Art Journal Cover with StencilGirl and Impression Obsession

Hi everyone! Welcome to my stop on this week's blog hop with StencilGirl and Impression Obsession! This week members of both creative teams are combining StencilGirl stencils and IO stamps to make fun new projects that we hope you'll love!

SGP IOS Blog Hop Banner

For my project, I decided to decorate the cover of a small art journal I made a while ago that I haven't used yet (hopefully this will help change that.)

Here's what I came up with:

  Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover - Gwen Lafleur

This could also work for an art journal page, mixed media canvas or panel... it could translate to a handmade card as well! Here's a little overview of my process as I made my cover, along with links to the products I used.

First, I used gold pigment ink and embossing powder and stenciled with my Decorative Folk Flower Screen stencil until I had covered the whole background. (I inked, applied the powder, and embossed before moving onto the next section. The background was painted back when I made the journal, so it made it easy to get started!)

Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Next, I took a few stamps and used black ink to add in a little texture. I randomly stamped over the cover without using a mount since I didn't want the entire image to print. I rubbed off over the embossing so that the stamping just showed up on the background (obviously you could do this before stenciling and embossing, but that would just be too easy.) For this step I used images from the Alphabet Scramble and Faded Fragments stamp sets, both by Seth Apter for Impression Obsession. 

Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover Step 2 - Gwen Lafleur
With the background done, I moved on to the frame that I wanted to make for my focal point image. To do this, I got a good piece of thick paper (I used a scrap of Rieves BFK left over from an art class,) and then I tinted some molding paste with fluid acrylic paints. I put a nice, thick coat of molding paste through my Decorative Medallion Repeating Corner stencil - probably about 2mm thick. I used a heat gun to form enough of a skin that I could move on to the next section without smudging the paste (I made sure to oscillate it a lot so that I wouldn't bubble the wet molding paste.)

Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Once I had repeated the image four times to complete my medallion, I let it dry long enough to handle and then cut around it and applied some gold spray ink. I used a baby wipe to clean the ink off of the molding paste surface so that it only stained the paper.

Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover Step 4 - Gwen Lafleur

I set that aside and worked on the focal point of the cover - I knew that I wanted to build everything around this Peacock stamp from Hannah Davies Designs.  (As soon as I saw this stamp, I knew it had to be mine! LOL.) I stamped it in black on heavy copy paper and colored it with Inktense pencils and Staedtler Triplus Fine-liner pens. (Later, I colored the background with a gold acrylic glaze.)

Coloring Stamped Image

After I colored the image, I used the Simple Geo Squares stencil by Kae Pea to frame the image and determine what was going to be shown through the frame I was making with my molding paste medallion. I traced the line around the peacock, then as you can see below, I used it again to trace on the back of my medallion to know where my opening was going to be.

Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover Step 5 - Gwen Lafleur

 I cut out my opening and then glued the image to the back of the frame.

Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover Step 6 - Gwen Lafleur

I went ahead and glued the frame onto the journal cover, then used some Aves Apoxie - Fixit Sculpt, and put a clay border around the opening to frame it. I embedded some metal findings and rhinestones, then I used an another image from Seth's Faded Fragments stamp set to add some texture. I spritzed the stamp with a mold release spray and then pressed it into the soft clay. The mold release made it so that it didn't stick to the clay or ruin the stamp, and I got some really fabulous texture!

Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover Step 7 - Gwen Lafleur

When the clay was cured, I painted the clay with black gesso and then added some Art Stones around the edge for texture.

Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover Step 7a - Gwen Lafleur

In between clay drying and paint curing, I also made a little label to be a title for the front of the book. I stamped a ticket image from the Balzer Designs Tickets stamp set, then used another image from Seth Apter's Alphabet Scramble set with gray ink to add some pattern to the background. Once that was done, I took the "Saturday" stamp from the Balzer Designs Days of the Week set and used a black brush marker  to just ink one letter at a time so I could spell "ART" on my ticket / title card. On the back of the stamp I placed my finger over top of the letter so that I would know where the letter was when I went to stamp it - it worked great!

Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover Step 9 - Gwen Lafleur

I finished up by adding a few layers of paint on top of my clay frame, then I glued my title tag onto the cover. 

Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover Close-up 1- Gwen Lafleur

I also decided I wanted a little more stamping on the background, so I used the numbers stamp from the Balzer Designs Tickets stamp set and put the lightest wash of white paint inside the image. I really love how it turned out.

Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover Close-up 2- Gwen Lafleur

Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover Close-up 3- Gwen Lafleur
Voila! Finished art journal cover!

I really hope you enjoyed my project today... make sure you visit all of the blogs on this week's hop and leave comments so that you can be eligible for an awesome... 

GIVEAWAY!!!

 
SGP IOS Blog Hop Giveaway image
StencilGirl Products will be giving away a $25 Gift Certificate to TWO lucky winners!
Impression Obsession will be giving away a $25 Gift Certificate to TWO lucky winners!
Visit the fabulous designers from both teams and comment for your chance to win one of these 4 great prizes during the hop!
The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN!
(One comment per person per blog please.)
 
You have until Friday, September 30th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.
Winners will be announced on StencilGirl's Facebook page on Sunday, October 2nd.
 

September Edition of Gwen's Gems - Stenciled Collage

Hi all, just dropping in to let you know that I have a new project and tutorial over on StencilGirl Talk - this month's installment of Gwen's Gems features a stenciled mixed media collage on a cradled panel. I'm sharing a tutorial to go with it, as well as the story of how my original vision was pretty much obliterated as I worked, and how I worked intuitively to just keep on going and see where it ended up.

Final verdict? I like it! I should let go of control a little more often :)

Stenciled Abstract Mixed Media Panel - Gwen Lafleur

Make sure you stop by StencilGirl Talk to see more photos along with the tutorial.


Making Beaded Mosaics with Stencils

Hi all, just popping in to let you know that I have a project and tutorial up on StencilGirl Talk today. This is one of my favorite projects in a while - I used a stencil as a pattern for a beaded mosaic!

Beaded Hamsa Mixed Media Panel - Gwen Lafleur

Head on over for more photos along with a tutorial for both the beaded hamsa and the background.


StencilGirl Throwback Thursday with an Orly Avineri Stencil

Hi all, welcome to Throwback Thursday at StencilGirl! Every month we're pulling out some of the awesome StencilGirl Stencils that have been around for a while that you may not have seen yet and playing with them. This month I chose to work with the Hats stencil by Orly Avineri. This is a really cool stencil, with lots of great texture elements that are perfect for all kinds of projects! This month I've started working on some ATCs for a group I trade with, and our theme is Halloween. It couldn't be any more perfect!

Here are the ATCs I made with this stencil:

Stenciled Halloween ATCs - Gwen Lafleur

I used a different image from the stencil on each of them which was great because I got a lot of variety in my cards with just one stencil design!

Here's a very quick overview of how they all came together. First, I cut patterned paper to size (2.5"x3.5") and then I used a gold pigment ink pad and a blending tool and inked through the stencil onto the background. I heat embossed the pigment ink with a different embossing powder on each one of them to get a variety of looks:

Stenciled Halloween ATCs Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

I kind of love them just like that, don't you think? Of course, I like to pile on the layers, so my next step was to go through the collage sheets that came in the kit for this month's swap and pull out some images that I wanted to use on each card. I cut those out and paired them up with the stenciled image.

Stenciled Halloween ATCs Step 2 - Gwen Lafleur

From here I did a lot of fussing and embellishing. I added color, swapped out a few of the backgrounds, and put on lots of trims and embellishments, also from the kit.

Stenciled Halloween ATCs Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Even with all the layers the stenciled designs are still really prominent, but you can't tell exactly what the original image looked like. I love how you can take the designs and really make them yours this way - by using part of the design on the card and / or covering part of it up with my layers. It really customizes it, don't you think? 

Finally, one of the requirements for this month's swap was to use a quote from one of a list of books we could use that matched our theme. We each got a used paperback from this list in our kits , and I happened to get The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales by Edgar Allen Poe, which was totally perfect. It might be surprising to hear that I love Poe - I studied his work a lot back in high school and still find his writing and poetry so descriptive and evocative. I went through and found a few ominous sounding lines from the book and added them to my cards. Voila! Six ATCs in just a few hours! (That may sound like a lot to some of you, but it was fast for me... lol.)

