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A picnic table is great place to add some color to your outdoors. Since it’s outdoors, it means it has to endure the elements, rain, sun, snow and whatever else Mother Nature throws at it.

In the past I’ve used paint samples to do this but that was an interior paint so that is what it would not hold up as well as I wanted over the seasons.

This time I splurged and bought actual outdoor paint designed to hold up to the weather.

It isn’t glorious but taking the time to prep the table is worth the effort. The old loose paint was scraped off and then any loose dirt wiped off.

No primer was used at all. I did add a layer of white but that wasn’t primer because all these paints came with primer mixed in – I’m all good with skipping a step!

One thing to know about outdoor paint is that it should be only for outdoor things. It can be tempting to use up leftover paint on indoor projects but please don’t! Exterior paints should only be used on exterior projects. Did I mention, only use it on exterior stuff?

To add pattern and details, I tried using paint brushes.

But finger painting was just more fun, so I got my hand into the paint.

So is it finished? Nope. Nothing around here is ever finished. More layers can always be added!

Here’s the peanut gallery that kept an eye on me while I was painting. They even managed to keep out of the wet paint.

I definitely didn’t anticipate one thing when I was opening all the paint cans, falling leaves.

This picnic table is over 20 years old but you’d never know that thanks to a fresh coat of paint.

If you’ve got any outdoor furniture, especially if it’s old and worn, try giving it a fresh coat of playful paint!


What if? That’s a very powerful question to ask. It can help you play, it can help you let loose and let go, and it can help you take your gel prints to the next level. How? That’s what my next weekend retreat is all about! Join me for What If: A Weekend of Gel Printing.

***UPDATE***Am blown away by the response to this retreat- it is now completely sold out! All hope is not lost- there is a wait list- so get your name on there so if a spot opens up Glenda can email you.

Once you’re checked in on Friday afternoon, you’ve got a great big goodie bag of gel printing supplies waiting for you including a StencilGirl stencil I designed exclusively for retreat members only!

In this bag you’ll find all the components you need to make an interchangeable texture tool. I like tools that are fast and easy to use that can create a variety of looks. This texture tool lets you do that!

Friday night kicks off with texture tool making so you’ll have a plethora of you infused patterns to use on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday and Sunday are jam packed with gel printing techniques that all came from 2 little words, what if! What if it’s really really wet? What if it takes forever to dry? What if it is totally dry? What if it all gets combined?

We’ll wrap up the weekend Sunday night creating art journals with zero measuring & not a stitch of sewing made from your gel prints.

Saturday night, we have a guest instructor, Dave the husband. He’ll be leading us in a evening of gel printing in his signature style, comically clueless. You may have seen him in some of my videos so be prepared to laugh, to have fun, and to escape adulthood during this weekend!

During our weekend together, you’re going to make a prints that are just going to take your breath away when you lift those off the plate. And some of them, they’re going to be some ugly ducklings.

We all get those, but with a few simple things, you can take an ugly duckling and turn it into a swan and I’m going to show you how to do that this weekend

I’m bringing a van load (literally) of supplies and goodies so you only need to pack an itty bitty supply list. All you you need to bring is acrylic paint, paintbrushes, scissors, and an apron.

Leave some room in your suitcase to get all your prints and texture tools home. I’ve got everything else for you!

This is a great way to try out different materials and techniques before you invest in the supplies!

This weekend is about more than just gel printing, it’s about connecting with other creative women. All of our meals are prepared for us fresh on the premises. It’s like going out to eat with your friends for every meal!

Breakfast, lunch & dinner are all included with your registration because it’s an all inclusive event!

I am honored once again to be working with the extraordinary Glenda Miles to make this retreat possible. I’m bringing the play and she’s bringing the pampering. She knows how to take care of us so we can fully relax and enjoy our weekend away.

So where’s What If taking place? It’s all happening at St Mary’s Transfiguration Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. This place is as peaceful and serene as the name sound with beautiful grounds that you can take strolls along.

They have a labyrinth that you can walk and there’s this wonderful babbling brook pond right outside our door. Such a peaceful vibe to the entire campus!

This retreat is purposely kept small and intimate with just 21 women. We’ll be taking over the entire building so that means we can leave our stuff on our table 24 hours a day! No moving or packing/unpacking, just maximum play time!

What if: A Weekend of Gel Printing

Sept. 11-14, 2020

St. Mary’s Transfiguration Center, Cincinnati, Ohio

Your All Inclusive Ticket includes:

  • Fri-Sun workshops
  • Your room and ensuite bathroom
  • All meals and snacks Friday dinner to Monday breakfast
  • Exclusive to this retreat only Carolyn designed StencilGirl Stencil
  • Your interchangeable texture tool that you’ll create and take home
  • Interactive Gel Printing with Dave Saturday night
  • A mountain of supplies to share:
    • Huge assortment of StencilGirl stencils for your use
    • A rainbow of play using Marabu Art Crayons, Art Sprays, Aqua Inks and Alcohol Inks.
    • Trays of PanPastels
  • Gel Press plates, brayers, and other paint application tools for you to use
  • Piles of papers to print on
  • A texture and pattern smorgasbord
  • Plus some surprises!

All-Inclusive Tickets

Single Room Regular Price $995

Single Room Early Bird Price $820 SOLD OUT

Share-a-room Early Bird $775 SOLD OUT

***UPDATE***Am blown away by the response to this retreat- it is now completely sold out! All hope is not lost- there is a wait list- so get your name on there so if a spot opens up Glenda can email you.


This art journal page didn’t go as planned. And that’s a good thing! Why? Because I made a boatload of O.O.P.S.ies on here and each O.O.P.S. led me in a better direction than I planned!

What’s an O.O.P.S.? It’s an Outstanding Opportunity Presenting Suddenly.

Using ho hum gel prints is a great way to start an art journal page.

When you’re collaging something like old book text in your art journal, you can use any glue you have. Glue sticks are the least messy and dry the fastest- so if you’re impatient like me it’s a great option!

The Outstanding Opportunities Presenting Suddenly (O.O.P.S.) began with the paint. The very first color I used was “wrong”. Then the white I used was “wrong”. But that fluorescent yellow became just what I needed to mix with another color. The white became a great way to create a light blue.

There were all sorts of O.O.P.S.ies with the stenciling! The plan was for the words to show up, but the first set didn’t show up much at all. When I used the orange it really didn’t show up!

There was a big glob of unplanned paint on the I that just jumped out at me. And that was a gift too.

All that imperfect stenciling led me to using a pen to outline the letters and to see the symbolism in that blob of white paint.

When you’re using a pen on paint, it can ruin the pen. Especially if the paint is still wet or damp. That’s why I often use a fountain pen. It can take a whole lot of abuse- when it stops writing, I just wipe off the nib and it starts working again.

O.O.P.S.! If you have really wet paper and you write with a fountain pen, you can rip the paper. Seeing that bit of orange peek through encouraged me to do it some more to create more of that. Never would have even considered it if without the O.O.P.S.

Next time you’re arting if things don’t go as planned, try saying O.O.P..S and see where it takes you!

Here are the supplies used. Some of these links are affiliate links which means I get a small percentage. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and it helps keep the free tutorials coming!