"Phoenix" Mixed Media Artwork - Phases from Start to Finish

Recently I posted one or two work-in-progress photos and then a picture of the finished product for a new mixed media painting that I called "Phoenix." As it happens, I took photos at the different phases along the way... not a full on tutorial, but I thought it would be fun to share how this piece progressed and maybe a little bit of my thought process as I worked.

To start, I had an inspiration piece in mind - vague, and totally subject to change, as always. I began by gathering supplies to do some collage on the background (as you can see, I always use really cheap, beat up brushes with gesso and matte medium - then I don't feel so guilty about gunking up the ferrule.)

Phoenix-Mixed-Media-Artwork---Phase-1a---Gwen-Lafleur

I pulled out my easel and set up my canvas - 24" x 30," and got to work. Here you can see what it looked like after I wrote all over the background (a highly cathartic part of my process that I do quite frequently on everything from canvases to art journal pages - it shows up in various layers of my work, and here it happened to be the base layer. I also frequently write in French - using a second language seems to make it easier for me to express thoughts and feelings. Weird? Maybe!) On top of the writing is the collage and white gesso.

Phoenix-Mixed-Media-Artwork---Phase-1a---Gwen-Lafleur
Next I started painting. I just grabbed Indian Yellow and Prussian Blue because they look good together and they were right there in big bottles, conveniently sitting out as if waiting for me to use them on this. Over the last few months, I've been very drawn to the plus sign or a modified Maltese cross - for me it symbolizes positivity, healing energy, and renewal.

Phoenix-Mixed-Media-Artwork---Phase-2---Gwen-Lafleur

As I worked, I used my typical process of cleaning off my paintbrushes on scrap paper, creating some fabulous collage fodder in the process...

Phoenix-Mixed-Media-Artwork---Phase-3---Gwen-Lafleur

While I was making these papers, I had no intention of using them in this piece, but the artwork seemed to call for some of the specific motifs that had ended up on those collage papers, so I tore them out and added them onto the painting.

Phoenix-Mixed-Media-Artwork---Phase-3a---Gwen-Lafleur

My original inspiration was already fading fast at this point, and as I continued to work I suddenly started thinking about my visit to the botanical gardens in Singapore four years ago. Don't ask me why... I still haven't entirely figured out how and why my brain makes the connections that it does, but I have learned that it's usually a good idea to go with it. So with that in mind, I sat down and sketched out some flowers and then colored them with soft pastels and then used an aerosol acrylic spray to seal them so I could collage them onto the painting without smudging the color.

Phoenix-Mixed-Media-Artwork---Phase-4---Gwen-Lafleur

After letting the sealant dry overnight, I cut out the flowers and collaged them onto the piece.

Phoenix-Mixed-Media-Artwork---Phase-4a---Gwen-Lafleur

I knew I wanted even more flowers, so I took out my Chinese Garden Plum Blossoms stencil and stenciled some more blooms into each of the clusters, then used acrylic paints to flesh them out.

Phoenix-Mixed-Media-Artwork---Phase-5---Gwen-Lafleur

You can see hints of it in the photo above, but my work wouldn't be "boho grunge" without the grunge - I love a nice, dark texture paste, and I'd added some all over the canvas here, and also used several word stencils and stenciled a series of words on top of each other all around the border of the canvas. More catharsis, plus it framed the artwork quite nicely! I also used my Ornamental Compass Screen stencil here and there in the background for the added impression of texture.

Phoenix---Mixed-Media-Artwork---Gwen-Lafleur

To me, the symbolism of the cruciform motif and plus signs inside circles along with clustered blooms of flowers seeming to burst out of the grit and darkness made me think of a phoenix - rising from the ashes to be reborn and start anew. (If only it was that easy to break through and overcome our challenges in real life, right?)

