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Creating a Mixed Media Book of Letters

This summer has been a busy one!  I’m so excited to share my latest project with you.  It’s taken me months to complete this mixed media book!  But it has turned out so beautifully that I can’t help but share some of my excitement and talk about my process a bit.

Completely DIY Mixed Media Book

This book is a gift for my husband, so I wanted to make it more masculine.  But, I also knew it was going to be a long process to finish it, and I had a tight deadline.  Originally I was going to alter a book and I began creating pages, but I fell into the trap of trying to make each page unique and very different from the next.  It was taking way too long and wasn’t coming together the way I hoped, so I scrapped the entire thing and started fresh.

This time I began with kraft colored cardstock.  I decided I was going to use fabric and stitch on each page to create the backgrounds.  I ripped white muslin into different sizes of squares and rectangles, and used Tim Holtz’ distress stain to color the fabric.  Once I glued the fabric down, I ran each page through my sewing machine several times.  I used several different types of stitches to add interest.

Does this book look cool enough for an online workshop?  Click here for a one question survey that will help me as I develop my online courses.  I need your help to make great content!

After the first round of stitching, each page got several strips of neutral colored washi tape.   Of course, then I realized they also needed another round of stitching to secure the tape in place.

These steps sound pretty simple, but they took a looooong time to complete.  Mostly because the bobbin threader on my sewing machine is broken and I had to thread my bobbins by hand every time they ran out of thread.  Man, that got old fast, let me tell ya.  But, the end result was worth the headache.

Once each of my pages was sewn the way I wanted, I glued two pages at a time together back to back.  This created one page, with stitching on both sides.  That’s when I began creating paper collages as beds for my notes (written on vellum).  The notes were attached to the paper groups with more stitching.

Japanese Book Binding

Next up, the binding!  I knew from the beginning I was going to use Japanese binding because of the single pages I was creating.  I used this tutorial to create the covers, and then cut strips of chipboard to place between each page in the spine.  This was important because each page needed extra space because of all the paper and embellishments I had added to each side.  I used a glue stick to glue the pages and chipboard strips together, bound the covers to the pages with binder clips, then drilled holes for the thread.  If you look closely in the video, you’ll see how crooked the holes are on the back.  Drilling holes straight through 1 1/2 inches of paper is pretty tough.  Oh well… it’s still holding together, and as long as you don’t look at the back, it looks perfect!

So, that’s my book!  My first one completely finished and created by me, cover to cover.  Yay!

Don’t forget to respond to my question about making this project an online workshop.  I really need your feedback!

Scrapbook Pages on Canvas

So, I’m kind of a noob.  I realized that I made these canvases over a month ago, and I have yet to share them with you here!  I’m so proud of them, too.  I really pushed myself and my ideas to create these scrapbook pages on canvas.  I think they turned out really well, and so different from each other.

scrapbook pages on canvas with paper flowers

This one is obviously more a shabby chic/heavily embellished page.  There are so many elements on this page- chipboard, paper flowers, texture paste, cheesecloth, stamping, ink, paint, gesso, and more.  It’s so fun to build the layers of texture in pieces like this, though it is a struggle sometimes because inevitably I end up covering up some element I really love with something else.  You can never get too attached to any one layer in this line of work… 🙂

side view of one of my scrapbook pages on canvas

Scrapbook Pages on Canvas

close up of one of my scrapbook pages on canvas

This canvas is a completely different style from the one above.  Simplified, more modern, and very clean, this piece has some texture paste, ink, and a chipboard piece with the photo on top.  That’s it!

I used a compass to sketch these circles out in pencil, then drew over them with my calligraphy pen and different colors of india ink.  A spritz of water, and you get that awesome splattered/feathery quality that makes the surface so yummy looking.  🙂

modern scrapbook pages on canvas scrapbook pages on canvas using different styles

Thanks for checking these out!!  Have you made any scrapbook pages on canvas?  Leave a link to your blog- I would love to see them!

 

Neutral Color Scrapbook Canvas

I’ve always been more of a neutral color fan.  I feel like it’s only been in the past year or two that I’ve really branched out and worked in lots of different colors.  I love off-whites and brown backgrounds.  I love black text on beige paper.  I love kraft paper and chipboard, and I love the timeless, sophisticated quality to all of the above.

So, every once in a while, I go back to those first loves and just go crazy.  This canvas blends so many of my favorite things- neutral color paper with text, white and brown accents, text washi-tape, ink-stained muslin, etc.  It’s pretty awesome, in my opinion.  🙂

Neutral Color Scrapbook Canvas

neutral color scrapbook canvas with washi tape and pencil embellishments

What I love most about this layout, is the negative space that’s actually full of text and other images.  I whitewashed the whole thing with Distress Crackle Paint, but you can still see everything underneath.  Yet now, with the whitewash, it’s almost as if everything else is on top of a fresh, clean canvas.  I love that this piece has that look and feel.

