Earlier in the year I joined forces with Emmaus UK to help spread the word on recycling and upcycling, (read here) and they recently challenged me again to work on their #SecondHandSanta project. The challenge was to create bespoke second-hand Christmas gifts using items from Emmaus charity shops.
Christmas is about giving and by supporting your local charity at Christmas by buying and sourcing gifts from your local charity shop, you’re giving twice over. We need to stop thinking about the stigma of second hand when it comes to gifts and switch our thinking to being resourceful and charitable at the same time.
The art of giving – or the giving or art
You can always find canvases and old artwork in charity shops. These are basically blank canvases if you think about it. You can pick them up for a few pounds and use them as a base for your own creative ideas. You don’t have to be an artist or create a masterpiece worthy of an art gallery, but its really easy to create something unique for friends and family. Here are a couple of ways I used old canvases to create new ones:
I found these in my local Emmaus store for just £2.50 for all 3 and set about revamping them with paint I had in the shed.
Paint a base colour of white, I used a matt white spray paint but you could use acrylic or emulsion and brush it on instead.
Mask off stripes using decorators tape. Paint again with black acrylic paint.
Once dry remove the tape to reveal stripes. Then use a stencil or hand paint to personalise your canvases with letters, stars, hearts or anything you think the person receiving the gift would like. I used Rust-Oleums metallic leafing pen in gold for the letters but you could use any gold paint or another colour of acrylic paint.
For an even simpler way to update a canvas all you need is decorators tape or Frog Tape to give you a really neat edge when you remove the tape. After many failed attempts over the years this works so much better than masking tape!
Once dry remove the decorating tape revealing the image underneath. It really is as simple as that. No fancy artwork, no drawing or stencilling, just a simple way to update a canvas. I liked the idea of the original canvas showing through but if you wanted a contrasting colour then paint a coat of the contrast colour first then continue with the masking off.
If you’re looking for last minute ideas for Christmas gifts and want something unique then head to your nearest Emmaus community shop, pick up a bargain, give money to charity and get painting. Check out some of the other creations from the #SecondHandSanta challenge over on the Emmaus UK facebook page
Emmaus supports formerly homeless people by giving them a home, meaningful work in a social enterprise and an opportunity to get themselves back on their feet again.
Their communities across the UK work with people who have experienced homelessness to provides an opportunity to regain their self-esteem and give them a chance to make a real contribution to their community.
Merry Christmas from #SecondHandSanta