craftivate’s Ombre Cork Paintings @ The Crush Club

Amy Stamp, craftivate

Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail. There’s only make.
— Corita Kent

Makers Gonna Make

  craftivate’s Ombre Cork Paintings @ The Crush Club

When you walk into a craftivate event, it is always quiet at first.  Craftivators are arriving and choosing their seats.  There is a welcome packet that includes some craftivate information and a quote sticker that is unique for each event.  As people begin to let their guard down and small talk initiates friendly conversation, the room begins to fill with the most amazing noise.  It is the sound of strangers becoming friends, friends sharing stories, and stories creating bonds.  The room is virtually transformed from a cold, open space into a warm, creative sanctuary crackling with energy, laughter and inspiration. 

This past Thursday night, craftivate held an event at The Crush Club (rebranding as Southern Connecticut Wine Company) in our hometown, Wallingford, Connecticut.  The Crush Club is a local business where you can make your own wine. Winemaking was not in store for us that night, but crafting certainly was!  This event was BYOF (bring your own food)!  Crafters were welcome to whip up a favorite dish or bring some sweet eats from a favorite local eatery. (Jenn, Brooke and I grabbed some Mediterranean deliciousness from Half Moon!  Gnocchi… yummmm.)  We ate and crafted while enjoying a variety of wine from The Crush Club bar.  After this event, I am sure that there's nothing better than crafts, wine and food with friends!

It was wonderful to see some returning faces at this event.  When I see someone at their second or third Craftivate event I just want to run up and squeeze them and dance in circles!  Instead of frightening off our craftivators, I smile and say hi.  But just know, when I see a repeat craftivator, inside I am exploding with joy, quaking with excitement and overwhelmed with sheer bliss!  Fireworks are popping and the angels are singing!  The community of craftivators is growing!  The passion for DIT exists!  A community is brewing and a village is starting to form!  Seeing so many new faces in the crowd also made me want to dance and sing!  It is truly thrilling to see people gather together to share, create and experience something new.  

The craft for this event was an Ombre Cork Painting.  I know that you are dying to make your own, so here are the deets:


10” x 24” piece of plywood

Contact paper




Spray paint (the color of your letters)

Acrylic paint (the color of your background and heart)

Hot glue and hot glue gun


First, spray paint the piece of plywood.  Whatever color you use for this step will end up being the color of your letters.  You can choose to do one or two coats of spray paint.  It is your choice based on aesthetics.  We chose to use one coat of gold spray paint for this event.

While the spray paint dries, use a pencil to trace your letters and a heart onto the contact paper and cut them out.  We used precut guides to trace our letters and heart.  You can do the same thing by printing out the letters and heart you would like to use.  Simply type the letters in a document and experiment with fonts and sizes until you have the desired style and size for your craft.  Do the same with a heart symbol.  Print the letters and heart, cut them out and then trace them onto the back of the contact paper.  Be sure to trace your letters backwards on the back of the contact paper.  If this process seems too involved, a quick fix is to use vinyl letters.  It is harder to get the perfect size, but they will do if you prefer an easier approach.

Once the spray paint is completely dry, stick your contact paper letters and heart to the front of your plywood.  Contact paper usually adheres without any issues.  However, when we did this at our event, the contact paper kept rolling at the edges.  If this happens to you, no need to worry.  I will give you directions in the next step on how to handle this nuisance.

Use your background color to paint the exposed sections of your plywood.  If the edges of your contact paper are curling or you are afraid of paint seeping under the contact paper, first grab a smaller brush.  Be sure to use the smaller brush to carefully paint from the center of the contact paper out toward the wood.  Never paint toward the edge of the contact paper.  You can choose to paint one or two coats.  I prefer to see the brush marks in a project like this because I think it adds character, so I chose to use one coat.  If you want an even finish, it is better to apply two coats of paint.  Peel off the contact paper while the paint is still wet.  If paint did happen to get under the contact paper, take a wet paper towel and carefully dab any unwanted paint away.

Here comes the fun part!  Take your corks and line them up so that they fill the entire heart.  Be sure to lay all of the corks out before gluing them.  Our magic number of corks was 55 when we created this craft the first time.  However, the night of the event, many people found that they needed a few more or a few less corks to fill up their heart.  So use as many corks as you deem necessary.  

Once your corks are organized on your plywood, use a hot glue gun to glue down the corks one by one.  Do this while keeping all of the corks in the heart formation.  You want to keep your layout so that you know the corks will be in the position you desire.  Also make sure that the glue is hot enough.  Sometimes when people use hot glue they get a little overzealous and try to squeeze out the glue before it is ready (ahem, insert sheepish grin here because I am so guilty of this).  Using glue that isn’t hot enough will result in poor adhesion and your corks will wobble or even fall off.  Ain’t nobody got time for that!  So make sure your hot glue is really hot, but use caution and common sense to avoid burns!

Once your plywood is all painted and your corks are beautifully glued down… drumroll please… it is time for the ombre!  Choose the main color you would like to use.  I will use red as an example.  Use red to paint the tops of about 5 of your corks.  Then add a little white paint to your red.  Remember that when you mix paint it is best to use very small amounts to gradually build to the shade that you truly want.  Mix the paint together until you end up with a shade of red that is a bit lighter then your original shade.  Paint the tops of a few more corks with this color.  Then repeat this step to create lighter and lighter shades of red that you will apply to the tops of the corks until your entire heart is painted.  You can choose to paint your ombre from top to bottom, side to side, or inside to outside like a burst of amazingness.  It is completely up to you!  

There you have it.  Your very own Ombre Cork Painting!  One of our happy craftivators said “I can’t make mine look too good or my husband is going to think I stopped at Homegoods again!”  So go ahead, work your magic and make it your own!  Please post or send us pictures of your completed Ombre Cork Painting!  It would be a privilege to see what everyone is making out there!  

To view all of the pictures from this evening, click here.
And, of course, to purchase tickets to our next crafitvate event at The Crush Club, click here.

Here’s to living a sassy, crafty, happy life!