Here are some close-ups of the cards:

Stenciled Halloween ATCs 1-2 - Gwen Lafleur
Stenciled Halloween ATCs 1-2 - Gwen Lafleur
Stenciled Halloween ATCs 1-2 - Gwen Lafleur

That's it from me today, I hope you enjoyed these examples of some of the versatility you can get from Orly's fabulous Hats stencil! Make sure you check out the main post on StencilGirl talk to see more Throwback Thursday projects from the team!

 


Christmas in July with StencilGirl & Imagine Crafts

Christmas in July Blog Hop banner

Hi everyone, welcome to my stop on our awesome Christmas in July blog hop with StencilGirl and Imagine Crafts! I love Christmas, so it was really fun to get into the holiday state of mind in the midst of our 100+ degree weather here in Utah.

If you've ever been to my house or seen pictures I've posted of my Christmas decorations, then you know that my holiday decor is a mix of classic, bohemian, and just plain eclectic. I'm pretty picky about what I'll put out in my house, so it was a fun challenge for me to make something that I would actually use!

I was chatting about this project with my mom (who has very similar taste in decor - I wonder where I get it from... lol) and she reminded me of this cool ceramic planter that a friend of hers had made for her that she uses for poinsettias - I've always loved it because you can take off those foil wrappers that they come in at the store. I thought it would be fun to try and make something similar for my own house; I had a feeling that the Imagine Crafts irRESISTible sprays and Pico Embellishers would work great for giving me a glassy, ceramic-esque finish. I was right!

Here's what I came up with - a planter, and while I was at it I also made a matching ornament to hang on my tree.

Christmas Decor with StencilGirl and Imagine Crafts - Gwen Lafleur

I was pretty skeptical at first about whether this would work, but I have to say... I really love how these turned out! Here's a little overview of how I made both of these pieces.

The first thing I did was to create some molds and do some casting with clay in order to make my cherubs. I had a nice sized vintage Frozen Charlotte head, so I made a mold of that and then just used the front half along with epoxy clay to make "cherub" faces. I also had a set of vintage metal wings that I made a mold of and then made sets of clay wings from that.

Molding and Casting to Make Cherubs - Gwen Lafleur

While those pieces were curing, I worked on getting my pot ready to go. I got an inexpensive 6" plastic pot at the store and took some lightweight epoxy clay and covered the entire thing with a thin layer of clay. Depending on what you want to do, you could skip this step - I wanted to even out the ridges on the outside of the pot and also create a surface that would take paints and glazes and help give me the faux ceramic finish I was looking for.

Faux Ceramic Poinsettia Planter with Stencils - Steps 1-3 - Gwen Lafleur

When the clay was completely cured (I let it go overnight,) I took my Decorative Medallion Stencil and spread texture paste through the opening. I let it set and then moved the stencil and did it again until I had 3 medallions, roughly equally spaced around the pot. I originally planned to make an all white pot like my mom's, but decided that I actually wanted to bring in some color so I took the Imagine Crafts Creative Medium in gold and added another layer on top of the white texture paste. 

Once all of the texture pastes were dry, I used more epoxy clay to put the cherub heads and wings on the pot. I positioned them and then let them cure for a few hours so that they wouldn't move for the next step. For that, I used my irRESISTible Pico Embellishers in Pear Tart and Lilac Posies to add some color into some of the stencil openings (I like to design my stencils so that you can color in the spaces, which you can do with lots of different mediums!) 

Below, you can see where I took gold paint pens and added borders on the top and bottom of the pot, as well as around the wings of each cherub.

Faux Ceramic Poinsettia Planter with Stencils - Steps 4-6 - Gwen Lafleur

I also took some of the new StazOn Studio Glaze in gold and put that all over the cherub and the textured stenciled area. I let it dry for a minute and then used a baby wipe to wipe some of it off - it leaves hints of gold in the nooks and crannies. (This was the point where I decided to add the purple glaze into the stenciled area - you can see that in the 3rd photo above.) After that, I took my irRESISTible Texture Spray in Wedding Dress and took off the sprayer and used it with a brush to put a heavy glaze of transparent white all over the whole piece. This is the step that really helps everything to look more like ceramic. I left that to dry, then added some jewels around each medallion.

Here you can see a few more views of how the planter turned out after everything was dried:

Faux Ceramic Poinsettia Planter with Stencils - Gwen Lafleur
Faux Ceramic Poinsettia Planter with Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

Obviously, you don't have to use all the clay if you want to do something similar - you can take a plain pot (terracotta would work great) and just paint it white, then stencil on top of it and add the glazes. You could use ready made cherub tree ornaments, or find something else entirely!

Next up, the tree ornament. This ended up being my favorite of the two pieces :)

To start, I stenciled my Decorative Curvy Ornament stencil onto a sheet of thin chipboard, then cut around the design. Next, I took some epoxy clay and covered the whole piece of chipboard in clay, carefully working around the details and making sure the clay covered the sides of the chipboard.

Christmas Ornament from Stencil Steps 1-3 - Gwen Lafleur

Before the clay was cured, I lined my stencil back up with the shape and used a rubber color shaper tool to trace the design into the clay. After that was done, I mixed up some more clay and rolled it out into long, thin ropes and used it to outline the traced areas so that the details would be raised up from the base. (Yes... in case you're wondering, this clay stuff was tedious! But so worth it in the end.)

Note that I put the hole through what was going to be the top of the ornament while the clay was still soft. I also turned it so that it looked more like a 4-point star.

I let this cure overnight and then when it was hard, I used the StazOn Studio Glaze in gold and then again in purple to glaze the ornament.

Christmas Ornament from Stencil Steps 4-7 - Gwen Lafleur

For the first layer of each color, I mixed the glaze with water and applied it all over with a brush, waited, and then wiped some back. Then I went in with the undiluted glaze and added some more directly into the nooks and crannies. When the gold was dry, I repeated that process with the purple. When both of those were dry, I used the irRESISTible Texture Spray in Wedding Dress for another thick coat of transparent white glaze. This with the colored glazes below it really transformed the look of the piece.

Next, I used more clay to put the face and wings onto the ornament and let that cure for a while so I wouldn't disturb it when I went back to work some more.

Christmas Ornament from Stencil Steps 8-10 - Gwen Lafleur

When that was ready,  I used irRESISTible Pico Embellishers in gold and Lilac Posies to flood the insides of some of the raised detail areas. I've always thought that the irRESISTible products looked a lot like stained glass when they dried because they're fairly translucent and shiny when dry - I think the look you get from them here is so cool!

With that, it was just finishing touches. I outlined everything with a gold paint pen, added some gold stripes to some of the clay lines in the design, and added a few jewels. You can't see it here, but I also gesso'd the flat back side of the ornament and then painted it gold. 

Faux Ceramic Ornament from Stencil 1 - Gwen Lafleur

This one will definitely make it onto my Christmas tree this year!

Faux Ceramic Ornament from Stencil Close-up - Gwen Lafleur

So that's it for the projects... now for the part I'm sure you've been waiting for. The giveaway!

Christmas in July GIVEAWAY image

We'll be picking one lucky winner
to receive $100 in Gift Certificates – a $50 Gift Certificate for StencilGirl Products and
a $50 Gift Certificate for Imagine Crafts!

Take your time and visit each blog showcased July 9, 16, & 23 and leave your comments.

The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN!

One comment per person per blog please.

You will have until Saturday, July 30th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.

The winner will be notified by email and announced on StencilGirl's Facebook page on Sunday, July 31st.

 

Here are all the blogs from all three days of our hop... make sure you stop at each one and leave comments to be eligible for this awesome and very generous prize!

July 9:
StencilGirl Talk
Mary C. Nasser
Kristie Taylor
Karen Gaunt
Neva Cole
Nadine Carlier
Monica Edwards

July 16:
StencilGirl Talk
Janet Joehlin
Cindy Gilstrap
Anna Friesen
Alison Heikkila
Martha Lucia Gomez
Roni Johnson

July 23:
StencilGirl Talk
Gwen Lafleur <-- you are here!
Carolyn Dube
Carol Baxter
Mark Melnick
Jowilna Nolte
Terre Fry

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save


Gwen's Gems: Stenciled Mixed Media Panel

Hi everyone, just popping in to let you  know that the June installment of Gwen's Gems is up on the StencilGirl blog! This month I have an 11"x14" mixed media piece (on a 3/4" cradled birch panel) made with lots and lots of layers of stencils and paint.

