Playing with 3-1/2″ Floppy Disks – Community Mural Project

Announcements, Community Art Projects, DaTa Mosaic Mural, Floppy Disk Art

Ever wonder about what to do with all those 3-1/2″ floppy disks that you have taking up space in your office, closet, house?  How about a mural?  A DaTa Art mural.

Here’s the plan…have lots of people decorate lots of 3-1/2″ floppy disks and then I’ll put them all together to make a mural.

The mural will go up between Saturday, June 14 and Sunday, July 5, in the Book Bin store front window @ 3rd & Madison in downtown Corvallis, OR.   As I receive the disks, I’ll add them to the mural.  I’ll post photos on this blog and on Facebook to show its progress.

I’ve created six DaTa Mosaic Tiles so far to start off the project.  The rest of them will hopefully come from you.

Would you like to participate in this community mural project? If you live with the Willamette Valley area of Oregon it will be easier for you since you can deliver it or I can pick it up.  For those of you outside this area, you’ll need to ship it to me.

The more people that participate, the bigger the mural!

Send an email to let me know that you’re interested or if you need more information:  Maureen AT TheMandalaLady DOT com

DaTa Art Mural

DaTa Art Mural

Here’s a sample of 6 disks I created and how I’ll put them together.  To see how I made these visit the following blog posts:

  1. Upper Middle Disk –
  2. Lower Left Disk –
  3. Lower Right Disk –
  4. Lower Middle Disk –
  5. Upper Left Disk –
  6. Upper Right Disk –

Have Fun!

Maureen, The Mandala Lady


Playing with 3-1/2″ Floppy Disks #5

Floppy Disk Art, Techniques, Uncategorized

Ever wonder about what to do with all those 3-1/2″ floppy disks that you have taking up space in your office, closet, house?  Well here’s yet another idea…and I might say my wildest one yet.

Paint the disk black

Paint the disk black

In this first photo, I combined a couple of steps.

  1. Find a black floppy disk
  2. Paint the whole front face with black acrylic paint (I put on 3 coats)
  3. Find something wacky to put in the disk.  In this case I had these white coils that were excess from the coils I use to bind my Mandala Coloring Books
  4. Start gluing the pieces onto the disk
Add the coils

Add the coils

I used duco cement to glue the coils onto the disk; it’s strong and dries clear.  I also pulled out some plastic mardi gras beads.  I cut individual white beads and put some inside the coils, which are little difficult to see in this photo.  In the one, you’ll see them better.

I also cut individual pieces of the purple beads, which are actually little dice…if you look closely you’ll see the ‘5’ side of the second purple bead.

Finished Disk

Finished Disk

Here’s the finished piece – view #1

Finished Disk - Different View

Finished Disk - Different View

Finished Disk - side view

Finished Disk - side view

Here’s a side view that more clearly shows the white beads and purple die.

How wacky can you make your Da Ta art?

Have fun!

Maureen, The Mandala Lady

Playing with 3-1/2″ Floppy Disks #4

Floppy Disk Art, Techniques

Ever wonder about what to do with all those 3-1/2″ floppy disks that you have taking up space in your office, closet, house?  Well here’s yet another idea.

First prep the disk.

  1. Take off the metal slide bar
  2. Pry open the disk just enough to pull out the floppy disk inside
  3. Prime the disk with white primer paint (I used rust-o-leum’s white primer spray paint)
Prep the disk

Prep the disk

For this project, I used yellow and lavender craft acrylic paint.  Where the label and the metal slide bar were, I painted yellow.  The rest was painted with lavender.  Let go of making it perfect, you’ll be embellishing so much that the base coats will be hardly noticeable.

Base coats of paint

Base coat of paint

I put on 3 coats of color. You can put as many or as few as you want.

After 3 coats of paint

After 3 coats of paint

I pulled out mardi gras beads and my white pearl metallic craft paint.  I painted one layer of the white pearl paint all over the disk.  Already the paint imperfections are less noticeable. 🙂

Time for embellishing

Time for embellishing

I debated on whether to show each step to the finished product, when I realized that I want you to do your own thing, come up with your own ideas.

