About Carmen Flores Tanis

Carmen Flores Tanis is a mixed media artist, crafter and designer who loves to make things! She specializes in combining humble materials in unusual and unexpected ways. A Designer Member of the Craft and Hobby Association, Carmen has on online craft supply store and teaches craft classes regularly in Southern California. Her secret to crafting happiness is "patience, practice and power tools."

Carved Cheshire Cat Wallhanging

Smoothfoam carved cheshire cat wallhanging

 

I absolutely love this conversation between Alice and the Cheshire Cat from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland – the original cat was illustrated for the book by John Tenniel.

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat. “We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

And wouldn’t this mad Cheshire Cat make a great wallhanging in your entryway? Your guests would know that they were in for some fun! This carving is actually pretty easy to make using a minimum of supplies. Don’t be scared by the artwork; because this is such a simple image made up of little white lines, everyone will easily be able to recognize the Cheshire Cat, no matter what your drawing skills!

Supplies:
12″ Smoothfoam Scrapbook Mount sheet
Sulky Stick’n Carve Printable Transfer sheets
Acrylic paint – chalkboard black
Proxxon Tabletop Hot Wire Cutter
Hot Wire Foam Factory Hot Knife and Engraving Tool
Paint pens – white, orange
Picture-hanging hook
Scissors

1.  Click here to download* my artwork. Because the design is too large to fit on a single sheet of Sulky, I tiled it on two pages. Print the artwork on to the Sulky Stick’n Carve Printable Transfer Sheets. Peel off the backing release paper and apply the Sulky sheet pieces to the Smoothfoam sheet, overlapping to make one continuous design. Trim off the excess transfer sheet.

Smoothfoam-were-all-mad-step-12.  Carefully carve out the Smoothfoam sheet with the tabletop hot wire cutter.

Smoothfoam-were-all-mad-step-2

3.  Use the Engraving Tool to carve the wording and other details into the foam. Be sure to carve the eyes, nose, ears and mouth of the Cat. This will make the painting much easier later. Peel off the transfer sheets when finished.

Smoothfoam-were-all-mad-step-3

4. Paint the foam black. Let dry.

Smoothfoam-were-all-mad-step-4

5.  Add details with the paint pens as shown.

Smoothfoam-were-all-mad-step-6

6.  Refer to the printed image of the Cat on the Sulky sheet and draw lots of little white lines with the white paint pen. After a few minutes of drawing, the cat  magically appear!

Smoothfoam-were-all-mad-step-5

7.  Glue a picture hanging hook to the back or display on an easel. Enjoy!

* Copyright:  You are welcome to use my original artwork only for your own use or for a gift/donation. You may not use my designs for items intended for resale.

Carved Butterfly Wallhanging

Smoothfoam Carved Fanciful Butterfly Wall Hangings by Carmen Flores Tanis Main

If this project looks familiar, it’s because I explained how to make one single butterfly in a post back in September here. I love that butterfly and have had it brightening up an empty corner of my bathroom. And what’s better than one butterfly? A whole group of them! By changing up the colors and varying the text on each one, I now have a fun butterfly wall that will bring the springtime indoors.

Supplies:
12″ Smoothfoam Scrapbook Mount – one per butterfly
Sulky Stick’n Carve Printable Transfer sheets
Acrylic paints – black, light blue, medium blue, dark blue, metallic blue, lime green, metallic green
Proxxon Tabletop Hot Wire Cutter
Hot Wire Foam Factory Hot Knife and Engraving Tool
Paint pens – white, black
Silver 12-gauge wire
Wire cutters
White glue, paintbrush
Picture-hanging hook
Pencil

1. You can find complete directions and a link to download* my butterfly design here to make the first butterfly here.

2. Cut out two additional butterflies using the same directions as for the first butterfly. Remove the Sulky transfer sheets from each one. With a pencil, lightly draw a banner and the words of your choice on the two butterflies.

