About Cindi McGee

I am a multi-published mixed-media artist, media spokesperson, educator, project and product designer and more. My style is diverse and ever-evolving and I enjoy experimenting with products and finding unexpected, creative ways to use them. My motto is “dare to be different” and I look forward to the opportunity to share creative ideas here with you!

Burlap and Denim American Flag Wreath

smoothfoam independence day wreath

Smoothfoam’s new ruled wreath forms make it easy to alternate various types of fabric strips, so the colors and textures are nice and even all the way around this DIY flag wreath. Come over to my blog to learn how to make a denim and burlap American flag wreath using burlap and denim scraps. Check out how I distressed the Smoothfoam star shapes, too!

 

Lake Life Sign

Smoothfoam Lake Life Sign

I’ve been looking at assorted “lake life” signs for the past few years in search of something for our cottage, but hadn’t found just the right one yet. Suddenly it came to me that Smoothfoam letters would be the perfect way for me to create my own. Its smooth surface is ideal for decorative painting, and it takes special finishes (like crackle) well, too – so you can get a rustic or weathered feel on your finished projects.

Materials:  

6” x 12” Smoothfoam sheet
Smoothfoam letters to spell “LAKE”
Acrylic paints – tan, white, dark green, foliage green, Hauser green, medium green, dark/navy blue,  light blue, dark brown, grey-tan
Crackle medium
Adhesive
Paintbrushes, emery board

Instructions: 

Paint the top and sides of the Smoothfoam sheet tan and let dry, then ppply a coat of crackle finish. Let dry.

painting smoothfoamPaint a lake scene as shown – with pine trees and a border of sand around the water.

paint a scene on smoothfoam

The top layer of your painted scene will crackle to reveal the tan base coat below, giving the finished piece an aged and weathered effect.

Sand down any rough or raised edges on each Smoothfoam letter with an emery board, then paint tan and let dry. Apply a coat of crackle finish and let dry.

paint smoothfoam letters

Paint white on top of each letter and allow it to crackle as it dries. Glue the letters to the background sheet. Paint the word “Life” beneath the Smoothfoam letters in white.

paint on smoothfoam sheet

I used an adhesive hook and loop fastener to hang my finished sign on the wall, but you could also add a ribbon hanger to the back.

lake life sign

Bird’s Nest Wreath with Eggs

Birds Nest Wreath with eggs

 

Nothing says spring like a bird’s nest wreath filled with cute little Smoothfoam eggs! Learn how to make this spring wreath craft below.

Materials:

14″ Smoothfoam wreath form
3 large Smoothfoam eggs
Craft paints – light blue, brown
Hot glue gun, paint brushes, toothbrush
Twigs/branches
Fine gauge wire

Instructions: 

Use the handle of a paintbrush to gently depress the raised seams on Smoothfoam eggs.  McGeeBirdsNestWreathHOW1

Paint eggs light blue and paint the wreath form brown. Let dry. Use a toothbrush to spatter painted eggs with brown and let dry again.

McGeeBirdsNestWreathHOW2

McGeeBirdsNestWreathHOW4

Bundle small groups of sticks and twigs with wire, then wire the individual bundles to the painted wreath base, overlapping each other. Begin laying longer branches across center opening of wreath, tucking ends beneath outer branches. Glue the eggs in the center of the nest.

McGeeBirdsNestWreathHOW3

 

St. Patrick’s Day Irish Blessing Plaque

smoothfoam irish blessing plaque

 

Materials:

Smoothfoam sheet
DecoArt® Americana Decor™ Chalky Finish Paints – New Life, Timeless
DecoArt® Americana Decor™ Crackle Medium
Sizzix® – Big Shot™ Machine
Sizzix Bigz Die – Butterfly, Flower, Leaf & Shamrock
JudiKins™ Color Sponge
Craft Attitude™ Printable Craft Film
Clearsnap® ColorBox Crafter’s® Ink – Evergreen
Paint brush, paper trimmer, patterned paper, glue stick
Sandpaper, large rubber stamp
Irish blessing subway art (downloadable)

Instructions:

Cut Smoothfoam sheet to desired size. If necessary, smooth rough edges with sand paper.

Press the rubber stamp’s pattern into the sheet (if needed, a hammer helps with this process). Use edge of stamp to distress edges/corners.

McGeeStPatricksSignHOW1

Paint the embossed sheet with Timeless (tan) chalky finish paint and let dry. Apply crackle medium and let dry. Then paint with New Life (green) chalky finish paint.

McGeeStPatrickSignHOW2

Resize the St. Patrick’s Day graphic to desired size  (5” x 7” on mine). Reverse the image before printing onto Craft Attitude film. Mount the film to the center of the painted sheet using clear-drying glue stick.

Use color sponge and Evergreen ink to alter the color of a sheet of patterned paper, then die-cut 6 shamrocks from it.