Basically what I did is cut up sections of the beads and using a very good craft glue and proceeded to put the beads all over the place.  I used Duco Cement that I found at our local hardware store.  Use anything that is strong, dry clear, and will adhere to plastic (if you’re using plastic beads).

The Finished Disk

The Finished Disk

I plan to use this with other disks to create a mural by adhering these to a large foam core board with double stick tape.

The main thing is to have fun and explore your own creativity.

Maureen,  The Mandala Lady

Playing with 3-1/2″ Floppy Disks #3

Floppy Disk Art, Techniques

Ever wonder about what to do with all those 3-1/2″ floppy disks that you have taking up space in your office, closet, house?  I’ve come up with some ideas to create what I call “DaTa Art” (versus Da Da…I know it’s a groaner).

Gather your materials

Gather your materials

For this project you’ll need a floppy disk, wrapping paper, tape, and a viewer.

  1. To make the viewer, trace the outline of a disk on paper, cut the paper about an inch wider than your outline, and then cut out the center of the outline.
  2. Use the viewer on your wrapping paper (or whatever paper you want to use) to find the section you want to use.
  3. Cut the wrapping paper about 2″ wider than the disk.
Tape paper to disk

Tape paper to disk

  1. Lay the paper face down on your work surface
  2. Place the disk down in the center of the paper
  3. Fold the first edge over the top of the disk and tape it down (I had to use making tape because like most households the regular tape had gone the way of the laundry socks)
  4. Fold the right corner of the paper down the side of the disk; this will make for a cleaner corner
  5. Smooth down the folds (the next photo shows the folds), fold the right side paper over the disk, and then tape it down
  6. Continue around until the fourth side
Final Edge

Final Edge

  1. For the final edge, fold both corners inward
  2. Fold the paper over the disk
  3. Tape it down
Backside of disk

Backside of disk

When your done, the backside should look something like this; although with transparent tape it would look much cleaner.

Front side of disk

Front side of disk

Here’s the front side of the disk…much better.  To enhance it even further, I pulled out my glitter glue.

Finished Disk

Finished Disk

All done!   Obviously the sky’s the limit as to how to enhance this.  You could apply beads, buttons, stickers, you name it.

I plan to add this to a mural project with other disks by adhering them to a large piece of foam core board with thick double stick glue.

Have fun!

Maureen, The Mandala Lady

Playing with 3-1/2″ Floppy Disks #2

Floppy Disk Art, Techniques

Ever wonder about what to do with all those 3-1/2″ floppy disks that you have taking up space in your office, closet, house?  After more pondering I came up with this idea…

I used an off-white floppy disk, took the metal slide bar off, and opened to take the innards out of it.  This is the back view of the disk.

Floppy disk and photo cut to disk size

Floppy disk and photo cut to disk size

When I opened it, I opened it from the bottom and just wide enough to take the ‘floppy’ part of the floppy disk out.  I took the disk, traced out the shape over the photograph, and then cut the photo to size.

Cut the photo into pieces to fit on the disk

Cut the photo into pieces to fit on the disk

Here’s the front view of the disk.  I cut the photo so that one piece would fit where the label goes and the other piece fits over the area where the metal slide bar was.  After I had finished the project I noticed that in this photo the lower piece is actually upside down.

Clue photo pieces to disk

Clue photo pieces to disk

I used an acid-free photo glue stick to adhere the photo to the disk.  You can use one photo or mixed up your photos.  Here I wanted to create a continuation of the two.  The tree is in the upper portion and a little bit in the lower portion to make it look like the photo is being framed by the disk.

Finished photo

Finished photo

I used an extra fine point gold paint marker by Marvy to write on the disk.  I plan to use this in a mural where I’ll stick this (and other disks) on a large piece of foam core board with double stick tape.

You can take this a step further by decorating the disk and/or adding trim around the outside edge of the disk.