One Fish-Two Fish - Stenciled Mixed Media Panel - Gwen Lafleur
So what are you waiting for? Head on over for more photos, step-by-step tutorial, and links to all the stencils I used for this one.

 

Save

Save


StencilGirl Throwback Thursday with the Dia de los Muertes Mask Stencil

Throwback Thursday Blog Hop Banner

Hi all, welcome to Throwback Thursday with StencilGirl! We're pulling out some of our older stencils - if you've already seen or bought them, hopefully this will give you new ideas for using them! Some of these stencils will also be new to many of you - since we release every month, it's easy for some of our oldies but goodies to be missed! 

This month I'm showcasing the Dia de los Muertes stencil by Andrea Matus deMeng. This was a stencil that I passed on at first, but once I realized all of the different ways I could use it, I couldn't get my hands on this one fast enough!

For this project, I had an idea to try something fun and different in my art journal. Here's a view of my finished project.

Art Journaling with Dia de los Muertos Mask Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

But wait! There's more! This isn't just a single art journal page, and I don't know if I'd call it a page either! Ha! Do you remember those fun flip books that you got as a kid where you could flip a section of the page to combine the images on each page into something new? I thought it would be really fun to do that for this project. Here's a peek of what I'm talking about...

Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling - Gwen Lafleur

Last month I was traveling and I had some time to kill in the Denver airport. I stopped into this really cool gift shop and as I wandered, I noticed a fun book tucked away on a clearance shelf in the back (it had some damage to the covers;) it's called The Big Book of Art

Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Combine the killer discount with all of these split pages on the inside, and I couldn't pass it up! Some pages have holes in them, etc... so that multiple pages came together to create something new and tell a story. (Of course, you don't need this book or one like it - you can always just cut the pages in your art journal and make your own flip pages. Three sections would be even more fun!)

Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Step 1a - Gwen Lafleur
 So I bought it knowing that I wanted to use the book as an art journal and it became my starting point for this idea. To start, I took it out along with the Dia de los Muertes stencil and the Abigail, A Timeless Woman stencil - also by Andrea Matus deMeng. I had a chance to take classes with Andrea last October, and I learned a little known fact - did you know, many of Andrea's stencils are designed to work together? Her original 9x12 face stencils (Eve, Abigail, and I believe Doris as well,) will all work with the mask stencil (and many others!)

I started by using painter's tape on the back of the page to keep the two halves in place while I was working. Then I sanded the pages of the book - they're a bit glossy which can make them hard to paint. Next I gesso'd, put down lots of collage papers, and added a layer of paint. After that, I stenciled with Abigail first in a dark brown.

Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Step 2-5 - Gwen Lafleur

Once that was done, I pulled out more of my paints and turned the stenciling into a portrait. Finally, I used the Dia de los Muertes stencil and lined it up with the painting below before stenciling in black (you can see above how easy it is to see the image on the page through the mylar stencil.)

Once I had the outline of the mask in place, I looked up images of sugar skulls online and went through and added color and detail inside the stenciled areas.

Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Page 1 - Gwen Lafleur

 Of course, what good is a flip book with only one page? I repeated a similar process on the following pages, I just varied the colors and the way that I combined the stencils.  As I finished each page, I took the tape off the back. For the first page where I'd collaged over it, I went back through with a ruler and an x-acto knife and re-cut the pages. On the second one, I also used  Andrea's A Rose by Any Other Name stencil  to do some Gelli printing with a mini square Gelli Plate. I decided to go a bit on the funky side and make her yellow. In order to try and get the faces to line up (it didn't always turn out perfect, but it was usually pretty close!) I put half of the previous page over the new one and then use painter's tape to hold my stencil in place after I'd positioned it so that it would match.

Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Page 2 - Gwen Lafleur

 The third page was almost entirely paint - I wanted lots of brightness, contrast, and a bit more of a pop art look.

Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Page 3 - Gwen Lafleur

The back page isn't split - it's the base for the whole section. For this part, I wanted to use just the mask stencil and go a little bit on the creepy side.

Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Page 4 - Gwen Lafleur

Once all of the pages are done, it's time to play! Here you can see all the different combinations of looks you can get... all from two stencils!

Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Mix 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Mix 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Mix 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Mix 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Mix 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Mix 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Mix 7 - Gwen Lafleur
Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Mix 7 - Gwen Lafleur
Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Mix 7 - Gwen Lafleur
Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Mix 7 - Gwen Lafleur
Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Mix 7 - Gwen Lafleur
Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Mix 7 - Gwen Lafleur
 So there you go! Which one is your favorite face / mask mash-up? 

Finally, what would a blog hop be without a GIVEAWAY??!!!

CORRECT-52616-tbt-give-away

One lucky winner will receive EVERY StencilGirl Stencil showcased on today’s Blog Hop! That inluces these six stencils:
Stitch a Greek Border
Stitch a Circle
Sweet Gum Balls
Dia Muertos Mask
Art is Good for You
Broken Circles
Retail Value $84!

What do you have to do to enter? Just leave a comment below by Sunday, May 29th at 11:59PM Central Time. The more blogs you comment on in the blog hop, the more chances you have of winning! (One comment per person per blog, please.) The winner will be announced on StencilGirl Product’s Facebook Page on May 30th.
 

 

Save


Gwen's Gems - Mini Hand Shrine with Stencils

Hi everyone, just popping in to let you know that my monthly installment of "Gwen's Gems" is up on the StencilGirl blog. This month I did quite a bit of playing and ended up with a kind of hand sculpture made from a stencil base that lives in its own little box - I'm calling it a shrine for a lack of a better term (and I guess it sort of is one!)

Mini Mixed Media Hand Shrine - Gwen Lafleur

If you're interested, you can head on over to view the full post where there are more photos (with close-ups, naturally!) as well as a tutorial / overview of my process for making this piece. Enjoy!

 


May StencilClub Inspiration - Handmade Book

It's StencilClub inspiration day over on the StencilGirl blog! This month's exclusive club stencils were designed by Terri Stegmiller and are perfect for Spring! Of course, my project ended up going in the opposite direction, but I still absolutely love it. 

This month I made myself a new art journal - it's a 6"x8" codex-bound book and I used the stencils to make the covers and binding.

May2016 StencilClub - Handmade Art Journal - Gwen Lafleur

Head on over to see the full post with more photos of my project as well as more fabulous inspiration from the team!

 


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! 

Earthday_stencilgirl_blog_hop_giveaway

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.

 

Save


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

 

 


Using StencilGuts in a Handmade Art Journal

Hi Everyone! So excited today to be part of the blog hop for a brand new StencilGirl product launch... StencilGuts! Yup... now you'll not only know what happens to pieces that get cut from stencils, but you can get your hands on them to use in your projects. They're super versatile and fun to use as well. For my project with them, I decided to put together a new handmade art journal that features the StencilGuts in lots of different ways.

Without further ado, here's the cover of my journal:

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Cover - Gwen Lafleur

On the cover, I coated the entire background with gel medium, one section at a time, then just grabbed pieces from the Random DirtyGuts and pressed them into the gel. I kept adding pieces until it was pretty full, then let it dry. At that point, I brushed on some green paint and some brown ink, then I covered the entire thing with a brown glaze, waited a minute, and wiped it back so that the only part left was in the holes between the StencilGuts. I love how it turned out - it really highlighted the edges and made a cool pattern!

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Cover Close-up - Gwen Lafleur

I also used two different sizes of the same shape from the Geometric StencilGuts Shapes as the basis for a clay medallion to put as the focal point. I just took some air-dry clay and smoothed it out over the shape, then pressed some marks into it and added little details. I did the same with the smaller shape and then put it in the middle to make it two-tiered, then stuck a jewel in the middle while the clay was wet. After it dried, I just applied a few layers of paint to make it look kind of like antiqued metal. In the background, I actually took a strip of mylar that came with my Random DirtyGuts and diecut it with a Spellbinders die. Yes, you can diecut them! Of course, if you use a detailed die, not all of the pieces will come out and you'll need to run it through a few times. But it cuts and embosses beautifully!

