Topps Tiles recently invited me to take part in their vintage-inspired craft project to celebrate their popular Henley Cool tile.
This was just after the Cambridgeshire craft party (which you can read more about here) and I liked the idea of having a go at crafting at home so I decided to say yes to the challenge. The idea of the project was to create my own retro design tile. 4 other bloggers are also participating (I only know of one so far though!) and the winning designer will receive £100 worth of vouchers for Not On The High Street.
I will freely admit that shortly after saying yes I had a bit of a panic as it dawned on me that the other entrants might have more arts and craft experience than me… maybe even have some kind of background in art or design. I can’t actually draw or paint so it was certainly going to be a challenge!
However a lovely box arrived on my doorstep from Topps Tiles containing my blank white tile and a whole selection of craft treats: ceramic paints, brushes and stencils plus a colouring book for adults for pattern inspiration. It all looked so fun that I decided to just relax and remember why I said yes in the first place: not to win anything, just to take part and enjoy myself.
Here’s what happened next and my entry (eeek!!)
I’m already a big fan of Art Deco, as you may be able to tell from my blog header. I wanted my tile to have some ‘Loved By Laura’ personality and also knew that I wanted to somehow incorporate birds into the design. I toyed with the idea of birdcages but couldn’t work out how to translate that onto a tile since I can’t actually draw! However whilst creating a mood board on Pinterest I came across a really lovely silhouette of a peacock which I thought could be perfect as a repeating pattern.
Colour wise, I had no further to look than the peacock’s feather itself – I have some in a vase in my hallway so I know the colours well.
I decided that much like the Henley Cool tile, my design would use a few select colours so that the repeating pattern could fill a big space if needed.
I picked a palette of blue and green hues to make it suited to a bathroom and also because of this lovely housewarming gift that I got from a friend which sits in pride of place on my bath.
What I did
I tried out the felt pens and paint freehand on a smaller white tile to practice and I’ll be honest, I made a complete mess! I decided that I would be best off using a stencil and stippling the paint on with a brush.
I printed the silhouette I’d found onto card in two different sizes and cut out the stencils. This was the hardest part by far – so fiddly and the card kept tearing, but eventually I had a couple of passable ones that I could use.
I marked out a grid layout with a pencil, then used masking tape to secure the stencil onto the tile.
Then I mixed my paint colours. I used the green and blue and used my brush to mix them together until I got the colour I was after.
To apply it onto the tile, I dipped my brush into the paint and then used a 19p plain white tile to remove the excess, before setting to work on the proper tile. Then I dipped my brush into the pure blue and stippled this around the outer edges before doing the same with pure green on the inner edges. I really liked the resulting effect.
It took ages to do this across the whole tile since I was mixing the colours as I went along and only using one small and one big template, but I also found it really relaxing and sung along to Taylor Swift as I worked! Pretty soon a couple of hours had passed, but my basic design was complete!
The card templates got a bit soggy from constant use and so there were a few smudgy lines so once the paint had dried a bit I used a knife to scrape away the untidy edges.
As a finishing touch, I used the knife to remove a circle of paint from each tail feather.
The finished design!
I propped it up so you can see how I envision it in a bathroom.
I’m really pleasantly surprised with how it turned out and I have to admit it was a great way to spend my Saturday afternoon. I haven’t done anything like this since school, so to have come up with a concept and seen it through felt really rewarding.
I learned lots from it too, including:
And most importantly…
Thanks Topp Tiles for helping me get creative, I hope you like my design! 🙂
What do you guys think? What would you have done for a vintage theme?