Stretch Your Own Canvas (Canvas Paintings)

Many artists are painters, using both; oil and acrylic paints with a preference for painting on canvas. Canvas is an age-old substrate used as a painting surface and is traditionally stretched and fastened onto a wooden frame.

This video shows you how to stretch canvas onto a wooden frame (I made the frame in an earlier video) using a very inexpensive, painter’s drop cloth canvas. I purchased a 4’ x 12’ section at Harbor Freight using a 20% off coupon and the cost worked out to about 14 cents per square foot.

Many professional artists prefer to stretch their own canvas, and that gives them the option to select the grade of canvas or other type of cloth covering (such as linen) they desire for the type of painting they have planned. I chose a very inexpensive canvas and it is a bit rougher than most canvas offered at art supply outlets, but such a texture can be compensated for with the type of treatment applied, and in some instances (such as abstract paintings) this type of surface may be desired.

Once the canvas has been stretched onto the frame, it still must be sealed and treated to accept either oil-based paints or acrylic (water based) paints. I’ll show you how I go about this in subsequent videos, and I’ll be using much cheaper, alternative materials to accomplish this.

Please feel free to ask questions or leave suggestions in the comment section. I would also ask that you subscribe to my YouTube channel, “Like” and share the video. This helps me provide more YouTube content, and won’t cost you a dime!

Giveaways: As I continue to build my YouTube channel, I periodically hold random drawing giveaways as I reach certain milestones for numbers of subscribers gained. If you are a subscriber, you don’t have to do anything, as you are automatically entered into the drawing. There are no purchases necessary.

Here’s the video:

Video on how to make your own wooden frame:

Make a Wood Frame for Canvas Paintings

Many artists are painters, using both; oil and acrylic paints with a preference for painting on canvas. Canvas is an age-old substrate used as a painting surface and is traditionally stretched and fastened onto a wooden frame.

This video shows you how to construct small to mid-sized wood frames and get them ready for canvas. There are a couple of “tricks” or considerations one must pay attention to, but they are addressed in this video.

Making wood frames is a great side business for home-based wood workers, especially if you live in an area nearby towns or areas considered to be “art colonies.” This is because many professional artists prefer to stretch their own canvas rather than buy the cheap, “ready-made” canvas from the big box art stores. Some artists do make their own frames too, but most prefer not to go that route if they are available from local wood workers for reasonable prices.

Frame “kits” with “some assembly required” are available from art supply stores but are usually quite expensive. The kits are offered in standard sizes, and local wood workers can custom build frames to any size an artist may need.

If you are just starting out as an artist and would like to see how canvas is stretched onto wood frames, I will have a subsequent video available shortly, covering the subject. I’ll also have a couple more videos available soon that will show you how to prepare the canvas for oil paints, and acrylic paints.

Here’s the video:

Make Your Own Dough Cutter

You can make your own dough cutter. I’ll show you how in the video below.

This is a great project to take on for making gifts. The fabrication process is relatively easy, and straight forward. Relatively speaking, this project is not very time consuming, and such a hand-crafted gift is much appreciated by the recipient. Dough cutters are an essential kitchen all bakers have a use for.

I would caution against any intention of making these to sell though, as stainless-steel dough cutters imported from China are available for around $3.00 each, depending where one shops. The materials cost alone are much higher than this if you decide to make your own. Of course, you can make a far superior product with better quality materials and craftsmanship, but this is lost on most of the customers you might encounter at craft shows.

The materials I used were: 20-gauge, #304 stainless steel (cut to 5” x 6”), ¼” stainless steel round bar (for rivets), hard maple scales (handles) ripped from ¾” stock, leaving two 5/16” strips while still rough. Beyond that, I used some MAS Rapid Cure epoxy, DAP Rapid Fuse glue, and some butcher block (mineral) oil.

I hope you enjoy this video, and please leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions. Let me know what you’d like to see in the future.

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Meet Gidget McMidget

Meet Gidget McMidget, aka – Gidget, Gidgy, Gidge, and sometimes; “the Gidginator.”

Gidget is our 2-1/2 year old “Schnorkie” (Part Mini Schnauzer and part Yorkie), and she has become world famous through my wife, Susan’s blog; with many followers.  Gidget is all of 8 pounds, and although she may be small in physical size, she has a heart at least 100 times as big as she is. She’s a real “snuggler,” and she’ very affectionate.

This video is a slideshow collection of everyone’s favorite photos of Gidget over the past couple of years. I hope you enjoy them.

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Beer Can Art How-To

Why settle for 5 cents when you return your empty beer or soda cans? You could possible earn a much greater return by using the thin aluminum material, harvested from the beer or soda can by embossing a picture or figure on the metal, framing it, and selling it on Etsy or a local craft show.


In this short video, you’ll see what I did as an example.

Make Your Own Large Rawhide Mallet

Inspired by Roy at Christ Centered Ironworks on Youtube, I decided to make my own large rawhide mallet to achieve better finish results on some of my steel work. At first, I thought I’d simply buy one. I was somewhat dismayed though, after searching online for large rawhide mallets and discovered there were few to choose from, and prices started at over $60.00 (U.S.) plus shipping.

