Cheap Gesso-False Economy


Hi friends! Gesso has traditionally been a primer for raw canvas but recently with the popularity of mixed media it is being used a lot to create interesting textured effects in art journals and on canvas. You can see a variety of colors and textured gessos here at SimonSaysStamp and Blitsy (affiliate links in case you are in the mood to shop.) ūüôā Many years ago I got a great deal on a gallon of Pro-Art economy gesso, it worked well for priming raw canvas after stretching it. You see, it used to be WAY cheaper to buy stretcher bars and stretch your own canvas back then (it still is now if you are making odd or large size canvases) but now I often use smaller standard sizes that come primed so I don’t need the gallon of thin gesso. What I wanted is gobs of luscious thick gesso to use liberally on my mixed media projects. At first I thought of adding something to my gesso to thicken it such as plaster of Paris (I have used it before to make chalk paint) but I was afraid it would harden the entire batch. So I asked my friend Clive over at Clive5art who has an awesome DIY gesso recipe on his YouTube channel (tell him Lindsay The Frugal Crafter says “Hi!”) what he thought and he says he uses calcium carbonate and the only place I could find that was the health food store and it was more expensive than just buying good gesso. So, if I couldn’t add stuff to my gesso to thicken it maybe I could take some water away….see my results in today’s video!


Not bad huh? So my tip of the day is to buy thicker gesso and if you want it thinner to prime raw canvas then pour some in a cup and add up to 30% water to thin it and use that. You have more versatility in a product and more bang for your buck. Who wants to pay for water in their paint? I don’t. I hope you found this tip useful and if you have a favorite brand of gesso let us know in the comments below!¬† Or if you plan to make some homemade gesso let me know that too (especially if you know where to find cheap calcium carbonate in the USA. I have never tried DIY gesso because I could not make it for less than I could buy it and oh yeah, I had a gallon of the cheap stuff hanging around but I am really curious about it, please let me know how yours turns out if you make it! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Review of Sonnet Watercolors from Russia

Hi friends! I had a few readers ask me to review Sonnet watercolors. I had never heard of them so I did some research and found a seller on ETSY who had the Sonnet set of 24 full pans for $20 as well as metallic individual pans for $3.45 as well as White Knight watercolors for the same price. I was intrigued. I have some Yarka St. Petersburg watercolors and really like them and I heard-tell that the Yarka is the same as the White Knights watercolors (different names for European and American markets) and those are made from the same company (Nevskaya Palitra) as the Sonnets so I decided to give them a whirl.


See how the perform in my demo and review, please don’t judge the paints by the scary rose I painted at the end LOL!


First impressions:

  • Rich, vivid color, released immediately upon wetting, good flow
  • Great price $20 for 24 full pans
  • Most colors had high lightfast ratings

They held up well to my Yarka St. Petersburg colors (also Russian and I reckon from the same company as Sonnet and White Knits because “St Petersburg” is embossed on the bottom of the pans of both.)

I wonder if the Sonnet might be the student grade of the Yarka or White nights as they are much cheaper. Actually I am pretty sure this is true. ūüôā The texture of the paint is very uniform in the Sonnet where the Yarka paints had a bit more “character” between colors, some granulate and have unique qualities where as the Sonnets are more uniform. I really think the Sonnet paints are the student line of Yarka/White Knights but they are a darn good student line!

Really, for $20 you can’t beat it. They also have the individual full pans of White Knights (professional) for $3.45 which is less than the price half pans of western watercolors. I have not used the White Knights but supposedly¬†they are the same as Yarka St. Petersburg.¬†I found these paints from Etsy seller Pro Art Supplies and was not compensated for my review. I believe they are the American distributor of White Knights and Sonnet watercolors.


What do you think of these budget paints? Was the review helpful? Let me know in the comments below and if there is a product you would like to see me review let me know and I will try to make it happen. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

What makes me happy?

Hi friends! I just received the most awesome photo from a school teacher in California. As an after testing treat she let her students paint using the glass bottle tutorial from a couple of weeks ago. I have to say that Ms. Gulledge and the kids at Avocado Elementary School did a fantastic job! Wouldn’t you agree?



I love that she used art as a treat! Growing up in a small town we did not have a school art teacher, it was part of the job of our homeroom teachers to provide art class. Honestly, there was something nice about that because they would let us have a certain freedom with supplies because they were not caught up in the “right way” to do art. Don’t get me wrong, I am so thankful that my kids have an art teacher in school but wouldn’t it be lovely if any teacher could say, “Great job kids! We have some extra time, let’s dig out the cray-pas!” Rewarding kids with art-making is so beneficial and empowering¬†and I hope more teachers and parents give it a try!

Since Happiness is the theme of tonight’s post, and I get asked everyday how I stay so happy and positive all the time, I thought I would share a vlog on the subject.


Disclaimer: Please note that my opinions come from my experiences and from what I know to be true. I am not perfect, I am lazy sometimes and I am not always happy but this is what I have found keeps me positive and accountable. Also, I am not a therapist nor would I ever suggest that watching a 4 minute (or any length) video on you tube to be substitute for seeking professional help if you are feeling truly depressed or mentally unwell. I received a bit of anger and criticism from a couple viewers on YouTube from this vlog and I want to make it clear that I am NOT trying to dole out psychiatric advise, rather I am trying to inspire you to make the best of your day using  a method that works for me: being grateful for what I have and taking responsibility for the choices I make. Polite discussion is welcome in the comments:) For all of you who have the day off Monday (Memorial Day in the US and many bank holidays elsewhere in the world) have a great one, be safe and til next time happy crafting!