First page of the book and the inside front cover:

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Page 1 - Gwen Lafleur

On the left, I used some underpaper that I really liked to put over the inside of the cover. On the left, I traced another of the Geometric StencilGuts Shapes and then cut it out slightly smaller to make a window. I used alcohol inks on the shape itself and then glued it onto the backside of the page to make the window. I used my Ornamental Compass Screen stencil around it to add some pattern to the page.

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Page 1 Close-up 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Check out how cool it looks when you put the light behind it - it's like a stained glass window!

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Page 1 Close-up 2 - Gwen LafleurHere's the next spread:

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Pages 2-3 - Gwen Lafleur

The back side of the first page with some embellishment and it's hard to see, but I used my Ornamental Floral Screen stencil in the background with gold ink for a subtle touch. That stencil has really become one of my favorites! On the right side, I created a pocket and covered it with patterned paper, then inside are different leaf shaped StencilGuts. As of right now I don't think there are any of these available, but what's in stock will change depending on what stencils are being cut, so check back! Anyway, I used more alcohol inks on these and then added some word stickers and tucked them into the pocket (the top one is glued in place, though.)

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Pages 3a - Gwen LafleurNext up, the third spread: 

  StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Pages 4-5 - Gwen Lafleur

For these pages I used Dylusions paints, stenciled on top with my Ornamental Petals Screen stencil and gold ink, then edged the pages with more ink. On the right corner, I got two of the same shape from the Flourishes StencilGuts Shapes pack and I knew I wanted to use them back to back on the corner of  a page like this. I used gold crackle paste to do the front of one and the back of another and let them dry. Then I glued one in place on this side and cut off the cardstock around it on the corner. 

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Page 5 Close-up - Gwen Lafleur

 Then I added the matching reverse shape on the back and decorated that page.

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Pages 6-7a - Gwen LafleurFor this one I used more Dylusions paints and gold ink, this time with my Ornamental Circle Cluster Screen stencil. On the right side, I used the same technique as on the first page with two smaller shapes from the Geometric StencilGuts Shapes pack.

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Page 7 close-up - Gwen LafleurHere you can see the back side of that page:

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Page 8 close-up - Gwen LafleurAnd the full spread:

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Pages 8-9 - Gwen Lafleur

I used my Ornamental Compass Screen stencil again, and added a little flap on the right side with another shape from the Flourishes StencilGuts Shapes pack along the edge - I colored this one with a gold paint pen.

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Pages 8-9a - Gwen Lafleur

There's a fun little space tucked away in there just waiting for some journaling, collage, or whatever I want to add!

Second to last spread:

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Pages 10-11 - Gwen Lafleur

This spread uses my the Birds StencilGuts Shapes along with my Ornamental Embroidery stencil on top of more Dylusions paints and some collage. I coated the birds using a white, oil-based paint marker and let them dry, then glued them in and added some shading with a Stabilo All pencil. I love the bird shapes pack - there are a lot of different StencilGirl stencils that use birds, and you get a great mix of them in here! 

Last page in the book...

  StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Page 12 - Gwen Lafleur

 I used a larger piece from the Geometric Shapes StencilGuts pack and diecut and embossed it with another Spellbinders die. I just left this one plain since I liked how it looked. (Again, to get some of the details I had to run this through the diecut machine several times, then use my scissors to help some of the pieces come out.) I used my Ornamental Petals Screen stencil one last time along with a bit of collage. More painted underpaper on the inside of the back cover (you can see some hints from the March StencilClub 9x12 stencil on there too!)

So that's it! The entire book, all done and ready for some journaling (or not!) I hope you enjoyed it and are feeling inspired to use StencilGuts in your projects!

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Cover Side View - Gwen Lafleur

 Now for the part you've all been waiting for!

StencilGuts Blog Hop Giveaway image

GIVEAWAY CLOSED.
 
StencilGirl Products will be giving away StencilGuts from EACH category
(Geometric Shapes, Birds, Cats & Rabbits, Flourishes, Hands & Body and Dirty Random Guts)
to one lucky winner!
 
Visit all the blogs on today’s hop and comment to win!
The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN!
(One comment per person per blog please.)
 
You have until Saturday, March 26th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.
Winners will be announced on StencilGirl's Facebook page on Sunday, March 27th
 
Here's the hop order:
 

 


Gwen's Gems: Make a Clock with Stencils and a Vinyl Record

It's that time again... today my March Gwen's Gems post is up on StencilGirl Talk! This month I was inspired to try using my stencils and a hot knife to make a clock out of an old vinyl record.

Use Stencils to Make a Clock from a Record - Step 11 - Gwen Lafleur

There's a full tutorial for this project, plus pictures of the assemblage piece I made using my original test cuts on an old 45, so make sure to head over and check it out!

Save


Going Into the Deep with March StencilClub

It's StencilClub Inspiration Day over on StencilGirl Talk... the new March 2016 StencilClub kit features some fun and versatile designs from Suzi Dennis. They were so much fun to work with! When I looked at these stencils, I saw water and sea plants (because my brain is a bit weird like that... LOL.) I decided to use the stencils to help create an underwater scene in an assemblage piece. The whole thing is based on a cigar box.

Into the Deep Assemblage - Cover - Gwen Lafleur

Into the Deep Assemblage - Inside - Gwen Lafleur

This piece took several days to complete and I didn't do a tutorial, but I did take a few photos along the way so you can get a sense of how it progressed.

As I mentioned above, I knew it was going to be an underwater scene, so I started with the fish. He's made from Aves Apoxie Clay over a small hand-cut cardboard armature with watch parts, beads, and a little vintage art deco finding in his tail.

Into the Deep Assemblage - Step-out 1 - Gwen LafleurNext, I put the base coat of paint on the fish and constructed the porthole that he would be swimming in inside of the larger piece. The porthole is also made out of Apoxie Clay, and the "glass" is a sheet of mica - I sized this part so that it would fit perfectly over the 6x6 stencil, which I used with some turquoise crackle paste to begin making the background for the porthole.

Into the Deep Assemblage - Step-out 2 - Gwen LafleurNext, Mr. Fishy is completely painted, and the stenciled background got a few layers of paint and glaze.

Into the Deep Assemblage - Step-out 3 - Gwen LafleurAssembled porthole with fishy inside... there's no going back on this section of the project now!

Into the Deep Assemblage - Step-out 4 - Gwen Lafleur

Next it was time to start on the cigar box. Rather than invite a giant mess by attempting to stencil inside of the cigar box, I measured and cut a sheet of bristol paper that would fit perfectly inside and created the background on that. Crackle in the background, then I stenciled over top with copper crackle paste. Do you see sea plants coming up from the ocean floor? Maybe that's just me...

Into the Deep Assemblage - Step-out 5 - Gwen LafleurAt this point, I got fully immersed in the project and taking pictures didn't even cross my mind. Everything started falling into place for the cover (inside and out,) and I discovered that I really like making clay tentacles. Never thought those words would ever come out of my mouth...

Into the Deep Assemblage - Cover Close-up - Gwen LafleurI used the 9x12 stencil as the background directly on the lid of the box, the 4x4 stencil used as part of the foundation of my cycloptic tentacled monster medallion box embellishment. (Say that 5 times fast! LOL.) If you look closely, you can see it in copper behind a few layers of metal. The whole thing is set on a Spellbinders circle diecut that I aged with paint to look like rusty metal.

On the inside of the lid, an image of what I was going to do just popped into my mind, so I quickly sketched it out and got to work. I decided to use beads to suggest the bodies of my tentacled sea monsters, and I really like the effect! The beads were all set in Diamond Glaze.

Into the Deep Assemblage - Close-up 1a - Gwen LafleurClose up of the little guys...

Into the Deep Assemblage - Close-up 2 - Gwen Lafleur

You can see where I used the 4x4 and 6x6 stencils in the background to frame each sea monster and show through behind the beads. The stenciling also helps to ground each little sea monster hole within the composition by connecting them to the edges of the lid.

Into the Deep Assemblage - Close-up 1 - Gwen Lafleur

This project was so much fun to make, and I LOVE how it turned out! I think it's also pretty cool that the stencils provided the inspiration, the framework, and necessary detail to make the whole thing happen... bonus! They're super versatile and I'm sure I'll be using these a lot.

Make sure you stop by StencilGirl Talk to see more projects from the team using this month's fabulous StencilClub collection!


