When someone asks what the biggest game changer has been in growing my business, the first thing that comes to mind is Ikonart! Have there been other game changers, for sure, but Ikonart has been the tool that has allowed me to grow my business - producing more and cutting down my costs in both time and materials!
I started my business, Shine Designs, 5 years ago making painted wood signs and a variety of home decor; I was mainly selling via local craft shows and started an Etsy shop. Over the next few years, I narrowed my niche down to wood signs, the majority of which are made using my own designs. Now I sell almost exclusively online via Etsy and wholesale to boutiques across the country. I wouldn't be able to do that if it weren't for discovering Ikonart a little over a year ago; I discovered Ikonart through a friend and will NEVER look back!
Reasons I love Ikonart for creating wood signs:
- The amount of time saved not weeding stencils.
- The money saved not using disposable materials (vinyl).
- The amount of detail you can achieve isn't something that would be easily achieved using vinyl or mylar stencils.
- The number of signs you can create back to back (with practice) makes creating in bulk a reality.
- It is extremely easy to create each stencil. I promise!
My favorite products for painting wood signs:
Folk Art Chalk Paint: This is my favorite paint to use for base coating, as well as painting designs. I find that Folk Art is fairly thick and helps to eliminate bleeding that can happen when your paint is too thin. Folk Art is easily found at most craft stores including JoAnns, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, etc.
Coco's Chalky Powder: This chalky powder is perfect for mixing with thinner acrylic paints that you already have in order to make them thick enough to easily use with your Ikonart stencils. Can be purchased via the Ikonart website.
Squeegees: These are my absolute favorite way to apply my paint to my stencils! Can be purchased via Ikonart website.
My Top Tips
- Sand your wood. This is the biggest factor when it comes to how your design is going to turn out on your wood. You want to make sure that your board is completely smooth - without any ridges, if at all possible. I sand down with 220 grit sandpaper all over, then paint my base coat, and sand again with either 220 grit or 400 grit sandpaper! Don't forget - after your final sanding, wipe your surface with a dry towel to get any of the "paint dust" off.
- Use more paint than you think you need and glide. When you're starting out, put more paint on your stencil than you think you need, then use your squeegee to glide across the top of your stencil. It may be tempting to press down and "push" the paint through the mesh, but you will get crisper lines and better results if you're able to drag your paint across the top with your squeegee.
- Practice, practice, practice. Getting the hang of using Ikonart for multiples on wood can take a little practice. Use one piece of wood and a small stencil and practice over and over on the same piece - that way you won't waste product, but you're also able to figure out the amount of paint and pressure that you need.
- Ask for help! There are many people in the Ikonart Crafters Group and the Shine Designs Digital Creative Community group that are extremely helpful in troubleshooting any issues that you're having. If you are able to post a picture, often someone will answer and be able to help within just a few hours! We are all enjoying Ikonart together and one of the best parts is the communities are we apart of!
- Give yourself grace. Will every sign turn out perfect? Nope. And that's okay! When things don't work, sand it off, start over and remember that some minor imperfections are what makes each and every handmade sign unique!
I truly cannot wait to see what you create - so make sure to post it in the group!