Here are a few close-ups of the finished piece:

Phoenix-Mixed-Media-Artwork-Closeup-1---Gwen-Lafleur

Phoenix-Mixed-Media-Artwork-Closeup-2---Gwen-Lafleur

Phoenix-Mixed-Media-Artwork-Closeup-3---Gwen-Lafleur

Phoenix-Mixed-Media-Artwork-Closeup-4---Gwen-Lafleur

I'm really pleased with how this painting came out... in fact, it's the first piece of my own work that I've ever displayed in my living room where visitors can see it! In any case, I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into my process :)

 


Mixed Media with Relics & Artifacts

I'm thrilled to share that I'm the Guest Ambassador this month for Relics & Artifacts! I've been a fan of Sandra's line since it first launched, so I was excited to have this opportunity to put together a project using a variety of the awesome products available. Here's what I made:

Ancient-Energy-Mixed-Media-Canvas---Gwen-LafleurI used resin blanks, wood shapes, Bohemian jewels, Dresden trim, and one of Sandra's rubber stamp designs along with my Art Deco Bookplates stencil, sari yarn and a large Kuchi patch from the shop, and lots of paint and collage. Of course, there's a tutorial to go with it, so make sure you head over to the Relics & Artifacts blog to see my full post with lots more photos and step-by-step instructions.


Mini Stenciled Handmade Art Journal - StencilGirl & Lindy's Stamp Gang

Welcome to day one of a fabulous, inspiration packed blog hop with StencilGirl and Lindy's Stamp Gang! I've been excited to participate in this collaboration because Lindy's has some wonderful products that work perfectly with stencils and they'd been on my "to-try" list for ages! 

For my project, I decided to make a handmade mini art journal; I thought it would be a great way to showcase several fun techniques in a single project. Here you can see the outside of the book as well as the inside of the front cover and the first page:

Stenciled-and-Sprayed-Mini-Art-Journal---Gwen-Lafleur

  Stenciled-and-Sprayed-Mini-Art-Journal-Inside---Gwen-Lafleur

Of course, I put together some tutorials as well so that you can see how I used the different products. I really loved the effects I was able to get as I experimented!

I made the book using Indian cotton rag paper and bound it with the pamphlet stitch. In the past when I've used this binding I've had lots of requests for a tutorial, so this time I took pictures of the process so that you can see how to bind your own book. It's fast and easy!

To start, I took some very heavy-weight cotton rag paper (640 gsm, but you could also use chipboard) and measured and then folded so I'd have creases for my "cut" lines. (I took a class at SAIC in Chicago from a printmaker who impressed upon us that one should never cut the papers... you always tear them with a bone folder. Sometimes I ignore that advice, but because the paper had deckled edges, I tore so that it would match all the way around.)

I left it a few inches longer than I wanted the book to be so that I could fold up the flap to make pockets on the inside covers. Then I tore and folded five sheets of paper to make my book block, making sure to crease each one with my bone folder. (I don't generally like to do more than five sheets in a signature, especially with this kind of binding and the thickness of the paper I used - otherwise it doesn't lay as flat as I want it.)

Pamphlet-Bound-Art-Journal-Step-1-4---Gwen-Lafleur

Next, I made a jig - I just took scrap paper and cut it to the height of my book pages, folded it in half, and marked where the holes were going to be. This is the template you use to make sure that your holes are always in the same place. Technically you don't really need to do this with a single signature like this, but force of habit, I guess! I nested the folded papers, lined up the jig inside, and used my awl to poke the holes. (A traditional pamphlet binding has an odd number of holes, and this one just had three.) I generally place the awl and then let the pages fall so they're laying over my hand before pushing it through; this helps ensure that the tip of the awl will come out in the crease... if you poke the holes with the pages open, it's more likely that the awl will come out to one side of the crease instead. (Hopefully that makes sense!) 

Then it was time to start binding. I took waxed linen thread and cut the length to about 2-1/2" to 3 times the height of my book and then threaded it onto a tapestry needle. For this method, I start in the center hole and stitch from the outside in, leaving a tail of about 3-4" hanging out of the hole. (Bottom-right photo above.)