Make a Reliquary with Stencils, Clay, and Collage

Just stopping in to let everyone know that I have a new project up for my Gwen's Gems monthly post on StencilGirl Talk. This month I was inspired by an antique Roman reliquary and I made my own version using stencils, paints, collage, mica powders, and Aves Apoxy Clay.

Making a Reliquary with Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

Make sure you head over to StencilGirl Talk to see more photos of the project as well as a step-by-step tutorial!


February 2016 StencilClub - Mixed Media Portrait

Hi everyone, today is inspiration day for the February 2016 StencilClub stencils from StencilGirl! This month's stencils are from StencilGirl Artist Carol Wiebe, and they're pretty fabulous. 

Here's my project for this month... one of my all-time favorites. I actually ordered a frame for her - I love her so much she has to go up on the wall to be admired all the time! I was very inspired by the work of Andrea Matus deMeng for this project - I picked up some great tips while taking classes with her in Stamford back in October.

February 2016 StencilClub Mixed Media Painting - Gwen Lafleur

Check out the post on StencilGirl Talk to see all of the inspiration from the team for this month! Also if you're interested, below are a few step-out photos from while I was making her, as well as a few more close-ups.

First, I painted the face using a reference from a magazine. I haven't done much with painted portraits, so I was very pleased with the results! Here it is in progress:

February 2016 StencilClub Mixed Media Painting Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

I cut the finished face out (it was on mixed media paper) and then I did a little stenciling on top:

February 2016 StencilClub Mixed Media Painting Step 2 - Gwen LafleurNext I started working on the background. This was an 11x14" sheet of heavy-weight vellum finish Mixed Media paper (Strathmore) and it was painted with Carbon Black. I used a protractor and ruler to do the "rays" around the stenciled area I put down from the 9x12. You can see below how I used painter's tape to mask off each section as I went - there's a different pattern in each area and I didn't want them to bleed into each other.

February 2016 StencilClub Mixed Media Painting Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

From this point I did a lot of stenciling and collaging, but I didn't take any pictures. Some of it was stuff I leaned in Andrea's class (hence the lack of tutorial,) and some of it was just getting so caught up in the process that I didn't think to take any pictures! As I got toward the end, I needed a background for the torso of the figure, so I pulled out some plain tissue paper and stenciled on it.

February 2016 StencilClub Mixed Media Painting Step 4 - Gwen Lafleur

I used Archival Ink for that, and then used some permanent spray inks over the top (turquoise and gold) and crumpled it all up before distressing with black ink and then cutting and gluing it onto the background. You can't really see it unless you're looking for it, but the pattern has a nice, subtle impact.

Here are a few more close-ups of my finished piece:

February 2016 StencilClub Mixed Media Painting Close-up 2 - Gwen Lafleur

February 2016 StencilClub Mixed Media Painting Close-up 3 - Gwen Lafleur

So that's it! I hope you like it :) Don't forget to head over to see the post on StencilGirl Talk and check out the rest of this month's inspiration! Lots of ideas and a great variety of projects being shared, as always!


ATCs and Mini Art Journals with StencilGirl & Inchie Arts

Hi everyone, welcome to my stop on this week's blog hop with StencilGirl and Inchie Arts! Talk about products that are made to work together...

I got to use black and white sets of 4x4" Art Squares, cream colored ATC Art Squares, and a lovely gray 2"x2" set of Art Squares along with my StencilGirl Stencils. I love that Inchie Arts makes their products from mat board - that makes them perfect for pretty much whatever I wanted to do with them! In fact, they were so much fun to work with that I couldn't stop with just one project. I made two 4x4 art books / mini art journals with the 4" art square sets, and of course I had to make some ATCs!

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - Blog Hop Projects - Gwen Lafleur

 Here are the individual projects, starting with the ATCs. If you scroll down a bit there's also a little tutorial showing how I made all of these  :)

  StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - ATCs - Gwen Lafleur

Here are close-ups of the cards along with the stencils I used. All of my ATCs were done with the cream ATC Art Squares. All of the images I used are from photos that I took myself in my travels - this group includes photos from Cambodia, Bali, and Myanmar.

 Cards 1 & 2: for these I used my Ornamental Petals Mask and also the Ornamental Circle Cluster Screen stencils.

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - ATCs 1 - Gwen Lafleur

 For the next two, I used the feathers from my Ornamental Peacock stencil as well as the Ornamental Floral Screen stencil

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - ATCs 2 - Gwen Lafleur

The last two ATCs use my Ornamental Embroidery Stencil as well as the Ornamental Compass Screen.

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - ATCs 3 - Gwen Lafleur

For those who are interested, here's a little tutorial that shows the basic process I use for my cards. I typically make them one at a time and I never know what I'm going to do when I start - I just pick one up, choose an image, and go from there. It's always fun to see what comes out! This was my process as I made the first card with the reclining Buddha statue from a temple in Myanmar.

Step 1: I choose the image to use for the card. Then I either paint or ink the background. For this one I used paint:

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - ATC Tutorial Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

 

Step 2, I stencil the background (this is the Ornamental Petals Stencil) and I also usually add some inking around the edge. I mostly use Sepia and Black Archival Ink for this with a mini blending tool.

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - ATC Tutorial Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Step 3:  I took some gold cardstock and a border punch that had a design that worked with my theme and punched and inked a border to use on the card.

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - ATC Tutorial Step 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Step 4: I absolutely adore sari trims, fabrics, etc... and have an ever-growing collection that I like to use in my artwork. I took a piece from my basket of scraps and used some of it here. You could use ribbon, any fabric, a border sticker... whatever you like! I also like to use glitter tape or washi tape for this. I added it to my punched border after adhering the image. This helps embed the image better into the overall design without leaving visible hard, straight edges.

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - ATC Tutorial Step 4 - Gwen Lafleur

Step 5: Time to pile on the goodies! I love using jewels (with this type of theme, at least,) along with Liquid Pearls and a gold pen to edge the card.

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - ATC Tutorial Step 5 - Gwen Lafleur

Step 6: I felt like this one still needed just a little something, so I pulled out some old butterfly rubons and added them, then embellished with some gold Liquid Pearls.

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - ATC Tutorial Step 6 - Gwen Lafleur

That's it for my ATCs... I can't wait to make the other six with the rest of my package of ATC-sized Art Squares.

Of course, just making ATCs wasn't enough for today... as I said, I had a few packages of 4" Art Squares in different colors. Since the Art Squares are made out of mat board, they're absolutely perfect for making into books, so I took each set of Art Squares and bound them into mini art journals using single-sheet Coptic binding. Here are the two books that I made - one with black pages, one with white (maybe next time I'll mix them!)

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - Mini Art Journals - Gwen LafleurHere you can see what the binding looks like - it's actually very easy to do! I use the tutorial from Boundary Press - I find it very easy to follow.

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - Mini Art Journal Binding - Gwen LafleurHere's a close-up of the first cover - I used my Ornamental Petals Screen stencil along with some of the gorgeous new copper texture paste from Art-C as the base layer for the covers. Then I used the Ornamental Petals Mask and stenciled onto black cardstock with copper paint, cut it out, and mounted it on the cover with foam for some dimension. Finally, I had a polymer clay flower thingy that I'd made during my jewelry-making phase a few years ago. I'd tossed it in a bin as a failure, but pulled it out and repainted it and I love it on my cover! Naturally I added Liquid Pearls for my dots, and I tucked in some bits of DicroFibers (Angelina Fibers) for a little extra texture and bling.

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - Mini Art Journal 1 Cover Close-up - Gwen Lafleur

Finally, here's a close-up of the second book. I painted the covers, put down a layer of gold crackle paste (leaving a few places where the background shows through,) and then used Archival Inks and some turquoise Luxe paint from Art-C to add extra dimension and interest. I actually stenciled with my Ornamental Compass Screen and black ink after doing the rest; it gives it a softer look and it feels to me like it's more a part of the whole rather than an obvious stencil design on top.

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - Mini Art Journal 2 Cover Close-up - Gwen Lafleur
Now I'm just working on filling the pages of these fun little books :)

So that's it for today's projects! I really loved using my StencilGirl stencils with the Art Squares and ATCs from Inchie Arts - they take all of the paint, ink, and mediums beautifully, and are sturdy enough to build up lots of layers (even my clay flowers!) I hope you enjoyed today's post as well!

Now for the best part of the blog hop: 

GIVEAWAY!

