoped it would look like an abstract landscape.

I hate my handwriting, so this is probably my least favorite of all the pieces I made. However, that shouldn't take away from the two (of eight) darling "Corrie" buttons I used that will show when I'm out and about. Note how I wound the fiber through the two button holes.

As soon as I received the buttons, I wanted to get started on my post sign. This will be displayed any time I am posting and publishing to my blog. That way visitors can find me in the office.

To begin, I needed to melt the beeswax I planned to use. The rest of the supplies are (from left):
Needle nose pliers
Natural bristle brush dedicated to beeswax
Various buttons (shown: "Loyce," "Jenae")
Wood scrap
Baling wire
28 Ga wire

I began by laying out the buttons and wire I formed on a piece of very old wood, then realized I only needed three "Loyce" buttons to go with one "Jenae" to make the "P" in the word post. Otherwise, the scale would have been all wrong. For the "O," I used "Yee," a lovely variegated brown concave button. I formed both the "S" and "T" from baling wire. Sorry, I don't know the gauge, but it is quite heavy. I then removed all the pieces and brushed on beeswax, over which I added the buttons and wire so the beeswax could act as the glue. I looked for buttons to affix the 28 Ga wire I wrapped several times around the wood, then decided I had enough buttons on this piece. Adding any more would disrupt the wording and be overkill.

I did use buttons for the wooden sign I made next, which signified building a fire. When someone sees this sign, they will know I'm out back at my chiminea, although that may take awhile since this excessive and extreme heat pattern we're in doesn't want to let go. I first printed the words on the computer, then used a Sharpie pen to draw the flames, after which I colored the paper using three oil pastels and blended the pastels with my finger. I attached the wording and buttons using beeswax.

I wanted to color this sock to use when doing laundry. For this technique I used (from back left clockwise:
Staz-on reinkers
91% Isopropyl Alcohol (called rubbing alcohol in the US) do not use 70%
Mixing cup
Child's sock, clean (found in the street in front of my house)
Foam brush

I began by placing 8-10 drops of Mustard Staz-on ink into a mixing cup, along with a bit of alcohol. Using the foam brush, I saturated various areas of the sock.

I repeated the technique, this time with Blazing Red.

You can see how I colored the sock and this fabric. I added the words using a Sharpie marker. Once again, I wound fibers through the long button holes of two more "Corrie" buttons. I added "Ghislaine" to create the perfect embellishment for dotting my "I."

Possibly my favorite sign started with green and yellow flour-resist fabric, to which I added two sizes of old rick rack and buttons.

In the garden is where you'll find me much of the summer, so it was only appropriate that I make this sign special. For flowers, I used (from left to right) "Hannah," "Daina," "Rivka," the second "Hannah," and "Weldon." I placed two "Ji" buttons on top of the rick rack hanger.

When I am making handmade paper, I'm usually on my back patio. That's where I have an outdoor electrical outlet that facilitates my blender. I thought the two "Siobhan" buttons went well with the ribbon I chose for this sign that started with cardboard that I painted with fluid acrylics and added some very heavy handmade paper.

Oatmeal-resist fabric was chosen for this, my smallest sign, that I added two more "Jenea" buttons to. I used brown thread to compliment the buttons that tell when I am in the studio. I added a piece of hand dyed elastic as the hanger.

If I'm off on a stay-cation, I'll place this map/sign on my studio door. I tried to keep most of these signs relatively flat, but for this one, I added a metal van I found in my stash. I was going to attach the van from its side, but decided, since it was hollow, to attach it by its wheels. I used two "Lakendra" buttons to attach the torn hand-dyed fabric to the sign.

To mark the spot, I used a real map of a portion of the city where I live and marked my location with this fun button called "Trista."
Oatmeal-resist fabric was the substrate for dyeing fabric. I attached the red shimmery ribbon with two large "Lavinia" buttons that reminded me of the smaller "Corrie" buttons I had been attaching fibers to. At the bottom, I attached various strips of hand-dyed fabric using (from left to right) "Vergie," "Collette," "Kimbra," and "Delora."

Unless I have company, I seldom shop til I drop. But I do love to find rocking horses and window shop for tea accessories. I used the other two "Lakendra" buttons to hold the hand-dyed torn fabric in place.

It seems difficult to make any art associated with shoveling snow when the temperatures in my neighborhood are topping 106 - 111 degrees F (over 40 C) every day. But that couldn't deter me from making this sign using a snow shovel I found on the internet and lots of snowflake bling. However, I couldn't help adding a bit of whimsy with the lone flower, "Verlie." I thought it was the perfect color and hoped it would look like it was trying to push its way through the snow.

I documented how I made write here,

Because I had trouble with the lettering showing properly, I moved the E to the final "Loyce" button, where it now takes center stage.

I got a good laugh out of the ancient lawn mower I found on the internet that would help represent yard work. I even used the last of the "Corrie" buttons to hold the fiber in place.

As a final piece, I realized I needed something that would hold all these signs in place. Once again I reached for the flour-resist dyed fabric I liked so well, along with a cardboard substrate I painted using a combination of two fluid acrylic colors.

I was afraid to sew the fabric to the cardboard of this storage container for fear of breaking my final needle, so I glued it in place using fabric glue.

With time at a premium, I was anxious to see how well my plan actually worked.

I realized the storage container was not painted on the back, so I couldn't leave it in its current position or state.

After I removed the storage container, I liked the way the signs sat on the door much better.

So what did I do with the storage container? I hung it on the back side of my studio door, where it is now handy when I want to change signs.

As a bit of recap, I ordered 60 buttons and used 54. I was given $30.00 (US) and spent $29.96 (US). From those, I made 18 signs and one storage container.

Can you see how useful these buttons can be in mixed media art? Do you have a favorite button? Or a favorite sign?