Those who do scrapbooking know what Cuttlebug is and what it does to a plain piece of paper – magic, that’s what it does! Only recently I’ve discovered the power of embossed paper via embossing folders and Cuttlebug. And I’m in, for good.
This little box has only a tiny strip of paper embossed with a scripture embossing folder. It was a regular printing sheet of paper I started with, later embossed, glued, distressed and varnished. And you can still feel the raised scripture image under your fingers… I say… lush!!
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’;
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.
And the after picture:
And a close up (more staining with ink pads this time):
And all this to decorate a small, heart shape box. Below, a brief photo tutorial with a short description ‘how-to’. For further advice, tips etc. please ask in comments.
Hope you’ll like this lil’ project of mine!
The box was painted quite thinly with acrylic, blueish grey paint. Peel off stickers in a shape of a rose on a stem were arranged around the edges and firmly pressed down to avoid being lifted by the next coat of paint. Next, I used antique white paint plus several ink pads, baby wipes and liquid bitumen to distress the surface. The stickers are still staying put at this stage (It’s actually a pretty cool effect as well if used for monochromatic stuff – just paint over the stickers, frames for example, with the same colour as used for the background).
Using tweezers (a tip of a craft knife would do, too) I lifted and removed the stickers. What I had was a greyish rosy pattern for me to trace with a relief paint. You may do wonders with relief paint if you practice for a while. I definitely don’t have any paining, artisty talents, so I needed a little help on putting down the rosy design for my box. Well, some are able to draw roses like this without any prior sketching… certainly not me 🙂
Just a small tip: overdoing acrylic paint = wet cardboard = dents and breaks 😦 ). I would actually start any paper mache box project from ‘sealing’ the box with a thin layer of paint. Thinly applied gesso primer is obviously working here as well. You can mix it with acrylics for a chosen shade.
Further distressing, applying, wiping off, applying again and wiping off again with a) fingers, b) wipes, c) paper towels. Distressers: obviously – bitumen (since the relief paint was silver I wanted to turn down the shiny in the rose :), metallic rub-ons, ink pads (love adding colour with them – hassle free use, easy to wipe off if you don’t like the effect. Often use brown/dark chocolate/pine cone etc. for darkening the edges of a box.
The bottom right shows rub-ons and some shadowing round the yellow rose paper cut-out (decoupage paper).
Place your motif (napkin won’t work – it’s too thin and thus fragile, unless you’re working with 3 napkin layers and bigger pieces) that is cut out from a paper print out (laser printer) or a decoupage, wrapping (other 🙂 paper and smudge’ round the motif, perhaps lifting it a bit in some places to add depth with a darker tone.
And finally, a proper piece of decoupage, at last – gluing 🙂
Any transparent, quite stiff piece of foil (e.g. a document file), Ocaldo craft glue (so affordable, so good) and kitchen paper towel are my tools for gluing down larger, non napkin, motifs. Picked up of course from the best in this craft business :). Thanks guys!
I always apply lots of glue, for paper thick like this at least 2 layers. These are thinly applied, the excess is absorbed by the kitchen towel when pressing down quite firmly but briefly with your palms. You want to make sure the paper piece will not lifted when varnishing at the end, or when further distressing to make the motif as if ’embedded’ into the box a bit more.
2 step crackling medium:
First step coat (the thicker the coat the bigger the cracks) was followed by the second step coat. At first milky, the first coat becomes transparent in time (everything from 30 min to 3 hours, depending on how thick the coat is). The box was left overnight in a dry place for the cracks to appear. Don’t rush it with a hair dryer, it may spoil the cracks. Let the second coat dry for several hours. Don’t fill in the cracks when it’s still sticky to fingers as the bitumen will dissolve the coat.
Filling in the cracks with liquid bitumen:
Apply the bitumen liberally onto the cracked surface. Using wet wipes remove the excess, be careful not to go over the same spot twice (bitumen plus wipes may wash off the cracks revealing the sticky coat underneath, and from this it only gets messier and messier). Also, only use clean part of each wipe. Work fairly quickly. Let it all set for a while.
Seal the cracks with polyurethane varnish (I use the spray version – look for it in any paint/hardware store). Applying acrylic varnish to 2 step crackle will make the coat crack even more and you will never get a smooth finish. Hence, sealing with polyurethane (use outdoors though, as it has a nasty smell).
Finish off with several layers of regular acrylic varnish or a couple of glossy varnish for decoupage by Maimeri. I haven’t tried Mod Podge yet, but will soon get the outdoor and the mat version and let you know whether it beats Maimeri products.
Almost every journey down the decoupage path begins with one step crackle medium. You may easily get it at every home/building/craft store and it seems to be very easy to use. Well, it may not necessarily be the case. The appearance of cracks depends on several factors, such as: thickness of the medium layer, the direction (upward, downwards, diagonal) you apply the top, contrasting paint coat and finally (and I would dare to say – most importantly) the precision of brush strokes. Actually, I rarely use a bristle brush – it is more tricky to get the entire surface covered to your satisfaction without going over the same spot twice. A round foam brush is my choice, always. And for those who have not tried this technique before – here’s where the shoe pinches; when applying the second coat of paint you must avoid overlapping or re-stroking otherwise you risk ruining the weathered wood effect. But let me start from the beginning…
For this project I decorated a kitchen rack a friend of mine brought over one day. It was supposed to be a housewarming gift for the couple and their newly acquired apartment.
And that’s how it started:
Step by step instructions for the picture above:
- chose two contrasting shades of paint
- apply the first coat (here: antique white), let it dry completely
- apply crackling medium with a clean, dry brush. The thicker the layer, the bigger the cracks. Here, I only covered some parts of the rack with the crackling medium for the most natural look – a partially aged piece of kitchen furniture. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions in terms of drying time; it usually takes 30 minutes to an hour. It’s ok to extend the drying time, you should be able to achieve the aged look even if the crackle medium dries up completely.
And here’s what happens when you apply the second, contrasting coat of paint. Use small amount of paint and tapping motions. The cracks start to appear instantly. Again, let it dry thoroughly.
The next step would be playing with colour. Ink pads are my favourite tools for creating backgrounds of colour. They are more forgiving then paints, very easy to remove if you’re not happy with the effect. Just have a go at having the piece you’re working on more than two dimensional. Don’t overdo though; as much as like some strokes of metallic shade (antique gold being my favourite) glittering at the edges or around the paper motifs, making the finished piece look too ‘glittery’ is too much if I’m concerned. (But of course de gustibus non disputandum est :).
Metallic rub-ons, relief paint, liquid bitumen – I use mainly these three to either age, distress, the piece or ‘colour’ it (or both, obviously).
Tip: Try cleaning your hands, stencils, brushes with baby wipes; these are not abrasive, but are very handy as you always create mess whatever you do when crafting (a lot of mess some would say… )
I use two brushes when working with liquid bitumen. Since it’s a sticky, white spirit-based solution, it difficult to preserve it’s original condition. To keep them fairly clean (and workable) I actually use kitchen wipes (baby wipes for more easily cleaned objects, like my hands for example 🙂
Here’s adding floral patterns with a brass stencil, liquid bitumen and a brush with stiff bristle.
I don’t have a picture of the finished piece, but the next collage should give you a rough idea how it turned out. (Chicken cut outs from a paper napkin, wooden embellishments by Kaiser Craft and a few coats of acrylic varnish)