A Shadowbox Begins

Wow, did this month fly by or what! It feels like only yesterday that I thought the Art Elements theme of the month, Repurposing, was perfect for a project that I’d been thinking of, and it’s already reveal time. Many thanks to Lesley Watt for hosting this theme, since it turned out to be the spark that got this project started.

We’d taken out a new set of teacups a few months ago, and since then, I’d been holding on to the styrofoam container they came in, because it was perfect for a shadowbox!

Styrofoam Shadowbox: WIP

However, I’ll add some emphasis on the first statement of this post, because I couldn’t complete as much as I’d thought I would. To compensate for the lack of creative time last month, I think I put my fingers in too many pies this month. πŸ™‚ So I’ll just list the few steps that I’ve completed in the project as of today. So far, I have:

  • Decoupaged the styrofoam surface with newspaper
  • Added some texture by crudely adhering cheap toilet paper onto the surface
  • Applied gesso over the surface
  • Brushed some yellow / orange acrylics over it

All of these steps were interspersed with a lot of waving around of a heat gun, and then, because the surface still seemed a bit springy to the touch, letting it dry overnight and get some sun through the day as well.

I like how it looks so far. Next, I’ll add more acrylics of orange / red / brown shades, and try out some ideas for decorating the shadowbox with other material. Hopefully by then, I’ll have figured out what goes into the shadowbox, because let’s leave the most important stuff till the end! πŸ™‚

Coincidentally, some of my other projects this month fit the repurposing theme too, but they’re not a part of this reveal, and I’ve already talked about them. Though I couldn’t complete something for the reveal, I had a lot of fun this month, and it feels great after the crafty scarcity of last month!

More repurposing: a trinket box made from packaging cardboard base, scrap clay, and paper from a manual; and a shawl (which I’m still working on) using yarn reclaimed from an earlier project.


This is a blog hop, so if you’d like to check out what the other guests and the Art Elements team have repurposed for their artsy projects, do head over to their blogs linked below!

Guests: Tammy β€’ Alysen β€’ Evie & Beth β€’ Karin β€’ Hope β€’ Divya β€’ Anita (you’re here) β€’ Sarajo β€’ Kathy β€’ Rebecca β€’ Martha

AE Team: Niky β€’ Laney β€’ Cathy β€’ Caroline β€’ Jen β€’ Jenny β€’ Sue β€’ Claire β€’ Lesley

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Jewelry/Trinket Box | Inspiration Station

It might seem like my sister and I have forgotten about our Inspiration Station challenges, but that’s definitely not the case. It’s only that March got a bit lighter on the crafty side (because life!) and I just couldn’t work on any challenges. Not to fret, we’ve both managed to finish our respective artistic projects now. Here’s the inspiration that my sister chose –

Inspiration Station - Feb inspiration

Inspiration Station – Feb inspiration – Modern, eco-friendly greeting cards from Seedlings (with actual seeds embedded!), mentioned on Paper Crave

I’ve wanted to make a trinket box for my mom for a while, and I decided to do that for this Inspiration Station. My original idea was to use polymer clay and make a round, hinged box, the idea then turned into a square box, then became a gel-print based box, and finally, in its completed form, it’s a cardboard box with polymer clay embellishments. Talk about twists and turns! πŸ™‚

Jewelry / Trinket Box (Mixed Media) | Anita

This project was split over many, many days – even put back into a drawer since I wasn’t working on it – and I’m glad it came together well in the end. Due to so many changes to the project’s design, I eventually just used the colors from the inspiration, though I’d picked more elements earlier.

I started this project with thick cardboard from packaging material, making a box and a lid from it. On the inside of both, I glued some floral gel prints that I pulled using texture plates on a gel plate – I never thought texture plates would work so well with monoprinting! I had to dilute the paint a lot, though – it almost looks like a watercolor.

Jewelry / Trinket Box (Mixed Media) | Anita

From our acrylics stash, I picked blue, green and a bit of black, and painted the outside of the lid and the box.

For the embellishments, I picked various molds whose designs would work for the rococo / ornamental theme I had in mind, and used scrap polymer clay to make a number of pieces. I used 3D matte gel to stick these pieces on the walls of the box and of the lid, and to the top of the lid. For some added interest, I adhered sand over some of the still-blank areas using soft matte gel. I applied more blue / green / black paint over these for added depth.

Jewelry / Trinket Box (Mixed Media) | Anita

I brushed metallic coral acrylics and then applied brass / vintage gold wax onto the relief. I intended to finish the piece(s) by applying soft gloss gel, but the gel remained tacky upon drying. So I applied clear gesso over it – it seemed to fare better than soft matte gel – and though I gained a better surface to the touch, I lost all the sheen. πŸ™‚ I brushed more wax on the pieces, but let’s face it, it’s never the same. However, I don’t have any regrets about any of the choices I made, and that’s saying something. πŸ˜‰

Jewelry / Trinket Box (Mixed Media) | Anita

My mom loves her new jewelry / trinket box, and so does my sister. Now that’s what I call a satisfying ending to a project!