Smoothfoam Carved Fanciful Butterfly Wall Hangings by Carmen Flores Tanis Cut Outs 3. Use the engraving tool to carve the wording into the foam.
Smoothfoam Carved Fanciful Butterfly Wall Hangings by Carmen Flores Tanis Emboss

4. Paint the butterflies black. Let dry.

5. Dip the paintbrush into the medium blue, then wipe most of the paint off onto a paper towel and “dry brush” the blue on top of the black. Set aside to dry. Repeat for the second butterfly using lime green paint. Let dry.

6.  Paint the banner area on the blue butterfly with a few coats of blue metallic paint. Do the same on the green butterfly using the metallic green paint.

Smoothfoam Carved Fanciful Butterfly Wall Hangings by Carmen Flores Tanis Paint

6.  Add details with the paint pens as shown.

7.  To form the antennae on each butterfly, cut two pieces of wire to 5″ long. Twist one wire into a loose spiral and insert it into the top of the butterfly. Secure with a drop of white glue. Repeat for the second wire.

8.  Glue a picture hanging hook to the back of each butterfly.

* Copyright:  You are welcome to use my original artwork only for your own use or for a gift/donation. You may not use my designs for items intended for resale.

St. Patrick’s Day Lucky Shamrock Sign

carved smoothfoam st patricks day sign

Everyone can always use a little extra luck, right? Well, here’s a fun tabletop decoration perfect for a Saint Patrick’s Day party, or as a cute gift for someone who just hit the jackpot. I used a hot engraving tool to add detailing to each letter, reminiscent of Celtic knots, and then outlined the word with a black paint pen to make everything pop. And although a four-leaf clover is the traditional symbol for good luck, I decided to add a little luck of the Irish with a three leaf shamrock instead. Hmm – I might just try my luck tomorrow and buy a lotto ticket!

Supplies:

2” x 4” x 12″ Smoothfoam block
Sulky Stick’n Carve Printable Transfer sheet
Proxxon Tabletop Hot Wire Cutter
Hot Wire Foam Factory Hot Knife and Engraving Tool
Acrylic paints – gold, dark green
Glitter – light green, dark green
Black paint pen
Paint brush / plastic dish
Scissors

Instructions:

1.  Click here to download my “Lucky Shamrock” artwork* and print it onto the Sulky transfer sheet. Because it is too long to fit onto one sheet, it’s tiled into two sections. Cut the sheet in half between the two lines of text. Peel off the backing paper and press the two pieces together to fit on the Smoothfoam block. Trim off the excess transfer sheet. Poke pilot holes with the hot knife into each area of the block that will be cut out.

Smoothfoam-Carved-Lucky-Shamrock-Decoration-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis-Step-1

2.  Carefully carve out the Smoothfoam block with the tabletop hot wire cutter. Unthread and re-insert the wire into each pilot hole to make each interior cut.

Smoothfoam-Carved-Lucky-Shamrock-Decoration-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis-Step-2

3.  Add details to the carving with the engraving tool as shown. Peel off the transfer sheet when finished.

Smoothfoam-Carved-Lucky-Shamrock-Decoration-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis-Step-3

4.  Paint the carving gold. Let dry.

Smoothfoam-Carved-Lucky-Shamrock-Decoration-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis-Step-4

5. Paint the shamrock green. While the paint is still wet, sprinkle with dark green glitter. Add a little more green paint to the center of the shamrock and sprinkle with light green glitter. Tap the carving to remove any excess glitter. Let dry.

Smoothfoam-Carved-Lucky-Shamrock-Decoration-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis-Step-5

6. Outline the carved letters with black paint pen.

* You are welcome to use my original artwork for your own use or for a gift/donation only. You may not use my designs for items intended for resale – that is a copyright infringement. Thank you!

Home is where the heart is

Smoothfoam-Carved-Home-Decoration by Carmen Flores TanisQuotes, words and letters are popular right now and it’s so easy to carve your own favorite word out of a block of Smoothfoam. I had been playing with the idea of a carving a little house, but I wanted to try something totally out of my usual color choices. I used a chalky -inish blue paint on the carving and was delighted to find that fabric markers worked well on the matte surface. This is a fun project that can be easily adapted to your own particular colors or your special word or name.

