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 Splatter Collage- “Organized Chaos”

Happy New Year!  Who’s up for a steampunk splatter collage?  🙂  I had such an amazing Christmas holiday, but I have to say that I’m glad the time has come to refocus and get back to work.  I have so many goals to accomplish this year, and I can’t wait to get started!  One of the biggest goals I have for myself is to create more consistently.  To be more specific, to spend at least an hour in my studio every day, no matter what else I have going on.  This splatter collage was a perfect start to accomplishing that goal. It only took an hour (at the most) to create, and I love everything about it!

splatter collage with chipboard

  • I began with a tiny script Finnibair stamp, and lightly stamped the surface with small parts of the stamp.
  • A clay brush tool was the tool I used to try a new splatter technique- dipping the brush in ink and using my finger to pull back the bristles to flick the ink onto the surface.
  • Creative Embellishments clock and gear chipboard was perfect to create the centerpiece elements.  I painted each piece with white gesso, then splattered them with black ink in the same way I did the surface of the canvas.
  • I adhered the main clock chipboard piece to the center of the canvas, then used 2 more stamps around the clock face.
  • Adding the chipboard gears around the clock was the last step.

That’s it!  So simple, yet stunning.  The splatters really give this piece a vibrant energy that’s hard not to love.

Using that brush to splatter the ink was pretty tricky- you can go in different directions or achieve different coverage depending on how you hold the brush, how you flick it, etc.  The effect, though, is something you can’t achieve any other way.  I’ll have to see how different types of brushes work to achieve different splatter effects.

splatter collage mixed media with ink steampunk splatter collage splatter collage with steampunk elementssplatter collage with stamped images

What do you think?  Should I have added more elements?  Did I add too many?  Is there too much ink?  I’d love to hear your critiques and thoughts!!

Steampunk Automaton- mixed media assemblage

Steampunk Automaton

I love it when I’m walking through a craft store and I see something I don’t normally use, but inspiration strikes and I wind up with an awesome idea and somehow, I’m able to recreate the image in my head.  I’ll be honest, it doesn’t happen very often, but it happened with this project and I was so happy about it!!

I’m such a steampunk fan.  Any idea where I get to use watch parts, clocks and vintage papers and I’m on happy artist.  That was definitely the goal with this little steampunk automaton, so I started with a few blocks of whittling wood I found at Michael’s and some patterned paper from Prima Marketing’s Archivist line, and got to work.

Steampunk Robot back full of gears

steampunk automaton with watch gears for buttons

I don’t know if this guy really counts as an automaton, since the gears don’t move and he doesn’t have a function, really.  His arms and legs are posable, though, so I went ahead and gave him the title.  I hope no one minds.

Here is a rundown of my process.  You can also check out my video below and hit subscribe after you watch it, so you don’t miss any of my future videos.  I always have some new steampunk project up my sleeve!

  • First, I painted each of the wooden blocks with brown acrylic paint.
  • I cut the paper to size and adhered it to each side of each block with gel medium, then sanded the corners.
  • I glued the two blocks that make up the body together, and began to attach a few watch gears.
  • I used an awl to make holes in the wood for the neck, legs, arms and ears.  I added two sizes of beads to transition the thin wire to the thick, wooden body and head.
  • Twine suspenders laced from the two large gears on his pants give him a whimsical, innocent look.
  • Tim Holtz Distress Crackle Paste added on top of all the elements makes this little guy look old and worn, like he’s been sitting in a garage or old workshop for years, forgotten and alone.  Somehow, though, he still has a smile on his face.  🙂
  • I added some brown india ink over the crackle paste to age him even more.
  • As a final touch, I used gel medium that I had thinned a little with water to seal everything, since I had laid on the crackle paste a little thick in areas and I didn’t want it to start flaking off.

steampunk automaton head with metal part for a hat

steampunk automaton pants close up

I love all the found items I was able to use for this piece.  Watch gears, electrical parts, jewelry findings, etc.  I was such a fun process and so different from anything I’ve done before.  What kind of things do you have in your collection that you could use on a piece like this?

steampunk automaton shoulder close up



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Black and White Framed Steampunk ATC’s

Gosh, I’m loving our new house!  I’ve got so many plans and ideas, it’s pretty difficult to focus on anything else… I’m even thinking about starting a DIY home blog to catalog all my projects, but we’ll see about that…  First I wanted to share these steampunk atc’s I framed and hung in our hallway downstairs.

I love the idea of using large mats to frame small photos and pieces of art, but I wanted my mats to be more than just plain white.  I wrote an article about my process you can see here.  Essentially, I used the cardboard backs from the frames I purchased, white-washed (or black-washed…) them, transferred some book pages to the surface, and then adhered each of the ATC’s right in the middle of each one.

I love the alternating black and white aspects of each of these steampunk ATC’s.  Each one is very simple- I used washi tape and various stamps to create the backgrounds, and then added some fun steampunk elements like watch gears, pen nibs, and wax seals.  They are so fun!!  What do you think?  I’m pretty pleased with my first DIY addition to our new house.  🙂

Framed Steampunk ATC’s

steampunk atc's

steampunk atc's

framed steampunk atc's

black and white steampunk atc's

Steampunk Mini Canvas Tutorial

Steampunk Mini Canvases

I don’t know why, but the more I work with watch gears, compasses, and maps, the more I fall in love with all things steampunk.  There’s just something about the mix of vintage victorian and industrial that fascinates me, and of course the perfect way to keep being inspired and try new ways of incorporating steampunk elements is to work on a few mini’s.

I got a new batch of watch gears this week, and I decided to use more of the odd shaped pieces in my work, instead of just the gears.  I layered some gears on top, and tried putting groups of them close together so give the impression of working cogs that can actually rotate.  Maybe someday I’ll figure out how to actually have rotating cogs in my pieces. That would be pretty sweet!

These canvases were so much fun to create, and so easy really.  Here are my basic steps-

  • I created backgrounds for each one with different techniques- stamping and washi tape for one. On two others I used patterned tissue wrap with chunks of acrylic paint on top and sprayed with water to allow the colors to blend and drip.  On the larger one I used different roughed up pieces of paper to collage the background, using sandpaper to age them and adding metal corners to the canvas.  I even used some chipboard and rub on elements.  The sky is the limit as far as background goes!

  • Once the backgrounds were dry, I was ready to add the gears!  I used Matte Gel Medium to adhere each piece to the canvas.  Some gears come with long, thin pieces sticking out, and sometimes I would use those parts to pierce the canvas, making sure that the main part of the gear was as close to the canvas surface as possible.

  • Once the gel dries, you can go over the piece and see if you want to add any more gears- sometimes I would layer several gears on top of each other to add more dimension.  It’s easier to do this once the bottom gears have dried.

  • Now you’re finished!  Unless of course you want to add a few more splashes of paint or ink.

steampunk mini art with splashes of acrylic paint

I hope you all have as much fun creating these little steampunk mini canvases as I did.  I’d love to see what you create!!  And don’t forget to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments- I love being inspired by you.

steampunk mini art with chipboard and rub on elements.