If you have any hints or tips about your work that you would like to share with us email them to dab@ledanet.com.au and we will use them here.


Try using vegetable oil to clean your brushes. It is cheaper, organic, and leaves your brushes clean and soft. Pour onto a soft cloth and 'rub' the paint out of the brush. No washing required. Avoid pouring turps - or even oil - into a jar and 'washing' your brushes as this is a waste of the medium and not so good for the environment too. Oil painting brushes should first have the residue paint scraped off onto your pallette, then rubbed clean with a soft rag dipped in oil. Then simply a good wash with soap and water to keep your brushes healthy.

Allow oil paintings to 'cure' at least a couple of months before you varnish them to avoid cracking in the paint, and always work 'fat' over 'lean' - thicker layers over thinner layers. This reduces risk of crackling due to paint shrinkage.


Regularly change your water jar! If changing to a lighter colour you need clean water to wash with as the darker colour left in the cleaning jar will affect your new colour! A small amount of water is just as effective as a full jar - and easier to use.

Varnish your paintings to keep them looking good and protect the paint. There are many painting varnishes available, and you can dilute some with gum turps to reduce the gloss. A large soft brush is best and painting on two coats of the varnish in opposite directions is best. Give your paint time to dry fully and 'cure' before you varnish - at least a week or two is a good idea.

Use good quality paints! The colours work better and the texture of the paint makes it easier and more versatile than 'cheap' alternatives.


'Stretch' your paper first. Wet it and soak away excess water, then tape to a board with brown paper gum tape. This allows the paper to stretch when wet and to dry out stretched - avoids wrinkling of the paper as you work. If you don't stretch it, then the final artwork will be buckled and difficult to mount and frame. Alternatively you could invest in the thickest watercolour paper you can find and work on a smaller size to avoid the stretching problem slightly.

Use masking fluid on white areas, or areas that will be a totally different colour. It dries quickly and is easily removed by rubbing with a clean finger or eraser when you need to paint it later.

Try using guache paints when you need a strong or vibrant colour in your work. It has similar qualities to watercolours but is a more concentrated pigment.


When joining two pieces of clay always score very lightly with a fork on both sides and apply a thin layer of slurry, then carefully join the pieces by wiggling into place. They begin to 'stick' and all the air bubbles are removed! Scrape the edges together to seal it all. Don't use a sharper tool to score as it increases the risk of air bubbles being trapped between the clay pieces.

'Draped' slabs are easy to work with and make lovely bowls, platters, vases, plates, plaques and tiles. Just roll out the clay to the required thickness and 'drape' into or over another object - a plaster mold, an existing bowl, a pile of newspaper... Anything goes.


Keep your chisels sharp at all times. A blunt chisel is a dangerous tool! Your tool box should always include pliers, tin snips, saw, hammer and some wire!

When working with hebel stone make sure you have some suitable stone adhesive to glue back those pieces you chip off by accident, or to join more than one piece of stone together for a larger sculpture.

Stay safe - use a dust mask and eye protection at all times. Rubber gloves, a thick apron and safety boots are good ideas!


Tiles come in a wide range of colours, sizes, thicknesses and finishes. Match the type of tile to the job carefully so that the final piece works well. Even glass beads, broken crockery, pebbles and found objects can be used with the right adhesive for the job. Use unsanded grout on smaller pieces for a smooth finish.

Weldbond or similar glue is ideal for glass or glass tiles! Make your own candle holders with shattered glass pieces on a clear glass vase. Large terracotta planters look stunning when covered in gorgeous tiles and make a statement!