Supplies:

2” x 4” x 12″ Smoothfoam block
Sulky Stick’n Carve Printable Transfer sheet
Proxxon Tabletop Hot Wire Cutter
Hot Wire Foam Factory Hot Knife and Engraving Tool
Acrylic paints – Chalky finish baby blue
Fabric markers
Paint brush

Instructions:

1.  Click here to download my “Home” artwork* and print it onto the Sulky transfer sheet. Trim off the excess transfer sheet. Peel off the backing paper and press it onto the Smoothfoam block. Poke pilot holes with the hot knife into the interiors of the letters.

Smoothfoam-Carved-Home-Decoration-Step-1

2.  Carefully carve out the Smoothfoam block with the tabletop hot wire cutter. Unthread and re-insert the wire into each pilot hole to make each interior cut.

Smoothfoam-Carved-Home-Decoration-Step-2 3.  Add details to the carving with the engraving tool. Peel off the transfer sheet when finished.

4.  Paint the carving chalky baby blue. Let dry.

Smoothfoam-Carved-Home-Decoration-Step-3

5.  Add details with the fabric markers as shown.

Smoothfoam-Carved-Home-Decoration-Step-4

* You are welcome to use my original artwork for your own use or for a gift/donation only. You may not use my designs for items intended for resale – that is a copyright infringement. Thank you!

Carved Sweetheart Valentine

Smoothfoam-Carved-Sweetheart-Valentine-Carmen Flores Tanis

Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it – so here’s a fun, easy way to make a giant Valentine’s heart for your sweetie. I used pink and gold, but you can change the colors to any other color combination. If you’re not quite to the “madly” stage with your honey, you can change the wording in the center to a phrase such as “You’re Sweet” or “Be Mine” – just like everyone’s favorite candy conversation hearts!

Supplies:
12″ Smoothfoam Scrapbook Mount
Acrylic paints – gold, pink, champagne
Proxxon Tabletop Hot Wire Cutter
Hot Wire Foam Factory Engraving Tool
White glue, paintbrush, plastic dish, scissors, pencil
Picture-hanging hook

1.  Click here to download my heart design*. Because the pattern is so wide, you will have to print it on two pages, then cut and tile them together. Trace the hearts onto the Smoothfoam sheet with a pencil.

2.  Carefully carve out the Smoothfoam sheet with the tabletop hot wire cutter.

Smoothfoam-Carved-Sweetheart-Valentine-Step-2 by Carmen Flores Tanis

3.  Glue the smaller heart onto the larger heart. Let dry.

4.  Use the handheld hot wire tool to engrave the details into the foam as shown.

Smoothfoam-Carved-Sweetheart-Valentine-Step-5-by Carmen Flores Tanis

5.  Paint the front and back of the heart in champagne and let dry. Paint the alternating stripes and edges gold, and paint the center heart pink. Brush gold paint inside the wording to make the letters pop.

Smoothfoam-Carved-Sweetheart-Valentine-Step-6 by Carmen Flores Tanis

6.  Glue a picture hanging hook to the back or display on an easel.

* Copyright:  You are welcome to use my original artwork only for your own use or for a gift/donation. You may not use my designs for items intended for resale.

Carved and Painted Holiday Ball

Smoothfoam-Carved-Holiday-Ball-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis_Main

Here’s a fun and modern way to invite the holiday season into your home. I carved the words “JOY TO THE WORLD” around a Smoothfoam ball and then painted it with metallic paints. I used a 6″ ball, but you can use a larger size and make a really dramatic centerpiece. I love this piece so much that I think that I just might leave it on display year round!

Supplies:
6” Smoothfoam ball
Heat carving tool
Metallic paints – silver, dark silver, blue, green, gold
Silver paint pen
Clear acrylic sealer
2″ blue painter’s tape
Sanding stick or sandpaper
Paint brushes, plastic dish, pencil
Short can or small bowl to use as a stand

Instructions:
1. Sand the seam of the Smoothfoam ball as needed to smooth out. Wipe away the dust with a damp paper towel.  TIP: Place the ball on top of a roll of masking tape to keep it steady while you work.