McGeeStPatrickSignHOW3

Arrange and glue shamrocks above and below text. Be sure to browse our blog for other St. Patrick’s Day crafts.

McGeeStPatrickSignHOW4

Valentine’s Day Door Decoration

Smoothfoam valentines day decoration

It’s almost time to decorate our front door again – for Valentine’s Day!  This year’s Valentine door hanger craft was inspired by the great dimensional letters made by Smoothfoam and an extra large wood tag shape. Together they make for a fun and unique way to decorate your front door and share the love!

Materials: 

Smoothfoam 4″ letters –  X’s and O’s
Unfinished Wood Co. large wood tag shape
Americana Décor Chalky Finish Paints – Romance, Innocence
Americana acrylic paint – White Wash
Colorbox Crafter’s Ink – Fire
ART-C Groove Tool
ART-C Adhesive Alphabet Stencils
Beacon 3-in-1 Adhesive
Rubber stamp
Paint brushes, pencil, scissors
Valentine patterned fabric

Instructions:

1.  Paint the wood tag with red chalky finish.  Let dry.

McGeeValentineDoorTagHow1-19

2.  Spell out “love rules” and “without rules” with self-adhesive stencils. If you prefer, use stencil your lettering on the wood directly. I am stencil-challenged, so I prefer to trace the letters as a template with a pencil, and then fill in with a paintbrush.

McGeeValentineDoorTagHow2-21 McGeeValentineDoorTagHow3-23

3.  Smoothfoam letters have small raised areas on them from the molding process, and sometimes the back edges of the lettering are a bit rigid. I like to smooth all those areas before I paint. An easy way to do this is with the ART-C Groove Tool and the sanding disc. You can see the difference in these two “O” letters.

McGeeValentineDoorTagHow4-15

McGeeValentineDoorTagHow5-17

4.  Paint letters with pink chalky finish. Let dry.

McGeeValentineDoorTagHow6-25

5.  Ink stamp with red pigment ink, stamp surface of painted letters and let dry.

McGeeValentineDoorTagHow7-29

6.  Cut a strip of fabric and tie it through the hole in the tag. Dovetail-cut the ends of the fabric strip.

7.  Glue the letters to the tag.

McGeeValentineDoorTagHow8-27

Faux Concrete Succulent Decoration

SFFauxConcreteSucculentPlanter

Christmas is over and now my mind is officially in THINK SPRING mode!! I am not a winter girl. I despise cold weather, snow, dark days…all of it. Even with the recent warmer-than-normal weather here in North Carolina, I’m already ready for some HOT sunshine and time on our porch and in my gardens. I decided to make myself a little faux concrete succulent planter to get me through until I can get into my real garden. Once spring finally arrives, it will move to my porch for display. Learn how to create this and other succulent crafts with Smoothfoam supplies.

Materials:

4″ Smoothfoam cube
Makin’s Clay – White
Makin’s Ultimate Clay Machine, Cutting Mat and Clay Tools
Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint – Relic
Tacky Glue
Pepper, spanish moss, jute twine
Craft knife, scissors
Faux succulent

 

Instructions:

Carefully use a craft knife to hollow out one side of the Smoothfoam cube, leaving about 1/2” on all sides.

McGeeFauxConcretePlanterHOW1

Thanks to Lisa Haney for planting the original seeds for this clay technique. She created faux stone with Makin’s Clay and pepper, and I took it a step further to create faux concrete!

Mix 120g of White Makin’s Clay with Relic Chalky Finish Paint until thoroughly mixed. The chalky finish paint has a drier overall feel and texture, so when mixed with the clay, the result really does feel a bit like concrete or terra cotta.

Add about 1 tbsp. of pepper. Mix thoroughly.

McGeeFauxSucculentPlanterHOW2

Roll in Ultimate Clay Machine, starting at setting #1 and stopping at setting #3 (or hand roll to about 1/8″ thick).

Use the Smoothfoam cube as a template and cut out squares of clay to cover cube.

Working on one side at a time, apply tacky glue over the entire surface of each side and place a clay square on top. Press gently to adhere. Move to next side, using fingers to join the sides at each corner, allowing the seams to be imperfect for a more “true concrete” effect. McGeeFauxSucculentPlanterHOW3

For the top, hollowed-out area, apply tacky glue around edges, then place clay square over, and use your fingers to gently press down in center and adhere the clay around the edge, with remaining clay down in hollowed out area. It does not matter if the clay doesn’t completely covered the hollowed-out area, as it will be covered by spanish moss and the succulent.

McGeeFauxSucculentPlanterHOW4

While the clay is still fresh, sprinkle pepper across each side and press in with your fingers to add texture. Gently brush away excess and repeat on all sides. Let dry for 24 hours.

