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Making Bird Sculptures with n*Studio Foam Stamps

Hi everyone, I'm excited to be joining in on this week's blog hop featuring Nathalie's stamps from Stampendous!

NStudio and Stampendous Blog Hop

Today I actually have two projects to share... I used the Bird Foam Stamp and Stencil Set for both.

First up, for the last year or so I've really gotten into making little sculptures. Usually I make them using stencils for my base shape, but the foam stamps worked perfectly in this case. Here's the final project - I have a little tutorial below if you're interested.

3 Bird Sculptures from Foam Stamp 1 - Gwen Lafleur

While I was at it, I couldn't resist using the detailed side of the foam stamp to make a card.

Handmade Card with Bird Foam Stamp Set - Gwen Lafleur

For the card, I stamped the bird, heat embossed with gold, and colored it with watercolor pencils, and then cut it out. I also used the Marks Cling Rubber Stamp Set in the background along with a large diecut frame from Spellbinders. I added some glitter glue and trim with lots of rhinestones, and I used the stencil from the Bird Foam Stamp and Stencil Set to make the little branch in the bird's mouth (I just cut off some of the petals.)

Now for a quick little tutorial on how I made the bird sculptures, along with more pictures of the three birds I made.

First up, I stamped the solid side of the foam stamp onto some cardboard three times - this is the base of my armature.

Sculpture from Foam Stamp Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Next, I cut out those shapes and then used them as a pattern to build out the armature with more cardboard. You can also see where I drew and cut out wing shapes since I was taking the 2D image and making it 3D.

Sculpture from Foam Stamp Step 2 - Gwen Lafleur

I seem to have lost the picture I took of the next step, but I wrapped the cardboard bird with masking tape, then coated the whole thing with a light-weight epoxy clay. This takes a while because the best way to do it without making a huge mess is to coat one side of the bird, let it cure for 3+ hours, then go back and do the other side of the bird and let that cure. I knew that these were going to hang, so I also made sure to put the wire through the middle while the clay was wet. Once the clay was completely cured and dry and hard to the touch, I went in with a coat of gesso to prep the surface for painting.

Sculpture from Foam Stamp Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Then it was time to paint! For each bird, I took a few shades of a color and brushed it on, then added embossing powder on top and heat embossed to get some shine and texture on the bird. For the orange one, I used Frantage Aged Scarlet embossing enamel.

Sculpture from Foam Stamp Step 4 - Gwen Lafleur

Next I took the cling rubber stamp from the set and randomly stamped just part of the image onto the bird to get some texture:

Sculpture from Foam Stamp Step 5 - Gwen Lafleur

On this particular bird, I added my signature dots with dimensional fabric paint - I did this on all of them in some way, but this one went a little nuts... lol.

Sculpture from Foam Stamp Step 6 - Gwen Lafleur

I had deliberately left the wire long on each bird so that I could add some beads to the bottom - I tried to do it in a contrasting color so they'd stand out.

Sculpture from Foam Stamp Step 7 - Gwen Lafleur

Finally, I wrapped ribbons around the wire loop at the top and then tied some extras on top just for fun. I used either sari fabric yarn or Snug Hug ribbon.

Orange Bird Sculpture from Foam Stamp 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Each of them is a little different... the purple bird got his stamped texture from one of the stamps in the Marks Cling Rubber Stamp Set, and he used Frantage Aged Spice Embossing Enamel.

Purple Bird Sculpture from Foam Stamp 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Finally, my gold bird sculpture was stamped with one of the images in the NK Studio Grunge cling stamp set, and I used the Frantage Aged Marine embossing enamel.

Gold Bird Sculpture from Foam Stamp 1 - Gwen Lafleur

That's it for my projects today... thanks for stopping by! Make sure you check out all of the links on the blog hop for lots more awesome inspiration! Don't forget to comment on each blog so you can be entered for a chance to win one of THREE generous prizes from Stampendous! 


Each of the prize packages  includes all three of Nathalie Kalbach’s Foam Stamp, Cling Stamp and Stencil Sets. Leave a comment on each blog and make sure to include where you're from. The giveaway is open everyone domestic and international!

Deadline to comment is Sunday, May 1st at 11:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time (Monday, May 2nd 6:59 AM UTC).

Today's blog lineup is:

 Make sure to check in on the Stampendous blog so you can see all of the posts this week!



