Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Colour us happy this winter

As we paint our way through February, we have seen temperatures drop along with the occasional snow flurry and ice.  Even though the sun is bright, our days have been somewhat grey here in Yorkshire and so we have been escaping in to a world of colour and creating a little happiness and sunshine at Folky HQ.  

When painting, we often tell our followers to make a note of the colours they use so that, if they find something they love they can use it again....in the same way, if they find a colour they do not like or feel a little uncomfortable with a colour scheme they have chosen, they can avoid it.  As you move through your journey, you can look back at projects and colours you loved and become inspired all over again.  This week, we decided to look through our archives and be inspired by projects old and new and here is what we found. From deep rich palettes to bright ones with a tropical feel, we almost forgot it was still winter :) 

We hope you enjoy them... 

Happy Folking x 

PS If you would like to discover more about the theory of colour and how to develop your colour mixing skills, check out our Colour theory posts here

Vintage roses can be painted in any colour, including this gorgeous tropical inspired colour palette



Cherry blossom inspired colour palette - perfect for a spot of upcycling



Dusky pinks and deep burgundy's work so well together in this colour palette


A classic colour palette inspired by the Canal boat art of England



Vintage inspired colour palette characterised by rich reds, deep blues and soft greens



Rich yellows and browns look beautiful together in this folk art inspired colour palette



Folk art poppies painted in earthy tones with a pop of orange.  A beautiful colour palette with a bit of a retro feel.



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Friday, 26 January 2018

10 reasons why we all should be painting

why we should paint

Children are encouraged at nursery and school to create - to explore their environment through play and art, using whatever medium they choose (often the messier the better!) but as we age, we often forget the importance of creativity, we find excuses to ignore our hobbies because of demands on our time or because we have told ourselves (or have been told)
we are not creative.  As we seemingly move away from art in education and as we get busier, it seems more important than ever to nurture the creativity within us all.  If we ever needed any reasons to open up our painting kits and get started, they're all here! 


1. It improves motor skills.  All the time you are holding the brush (or dotting tool!) the muscles in your fingers are exercised and strengthened - all while doing something you enjoy. 

Happiness, creativity, painting, quote, find your happiness, folk art

2. It creates an outlet for emotions you may find it difficult to express verbally.  Studies of stroke patients have found that it can create more positive emotions and reduce depression. Being able to communicate through colour, pattern, brushstrokes and texture can release emotions in a healthy way. 

3. It can help boost self confidence. Learning a technique, mastering a brushstroke, finishing a project you are proud of can all lead to a sense of accomplishment and pride.  

Look up but never give up, quote, motivation, words to live by

4. It develops your levels of persistence.  When your brushstrokes aren't flowing as they should or a painting project doesn't turn out the way you would like it to, you become determined to rectify that.  As a result it not only increases your level of patience but it can help build your problem solving skills. 

5. As we imagine and think about our painting projects, plan our colour schemes and recall techniques and past projects, it can all help boost our memory and sharpen our minds.  Studies into the benefits of painting for individuals with Alzheimers have found that it can help them recall better, boost their imagination and strengthen their memories. 

6.  It lowers our stress levels.  Engaging in art gives us something to focus on other than our problems and worries and gives us the chance to engage in a spot of fun and feel good for a while.  

Creativity leads to creativity. quote, Maya Angelou

7. Creativity increases creativity. People often make the decision or are told that they aren't creative from a young age but just by engaging in a spot of painting strengthens everyones creative skills. Painting triggers our dopamine levels (the neurotransmitter that helps regulate our emotions and when it spikes, it creates the feeling of pleasure) and it engages both sides of the brain as it gives our brain the equivalent of an aerobic workout. 

8. It helps develop an optimistic attitude.  Every painter or artist will set themselves goals - to learn a technique, paint a design or create a specific project.  Once they reach that goal and improve their skills it increases their confidence and helps them feel more optimistic and positive of what they can create in the future.

9. You become more observant of the world around you. As you begin to paint shapes, colours and patterns you will start to search for and look for these within our surroundings. As your concentration improves thanks to your creative pastimes, you will notice the details that surround you that passed you by before. 

10. It helps us have fun. Through painting, we can laugh, learn something new and socialise with others. In addition, when we create, when we paint, we connect with others who enjoy doing the same. We share ideas, encourage others and we inspire - whether it is in person or online. There is nothing better than a creative community! 