We'll be picking one lucky winner to receive:

one $25 StencilGirl Products Gift Certificate 

and

1 package each of 4", 3", ATC (2.5" X 3.5") and Swatch (2" X 4") sized white Art Squares from Inchie Arts! (4 packages in all!)

All comments left on the hop list participants’ posts will be entered. One comment per person per blog please. 

Comments close on January 30th @ 11:59PM Central.
Winner will be announced on StencilGirl Product’s Facebook Page on January 31st.

Make sure you visit and comment on all of the blogs today, and stop back in at StencilGirl Talk daily to make sure you get links for the whole week!

January 26
StencilGirl Talk
Maria McGuire
Gwen Lafleur <-- you are here!
Dina Kowal


StencilGirl: Stenciled File Folder Mini Art Journal

I've got a new project over on StencilGirl Talk today - it's my monthly installment of Gwen's Gems! (I still giggle a bit when I type that.)

This month I've made a mini art journal out of a manila file folder. I've wanted to do this for a while, so I used my stencils along with my winter Art Bento Box to make this month's project.

File Folder Mini Art Journal Finished Cover - Gwen Lafleur

File Folder Mini Art Journal Inside 2 - Gwen LafleurMake sure you head over to read my post on StencilGirl Talk to see more photos and details as well as a tutorial so you can make your own!


StencilGirl: Making Your Stencils Your Own

Hi everyone, my December installment of "Gwen's Gems" is up on StencilGirl Talk! This month I'm showing a few different ways that I take my stencils and use just parts of the design to really make them my own. I'm featuring some ways to use my Ornamental Peacock stencil for this one!

Truth Stenciled Mixed-Media Portrait - Gwen LafleurMake sure to head over to StencilGirl Talk to see more details from the finished piece, as well as a quick tutorial on how I started building her headdress.

Also, just a reminder that if you haven't yet checked out Creative JumpStart 2016, now's the time! The coupon has expired, but you can still save $5 on registration through the end of the year! There's a lot of fabulous inspiration planned, and this year it's all downloadable. I hope I'll see you there!

CJS2016web1


December 2015 StencilClub

Hi everyone, today is StencilClub inspiration day over on the StencilGirl blog! I've got two art journaling spreads using this month's fabulous stencils - another release from Mary Beth's Private Collection.

To start, I used them for one of my Inspiration Wednesday challenges:

Dec2015 StencilClub - Art Journal Page 1a - Gwen LafleurYou can see the other side over on the group post.

I also did another art journaling spread in my junque journal:

Dec2015 StencilClub - Art Journal 2 - Gwen LafleurIt's hard to tell from the photo above, but the numbers have a dimensional, glossy finish. If you're interested, here's a quick little tutorial so you can see how I made them.

First, I used the 4x4 stencil with bronze metallic paint all over a sheet of vellum finish mixed media paper.

Dec2015 StencilClub - Number Embellishments 1 - Gwen LafleurNext, I used the 6x6 numbers stencil and black paint:

Dec2015 StencilClub - Number Embellishments 2 - Gwen LafleurOnce that was dry, I used my Dina Wakley Media paints with fine liner tips to outline the numbers. I tried a few different colors since I wasn't totally sure what I wanted to use.

Dec2015 StencilClub - Number Embellishments 3 - Gwen LafleurOnce all of the paint was dry, I used JudiKins Diamond Glaze and covered the numbers and let it dry overnight. This gives you a hard, clear, raised and glossy finish. When that was dry, I cut out the numbers - some in strips, some individual.

Dec2015 StencilClub - Number Embellishments 4 - Gwen LafleurIt's really hard to get a picture of the dimension since it's clear, but here you can kind of get a sense of it. Anyway, I hope you're feeling inspired! And if you're not a member of StencilClub yet and you love this month's stencils, sign up by December 15th and you'll get this as your first kit!

Happy stenciling!


November StencilClub - File Folder Art Journal

Hi Everyone, today is our creative team post sharing projects for this month's StencilClub stencil collection. I say it every month, but this is my new favorite StencilClub release. Take a peek at this month's stencils designed by Seth Apter:

NOVEMBER SC-MAIN(Here's a little plug... if you sign up for the club before November 15th, you'll start your membership with this collection! Just sayin'...)

I may have gone a teensy bit overboard this month. (Cough cough...) Of course, I was sitting in my empty house with nothing to do but play with the stencils and a few bags of art supplies I brought with me from Chicago in the trunk of my car. Thus my file folder art journal was born! I took three file folders, nested and bound them to make the journal (I just used a pamphlet stitch with some waxed thread.)

Without further ado, here's my project... starting with the cover.

Nov2015 StencilClub - File Folder Art Journal Cover - Gwen LafleurI used the 9x12 and 6x6 stencils for this... I took the "TRU" from "TRUTHS" and then the "E" from another word to spell "TRUE" and then stenciled "story" from the 6x6. Word stencils don't always have to say exactly what's on them - you can mix it up!

Nov2015 StencilClub - File Folder Art Journal Cover Close-up - Gwen LafleurSince I'm still working out of boxes, I pulled out a few random things to collage onto the cover that I ended up loving. A piece cut from some Chinese ephemera (it's probably a good thing I don't know what it says.) Also some fussy cut glittery pieces from a fancy paper scrap, some rubons, some dicrofibers (hard to see in the photos) and more stenciling. I love how much depth you can get while keeping the actual project relatively flat.

Next up is the first spread:

Nov2015 StencilClub - File Folder Art Journal 1 - Gwen LafleurOn the left I used a lot of repetition from the 9x12 stencil (my favorite of this set) with paint, ink, and a little collage. On the right, I used the textural elements on the stencil with molding paste and paint. I also added a little window that's framed with a chipboard slide holder (I believe it's a Maggie Holmes embellishment from Crate Paper.) It's backed with a piece of 7 Gypsies printed transparency.

Here are a few close-ups so you can see more of the stenciling on these pages:

Nov2015 StencilClub - File Folder Art Journal 1a - Gwen Lafleur
Nov2015 StencilClub - File Folder Art Journal 1a - Gwen LafleurMoving on to the second spread...

Nov2015 StencilClub - File Folder Art Journal 2 - Gwen LafleurBoth of these pages use the 6x6 stencil - words and textural elements (plus a few details from the 9x12.)

Nov2015 StencilClub - File Folder Art Journal 2a - Gwen LafleurI also used some of Seth's stamps with acrylic paint to get layers of texture into the background. On the right I just used a very old library card pocket and a shipping tag along with a strip of beaded and embroidered ribbon.

Nov2015 StencilClub - File Folder Art Journal 2b - Gwen LafleurFor the third spread I kept going with the 6x6 stencil and more of the textural elements on all of the stencils.

Nov2015 StencilClub - File Folder Art Journal 3 - Gwen LafleurThe butterfly is a Chinese papercut that I picked up in Beijing a few years ago. I added some old Basic Grey rubons, paint (most of this actually came from cleaning my brushes on a spare folder that I ended up using,) very light stamping in the background, and lots of stenciling!

Nov2015 StencilClub - File Folder Art Journal 3a - Gwen LafleurNext up, the fourth spread. I used a mix of the 4x4 and 9x12 stencils for this one.

Nov2015 StencilClub - File Folder Art Journal 4 - Gwen LafleurBits of collage, ink, paint... I really loved using the stencils to create repetition with the words - I felt like it made a powerful statement on the pages.

Nov2015 StencilClub - File Folder Art Journal 4a - Gwen Lafleur
Nov2015 StencilClub - File Folder Art Journal 4a - Gwen LafleurLast but not least, the final spread in my mini journal (which I actually did first!)

Nov2015 StencilClub - File Folder Art Journal 5 - Gwen LafleurI felt like using the entire 9x12 stencil on the right side was begging for an interactive element. It's a little literal, but I couldn't resist.

First, the left-hand side using the 4x4 stencil on the back of my peacock tag and the 6x6 underneath it (the design in the background is from one of my handcarved stamps.)

Nov2015 StencilClub - File Folder Art Journal 5a - Gwen LafleurAnd my overly literal but fun interactive flap on the right hand side:

Nov2015 StencilClub - File Folder Art Journal 5b - Gwen LafleurSo there you go... that's my project for this month! I hope you enjoyed it, and for you StencilClub members, I know you're going to adore this month's stencils!

Don't forget to visit the StencilGirl blog for our group post - there are several other awesome projects using this month's stencils that you won't want to miss!


