August 31, 2015

Blueberry Tea Set

The birthday girl asked me if I would be willing and able to make her a birthday present.

She had her eye on a teapot set that was a special run, however it being very cost prohibitive to afford, we set about making something instead. She bought an Arzberg Teapot and two cup and saucer sets from Crate & Barrel along with some food safe porcelain paint markers and I set to work.

The design on the one she liked, as you can see, has faded out watercolor dots of colors, ranging from dark blue to a pale blue with a few hints of yellow and purple. The markers she was able to get did not really have these exact colors, so we took our inspiration from it and did our best.

I started with the cups to see how it might look since they would be easier to replace, should we not like how it turned out. Once the cups were done, I did the tea pot and lid. I call these the blueberry tea set since when they just had the blue dots, it kind of looked like blueberries to me. We used four colors: a dark blue, a dark purple, green, and yellow.

The markers were a little tricky to handle and of course the only blue marker we had had a leaky nib. I would draw down the dots of paint and then used a damp q-tip to blot the center and pull the paint back up while it was still wet. That helped get the faded center, dark outline look. I put down mostly blue dots and tried to pull up more paint from some dots than others to try to make it look like we had more than one blue color going on.
the blueberry stage. 
After that I laid the purple, then green and finally yellow. Each dot would be blotted to get the same sort of overlapped watercolor look. The green was a bit distracting and not at all the dark leafy sort of green we had hoped for. After it dried I went back over each green dot adding a layer of the blue paint over the top and blotting it to see if it could change the green into a color we liked better. It worked and actually gave us a lovely sort of teal color, which we liked a lot better.

The paint actually dried to the touch pretty quickly, but was able to be scraped off still in this state, so I was able to remove some dots and smudges that I did not like.
Finished painting!
Some of the markers simply said to air dry, while the other set we bought said to bake in the oven to set the colors. So after letting it air dry for about 4 hours, I set them on a cookie sheet and put them in the cold oven, setting it to 320 degrees Farenheit and putting the timer on for 30 minutes. It could then slowly warm them and set the paint. After that I carefully took them out and let them cool off.
finished and dried, before baking
Not sure the effect is quite the same as the one she had her eye on, but I really like how these came out. Now that she has all these paint markers, I kind of want to go out and get a bunch of blank cups to draw on. I have to think that others would love one of a kind cups for presents!
after baking. think the colors lightened a little. or maybe its the light... still cool.
Difficulty: Intemediate
Time to Complete: 5 hours of painting, 4 hours of drying, 30 min baking