Steampunk Tag with tutorial video

Perhaps it was the amazing steampunk Maleficent dragon I saw in Disney World last week, but my mind has been fulls of gears and rust recently.  This steampunk tag was such a quick and fun project to work on, and I found some fun new techniques to try, too!

steampunk tag

I think my favorite new technique was applying modeling paste to the surface through a chunk of tulle.  It added a perfect layer of texture, a look of aged leather that looks spectacular on this steampunk tag.  I love adding new techniques to my arsenal.  🙂

I used black crackle paste under the gears on the top and bottom, but the layer I used was too thin for the crackle to really show up.  I maybe should have put some clear crackle paste over the top in a thicker layer- then I’d have the crackle look without having to overload it with the black paste.  Of course, if it’s too thick, it would warp the paper…  so many things to consider!

And of course I have to mention the faux rust on my chipboard gears.  I love layering various brown colors to achieve that old, vintage look, and how the layers of chipboard really pop off the surface.

steampunk tag with embossed stamping

steampunk tag with chipboard frame and gears steampunk tag with chipboard gears steampunk tag with stamping

I’d like to make more tags in the future.  I see a lot of artists creating collections of tags, and I love the idea of doing that- perhaps even putting each one into a mini book or using them for gifts and cards…  so many possibilities!  How do you use the tags you create?  And is anyone else as enamored of steampunk tags and art as I am?

Mixed Media Snowflake Commission

I was approached by a friend of mine a couple weeks ago about doing a commission for her wedding anniversary.  She asked for two things- shades of blue in her wedding colors, and snowflakes.  I drew up a few sketches, and once we decided on a the basic idea, I got to work this mixed media snowflake piece.

mixed media snowflake canvas art

Boy, this piece is just bursting with texture!

mixed media snowflake art

  • Creative Embellishments has snowflake chippy’s in various sizes.  I placed several of them on the surface of my blank canvas, then used watered down acrylics to spray some color all over.
  • Once the paint had dried nearly all the way, I removed the chipboard.  The paint had dried underneath with a super cool print of the snowflake, marking a pattern on the surface.
  • I added some variation by daubing some more paint onto the surface with a sponge.
  • The background still needed some sparkle mistiness, so I spread some silver metallic paint on some plastic wrap, and used that to apply the paint to the canvas.
  • The chipboard was splashed with color from the first steps, but I added some of the metallic paint to give them more shimmer, then splashed them with a bit more blue.
  • Now for some modeling paste!  I knew the basic look I wanted to achieve with the texture I would add, so I used a palette knife and my fingers to apply the paste.
  • I added my chipboard snowflakes to the wet paste, and made sure they were embedded solidly.
  • After the paste dried, I splashed it with some more fluid acrylic to blend it into the background.
  • Once everything was dry, I took some Snowflake Effects paste and added it in certain areas over the snowflakes and texture paste.
  • As the finishing touch, I added silver paint over the snow effect to give it a bit of shimmer, and a bit more to the surface of the canvas over the spots of texture I added.

mixed media snowflake commission IMG_2645-compressor

Finished!  I love that the piece looks like gusts of wind and snow.  There’s so much movement, it’s awesome.  I hope the new owner loves it as much as I do!!


DIY Christmas Orbs using mixed media techniques

It’s been several years since I’ve done any decorating for Christmas.  Travelling between families in California and West Virginia meant we haven’t spent a single Christmas at home since my husband and I got married, but this year it’s looking like we’ll have some family coming to us!  I’ve been going crazy with the decorations and let me tell you, it feels great to be decorating my own home.  And, I think it looks awesome, too.  🙂

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make a few of my own decorations amidst all the bin opening and ornament hanging.  I knew these Styrofoam balls would be perfect for some DIY Christmas orbs, so I got to work.

DIY Christmas Orbs using mixed media techniquesDIY Christmas Orbs with texture paste

  • The Styrofoam is very porous, so I began by coating each one with a generous layer of modge podge.
  • For two of them, I used liquitex modeling paste to coat the surface.  This gave them such a wonderful textured look.  While the paste was still dry, I added drops of india ink in red and green, then spritzed them with water.
  • Once the paste was dry, I rolled each one over the surface of an inked stamp.
  • For the two other orbs, I used torn chunks of tissue tape to cover the surface.  Then I sealed them with a coat of liquitex varnish.
  • Over the varnish I addedmore india ink in red and green.  It was cool to see the effect of the ink running in the wet varnish.
  • These orbs still needed something, so I wrapped them in twine, then added modeling paste over the twine to give it a awesome messy look.
  • I coated the paste in gold paint.

DIY Christmas Orbs with twine

And that’s it!  I was hoping to make some more, but using so many wet ingredients does make the drying time for these little guys quite long.  I have some commissions and Christmas gifts I still need to finish, so that will have to be it for now.

I hope you enjoy them and are inspired to create some of your own Christmas Decor!

