Bring a rainbow into your life!

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Many people are using this time in quarantine to catch up on overdue projects. I am no different. I finally finished an art project I’ve been working on for THREE YEARS. It didn’t have to take that long, but it was something I worked on only in my spare time. It’s a set of three canvases covered in a collage of spirograph designs. I found it both relaxing and challenging, and it made me think of simpler times when art was much more of a focus in my life. If you think you’d like to bring a rainbow into your life, here’s how I did it. 

“Spirograph, spirograph, beautiful designs!”

Several years ago, I was in a Bed, Bath & Beyond with my husband (such a cliche, I know) when I spotted something in the “impulse buys” near the register. It was a small spirograph kit, with wheels that allow you to create really pretty repeating patterns. I commented that I’d LOVED the commercials as a child and had always wanted one. Then, I remembered I was a 30-something adult with my own money! I bought a kit and couldn’t wait to use it! But how? I wasn’t going to just doodle designs in a notebook (though that’s how I started). I knew there had to be something amazing I could make with my new toy.

Thanks to the magic of Pinterest, I soon found my project. This artist’s print is even more beautiful than what I ended up with, since she uses multiple colors in each design. One change I improved upon, thanks to her post, is that I made sure to purchase acid-free paper, which shouldn’t yellow as much over time.

How did you do it, already?

Here are the supplies I used:

  • spirograph mini set
  • set of color markers with very fine tips
  • acid free paper
  • three blank canvases
  • Modge Podge in matte finish
  • a table-top easel
  • a small X-acto knife
  • small foam paint brush

I recommend that you take a bit of time to practice making spirograph designs. The exact pressure and motion needed to avoid making mistakes takes a bit of time to determine. 

After practicing, I put a sheet of paper onto the tabletop easel. I found that using an easel saved me from hunching over too much and straining my neck and shoulders. This is also a bit of an adjustment, so you may want to incorporate the easel into your practice session. Once I was all ready, I drew several designs onto each sheet of paper. It looked like this:

I fit about 12 designs onto each sheet of paper, but your results may be different depending on how large your spirographs are and how big your paper is. Once I was finished with each sheet, I used scissors to cut broadly around each design, then went back in with a small X-acto knife to cut right around the edge of each design. You might want to draw ALL of your designs first and then cut them, or cut as you go. It’s up to you!

I had to experiment with how many designs I needed to fill each canvas. I decided how many colors I wanted per canvas, laid out the designs roughly where I wanted them, and estimated how many I would need to cover it as much as I wanted. My canvases were 18” x 24”. I used five different colors on each one and ended up making 25 designs in each color. A word to the wise – when you finally adhere the designs to the canvas, you may find you need additional or fewer designs. One of my canvases, I ended up with one extra design left over, and another one of them, I had to quickly draw about three more to fill it the way that I wanted.

Time to make it stick!

I laid out the spirograph designs roughly where I wanted them on the canvas. Since I was grouping the same colors together, but wanting them to look like each faded into a new color, I took a pencil and roughly outlined where each color group would go. I used a small, foam paint brush to apply the glue to the canvas and stuck each design down, working in sections. Make SURE you erase those pencil marks as you go. Some of them, I forgot and had to go back with a little bit of white acrylic paint to hide them!

Once they were all in place, I added a couple of layers of modge podge on top, allowing each layer to fully dry. Some edges of the designs curled a bit, and I had to work with them to get them to lay flat. Eventually, it all ended up looking like this:

How about that? Aren’t they pretty? I am thrilled with how they all turned out. They haven’t been put up in my home just yet, but I am so excited to show them off. I highly recommend revisiting crafts from your childhood, either ones you tried or ones you wanted to. Bring a rainbow into your life!

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