sand dollar canvas...

Hello my fabulous friends!

Are you ready for a picture heavy Monday tutorial? Awesome!

I was tasked with coming up with a birthday present for all the Primary kids (boys and girls 3-12) in my ward for the up coming year. Here's the catch…

1. NO FOOD. there are too many allergies, we just don't go there.
2. It must have value. We want them to be kept for years to come, not end up in the trash tomorrow.
3. Umm, it's for church. Were on a budget.

I spent hours on Pinterest, browsing the web, and window shopping. Nothing stood out. Finally, I ran across the Sand Dollar Legend. I remembered learning it when I was in Primary…So I set out to design something based on that… Here's what I came up with:
I'm happy to say, it was approved. Now I just have to make 59 more… 

So… here's what I'll be doing for the next…LONG while. :)

Step 1: Lay a stencil over a primed canvas, and randomly smear on some modeling/texture paste.
(I'm using a 5x7 canvas, and a stencil I designed with my Silhouette and cut out of acetate… I just welded a lot of {} together. )

Step 2: carefully remove the stencil, and allow the paste to dry.

Step 3: base coat the whole thing with acrylic paint.

Step 4: just before the paint is completely dry, rub some of it off with a baby wipe.

Step 5: spritz with several colors of inks…. I'm using Lindy's Stamp Gang Stardust sprays, so they are two tone with shimmer. LOVE. 

Step 6: spritz on a little water, and use a heat gun to move and dry the color.

Step 7: continue adding layers of colors until you are happy. I added in some dark brown around the edges to help frame it.

Now, you can try stamping, but because of the texture, you probably won't get a good image. I just used the image as a reference, and freehanded it...
 (Tattered Angels "Seaside on the Beach")

Step 8: paint image with acrylic paint.

Step 9: Sponge some dark acrylic paint around the edges.

Ok, so I have had a TERRIBLE time finding a white pen I like… I like this. It is the Faber-Castell PITT artist brush pen… it isn't fine tip, but you know what? It shows up FABULOUSLY on top of paint. 

Step 10: add some white highlights… I didn't really pay too much attention to where my light source was… I just kinda added some highlights randomly to add a little definition to the silhouettes.

Now that the background is done… Let's talk about the focal point...
Yes, this is a real sand dollar. I went to the beach (Ocean Shores, WA), and gathered TONS in a relatively short time. I make a point to only collect ones that are already dead. If the sun has completely bleached them already, bonus! I spend about half a gazillion years shaking sound out of them, then they are then soaked in a water/bleach solution, and set out in the sun to dry. (sand dollars can also be purchased… check your craft store, or search online.)

Step 11: carefully crack open the sand dollar. Each will crack differently… I have found that going slow and gentle gives the most control. 
(I am skilled at using what ever I have handy instead of the "correct" tools… I just used a flat head screwdriver and a rubber mallet.)

The question I have been asked most is how I made the birds… 

I didn't. Nature did. 
(which is all part of the awesomeness of this!) When you crack open a sand dollar, 5 little dove shaped pieces will come out. These are actually the sand dollar's teeth. 

Step 12: Glue your sand dollar and the birds to your canvas.
(I have successfully used Ranger's Glossy Accents as well as Beacon's 527 Multi-Use glue for this) 

Step 13: don't forget to sign it! I use a super fine sharpie for that.

On the back is a copy of the Sand dollar legend…

The Legend of the 
Sand Dollar

According to legend, these little shells tell the story of Jesus.

If you look carefully, you will find a five pointed star. This represents the new star that appeared above Bethlehem the night Jesus was born.

Surrounding that star is a flower. This is the Easter lily, a reminder of His sacrifice, death, and resurrection.

If you break the sand dollar open, five little doves come out. They represent Jesus’ light, peace, healing, compassion, and mercy. 

Left behind is an empty shell... similar to the empty tomb Mary found...

“He is not here: for He is risen, as He said.”
-Matthew 28:6

I know my Savior Lives. 

Yay! Another one done….

 Only 58 to go…