Tuesday, August 21, 2018

TobiWan Kenobi's Birthday Present - A Pet Mat in His Favorite Colors

Hi Everyone,

Jill McDowell here today with my take on this month’s StencilGirl® Creative Team theme, The Dog Days of Summer. I was thrilled when I saw that we would be making projects featuring our pets as it gave me an opportunity to create something that I've been wanting to do ever since I stenciled a 7x5.5' floorcloth two years ago.   

I've made a Pet Mat featuring my two lovable mutts, Penny Lane and TobiWan Kenobi and I'm giving it to Tobi for his birthday on August 11th. I choose a special color palette that is designed to be enjoyed by dogs of all breeds using the colors that they can actually see. (I'll tell you more about it a little later in my post.)

If you follow my blog, you probably already know Penny and Tobi, but if not, let me introduce you. Tobi, my birthday boy, is on the right in the pic below.  He’s a nine-year-old, 14-pound footballI Boston Terrier. Penny, on the left, is my eight-year-old shadow, (she’s actually a Tennessee rescue but we’re not convinced that she believes that).  This is Pen’s puppy picture, the one I saw on petfinders.com that made me fall completely in love with her. 

Inspiration photos of Miss Penny Lane and Master Tobiwan Kenobi

Before starting my pet mat, I researched to find out what colors would appeal to dogs. 

Many people mistakenly believe that dogs are color blind, however, they really aren’t.  They just don’t see as many colors as you and I do. According to an article by Stanley Coren in Psychology Today, dogs see everything in shades of yellow, blue, and grey; reds and greens don’t exist at all for them. Which means that when I see a red fire hydrant, Tobi sees a brownish-yellow rest stop and my lush green lawn is Penny’s grey digging patch. (Ok, so I may not actually have a lush green lawn, but you get the point.)  

As it is Tobi’s birthday, I designed a Pet Mat especially for him. One that he can enjoy in all of its yellow and blue splendor. Every dog needs a little artwork to brighten their day, don’t you think?  

I started by cutting down a Fredrix canvas floorcloth to fit the space for Tobi and Penny’s food and water bowls. These ready to paint and stencil floorcloths are made from heavy 12 oz cotton duck that is double primed on one side and single primed on the other. You can make several pet mats from one 2x3' roll.

To personalize Tobi's mat, I used Golden’s Immediate Image Transfer Method with Fluid Matte Medium and photocopies of my inspiration pics. Here are some work-in-progress pics of Penny’s photo transfer.  

I traced the inverse of Penny's picture onto the canvas.

I spread a generous amount of fluid matte medium evenly on top of the outlined area.

Then I spread the medium on the front of Penny's photocopied image

I used a Catalyst Wedge to ensure that there was good contact between the paper and the canvas.

Then I waited about 4 minutes and began peeling back the first layer of paper.

I was able to roll more of the paper off with my finger.

This is what it looked like after the first layers were removed. Then I let it sit overnight to dry. The next morning I spritzed it with water and continued to roll off the paper. I was able to get just about all of it off without any mishaps using this method.

Then I used Golden Fluid Acrylic Paint to enhance the transferred images.  Here's Penny, all dolled up for her WIP shot.

And he's altered Tobi, looking up at you with his big eyes wondering when you'll drop that piece of cheese. 

I traced the edges of their water and food bowls where they belonged and found other round objects of varying sizes to add. These were painted in yellow.

Then I added a blue background with a baby wipe.

Next came out the StencilGirl® Stencils. How can anyone look at Margaret Peot’s Dragonflies Background and not think of a lazy, hot summer day basking in the sun? (Sun baths are Tobi’s favorite.)  

Work in Progress shot.

What a face. (My Mom used to say that it was a face that only a Mother could love...) 
I made my own marks to add a border.

Margaret’s Looping Leafy Vines Background filled out the design.

The fireflies received a treatment of iridescent blue.

Miss Penny Lane's formal shot! 

The birthday boy, Master Tobiwan Kenobi, gets a close-up.

Tobi’s Pet mat will need to cure for about 30 days before I can seal it with a water based polycrylic. This will ensure that it is fully dried so that the colors don’t bleed.  But in the meantime, I’m going to hang it on the wall just above their bowls and at their eye level for both of them to enjoy and think about those lazy Dog Days of Summer. 

Waiting for the cure! I'll seal it in about a month.

These are the two StencilGirl® Stencils that I used to make Tobi’s Pet Mat.  Both were designed by the talented Margaret Peot.  Thanks, Margaret for the inspiration!
Hugs until next time, Jill


  1. Jill, love this! Brilliant idea and excellent research on the colors. Great tip about letting the photo transfer cure overnight, mine always have too much white residue. What lucky dogs you have, I know they will enjoy their new mat!

  2. What a fun project - and such delightful dogs! Thanks for sharing your idea and techniques!

  3. Happy Birthday Tobi! Love the pet mat, it's fabulous!!

  4. Beautiful project, Jill, and thanks for the detailed instructions about the image transfer! I have been unsuccessful in my one attempt, I will definitely try your method!

  5. wow !!! beautiful and so lovely work :) i really like your good idea so much.Thank for sharing.


  6. Wow! This is great. What a perfect project

  7. Totally fabulous Jill! I just love how you created this and the colors and stencils are perfect choices! Well done you!


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