Earth Day Upcycled Project with Stencils and Earth Safe Finishes

Hi everyone, welcome to my stop on today's blog hop with StencilGirl and Earth Safe Finishes! This year, to celebrate Earth Day, we have a fabulous bunch of posts bursting with upcycled projects. What better products to use for this than stencils and Earth Safe Finishes? These are "green" paints and mediums that I enjoyed using without worrying about whether or not I could pour my paint water down the drain. 

For my project, I decided to do something new - a window! I had a lot of fun with this one... the only downside is that glass is super hard to photograph, so hopefully these pictures will be good enough to get the point across :)

Here's my finished window with a big sheet of mat board behind it so you aren't looking at all the junk on my desk :)

Upcycled Mixed Media Window - Final 2 - Gwen Lafleur

For those who are interested, I also put together a little tutorial so you can see how this all came together.

First, I started with a window that I picked up at a local salvage yard. Aside from being dirty, it was in really good shape and didn't have a lot of paint layers, so I didn't strip it (hopefully that doesn't come back to haunt me later!)  I cleared a space to set it on my desk (where it barely fits!) and taped off all the windows with painter's tape. Since it already had such a nice color on the base, I went straight to a layer of Earth Safe Finishes crackle medium and then let it dry.

Upcycled Mixed Media Window - Steps 1-2 - Gwen Lafleur

Since I was pretty much flying by the seat of my pants on this project, I decided that I needed a layer of gesso on top of the crackle medium, so I added that. 

Next, I received a little jar of Earth Safe Finishes black chalk paint and it just seemed like a good idea to use that next so I put down a nice, solid coat of that and let it dry.

Upcycled Mixed Media Window - Steps 3-4 - Gwen Lafleur

Turns out that was actually a really good decision because when I put the Ann Butler Designs bronze iridescent paint on top of it, it was like magic. I just rubbed it on top with my finger, not completely covering the black but blending it out. It's hard to see in the picture how cool it actually looks.

Next up, I took some of their liquid pigment additives and mixed a few drops into the Earth Safe Finishes gel medium to make up a nice dark turquoise. I painted that on the inside edges of the window panes (you can see this below) and then I coated it with a layer of Ann Butler Designs Iridescent paint in Lagoon which was about the same color only with that beautiful shimmer (which you can sort of see above.)

Upcycled Mixed Media Window - Steps 5-6 - Gwen Lafleur

Finally, I used my gold Sakura Pen-Touch pen to go around the bevels on each of the window frames (above.) I did a little paint touch up, then it was ready for stenciling.

There are a few different ways that you can stencil glass. Since I didn't have the supplies for etching I didn't go that route, although that would look amazing! I didn't want to paint directly on the glass because I knew it would just peel off. Instead, I found a picture on Pinterest where someone had cut shapes out of contact paper and applied them to the window as a kind of privacy screen. I thought that could be translated here, only I used deli paper instead and stenciled on top with Onyx Ann Butler Designs Iridescent Paint. I used my Decorative Curvy Ornament Repeating Corner stencil to stencil the ornament in halves as shown below.

Upcycled Mixed Media Window - Steps 7-8 - Gwen Lafleur

I did this six times - two halves for each set of window panes. Then I cut them out and used spray adhesive to apply (matte medium makes it harder to see the design in this case, and it seemed like the spray adhesive stuck pretty well.) I used a credit card to try and get out bubbles. You could also stencil on contact paper and apply that, I just didn't have any handy. I went back through with my gold pen and did a little coloring, and I also added some dots outlining each ornament with a fine yellow Sharpie paint pen.

The very last step... time to embellish. I wanted this to be simple, but to have a pop of color that would really stand out from the darker colors and I wanted something that would pull the whole thing together. It's April and it's Earth Day, so I dug into my gigantic stash of Prima flowers and pulled out a bunch that I thought would work (because "the Earth laughs in flowers," right?) I cut a long strip of cardboard and painted it both sides with black gesso. When it was dry, I added a strip of a red-violet vintage beaded trim, then adhered the flowers on top in a row.

Upcycled Mixed Media Window - Steps 9-9a - Gwen Lafleur

Because the wood between the windows is fairly thin and beveled, this worked well to give me a flat surface to adhere the flowers. Then I just adhered the whole strip to the window frame right in the middle.

Upcycled Mixed Media Window - Final Closeup 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Close up...