  • The first step was to cover the surface with various papers.  Everything piece I chose was covered with text.
  • I darkened it with some walnut ink, and then paint the surface with Tim Holtz’ Distress Crackle Paste, for a crackly, whitewash effect.  Awesome.  🙂
    • Quick Tip- if you use crackle paste, I would recommend sealing it with some gel medium.  It can tend to flake a bit, especially the larger cracks where you used more paint.
  • The sides were a bit rough, with some paper still sticking over, so I took some time and sanded all the edges down.
  • Washi-tape was added to the left side; different lengths in all different neutral colors and patterns.
  • My map stamp and one of my script stamps were perfect to add a few more interesting details.
  • I stained some strips of muslin just a bit with more walnut ink, and added them over the washi-tape.
  • Next it’s time for the background paper, and the picture.
  • A piece of flair goes pretty well with everything else, huh?  And how about those IKEA pencils?!  I knew the handfull I grabbed would come in handy.
  • This piece wouldn’t be complete without a few ink splatters!!

neutral color scrapbook page neutral color flair IMG_3165-compressor

Anyone else out there a huge fan of neutral colors?  I’d love to hear what you think, and see your projects.

Thanks so much for visiting!  I hope I inspired you a little today.  🙂

Design Team Projects for Scrapiniec

Hi!  I’ve missed you!  Now that our show is over, I have all this free time again and I thought I’d share some of my latest projects with you, these ones all done for Scrapiniec.  They are a Polish chipboard company, and they have some of the most unique designs I’ve seen in chipboard.  There are some amazing artists on our team, and I am so lucky to be able to count myself among them.  Are you on any design teams?  I would love to check out your projects!!  Drop a link below.

Design Team Projects

I have 3 design team projects to share with you.  The first is an altered box that I created as a thank you gift for a friend.  The chipboard and flowers really dress it up and make it look super classy.

design team projects for Scrapiniec

I created this layout with various types of chipboard from their collection.  My favorite part, though, are the frames over the photos.  The chipboard comes packaged securely, laser cut but still clinging to frames and sheets that allow them to travel without getting bent or ripped apart.  Once I had taken the chipboard out of its’ frame, I was left with quite a few extra pieces of square shaped frames.  So, I decided to use them!  And what a great effect it turned out to be.

design team projects with Scrapiniec chipboard design team projects- layouts side view design team projects layout

The last of my recent design team projects I’ll share with you is my scrapbook canvas from this week.  I made this, along with several others (stay tuned for those!) as thank you gifts for the directors of and producers of the show we just finished.  I love being able to give meaningful gifts that will last forever.  If they love them half as much as I had fun making them, then they will be cherished for years to come.  🙂

design team projects on canvas design team projects canvas design team projects canvas with lots of elements

Thanks for visiting!  I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas- what inspires you the most?  What is your favorite type of mixed media art?  Let me know!

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?

A fun Disney layout with a little magic

I have a fun layout for you today!!  I’ve been organizing some of my old photos recently, and I found this gem from a trip my mom and sisters and I took a few years ago.  The Christmas lights on Cinderella’s castle are simply amazing; perfect for a fun Disney layout.

Disney layout with stamping, texture paste and india ink

Now, I do have a confession to make.  I was disappointed with how the colors turned out.  I used white texture paste through a stencil, and splashed colored inks onto those areas while the paste was still wet.  I did not take into account how the inks would absorb together as things dried, and what the splashes looked like at first was very different to what they looked like after everything had dried.

I needed to do 2 things differently- first, I needed to be a lot lighter with my ink splashes.  It doesn’t take a whole lot, but I have a hard time knowing when to stop.  Second, I needed to let the ink and paste dry between each color I added so they wouldn’t blend together like they did.  If too many colors blend together, they start to look brownish and dirty.

I am pleased with the white stamps and splashes, though, and the crystal gems add a nice sparkly touch.  🙂

disney layout showcasing cinderella's castle disney layout with texture paste disney layout with white stamping

All in all, though, it’s not too bad for a Disney layout.  🙂  What do you guys think?  Do you have any more suggestions for how I could have done better with the colors and composition?  I would love to hear your ideas and know-how.

Thanks for visiting today!!

Supply list

Ranger white texture paste

liquitex white acrylic paint

Ph Martin’s Bombay India Inks

DCWV patterned paper

Tim Holtz tissue wrap

Umwow Studio Harlequin stencil and dream flair

Adhesive Crystal Gems and Pearls