Have fun with this one.

Maureen, The Mandala Lady

Playing with 3-1/2″ Floppy Disks #1

Floppy Disk Art, Techniques

Ever wonder about what to do with all those 3-1/2″ floppy disks that you have taking up space in your office, closet, house? I hated the idea of throwing them away so I pondered other possibilities and here’s one idea I had…turn them into photo disks.

Start with a used floppy disk (I distorted the label for this photo)
Start with a used floppy disk

Next create a viewer to use to for the photograph you want to use on your disk.  The photo cutout will go where the label is.  It measures approximately 2-7/8″ (w) x 2-1/4″ (h).  The top of the label is cut straight across, the corners at the bottom are rounded.

Create a viewer and outline

Create a viewer and outline

Use the viewer on the photograph to determine what section of the photo you want to use.   Once you found the area you want, you can either use the viewer or the viewer cutout to trace the shape onto the photo.   Then cut out the photo.  The pen I used made an indent on the photo which I used as my guide for cutting the photo.

Use viewer to determine section of photo to use

Use viewer to determine section of photo to use

I used an acid-free photo stick glue to adhere the photo cutout to the disk.   For this step I wound up using a different photo, it had more interesting shapes and colors.

Glue photo to disk

Glue photo to disk

Lastly you’ll want to label it. I used an extra fine point gold paint marker by Marvy. Whatever you use, it will need to be able to adhere to plastics.

Label it

Label it

That’s it.  Once you’ve done a couple it goes much faster & easier.  I plan to make a mural of my disks by sticking them on foam core board with double-stick tape.   You can use tacky putty to adhere them individually on a wall.

Have fun with this one.

Maureen, The Mandala Lady

Let’s Play with Spray Painting!

Spray Painting, Techniques

Let’s play with spray painting…at least, my version of spray painting.  Using diluted watercolor paints and pump spray bottles, we’re going to tap into our creative side!


Supplies for this Activity

Supplies for this Activity

  • watercolor paper [I used a piece of 5×7 140lb cold press watercolor paper]
  • pump spray bottles, one for each color [you can buy them in craft stores, or recycle hair spray bottles or other products that use spray bottles…be sure to clean thoroughly before using ]
  • watercolor paint – different colors [I used an artist-quality brand called da vinci, but any water-based paint that comes in a tube or is liquid will do]
  • painter’s tape [blue or green]
  • something to cover the area where you’ll be working…paint will spray out and beyond the paper…it will get messy.

Make the Spray Paint:

For each color you have, make a solution of diluted paint.  Take off the pump top and squirt in  about 1/2 teaspoon of paint into the bottle.

Put pieces of tape on paper

Step 1: Put paint in bottle

Add about 1/2 to 1 inch of water to the bottle, depending on how thick or thin you want the paint.  With practice and playing you’ll figure out which you prefer.  It does need to be thin enough to spray effectively…if it’s too thick, it will clog in the pump…yuck!

Add water to the bottle

Step 2: Add water to the bottle

Put the top back on and then shake the bottle to blend the solution.

Shake the bottle

Step 3: Shake the bottle

Now for the Fun Part!

The steps I’m suggesting here are just to get you started and to show you how I created the final piece.

I highly encourage you to play around with this process…use more or less tape, use more or less paint, use more or less colors, see what happens when the paper is wet vs. dry….etc. etc. etc.

STEP 1:  Rip varying sizes of tape and randomly place them on the paper…or you can place them any way you like…you can make shapes and patterns with the tape.  For this example, I put them on randomly.

Put pieces of tape on the paper

Step 1: Put pieces of tape on the paper

STEP 2:  Pick up one of your spray paint bottles and start spraying.  Here I used yellow to start.  Because water-based paint is mostly transparent, it’s usually best to start painting with the lighter colors first and then add darker colors.

Spray some color on the paper

Step 2: Spray some color on the paper

STEP 3: Once the yellow paint is dry, add another color.  Here I added red.  This particular red (cadmium red – medium) is less translucent than the yellow.  It creates more droplets.