Speaking of my sister, you’ll want to check out the oh-so-colorful underwater scene in her card. I just love, love, love the fishies, and the background is absolutely fantastic! She nailed the theme.

Inspiration Station: Art Journal Page

My sister and I have started a theme-inspired creativity session between us this year – our β€˜Inspiration Station’ – one of us picks a theme of the month, and each of us makes something inspired by the theme in any media we fancy. Last month, it was my turn to pick, and I had just seen some incredible handmade bowls featuring electroformed crystals by Sabri Ben-Achour on Colossal – so I chose this as our inspiration.

Inspiration Station: Jan inspiration - Ceramic+Crystal Bowls by Sabri Ben-Achour

Inspiration Station: Jan inspiration – Ceramic+Crystal Bowls by Sabri Ben-Achour, showcased at Colossal

My creative session included a little bit of salt painting with watercolors, a little bit of gel printing, and a little bit of doodling. I started out with the salt painting first, and then added the gel printing when I felt it would complement it. I’ve finally collected my random doodles and gel printed sheets into an art journal, and I’d thought I’d use this as a cover page. When I was done, I didn’t feel it turned out cover-worthy, and it has now joined the other pages in the journal.

Art Journal page inspired by Ceramic+Crystal Bowls

The salt painting: I painted the top left half of the sheet in two shades of blue watercolors, and while the paint was drying, I sprinkled table salt at various spots. Once dry, I gently brushed away the salt, leaving beautiful patterns that remind me of the crystals in the inspiration.

The gel printing: This involved multiple prints. First, one gel print using brown acrylics at bottom right, with crumpled plastic and a ‘Faceted’ stamp providing textures reminiscent of the crackled ceramics. (I should probably use an actual crackled finish for this, which I’ll try next time.) For the central diagonal strip, I cut out a rectangular stencil-mask pair from paper, and gel-printed white on the strip and a bit of black around it. I’d intended to hand-letter the ‘cover title’ within the strip, which was dropped later since this is not a cover, and I didn’t want to write something random.

The doodling: The white on the strip turned out very patchy (since some of our paints seem to be drying out and thickening) so I decided to doodle around the patches with a silver gel pen. Impressed, I continued to doodle with other colors at other places too. I drew sharp shapes and round ones to symbolize the harmony between crystal and ceramic in Ben-Achour’s work. To add some additional interest, I scratched around at parts of the edges with a yellow gel pen to give a greenish tinge to the blues and browns.

Art Journal page details - inspired by Ceramic+Crystal Bowls

The details in the blue and the brown, and the oh-so-difficult-to-photograph silver!

 

I liked both the process and the results of this project much better than my attempts at plain gel printing. I think I may have found what works for me!

Sis has made a texture-filled flowery card that somehow reminds me of mini-gardens in hanging baskets and in slotted containers – do take a look!

Inspiration Station: Cosmetics Holder

My sister and I collectively work on quite a few arts and crafts, and we thought we’d try out a theme-inspired creativity session between us once in a while – our ‘Inspiration Station’ – one of us picks a theme, and each of us makes something inspired by the theme in any media we fancy. We’d like to do this every month, let’s see how it pans out.

Sis chose our very first theme last month: a mood board from Butterfly Reflections, Ink which is in turn inspired by Pinterest. I’d wanted to make a short, squat cosmetics holder for some time, to put eye/lip pencils and sticks in. The mood board was perfectly inspiring to get me started on this project!

Inspiration Station: Dec '18 inspiration

Inspiration Station: Dec inspiration – a mood board at Butterfly Reflections, Ink.

To start with, for the squat cylindrical wall of the container, I used a thick cardboard roll left over from used-up tapes. For the base, I used two circles cut from a chipboard – a smaller one that fits within the inside of the wall, and a larger one whose size matches the outside. I adhered the circles to each other and to the wall’s base.

I then glued striped paper, which I cut from envelope covers, onto the inner and outer surfaces of the base and onto the rim. To make them fit well, I cut them larger than the required size and snipped notches at regular intervals outside the ‘borders’, which proved useful to grip adjacent surfaces as well as to ensure that there are no gaps showing in the finished product. While all this dried in the sun, I moved on to gel printing.

Inspiration Station: Cosmetics Holder

Inspiration Station: Cosmetics Holder

The paper for gel printing was, again, from a thread-reinforced envelope, and it provides wonderful texture, both visual and tactile, which I love in containers. I used stamps with circles and patterns for my interpretation of the shapes in the mood board. The gel printing went better than I hoped (but still not exactly like I wanted to – the blues turned out too bright, and pinks are supposed to be flowers and dandelions. πŸ˜€ ) However, I just love the outcome! I cut the paper to size and glued it to the outer and inner walls, with the thread still intact.

