Hi, I’m Patty Eskridge from Elephant and the Owl, and I’m excited to be a guest on Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s blog. I’ll give you step-by-step directions for how to repurpose an IKEA cardboard carrier into a stylish, colorful art caddy for your studio.
A little about me:
I am so happy to be able to spend all day in my studio making art! I’m a newly retired elementary school teacher and have begun my next career – being an artist. I have taught adult art classes, had several journal pages reposted on The Crafter’s Workshop IG, but this is my first guest post and I can’t be more excited!
- IKEA cardboard carrier used for carrying glasses or plates
- Liquitex Professional gesso
- Liquitex Professional matte medium
- Liquitex BASICS acrylic paints- titanium white, mars black, medium magenta, brilliant purple, light blue permanent, cerulean blue hue, bright aqua green, cadmium orange hue
- Americana paint- citron green
- Anita’s All Purpose Craft paint- ripe apricot
- white tissue paper – inexpensive, non-glossy
- book text – dictionary pages, etc.
- washi tape
- various stencils – I used Dina Wakley’s Mini Favorites, Tim Holtz Bubble, Dylusions Letter Jumble, The Crafter’s Workshop (TCW) 12 x 12 Art Deco Leaves (Balzer Designs), The Crafter’s Workshop (TCW) Balzer Bits Circled Face
- Art Foamies Writer’s Block
- cosmetic sponges
- black duct tape
- Stabilo All pencil
- words or a phrase from a magazine
Step 1: To begin, I gessoed the cardboard using Liquitex Professional gesso wherever I was going to paint. That meant gessoing the outside and the handle section down into the carrier, but not inside the carrier because it’s not going to be seen. After gessoing, I began painting the body of the caddy using the medium magenta, brilliant purple, light blue permanent, cerulean blue hue, and bright aqua green. There was no set pattern or plan when painting; I just made sure to overlap the colors and keep turning my brush to get irregularly shaped paint sections.
Step 2: After the paint was dry, I added irregularly torn pieces of dictionary text and washi tape a little below the middle of the body of the carrier using the matte medium. I painted matte medium on the carrier, lay down the text and tape, then painted matte medium over both to make sure they won’t come unglued.
Step 3: Next, I added details with stencils. Using a cosmetic sponge to apply the paint, I made sure to dab the sponge in the paint and blot it so the sponge was dry and didn’t bleed under the stencil. Starting with the titanium white paint and the middle stencil of the Dina Wakley Mini Favorites, I stenciled the four sides of the body. I varied the position of the stencil around the sides of the carrier. After that, I stenciled the lime green paint and the other two Mini Favorites all around the carrier.
Step 4: After that, I applied mars black paint with a cosmetic sponge on the Dylusions Letter Jumble stencil to the body of the carrier. I made sure to vary the effect by turning the stencil, using different parts of the stencil, even applying the stencil upside down.
Step 5: On one side of the handle, I stenciled the TCW Art Deco Leaves with orange paint. After drying that, I laid the Dylusions Letter Jumble on the handle and then lined the Art Deco Leaves over the top of that stencil, “sandwiching” the Letter Jumble between the Art Deco Leaves and the cardboard. Then I applied black paint and in this way, the stenciling appears only on the orange lines.
Step 6: On the other side of the handle, I used a different technique. I sprayed the Letter Jumble stencil with a mixture of 50-50 acrylic paint and water, sprayed that with water, and then “stamped” the stencil onto the handle several times. (You can also spritz the carrier with water so it bleeds down.) I dried this.
Step 7: I use tissue paper frequently in my art work. For this project, I used tissue paper that I had previously blotted spray inks with. I love to apply these little pops of color the same way I applied the text and washi tape. By applying the matte medium and laying the tissue paper over that, the tissue appears to melt into the cardboard.
Step 8: At the top of one side of the caddy, I added an orange drip for extra color. I loaded up my brush with diluted paint and let it slide down the edge of the carton.
Step 9: Using a brayer, I inked Julie’s Writer’s Block Art Foamie with white paint and applied that all over. It is a good way to tone down the black, or to cover up where the paint seeped through or where the stencil slipped.
Step 10: To reinforce the cardboard, I added black duct tape on the bottom and around the handle. Then I stenciled TCW’s Circled Face Balzer Bits onto a piece of dictionary text. After drying it, I cut it out and glued it to the front of the caddy using matte medium. I use a lot of magazine words which allows me to have interesting sayings and/or fonts in my work. I attached the words “Press Play” with the matte medium and dried it. Next, I outlined the saying with a Stabilo All pencil, and painted over the black lines with a slightly wet paint brush to get a grungy, smeared look.
Step 11: Finally, the art caddy transformation was complete. Now all I had to do was add some art supplies and get ready for people to ask where I bought that super cool art caddy for my studio. I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and have gotten some useful tips to use in your art. Until next time, take the time to make art every day!