Smoothfoam-Carved-Holiday-Ball-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis_step-1

2. Wrap a strip of blue painter’s tape around the center of the ball being careful to align it to the seam line. This will help you to draw a nice even stripe around the ball.

Smoothfoam-Carved-Holiday-Ball-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis_step-2

3. Trace the edges of the tape with a pencil. Draw a second line 1/4″ outside each of the two drawn lines to make a nice border. Remove the tape. Write the words “Joy to the World” in the wide area in between the lines. You can use stencils too if you prefer.

Smoothfoam-Carved-Holiday-Ball-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis_step-3

4.  Use the heat carving tool to engrave the wording and other details as shown into the foam.

Smoothfoam-Carved-Holiday-Ball-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis_step-4

5.  Paint the ball with silver paint. Let dry.

Smoothfoam-Carved-Holiday-Ball-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis_step-5

6. Continue painting the ball as shown adding the blue and green paint. Let dry. Smoothfoam-Carved-Holiday-Ball-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis_step-6

7. Working in sections, brush on dark silver metallic paint and then quickly wipe it away with a paper towel. Paint will remain in the crevices and give you a nice antiqued effect. Brush each of the letters with dark silver paint.

8. Brush gold paint onto the narrow stripes and the star. Scribble on each letter with the silver paint pen to add additional detailing.

Smoothfoam-Carved-Holiday-Ball-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis_step-7

9. Brush on  a coat of clear acrylic sealer for shine and protection. Let dry.

10. Display the ball by placing it on the short can or small bowl.

Vintage-Inspired Halloween Pumpkins

smoothfoam carved pumpkin decoration

There is just something about vintage halloween decorations that makes me so happy. One can’t but help smile at the sight of flying witches, scaredy cats and grinning pumpkins all printed in orange in black on old costume boxes and metal noisemakers. Thus inspired, I had fun coming up with this cute design of three jolly pumpkins all ready to brighten up a Halloween table!

Supplies:
2” x 4” x 12″ Smoothfoam block
6″ Smoothfoam disc
Sulky Stick’n Carve Printable Transfer sheets
Proxxon table top Hot Wire Cutter Thermocut 115/E
Handheld Hot Wire Cutter Thermocut 12/E
Dimensional paints – black, crystal
Acrylic paints – black, bright orange
Paint pens – white, orange
White glue, paintbrush, scissors

  1.  Click here to download* my pumpkin trio design. Print the pumpkins onto a Sulky transfer sheet. Peel off the backing release paper and apply the adhesive sheet to the Smoothfoam block. Trim off the excess transfer sheet.

Smoothfoam-Carved-Pumpking-Trio-Step-1

2.  Carefully carve out the Smoothfoam block with the table top hot wire cutter.

Smoothfoam-Carved-Pumpking-Trio-Step-2

3.  Use the handheld hot wire tool to carve the outlines and other details into the foam. Peel off the transfer sheets when finished.

Smoothfoam-Carved-Pumpking-Trio-Step-3

4.  Paint the foam block black. Let dry.

5.  Outline the pumpkins with white paint pen. Color each pumpkin with bright orange paint. Add sparkle to each eye with a drop of crystal dimensional paint. Scribble the dimensional paint on the back of the block to add texture. Let dry.

6.  Paint the Smoothfoam disc black. Let dry. Add details to the side with the white paint pen as shown. Draw a simple spider web on the top of the disc with black dimensional paint. Let dry.

7.  Glue the pumpkin stack onto the painted disc. Let dry.

* Copyright:  You are welcome to use my original artwork only for your own use or for a gift/donation. You may not use my designs for items intended for resale.

Carved Inspirational Butterfly Wall Art

Smootfoam-Carved-Butterfly-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis-mainThis DIY butterfly wall art makes a charming reminder to try new and daring things. Its simple shape makes it the perfect beginner project for carving Smoothfoam. And it is easy to personalize by adding your favorite quote or loved one’s name. You’ll want to make lots of these!

