Digital Freebies!

Who doesn’t like freebies? Especially when they are digital freebies for your crafts.

You may have noticed in my last post, I included a link to a digital freebie of small circle designs.

I created them to use in various crafts including scrapbooking, card making or for making pendants – basically, any creative activity where you can use small, colourful circular designs.

This time, I am starting to build on my digital freebies.

I have added another 6×4 inch sheet of 1 inch circular designs that could be used in any creative craft you want, including bottle cap pendants, or 1 inch bezel pendants.

digital freebies

This design can be used with a 1 inch circle punch or cut  by hand.

Just print out onto 6×4 glossy photo paper and punch/cut the designs out.

digital freebies

If you want to access my digital freebies – all I ask is that you watch my latest YouTube Video showing how I used these designs.

The video is less than 10 minutes long and it reveals the password you will need to get into where I am now posting the links to my digital freebies

This is the page on this website where you can access the free designs once you have the password.

Get the password from the YouTube video and come back here to unlock your free designs.

And while you are over at my YouTube channel, I would love it if you also subscribed and hit the bell icon to get regular updates which will include more free designs for your crafts.

This is what I used my designs for…

…what will you make with yours?

There will be more and more of these free designs coming up in the future – do you have any requests for colours or shapes of designs you would like to have?

I can’t promise to be able to supply what you have in mind but it’s worth asking me.

You can do that by scrolling down to the comments section below and leaving your ideas there or filling in the.

If you aren’t sure where to source the craft supplies I use in my videos, you can visit my Amazon stores and browse through to find what you need.

Amazon shop for US and Canada readers

Amazon shop for UK readers.

My Amazon affiliate statement.


Not sure where to buy 1 inch glass domes or clear resin stickers?

Check out my Amazon shop links above.

Hope you enjoy using the designs!

Don’t forget to subscribe to this site by going to the black menu bar to the left of the screen and scrolling to the place where you can leave your email address to get notifications of new posts and free designs.

You will get a confirmation email and all you have to do is click the confirm link and you’re good to go.

Enjoy the digital freebies and watch out for more free images and designs to use in your crafts.


Free Printables

Free Printable Giveaway!

My latest YouTube tutorial is all about making this cute set of star themed  earrings and a small matching pendant necklace.

If you have arrived here from my YouTube video and you would like to get the free printable design to make this pendant and earring set, click here.

This must be printed out on 6×4 inch glossy paper to achieve the look that I got in my finished pendant and earrings.

free printable

My free printable 6×4 inch sheet of earring and pendant designs.

Each sheet has four different designs repeated to make four sets of earrings with matching pendants.

The earring designs are approximately 0.9cm – 1cm and the pendant designs are approximately 1.7 – 1.8cm – so unless you are very good at cutting by hand, you will need to use the equivalent size circular craft punches to cut out these designs.

The full tutorial can be seen on my YouTube channel Rainbow Lane.

To accurately cut the designs from your free printable…

…it will help if you have some handy little craft punches like these.

free printable

The smaller one cuts circles  almost 1cm across and the bigger ones cuts circles around 1.7 cm across.

That is why it is important that you do not resize the free printable you have downloaded.

I have made the circles the right size for the punches.

I couldn’t find these exact punches for you to put in my Amazon shops but I have found a couple that are about the same size.

I suggest you get my free printable design first, print it off and measure across the centre of the circles and then look online or in your local craft store for punches.

I’ve also put both sizes of glass cabochons (domes) in my Amazon stores.

Mine were fractionally bigger than my circles but that’s fine, you don’t need to worry about that as a fractional difference in size doesn’t look odd, in fact it doesn’t really show.

Below are the links to my Amazon storefronts and my Amazon Affiliate statement.

My Amazon store for US and Canada readers.

My Amazon store for UK readers.

My Amazon Affiliate statement.

You can cut your free printable by hand with small sharp scissors but it’s much easier if you can find craft punches the right size to punch them out evenly.

The smallest circle punch you see in the picture below (the square white one) was bought from Hobby Craft in the UK.

I didn’t get it online, I went into the Ipswich store and bought it off the shelf. It’s an xCut Palm Punch Small Circle.

