Tag Archives: decorate


Looking to add a little color into your home?


…Take a tip from Karen Edwards, a wife, mother, and full-time college administrator who has taken her hobby to a whole new level! Making old things new again, Edwards is the chief operator of SHARPWOOD, a line of re-worked home décor, musical instruments, utensils and more, all of which are designed by hand!  Her very first designs can be found on basement pipes, switch plate covers, old dresser drawers, however since then Edwards has graduated to front doors, table settings, even guitars! Check out how Karen Edwards uses Sharpie Permanent Markers to turn drab into fab!

“SHARPWOOD products have been salvaged from their misguided fate because of their inherent beauty and potential for re-design!”

Where does the name SHARPWOOD come from? SHARP refers to the Sharpie markers that I draw with, and WOOD refers to the medium I usually work on.  In our household, “SHARPWOOD” has become a verb!  The other day, I was wearing a dress with a lot of detailed designs in the fabric and my 6 year old asked me, “Mama – did you SHARPWOOD your dress?”


Where do you salvage these items from? Do you stick to your hometown? Stumble upon them?  Travel to find pieces?  Most pieces were found at second-hand shops or garage sales. I have a hard time driving by either without making a quick stop. My extended family is also in the habit of noticing treasures when they second hand shop. Sometimes when walking into a 2nd hand shop I feel like a kid in a candy store, how do you decide among pieces that you want to re-design? I’m picky about the pieces I buy. I look for unique shapes and features. If the piece doesn’t inspire me, it just sits in the basement and gets passed by as I pick the next thing to work on.

How long have you been “re-designing” items? I’ve only been doing this for a couple years. I picked it up when I was between jobs. I’ve done at least 60 pieces… I started with a pair of candle sticks – I just looked at them and thought “I could make those look better!” The next thing I knew, I wanted to draw on everything in the house!

SAharpwood CUpYou mentioned that SHARPWOOD is your hobby, what other things are you interested in? I’m a wife and the mother of two active boys. I’m also a full time administrator at a selective liberal arts college, working to support our international student population. I love culture and travel and my art is inspired by my interest in ethnic arts, designs and colors.

What is your favorite piece that you have worked on? A number of favorites are in my home – chairs, light switch covers, even my front door. My favorite piece on my site is the Masai Chalis – my father-in-law found this very unique piece at a sale in Minnesota. In the end, though, my absolute favorite project was a guitar that I decorated for a friend.

I LOVE the SHARPWOOD Treasure cup! What kind of treasure would you fill this vessel up with?! I like that one too. I imagine it holding unique stones or coins from someone’s travels…

Your designs are beautiful, so detailed! Where do you draw inspiration from – A certain culture or era, perhaps? I notice designs and patterns in things – fabric, wrapping paper, stationery… I love ethnic food, clothing, art, and culture – especially with South Asian or African origins, so some patterns come from that. I can’t really trace a specific source.


What is the design process like? Give us the play-by-play! I don’t usually plan a piece, I just start working it and the design develops. Sometimes I find myself working with the wood grain, to trace a line in the wood or in the workmanship, but usually it is very random. I like to leave negative space so the color of the wood comes through, but that doesn’t always happen either. One design or color determines the next. I like to cover the surface, and then add texture and layers with dots and metallics.

Where do Sharpie Markers come in? What kinds do you use? Favorite Sharpie? I’ve used a variety of permanent ink pens, but Sharpies are the most vibrant, last longer, maintain the tips, and offer great color variety. I tend to use deep colors, metallics, and a lot of black. I mainly use fine point markers, though the ‘big boy’ version works well on larger pieces (like my front door). I also like to use brush tip pens – but they are very hard to find.


At a dinner party, let’s say, do you ever find yourself having to hold your hand back from snatching up the salad bowl? YES! I’ve actually snagged a few pieces that way! One day I was in a meeting with a colleague and actually asked him if I could SHARPWOOD his lamp. It was an old ugly thing, heavy wood, and I was just sitting there distracted thinking “That is an ugly lamp that COULD be made really funky!” He didn’t let me take it, and I was bummed and slightly embarrassed. I also find myself wanting to do more inside my home, which was built in 1904. I would LOVE to SHARPWOOD our old oak banister!

 sharpie on sharpwood  cup

 Is there any item that you haven’t been able to find or would love to work on? The guitar turned out really well – I’d love to do another.  It would need to come as a custom request, though, so I suppose that isn’t too likely. I also love to tuck words into the designs, so I enjoy custom pieces that can have meaning for people.

