Friday, 18 January 2019

Mixed Media Winged Heart Tag

I made a heart tag for my first DT sample as part of the Andy Skinner Creative Team for 2019, well it is Valentine's Day coming up fairly soon.

Process steps
1. Take tag and give it a random coat of white gesso.

2. Paint dark grey acrylic paint mixed with a little water over the whole tag. Rub most of it away with kitchen paper and a babywipe if you want to remove more.

Use a small palette knife and scrape some white gesso lightly and randomly over the surface keeping the flat of the palette knife level with the tag. Dry and then repeat again over the same sort of area as you just did. This is to build a little more texture into the background.

Mix a little dark grey 50:50 with glazing medium and paint over the tag and gently rub back with dry kitchen roll and a babywipe.

Mix a little quinacridone gold with water, dribble on one place spritz with water and move around and dab some off with dry kitchen paper before drying. Repeat in another couple of random places.

Mix a little paynes grey with water and dribble around the edges, spritz with water and dry. I worked on about a 2 inch spread at a time.

Taking Andy's stencil and a 50:50 mix of modeling paste and gesso add the number and motif to the background.

Scrape what is left from the modeling paste/gesso mix to a torn piece of media card. Leave it to dry then colour up as we did on the background. Gather some torn muslin and little bits to create a collage ....

.... and stamp Andy's winged heart on patterned paper and cut it out.

Assemble the collage layer ....

.... and it was here I decided to stamp the specimen number - I used the stamp platform and stamped three times with black archival ink to get a good sharp image.

I so enjoyed making this tag. I think it's going to be a quinacridone gold year for me.


Andy Skinner - Stencil - French Elements
Andy Skinner - Stamps - Handle With Care and Skuldoggery
DecoArt - Media white gesso, Americana glazing medium, Media white modeling paste
DecoArt Media fluid acrylics - dark grey value 3, quinacridone gold, paynes grey
Tando Creative - Size 8 greyboard tag

Monday, 14 January 2019

Vintage Mixed Media - Tando Creative and DecoArt

Last November I offered to make some bits for Di at Tando Creative to help her have some samples for a Hochanda show she was planning for. This was the first of three of this new sized tag. It is 26 cms long and 6 1/2 cms wide. I wasn't sure when I first saw them if I'd like the size but I found them so easy to create designs on I soon fell in love with them. She has also designed some new stencils which fit exactly over these tags and are perfect for creating the backgrounds.

1. Seal substrate with white gesso.
2. Dip, drip and dry washes of media fluid acrylics.
3, Stamp some text using treebranch archival ink.

4. Tear some used and dried teabags and add to the background.
5. Seal with matte medium or decoupage sealer.
6. Stencil numbers with white modeling paste coloured up separately with raw umber and quinacridone gold paint paint. Leave to dry.

7. Sand the edges to remove excess tea bags and distress the edges with ground espresso distress ink.
8. When dry add focal, rusted chipboard images, some embellishments and some words

Rusty Patina

a. Pounce over some raw umber, payes grey and cobalt teal hue over the stars, blending the together as you go.
b. With a piece of wet and dry foam blend some carbon black media acrylic round the edges of the star letting some blend over the top. Dry.
c. Spritz the stars with water and paint over a coat of neat quinacridone gold media acrylic and leave to stand so that the pigment pools in various random areas and heat dry. 
d. Repeat again if you want a more rusty look than you have already achieved. Also use some neat paint over the pooled areas to rust it even further.
e. Blend a tiny amount of brilliant turquoise metallic lustre round the edges and randomly over the surface keeping it very light. (You can always dabble a bit more quinacridone gold back onto the surface if you need to - I did!)

"The beauty is in the detail"
This is a saying I often use when teaching my workshops and to me it is so true, I always think about the details whether they be large and important ones or small finishing touches.

Just like these stars that had a lovely mat patina on them but I thought a little bit of metallic lustre would lift and brighten them some more.

 Words are always so important and I have loads of stamps with phrases and sayings on them but I also have a huge A4 file with my own computer generated ones. Then I get something unique to my project and the right size for placing them on.

 By stamping in a lighter ink you can get some lovely subtle details in the background.

So there we have the first of my trio and I was able to use the stars I designed for Di to use on a Ministry of Mixology make and take earlier in the year. Bonus!

Keep your eyes open for the next two long tags to appear .......

Friday, 11 January 2019

Shabby mixed media leaves frame DecoArt

This is the project made for my September contribution to the DecoArt media blog. Being as it went live at the end of September I decided to go autumnal with distressed leaves in a frame. I had made two practice pieces before starting to see if I wanted the stamped leaves to be brown or golden autumnal colours. I chose the shabby effect but of course if you give this a go you could try any colours and any stamps you like. I think it would look good with seaweed as an underwater scene.

1 Take the frame and give one side a coat of these coloured paints - raw umber, burnt sienna, burnt umber and raw sienna. Mix the colours on the substrate as you are painting. Blend the colours with each other as you go along to create a tonal blended look.
At the same time paint the back of the panel piece on just one side and blend the paints in the same way. (This will become the back of your finished frame)

2. Stamp some falling leaf shapes using clear embossing ink on the frame piece and heat with clear embossing powder.

(Photo shows the powder on the leaves before being heated)

3. When it's cooled off  paint over the frame with titan buff and titanium white also blending them together as you go. When the paint is nearly dry rub it away from the embossed leaves letting the autumnal brown shapes show through.


