10 Easy Project Starters to Do in a Day

Headshot What would you do? What would you do if I could give you an extra 24 hours—an extra 24 hours free of dishes, laundry, work, bill paying, childcare, grocery shopping, or cooking?

I’d like to say that I’d spend the day eating chocolate (because calories down count in magic days), and making art. Truth is, I’d probably be immobilized by the possibilities. What would I do first? How would I choose? Seriously, after a few moments contemplating all that time to myself, I think I started to have an art anxiety attack. Then I realized that I could do it in baby steps.

All I would have to accomplish is one little task. Don’t plan on painting the Mona Lisa, just gather all your tools. Don’t expect to build Notre Dame, try cutting out some stencils. Phew…I’m breathing easier already. The pressure is off. I’ll use my time to prepare for my next creative session. Using my Mixed-media Medley DVD Workshop as a guide, I came up with 10 great, no-stress project starters. You can try one, or a mix of them to get you moving creatively in the right direction.

Jenn’s No-stress Project Starters

1. Try a new surface.

If you’ve been working on canvas, try artist grade paper. If you’re used to working on wood panels, try using a box. Change is good.

2. Make copies for transfers.
I love transfers. I don’t have my very own copy machine. Today would be a good day to take a bunch of artwork to the copy store to make copies for future projects. You’ll thank yourself later.
  Image Transfers
3. Gather tools.

Your daughter borrowed your hole punch and your husband borrowed your screwdriver—go get them and bring them back where you can see them.
4. Gesso your surfaces.

If you haven’t tried black gesso, now is a good time. No matter what kind of gesso you like, use part of today to cover some surfaces so they are ready for you whenever the muse inspires you.

5. Make a gelatin plate.

This piece on the right is a background made with gelatin. If you’ve never tried gelatin printing, now is a good time. But, first you’ll need to make a gelatin plate. I wish I always had one waiting for me in the fridge—I’d be a happy camper.
  Gelatin Print
6. Learn a new stitch.

Have you tried adding stitching to your work? Take some time and do a little research for new stitches to try. You can immediately add texture and interest with a little thread and a needle.
7. Collect unique found objects.

I know for many of you, this project starter is a no brainer. But, for today, think of it as an excuse to visit your favorite antique store.
  found objects
8. Create an “under collage.”

Start with your surface, a little gel medium, and some vintage paper. Cover up the surface in its entirety. Don’t worry about what it looks like, you can paint and cover it up later. This just gets you started.

  Under collage
9. Glaze some backgrounds.

Like number 8, this is a project starter that will help get things started in you next art-making session. Work on a bunch at a time, mixing colors as you go.


10. Cut out silhouettes and stencils.

This stencil was used for a quick silk-screening project. I wish I always had a bunch of cut out shapes to use so that I didn’t have to stop painting and collaging. Consider making your stencils and templates out of plastic so they can be used over and over again.

  silkscreen newsletter 008

See? Baby steps. Unfortunately, I don’t have the power to give each of you a day to yourselves, but I can send you a wish for the New Year, and that is to be able to find pockets of time in your days, weeks, and months to create and make the world a more beautiful place.


Let me know what you would do with a little extra time! Leave a comment here and maybe your suggestion will make my next list!







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