altered wooden box, clock face, clock rub ons, clock stamp, distressing, liquid bitumen, steampunk, steampunk clock, steampunk gear, wooden embellishments
I keep floating more and more away from cutting out pieces of tissue and gluing them down. With each project I very rarely have a finished look in my head, or even if I do, I alter the concept, the colour scheme, etc. It was no different with this little box. Initially, I imagined a steampunk like piece of collage luring from underneath the glass with a few metal gear elements on top of the lid. The collage was created… and then never printed out. Btw, I love browsing the web for exciting vintage and quirky looking images, but once saved, they all end up on a ‘perhaps’ list (thank God for Picasa and its filing system).
So, the original idea aside, I reached for black and white clock rub-ons, a wooden clock embellishment and some clock stamps. I also wanted to play with building up a layer of freely applied metallic paint, later treated with bitumen, ink pads and cracked with a crackle glaze for an interesting texture effect. That’s how it turned out:
It is difficult to photograph, but distressing gave the surface a porous effect, and below you will find a tutorial on how it all came together. Should you have any questions about any of the steps, or perhaps you need a bit of advice on working with different mediums, please ask in the comment box and I would be delighted if I’m actually able to help.
1. Top lid removed and sides covered with a thick layer of metallic paint (it’s thicker, more flexible to work with than regular, non-metallic paint):
2. Lots of bitumen applied when the paint was semi dry (after about 20 min):
3. Bitumen was tapped into the paint with a sponge brush preserving the texture look and when it started to set it was gently wiped off with wet wipes (paper towel tends to stick to this highly viscous medium). The process was repeated several times on each side:
1st layer of distressing – wet bitumen applied with dabbing motion:
2nd and 3rd application of bitumen:
textured effect achieved: (a touch of metallic copper was added)
In reality, distressing with bitumen gives different results each time. There are to many variables to predict exactly what the outcome is going to be. To illustrate this let me show you front and back of the box with the back being more ‘rough’;
the sides were further treated with chateau grey ink pad and varnished:
And now onto the top:
1. Again, a layer of gold metallic was applied generously as a base, ‘working’ coat:
2. A porous layer was created by applying paint in three different shades. Tine amount of a paint was gently tapped onto chosen spots (inside edges, corners only, etc.). The aim is try and not to blend the paint into the base colour, which is easier said then done since the base layer is thick and still wet. The wetness allows to create ‘peaks and ponds’, as I call this effect – peaks being glimpses of gold and ponds – darker shades – the whole, when covered (and flattened) with bitumen will give a porous texture.
3. Next, the frame was covered with bitumen 3 times; each time layer was left to dry up a bit before wiping off with a wet wipe.
4. A touches of crackle glaze were added to the porous surface. Any glaze behaves like varnish (more or less), so naturally the porosity was somewhat embedded into the thickness of the crackle glaze. And if you’re after small cracks here and there – go for DecoArt 1 step crackle (or any other one step crackle for that matter) instead of more laborious process of applying step 1 and then step 2 in a two step crackle glaze.
5. Cement and chateau grey ink pads completed the distressed look while the inside of the box was painted metallic gold (normal, thin layer), distressed with bitumen, and stamped (pinecone ink pad by Versacolor):
6. A part of Kaisercraft rub-ons set was arranged on the glass part of the top along with a wooden clock embellishment (again by Kaisercraft) and some brass ‘gear’ elements. The clock was coloured with ink pads and sealed with glossy varnish by Maimeri (thick enough not to run over the edges). The same varnish was also used to adhere the clock and the gear bits onto the lid. Before sealing the inside of the box with a thin layer of acrylic varnish, the stamped bottom was protected from smudging by a coat of polyurethane spray varnish.
That’s it! Again, contact me if there’s sth more you wish to know about this little project.Have a great weekend! d.
It’s beautiful! Beautiful detailed work, box is really amazing! Natália
Thanks a lot Natália! That is so kind of you to say so. It may seem like lots of effort to get this result, but really creating clean, simple designs is much harder. Here you just splash paints and stuff on top of each other, mix it gently and see what will happen 🙂
Ridiculous! What a cool technique, Dominique. I am going to have to give it a whirl, myself. Thanks for the tutorial! ~Chanda
Most welcome! And I seriously recommend getting your hands on this bitumen, it makes everything look effortlessly very very noble vintage – check out the inside of the box for example, I just painted it gold and really without paying too much attention to where the brush goes (as if scrubbing it more than properly painting) I applied the bitumen in 5 minutes. It stays in the crevices and sort of aligns itself along the wood grain, staying in between the wood fibers. Talking ‘peaks and ponds’ – that’s the thing to go for. With paint you need to be careful a bit not to have ‘smudges’ going every direction and to avoid shadowing and overlying; you want to achieve one ‘pondy’ layer on top of the base coat, right? and paint dries up quickly, you need to be careful about the amount and work in sections trying to have all sections nicely coming together and of the same shade, well, with bitumen it’s easier – it’s like tar, dark brown, and has a bit of shine to it – very elegant. Enough now – it sounds as if I’m producing the stuff :). I just haven’t seen any crafter using it yet and it’s too cool of a medium to miss out on.
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Where did you buy the bitumen? I’ve never heard of it
Hi Brittany, I’m quite positive that you cannot buy it in UK for starters… whenever I’m visiting my folks back home, which is Poland, I get my hands on various stuff I’m not able to get in UK. It’s an Italian company called Maimeri, their stuff’s simply great.
Where did you get the clock gears and pieces which were glued on top?
Hi there! Sorry for a delay in answering. I believe all the elements were from Kaisercraft, a great crafting company 🙂
Thanks so much!
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