I was going to do steps 4 and 5 at this point but decided to leave them till later and when later came I decided not to do them at all!!! I think I prefer the more neutral colours and the simpler effects o the frame.
4. Dip the paints in watery burnt umber and where the leaves are wet add some raw umber with a paint brush.

5. When it's dry repeat step three using just a small amount of pyrrole red mixed with raw umber.


6. Take the back panel and on the raw side (which becomes the inside when the top frame is layered on) draw a pencil line inside the frame to show the size of the panel that will be exposed.

7. Over a slightly larger area paint on a layer of white gesso and whilst it is still wet randomly paint and blend in some white crackle paste. Leave it to dry naturally. (I hadn't tried mixing these two before so had no idea what would happen). What we got is some random crackle over the board which looks pretty cool blended into the gesso. I must make a mental not though to not overwork it as that has prevented some of the crackle paste from working.

8. Whilst the background is drying die-cut three leaves and stamp them using a slightly watered down mix of titanium white and titan buff using a largish leaf stamp. (See materials list)

9. Soak the leaves with water and scrunch them up and leave them to dry or heat dry them. Blend ground espresso distress ink round the edges.

10. Back to the background. Paint raw umber antiquing cream over the crackle areas, leave for a few minutes to dry and wipe away with a wet babywipe.

11. Take a tree mask and paint one side with raw umber and burnt sienna .....

12. .....  then flip it over onto the background, cover with a dry piece of kitchen roll and press it onto the background. You will need to do this several times to get an impression. After the last stamp of the stencil spritz it with water so that you get some distressed areas.

13. Dry the tree shape, draw round the tree stencil with a permanent brown pen and shade in some of the branches, finish with a small brush and paint in some raw umber.

14. If you place the frame over you will see how much you need to colour in.

15. Now I decided to fill the centre background with some of the faux encaustic layers I love - see my media board where it all started back in May HERE. I began with some asemic writing using a black sharpie pen, added some colour with chalk pastels going over the tree with white pastel to tone it down a bit and then sealed it with matte medium.

16. Once dry I dipped it into some watery titanium white media acrylic and dried it repeating a couple of times until I was happy with the effects. Then repeated with titan buff. Seal with matte medium.

17. Now to add some texture with modeling paste mixed with white gesso. When dry dribble some raw umber paint over the three areas, dry and some more white chalk.

18. Now adhere the frame and background together using decou-page and leave it under something heavy for a while for the glue to bond. When it has done so fill the centre with clear modeling paste and leave overnight to dry.

These are the two practice pieces I spoke about at the beginning of the post. I think the brighter piece would work just as well especially if you are someone who loves autumnal colours.

Thanks for taking a look at my project.


Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Stamp on it for AVJ

Happy New Year, I hope 2019 will be a happy, healthy and creative year for us all.

Friday saw the start of a new challenge over at A Vintage Journey and I'm mega late in getting my contribution into the line up but here I am better late than never. The lovely Deb is the host this month has outlined the focus for the challenge.

"For this challenge we would like to see some stamps on your creations, a minimum of one stamp but the more the merrier! Stamp your backgrounds, fussy cut or die cut some stamped images, add some stamped sentiments; whatever you'd like as long as it is in one of our preferred vintage, shabby, mixed media, art journaling, industrial or steampunk styles."

I have made a cover for a new journal I am starting focusing on natural elements and inspired by my wonderful team mate and friend Alison Bomber. The amazing winter journal pages she was doing before Christmas were gorgeous to see and you can find a couple of them here and here and more in between.

Process steps
1. Scrape a layer of gesso over the surface of your substrate and let it dry.
2. Apply crackle paste through a stencil.
3. Carefully lay (but not glue) collage and ephemera papers in one area which will become your focal point and lower layer. As you stack and overlap your pieces glue them together but leave the edges not glued so you can tuck bits under them later if you want to.
4. Continue to build your layers testing and trying out where pieces would fit best.
5. Stamp and cut some insects and other elements, colour and distress them.

6. Go back to the background when it is dry, take your chosen paint colours and start to add them and spritzes of water to get some of it to move around.

7. I used quinacridone gold and paynes grey plus a black and burnt sienna water soluble wax crayon to add tones around the edges.

8. Check your collage design looks good over the background, alter any pieces that need colour and distressing. I chose this gorgeous dragonfly for my focal image and cut and layered three of them to make it extra sturdy ......

.... and a chipboard frame to stand him on. I layered on some random patches of texture sand paste before daubing on paynes grey, quinacridone gold, raw umber and cobalt turquoise hue.

9. Go back to your lower collage layer of ephemera pieces and give it a coat of mate decoupage sealer. When dry use the quinacridone gold and paynes grey to age and 'rust' the edges.

10.  Adhere this layer to your background and start to add the other pieces.
Because this is the front cover piece I sealed everything with decoupage first to help it last longer.

11.  Finish of with some remnant rubs to add more interest and help balance the overall composition if needed.

I hope you can find a moment to see some fabulous inspiration from the Creative Guides and maybe show us what stamps you are using throughout January.



DecoArt media fluid acrylics - quinacridone gold, paynes grey, raw umber, sap green and cobalt turquoise hue.
DecoArt mediums - media white gesso, media  white crackle paste, decou-page sealer,
Tim Holtz ephemera pieces, Entomology stamp set, Entomology framelits, layered dragonfly die and embossing folder, quote chips and remnant rubs
Journal, flower embossing folder, various stamped leftovers, water spritzer, black and burnt sienna water soluble wax crayons.