The bigger one was one that I already had in my collection of circle punches.

After searching online, I found some similar circle punches to sell in my Amazon storefronts ( and

The sizes I have chosen should be the same as the punches I used but once you have my free printable downloaded and printed off, make sure you measure the circle shape across the middle and find punches that fit.

If you print the free downloadable designs out at 6×4 inches without changing the document size, the measurements should stay the same as the I used, but I can’t guarantee that – it depends on your knowledge of using downloaded files and printing them on your particular printer.

Experiment and measure before you buy the punches – or, cut them by hand.

free printable
free printable

Did you enjoy using the free printable?

Would you like more?

If you enjoyed using this design and would like more, subscribe to this blog because there are more freebies in the pipeline!

I will be posting more free printables this summer (2019).

If you have any requests for printables, let me know what colours, designs or sizes you would like and I will do my best to accommodate your needs – just let me know in the comments section below the post or in the comments section on my YouTube channel.

You can also use the contact form.

Hope you have fun using this particular free printable and I look forward to seeing you back here next time!

making your own buttons

Making your own buttons is fun and easy.

If you are a knitter, a dress maker or even a scrapbooker, making your own buttons may be something you've thought about doing.

A few years back, when I was creating tutorials for two US based sites, I did one about making buttons from junk.

It was very popular and now I have brought it back for another outing as a very quick picture tutorial over on my YouTube channel.

making your own buttons
The supplies and tools you will need for the project.

Making your own buttons the way I show in the video is quite a quick and easy process.

And the best part is you don't need any expensive materials because I use one of my old favourites - good old fashioned cereal box card!

You can see a similar post here, where I talk about making charms the same way.

making your own buttons

The biggest investment when making your own buttons by my methods is the tools you'll need.

But of course, if you are a crafter, you'll probably already have the tools and supplies.

But if not, you can find what you need in my Amazon shops.

Or if you are UK based:

In making your own buttons, you have complete control over the style, color and size.

For me, the attraction of making my own buttons was being able to create buttons in exactly the colours or designs I wanted.

For those who are familiar with creating their own designs in Photoshop or a similar design programme, you can make some spectacular button designs in eye-catching colours and patterns.

If you aren't so adventurous, then you can keep an eye out for lovely colours and designs in glossy magazines or use discarded wrapping paper and wall paper.

In this project, I used various papers I already had and the results were very pretty.

The buttons you see in the picture at the top of this post are not glazed but you will need to glaze your buttons with a robust glazing agent such as Triple Thick or Diamond Glaze.

This will keep them strong and splash-proof. In the tutorial, I use clear nail varnish - so that is an option if you don't have anything else.

Hope you enjoy the tutorial about making your own buttons over on my YT Channel.

And I hope it encourages you to have a go at making your own buttons - let me know what you come up with!

easy crafts with cereal boxes

Well, what can you make with cereal boxes that you can actually wear? 

Answer - very inexpensive but robust pendant bezels that you can make lots of, very quickly and that you can turn into these stunning pieces of cool fashion jewelry.

Pendant bezels made from cereal box card and PVA glue - I leave mine to dry out on top of acrylic paint bottles so they don't stick to anything when they are wet.

 What can YOU make with cereal boxes? -  Do you want to find a way to make cool stuff that is saleable - then check out my video on YouTube.

You can watch as I bring these pendants to life and see exactly the steps I took to create the pendants you see here.

It's really pretty easy and you can, very quickly, produce lots of gorgeous pendants that you could sell at craft fairs if you finish them neatly and professionally.

What can you make with cereal boxes that is truly useable. And why would you want to?

My reasons for asking what can you make with cereal box card  were about finding ways to use what I saw as a precious craft resource.

If you've read this blog before, you'll probably already know how much I love up-cycling cereal box card.

There must be tons and tons of this card going into landfill every day and yet people go into craft shops every day to buy expensive materials to craft with.

Many years ago, I discovered that if you glue layers of cereal box card together with PVA glue, you end up with a very robust resource that feels and performs like lightweight wood.

In my current YouTube project and, in lots of my other projects, you see me using cereal box card for making jewelry and charms that no one would ever guess are simply made from what most people throw away as rubbish.