Add another color

Step 3: Add another color

STEP 4:  After the paint dries, take some of the tape off.  Some of the tape pieces I removed were underneath other pieces.  While in the previous photos, the yellow was difficult to see, with the tape removed you can definitely see the difference between the yellow and white areas.

Remove some tape

Step 4: Remove some tape

STEP 5:  Add more paint.  In this case I added blue.

Add more paint

Step 5: Add more paint

STEP 6:  After the blue dries, add more paint.  Here I add a translucent violet.  When the paper is dry, the paint will form droplets.  If the paper is wet, the paint will blend without any droplets showing.

Add more paint

Step 6: Add more paint

STEP 7:  After the paint dries, take off some more of the tape.  Now you can really see the contrast between where the paint is and where the tape was.

Take off some more tape

Step 7: Take off some more tape

STEP 8:  Add more paint.  Here I added a rose color, which on the white exposed areas turns it into a pink color.

Add more paint

Step 8: Add more paint

STEP 9:  Once dry, take off remaining tape.

Take off remaining tape

Step 9: Take off remaining tape

STEP 10:  Add more paint.  In this case, I added more yellow.  Remember how earlier I said to use lighter colors first?  Because some light areas still exist on the paper, I can add lighter colors and have it be noticeable.  Add the yellow overall gives the painting a warmer look and feel, but in the areas where it’s yellow only, the yellow stands out.

Add more paint

Step 10: Add more paint

STEP 11:  Here I added more paint…a light green which is barely noticeable in this photo.

Add final paint

Step 11: Add more paint

STEP 12:  Add final paint.  To make the yellow sections less flat looking, I added about two quick squirts of the rose paint.  It left drops in throughout as well as in the yellow areas…making it more interesting…at least in my humble opinion.

Add Final Paint

Step 12: Add Final Paint

So that’s my version of spray painting.  This activity has so many possibilities.  Besides tape or instead of tape, you can use any number of objects on the paper.  I have a pile of sea shells that would work nicely with this process.

Ok…ball’s in your court.  Have fun playing with spray painting!

Maureen, The Mandala Lady

Playing with Watercolor Pencils

Colors, Uncategorized, Watercolor Pencils

Today we’re going to play with two watercolor pencils and accomplish three tasks with one activity:

  1. Play with watercolor pencils
  2. Create a painting with just two colors
  3. Using shading to create depth and dimension

Please keep in mind that this activity is about playing and experimenting. Precision, exactness of shape, perspective and lighting?…these concepts are for future activities.

Disclaimer: This is my approach and lacking any formal training. I learned by playing with the pencils versus taking any classes. I would recommend that if you want to pursue this medium further, search out classes, books and/or other web sites on this topic. Of course you may find that you learn best by just playing and experimenting with them.


  • a piece of 140# cold press watercolor paper (cold press has more texture to the paper)
  • 2 watercolor brushes: I used a small round brush, and a 1/2″ flat brush (you can use these or whatever watercolor brushes you have available to you).
  • 2 watercolor pencils: red and blue (I used Stabilo Aquatico brand…but almost any brand of watercolor pencil will do).
  • a good pencil sharpener…metal sharpeners work much better than cheap plastic ones)
  • 1 light gray watercolor pencil to draw out the design. You can use a regular pencil; the lines you draw will be visible as you paint. With the watercolor pencil, the gray will disappear into the painting. As an added activity do this painting twice, once with a gray watercolor pencil and once with a regular pencil. See which one you like better.
  • a small jar of water


  1. Use your gray w/c pencil (or regular pencil) to draw out this loosely drawn balloon shape. Again, forget about precision…keeping it loosely drawn, makes it more interesting.
  2. Step 1

  3. Using the side tip of the red w/c pencil, roughly color in the balloon shape. Whatever angle you color, be consistent throughout. I colored on a right angle. You’re welcome to color straight up & down, on a left angle, or horizontally.
  4. Step 2

