Tag Archives: artistic home construction

How to Make a Painting Pouch


Make your own painting pouches for presentations, transportation, or just for storing the frames you got on sale (the ones for those paintings you haven’t yet finished).

I happen to have fabric remnants because I made market bags (like this), once upon a time.  But you can repurpose old drapes, Red.Indianuse an old quilt–if you have one you don’t mind cutting–or recycle a clean but beat-up canvas drop-cloth.

I had fabric remnants, and also some leftover, thick foam underlayment (the padding used under pool liners), and used it for all but one of the painting pouches shown above.  The foam-less one is the pink-flamingo-on-black pouch in front, on the floor in the photo.  It was made with a quilted lining instead, which makes it more washable but also more difficult to slide a framed painting inside.

The foam interfacing I use here isn’t necessary, but it does add a level of protection and this is a way to repurpose it.  (Do you know somebody who installs pools?)  You’ll want good, heavy fabric like cotton duck, if you eliminate the foam interfacing.

Measure your painting side-to-side, and add the depth of both sides;  do the same for the top and bottom.  Add a couple inches (at least) for seams to those figures, and find two pieces of fabric long enough, when folded in half, to fulfill those measurements and give you an inner and outer finished “bag.”

Here are a series of photos and simple instructions:

You’ll need an inner bag and an outer bag.  Cut two pieces of fabric;  fold both in half.  Cut corners; reserve corner pieces.

I cut these corners a bit larger because I wanted to cut the scraps in half lengthwise, and use the eight pieces for four handle straps.  Unless you have a very large frame, cut a smaller rectangle, an inch tall and an inch and a half wide (allowing for the side seams).  That one-inch cut upward translates into  the “floor” of the finished painting pouch–which, since the fabric is folded, already gives you a two-inch width.  After it’s sewn, you’ll be adding another half-inch, at least.

cornersCut a length of interfacing to a bit less than the length of the (unfolded) fabric;  fold in half and lay over your folded fabric.  Use clothespins to hold the fold temporarily.  Then cut the foam interfacing corners a bit larger than the fabric corners, to allow for seams (the interfacing will sit between two finished “bags”).

foam corner cuts


The hard part is over.  Or not.  Oops…



foam interfacingAfter the mistakes are corrected…mistake

(I had to remove an inch, and re-do.  I remembered that the foam sits inside two “bags,” and I had to allow for seams.)




Sew the side seamstack seam

Tack (sew down) the selvages.


corner reverseOnce both the inner and outer pouches are side-seamed and tacked, fold the four corners and sew each.

Turn the outer pouch right-side out.match corners

Fit inner (in this case, black) pouch into the outer (flowered) pouch, finding the corners and pinning them together.

pin in & out together(At this step, if your painting pouch isn’t huge, you can insert the foam interfacing into the outer pouch, insert the inner pouch, and then proceed with the corner seam.  For a larger pouch, it’s easier to sew the corners together without all that bulky foam already inside.)

corner seamSew the corners of the inner and outer pouches together.



fit foam 1Insert the foam interfacing, wrestling it into place between the inner and pouter pouch.fit foam 2

For this project, I wanted to use some unused purse handles from my bag making days, so I made straps from the fabric corners, which will be sewn into the top of the pouch.

strapsFabric straps are more practical, though, and easily made from leftovers of the same heavy fabric used for the painting pouch.  The large red painting pouch in the introductory photo uses the same duck canvas fabric for its handles, cut and sewn into two 32″ straps.  I rolled and sewed down the center of each strap for a comfortable grip handle, and set them into the top about eight inches apart.

These straps are set in about six inches apart at center, and the handle strapsinner and outer pouches are pinned together, starting at the side seams and working around the top.  Ease the interfacing down as you go, so it sits snugly between its fabric pouches.

Since I used snap hooks in this project (with visions of metal scratching a framed painting), I tucked the edge of the outer pouch deeper in before pinning everything together, allowing the inner pouch to come up higher.

finished bagLast step:  sew the inner and outer pouches together.  Sew it twice. Use a decorative stitch even, but do tack down the handle straps!

Seriously, a half-hour of cutting  and two hours of sewing.  I think it took longer to explain than to make!



Art Works for Robyn Brown

Robyn Brown & her wallFor Robyn Brown, applying her artistic talent to daily life is as simple—and as complex—as building a stone wall.  She’s shown here with just such a wall, which she built recently.  “There’s a creative aspect to everything,” she said.

She should know.  Robyn has designed at least a dozen homes on graph paper and, together with her husband, Chris, carried the design process through to completion for most of those homes.  The two make a team that handles nearly every aspect of construction.  For the stone wall, Robyn said, “We brought four or five loads of stone, hand-picked from Hoadley Quarries, and Chris tumbled the rock, built the scaffolding, mixed the mortar, and hauled it all while I laid the mortar bed and set the stones.”

Robyn is self-taught in nearly everything she does—with the exception of one drawing class and, beginning a year ago, the Partners in Painting class at the Owen County Art Guild.  Most often, she finds her own answers intuitively or at the public library, building an artistic life from a series of thoughtful, self-reliant solutions to questions as diverse as home schooling her children to laying that mortar bed.  Her resourceful nature, in fact, reflects the pioneer spirit of her forebears, the historic Spring Mill State Park Hamer family.

As a child, she learned to love art by watching her older sisters, who exceled in painting.  For Robyn, it was ceramics that caught her interest first, and painting later.  Then, for decades, crafts of all sorts, projects with her children, and building construction kept her easel idle.  Last year, when she began painting again, her experiences in real life paid dividends;  her skills transferred easily from “cutting in” the color of a home’s walls to refining her brush strokes on canvasses.

Her acrylic on canvas, Frog Pond, was created by combiningFrog Pond 2 photos of lily pads, fish, and a frog, for use as subjects.  “I love doing the preliminary backgrounds first,” she said, “because it’s fun and freeing to ease into the details of the painting.  If it doesn’t work, to me, it’s like a wall with an archway that’s too small, or a stone set in place wrong.  You just re-do it.  You need to step back and look at a painting, just as you need to step back and look at a wall.”

DSCN2283The Wave is another example of her acrylic on canvas works.  It was inspired by a double-page photograph by David Miller, in a book titled Oceans.  “I loved it, and I had to own it—it was the moodiest wave I’d ever seen,” she said.  “A friend tried to contact the photographer to purchase a copy of the photograph for my birthday, but she never got a response.  So, I had to buy the book.  I thought it was so perfect!  I didn’t add anything of myself, except my name, when I painted it.  It’s as close as I could come to an artistic representation of the original, and the largest painting I’ve ever done—two feet by four feet—so it was daring, but not difficult.”

Her work on an earlier painting with a fog element, and on Frog Pond, had taught Robyn the technique of using a natural “sea” sponge to create effects, and it helped to build foam on The Wave.  However, when she tried the natural sponge on the walls of the home she and Chris are currently constructing, she was not impressed by its effect.  So, she stepped back, and started over.  Using a synthetic tiling sponge instead, watering down the paint, wringing out the sponge and rubbing it on the walls, she achieved a beautiful muted, old-world effect.

“Art, in my opinion,” Robyn said, “is fluent.  It runs through the fiber of who you are.”

Robyn Brown occasionally shows her artwork at the Owen County Art Guild;  the guild is located at 199 West Cooper Street, Spencer, IN.  Her paintings, as well as those of all the artists featured in this series, can be seen in color online at http://www.lauraleffers.wordpress.com.  The guild’s phone number is  812-829-1877.