Stitch 2, go from the inside out (top left photo below,) then on the outside, bring your needle across to the other hole and go back inside (top-right photo below.)

Pamphlet-Bound-Art-Journal-Step-5-8---Gwen-Lafleur

Finally, on the inside you go back out through the center hole (bottom-left above,) and then tie it off on the outside... this way you don't have any gaps in the thread on the inside or the outside so it looks nice and clean. That's all there is to making your own art journal with a pamphlet stitch... I did say it was easy, right?

Now, on to the techniques with stencils, powders, and sprays!

For the covers, I used one of my favorite techniques - embossing powder resist. To do this, I took my Art Deco Peacock Feathers stencil and stenciled with clear embossing ink all across the covers (the stencil repeats so you get a seamless pattern!) Then I heat embossed with Lindy's Midnight Teal embossing powder. Then I used the Dark Chocolate Truffle shimmer spray with a dauber cap to add color in spots around the covers... the melted embossing powder will naturally resist the dye so you only stain the paper.

Mini-Art-Journal-Covers---EP-Resist-Step-1-4---Gwen-Lafleur

I followed up by spritzing with Mystic Malachite vintage spray, and then sprinkled some powder from the Oktoberfest Orange Magical Shaker and spritzed that with water to activate it. I added enough water that it would spread, but not so much that it would completely dissolve all of the powder - I wanted a bit of texture on the surface.

When everything was dry, I sprayed the cover with Krylon Crystal Clear acrylic coating and left it to dry overnight. This sealed anything that was water reactive so that I could work on top with wet mediums if I wanted to add more layers, and also ensured that great texture from the Magical Shaker wouldn't rub off.

Mini-Art-Journal-Covers---EP-Resist-Step-5---Gwen-Lafleur

I added some washi tape on the spine and a bit on the edges for a decorative touch, and the covers were done!

Stenciled-and-Sprayed-Mini-Art-Journal-Covers---Gwen-Lafleur

While I was in the groove, I decided to go ahead and start working on the inside pages of the book. I thought it would be fun to add some stitching and maybe custom dye my thread while I was at it! I started that step first and poured some of the Buccaneer Bay Blue vintage spray into a small paper cup, then added a few yards of regular 6-strand white DMC embroidery floss. I made sure it was totally submerged, then let it soak for a bit. After the color was strong enough, I pulled out the dyed thread and spread it on a paper towel, then used my Guten Tag Teal magical shaker to get a little more color in spots... I spritzed that with water to activate it.

Embroidering-with-Stencils-and-Lindy's---Thread-Dying-Step-1-4---Gwen-Lafleur

Voilà! Custom dyed thread! With that done, I was ready to prep the shape I was going to embroider, so I took out my Ornamental Embroidery stencil and used the Mystic Malachite vintage spray to get the pattern onto the paper. Then I mixed up my own fluid acrylic paint using Shabby Turbine Teal and Rusty Lantern Lime from the Industrial Chic Shimmer Magicals set along with some fluid matte medium.

Embroidering-with-Stencils-and-Lindy's---Pattern-Prep-Step-1-4---Gwen-Lafleur

I painted the center of my stenciled design with my custom color, then used the Dark Chocolate Truffle shimmer spray as a paint to add the details. Finally, I took my dyed thread and just back-stitched around my design and then added some gold seed beads.

Embroidering-with-Stencils-and-Lindy's---Stitching---Gwen-Lafleur

My embroidered embellishment was done, so on to the background! I took my Ornamental Petals Screen stencil and then stenciled with the Dark Chocolate Truffle shimmer spray and a sponge so that it wouldn't be quite as dark and I could get crisper lines.