But you can use cereal box card  for lots of other crafts. Another of my favourite ways of using it is for scrap book album covers.

Over the years I have created many handmade albums using cereal boxes for the covers. They sold well at craft fairs and this red album on the right is one I have been writing notes in for years - still going strong!

Cereal box card makes brilliant covers for handmade albums.
The covers ready to bind into an album.
The finished album - my studio album that I have been making notes in since 2015 - a bit worn but going strong!

Over time, I have also made many pretty pieces of jewelry using cereal box card and I am forever dreaming up new ways to create stunning designs.

The charms in the picture below were made from cereal box card and are still going strong! Click here to read the blog post.

what can you make with cereal boxes


The idea for the latest make on my YouTube Chanel came to me in a flash of inspiration while clearing out my stash of junk resources.

I'm pretty sure I am not the only crafter who hoards all sorts of stuff that will 'come in handy' for crafting.

My old studio was stuffed with box after box, full of flattened cereal boxes, brochures printed on paper way too good to simply throw away, discarded wrapping paper, paper bags, gift bags - all sorts of 'stuff'.



Two of my many boxes of craft junk.

I was constantly dipping into my boxes for 'free' stuff to use in my projects.

But sadly, I have now lost my studio space.

My dad died last Fall and  we need to make way to eventually have my mum come and live with us, so we will need that space.

My old studio will house the kitchen and wet-room part of the project so my mum can still have some independence.

But it's been really good for me to lose that space.

It has forced me to have a massive clear-out of all my craft stuff and make me have a really good look at it all.

All that really obscure stuff that I probably would never have used has gone as I only have room to store half of what I used to.

It was while I was going through my stash of craft  junk that I once again started pondering the question - What can you make with cereal boxes? Probably because I have so many!

One of my many boxes of cereal box card waiting and begging me to keep on asking - What can you make with cereal boxes? 

Ideas for my next YouTube project were still bouncing around inside my head - nothing was decided.

And then I found something else in the box  that started my creative juices flowing and the idea for these pendants hit me. I found what would become the 'lead' for my faux stained glass design.

Being knee deep in paper junk at the time was annoying because once I'd had the idea, I couldn't wait to finish junk sorting and get started on it!

I wasn't really sure it would work - even when I was almost at the end of the project, I still wasn't sure that the pendants were going to look ok but then, when I started actually putting the parts together, I was really pleased with how they looked.

As soon as I got to the point where I fixed the overlay in place on the front of the pendant, I knew the technique I had visualised was going to work.

It's always exciting when a new idea comes together! All I had left to do was finish off with a layer of 3D Gloss and fix a bail in place so I could hang the pendant on a necklace.

Now it's your turn to have a go and make your own stunning pendants in your own gorgeous color choices.

If you have problems sourcing craft supplies where you live - don't forget I have two Amazon shops where you will find materials and tools the same, or similar to those I use in my videos.

If you buy from my stores, I do receive a teeny commission from Amazon but as always,  do shop around for the best deals and be sure about what you are buying. Read reviews - do your research.

These are my shops:

So there you have it! One very pretty answer to the burning question - What can you make with cereal boxes?

salt dough jewelry

Salt dough jewelry is really easy to make, as you saw in my last YouTube project and in my last blog post.

If you want to go straight to my latest YouTube video tutorial, please click here.

As promised, I have made some improvements to the technique.

I am a complete newbie when it comes to salt dough, so I did share my mistakes with you in the last video and in this new project, I am sharing with you what I learned from my mistakes and how I used them to improve on the results I got last time.

Having said that, I quite liked the red and gold pieces I made last time - but there were aspects of the whole project I didn't like.

salt dough jewelry

What was the main problem with the salt dough jewelry I made last time?

Well, I didn't like the thickness of some of the pieces. I rolled out the dough for the salt dough jewelry way too thick, so some of the pendant bases came out much too chunky for my liking.

There was no consistency in the way I rolled the dough out so some pendant bases were thicker than others. The ones you see above were very thick and chunky, so I didn't use them.

