DIY: The Dotted Piggy!

Hello!

Since discovering dot art back in 2019, I’ve felt like my journey with art in general is on another level. I absolutely love the feeling of creating something new and being at peace with the imperfections that come with it. After I finished with my Christmas projects, I wondered how long I would last until I had the itch again, and if you are wondering, it was only three months.

We have three chances a year to go up north to visit with my family, the first is around my nana’s birthday and I tried looking for little figurines or plush stuffed pigs on Amazon and Wal-Mart, and I just couldn’t find anything that stood out the most and I searched for a fairly long time and became frustrated that there were more things for guinea pig lovers than the pink ones… I don’t remember what pushed me into creating something for her, but once I had the thought, I just went crazy with the number of ideas to do with them.

I found this unfinished wooden cut out of a pig face on Wal-Mart’s website and I just thought the whole thing had enough sass to it that I knew everyone would love too. While I was went looking for the pig, I ended up finding a sea turtle design and thought it could be a great idea to do for my Aunt Laurie and Uncle Mike because they love beach themes, but my aunt really loves turtles too. I worked on the projects at the same time, but I will not be sharing my thoughts on it until the end of June, which is my aunt and uncle’s birthday month.


What you will need:

  • Canvas – you can use whatever you can find, whether it’s wood or ceramic.
  • Acrylic paint – I use DecoArt paints and the colors I used were pink, red, black, and white.
  • Dotting tools – you can purchase a set of tools online, but you could use anything in various sizes like a pencil, Q-Tip, toothpick, etc.
  • Paintbrushes – this is totally an option, as I only used it for the base coat and the tongue, but you can definitely dot these spaces or leave it out entirely.
  • Damp towel or baby wipes to was wash your hands/feet and anything else that has accidently paint on it…

Links:

Unfinished wooden pig (similar) | Dotting tools of various sizes | DecoArt Acrylic Paints: Black, Royal Fuchsia, and White


One of the main reasons I adored this pig was because of the outline around the ears, eyes, mouth and nose. I was worried that once I started doing the first layer of paint, they would disappear but for the most part, they stayed visible for me to do the black dots, but we are getting a heard of ourselves, so let’s rewind a bit.

The canvas itself was the perfect size, as it wasn’t too big or too small, one that even the big bad wolf would probably enjoy. I started off painting on the floor of my room and I went with a very light shade of pink; since I didn’t have the right color in my collection, I had to make it with my neon pink and white acrylic bottles. I put the pink in two slots in my palette and added the white as I heard (and tested it!) this worked better to blend and create the right hue of the paint and it covered the entire thing, but my thought process for the overall design was to add dimension between the cutout and dots. I actually went back and forth on the base coat because I thought it was too much but I’m very glad I decided to do it because it added an extra oomph to the whole thing!

The next day, I finally got started on how I gave her some personality, and again I was so sure how this part was going to turn out at first. I am still learning how to follow a line while making my dots. I made simple small designs for when I did the Christmas tree and Rudolph ornaments but since I only had to follow the slits of its features, I figured it would be easy enough for me, and thankfully it was and to make things even better for me, I used one of my smaller tools, they are really great with details, especially tiny ones and I have realized through doing this project, I am definitely confident creating each section. At first, I was going somewhat outside the lines so that I could still see everything but then as I went on, I managed to cover up most of them with the black paint.

I hadn’t even completed the mouth before I was falling in love with the overall result. The black really set a tone to the plain pink base coat and you could see we were both loving the magic coming to her. I tried to not get so confident that I would be taking risks and messing up the whole project, but I also couldn’t hide my excitement either!

Once I finished the outlines, I left it to dry for about a day. I gave myself time in between each layer so I wasn’t choosing over the comfort of my body and what I wanted else I could do to the pig. I was also in a brand-new position as I wasn’t on the floor anymore, I decided to use my new little table I got for Christmas, and I was really unsure how my body would react and definitely didn’t want to overdo anything either so once I started experiencing some pain in my lower back and eventually my knees, I knew I would need to stop at some point. Whenever this happens, of course I become upset with having to stop in the middle of a project but knowing my body’s limits is a very important. If I continued to push myself, I could possibly make mistakes and would be frustrated with myself about that as well.

When I went back to it, I was conflicted about how much I really wanted to use the dots. I really love the contrast between a regular painted section and a very populated dot area, and I knew it even before I did the ears of how cool that effect would be to the overall design. So, I decided to paint the tongue red. It would be another smaller part so as long as I didn’t go off my original idea. After I completed it, I went forward with doing a dotty inside of the mouth, and I am still not 100% happy with how it turned out, but I think adding the hot pink larger dots on the rest of the pig helped because the color contrast between the lighter pink of the background and a milder shade of the same paint really made it pop. Once I went around the chin with those big dots, I literally couldn’t contain my excitement for how cute she was becoming and I had to show her off quite a bit to my folks but also had to shield her away from my family–especially my nana, because she knows that anything pig worthy goes to her automatically! A part of me wanted to show her but I knew how important it was to reveal it face-to-face, so I kept a very big secret for at least a week and a half, which is impressive to my standards!

