Tuesday, July 23

How to: Paint a Cityscape with Tape

Though my motivation was nursery decor (inspired particularly by my son's love for taxis and trucks -- hey, we live in Brooklyn!), this technique could easily be applied to any shapes that benefit from a grid-like treatment -- like robots, or alphabet tiles, or basic shapes. I was inspired by the geometry of the landscape where we live, but your cityscape could be urban or rural (or suburban, for that matter!). The tape technique works like any resist--I love the batik-like result, and the effect, as I mentioned, could be applied to any subject matter, to suit any room in the house!

What You Need:
-Stretched canvas (mine is 10" x 8")
-Tulip Soft Fabric Paint
-Tulip Sponge Pouncers and other foam brushes
-Tulip Fabric Paintbrushes
-Artist's tape (or masking tape, but artist's tape peels off more easily)
-Craft knife and cutting mat
-Paper plates (to use as paint palettes)

Select a color -- or mix colors to create a solid background color -- to coat the canvas. Make all your brushstrokes in the same direction, and let the canvas dry completely.
Peel pieces of tape from the roll and press them onto the cutting mat. Use the craft knife to cut thinner strips and then arrange the strips on the canvas. Tear pieces from other tape strips for smaller details like windows and doors. Firmly press the tape onto the canvas.
On the cutting mat, tile together strips of tape to make a larger area from which to cut shapes (like cars!) with the craft knife. Then peel them off the cutting mat, and press them onto the canvas to use like stencils.
Use the paintbrushes to apply the paint! Make your strokes away from the edges of the tape whenever possible. (If you paint "against" the edges of the tape, the paint will bleed underneath more.) I used black for some of the buildings and mixed red and black for others (to suggest a more brick-like color). I used a mix of yellow and orange to get the right hue for the taxi.
Let it dry fully before carefully peeling off each piece of tape, and add any paint touch-ups as necessary.
If you have more canvases, paint more -- to extend the city block! Then arrange and hang them. My imaginary city is the perfect accompaniment to the New York City "Bridges" print by Two Arms Inc. and the Safari mobile by PetitCollage that we already have hanging. I'm thinking of adding Sophie Blackall's subway poster to my urban/jungle theme....
And if you'd like the popcorn version of the tutorial, here's a video I did for About.com:


Sue Marrazzo said...

Cute Post!

Aaron said...

That is super cute! I love the simplicity of it!

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