Sprayed-and-Stenciled-Art-Journal-Page-Background---Gwen-Lafleur

Next, I found some collage paper in my stash that was the perfect shade of green and already had my Art Deco Medallion stencil applied on top with gold texture paste, so I tore that out and adhered it to the background, then tore out my embroidered embellishment, inked the edges with brown and black ink, and glued that on top. I also sprinkled some more Oktoberfest Orange Magicals on the background and spritzed with water - love that color!

Remember that paper towel I used earlier to lay out my dyed thread? There was no way I was throwing that out... it was too cool looking! So I took a large shipping tag (the perfect size for the pocket on the inside of my cover,) and used some matte medium to adhere the paper towel to the tag. I scrunched it up in places so I'd get some nice texture.

Sprayed-and-Stenciled-Tag---Step-3-4---Gwen-Lafleur

From there I brushed on some gold paint to highlight the texture and integrate the paper towel into the background, then stenciled parts of my Art Deco Sun Medallion Repeating Corner stencil onto the tag with black ink.

I wanted a focal point on the tag, so I took the Retreat Circle stencil by Seth Apter and stenciled that, again with black ink, and then stenciled the word "Lost" from Seth's Text and Texture Transform stencil in the center of the circle. (I want to use "found" as the word on a tag in the back pocket.)

To make the word stand out a bit more, I traced over it with a water pen, and then sprinkled pigment powder with the Black Forest Black Magical Shaker, then flipped the tag over and tapped off the excess. I was worried that it would bleed a lot, but it worked really well!

Sprayed-and-Stenciled-Tag---Step-3-4---Gwen-Lafleur

For the finishing touches, I used my custom fluid acrylic paint to paint the inside cover above the pocket, then used the same technique from the covers along with my Ornamental Floral Screen stencil to embellish the pocket.

Stenciled-and-Sprayed-Mini-Art-Journal-Inside-Cover---Gwen-Lafleur

Finally, I mixed some of the Steel Shimmer and Steampunk Sepia powders from the Industrial Chic Shimmer Magic set with some sand texture paste to make my own grungy finish to put on the edges of my tag and on the covers.

  Magical-Powder-Texture-Paste---Gwen-Lafleur

Whew... that's it for today! I'm looking forward to continuing to work in my new journal, but in the meantime, here you can see how the tag and first page turned out:

Stenciled-and-Sprayed-Mini-Art-Journal-Inside-2---Gwen-Lafleur
Stenciled-and-Sprayed-Mini-Art-Journal-Inside-2---Gwen-Lafleur

 

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

GIVEAWAY!


One lucky winner will receive both a $25 Gift Certificate to Lindy’s Gang AND a $25 Gift Certificate to StencilGirl Products!

Lindy's Gang Blog Hop Giveaway
Enter to win by leaving a comment below, then be sure to visit the other blogs in the hop and comment to win... the more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN! One winner will be chosen at random from all blog comments!
(One comment per person, per blog please.)

You have until Tuesday, April 24th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.
The winner will be announced on StencilGirl's Facebook page and Lindy’s Gang’s Facebook page on Wednesday, April 25.

 

Today's Blog Hop Order:

Mary Beth Shaw
Gwen Lafleur <-- you are here!
Mary C. Nasser
Debi Adams
Tina Walker
Kate Palmer
Cindy Wille
Natalie May
Pascale Bernard
Anat Weksler
Bertheas Peggy aka Nirvana
Elena Martynova


Mixed Media Texture with Baked Texture Embossing Powder

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of using embossing powder in my mixed media artwork, so when Seth Apter asked me if I'd be willing to do a project showcasing his seven new flavors of Baked Texture embossing powder from Emerald Creek, I jumped at the chance!

When the long awaited powders finally arrived, I dove in head first and explored. One of the results of my playtime, er... experimentation was this mixed media panel that uses all 7 blends and a variety of different techniques.