To set the surfaces and finish the holder, I used matte transparent gel. (Thanks, Sis, for the idea! I think you’ve finally succeeded in making gel ideas stay put in my mind, ready for access at the slightest nudge. πŸ™‚ ) I’ve already started using the holder, and I’m delighted that it’s just the way I wanted it to be!

Sis has made a pretty card for our theme, and you’ll want to look at the cute flower motifs and the background!

Shadowbox Shrine

Oops, I almost forgot to make something from my PCA course this month. And when I did start work on a project, I accidentally cracked my version #1 when it came out of the oven. I could almost feel this month pass by without a PCA project, but I managed to make a version #2. And I’m delighted with it!

Shadowbox Shrine

Shadowbox Shrine

This mixed media project by Darlene Madden is a shadowbox shrine, and I think it really highlights textures and layers. Darlene uses various media in her project, whereas I used mostly chalks and Perfect Pearls. None of the pictures I clicked do any justice to the splendid shine that comes from the Perfect Pearls. 😦

I sculpted the key by hand, and for its wings, I used a template to cut out a heart shape, cut it vertically into two halves, and cut slits in them to form the ‘feathers’. I die-cut the lace ornament on top-left from paper, and applied metallic paints over it. I like the bling and weirdness it adds to an otherwise serious piece! πŸ™‚

I also love the mystery that the shadow adds to the object in the center — it would be rather boring otherwise. I think I like shadowboxes. How about you — are you a fan of them?

Jewelry Box

Since I barely managed to finish my quota of last month’s PCA courses, I decided to start early this time. πŸ˜€

Jewelry box - after

Jewelry box

Jewelry box - before

Jewelry box (before)
Image used from the online store’s website since I forgot to click a picture before I started. πŸ˜€

Teresa’s course is about beautifying a wooden jewelry box using painting, silkscreening, decoupage and resin. Amongst all PCA projects I’ve worked on so far, the lack of materials where I live is most evident in this one.

For the painting — the acrylics that are available here are kinda tacky, and they dry quickly to a rubbery texture; I find they’re unsuitable for a large variety of ‘advanced’ projects that interest my sis or me. Silkscreens are not available locally at all, and as for the resin, I was going to buy it only if I could come up with a layer that’s worth the gloss. So I set to work on the project with whatever I could use. (I was actually surprised I could find a jewelry box to work on. πŸ™‚ )

I had to first flip the lid of the box inside out, since it originally had a flat outside and an inset on the inside. However, the reverse is what works for this project.

I managed to paint the box fine — a red-brown base layer, and then some white and brown lightly distressed texture over it. I toyed around with the idea of an image transfer onto the surfaces. (Looks like my latest project is still on my mind! πŸ™‚ ) But I’m still not sure that the transfer will turn out 100% alright. If it turns out patchy, that’ll be the end of this box, since I won’t be able to cleanly wipe the ink away. Instead, I tried using a texture stamp to imprint some nice patterns on the box, but it turned out pretty bad. In the end, I just used the texture stamp on a sheet of clay, and lightly ‘antiqued’ it with white paint post-bake. I also added a clay border to the inset since the textured sheet didn’t really warrant using resin. I finished with a thin layer of Mod podge instead.

My project is nowhere like Teresa’s, but I still like it since it turned out perfect to store our antique jewelry. πŸ™‚ My sis wants to decorate it even more, and I can’t wait to see how she’ll enhance it!

Mixed Media: Hope Canvas

Mixed Media — my latest muse, because, let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to work with all the things in their project! πŸ˜‰ So it’s no surprise that the next item I chose in PCA was mixed media — a Hope Angel canvas by Barbara. I wanted to have a face in my piece too, but wasn’t too happy with my angel, so I drew upon some inspiration and made a Hope Tree instead.

Mixed Media: Hope Canvas

Mixed Media: Hope Canvas

I didn’t think the delicate background that Barbara makes for her piece would work for my tree, so I added more media to draw out the textures and colors. My! That was a good decision, and I was almost in love with the piece already. πŸ™‚ I experimented with adding this and that to complement the tree, and finally used a bird and a peace sign to complete the piece. I fussy cut the bird (hehe, I’m using terms that I learned from my sis) from a clay sheet that I textured, because none of my stencils worked size-wise. And I die cut the sign, painted it and stenciled in the lettering.

Thankfully, I had enough space in my oven to bake this project. Since it’s still a big piece, I monitored the temperature like a hawk to make sure nothing went awry. (I am soo glad I invested in an oven thermometer!)

Overall, I love how it turned out; it’s totally worth all the effort I put in! πŸ™‚