  5. The balloon filled in with red
  6. Step 3

  7. Color with the blue pencil along the right side of the balloon, following the shape of the balloon. What color do you get when you mix blue and red? Purple!
  8. Step 4

  9. The balloon with the blue added. Using the blue in this way makes the balloon look more 3-dimensional instead of flat.
  10. Step 5

  11. Take the round brush, dip it in water, and brush over the red section, brushing at the same angle as the original coloring and along the outside edge of the drawing.
  12. Step 6

  13. Mid-way with brushing through red section. As needed, wet your brush to help with the spreading of color.
  14. Step 7

  15. The red section after brushing and a little into the blue section
  16. Step 8

  17. Now brush through the blue section and along the shape of the balloon’s right side
  18. Step 9

  19. Here’s another way to use your w/c pencils…dip the red pencil directly into the water
  20. Step 10

  21. Now color the red as you did when the pencil was dry, continuing on the same angle as you originally colored. It will take several dippings back and forth between the water and the paper. You’ll see that the color will go on darker, with some lines. This will give the painting some texture.
  22. Step 11

  23. Wet color over the red section and then use the blue pencil to wet color over the blue section
  24. Step 12

  25. Use the wet red pencil to overlap the blue and red sections
  26. Step 13

  27. After you overlap…
  28. Step 14

  29. Add more blue, as needed, to the blue section
  30. Step 15

  31. Add more red, leave a small curved rectangular area with less red. This will act as a reflection and give the balloon more of a 3-dimensional shape.
  32. Step 16

  33. Now here’s the surprise…turn the painting upside down. My original intent for this painting was to create a balloon. On a whim, when I got to this point, I decided to turn the painting upside down. I found this to be more interesting…now it looks more like a vase.
  34. Step 17

  35. The vase feels link it needs a background. The general rule of thumb when painting is to paint the background first and then the subject. Since my approach to this painting was very loosely based, we’re doing it a little backwards…and that’s ok. Here I took the blue pencil, and very loosely colored in some blue in the bottom third of the paper.
  36. Step 18

  37. Using the flat w/c brush, wet the brush and spread the color out along the paper. By putting only a little blue on the paper from step 18, the blue becomes a light blue when water is added to it.
  38. Step 19

  39. To give the painting more depth, create a shadow area to the side of the vase. Use a wet blue pencil to color in the shadow. Make it curved so that it resembles the shape of the vase. Then add some wet red pencil to the shadow. You can smooth it out if necessary with a brush. You can play around with the shadow placement. Just know that the light is coming from the right, so the shadow has to be somewhere on the right. I’ll be discussing shadows in another activity.
  40. Step 20

  41. To finish the background, lightly color in some red (dry pencil) in the upper 2/3rds of the paper.
  42. Step 21

  43. Use the flat w/c brush, wet the brush and spread the color out along the paper. And we’re done!
  44. Step 22

The way I placed the shadow on the blue surface, makes the vase look like it’s floating. Play around with the shadow placement and notice what happens to the vase.

And look at how many colors appear in this painting…it still blows me away with what you can create with using only two colors.!

As an added activity, do this painting a few more times using other pairings of colors. The only requirement would be that one color be lighter and one darker (ie: yellow & green, pink & brown, orange & purple, etc.)

Whatever you do, just have fun with it & experiment!

Happy Painting!

Maureen, The Mandala Lady

Splat Painting

Splat Painting

Yesterday, a friend of mine and I spent the day in Portland, OR. We rode the train from Albany up & back. If you ever have the opportunity to ride a train somewhere, do it…it’s a great way to go.

On our way back and while in the middle of a conversation with another traveler, this week’s activity idea just popped into my head. This morning I tested it out and had a blast doing it. [More photos at the end of the instructions]

Splat Painting

My First 'Splat' Painting

I call it ‘splat’ painting. The general idea is to take a damp paper towel, dip it in some watered-down paint and throw it onto some paper posted on a wall.