Also, I baked them badly so some of them puffed up completely and some got burnt or curled up.

In my new video, I show me making the salt dough pendant recipe and how to bake them so they come out flat and hard when they are done.

So how did I manage to get all my salt dough jewelry bases rolled out to the same thickness this time?

Well I bought myself a rolling pin that's meant for rolling out cake icing. It's got rubber rings on either end and the rings keep the thickness consistent.

I have put some of these rolling pins in my Amazon shops in case you can't get one near where you live. But most stores that sell cake making stuff would have them.

You can find lots of craft supplies in both my and online stores.

Fancy having a go at salt dough jewelry?

Watch my video if you need some guidance and then have a go - the most fun part is creating texture and choosing colours and embellishments for your pendants.

I show you how to do all that and give you some ideas to begin with - then you can start designing your own salt dough jewelry - have fun and see you in the next project!


Easy to make pendants are something so many crafters want to find.

Easy to make pendants and inexpensive to make is the ideal!

So in my latest YouTube tutorial video, I have presented an idea for easy to make pendants that are very easy on your pocket too.

BUT - lots of things went wrong in this project. Why? Because I was a salt dough newbie!

These really are easy to make pendants, I just wasn't happy with some of them because they were too  thick and chunky.

I had wanted to make something that fitted with love hearts and Valentine's Day.

So I was pretty happy with the red and gold hearts but pretty much everything else I didn't like too much!

easy to make pendants

So what went wrong with my easy to make pendants?

Well, for a start, I tried to bake the salt dough pendant bases in the microwave oven.

I was using a very old craft book for directions on how to do it and it did recommend that you cook the dough in 10 second bursts until they are done.

Uh Uh! No - of course I didn't have the patience for that so I had them on too high for too long.

They puffed up like little clouds and went brittle, as you will see in the YouTube video.

So I went back to the drawing board and did the next batch in the regular oven for almost three hours on 100 degrees centigrade.

easy to make pendants

That was much better! My easy to make pendants were MUCH easier baked that way - it just took longer.

But that was fine, I went off and did other stuff while they were cooking happily in the oven.

So why wasn't I happy with the results?

Well some of the pendant bases were way too chunky for my liking. Mainly the bigger, oval ones. They were just too clumsy looking for me.

I loved the red and gold hearts and some of the black and gold pieces but nah, not the really thick ones.

But hey - that's good news - right? We learn by our mistakes.

My biggest mistake was rolling the dough out to thick - but there was an easy solution for when I made my next batch (I have another video coming up soon about how I did this again - only better!),

I went a got myself a special little rolling pin that is normally used for rolling out cake icing.

easy to make pendants

The rolling pin you see above has a simple touch that is genius!

You see the purple rubber rings on the ends? Well they keep the rolling pin at a certain height so that your dough (or icing) is rolled out to an even thickness.

There are two different heights - you just use which ever rings you need.

So when I rolled out my dough for the second YouTube tutorial about salt dough pendants (which will be a follow up to the current one), it was much thinner and the resulting pendant bases are much more dainty.

I can't wait to decorate them and show you the results.

Now what about that salt dough? 

Well this is why these are easy to make pendants! And better still, inexpensive to make.

All you need is a bag of plain white flour, a tub of ordinary table salt and some warm water.

You need to have the ingredients in equal measure - so if you use one cup of flour, use one cup of salt and one cup of warm water.

But be sure to add the water a bit at a time in case you don't need quite all of it.

And don't knead it too much - just enough to get smooth.

I kneaded my first batch a lot - as if I was making bread!

And I think that's why a lot of my pendant bases rose and went puffy - I got too much air in there during the kneading process.

I also put mine in the fridge overnight so it was easier to cut.easy to make pendants

Coming up next time - more, easy to make pendants, but with lessons learned from this project!

I'm partway through filming me making a much better set of salt dough pendants. There is no such thing as a craft project that is a failure!

For every project I publish, I have others that will never see the light of day because they didn't work out how I wanted.

But this time, I thought I would give you a glimpse of one that didn't work, just to show there is no shame in getting it wrong.

We learn from our mistakes - well, we should if we are enthusiastic enough about improving - so watch out for my next YouTube project and see if I manage to improve on these pendants.