Upcycled Mixed Media Window - Final Closeup 1 - Gwen Lafleur

I'm pretty pleased with how this turned out... now I just need to find the perfect place to put it!

Upcycled Mixed Media Window - Final 3 - Gwen Lafleur

That's it for me, I hope you enjoyed my project!

Of course, that's not all for this post... we simply can't resist giving something away!

Please take your time and visit each blog showcased today through Wednesday and leave a comment. The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN this one of a kind, 9x9 inch Cold Wax painting on Arches Oil Paper by Mary Beth Shaw! 


One comment per person per blog please. You will have until Monday, April 25th at 11:59 pm Central Time to leave your comments.

The winner of the give-away will be announced on StencilGirl's Facebook page on Wednesday, April 27th.

Here's the list... make sure you click through to see all of the other upcycled projects in today's special Earth Day blog hop to be inspired, and comment for your chance to win!


Gwen's Gems - Mixed Media Canvas Tutorial

Hi everyone, it's that time again... I'm up on the StencilGirl blog today with the April installment of Gwen's Gems!

This month I went back to a more classic mixed media project with a 24"x24" canvas using a whole bunch of my stencils from StencilGirl:

Mixed Media Canvas with Stencils 4 - Gwen Lafleur

Head on over to see close-ups, as well as the tutorial on how I made this piece.



Home Decor Chipboard Initial with Momenta

 I recently had the opportunity to make a home decor piece using Momenta stencil paints and stencils along with a chipboard base from Hobby Lobby. I thought it would be really fun to do something that my nieces might like to hang in their bedrooms, and I thought the cool large chipboard letters and accessories would be the perfect base to make something personalized. The chipboard is about 1/2" thick, so it's perfect for this kind of project! It's a bit different from my regular work, but I knew this would be something that my nieces would enjoy.

Momenta Stencils - Home Decor Girl's Initial 4 - Gwen Lafleur

Here's a quick little tutorial for how I did this.

First, I gathered all of the supplies that I thought I might want to use for this project - the girls both love pink, so that was definitely going to be in the mix. I also added a container of In Bloom jewels from the jewelry section of Hobby Lobby since I knew I'd use them on the crown and maybe elsewhere.

Momenta Stencils - Home Decor Girl's Initial - Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Next, I put down a coat of white and then went over it with the requisite pink.

Momenta Stencils - Home Decor Girl's Initial - Step 2 - Gwen Lafleur

The paints are really smooth and creamy and worked perfectly! Once the pink layer was dry, I used the Momenta Chevron Adhesive stencil to add a layer of pattern in teal. The adhesive is nice and strong, so it's really good for making sure you don't get any paint seepage under your stencil.

Momenta Stencils - Home Decor Girl's Initial - Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Of course, I can't let things go without adding a little touch of gold - I used the gold Momenta paint and a fine-liner brush to outline the chevron pattern. I also painted the edges of the chipboard gold - I think it looks pretty cool from the side.

Momenta Stencils - Home Decor Girl's Initial - Step 4 - Gwen Lafleur

While I was at it, I painted the chipboard crown gold as well, then pulled out the Momenta 4"x14" Sun, Moon, and Stars diecut stencil and added some hearts with the red semi-gloss paint.

Momenta Stencils - Home Decor Girl's Initial - Step 5 - Gwen Lafleur

I decided I didn't like the pink hearts on the crown, so I painted over those and used more paint to embellish the large heart in the center. I also used the brown paint mixed with a bit of water to make a kind of wash to go around the edges of the crown for a bit of shading.

Momenta Stencils - Home Decor Girl's Initial - Step 6 - Gwen Lafleur

Finally, I used a strong glue to adhere the crown to the letter and then added my In Bloom jewels to the crown and also to the hearts on the letter itself. My little princesses have to have their bling!

Momenta Stencils - Home Decor Girl's Initial - Step 7 - Gwen Lafleur

Voila! A quick and relatively easy way to create a customized decor piece. You could change up the paint colors, stencils, and embellishments to make something that would work in any room in your house! I just hope that my nieces think these are as cute as I do! 


New StencilGirl Stencils - Part 3

Welcome to the last day of projects for my new stencil release! I'm super excited about these stencils, so I hope you've all enjoyed seeing what I've been working on!

Today I have three projects that focus on my Decorative medallion and ornament stencils, as well as my new Ornamental Peacock Feathers stencil (which goes with my Ornamental Peacock Mask from the last release.)