Find something you love and do it forever, quote, inspiration

We don't know about you but we are convinced (more than ever!) that painting is so good for our mental, physical and emotional health. If you would like to share how you feel painting has changed your life, feel free to get in touch and share your story.  

Here's to creativity! 

The You Can Folk It team xx 
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Sunday, 24 December 2017

Gorgeous painted napkins in 10 easy steps.

Christmas is a lovely time to create personal gifts and this year, we had fun indulging in a bit of fabric painting.  This is a fantastic project for anyone wanting to add some personal touches to their dinner table - simply change the napkins and paint colours to match the time of year or event you are wanting to use them for. 


For this project, you will need: 

A set of napkins
Round brush Starter kit and any extra 
Fabric chalk/crayon
Cardboard template 
Scrap cardboard 

Before we even got started painting our napkins, we washed them using washing powder containing no softeners as this would prevent the paint from adhering properly to the fabric.  Once we had ironed them, we were ready to begin. 

Step 1: Create your template.  The heart template in our Round Brush starter kit was too large for what we wanted so we created our own. We chose a heart but this would look lovely as a wreath shape too.  

10 steps to beautiful handpainted napkins. If you want to add a personal touch to your dinner table, click through to find out how simple it is to create your own with You Can Folk It. #handmade #tutorial #howto #painting

Step 2: Using the fabric chalk, draw your template where you want to paint them.  We chose to paint one heart in the corner of each napkin.  

10 steps to beautiful handpainted napkins. If you want to add a personal touch to your dinner table, click through to find out how simple it is to create your own with You Can Folk It. #handmade #tutorial #howto #painting

Step 3: Squeeze out your paint onto your palette and add DecoArt Fabric medium to each colour in equal amounts (1:1) Adding this medium not only makes your design permanent and washable, it makes the paints softer so they move with the fabric instead of peeling and cracking.  

10 steps to beautiful handpainted napkins. If you want to add a personal touch to your dinner table, click through to find out how simple it is to create your own with You Can Folk It. #handmade #tutorial #howto #painting

Step 4: Before you begin, slip your piece of scrap cardboard under your napkin to prevent the paint soaking through to the layers or table underneath.  Using the dotting tool, add your dot roses around the heart as we teach you in the Round Brush Starter kit

10 steps to beautiful handpainted napkins. If you want to add a personal touch to your dinner table, click through to find out how simple it is to create your own with You Can Folk It. #handmade #tutorial #howto #painting

Step 5: Still using the dotting tool, add dots to fill the space between the roses.  We used Hauser Dark Green but you could use the Avocado from our Flat Brush Starter kit (or any other darker green you wish). 

10 steps to beautiful handpainted napkins. If you want to add a personal touch to your dinner table, click through to find out how simple it is to create your own with You Can Folk It. #handmade #tutorial #howto #painting

Step 6: Using the Hauser Light Green from the Starter kit and the Round Brush, start adding 'leaves' to your heart around (and sometimes over) the dots you've just created to fill out your wreath shape.  Remember to leave a few gaps for the next layer of colour too. 

10 steps to beautiful handpainted napkins. If you want to add a personal touch to your dinner table, click through to find out how simple it is to create your own with You Can Folk It. #handmade #tutorial #howto #painting

There is no technique to this, we just used the tip of the brush to dab on small leaf shapes.  This is a fantastic project for anyone starting out with fabric painting as you will quickly realise that painting on to fabric is completely different to painting on to a smoother surface and it creates a beautiful, almost worn look.  You may find you wish to go over a few of the leaves as they do dry darker. 

10 steps to beautiful handpainted napkins. If you want to add a personal touch to your dinner table, click through to find out how simple it is to create your own with You Can Folk It. #handmade #tutorial #howto #painting

Step 7: (Optional) Using your round brush and Warm white from the Starter kit, as you did with the Light Green, add 'leaves' of white to create a snowy effect.  This is down to personal preference as you may find you would prefer to stick with different shades of green to fill out your heart.  

Step 8: Repeat all the above steps to complete the design on each napkin you need.  

Step 9: Leave to dry for 24-48 hours to allow the paint to fully bond with the fabric.  When they are dry, heat set them using an iron for 30 seconds.

10 steps to beautiful handpainted napkins. If you want to add a personal touch to your dinner table, click through to find out how simple it is to create your own with You Can Folk It. #handmade #tutorial #howto #painting

Step 10:  Pop them in the washing machine once again with washing powder (and no softener) and wash on 30 degrees.  Once dry, iron and fold ready for your dinner table.  If these gorgeous painted napkins are a gift for a loved one, why not tie them with a gorgeous co-ordinating ribbon? 