There are many accomplished salt dough crafters out there making some amazing stuff - hats off to you - if I keep trying, maybe one day...

If you go to my channel and subscribe, (don't forget to hit the bell icon as well), you will automatically get the heads up when I publish new films and you won't miss the follow-up to this one.

Visit my Amazon shop to find lots of lovely crafty things to buy for these projects.

If you live somewhere where it isn't easy to get craft supplies or you can't get out to get what you need - you can find the things you need in my Amazon shop.

I try to find items that are as close as possible to the things I've actually used. But please be aware that you need to check for yourself before you buy, that this is what you need.

Also shop around online to et the best price for what you are buying.

If you are an shopper, this is the link to follow:

If you are an shopper, this is the link to follow:

I hope you try out my idea for easy to make pendants - thank you for stopping by!


DIY Pendants, as seen in my last post, are easy to make if you have an embossing machine - but what if you don\'t have one? Can you still make embossed DIY pendants? 


The answer is YES! You can still make embossed DIY pendants without an embossing machine.

And it is very easy - the hardest part is finding the right materials - but once you have them - it\'s really very easy.

Continue reading

Junk jewelry

Junk jewelry is one of the most satisfying crafts for me, especially if the bulk of the item is made from junk I would normally throw out.

And if you are a fan of making gorgeous things that have a large percentage of waste materials you might like to read a similar post which you can find by clicking here.

junk jewelry



Junk Jewelry is King Queen!

These are the shiny gems I made in my recent YouTube tutorial which you can find by clicking here if you haven't seen it yet.

The bases for these are made completely from recycled waste card and tacky glue but the junk is cleverly disguised with these beautiful embossed designs.

I'm always amazed at the durability of pendant bases made from junk card, but really, these tough little pendant bezels will surprise you if you've never made them before.

junk jewelry

Ok - so the junk jewelry may be cheap to make BUT, I hear you yell, what about the embossing machine? That ain't so cheap!

Junk Jewellery

Yep - this little monster is expensive but if you can find it in your heart to rescue one from the shelves of an Amazon warehouse, you won't regret it.

Any embossing and die cutting system, such as this Big Shot by Sizzix is a brilliant piece of kit to have in your craft room because it is so versatile.

And it is the main tool used to produce these beautiful pendants.

But if you don't want one - or can't justify the splashing of cash - never fear! My next tutorial will show you how you can make beautiful embossed pendants without an embosser!

Sounds weird I know, but you will love the simple trick I am going to show you next time.

If you would like to look at a Big Shot, you can visit my Amazon shop by clicking here. I stock my online shop with the resources, tools and materials similar to, or the same as, I use in my tutorials.

And I try to recommend things I have used. As I have never used anything other than the Big Shot, that is what I have in my shop, however, there are other brands such as Cuttle Bug that you might want to look at.

You will also find embossing folders in my shop.

Meanwhile, if you have a Big Shot embossing machine (or any brand of embossing machine for that matter!) You are in for a junk jewelry treat.

You know those fancy embossing folders that seemed like such a good idea in the craft shop but you never used them? Get them out!

The more fiddly and fancy the embossing folder designs - the better for this junk jewellery project.


junk jewelry
junk jewelry
junk jewelry
A close up of one of the embossing folders I used.
Some of the pendants I made for the tutorial.
A close up on another embossing folder I used.

You may have noticed I have tiny little gold coloured findings on my junk jewelry pendants to thread the hanging material through.

Whether you are using a chain, leather or cord, you will need something to thread it through. These are called bails and you can easily make your own from wire.

Confession time - I was almost totally new to making my own bails!

So all the experienced wire workers out there will cringe when they see my bails made out of entirely the wrong gauge wire (I used 24 gauge and should have used something thicker like 18 or maybe 20 gauge).

I learned how to make these bails for my junk jewelry from a lovely crafter on YouTube, called Candice.

On the video I made, you do see me and my clumsy attempt at making bails very badly with the wrong wire and wrong pliers - but, you should still get the idea of how to make them.

However - I have put a link here to Candice's video so you can learn from someone who knows what they are doing!