Are you working on anything new at the moment? I usually have several pieces going at once. My front door is a work in progress, and I’m also working on a drum shell, a pair of book ends, and a headboard right now. Yesterday, I ran across a figurine of a mother pig with 2 baby pigs – I might start working on that one tonight (it will be very fun)!

You can Find & Purchase SHARPWOOD at etsy.com The full internet address is http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6051638


These peices will not only liven up your own space but this is a great gift idea too! 

Head on over to your local second-hand shop to see what you can find.  Better yet, take a look around your house – go back into your crawl space, climb up to the attic and pull out a piece that can be given a new life! 

For more DIY check out www.sharpieuncapped.com


More Sharpie to Come!

Don’t think I forgot about you!!  No, no, no..not even a little bit!


I’ve been working like crazy and I am now in the process of interviewing a few Sharpie artists for the Sharpie Spot.  I’ve sent out a couple interviews and now am awaiting their return!  What do I have coming, you ask?  A little bit of this, a little bit of that. I hate when people say that I’m sorry… I’ll give it to you straight:

1) Casey Burns is an illustration and design artist who’s work I have been following for a while now.  I have a quick blurb about him on my Sharpie Art! page, in case you thought you were having DejaVu.  I sent his interview out just a little bit ago after he emailed me saying thank you for the shout-out on my blog!  What a nice guy, right?!  Well, once you’re nice to me I like you, so Casey, WELCOME TO THE SHARPIE FAM! I’m really excited to see what he has to say, and I am doubly excited for you all to read about him!  Check Casey and his art out at the following links…a) Casey’s Website b) Blog c) MySpace d) Archive of Posters on Gigposterscom


2) Next up we have Karen Edwards, owner, creator and designer of SHARPWOOD.  This creative and talent artist salvages pieces and re-designs them with Sharpie markers!  Her work is quite incredible, with sort of a bali, safari look – I am probably not even explaining her style correctly, hence why I interviewed her!  🙂   Hand painting each piece, Sharpwood pieces are one of a kind and truly masterpieces.  The detail that goes into her work is magnificent and beautiful.  The collection includes wide range of products such as, guitars, chairs, light switch covers & light fixtures, a guitar pick-guard, drums, bowls, plates, and more!

To look at (and buy) Sharpwood pieces, click here.  I know you are going to like Sharpwood – and if you are eco-friendly, Sharpwood is just your taste! Like they say, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure!


3) Aside from interviews, I am also working on developing plans for Sharpie at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York next month!  You better believe that I am SO EXCITED for this!  Recently, Sharpie was contacted by the cutest, most creative designer, Erica Domesek, founder the DIY brand, P.S.-I Made This… Erica came up with an idea for “Sharpie Bar” at Fashion Week where designers, celebs, artists, attendees… to customize, design and put their mark on fashion accessories with an assortment of Sharpie markers and pens!  What a great idea right?  So, Erica, my boss Susan (Follow Susan on Twitter) and I have been running wild putting this awesome event together.  Fashion Week is the 3rd week of September and the Sharpe Bar will be open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 9am to 3pm!  So, if you are in town stop by to personalize a pair of sunglasses, a headband, sneakers, t-shirts, bracelets, AND MORE!  This is going to be off the hook, can you tell I am psyched?  I’ll give you more details as they flow in!

Click to check out Erica’s website P.S. – I Made This… and Follow P.S. on Twitter and Facebook


I am working on a few more interviews and projects but I need to leave a little bit of mystery, right?! Keeping checking up on the site and you can follow me on Twitter for updates too!

xoxo Whitney

UPDATE* Designer for a Day!


Remember how my post about  Zulu Creative’s 3rd Birthday Celebration & TOMS “Style Your Sole,” event??

Here is a refresher just in case:  On Sunday, July 26th Zulu Creative and TOMS shoes paired, yet again, to celebrate Zulu’s 3rd birthday  with TOMS “Style Your Sole” party.  300 guests attended this rockin’ party in Houston, which provided children in need with new TOMS shoes!  Not only did attendees get a sneak peek of TOMS 2009 Fall Collection, they also got to be designers for the day!  Fully stocked with Sharpie markers and paint supplies, the party-goers got to work and created super cool designs right on their TOMS.

“Positive vibes surrounded all of us at the party and I’m so proud of how the Houston community came together to support TOMS and their important mission to help children in need”

– Tina Zulu, Zulu Creative’s Founder and Chief Creative Officer.