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Wednesday, 13 December 2017

3 beautiful Scandi style looks for Christmas

One of our favourite things to do at Christmas is to wrap the presents.  There's nothing better than sitting around surrounded by gift wrap and pretty accessories to decorate that one gift you handpicked your loved one. Of course, it has to be accompanied by a little festive music too.

Scandi style inspiration is everywhere at the moment so here are a few of our favourite ideas for gift wrapping this year....


Scandi style, gift wrap, DecoArt, handpainted, gift tags

There's nothing more festive than lovely shades of red and we just loved this Scandi Style gift wrap we spied in Paperchase recently.  Whether you choose red gift wrap or choose to add splashes of red on the gift tag or ribbon, it does not matter it's bound to put a smile on your face.   

Brown paper packages all tied up with string.... simple kraft paper, twine, we can't help but love this rustic look.  We teamed these clean, crisp colours with beautiful blue to tie this Scandi look together.  Why not add our dotty snowflakes on to our baubles for a quick easy gift tag? 



Scandi style gift wrap, hand painted, DecoArt, folk art

Scandi style isn't just for festive red! This gorgeous turquoise blue paper, again from Paperchase is just stunning.  Why not pair it with handpainted cards and gift tags using DecoArt's Chalky Finish paint in 'Treasure'


folk art, hand painted gift tag, uni posca, metallic

Deep blues and metallics are a match made in heaven. We chose DecoArt's Metallic acrylic paint in Zinc to co-ordinate with this gorgeous Paperchase Recycled Silver kraft paper.  Hand write your name or greeting with Uni Posca's paint pen in silver and brush a little metallic lustre around the edge of the tag to complete the look. 

There's still time to pick up a few accessories to decorate for the festive season but be quick, the days are flying by! 

Happy festive folking x 



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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

3 ways to wow with Gift Tags


At the moment, you cannot go far on Pinterest without coming across blush.  The pink tones are coming into their own in 2017 inspiring home decor, art and more. 
Blush and grey, copper and blush are on trend at the moment - perfect for Home Decor, Craft projects and more

With many of us embracing the beauty of grey this year, it didn't take long for it to be paired with the popular blush but whether it is paired with greys, coppers or golds, there is no doubting that it creates a sophisticated, feminine look.  We love this colour palette we spied over at The Pixel Odyssey and thought we would use it as inspiration for a few gift tags to use this Christmas.  

Pink and Rose Gold create a delicate and feminine gift tag for a birthday gift

Our first gift tag was decorated using the beautiful Pink Chiffon from DecoArt as its background.  We painted the folk art flower from our Bluebirds kit using DecoArt's Metallic Lustre in Rose Gold, finishing the tag with a little brush lettering learnt at one of Nikki Whiston's fabulous lettering courses.  If you are interested in learning this on trend skill, there are many courses around the UK and of course you can find plenty of resources and tutorials on Pinterest.  

We painted DecoArt Rose Gold and Yesteryear grey to hand paint a few gift tags - the perfect finishing touch to the perfect Christmas gift

Completely in love with the Rose Gold we decided to transform our Dotty Snowflake and that it did! Inspired by this vintage look wrapping paper from Katie Leamon we reached for DecoArt's Chalky finish paint in Yesteryear, a warm grey that works beautifully with the metallic look here.   To complete the project, we lightly brushed Rose Gold Metallic Lustre around the edges of the card.  

Inspired by Kate Leamon's Vintage style gift wrap, we created this handmade angel covered gift tag for our Christmas gifts

Another gorgeous grey is DecoArt's Artefact in their Chalky Finish range.  Taking a step away from the coppers and golds, we paired it with Metallic acrylic in Zinc to create these cute angels from our Christmas kit using our Liner brush.  

These small tags did not take long to decorate but they made a huge impact on the gifts we have to give this Christmas.  If you cannot decide where to start, do as we did and look to your favourite wrapping paper or your ribbons and trimmings to inspire you.  We love picking out colour schemes from old gift wrap and this was interestingly how Carol first decided on the colours we included in our Round Brush Starter kit.  