Thank you Candice - I don't know if you are still on YouTube but your video really helped me learn something.

So that's it people - go watch my video over on YouTube and have a go at making some junk jewelry!

glazing paper beads

Glazing paper beads is one of the most important steps in making sure your paper beads are strong and water resistant.

Notice I say water resistant and not waterproof.Why would you want your beads to be waterproof?

Are you going to wear them in the shower or swimming pool? Hopefully not.

However, you may be wearing paper bead bracelets when you wash dishes or get caught in a rain shower and so having a water resistant glaze would be very helpful.

But making paper beads water resistant isn't the only reason to glaze them.

A good glaze also makes them super shiny and much stronger than if they are left unglazed.

So there are many good reasons to find out about glazing paper beads.

glazing paper beads


glazing paper beads

How do I go about glazing paper beads?

One of the questions I get asked the most is about glazing paper beads.

And I always tell people that I use various products, depending on what I have in my studio.

(You can see for yourself how I made some paper beads and then glazed them with Mod Podge Super Gloss Brilliant by going over to my YouTube channel.)


glazing paper beads

I was very pleased when Plaid, the company that makes Mod Podge sent me some of their products to try out because that means I can tell you about them as I use each one.

glazing paper beads

And by the way, if you have already made traditional paper beads and you want to have a go at making something slightly different to glaze, check out this blog post.

Whatever shape they are or whatever method you choose to make them, glazing paper beads is something that is worth spending time over if you want your paper  'jewels' to last.

The 'soaking a glazed paper bead in water test'!

The picture to the right shows two paper beads that I glazed with Mod Podge Super Gloss - Brilliant.

The bead on the right is as it was after the glaze was dry.

The one on the left had been soaked in water overnight for 14 hours after the glaze was dry.

glazing paper beads

It totally kept its shape, it did not come unravelled and when I air dried it for a couple of hours, it still had its glazed shine.

The only thing it appeared to lose was some of its rigidity. It also seemed to expand a little. Will update you if it shrinks after a few hours.

So I think it is safe to say, two coats of Mod Podge Super Gloss - Brilliant on your paper beads will keep them more than adequately water resistant.

Even one coat (which is what it is designed for) will be fine.

Recently, on my YouTube channel, someone asked me what I use when glazing paper beads for wearing ‘in all situations’.

My first thought was, would I wear paper bead jewellery in ‘all situations’? Do I wear any of my jewellery in all situations?

Apart from my wedding ring and the silver stud ear rings I wear in the winter months (because I have lost way too many dangling earrings caught on winter scarves!), I never keep any other jewellery on all the time.

I would guess most people take off their jewellery to shower, bath or swim, whatever it’s made of.

So I don’t think paper beads need to be waterproof - water resistant will be good enough for most people’s needs. That means you don’t have to expose your lungs to the horrible fumes that you get from oil based products when glazing paper beads.

And if you get the Glaze on your fingers, it will wash off without the harsh solvents that oil based varnishes need.

Why bother glazing paper beads at all?

Well, of course, you don't have to, BUT, they are paper and as such, they would eventually get damaged without some kind of protection.

My reasons for glazing paper beads is because it makes them more durable, more attractive, it makes colours pop more and as I said earlier, it makes them water resistant.

If you listen carefully, on my video, when I have glazed all the beads and let them dry, you can hear how much harder they are after glazing when I tip them from hand to hand. They sound like plastic beads and they become nice and shiny.

Although I don’t show it on the video, I did make my beads into a bracelet to give to someone who has been really kind to me since my dad died.

If you want to see the technique I used to string the beads, let me know in the comments section underneath the YouTube video that goes with this post.

And one last thing - maybe you can teach me something...

if you look at the picture below, you will see a close up of the knot I made in the stretchy thread I used to string the beads, you will see a blob of glue that I put on the knot to secure it.

(No, it's not some glistening snail like creature crawling out of a bead!)

What I want to know is, how do other people make more dainty, but secure knots in stretchy thread?

I find that the slippery rubber stretchy thread kind of resists staying knotted unless I glue it.

I would be really pleased if you could let me know by leaving a comment underneath the video over on YouTube.