Supplies:
12″ Smoothfoam Scrapbook Mount
Sulky Stick’n Carve Printable Transfer sheets
Acrylic paints – black, light blue, medium blue, dark blue, metallic blue
Hot Wire Foam Factory Hot Knife & Mini-Scroll Table & Engraving Tool
Paint pens – white, black
Silver 12-gauge wire
Wire cutters
White glue, paintbrush
Picture-hanging hook

1.  Click here to download* my butterfly design.  Because it’s too large to fit on a single sheet of Sulky Stick’n Carve, I tiled it on two sheets. Print the butterfly and peel off the backing release paper, then apply the Sulky pieces to the Smoothfoam sheet, overlapping to make one continuous design. Trim off the excess transfer sheet.Smootfoam-Carved-Butterfly-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis-1

2.  Carefully carve out the Smoothfoam sheet with the Mini-Scroll Table.

Smootfoam-Carved-Butterfly-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis-2

3.  Use the Engraving Tool to carve the wording and other details into the foam. Peel off the transfer sheets when finished.

4. Paint the butterfly black. Let dry.

Smootfoam-Carved-Butterfly-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis-3

5.  Dip the paintbrush into the dark blue, then wipe most of the paint off onto a paper towel and “dry brush” the blue on top of the black. Set aside to dry. Repeat with the medium blue and light blue paints, letting dry in between coats.

Smootfoam-Carved-Butterfly-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis-4

6.  Paint the banner area with a few coats of blue metallic paint.

Smootfoam-Carved-Butterfly-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis-5

6.  Add details with the paint pens as shown.

7.  To form the antennae, cut two pieces of wire to 5″ long. Twist one wire into a loose spiral and insert it into the top of the butterfly. Secure with a drop of white glue. Repeat for the second wire.

8.  Glue a picture hanging hook to the back or display on an easel.

* Copyright:  You are welcome to use my original artwork only for your own use or for a gift/donation. You may not use my designs for items intended for resale.

Painted globe – Fly me to the moon!

Smoothfoam-Painted-globe

I’ve been seeing a lot of painted globes lately – some decorated with lovely quotes, others with pretty designs. The light went on in my head when I realized that I could make my own globe with a Smoothfoam ball! My globe has two twists – it’s a look at the skies with doodles inspired by Wile E. Coyote’s crazy diagrams from the Roadrunner cartoons. This is a super easy project that combines a simple etched glass vase as a display. As a final touch, you can personalize it with a name or special quote for your favorite space buff…to the moon!

Materials:

8″ Smoothfoam ball (comes in two halves)
Black chalkboard paint
Clear acrylic sealer
Paint pens – white, yellow
Plain glass vase
etchall® Etching Crème
Craft glue
Orange oil cleaner
Sandpaper, aluminum foil
Paint brush, plastic gloves, cookie tray

Instructions:

1.  Glue the two halves of the Smoothfoam ball together and let dry.

2.  Sand the seam of the Smoothfoam ball as needed to smooth out. Wipe away the dust with a damp paper towel.

3.  Paint the ball with black chalkboard paint. TIP: Place the ball on top of a roll of masking tape to keep it steady while you paint. Let dry.

4.  Doodle all over the painted ball with the white paint pen. Think rockets, astronauts, satellites and martians!

Astronauts-and-Rockets doodles

5.  Seal the painted ball with a coat of acrylic sealer. Let dry and set aside.

6.  Doodle all over a clean, glass vase with the yellow paint pen. The paint will act as a mask with the glass etching creme. You can use any color – I just find the yellow easier to see. Let it dry for 20 minutes.

doodles on glass vase

7.  Place the vase on a tray, put on your plastic gloves and brush a thick coat of etching creme all over the vase. Let it sit 15 minutes. Read the jar for specific directions and precautions.etchall etching creme on glass vase

8.  Use the brush to wipe excess etching creme off the vase and put it back into the bottle – it’s reusable! Rinse the vase under running water to clean.

9.  Wipe the doodles off the vase with orange oil cleaner, then wash with soapy water and pat dry.

10.  Crumple up some aluminum foil and put it inside the etched vase for an added bit of shine.crumpled foil in etched glass vase

11.  Place the painted Smoothfoam ball on top of the etched vase to display. Enjoy!

smoothfoam painted globe