Tutorial: Paint Swatch Cards
Let me tell you guys a true story. A few weekends ago, my husband finished the lawn and announced that he needed to run out for some gardening things. Imagine his surprise, when I jumped up from my scrap table and grabbed my purse to go along! “You want to go with me? To the Big Hardware Store?” He was a little bit shocked. I tried to tell him that it was only fair, since I’ve dragged him through the Huge Hobby Store more than once. He was puzzled, but took me along. When we got to the Big Hardware Store, husband went off to look at sprinkler heads, power tools, lumber and other man-things that he likes to look at. I told him that I would meet him in the gardening department, and headed off to my own favorite place.
Not going to lie… one of the aisles that I love the best at the Big Hardware Store is where they mix and sell the paint. Sometimes I just like to look at all of the pretty paint swatch colors, all arranged by hue and tone and marvel at their organization! I have often thought that it would be a pretty fun job, putting those paint swatches out on display like that. That Big Hardware Store employee must really enjoy that part of their day.
Again, I won’t lie. I’ve spent time down the paint aisle a time or two before. Not very often, because honestly – when I take a hand full of paint swatches under the false pretenses that I am going to paint my living room a pretty shade of plum, it makes me feel very, very guilty. Sometimes I look around and try to make sure that no one is watching when I take some swatches. I know that they are free, but it feels a little bit wrong. I broke out in a cold sweat once, while pilfering a few pretty shades of pink. Some lady snuck up on me and squealed and asked me if I was expecting a girl?? The guilt has usually kept me from taking more than a few swatches at a time. To ease my conscience, I have tried to keep in mind that if no one took those beautiful, colorful swatches off of the display, the paint-swatch-replacing employee would be out of a job. Now that would be terrible. I certainly can’t let that happen!
So, yes, I used my pretty swatches to make cards. Here are a few that I made recently. I like to make use of those colorful little rectangles by trimming away the paint names or using punches to create cute, colorful gradient shapes. Fun, right? I like how they can be used to make a card with an ombre look, without having to find all of the scraps of paper that coordinate that way.
These cards were both inspired by one of the latest sketches, #182. I thought that it would also be fun, to save them for our Birthday Month! Happy Birthday, OWH!
Now then, the end of my story does have a nice happy twist. The “date” trip to the hardware store was really enjoyable for me and my hubby. It did show him that I can wander a store and feign interest, just like he does sometimes for me. I even learned to appreciate the home lighting aisle, and the really fancy faucets can be kind of fun, too. It was nice just to spend a little time together. On the way out, he even bought me a hot dog from a tent outside of the store.
On this last particular trip to the Big Hardware Store my conscience finally got the best of me and I came clean with the paint-swatch employee. I finally saw her at the display, replacing some swatches. Her face had this expression of calm happiness, much like I imagine mine would be, when sorting my colorful cardstock! “Excuse me,” I asked her, “Can I ask you what you do with old swatches? Do you throw them away?” She quirked an eyebrow at me at first, but then showed me a huge bin underneath counter where they mix the paint cans. She was happy to let me grab a hand full of old swatches and take as many as I wanted, without the guilt! Curiosity must have gotten the better of her, because she asked me what I intended to do with them. When I told her about OWH and using the swatches to make cards for the troops, she lit up and said, “Oh! Wow, that is so great!” She handed me more stacks of swatches and even helped me to pick out some lovely shades of green and red for Christmas. Next weekend, she’ll be coming over to help me make cards.
If you decide to give the “paint swatch” technique a try, please share with us here!