I searched the internet for rawhide materials, and discovered they were certainly available, but at prices and quantities that were more than I wanted or needed. An idea occurred to me that I could possibly use one of those large rawhide “bones” for big dogs, found in pet stores. I figured there would be just enough material to make the mallet I wanted. All I had to do was soak it in water until it softened up and became pliable. The “bone” could then be untied and I could reform it into the shape of a mallet head.

This video shows you what I did and how I did it. This is a project that is easy to take on and does not require any specialized tools or equipment. You will see me using a wood lathe to make a handle, but you can buy handles at reasonable prices almost anywhere. You can even use a 1” or 1-1/4” diameter wood dowel for a handle if necessary. A little wood glue, and a couple of screws are the only other materials required to complete the project.

You may have noticed my branding iron if you’ve already watched the video. If you’re interested in making a similar type for yourself, here is the link to my video on how I made mine:

If you’d like to hear what Roy at Christ Centered Ironworks has to say about his rawhide mallet, here is a link to one of his videos on the subject:

Here’s the video on how to make your own large rawhide mallet:

Frame a Micro-Mini Canvas Painting

I finally finished my micro-mini painting masterpiece in acrylic on canvas (measuring 2” x 3”). I call it: “Tree.”

The job wasn’t completed in its entirety though. It needed to be framed. Traditional store-bought frames would not do, as this painting is on canvas, stretched over a wood frame. The canvas frame was at least 3/8” thick. In addition, I really didn’t want any glass over the canvas painting.

I decided to make an “open” style frame out of wood, and leave a ¼” space between the canvas and frame all the way around. In this video, I’ll show you what I did to accomplish the look I was going for.

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Here’s the video:

Make a Hybrid Linoleum Block Print

I made a linoleum block print, and I show you how I did it in the video. BUT – What makes it a “hybrid linoleum block print?”

Traditionally, linoleum block prints are made by using hand tools such as wood carving knives and gouges, much in the same way the “old school” wood cut block prints were made. I decided to try using my Dremel (rotary power carving) tool to make this linoleum block print, with the final touches made with traditional hand tools.

It’s probably been done before by others, but I’ve never seen it done this way anywhere, nor have I heard of it. I figured it was worth a try, and I did get positive results, however it was so easy to make big mistakes in the work, I felt a little stressed and I would prefer to use traditional hand cutting tools. I think it’s more relaxing and less stressful that way.

I also so experimented with the test prints. I made the first print using acrylic paint, the second using screen printing ink, and finally, I made one using block print ink (although the ink was very old – it was left over from art supplies that belonged to my wife’s late grandmother.

You might want to give this a try yourself, and see what you think of this method.

I do believe my results would have been better, had I used a press instead of simply rubbing the paper onto the block through a section of cardboard. I don’t presently have a press for block printing, but I do intend to design and build one. Most certainly, I’ll document the design and build process on video, and publish it to my Youtube channel in the near future. I’ll also provide free plans for the press on this Downeast Thunder Creations web site.

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Here’s the video:

Your Daily Dose of Cuteness

Yes, I know. I’m well aware this is not a how-to video, nor is it anything promotional about products I fabricate for sale. It’s all about our little eight pound bundle of joy, Gidget McMidget. Sorry, but I couldn’t resist!

This was not a planned video. You see, I was playing with the new GoPro Hero 5 action video camera I received for Christmas.

What better subject than our little sweetie, “Gidget McMidget?”

Gidget is a “Schnorkie” (half Mini-Schnauzer and half Yorkie). She weighs all of 8 pounds and is a couple of years old. In spite of her age, we still regard her as a “puppy.”

This is a short video clip, but it gave me an idea about starting a series of “Gidget” videos so all of you can grab your daily dose of “cuteness” whenever you need it!

I realize this is far from what I usually produce, but Gidget loves the camera, so here ya go! Comments are welcome – what would you like to see in the future?

Thanks for watching, and please subscribe to my Youtube channel, “like” the video, and share. This helps me provide more Youtube content.


Make a Wood Cut Block Print

Long before the invention of linoleum block printing, and using lead plates to make prints; wood cut block printing was the way in which duplicate prints of hand bills or artwork could be made. The best and most clear of wood cut block prints were made from dense hardwoods with tight, even grains. Pear wood seemed to be the most favored of wood species for this purpose, but others can be (and were) used.

In this video, I show you (and explain) the process of making an “olde tyme” wood cut block print, such that you can try making one yourself. I didn’t have pear wood, so I used a piece of what I think might be maple (salvaged from an old piece of furniture someone threw out). I chose an image of an owl perched on a branch as my subject to use as an example.

The process is simple: Draw or trace an image onto the wood, and then carve/pare away the wood you don’t want to show on your paper, and leave the wood you do want to be shown in the print.

Use of different wood species with large grain will show on your print, but this may be a desired effect in some circumstances.

If you like the video, please subscribe to my Youtube channel, “like,” and share. This helps me provide more Youtube content. Please feel free to leave any comments you may have in the comment section as well. Thanks for watching!