If someone were to ask you what your crucial, go-to, stranded-on-a-desert-island cooking gear includes, how would you reply?
Would you mention a chef's knife and cutting board? How about a large sauté pan and a flat-edged wood spoon, or a large, nonreactive heatproof bowl? (Incidentally, these are Michael Ruhlman's top five in his fantastic comprehensive guide The Elements of Cooking.)
What if I were to add that the addition of two inexpensive pieces of equipment can dramatically level up your cooking game, and that you could actually get these at an office supply store?
For me and my generation, music was cassette tapes. We never found the radio stations that played anything but Top 40, albums and LPs too public and, uh, not portable , and CDs too fragile. I still have a box, though my last means of playing them went when I sold my first car...
It's my favorite material to work with, hands down. I love the way it makes my car smell when I bring it home from the lumberyard. I love that it goes from a roughly-textured square to any shape I can imagine, and unbelievably smooth when you sand it.
But the best part? Seeing the full character of the grain come through during that last step - finishing the wood with stain or oil. Not until you rub that rag over the surface does the wood truly come alive.
I just went downstairs to check: I have fourteen rolls of tape in various states of use, haphazardly stacked in piles and hanging from random protusions, each equally covered in sawdust and many in paint and woodstain. A few of them are repeats: I have no less than four 1" 3M ScotchBlue rolls started, likely because I wasn't able to find them when in the midst of a project. Clearly, I need a better solution.
The first time I ever played with colored PVC (electrical) tape was in decaling my Pinewood Derby car in Cub Scouts. I didn't win any races, but I did get prizes for best design. Go figure.
It was one of the few successful collaborations between my grandfather and I, so that was notable in itself, but I remember getting reall excited that you could cut designs out of this stuff and make your own little single color stickers. Ever since then, a five-pack of colored PVC tape has stayed in my craft-y toolbox, ready to be used for both sticking stuff together and making it look awesome.
That said, Chris Hosmer is way better at it than me. The Shanghai-based designer creative bold, graphic portraits exclusively from electrical tape on cardboard, drywall, skateboard decks, and plywood.
I'm a huge fan of street art, but I do understand the arguments that liken some of it to vandalism. Not the impromptu installations of sculptures, or even yarn graffiti, but no matter how awesome, spray paint can do damage. And most graffiti isn't really art at all, just immature tagging that can leave permanent and unattractive results.
So they idea of impromptu public art that doesn't actually hurt anything? Well, that's just about as good as it gets.
BUFFDiss is a street artist who creates his works on walls, floors, and public spaces, but works exclusively in masking tape, allowing his pieces to be non-destructive.
Riddle me this: How often have you said to yourself, "Man, I sure wish I had something to keep my pants up that shows off my tendency towards making stuff..."
Really? Never? Okay, me either, but I still like this measuring tape belt from the Mother Huddle. Sure, Destri's version is intended to hold up tiny little toddler pants, but the technique can certainly be translated for any size.
Sometimes, hand painted just isn't the look you're going for, and you long to add some machine printed accuracy to your latest project. Here's two easy ways to add printed images to canvas, plastic, glass, paper, and whatnot.
- Image from a magazine or book, or printed via laser printer or photocopier. (Inkjet printers will not work)
- Warm water
- Large bowl or pie plate
- Credit card or bone folder
- For Process #1: Clear packing tape
- For Process #2: Acrylic Gel Medium (or gesso, paint, or anything which states "polymer acrylic medium")
- Paintbrush (a sponge brush will cut down on brush marks)