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San Francisco, CA


Monica Loos

art / design / paper goods

selling original art, art prints and paper goods based on paintings and designs made my monica in san francisco, california.

for commission availability, please contact me directly.



little bits from my studio, my home, my life, and my brain

Filtering by Tag: diy

365 Days in My Kitchen: 056

Monica Loos


This guy, and two others, sits on a "living art" piece on my kitchen wall. Several years ago, I painted a plywood board white and, using Mod Podge, adhered long paper leaves cut from an old super-sized calendar I had onto the board. Drove in a few nails I thought were pretty good looking, and hung the tillandsias using wire. Takes up some of the previously empty wall space. Here is a photograph:


Thanks for reading!

Thanksgiving {free} downloadable "thankful for" tags

Monica Loos

For last couple years, I've posted a downloadable pdf that allows you to print out business size cards sweetly designed for using at Thanksgiving to express your gratitude for something or someone you are thankful for in your life. This year the back is a deep charcoal gray and the front has a new font I currently obsessed over.

thankful for downloadable tag

Instructions To make the tags...

  1. Download PDF here:
  2. Print page 1 using
    1. your printers best printing capability
    2. the thickest card stock your printer can handle
    3. the smallest margins your printer allows
  3. Print page 2 on the backside following same guidelines as above
  4. Hole punch where desired and string with thread/ribbon of your choice
  5. Enjoy with your loved ones

Alternatively, for non-DIYers, thankful for tags are also available for purchase on my website:

Happy {early} Thanksgiving.


Monica Loos


Just in time for your Thanksgiving celebration: "Thankful for..." cards strung with baker's twine.

Each guest can write something for which you are thankful. They can be hung decoratively throughout the holiday season and make a super sweet memento.

These are available as a set of 8 on my website:

and also as a free printable:

block printing with little peeps

Monica Loos

this year for valentine's day, my boys made bookmarks for their classmates. i know, i hope they don't get booed out of the class! but, really, they are adorable and with block printing on paper, you can make many things: cards, gift tags, framed art, gift wrap, garland... the beauty of this method is that it's safe for little guys and girls who aren't quite ready for working with a sharp carving tool as used on wood, linoleum, or an easy-carve block. we used a 9 x 12 foam board purchased from a local art supply store, flax. they were 12 for $6.99, which i thought was pretty reasonable. ok, here we go.

supplies: foam board marker small paintbrush or dull pencil block printing ink brayer printing paper wooden spoon / roller / your hand

to make bookmarks or tags, you will also need: paper cutter hole puncher ribbon

block printing

using a marker, my 5-yr old, let's call him mr. j, filled his foam board with heart shapes (1). we knew we'd be cutting these down into our desired bookmark size, so we needed a design that would make sense as pieces, versus a whole. next, we used the end of a fine paintbrush to press down over the lines, more or less (2). we also tried using a dull pencil, which was easier, as it slid more smoothly across the foam. any foam that is pressed down, will not get ink and therefore will be the color of your paper. mr. j only did the outline of each heart.

time for inking! we prepared our ink as described in the earlier post, mr. o makes a block print. once ready, an even-ish layer of ink was spread across the entire board using the brayer (3). i placed the paper, also 9" x 12", over the board and mr. j used a rolling pin to apply pressure (4). the back of a spoon works, as does your hand. then, mr. j hid under the table in nervous excitement for the end result (5). i slowly but steadily removed the paper from the board. so cute! we made enough sheets for all the bookmarks we needed, plus one extra for framing.

the next day, i trimmed the sheet down to bookmark size, which i scientifically concluded was 2" x 6". i used a guillotine cutter. you can use a paper trimmer, scissors, whatever you have available. giving credit where credit is due, it was mr. j that pulled out the 3-whole punch. talk about efficiency (6)!

punching & stamping

in lieu of signing each one by hand, i taped together little letter stamps to form the words "from jack" - now we know his name. this worked well (7). i had on hand, a beautiful cotton ribbon that was used to top off the bookmark and voila!

bookmarks & tags

i think they are adorable! i punched a smaller whole into the scraps and made gift tags using red and white baker's twine. so cute.

happy printing! and happy valentine's day!

all that glitters is not gold. sometimes it's copper.