First up, I have a mixed media painting that uses three of my new stencils.

Mixed Media Painting with New Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

The background was made with layers of paint and stenciling. It's a bit hard to see, but the Decorative 6-Petal Flower Screen is in there, along with the Ornamental Peacock Feathers stencil. On top I added the 6x6 Decorative Medallion Stencil in black and then added color with paint pens. I drew the outline for the leaves on top and then scrubbed in white paint around it. No surprise, I've always loved doing projects that create windows to what's underneath, and this type of reverse painting is lots of fun to do. 

Next up, I did some beaded embroidery, which I'm a bit fascinated with right now. 

Bead Embroidery with Curvy Medallion Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

I started by stenciling the 6x6 Decorative Curvy Ornament Stencil onto a piece of felt. From there, I just started beading over the lines. I'm still a bit of a beginner at this, but I think it turned out okay! I added a second piece of felt underneath and sewed the layers together, cut around, then added the third piece of felt and added some more sewing with some beads added in.

Bead Embroidery with Curvy Medallion Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

I think I'm going to use this kind of like an applique for an iPad cover that I've been wanting to make. I just need to find the perfect fabric and trims to go with this, then it's going to happen!

Last but not least, I used the Decorative Filigree Ornament Stencil with a thin sheet of copper to do a bit of repoussé (a kind of metal embossing) that I used as the cover for what will be an art journal or a travel journal of some kind.

Repousse Journal Cover 1b - Filigree Medallion Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

There are a lot of good tutorials on the web for this, including this one on StencilGirl Talk. My technique wasn't quite this fancy, but I'm going to try it that way next time!

After doing the embossing and filling the back with molding paste and letting it dry, I decorated the front a bit with Copic markers and alcohol ink to get a bit more color into the piece. The copper was a self-stick piece from Vintaj by Ranger, so I stuck it onto the book cover and then just added my dots with Liquid Pearls. If you look closely, you can also see where I used the Decorative Filigree Ornament Stencil in the background for some tone-on-tone painting in the area that frames my embossed piece.

Repousse Journal Cover 1b - Filigree Medallion Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

So that's it for my stencil release projects! I really hope you like these new stencils as much as I do, and that you've enjoyed seeing what I've made with them so far. I'd also love to see anything that you make with them, so make sure to tag me or link me up so I can see your projects!


New StencilGirl Stencils Part 2

Hi all, I'm back again with more projects featuring my new stencils! Yesterday was all about my repeating corner designs, today is mostly about my new floral designs (both also based on some of my hand-carved rubber stamps.)

I thought it would be fun to combine a few different types of projects I've done in the past with a bit of a twist. A long time ago, I took a class from Rhonna Farrer where we used half of a file folder to make a holder for 5x7 sized pages. I wanted to use that concept but instead of pages, I did 5x7 ATCs with stenciling and collage. Here's what I have so far (I'll probably add some more of these cards - they were really fun to make!)

Art Journal Cards 3 with Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

Here you can see all of them tucked away in their little folder:

Art Journal Cards 7 with Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

I cut a plain manilla folder in half, then inserted some paper on the side to make it more of a container - it's hard to explain... kind of like paper gussets. To decorate the folder, I used my new 6x6 Decorative 6-Petal Flower Screen stencil in the background with paint and a bit of glaze and added some fun washi tape along the sides. I stenciled the Decorative Medallion Stencil on black cardstock, colored it with paint markers, cut it out, and adhered it on top.

Now for the cards on the inside... these were done on top of a few cards from an old deck of oversized Heidi Swapp playing cards (I think I've had them 10 years... maybe longer!)

Art Journal Cards 4 with Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

For the first one, I used the Decorative Medallion Repeating Corner Stencil to make a border, then used the 6x6 Decorative Medallion Stencil in the background - it's tone on tone, so subtle. I just layered on some ribbon and collage elements and added my dots, of course!

Art Journal Cards 4 with Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

The second one features both of my Decorative Folk Flower stencils - the 6x6 screen, and the 4x4 version. I painted the background and stenciled in black with the 6x6, then I stenciled the 4x4 several times on different sheets of colored cardstock / patterned paper. I cut the pieces out and layered them - this is a great stencil for paper piecing! I added more layers of collage, a pearl in the middle, and more dots!