DJ Chicken George kept positivity in the air with an outstanding selection of soulful and uplifting tunes. While DJ Chicken Geoerge kept the beats flowing,  Aerosol Warfare Gallery’s GONZO247, a Houston, TX urban street artists created custom designs for fans. 

 Here are a few of my favorite pics from the event…

zulu desgining w sharpies

zulu mom and baby

zulu shoes

zulu event

zulu designing 2

zulu baby shoe

zulu post ad

this one makes me happy

For more information on the who, what, where and all the in between, check out Zulu Creative on Facebook and click on this link to read the July ’09 ZC newsletter!  For now here are some of my favorite pictures from the event… enjoy!

Kickin’ it in my Sharpie Sneakers

We constantly hear about how celebs and large companies use social media tools to attract attention-  whether it’s Oprah broadcasting live via Skype, Taylor Swift selling ## albums off her MySpace page, or Starbucks promoting a contest on Flickr, big names are taking over the social media circuit.  Well, move over Harpo, put down the mic Tay, and cool it caffeinated Mermaid, there’s a new kid in town…

opc 1

Let me introduce you to Peter Mullin, the mastermind behind the creativity, the art, and of course, the cool factor of OPC Kicks.  Since sixth grade, Mullins has been using sneakers as his canvas- transforming them, with paint and Sharpie markers, into virtually new shoes!  Soon after rockin’ his custom kicks around school, his friends wanted in on the action!

“Ever since I did my first pair, I started getting used shoes from my friends and customizing their shoes.”

Realizing his potential and that of his product, Mullins began selling OPC Kicks on Ebay.  Wanting to spread the brand further, he created an OPC Kicks page on Facebook where he could promote and show off his shoes.  After receiving so much positive feedback, this sneaker savant is now designing and selling both new and used custom designed shoes to people all over the internet!

What DREW (ha pun-intended) you to painting shoes? I always have had a love for shoes; my favorite thing to do was to find the craziest shoes on the market.  Then I wanted cooler and more colorful shoes that were exclusive – that no one else could have.

opckicks1Be honest…how many pairs of shoes do you own? And Does the shoe have to match the outfit? Haha!  This is probably one of my favorite questions to be asked…My mom and Dad think I’m crazy, but I have 31 pairs of shoes.  I have my favorites, including my customs, some very rare Nike Dunks and, of course Jordans.  There is nothing better then waking up and looking at which pair to pick, and especially putting a new pair on!   But NO… my shoes don’t always match the outfit.  Sometimes though, because the girls like itand I like to match too.  But sometimes I just like wearing whatever shorts I have clean so that people can see the full image of the shoes I am wearing. I also like when they POP out more than my clothes.

Why did you choose Facebook.com to be a main outlet to spread the word about your business? When more and more people started asking to see my work and not having a way to show them, I made a profile for OPC KICKS. It was easy to create and easy for friends to get to.  Once I created the page I was getting crazy friend requests and getting awesome messages from people supporting the shoes and my business. That got me more and more pumped up to work harder and keep on putting up more pictures.  It just seemed like people were using Facebook a lot more then other sites.

Well, now that our friendship is OFFICIAL seeing as we are FaceBook friends and all… I read on your profile that you only paint Air Force Ones.  Why is that?  Where do you get them? I have [worked on] other types of shoes before and they never ended up looking as good as the Air Force Ones. I like the Nike Air Force Ones because they are so simple and everyone (especially me) loves Nike. It seems like they were made to be customized because they have good sized proportions to be painted. To me, Nike Air Force Ones seem to be the most clean and original shoes to ever hit the shoe market.  I have an awesome shoe connect too, who I met on Ebay.  I bought my first case of 16 shoes from him, one of the biggest purchases at that time, and was nervous of a scam but then two days later; sure enough a huge box was waiting on my front porch when I got home from school.  Ever since that first case, I would just call and tell him when I needed more and he would ship them out.   Now he ships me 3-4 cases of shoes at a time, at an amazing price!


Do you know every word to Air Force Ones by Nelly? Haha No. I do not.  I like the song a lot but I’m more of a Kanye West and Lil’ Wayne fan.

What kind of Sharpies do you use on OPC Kicks? Favorite Sharpie? I use the original fine point Sharpies.  My favorite Sharpie color is RED, but I defiantly use BLACK the most.   Each pair I do has Sharpie on it somewhere, whether it is outlining, detailed designs, or putting someone’s name or a number on the shoe.