DIY Christmas Orbs Decor

PearlEx Calligraphy Art- “Rivers of Truth”


PearlEx CalligraphyHi everyone!  I hope you all had an awesome Halloween.  🙂  I have a new video for you today showcasing a technique I experimented with this weekend.  I shared a little bit about it in my last post.  A calligrapher I know on instagram shared how she uses pearlex powders to create bright and colorful inks that work perfectly on black backgrounds.  I couldn’t wait to try it, and though I will confess that I made mistakes and need to practice this technique quite a bit more, I had so much fun and I hope it inspires you in the same way I was inspired by colorsofchrist.

I’ve had these black canvases for awhile, and I had actually started several paintings on this particular 6*6 canvas.  They all looked terrible- I just couldn’t make my vision a reality with the paint and the ink I was using.  So when I saw how well these inks stood out against black, I painted over what I had done before with black gesso, and started fresh.

  • I built the background by adding 3 torn pieces of Tim Holtz’ tissue wrap, using matte gel medium to adhere the pieces to the canvas.
  • I wanted to dirty them up a bit, so I splattered some black india ink, spritzed it with water, and let it dry.
  • Now with the text!  I concentrated my writing in the crevices between the paper pieces, varying the size of my writing and using three different colors.
  • I made quite a few mistakes-  there were several times my pen blotted a large amount of ink in places I didn’t want them, and trying to clean them up just made those spots worse.  I was able to clean them up a bit by painting over them with black paint.
  • When I do this again, I need to be careful of how much powder I add to the water.  I think when I had too much powder was what made it harder to manager.  Also, not overloading the pen nib would help, as well.
  • I added some modeling paste over the paper, in specific directions.  I let it dry overnight before I began to write on it.  Once it’s completely dry and set, it’s much easier to write on.
  • Since this ink is fairly easy to smear, especially if it gets wet or damp, I sealed it with a coat of Krylon crystal clear acrylic coating.  Now I can rest easy.



I’m looking forward to trying this pearlex calligraphy ink with lots of different color combinations, and hopefully improving my calligraphy skills a little bit, as well.  I definitely need to work on not overloading my pen nib, being more patient so I can achieve a better result and not splatter and leak all over the place.

pearlex calligraphy mixed media artpearlex calligraphy art


Thank you for reading!!  Do you like adding calligraphy or text to your art?  What do you think of this technique?  I’d love to see your projects!!  Leave your links in the comments!


Deluge- Abstract Calligraphy Art

Ok, I have to trumpet my own horn for a just a second- I just made my first video!!  I cannot begin to describe how stoked I am about this.  Yes, there are some things I need to get better at.  You always have to keep learning.  But I don’t think I did too bad, for my first time.  🙂  What do you think?

There something about words and the way that they’re written that fascinates me.  Words are symbols that we ascribe meaning to, in order to communicate.  By themselves, words are simply combinations of lines and curves.  But given meaning, we are able to make combinations that communicate ideas, build relationships, and form the foundation of civilizations.

In this piece, I used calligraphy to create what I had pictured in my mind- a river of words and meaning. Perhaps that meaning is negative, perhaps positive, but really it is a combination of the two.  Sifting through the mess to find the truth underneath is difficult and takes skill and practice, but it’s essential to try.

mixed media canvas art with calligraphy text

Creating a Steampunk Effect with Stencils and Modeling Paste

steampunk effect in mixed mediaOk, so I know I’m a little late today.  Goodness, it’s taking me a while to understand this new camera.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m super happy with it!  But there is a significant learning curve and it’s taking me a lot longer than normal to take photos I can be happy with.  I still think they could be better, but I’m getting there.  Anyway, my  new piece!!  I went to AC Moore this weekend and found a few stencils on clearance that I was so excited to find.  I absolutely fell in love with these stencils and the steampunk effect I knew I could achieve with them, and decided that some DecoArt black modeling paste would be the perfect partner.  I painted my canvas with some bright reds and purples that would stand out well behind the black, and after adding some chipboard gears and painted flowers, I’m pretty pleased with the steampunk effect I’ve managed to achieve!  Isn’t it awesome?  It’s a bit different, using purples and reds instead of rusty browns, but it totally works.

A Colorful Steampunk Effect

close up of steampunk effect

Though I’m happy with the way my piece turned out, I can’t help comparing my work with other mixed media pieces that I see that are so popular.  There are so many wonderful mixed media pieces that use layers upon layers of embellishments and found items that result in breathtakingly beautiful artworks.  I don’t quite have the vision for one of those pieces yet (think Finnabair) but these artists didn’t start out where they are now, either.  If art is in your blood the way it is in mine, we’ll be able to get there.  It’s just gonna take a little bit more modeling paste.

steampunk effect with stencils with texture paste

Let me know what you think and don’t forget to include your experiences and tips.  I’d love to hear them!

Supply list- (this list contains affiliate links, which means I will earn a commission on any purchases you make through most of these links.  Your experience as a shopper will not change.)

Crafter’s Workshop Stencils- Clocks, Gears

DecoArt black modeling paste

UmWow Studio chipboard

Winsor and Newton acrylic paint

Prima Marketing flowers