Art Journal Cards 4 with Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

The last one in this set is the card that Carol calls Carmen Miranda at the steampunk zoo. I had to laugh at that! The background for this one uses the 4x4 Decorative 6-Petal Flower Stencil repeated across the background and then colored with paint pens. I've mentioned it before, but I really like to create stamp and stencil designs that allow for coloring if you want to add color, or even pattern. I cut the giraffe illustration out of the Uppercase publication "Work Life" and I wanted to make it my own, so I painted over it with acrylics and paint pens. I added collaged flowers and stenciled around the eyes with parts of the 6x6 Decorative 6-Petal Flower Screen stencil. Then I grabbed a few metal gears and glued them on top and filled them with Diamond Glaze so they'd look like glasses. I love the effect!

Art Journal Cards 9 with Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

That's it for today... check back again tomorrow where I'll share the last few projects for this release. In the meantime, all of my stencils are currently available at StencilGirl Products.


New Stencil Release from StencilGirl!

Hey everyone, guess what! Today is my second stencil release with StencilGirl! I have eleven new stencils available, so now there are 20 total - so exciting! You can see them all available now on the website or you can also check out the reveal post on StencilGirl Talk. I'll be sharing projects with my new stencils here and on social media over the next few days so you can see them all in action :)

First up, one of the things I'm most excited about is a new kind of stencil - a quarter repeat corner stencil! (I say new, but there may be something like this out there that I've just never seen.) This concept is based on carving quarter repeat rubber stamp designs, and you can hear more about it in the little video I made to introduce and demonstrate them. (I'm still a video making newbie, so hopefully it's okay!)


The three corner repeat stencils in this release are: the Decorative Medallion Repeating Corner Stencil, the Decorative Curvy Repeating Corner Stencil, and the Decorative Filigree Repeating Corner Stencil

Here are a few projects using these... first up, the Decorative Filigree Repeating Corner Stencil is used repeating for the medallion in the middle of this one, as well as for corner designs on this art journal page.

Art Journal Page with New Stencils- Gwen Lafleur

Here you can see a bit more of the repeating part in the center. One of the things I like to do with my stencil designs is create something that works well on its own, but can also be filled in to add lots of color like I did here.

Art Journal Close-up 2 with New Stencils- Gwen Lafleur

You can see where I also used the center section of the 6x6 Decorative Filigree Ornament Stencil to add some more pattern to the background:

Art Journal Close-up 1 with New Stencils- Gwen Lafleur

I also used the Decorative Curvy Repeating Corner Stencil (as well as its 6x6 companion, the Decorative Curvy Ornament Stencil) to make this art journal spread in my inspiration journal.

Art Journal Spread e - Decorative Curvy Medallion Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

I've got more projects to share, so watch out over the next little while for more ideas on how to use my new stencils!

What do you think of this new release... any favorites? I hope you like them and I can't wait to see what you do with them!

P.S. For those of you coming to my classes at Papercraft Clubhouse in Connecticut this weekend, Tracie already has my new stencils in the store - the very first store to have them in stock! Even if you aren't taking classes, I hope you'll stop by and say hi and be among the first to get your hands on them!



StencilClub Inspiration - A Stenciled Decorative Box

Hi everyone, it's StencilClub Inspiration day again! The whole team at StencilGirl is sharing some fun new project ideas using this month's awesome StencilClub designs from Mary Beth Shaw. Here's what I made this month - I refinished a decorative box that I picked up for half price at the craft store.

5Apr2016 StencilClub - Decorated Box 6 - Gwen Lafleur

Make sure to pop over and check it out for more photos and a bit of explanation of how I made my cool little box. You'll also want to be sure and check out the fun projects from the rest of the team to get you inspired to start creating :D



Playing with Urban Scribble Stamps from n*Studio

This month, the n*Studio Creative Squad is playing with the new Urban Scribble Stamp and Stencil set and I had so much fun putting together my project! We were challenged to work with the topic of Our City - textures, colors, culture, etc...  I knew immediately that I wanted to represent Salt Lake with a city surrounded by mountains, of course! You can head on over to Nathalie's blog to see the full post with a write-up of the process and what I used to make it, but in the meantime, here's a view of my final project:

Salt Lake City Mixed Media Painting Top View - Gwen Lafleur - WM

Make sure you go check out the full post, and don't forget to check back each Tuesday for more awesome projects from the Creative Squad!