When I finally finished with everything, our plan was to glue or tape down a cute pink bow around its hairs, it had three little semi-sharp “hairs” poking out on the top of its head and decided to include some dots on them, in case we didn’t have time to put it on her, but in the end, it turned out we didn’t have a way of making sure it stuck there forever so I’m very glad I put dots around that section anyways!

As of right now, they haven’t found a way to put it up in my nana’s room. She has a big room, but she has a lot of decor, photos, and posters all over her walls, so finding the right placement for it is going to be a little bit tricky. While we were up there, I was even trying to find a spot for it and I had a difficult time with it, so good luck Mike!

I hope you enjoyed this “little” how to do post. The second post will be going out in June, so we have some time to find more projects in the meantime!

snowflake

Blogmas: Wooden + Dots Ornaments

Hello!

As you may have noticed, and I still don’t know what happened because I had plans, but we didn’t put out any pumpkins this fall. My sister did, she decorated her entire front porch with various sizes of pumpkins, but we did not. I found it very surreal, because that’s my favorite thing to do in September and October is paint pumpkins. After that, I think my body was like, “okay, we need to find an alternative fast!” because this project came out of nowhere, but it ended up becoming a new favorite of mine.

In mid-October, I started looking for birthday gifts that weren’t books (I know it’s shocking!) and I found these wooden shapes and I sort of fell in love with them and then I found ones that were Christmas related and then all hell broke loose in my brain!

In the last year and a half, I’ve been watching a lot of reels and regular videos on YouTube of dot art. I still don’t remember what inspired the find in general, but I’m forever glad it came into my life. I used it in my 3 projects last Christmas. It was only a simple red dot here and there with a Q-Tip but it was still a new thing for me and I loved it. I have been working on it throughout 2021 and I finally felt comfortable enough to use the technique in my new project: the Christmas ornaments!


What you will need for this DIY:

  • Wood cut outs – it’s important for them to be “unfinished”
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Dotting tools
  • Damp washcloth
  • Paint palette or paper plate(s)

Before we get too into this part of the post, I wanted to show you how the ornaments came in the mail.

They were perfectly stuffed into this cute Santa Claus box. I was originally going to get the 160 pieces but I’m glad I switched to the 40 pieces because I would still be painting right now! Anyways, they were four traditional Christmas characters: a snowflake, bell, tree and baubles. You get 10 in each stack, so you have multiple designs you’d like to trade off, you are welcome to do it evenly. If you would like to purchase this set or the others, click here for the Amazon page. You also get clusters of string for each of the ornaments, plus a small bag of metallic beads, but I did not use them.

Raining Dots

I started with the Christmas trees, and I copied the same color scheme I did with my last project, so I mixed my green with a tiny bit of blue and I love how they all came out. After finishing all 10 trees with their base coats, I moved on to the trunk and I poured a small amount of brown into my palette, and I used one layer of paint for that part. I am a lover of DecoArt acrylic paints, (thanks to Lydia May on YouTube!) I usually don’t need more than two coats depending on the shade, and I was very happy with my color choices this time around, including the yellow!

Once everyone was in the process of drying, I switched my attention on my design ideas for a few of my baubles. I knew I wanted to create a series of animals, but I’m not really good at it so I went looking on Pinterest and found a great step-by-step guide of the Fox for my friend Brittany. She was the one who really inspired this part in the first place. I continued to search for guides of the Cow and Pig, but I wasn’t able to find anything, so they were basically all free-foot sketches. After that, I stopped for the day, and came right back to it the next day.

A couple of weeks ago, I was finally able to add another selection of dotting tools. I have the smaller sizes, and I’ve been using them for about a year now and they are very nice for me to grip my toes around and make my dots, but the others are various sizes and I have been wanting to get them for a while now because I wanted to try my foot at the larger dots. I am having issues how to grip them, but I expected that to happen. I knew I wasn’t going to go all out with my designs (honestly, I had the phrase, “less is more” in my mind the whole time!) and I tried to keep it that way.

When I came back to my trees, I was ready to decorate everybody, and I used two colors: yellow and a light gray (I mixed my gray with a tiny bit of white!) and I painted the stars with those colors and would switch the yellow star with silver garland. I was smart with this; I drew out a zig-zag design on most of them and would follow the lines with my dotting tool and I really loved it! Some look like traditional Christmas trees, but there are five of them with the “walking technique” which is coating your desired tool with paint and dotting down the canvas, I love this so much I did it to my Bonsai pot in the spring! My parents saw the final tree with this design, and they love it. Honestly, everyone I’ve shared it to, has expressed the same thoughts too!

So, here are how the trees turned out.

There Goes Rudolph!

The second (or third) shape were the bells. I wasn’t impressed with the bells at all, they were very boring even without paint on them…

My thinking behind them was the golden bells you normally see on pictures, but I could not get the yellow to turn to a pretty gold and I tried like three different times and was only successful after finishing with them. I was so mad at that point, but I moved on though. Since I had 10 of these bells, I was influenced by a fragment of a carol “with silver bells ringing” I kept hearing while doing the base colors and I created the silver hue again for the rest of my bells and I thought they looked so adorable!