Have fun splatting! The Mandala Lady

Let’s Play…

What You’ll Need:

  • poster paper, butcher paper, kraft paper, etc.
  • any color poster paints or water-based paint that is non-toxic & cleans up easily…for my example I used the primary colors: red, yellow, and blue (Pro-Art Tempura Paints)
  • bowls for the paint (one’s that are ok to mess up)
  • sturdy paper towels
  • latex or rubber gloves (only if you care about keeping your hands clean during the process…I wimped out and used them)
  • water to water down the paint and to damped the paper towels


  • find a place where you are able to make a big mess or a place where you can spread plastic tarps, old sheets, and/or old shower curtains. I used our shed in the backyard…adding any paint to it at all is an enhancement! Know that paint will splatter and that the paper towels will fall off the paper and land on the ground/floor. For this reason I highly recommend using water based paints.
  • where comfortable old clothes that can take the paint splatters. This will be a messy process…but so much fun!
  • put your paper up on the wall. I used push pins…our shed can take it. Use whatever you have available that will do the least amount of damage to walls. Painters/masking tape works well.

The Process:

  1. pour a color into a bowl…I started with yellow
  2. add some water to thin it out…you get more splatters this way
  3. damped a sheet of paper towel. I used a spray bottle to wet it
  4. clump up the paper towel, dip it into the paint and throw it at the paper…yes I said ‘throw it’
  5. retrieve the paper towel and throw it again
  6. add more paint to the paper towel as needed
  7. another technique is to slap the paper with the paper towel
    • stand close to the paper
    • hold an end of the paper towel
    • slap it on to the paper
    • slapping leaves a bigger, thinner area of paint, while throwing puts on globs of paint
  8. When you feel you have enough of that color, start at step one with the next color.

For my version I start with yellow, then red, then blue. Then I went back with more red, then more yellow.

This is one of those things that is beyond rules. Just play with the paint. Come up with your own way of applying the paint.

Other Options:

  • Instead of paper towels, use sponges, or pieces of material or fabric.
  • Place the paper on the floor instead of the wall.

When you ‘splat’ hard enough, the paper towel will stick to the paper. Splatting a wad of paper towel puts blobs of paint on it along with outside splatter. Note the splatters on the shed wall. oops!

Spat Yellow onto the Paper

Step 1: Spat Yellow onto the Paper

Here’s what it looks like before I do my first splat of red. I really load up the paper towel…bigger blobs & splatter that way 🙂

Splat Red's how it looks before I "splat"

Step 2: Splat Red's how it looks before I "splat"

Here you see the paper towel stuck to the paper. I got some great blobs & splatters on both splats.

Splat Red on the Paper

Step 3: Splat Red on the Paper

In this shot you can see where I splatted and where I slapped (2nd technique described in step #7). Slapping spreads the paint out and in a more patterned way. If the paper towel has texture, which mine does, it shows up in the slapping. Notice the red ‘slap’ sections near the upper left and upper right.

After Red and Yellow have been Splatted

Step 4: After Red and Yellow have been Splatted

Now it’s blue’s turn for splatting & slapping. The towel stayed on after one of the slaps.

Splat Blue on the Paper

Step 5: Splat Blue on the Paper

Once I finished with the blue, then I went back over the whole piece with more slapping of yellow and red. Tah-Dah! It was great fun. You’ll also see why I say this activity is very messy. This is the best the shed wall has ever looked…of course my husband has yet to see this 🙂

End Result

End Result

Now for some close-up shots. Most of this section shows slaps of all three colors. The red section shows more of the texture of the paper towel which had ridges on it.

Close-up #1

Close-up #1

In this close up you see where smears occurred when I removed the paper towel from the paper, either quickly as part of a slap, or slowly when doing a full-on splat.

Close-up #2

Close-up #2

In this close up you see slaps and splatter droplets.

Close-up #3

Close-up #3

More splats, slaps and spatters.

Close-up #4

Close-up #4