Sunday, February 26, 2012

glitter portraits

I love glitter. With glitter painting the possibilities are endless for gifts, cards, or to add sparkle to your home. I have made a couple of images following Martha Stewart's glitter painting tutorial, and for the large image I incorporated the free poster printing software PosteRazor that I found through Apartment Therapy (disclaimer: I can not speak to the integrity of this software and in general I do not endorse downloading free software from the Internet).

 54" x 14" from a photo of my son at the zoo aquarium

4" x 4" from a beautiful illustration of Snow White created by a dear friend

  • An image to paint (photo, illustration, full-color, black and white, anything)
  • Mount, I used stretched canvases with a 1 1/2 inch profile
  • Glitter
  • Glue, Martha Stewart has the best consistence (Elmer's is too thin and can make the glitter run, Aleene's Tacky Glue is too think, does not dry quickly, and does not always fully flatten when dry) 
  • Canned air
  • Copy paper - to print image on and to wrangle glitter
  • Bowl for mixing glitter colors
  • Spoon
  • Pin
  • Wine cork
  • Containers if you wish to save your mixed colors, I used a stackable beading containers
  • Paint for the outside of the frame if you like
  • Forgiving housemates who do not care if everything is covered with glitter, forever

A pin can be very useful to push glue into a thin line. My husband pushed the pin through a wine cork for better gripping. You can also use a paint brush (I personally hate cleaning glue out of brushes).

1. Prepare your image by uploading it to Martha Stewart's photo conversion tool.  Your photo will go from this

to a PDF that looks like this.  You will also get a list of glitter color approximations for your image.

If you are creating a large image, at this point you will want to make your image poster sized with PosteRazor.

For the large image, I printed the photo on 8.5" x 11" letter sized copy paper at home, pieced them together, and glued the pages on three 18" x 14" panels. You will have to play with PosteRazor a bit to get the hang of it. Remember that most printers will not print to the very edge of your paper and you will likely have at least a quarter inch margin.

(From here you can watch the video instructions at Martha Stewart.)

2. Glue the copy paper directly onto the canvas (or whatever you are using). Make the paper as smooth as possible. Let the glue dry.

3. You are now ready to apply glue. Place your piece onto a piece of copy paper, this will help you to capture unused glitter.  You will paint one color at a time.  Use your glue bottle to neatly apply a layer of glue within the lines of one section, do this by squeezing some glue out and then push it around with the bottle tip. 

4. Now apply the glitter by shaking it onto the glue. Pick up your image and gently move move it from side to side to make certain that every part of the exposed glue has been covered with glitter. Gently tap the image on its side to get all of the extra glitter off of the image and onto the copy paper on your table.  You can then return the glitter to its container. Amazingly you can start another color next to the part you just worked on (unless you are using thin glue).

You can mix glitters to make shades or new colors. The same principles apply to mixing glitter that do to mixing paint, white make the shade lighter and black makes it darker etc. Making custom mixes can be great fun. If you are covering a large area, mix a lot at first, it is hard to match your mix if you run out of a custom color.

5. Finishing touches. Once you have finished all of your glitter painting let the image dry over night. You can now gently spray the entire piece with caned air to get rid of loose glitter (GENTLY). I suggest doing this outside. Now you can paint the outside frame of your canvas if you like.

I was on a wintery walk with a friend recently and as we admired sunlight on ice in the Mississippi River I realize that glitter is one of man's attempts to replicate the beauty of nature. My mother says that this obsession is a reversion to my childhood.

1 comment:

  1. You sound awful - hope the nasty virus leaves you soon. I love the colours you have used in this art work, blending and layering - it works well. Hope you are up and

    creating again soon. Have a great creative 2013 - I think it is going to be a good year, with lots of craetive energy around.xox