If it moves, it dies.
By ALMA J. BUELVA
WIDE-EYED cats with pointy tails were being sold at a bazaar last Christmas. They don't meow and they appear rigid. They also come in different colors and prints.
The cats are actually pieces of decoupage pins and pendants made by Ma. Rita A. de Leon of Handmade Lemonade as part of her crafts business. Some of the cats don't have facial features while others have luscious eyes and lips.
In her little corner at the bazaar, Marita spread across her table other gift-shop baubles meant to stop cat lovers in their tracks. There were decoupage coasters and bottle cap keychains with images of cats, pet portraits made from clay and pairs of gold-plated earrings in the shape of a cat.
“I started making the cat pendants about a year ago when a crafter friend of mine gave me a few pieces of blank cat bezels (bases or surfaces on which resin can be applied). I experimented and was successful in turning them into necklaces and pins,” said Marita, who began making resin crafts more than two years ago after attending a craft workshop.
She also likes to make decoupaged coasters, collages on wood, plastic or ceramic tiles and other décor items using cutouts from magazines, comic books, patterned paper and even fabrics.
Making a batch of eight to 10 decoupage cat pins and necklaces takes about three days to finish, said Marita.
“One day for cutting, another for decoupaging, applying resin and letting it to cure. The last day is for assembling. If I find images of animals I like, I can use them to make coasters or collages. I can also make pet portraits with polymer clay and I sometimes make bracelets with animal charms such as dogs, cats, dolphins and unicorns. I also make keychains using bottle caps with animal images in them,” she added.
A freelance art director and graphic designer, Marita occasionally conducts workshops to teach others the art of decoupage. The basic process, she said, could be summed up in seven steps as follows:
1. Cut the paper to fit the bezel or surface.
2. Brush the decoupaging liquid (acrylic emulsion) on the surface.
3. Stick the paper onto the surface, smooth out bumps and bubbles.
4. Apply acrylic emulsion again on top and let it dry.
5. Mix the resin and hardener in equal parts (the kit has detailed instructions for the time required and the process needed to prevent air bubbles from forming).
6. Apply the resin on the surface and cure for 24 hours or more. If the surface is still sticky, allow extra curing time.
7. Assemble the necklace or accessory by attaching the rings, chains or pins.
Marita said anyone interested in decoupage can also learn by watching online tutorials. She's willing to share her hands-on knowledge and experiences to private groups that want to have a workshop as part of their activities.
Aside from bazaars, Handmade Lemonade products are also sold online. Marita also consigns her one-of-a-kind pieces to The Wander Space and Empire Fashion Cafe, both at Maginhawa St. in Quezon City. She plans to also bring her arts and crafts at Artekat Boutique in Katipunan, Quezon City.
She prices her creations quite reasonably: P180 for a decoupaged cat necklace and P150 for a pin. Coasters sell for P150 to P200 a piece. Her small gold cat earrings cost P100 a pair. But if you are nuts about cats, chances are you'd buy more than just one of Marita's handmade cats. Your struggle will be real but, in the end, those wide-eyed whimsical cat pins and pendants will likely win.
*For more information on Handmade Lemonade, visit their Facebook page.
* Water hyacinths: the new cat's cradle!