I left to dry overnight and I was really worried about how boring they looked, so that night I thought about adding a reindeer face on it and in my dreams they looked so cute and I was over the moon when I started sketching out how I wanted the antlers to go, but once I started doing my dots I got a little worried because the design started to look a little bit like a pair of balls and by my second bell, I became terrified at what was appearing but thankfully my mom thought they were great, especially after I put the eyes and big red nose at the end.

The reindeer/bells are definitely my favorite, even with the cock and balls antlers, they still look amazing! I did a good job on them and that’s something I rarely do when it comes to painting, is enjoy what I am creating, and lately it’s been so fulfilling to believe in my artwork for the first time.

Let It…

For the third ornament, we have snowflakes.

I think both the trees and snowflakes were the easiest to do because they required a small set of skill. You can free hand your designs to make things simple and they would still end up being very beautiful. When I began on the snowflakes though, I thought I would be able to play with my various sizes of tools, but I rarely got away from the blue tool, which is a little bit bigger than the purple tool. I basically treated the flakes like the trees when it came to their designs and used the walking technique quite a bit throughout the process.

And like the trees, I kept my color scheme pretty limited, I only used white for the base and used two different blues, but my favorite shade was the bright, neon like because it reminded me of the Frozen films. I’ll be honest, I had Queen Elsa and Princess Anna (and of course, Olaf too!) in my head all while I was working on these and I’m glad I did because it got me out of my head, and I allowed myself to make mistakes with them because I mean every snowflake is one of a kind so I just left them the way they were… well, some of them! There were 3 that definitely had to be fixed but after I was done, I basically pushed them as far away as possible, so I wasn’t able to add more dots!

The Cast of Characters

Lastly, the bauble balls were my least favorite because I knew what I wanted to do with a few of them and it scared the living daylights out of me! I got through in one piece thank God, but not without psyching myself out in the first round.

So, like I explained above while I was waiting for my trees to dry, I got started on figuring out what I wanted for three of my baubles, the rest was pretty much left until I did the base coats. I treated the baubles like the bells, as I split them up as they were painted in traditional Christmas colors: green and red. I was so worried the red would be too dark for my animal baubles, but thankfully they design held up great against the paint, and I was still able see every part.

My biggest worry now was, do I have a brush that was small enough to paint the character without creating a big mess around it, and I was thoroughly surprised as I found a tiny brush that was not only perfect for the designs, but it quickly became a favorite of mine because it allowed me to gain back some of the control as far as what I wanted to bring into each animal. I didn’t stop using my dotting tools though as I had made the eyes and noses with a small tool, and they turned out as adorable as my Rudolph/reindeers in the end.

When I was done with them, I was fairly tempted to leave the rest of the baubles plain, but I thought they looked too boring for that, and I started experimenting and I made array of different ones but I did one that spells the word “Woof” for a family friend, they have a Pittie and they recently got a Beagle puppy so as my mom told me, “it fits” for them, and then I surprised myself again but creating two baubles in a Ugly Christmas Sweater design and I’m still upset I did just do that with the rest but it was just a beautiful disaster that I need to remember for next Christmas!

Bring Me the Rainbow

My final bauble is very special because it is my nephew’s. Nolan has become obsessed with the moon and rainbows, and since I already got him a Moon phase garland for his room, I figured I needed to bring out his love for the rainbow too, so I reserved a bauble ornament for him. I don’t know why I didn’t do this with my nana’s ornament since she too is obsessed with the rainbow! Oh well, I will make a note of this for next year!

I was thrilled to do this for Nolan but I was also terrified too because I had to use the ruler to create a series of lines for each color, and honestly, this was a doozy! I was having a hard time making six, somewhat equal, lines for each dot and it was a hard task at first but once I got it all figured out, I poured out my paint on my palette and got to work on the actual dots.

This media has also become a favorite of my nephew too. He currently had two or three CDs I’ve made in the last year or so, the first one he just took home and the others I gave him because he kept holding onto them. I think in the new year, I will try to teach him how to do it so he can be excited about his own creations too! Anyways, I used my pink tool, which is the middle size and honestly, it was actually perfect for this design. I was going to use the tiny brush again to remove the empty spaces in between the dots but I stopped myself from doing it and messing the entire ornament up. Nolan was very excited to get his ornament. I don’t think he understood at first why I had given him a different design compared to his mommy’s pink reindeer, but I know he will cherish it nonetheless!

It is strange when a small thought that can appear in the middle of a sleepless night, can grow into such a huge project and yet bring so much good to a slice of the world. Homemade gifts are good for the soul. I give kudos to anyone who has a small business and fix up orders every day, because that is no small feat! As I told my nana the other day, now that I am done painting and the cards were shipped out and people are receiving their ornaments, I still feel like I need to be doing something, and I really hope it was finishing this post.

I really hope you have enjoyed reading my process with this project. It was fun while it lasted, and now I can relax for the rest of this break. If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a lovely time with your family, friends and/or pets. For anyone else, have a wonderful weekend!