And if anyone is wondering how I managed to get a close up of the teeny knot just using an iPhone...

I use this brilliant little macro lense that clips over the camera on my phone..

I’m so impressed with it that I have found a similar set to the clip-on lens set that I’ve got and put in my Amazon shops.

And if you are glazing paper beads of your own - you will also find the Mod Podge Super Gloss - Brilliant In My amazon shops along with other glazes that I recommend.

What are you waiting for? Get glazing paper beads today!

How to be creative is my first blog post and video since June.

I'm sorry I haven't been here for so long but my 92 year old dad fell ill in the summer and

my time was taken up with looking after him right up until he passed away a few weeks ago.

So I have been very busy with family commitments and now, with taking care of my mum.

But I'm getting back into the swing of working now so here I am with another project. So if you want to know how to be creative - stick with me!

how to be creative

In my latest YouTube video, I reconstruct how I created this 'painting' and  made a very similar image. Click here to see it.

How To Be Creative With Milk and Pixels is the follow on post from How To Create Abstract Art VERY Easily.

You don't have to read that post or watch the associated video first but I would highly recommend you do so that this one makes more sense. You can find the blog post and video link by clicking here.

How to be creative is a question that so many people ponder and as I have said many times in my posts, being creative is not as hard as some people think it is.

I remember very clearly when I didn't know how to be creative but longed to be

Digital technology has made it so easy to explore our own creativity in ways we could never have dreamed of before the invention of computers and their pixels.

This project is a little different to my other - ‘how to be creative' - ones where I use scrap cardboard and paper etc to make physical objects such as jewelery.

In the previous project, I used an actual physical process that utilised milk and food colouring to create fun abstract images that I captured with my camera before tipping the coloured  milk down the sink.

I am taking things a step further with this follow up project, to show you how to develop those 'paintings' I created in the previous video, using digital technology and software which, I realise not everyone may have.


But don't let that put you off reading the post and watching the video. Especially if you are longing to know how to be creative.

Once you see the potential of your computer as a tool for developing the fun abstract art you have created outside of the computer, you may want to think seriously about getting some photo editing software and exploring how you can use it way beyond editing photos, to make art, in the most obscure ways.

You can see in the images above, I improved the photo I took while I was sloshing around with milk and food colouring.

With just a couple of clicks in Photoshop I had cropped out the edge of the dish and enhanced the colors leaving me with a 'painting' that no one would ever guess was milk!

The image on the right also began life as a milk 'painting' in a dish. 

I created the base image using food colouring in milk, took a photo of it, downloaded it to my computer  and then used Photoshop to enhance it and add other elements using brushes (think of brushes as digital craft stamps that you can create to add designs to your milk painting.)

Images like these will never make it into the Royal Academy but, that is not what we are aiming for here, we are aiming for having fun and exploring possibilities without being 'good' at making art - don't ever forget that! I have seen many really awful paintings in prestigious art galleries that are only there because the artist has made a name for themselves. It doesn't matter what they produce, their admirers will lap it up.

They could sneeze paint onto a canvas and it would be applauded. They learned how to be creative and so can you, in your way. So don't get caught up in that art snob mindset or judge yourself harshly - just enjoy the process and use whatever means you need in order to express yourself.

How to be creative

Don't let the name PHOTOshop fool you into thinking this image editing software is purely about editing photos.

I created this image from scratch in Photoshop using brushes I created very easily myself.

This whole image is made using the gradient tool and three custom made brushes.

I mainly use it for creating arty images from scratch.

And you can do the same with Gimp without forking out for Photoshop if you don't want the outlay.

As I said earlier, when I say I used 'brushes' to add designs to my images (such as the tree branches in the image at the start of this post), I could just as easily call them digital craft stamps, but Photoshop calls them brushes.

Take the praying monk in the image above - I didn't draw him, I am not capable - but did my inability to draw or paint stop me from expressing my artistic idea of having a praying monk in my painting?

No, because I used my creativity to overcome the 'can't draw or paint'  barrier.

I used my camera to take a picture of a concrete garden ornament (the monk) sideways on and then I turned it into a digital stamp (known as a brush in Photoshop terms) and I can put this monk into any painting I make.