If you would like to share your photos of your hand painted gift wrap this festive season, we'd love you to tag us in your creations or use the hashtag #youcanfolkit 

Happy Folking! x 








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Tuesday, 3 October 2017

How to make your paints last longer


There's nothing we love more than browsing the paint colours and swatches at Folky HQ, deciding which ones we would like to use or which combinations will create a dreamy shade for a new project.   However, just like when you sit down to indulge in a bit of creative me time at home, it is very rare we can paint uninterrupted and use all our paints up and when you are painting, the last thing you need when painting your comma strokes is drying paint.  Even if you do get to enjoy an uninterrupted Folk It session (yay!) sometimes paints go such a long way, we end up wasting a lot of the paint we've poured out.  Fear not though, we are here to share a crafty secret that will change all that.  

The most valuable piece of kit for us is a wet palette. This container will help keep your paints wet for a few days, perfect for those times when we get interrupted.  The great thing is that with a bit of time and a few supplies, you can create your own.  

For a wet palette you will need: 

An airtight container (we purchased a cheap klip lock style food container) 
Sponge cloth 
Baking paper (ensure that it is the unwaxed version, your paints will not sit well on waxed paper making blending your paints especially difficult) 
scissors 

Step 1: cut your sponge to size.  You will need the sponge to sit neatly inside the lid of the box once it is wrapped.  

Prevent waste and make your paints last longer with your own wet palette. For the price of a few household items, save money and art supplies.

Step 2: Lay your newly cut sponge cloth on your baking paper and cut your baking paper to size. (imagine you are wrapping the sponge just as you would a gift). 


Step 3: thoroughly wet your sponge cloth and squeeze out any excess water.  

Step 4: wrap the (now wet) sponge in the baking paper so that one side of the sponge is smooth.    

How to save money and paints - create your own palette

Step 5: lay the sponge in the lid of the box, add the acrylics you need and paint as normal :) in the event of any interruptions, simply clip the 'lid' on over it.  

Prevent waste and make your paints last longer with your own wet palette. For the price of a few household items, save money and art supplies.

Sit back, relax and enjoy your new palette! For the price of a few household supplies, you can rest easy that you can pop the lid on any time you wish and return to your project soon.  The box will keep the paints fresh for a few days (hopefully enough time to complete the project you are working on).  Make sure that you refresh your sponge with water and rewrap in fresh baking paper when it becomes too messy to use.  

Prevent waste and make your paints last longer with your own wet palette. For the price of a few household items, save money and art supplies.

If you have any handy hints and tips that make life easier when you are painting and crafting, do let us know, we love a good craft hack. 

Happy Folking x 




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Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Brand New Folk Art workshop

We will be teaching everyone how to create the perfect base for their project and how to paint beautiful Folk Art designs.

The time has finally come! After a few setbacks over the last year, we are excited to finally announce our first brand new painting workshop.  If you came to visit us at the Handmade Fair recently, you will know that we have recently finished teaching a few Skills Workshops at the event and we definitely got a taste for it again.

Avid followers of You Can Folk It will know that we first introduced workshops back in 2016 but we had to take a step back due to personal reasons. That's why, after a bit of re-thinking and re-formulating, we are so excited to come back with a bang.  We have a fabulous new venue at Kempton Park and are excited to meet faces old and new for the fun filled, creative and inspirational day.

Learn to paint the comma stroke and it can be used to create so many different handpainted designs.

After over 20 years of painting, there is not a lot that we don't know! During the workshop, we will be concentrating on teaching each and every one of you have to use a Round Brush to paint three common Folk Art brushstrokes and learn how to put these together (just as you learn letters to put them together to write words) to create beautiful flowers and other designs that are not included in our Round brush series. Whether you are a fan of our kits already or are a complete beginner who has never held a brush before and you fancy learning something new, head on over to our workshop page.

Create these beautiful Folk Art sunflowers on our Round brush workshop.
These beautiful sunflowers are just one of the flowers Carol will be teaching on the day

However, the fun won't stop there, we ask that everyone who attends the course brings two small items; new accessories for the home or treasures that you have simply fallen out of love with to transform throughout the day.  These can be wooden, metal, glass or terracotta.  As well as learning the brushstrokes, we will also be taking you through the basics of preparing your project and creating a variety of finishes from using DecoArt's Weathered wood, antiquing and using metallic lustres to compliment your painted design.

We are kicking off our first round of workshops at Kempton Park but if you can't make the 11th November, worry not as we will be announcing more dates and venues for early 2018.  We hope to see you there!

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