Why Sharpies? Why do you like them? Sharpies are the bomb, they never come of the shoes, and I can add more detail that can’t really be done with a paint brush!

sharpie fine pt

What goes into designing a shoe? How long does it take? Usually I like to free hand my shoes, especially the ones sold on Ebay. But I also get a lot of orders from people wanting specific designs or colors.  On an order like that, I draw it up to show what the shoe will look like and make sure it is exactly what the person wants.  After that I have to rub down the shoes with a special chemical to take of the factory gloss finish from the leather.   After mixing paint with the right chemicals, [making his own paint cuts costs by 10-15 dollars] I GO TO WORK!

Time really depends on how complex the paint job is.  I can finish some, complete and ready to wear, in 3 hours.  Others, I could spend up to 10 hours on. I try to work on 3 to 4 shoes at a time which saves time while paint is drying.opckicks5

How do you cover up/correct a mistake? If you ever mess up, that is! Not perfect yet…but if I mess up I can rub it right off before the paint dries. I try to keep the steadiest hand I possible.  Messing up with Sharpie isn’t too noticeable but if it is either I try to make it into a whole new free hand design or start all over on a new pair!  And that big of a mess has only ever happened twice!

Do you have any funny stories using Sharpie markers that you could share? The really funny ones are just drawing on somebody with Sharpies when they fall asleep!  One time, my friend fell asleep really early at a family graduation party and the parents were not too happy about that.  He had his shirt off already so, four friends and I got as many Sharpies together as we could find and went crazy on him!   Drawing full-body Sharpie art all over him – including drawing a TUXEDO and whatever else we could think of, all over him.

tuxedoshirt*Note* Sharpie does not support or promote the drawing/writing on your own or others’ skin with Sharpie permanent ink.

Who are your main buyers? A lot are from school, as well as people who have heard about me and have personal orders. I’ve been getting a lot of calls from moms wanting custom shoes to give to their sons or daughters as birthday or graduation presents. The bulk of my shoes, I would say, are definately sold through Ebay.

opckicks7If you could design a shoe for any one person (athlete, celebrity, musician, politician, singer, etc.) who would it be? That’s a pretty hard question…but if I were to choose one it would probably be Kanye West. He is always wearing some of the craziest shoes, plus I really like his older music.

Does every shoe have a different design or do you make several of each? A lot of my shoes are one-of-a-kind, especially personal orders.  If they’re just a certain color scheme that sold high, I’ll make more.  BUT if the listing says “One-of-a-Kind,” there will never be another pair made like it.

Aside from painting some really cool sneakers, what else do you enjoying doing on your down time? I really enjoy hanging out with my friends. I spend a good amount of time with my friends, but when I’m not with them, I love playing lacrosse, the original Halo 2 every once in a while, playing roller hockey, and just chilling and enjoying the free time.

Look into your crystal-Air Force One OPC Kicks- ball, now, what do you see for the future OPC Kicks? I love the creative questions!   I would really like to start designing more and more shoes.  After a couple vacations this summer, I am going do be working on shoes like none other. Once I start planning more time to work, I think OPC Kicks is going to start blowing up a lot more!   If things go really well during the school year, I would love to open up my own boutique, or maybe start a website throughout college then open the store…  I’d love to just do shoes all day but I like keeping my good grades and am getting very excited to go to college


Where can we find OPC Kicks? You can find me on Ebay! I have 3 accounts right now and in about a week, I’m going to have a ton of new customs shoes up!

Most Used: opckicks

Second Used: opc_kicks

Third Used: opc_kicks09

Anything else you’d like to add? Staying in contact with you (Sharpie) has made me want to work harder and harder!  So I would just like to thank you for keeping in touch!   [awww what a nice guy! Sharpies loves OPC Kicks!]


Be sure to satisfy your OPC Kicks craving by checking out Peter’s custom designed sneakers on Ebay and ‘Friend’ OPC Kicks on Facebook!


It’s My Party & I’ll Sharpie If I Want To!

Ain’t No Party Like a Sharpie PARTY ‘cuz a Sharpie Party Don’t Stop!

My best friend is a Kansas native with a New York state of mind!  She has always had a style that is all her own.  Let me paint you a little picture…if you were to take a peak inside her closet you would most definitely find pretty party dresses, a pair of skull and cross-bone embroidered shorts, several oxfords and polos, a couple pairs of Sperry topsiders, neon sunglasses, a cowboy hat, a fedora, oh and I can’t forget to mention the legendary gold, leather bomber jacket!

My bi-polar dressing, Wichita bestie, Jolie, is making her dreams come true today.  Leaving the comforts of home, she moved to New York about 2 months after graduation and is now living in a super chic apartment, (muahaha she will enjoy that comment) working for fashion designer, Yumi Kim and is in the process of enrolling in design courses at F.I.T.

