Saturday, June 29, 2013

Once upon a time in Texas – Turn paper into Galvanised Steel with Distress Paint!

DSC00326 I accidentally discovered a pretty neat painting technique while messing around with Distress Paint.  It is so super cool that I can barely wait to show it to you. 

I have the good fortune of being loved and spoiled by a dear sweet lady who owns a few ranches in Central Texas.  Last year around this time of year, her son took me out for  a fantastic “off-road” trip all over one of their ranches.  It was there that I took this picture on the left.   There are so many good memories and feelings attached to this day that whenever I look at this picture it almost feels that I am drawn back to the delirium of that time – albeit now - a little more wistfully.

So since I am in a bit of a melancholic reverie - I have decided that I am going to create something inspired by this picture to demonstrate the process of creating a Galvanised steel effect on paper.  TH0621023 219

The element that I am going to be galvanising is that awesomely gnarly windmill.   

I drew/created/ made the windmill shape in MAKE THE CUT. I am going to also turn the old rickety barn and horse trailer into a “stamp” by tweaking it in GIMP. This is purely so that I have an excuse to do more Distress Marker-watercoloring. 

I am also going to show with you my cool new tool that I call the Tincan tool.  I am so convinced that it is the next best tool for everything that involves nickity pickety work that I am patenting it.

To create the galvanised steel paint effect:
You’re going to need Distress Paint in Black Soot, White Picket Fence, Weathered Wood and Brushed Pewter. 
You are also going to need some kind of applicator that makes a rectangular or square pattern because galvanised steel has a little bit of a cross hatched look as opposed to brushed metal or chrome metal. 

As you will  see in the video tut below– I also used the “Tincan tool”, which I will show you how to make and threaded on 2 foam squares – but you could just as easily punch out foam squares with a square punch or even just cut itsy bitsy teensy ones with a scissors….or a bush knife if you’re hard core like that.

 Here is a handy 3 and a half minute video demonstrating the process.

and a few pictures of the final project in the making –
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I designed and cut out a windmill shape  on MTC -  see on the top right of this post for the finished galvanised windmill.

I manipulated the original photo (pictured at the top of this post) in GIMP and turned it into a stamp or colouring book type image (right).  I prefer to manually “create” the stamp in GIMP because I can manipulate the adjustments wherever and however I want it to be – for instance I want some areas less speckly and other areas sharper.  So GIMP is the best fit for me for this control-freaky reason.  However to get to a point where you can start tweaking like this is a bit of a learning curve, so if you want to skip all the frustrating figuring out - try Photoshop beause it has an automatic stamp filter, the old Windows 95 Picture editor(downloadable now as a stand-alone programme) can turn an image into a stamp.

laura's barn colouring

There is a free programme called Irfan View that also has a filter that will turn an image into a stamp.  The con is that you get an automatically rendered stamp filter that is not as “malleable’ as when you do it manually – layer by layer, pixel by pixel.  

I used Distress Markers to colour and blend in the image to make it look somewhat like a comic book image.  I used Distress Ink on the back ground and painted clouds etc with a waterbrush, that is what gives it that batik type of effect.
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I filled in the trees freehand with my favourite type of textural paint.  It is product called Puff Paint by Dala (I have blogged about this before over here 
DALA PUFF PAINT )*edited to add - Dala Puff Paint is like Marvy Uchida's Liquid Applique, but cheaper, more value for buck and faster working - with a hairdryer I can get it puffing in a matter of minutes whereas with Liquid Applique - you have to let it set for a couple of hours. 

TH0621023 254I decided to turn this little piece of stamped colouring book art into a Gratitude Journal for the lady I talked about above.  I thought it would be fitting because she told me that she loved this ranch and she is such a dear soul, so full of love, positivity and she notices beautiful things and beautiful words and phrases.  So I knew if anyone would keep a Gratitude Journal – it would be her.  I wound up making two versions of the journal – because I messed up the first one (here on the right)  by glueing it down all crooked and I also felt like the perspective was off in terms of the overly large windmill.  I am so anal about stuff like that, that I couldn’t bring myself to be happy with that.

So I made a new book, re-coloured the barn etc and recut the windmill in a smaller scale.  This meant that I lost some of the cool detail because my cutter cant handle tiny cuts that well, but it was good enough.  I embossed the barn and trailer part of the image with a generous layer of UTEE.  I then used an old handwritten text stamp from a Chiswick line  to balance out the stark contrast of the focal elements of the image by kinda watermark stamping.  I added a little “label” particular to the receiver of the gift.  I was now super happy with the final project.  TH0621023 256

 What do you think bloggin’ buddies?  Does it work for you?  I’d love to see all the cool stuff that you create using this technique please send me a link if you do upload a project and I will add the link to this post.  Stay tuned for the next installment of Distress Paint Metal FX!!!
DISTRESS Paint was conceptualised by the amazingly talented Graphic designer Tim Holtz.  Click here-->  TIM HOLTZ DISTRESS PAINT to go to the product info which also contains a swatch of all the colours in the range - Click here-->  TIM HOLTZ DISTRESS PAINT VIDEO DEMO to link to Tim Holtz demonstrating the basic qualites of Distress Paint.  I am not paid or sponsored by Tim Holtz or Ranger – I just really love these products.



  1. Oh my word, what an astounding project in so many ways... The galvanised steel on your windmill looks amazing (will watch the video in a second when I've finished here), and the puff paint trees just sing of summer greenery at its height.

    I'm so impressed that you converted the photo image to a stamp, and the colouring of it is fab - altogether I'm pretty much in awe!!

    Which means that I'm all the more honoured that you want to use the quote and tag. I certainly have no control over the quote so help yourself, of course, to that... and yes, please do share the tag - though you could also mention it's one I'm not necessarily that thrilled about myself!

    I like the story, but not the execution - it ended up a lot more twee than I'd imagined - but that seems to be what's going on for me at the moment. Looking forward to my work contract being over at the end of July!!

    Sorry, that's a long comment - but I couldn't see an email gadget!
    Happy Sunday to you,
    Alison xx

  2. That'a such a cool technique and great little tool. Love how you experiment with textures to create great effects. I bet your friend really loves this as you have made it so personal for her. A fabulous book.
    Thanks also for your sweet and encouraging comment on my blog today, I appreciate it so much.
    Hope you are having a great weekend.
    hugs {brenda} x0x

  3. wonderful tutorial, love the "tincan tool" great painting on the journal too, I would hand it on the wall though because it is beautiful artwork!

  4. Your video was awesome! :) What a pretty lady you are! :) Your technique for creating the steel effect is a good one. :) I love your end result. The scene you created from the photograph is remarkable! Love the colors and all of the texture you've done on it. The windmill is amazing. I also love the puff paint trees. You are so creative and apparently very "techy" when it comes to Photoshop and creating your own images to cut. I'm impressed! :) I also wanted to thank you for stopping by my blog nad leaving such a nice comment. <3 Cnady


It makes me happy when you stop by the Tincan deli - I love interacting with other bloggers, crafters and anyone else who is up for a chat. If you leave a comment I am going to come over to your blog and visit there for a while!!!>