Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Painted Rocks are Less Messy with the Help of These Cheap Household Items



In addition to the basic supplies used when I hand paint rocks, I've discovered these inexpensive household items make rock painting a little easier and less messy.


My vinyl tablecloth

Vinyl tablecloth - A vinyl tablecloth is always placed over my painting table to catch drips and messes from the painted rocks. Clean up is easy and the tablecloths are so inexpensive that I don't mind throwing them away when necessary. These are available at dollar and discount stores.



Lazy Susan found at a thrift store
Lazy Susan - This once-popular household item has been invaluable to me because rocks can be placed on the lazy Susan and rotated as I paint all the sides. It can be very difficult (and messy) holding a rock and painting it and a lazy Susan easily solves that problem. I acquired my lazy Susan at the local thrift store for just a few bucks and it even included the glass serving dishes which could be used as washable, paint palettes.


Plastic Coffee Container - The large Maxwell House coffee container (30+ ounces) is perfect for holding water for brush rinsing. The built-in handle helps me avoid spills when I'm carrying the container back and forth from the sink to my painting table. The hollow handle is also great for keeping smaller brushes upright while they're soaking in the rinse water. There are other plastic, coffee containers but none have a handle quite like Maxwell House's. I'm a coffee drinker so this household item was free for me.


Container, brush, lid, toothpicks, soap

Fingernail Brush - For scrubbing the rocks before being painted, an old or inexpensive fingernail brush from the dollar/discount store works beautifully. (The plastic coffee container mentioned above is a perfect container for soaking and sanitizing rocks, too).



Plastic Lids - Lids from plastic food containers are useful as paint palettes. I use larger lids for rocks that require more colors to be mixed and the smaller lids for more simply-colored rocks. The lids are also useful for holding a small amount of Mod Podge when I'm ready to apply a sealer to the rock. This keeps me from dipping my brush into the large bottle of Mod Podge and contaminating it.


Toothpicks - This inexpensive household item found at grocery/discount stores is useful for clearing the tips of clogged paint bottles and for keeping a small rock upright when applying paint details.


Bar Soap - I use inexpensive bar soap to clean my brushes. I dip the wet brush onto the bar soap and swish it around, pushing the brush into the soap to get all the bristles clean. I then rinse the brush thoroughly. (Now you know what to do with all the small bar soaps you've collected on your travels.)


Keeping yourself, your kids, and your rock painting area neat and clean is not difficult or expensive when you enlist the aid of items readily available in your home.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Color Inspiration for Hand Painted Rocks

I recently came across this wonderful book containing more than 3,000 innovative color palettes including a CD with 3,286 downloadable swatch files. It's called "Color Inspirations."

Color theory is explained but what I found much more helpful were palettes for red, red-orange, orange, orange-yellow, yellow, yellow-green, green, green-blue, blue, blue-violet, violet, violet-red, pink, brown and grey.

Each page features 18 palettes for the color harmonies (monochromatic, analogous, triadic, split-complementary, complementary and other) of each color mentioned above, along with the CMYK, RGB, and HEX code to recreate the palette.

Here's a sample of what I'm talking about featuring the color green (in honor of St. Patrick's Day) and 6 palettes from each page:


Green - Monochromatic

Green - Analogous

Green - Triadic

Green - Split Complementary

Green - Complementary

Green - Other

When I'm having a difficult time choosing colors for painting my rocks, I refer to "Color Inspirations" and discover color combinations I'd never thought of using before.

Since I love bright colors, just thumbing through the book brings me joy and delight and sparks my creativity.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hand-Painted Mystery Rocks - Unique Easter Basket and Garden Decor Gifts

Imagine the surprise on Easter morning when a child looks into their Easter basket and hidden among the marshmallow Peeps, colored eggs, chocolate, and jelly beans they find mysterious eyes looking up at them. What are those things? What kind of creatures are hiding inside?

painted rocks, eggs, mystery, rock painting
Hand Painted Mystery Eggs Rocks

Those things are one-of-a-kind, hand painted rocks and they are a quirky, unusual gift idea for a child's Easter basket. After all the candy is eaten, these "Easter" eggs will still be around because they're painted stones. They easily fit into a child's pocket and will become their new pocket pet. Children's imagination will be sparked when they try to determine what type of critter actually lives inside these unusual, one-of-a-kind rocks.

painted rocks, mystery, stones, rock painting, garden
Mystery Rocks for Garden Decor

As gifts for your gardening friends, these painted mystery rocks would be an unusual addition to their garden decor. Imagine these small, painted stones in a garden hidden among the flowers and plants, waiting to catch the eye of a passer by, inviting a closer look.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Hand Painted Rocks - Choosing an Online Marketplace

Choosing an online marketplace to showcase my hand painted rocks seemed like a no brainer because of Etsy's popularity for handmade items.

Fortunately, I came across this helpful blog entry -- "Big Cartel vs. Etsy vs. Storenvy" -- which compared those three online selling platforms.

Here's a quick summary of the three marketplaces and their features.

Marketplace Specialty

  • Big Cartel - higher-end art and design  
  • Etsy - crafts, vintage, and supplies 
  • Storenvy - used for whatever you desire 

Costs

Big Cartel has tiered pricing plans:

  • Free = 5 listings/1 image each product 
  • $9.99/month = 25 listings, 3 images each product 
  • $19.99/month = 100 listings/5 images each product
  • $29.99/month = 300 listings/5 images each product

Etsy is a pay-as-you-go system:

  • $0.20 per listing & item quantity (for 4 months) and 3.5% of the sale price fee (with unlimited listings)

    Storenvy
    • Completely free to list unlimited items with 5 images for each product

    Community

    • Big Cartel promotes a small number of shops, showcasing the big names and best sellers. 
    • Etsy promotes a limited number of their favorite sellers but a larger number of people on the whole get a promo bump from Etsy. 
    • Storenvy has a watered down community you can search

    Traffic

    • Big Cartel - Bring your own traffic
    • Etsy - A lot of traffic from Etsy and Etsy is well-integrated with Google
    • Storenvy - Some through traffic 

    Mechanics

    • Big Cartel - One page listing process but limited features
    • Etsy - Detailed dashboard and a five-step listing process
    • Storenvy - Detailed dashboard that can be overwhelming

    Tone

    • Big Cartel - You’re going to find exactly what you expected: the store you were linked to. You are an island
    • Etsy -Trash can be mixed in with the gems. However, Etsy is so well known that there is a high comfort level associated with them. You'll always be mixed in with vintage, competitors, supply sellers
    • Storenvy - In between Big Cartel and Etsy: people can find competitors work if they look for it. Storenvy doesn’t attract enough attention for there to be a lot of junk on it yet


    Based on the tips I learned, I chose Storenvy for my hand painted rocks online marketplace.

    I found the Storenvy user interface to be very intuitive, clean and simple. The Storenvy staff answered my questions quickly and it cost me nothing to set up my customized store and add products.

    If you're looking for a marketplace to showcase your handcrafted items, I suggest reading the "Big Cartel vs. Etsy vs. Storenvy" blog mentioned above as a starting point.

    For me, Storenvy rocks for my hand painted rocks. See me hand painted rocks for sale at:

    Visit my store on Storenvy

    Update: August 1, 2012

    I'm very happy with my choice of Storenvy for my painted rocks marketplace. Since I joined Storenvy, they've added an app so that I can also bring my store right into my Painted Rocks by Cindy Thomas FB fan page