Stamp School: Postoids & Inchies (DIY Ephemera!)

Hi friends! I like to make my own embellishments for cards and scrapbook pages. I also like techniques that I can use my stash of stamps without using anything up. That is what I love about rubber stamps (as opposed to stickers and other embellishments) you can keep using them but you never use them up. Because of this it is important to collect really versatile rubber stamps, especially if you are a beginner. Here I am using several Rubber Stamp Tapestry set to make some postage stamp embellishments. Oh! Before I forget use the coupon POSTOID16 to get 20% off your peg stamps and peg stamp sets order of $10 or more at Rubber Stamp Tapestry through 6/5/16. (sets I used are linked below)


This technique is really useful for smaller stamps and sometimes those can be the most challenging to use because we have to be creative and build a whole design ourselves but working within the confines of a small “window” it becomes very fun and easy! So, grab your small stamps and let’s get started!


I like to make a bunch of these and save them for future use on cards and scrapbooks or swap them with other stampers.


1. Cut a mask (window) with as many rectangles as you like from cardstock or acetate.
2. Tape the mask to white cardstock and stamp in the opening.
3. Sponge or sweep ink over the mask to color the background.
4. Cut around with stamp edge scissors and pierce holes between the stamp squares.

I hope you try this fun technique, make sure to keep the masks you cut so you can make more in the future, I have been using mine for years! Don’t forget, get 20% off your peg stamps and peg stamp sets order of $10 or more using coupon code: POSTOID16 at our sponsor¬†Rubber Stamp Tapestry¬†but don’t wait, the 20% off coupon is only good through 6/5/16. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

LIVE Watercolor tutorial Today // Geraniums in Watercolor!

Hi friends! Today at 12:30pm Eastern Time I will have a live painting class and you can watch it here, or if you want to chat along you can watch it on YouTube.


We will be painting a bucket of geraniums with an American flag, here is the pattern. You can use a clear or white crayon to save the white of the paper on the forget-me-not flowers and stars or use masking fluid. If you use wax don’t transfer the stars to your watercolor paper or you will trap the pencil marks on the paper.


You can watch the live show or the replay in the player below BUT if you want to ask questions as we go you will need to watch it on YouTube.

Supplies from Sponsor Jerry’s Artarama:

I hope you can make it to this live painting class. There won’t be a live class next Friday because I am teaching at the Heirloom Productions Stamp Show in West Springfield MA and I still have a couple of spots open in the second class if you want to come! Thanks for stopping by and till next time happy crafting!

Quick and Easy Cookout Caddy!

Hi friends! Tis the season of weekend Bar-B-Ques so why not craft up some useful table decorations that double as organization!


Best of all you can customize the design for whatever type of party you are having! Watch the video to see how!

Supplies from our sponsor Papermart:
Bin boxes
American Flag Ribbon
Raffia Baskets

Instructions for DIY Spray ink

Tip! Stencil the bin box before assembling! I hope you have a safe and happy holiday weekend! Just a programming note we WILL have a live painting class tomorrow at 12:30pm Eastern Time. I will post all the info here tomorrow morning and on facebook so stay tuned! Til then Happy crafting!

Flash Giveaway! Heirloom Stamp Show Tickets!

Hi friends! If you are going to be in the West Springfield Massachusetts Area the weekend of June 4-5 and want to go to the Heirloom Productions Stamp Show & Paper Arts Festival leave a comment to win tickets good for admission Saturday and Sunday. The first 10 people to comment will get free tickets so please only comment if you can make it to the show so the tickets don’t go to waste:) This is first come,first served. Good luck and I hope to see you at the show!

Also I still have a couple of spots open in More Mixed Media Layer-by-Layer happening June 3rd from 3-5pm, more details on the Heirloom Productions website! Happy Crafting!

DCF 1.0
DCF 1.0

Steampunk Stamps Giveaway! (& a Stamp School Video!)

Hi friends! With Father’s Day right around the corner I thought I would make a card that would be suitable for that occasion AND give you a chance to win the stamps I used from Art Neko! Just leave a comment and I will draw a winner next Wednesday!


Watch the video for lots of fun techniques!


Today I am using stamps from our sponsor ArtNeko! *Save 10% off your next order of any size or get free shipping on orders over $50 (whichever discount is greater you get!) just by mentioning thefrugalcrafter!

Stamps Steampunk Fun (Art Neko) *Currently on sale, $5 off!
Pigment ink (black, gold)
Dye ink (Black)
Acrylic paint (black)
Gold embossing powder
Black cardstock
Washi Tape
Shipping tag
Pattern Paper
Charms (gears and filigree)
Heat tool

Follow the direction in the video to stamp in molten embossing powder to create an engraved look. Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win these fun stamps from Art Neko (don’t worry, if you already have them or decide to buy them while they are on sale you can pick some different stamps if you win:) ¬†Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

A Southwestern Landscape Watercolor Tutorial & an Unfortunate Bird

Hi friends! I had several people ask me to do a landscape this week so when I saw this gorgeous photo by Terry Dekker at Paint My Photo I had to paint it!


Watch the video to see how!

Now for a bit of brutal honesty, that bird in the tree, what was I thinking? LOL! Someone said it looked like a great horned owl and I thought about saying that’s what I meant to paint but I like to keep it real. And here is another truth nugget, after I finished this painting I did not let it sit like I said I would and should, I charged in there with some payne’s grey hoping to add some better values and interest. It did not go well, it was so bad, I will chopping that one up to turn into bookmarks. Huh, I have not had a painting I felt like chopping up in a long time, I am due LOL!

Speaking of birds, the one I mentioned in the video finally few out the window! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!