McGeeFauxSucculentPlanterHOW5

Tie jute twine around the cube.  Add the spanish moss and faux succulent. Place the faux concrete succulent planter on your desk or windowsill and begin daydreaming about truly warmer days to come!

smoothfoam faux concrete cube

 

 

Snowman Door Hanger

smoothfoam Snowman Door Hanger

My sweet snowman door hanger is featured in this week’s episode of When Creativity Knocks. He’ll be greeting guests at my front door all winter long!

Materials:

16″ Smoothfoam disc (or any size you like)
Snow-Tex Medium
Acrylic paints – Light blue, medium blue, orange
Makin’s Clay – black, white
Clay carving tools
Fabric glue
Snowflake stamp
Fiber filling
Grey felt, yarn
Scissors, paintbrush

Instructions:

Apply Snow-Tex medium to front and sides of Smoothfoam disc. Let dry.

McGeeDoorSnowmanHOW1

Cut two half-circles (I adjusted my circles slightly to be more oblong for a taller hat) of grey felt the same width as the disc, and one strip of felt about 3” wide and the same width as the disc.

Paint-stamp snowflakes in alternating colors across the felt strip.

McGeeDoorSnowmanHOW2

Glue the two felt half-circles together on the round edges. When dry, add fiber fill to lightly stuff the hat.

McGeeDoorSnowmanHOW3

Create a pompom by wrapping yarn multiple times around your fingers. The more yarn, the fuller the pompom. Carefully remove it from your fingers and tie the yarn tightly in the center. Cut the loops open on each side, fluff it out and trim as needed to even it up all the way around.

McGeeSnowmanDoorHangerHOW4

Glue the pompom to the top of the hat, then glue the hat around the top of the disc. Glue the stamped strip across the front of the snowman’s head for the hatband.

McGeeDoorSnowmanHOW5

Blend some orange paint into some white air-dry clay to make a carrot shape for the nose. Use a clay tool to add lines and texture to the carrot. Make little, irregular balls of black clay for the eyes and mouth. Flatten each ball slightly and glue into place after the clay has dried for 24 hours.

McGeeDoorSnowmanHOW6

Vintage-Style Christmas Alphabet Blocks

NOEL Vintage Santa Smoothfoam Blocks

 

These vintage-style Christmas alphabet blocks are a great way to repurpose Smoothfoam cubes that may be slightly damaged – the little dents and dings just add to the vintage feel.

Materials:

Four 4”  Smoothfoam cubes
DecoArt Metallic Lustre – Gold Rush
Americana Décor Chalky Finish Paints – Rouge, Enchanted, Timeless
Americana Décor Creme Wax – Golden Brown
Heavy-duty craft glue
Pencil, paint brushes, tape measure

Instructions: 

Paint the Smoothfoam cubes with Timeless Chalky Finish paint. Let dry.

To create the effect of wood alphabet blocks with a ridged edge, use the bottom of a tape measure or other solid rectangular item, to press into the center of each side of the cube, about 1/2” from each edge.

paint and distress Smoothfoam cubes

To distress the blocks, apply Creme Wax with paper towel, then remove most of it while still wet.

distress smoothfoam cubes

Trace or draw letters in pencil on each block to spell out NOEL.

Paint the N and E blocks with Rouge; paint the O and L blocks with Enchanted. Let dry.

McGeeVintageSantaBlocksHOW3

Print out nine vintage Santa images to fit within a 3″ square.

Glue the Santa images to the top, left and right sides of the N block, as well as the left and right sides of the O, E and L blocks.

On the blocks with red letters, paint a fine line around each vintage Santa image with green. On the blocks with green letters, do the same in red and let dry.

Use your fingertip to smudge Metallic Lustre on all sides of each cube, around the raised edges.

distress vintage christmas blocks

 

Hand-Carved Faux Wood Bowl

 

smoothfoam carved faux wood bowl

Get the look of a rustic, hand-carved wood bowl for an autumn tabletop display with  Smoothfoam and Chalky Finish paint. Faux hand-carved wooden bowls make great table centerpieces.

Materials:

Smoothfoam half-ball
Hot wire tool or craft knife
Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint – Heritage                                                                   Americana Decor Creme Wax – Deep Brown
Paintbrush
Paper towels

Instructions

If using a hot wire tool to cut the Smoothfoam, be sure you are in a well-ventilated area.

Place the half-ball upside down and carve away a bit of the base to make it flat so it will sit well on table as a bowl. I purposely cut it irregularly, as I was trying to recreate a carved wood effect.

Flip the bowl over, then remove larger random chunks and slices from around the edge of bowl to give it a hand-carved look. Use different tools or styluses to add dents, grooves, and other marks all over the surface.

carve smoothfoam bowl

Paint the bowl with Heritage Chalky Finish paint and let dry. Apply the Creme Wax with a paper towel, removing immediately after applying, to just tint the paint and darken the carved areas.

paint smoothfoam bowl

Fill your DIY wooden bowl with fruit, acorns, pinecones or other autumn elements for a rustic tabletop display.