Now that I have the stamp (brush) saved in my Photoshop brushes palette, I can make it any size or colour I want.

Have I cheated? No, Have I been creative? Yes. Because creativity is about finding creative ways to express yourself. Creativity is not limited to be 'able' to paint or draw 'properly'.

The stamps (brushes) you see on the right are all individual brushes I have created myself to use in Photoshop.

I have stamped them in various colors all on the same document so you can see what I am talking about. I can make these brushes whatever size, colour or opacity I want to and I can overlay them on any photo I have taken of abstract art created with milk and food coloring (or paintings created in any way).

The reason I make my own brushes is because of copyright. For example - the tree brushes I used in the top image are not my design. I got them either free with a Photoshop magazine or from a free clip art website.

So if, for example, I wanted to make a greeting card to sell, even though these brushes were free, it doesn't mean I can use them on stuff I am selling.

So I like to create my own brushes to be safe from violating anyone's copyright.

Answering the question of how to be creative is about how you use all the tools at your disposal to overcome any barriers you may have to expressing yourself artistically.

And for many people, the biggest barrier is that feeling of not being able to paint or draw 'properly'. It's the same with any creative field. Take music for example, I can't play an instrument because I have never learned.

But with today's technology, I can make music by using software such as Garage Band. Ok, I may never be a Beethoven or a John Lennon but I can still dabble around and explore my musical creativity and learn how to make some very catchy digital music.

I may even get inspired to learn an actual instrument!

What I am saying is, if you want to create artistically but feel stuck at that stage of wanting but never doing, then you need to overcome that 'not good enough' mindset.

You need to just do something with some kind of medium to get yourself started on that journey of discovery.

And food colouring in milk is one of the best ways to get going because it is cheap to do and it is fun. But do read my previous blog post and watch the video to find out what else you need because there is a very simple 'secret' ingredient that you need to add for the real magic to happen.

Use these (in milk)... create this.

In my how to be creative video, you see me using Adobe Photoshop to develop my milk paintings further on the computer but, there is another, much less expensive option and even a free/very low cost option to consider.

If you don't have Adobe Photoshop and you don't want to pay for it (it is expensive) there are other options that you might like to explore.

There is the free, open source design software called Gimp. I have used this but don't currently have it on my Mac. I had it on an older Mac years ago and it was brilliant.

I had trouble downloading it this time so I  just ordered a Gimp DVD from Amazon for just over £7 and it arrived today. I will be able to keep you updated about using Gimp to create art from your milk paintings once I have installed it on my computer.

With Gimp you can create custom brushes to use in the way I have in my tree branch image.

And Gimp works pretty much the way Photoshop does.

You just need to experiment with it and learn by trial and error just how creative you can get.

You can find out about Gimp on their website 

There are  DVD copies of Gimp for Windows and Mac in my US and UK Amazon shops, but not sure how long they will be there or how good they are.

I'll let you know when I've tried mine out. shop - click here. shop  - click here

A less expensive alternative to the full version of Adobe Photoshop is Photoshop Elements which I also have in my shops.

But please bear in mind I have not used the newer versions of Elements and so I cannot say what they are like - do your research before you buy!

UK readers, please bear with me as I am only just now stocking my UK shop with the  products I have had in my US shop for some time - but it won't be long before you too can buy most of the products I use in my videos.

Hopefully, if you are a person who wants to be creative but does not know where to begin - you will be looking at what I have done and be thinking - I can do better than that!

I hope I have given you some idea of how to be creative when you think you're not.

Using milk and food colouring is a very inexpensive way to play with colour, as opposed to buying paints and canvases. It's very non-threatening too because when are creating swirls and cells, if you see images you love developing in the dish, you can take pictures to capture the designs forever.

But, whatever happens when you play, you will be tipping your art down the sink eventually and no one will ever see it unless you show them the pictures.

Of course, working on the images on computer, as I outline in the video, is a more expensive way making art and it won't be for everyone but if 'how to be creative' is something that burns away at your soul, then you'll probably be keen to explore all options - have fun and don't forget to watch the video!