(I like to give a hearty background description; it gives a better visual)

That's my girl in her graphic T!

That's my girl in her graphic T!

The reason I bring her up is that since living in NYC it seems that she is always going to fun theme parties, that I would never even think of (and boy do I LOVE a good theme party)!  One party in particular was a graphic T-shirt party.  Really easy concept: (so easy a caveman could do it) Everyone wears their fav graphic T! Of course, the soiree was fun for Jolie and her party-going friends and better yet, you didn’t know who was going to walk in the door next wearing what T Shirt!

So this got me thinking, WHAT AN EASY PARTY TO THROW.  And with Sharpie in mind, why not make your own T-shirt and save a couple bucks!?  This is an inexpensive way to be original, wear EXACTLY what you want and put your creative mind to use thinking up a clever phrase and design.

What you will need:

1)    a T-shirt or tank top (obviously)

2)    an assortment of Sharpie markers

3)    a newspaper OR piece of cardboard to put inside your shirt to prevent the ink from bleeding through to the other side.

NOTE: Once I made my friend a shirt with a Sharpie Magnum about 5 mins. before the party started and I think he almost suffocated because the fumes were so strong (sorry Scott)!  Moral of the story, you may want to design your T a day or two before the party, or try using Sharpie Paint Markers, (love) just to be on the safe side.


Alright you FUN-HAVERS, go make your T shirts, throw the party, take pictures and let me know how it goes!  Uncap What’s Inside!!

If you need some help, the Sharpie Uncapped site features a how-to video on making your own t shirt.  Click HERE to watch!

Check out Jolie’s blog at http://fashionfamine.onsugar.com/

Sharpie Your Skin!

You may be thinking something along the lines of: “Sharpie my WHAT?” “That doesn’t come off for days, you idiot!” Or “An intern can’t promote writing on yourself with a Sharpie!” Before you throw me off the deep end…I’m not talking about your epidermis!  No, no, no.  I’m referring to the protective covers that we use for our cell phones, laptops, iPods, MP3 players, etc..

(*Note: Have Sharpie on your skin?  With a little bit of nail polish remover & a cotton ball and you’ll be able to get most, if not all the ink off your skin pretty easily.   I’m speaking from experience here, my friend Ryan enjoys drawing, what we have dubbed, “Frat Tats” on his friends’ bi-ceps) 🙂

iphone_in_water_glassEveryone who knows me, agree in saying that I have a bad history with phones.  At least, when I was in college… geez I think I went through like 4 phones during the 2008 NCAA Finals (F.Y.I. Kansas won)!   You see, I drop my phone a lot…I don’t know what it is but it just falls, or I’ll accidently knock it off a table, I was even running the other day (iPod dead) when my phone just went flying off the treadmill!! Thinking I would be this new “non-flailing” person after graduation,  I used the last of my college $$ to buy an iPhone.  Well, guess what, being handed a degree didn’t magically change me!- Nope, I’m still me…  BUT the day I got my phone, I also bought a cover for it – BEST INVESTMENT EVER! After owning that one for 6 months, however, I think that it’s time to get a new skin.

Problem: I want something original, not just your average black cover; and while they are out there, they are also expensive.  With a salary of $0.00, I can’t necessarily afford a $40.00+ skin.


Solution: I found a cover on sale for $7.00, took a couple Sharpie Paint Markers, and made my own design.  I absolutely love it, it was easy to make AND it’s completely mine! I’ve given it a few touch-ups here and there (but that is partially due to the fact that Sharpies  don’t stop me from my “lanky-ness”). You could do this to almost anything and with different kinds of Sharpies- I just happened to do it to my phone cover. (*The pictures below aren’t my drawings but seemed to be good examples of easy, stylish skins that anyone could draw)

Here are a few ideas to start off with:


1. Can’t think of your own design?  Find one on the internet and copy it

2. Find a stencil you like and trace the pattern/image on.

3. Get a ruler and go wild with stripes. Draw a checkered or a plaid pattern.

str-mul-ipho64684. Use standard shapes, squares, triangles…Go crazy with dots and circles (always easy)!

5. Nervous to mess up? Plan it out on a piece of paper.  Don’t draw on the skin until you get it how you want it.


I am no artist but if you can draw a Hand-Turkey, you can do this!HandTurkey

Try it out, send pictures of what you come up with, let me know how it goes!   Have fun, be creative and UNCAP WHAT’S INSIDE!