StencilGirl: Stenciled Paper Beads

Hi everyone, just popping in to let you know that the first post in my monthly blog column, "Gwen's Gems," is up on StencilGirl Talk! (I didn't come up with the name... I'm just trying to live up to it! lol.) This month I'm sharing how to make the stenciled paper beads that I used for my Art is You Stamford trades, plus a bonus project where I made a paper bead bracelet.

Stenciled Paper Bead Charms - Gwen Lafleur
Stenciled Paper Bead Charms - Gwen LafleurHead on over for a tutorial and more photos!


StencilGirl: October StencilClub

Hi everyone, just popping in quickly to let you know that this month's creative team inspiration post is up on the StencilGirl blog! This month we have a very cool set designed by Mary Beth Shaw that is actually nine stencils in one instead of our usual 3. Make sure you check it out! Here's the art journal spread I did this month... you can see more details in the blog post.

October 2015 StencilClub - Art Journal - Gwen LafleurThere are more projects from the other three creative team members included in the post this month, so make sure you check them all out!


Traveler's Notebook Junque Journal

Welcome to today's stop on the StencilGirl and The Groove Tool blog hop!

Groove-StencilGirl-Blog HeaderI'm super excited that I got to work with The Groove Tool for this... you know how much I love anything I can use with my stencils!

For today's project, I thought I'd try something that's been kicking around in my head for a while. Traveler's Notebooks are super hot and trendy, and I've seen some homemade art journal inserts, but I thought I'd like to make a stenciled Junque Journal insert, so I did!

Traveler's Notebook Junque Journal - Gwen LafleurHere you can see mine inserted into my notebook. My cover is actually by Chic Sparrow and I use the wide one that fits the Moleskine Cahiers instead of the original, thinner Traveler's Notebooks (although those fit in here too!) With that, here's a very quick overview of how I made it, and how I used the Groove Tool to pull it all together!

First up, I did the cover. I used a sheet of very thin chipboard because I knew I'd want it to be somewhat sturdy after it's full and I take it out of my traveler's notebook. I cut it to the size of a Moleskine book - 8"x10.5." Then I used the brush attachment on the Groove Tool to stencil the Butterfly Duo stencil by Maria McGuire with acrylic paint.

TN Junque Journal Step 1 - Gwen LafleurI did both butterflies, spreading it across the whole cover so that both sides would be decorated.

TN Junque Journal Step 2 - Gwen LafleurThe brush attachment really works great for this - I just popped it off and cleaned it in water when I was done.

To finish the cover, I added lots of detail to the butterflies and then used pieces from a travel themed ephemera package from Art-C (makers of the Groove Tool) to embellish. I used one of the sanding attachments for the Groove Tool to do a little distressing around the edges of my cover. That's definitely a lot handier than trying to sand by hand!

TN Junque Journal Step 3 - Gwen LafleurNext, I made the inside pages of my journal. There were several very cool sheets of 5x7 patterned cardstock in the ephemera pack, so I combined those with paper scraps and some thin, black masking tape to make each folio - there are five of them, all sized 8"x10" when I was finished assembling.

TN Junque Journal Step 4 - Gwen LafleurI punched holes and bound them into the cover and then started decorating. The backs of most of those pages were pretty blank - perfect for stenciling, of course! This time I used the sponge attachment (I need to get a few refill packs of these!) These work great with ink, but I also really liked using them with paint.

TN Junque Journal Step 5 - Gwen LafleurHere you can see all of the completed inside pages:

  • TN Junque Journal Page 1 - Gwen Lafleur
  • TN Junque Journal Page 2 - Gwen Lafleur
  • TN Junque Journal Page 3 - Gwen Lafleur
  • TN Junque Journal Page 4 - Gwen Lafleur
  • TN Junque Journal Page 5 - Gwen Lafleur
  • TN Junque Journal Page 6 - Gwen Lafleur
  • TN Junque Journal Page 7 - Gwen Lafleur
  • TN Junque Journal Page 8 - Gwen Lafleur
  • TN Junque Journal Page 9 - Gwen Lafleur
TN Junque Journal Page 9 - Gwen Lafleur

I used some of my hand-carved stamps in here to alternate with the stencils. Here's the list of stencils I used in the order they appear in the book:

Finally, the back cover so you can see how it looks inserted into my notebook:

TN Junque Journal Back Cover - Gwen LafleurThere you go! I now have a portable Junque Journal, ready for me to work in on the go (or at home!) I hope you enjoyed today's project and that you've enjoyed our blog hop this week.

Make sure you leave a comment below and on all of the other posts this week since one lucky winner will get their own Groove Tool plus a $25 gift certificate to StencilGirl!

Groove GiveawayComments will close at 11:59PM Central on September 26th, so make sure you get to all of the blogs and leave your comments for your chance to win! (One comment per person per blog post, please.)

Today there's one more stop for you to visit, and make sure to visit StencilGirl Talk to get the list of any posts you might have missed on Monday and Tuesday.

For those who are interested, The Groove is available now at EVERY Hobby Lobby store.  Most Michaels and Joann Fabric and Craft stores have it now, as well. At Hobby Lobby and Michaels, it is in the stamping isle.  At Joann, it is in the paint and stencil aisle, near the unfinished wood.  Of course, it may be ordered directly from Art-C by calling Customer Service at 800-448-6656. (You can also ask your local independent store if they carry it or will order it - I know I'll be calling mine to see about getting more sponge attachments!)
 
Thank you Art-C for letting me play with this awesome tool! So much fun!

Travel Journal with StencilGirl and USArtQuest

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to my stop on the blog hop with StencilGirl and USArtQuest! I'm so excited that I got to participate in the hop... so many fun products to play with!

I'll get right to the project and then show you a brief step by step of how it evolved. A little background on how this came about - I love to make books, and I LOVE to travel! So naturally, I make books to use as travel journals. Usually I do a 3-ring book and don't actually bind it, but for my trip to Bali this month I decided to try something a little different, and I thought that using StencilGirl stencils and products from USArtQuest would be perfect!

Here's my finished book (pre-trip, of course!)

StencilGirl-USArtQuest Travel Journal 7 - Gwen LafleurAnd now for a little how-to... I started with the covers. I picked out some 8x10 canvas panels to use for those and started decorating. First, I did the back cover. I took a beautiful half-sheet of USArtQuest Art Papers  and decided that I would add a little copper Perfect Pigment Fluid Acrylic paint to the background to make the flowers stand out. I won't lie... this took a while, but I find it pretty relaxing, so I didn't mind.

StencilGirl-USArtQuest Travel Journal 1 - Gwen LafleurNext I started working on the front cover. I used more Perfect Pigment paints to cover the background, then stenciled the main image using the Bloom True stencil by Flora Bowley.

StencilGirl-USArtQuest Travel Journal 2 - Gwen LafleurIf you look closely, you'll see that this stencil comes in two parts - the outline, and then the actual flower mask. I left the pieces together for this part so that I could add an outline later. I used the Perfect Pigments paints again - I mixed Magenta and Wheat to get the lighter color for the flower.

StencilGirl-USArtQuest Travel Journal 3 - Gwen LafleurI knew I wanted the cover to be inspired by batik fabric designs, so for the outline (you can see above that I removed the mask) I used Duo Gilding Adhesive to put down a layer of glue so I could go back through and gild the outline. Once the adhesive was tacky (follow the directions - "when it's white it's not right, when it's clear it adheres!) I put down the Gildenglitz Leafing and then buffed off the excess.

StencilGirl-USArtQuest Travel Journal 4 - Gwen LafleurI used the Spring Fling stencil by Flora Bowley and repeated this process so that I had some leaves. Then I added a few other details and a title. I glazed both the front and back covers to they'll stand up to travel and handling. While that dried, I assembled my inside signatures. I separated the trip into travel time and then actual days in Bali and set up a signature for each day there and then one at the beginning and end for the travel (it's almost 2 days each way!) I bound it all together, and there you go!

StencilGirl-USArtQuest Travel Journal 6 - Gwen LafleurFor the inside, I used more of those beautiful half-sheets of artist papers to make the end papers of the book. Here's the inside of the front:

StencilGirl-USArtQuest Travel Journal 8 - Gwen Lafleurand the back - this paper is really iridescent - so cool!