Monica Loos

i've been trying my hand at copper leaf. why copper leaf? well it's a warm, rich, very pretty metal AND the price is a little friendlier than genuine gold - because when i do go for the gold, it will be genuine, 23k gold, my friend. edible and gorgeous. back to copper: copper leaf is made from genuine copper that has been made extremely thin. it is light and delicate and will fly away in the slightest breeze. work indoors, away from air vents and running children - and don't sneeze! my husband and i just celebrated our 9 year anniversary. to commemorate this, i made a copper leaf "9" which i framed and had intended to add to our family art gallery wall. it ended up feeling more at home in our bedroom. this project was fun, not crazy difficult, and i love the way it looks: understated + shimmery.

supplies: copper leaf (i bought mine at sinopia in san francisco) leaf adhesive (available at art and craft stores) printout of desired shape scissors paper (i used an 8" x 10" piece of strathmore writing 88# and a rives bfk sheet) pencil fine tip brush natural fiber big brush white cotton glove


i started by carefully cutting out the 9 i had printed, then centered it on my paper surface and lightly traced it in pencil. with the fine tip brush, i "painted" the nine using the leaf adhesive. now, everything i've come across speaks of waiting 30 minutes for the adhesive to become appropriately tacky, but no one was working directly on blank paper. i've concluded, through some trial, error, and sheer brain power, that paper is more absorbent of the adhesive than, say, porcelain, and therefore it is ready to go in about half the time - though if you're in DC in july it would probably take longer. touching the adhesive with your knuckle makes a clicky sound when it's ready.

using a full sheet (they are about 5 1/2" x 5 1/2") of the leaf, and with a gloved hand, i gently placed the copper over the painted 9. i tapped it down gently. using the natural fiber brush, i went around the foil making circular motion to remove the excess leaf. some of the leaf came off of areas where i wanted it to stay. boo. i repeated the glue--wait--leaf--remove-excess steps again in those spots and all was fine.

leafing process

and there you have it! a shiny 9, matted and framed:


for the above 9, i used strathmore writing paper. i also wanted to try it on a rives bfk. it's softer and more textured. here is a side-by-side comparison (rives on the right):


the first one has a more painted-on look that is reminiscent of the byzantine icons from the 1300s. you can kind of see the brush stokes, which i like. the 9 on the rives allows the texture of the paper to come through, giving it a little reptilian feel. fun to see how different paper will impact the look of the copper.

and now it sits happily on the bedroom dresser. goodnight, 9.


mr. o makes a block print

Monica Loos

my oldest child, 7, heretofore to be referred to as mr. o, strolled into  my studio and made his way right over to a carving tool and speedy-carve block on my desk. picking up the carver with the confidence of a master, he dug right into the block.  i stopped what i was doing in order to harness his momentum and interest. if i were to wait 5 minutes, he could be knee-deep into Lego work and it could be hard to get him back. i suggested he use a pencil (then traced over with a sharpie) to make a simple line drawing. he opted for a motor vehicle at a light. this being his first block print project, I also suggested he carve the line, rather than the negative space. he decided that adding his name in the corner would be a nice touch. he didn't much mind that a print would read backwards. we often try to speak backwards, so really it was all the better to him.

ready to print! we rolled out a dab of pewter block printing ink onto a glass baking dish - fancy!  mr. o patiently rolled the ink back and forth with the brayer until it was just right - you know it's ready with the sound of the brayer across the ink sounds like velcro.  i did my very best to not be a control freak as mr. o rolled a (mostly) even layer of ink on the block. next, the paper is placed on the block, and using a wooden spoon as our baren to apply pressure on the paper and (hopefully -- ok, i helped a little here!) make a nice inked print.


the end result: a very limited edition. cute!

car print

my five year old, let's call him 'loo, REALLY wants to make one too, though he is not quite ready for the carving tool. i'm thinking their vday cards will involve some type of peewee-friendly print making, so do stay tuned...