StencilGirl-USArtQuest Travel Journal 12 - Gwen LafleurI also went through with stencils and Perfect Pigment paints and stenciled designs on some of the blank pages. I liked the transparency of some of the paints, because it makes good backgrounds for writing or other things I might add during the trip.

StencilGirl-USArtQuest Travel Journal 9 - Gwen LafleurAbove, I used the Going Global stencil by Mary Nasser along with the beautiful pearlescent green paint.

On the next ones, you can see where I bound this gorgeous textured artist paper into the book, and then added some stenciling next to it:

StencilGirl-USArtQuest Travel Journal 10 - Gwen Lafleur
StencilGirl-USArtQuest Travel Journal 10 - Gwen LafleurI used the Floral 1 stencil by Traci Bautista and the Flower and Leaf stencil by Daniella Woolf for these.

And last but not least, the finished and bound back cover:

StencilGirl-USArtQuest Travel Journal 15 - Gwen LafleurI hope you enjoyed today's project!

No blog hop is complete without a giveaway... one lucky winner will receive a $25 gift certificate to StencilGirl as well as some of the USArtQuest Decorative Papers and Perfect Pigment Acrylics that you're seen us use in this week's hop!

USArtQuest Giveaway promo collage

Make sure you visit all of the stops on this fun, 2-day blog hop and leave a comment on each to increase your chances to win! (One comment per person, per blog please.) The giveaway closes on Sunday, Sept. 19th at 11:59pm Central.

Today's blog hop participants:


StencilClub: September Inspiration

Hi everyone, I'm just popping in to let you know that I've got a project I'm sharing in today's group inspiration post for the new September StencilClub stencil kit.

Here's what I came up with - going with this month's theme, I'm calling it "Hidden Messages." It's a 10"x10" mixed media canvas.

Sept2015-StencilClub-Mixed-Media-Canvas---Gwen-Lafleur-sm1There are a few in-progress shots over on the StencilGirl blog, as well as more inspiration from the rest of the creative team. I hope you'll stop by and check it out!


Making a Triptych with StencilGirl and VerDay Paints

Hi everyone, welcome to day 3 of our blog hop! The StencilGirl creative team has been playing with the fabulous VerDay Paint and Patina kits from TENseconds Studio, and this week we're sharing our projects.

For today's project, I wanted to do something with this cool wooden triptych that I had on hand from Paper Whimsy - I thought it would be a perfect substrate for adding a patina finish. Here's what I came up with, and below is a quick tutorial for those who want to see how to make it.

Triptych with Stencils and VerDay Paints Final - Gwen Lafleur

Before I got into the project itself, I made myself a little chart so that I could see how each of the paints in the kit would react with the patina spray (it was also great to get me used to working with it!)

VerDay Paint Reference Chart

Once that was done, I was able to pick out the paints I wanted to use for my project. To start, I gessoed all of the wooden pieces and then painted them with two coats of the VerDay copper paint, then let it dry. I added another coat in places and then sprayed with the patina spray and let that dry and change colors. Then I went in with some bronze paint and repeated the process so I'd get multiple colors of patina on my piece.

Triptych with Stencils and VerDay Paints 2 - Gwen LafleurNext, I used a texture medium (Goosebumps from Imagine Crafts) and the Crackle stencil by Nathalie Kalbach to get a subtle raised crackle effect on my piece.

IMG_5360Once that was dry, I brought in a little copper paint to knock back some of the patina a bit. Then I got out a sheet of heavy vellum where I'd stenciled and colored some "stained glass" windows using the Church Window stencil by Margaret Applin and some irRESISTibles. I thought it would be fun to use pieces of this in the panels of my triptych.

IMG_5361I cut those out and adhered them (I used Helmar Quick Dry - the vellum wants to curl otherwise, and it's great for gluing the wood together as well.) Next I stamped a favorite quote into the center as the focal point of my piece.

IMG_5362The quote is by Gustave Flaubert and roughly translates as, "To travel makes one humble. One sees what a small place one occupies in the world." I absolutely love to travel and this really resonates with me!

Next, I needed to fancy it up a bit. I pulled out a bunch of different metal charms and flowers and started assembling them (or cutting in one case!) into little clusters to embellish my triptych. Once I got them the way I wanted them, I glued them together and then used the copper paint and patina spray to unify them (they were all different metals) and age them up a bit so they'd match my piece.

IMG_5363Voila! So cute!

Triptych with Stencils and VerDay Paints 8 - Gwen LafleurAs much as I loved it (I even got my dots in there!) I thought it still needed a little something. So I took a piece of cardboard, measured, cut, gessoed, painted, and stenciled (whew!) and then I decided to use some copper leaf with the Church Window stencil to bring that motif into the project again and kind of make it look like the windows were glowing.

Triptych with Stencils and VerDay Paints 7 - Gwen LafleurI used some oil pastels to add a bit of shading and depth, then I adhered the center panel to the cardboard backing.

Triptych with Stencils and VerDay Paints 9 - Gwen LafleurNow I just set the side panels at an angle so it would stand on its own, and it's finished! 

Triptych with Stencils and VerDay Paints Final 2 - Gwen LafleurI really like how it looks, and together the triptych and the background create a fun little scene that I can set out in my studio.

I hope you enjoyed today's project! Be sure to check out all of the blogs on this week's hop and leave comments, because there's a giveaway!

One lucky winner will receive a 4-piece kit containing VerDay Reactive Metal Paints and Patina, and a $25 StencilGirl Gift Certificate! (Make sure you also visit Cheryl from TENseconds Studio for an extra little giveaway she's got going on!)

All comments left on the hop list participants' posts will be entered. One comment per person, per blog, please.

Comments close on August 21st at 11:59pm Central.

Here's today's lineup, and if you missed the other posts this week, you you can always go back to StencilGirl talk to catch up!

Thanks for stopping by!

 


StencilGirl Blog Hop - Seth Apter New Release!

Hi Everyone, welcome to today's StencilGirl blog hop showing off the new stencil release by Seth Apter! 

I was pretty excited to work with Seth's new stencils - I always love his designs, and these are no exception! I'm pretty sure these will all get lots of use in future projects, but for today I decided to do an art journal page using one of my favorite techniques - building up layers with little "windows" in them so you can see some of what's below.

Never Again Art Journal Page - Gwen Lafleur

For those who are interested, here's how I did it. To start, I picked a color palette (otherwise I always pick the exact same colors!) and then painted the background and then stenciled the new Text and Texture Discovery stencil repeated across the whole page. Once that was dry, I used the square and circle from the Urban Outsiders Stencil in diagonal lines to create spaces for me to use the new Insiders stencils. 

Art Journaling with New Seth Apter Stencils Part 1 - Gwen LafleurNext I painted over the areas on the background where I didn't want the words to show through.

Art Journaling with New Seth Apter Stencils Part 2 - Gwen LafleurThen I went back through with the new Techno Insiders Square and the Techno Insiders Circle stencils that match up with the openings from the Urban Outsiders Stencil.

Art Journaling with New Seth Apter Stencils Part 3 - Gwen LafleurOnce that was finished and dried, I used paints with fine line tips, some distress ink, and my Stabilo All pencil to add a bit of contrasting color, definition, and detail.

Art Journaling with New Seth Apter Stencils Part 4 - Gwen LafleurI let that layer dry too, then went through my old rubons to find some fun images to add. I got a bunch of those on the page (sealed with matte medium) and then stenciled a phrase from the Text and Texture Discovery stencil onto a piece of gesso'd book paper, ripped it out, distressed the edges, and added on top with some foam tape. The final touch was some messy journaling wrapped around the shapes on the page. Voila!

Never Again Art Journal Close-up - Gwen LafleurAnd as a little bonus project, as I was working on this I started cleaning my paints off on a tag, and ended up finishing it up with the same technique as the art journal page, only I used the Techno Insiders Star stencil for this one.

Tag with new Seth Apter Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

Of course, it's not a blog hop without a giveaway, right? Here are the details:

$25 StencilGirl Gift Certificate to one lucky winner!

All comments left on the posts in today's hop will be entered. 

One comment per person per blog please. 

Comments close on July 24th @ 11:59PM Central.

Make sure you stop by each of the blogs on today's hop to see all of the awesome projects (and of course, to leave comments to up your chances to win the giveaway!)

Gwen Lafleur <-- You are here!
 
Thanks for stopping by!