Textured-Circles-Mixed-Media-Panel---Gwen-Lafleur

I took some photos as I worked so that you can see some of the ways that I used the Baked Texture powders. To start, I stenciled elements from Seth's Numbers stencil with pigment ink, then added Ancient Amber and heat embossed it. I repeated this randomly across the background (keeping mostly toward the edges since I knew I was going to cover the center,) and making sure to wrap some of the embossing around the sides of my cradled panel. I also used a VersaMarker to edge the panel, and I added more EP and heat embossed that as well.

Abstract-Embossed-Mixed-Media---Step-7-8---Gwen-Lafleur

For the next layer, I randomly stamped some circle patterns from two of Seth's PaperArtsy cling rubber stamp sets onto rice paper using pigment ink. I did them one at a time - stamping one pattern and embossing, then repeating with the other pattern. I used Chunky Rust with the larger stamped circles and then using Dirty Sand for the smaller design. I then tore the paper into strips and collaged sections onto the background of my panel using matte medium, making sure to layer some of it over the embossing that was already on there since I wanted to start to build up layers of texture.

Abstract-Embossed-Mixed-Media---Step-2---Gwen-Lafleur

I set the panel aside to dry, then moved on to the circular elements that I knew I wanted to have running down the center. I took several different sizes of chipboard circles and painted them with different colors of Seth's PaperArtsy Fresco Finish paints.

Abstract-Embossed-Mixed-Media---Step-3-4---Gwen-Lafleur

Once the paint was dry, (which is important because the embossing powder will stick to wet paint and you may get embossing where you don't want it,) I ran the edges of the circles across an embossing ink pad (above,) and then ran them through a pile of Ancient Amber.

Abstract-Embossed-Mixed-Media---Step-5---Gwen-Lafleur

Above, you can see that I heat embossed the circles - I love the effect of the embossed edges! A few of them I just coated completely for some variety. When I'm working with smaller items like this, I have a set of long copper tongs that I use to hold the piece that I'm embossing so that I don't burn my fingers - super helpful!

Next, I went back through and used some of Seth's latest stencil designs from StencilGirl to add patterns to the tops of my circles using pigment ink and then Chunky Rust and Patina Oxide powders.

Abstract-Embossed-Mixed-Media---Step-5a---Gwen-Lafleur

At this point, my circles were ready to add to the panel, so I set those aside and went back to work on prepping my background which I coated with a brown glaze. I applied it, let it start to dry for about a minute or so, and then used a baby wipe to take some of it back off, leaving it darker in the crevices of the texture I created with the embossed stenciling.

Abstract-Embossed-Mixed-Media---Step-6---Gwen-Lafleur

Once the glaze was dry, I placed my circles down the center of the panel and glued them in place, then started coating the background in embossing powder. For this step, I started from the outside and the sides of the panel and worked my way toward the middle. First, I coated sections of the panel with embossing ink and then used Vintage Beeswax on top, repeating this process twice to get really smooth coverage.

Abstract-Embossed-Mixed-Media---Step-7-8---Gwen-Lafleur

Once the Vintage Beeswax is melted, you can see how the texture and color from the background layers still really show through! I continued the same process, adding ribbons of color moving toward the middle with Patina Oxide and then with Deep Sea.

Next comes my favorite part... this was what I knew that I wanted to do the very first time I ever saw Rocky Road - I wanted to create some serious texture using acrylic mediums. For this section, I used High Solid Gel and a small paintbrush to apply the gel around the circles throughout the entire center section. I used a very thick, stiff gel medium because I wanted it to hold its shape so that I would get more exaggerated peaks and valleys in my texture.

Abstract-Embossed-Mixed-Media---Step-9---Gwen-Lafleur

I coated the gel medium section with Rocky Road and then heated it at very short range. Any time you emboss with a wet acrylic medium, especially with the heat gun so close to the surface, you're going to get lots of bubbles. (And fumes! Keep your mouth and nose covered, especially if you do this for extended times like I did here - I have a respirator that I keep in my studio for serious melting and bubbling.) It's going to smell pretty funky, but the texture... oh is it ever worth it. Amazing. (At the bottom of this post there's a link to a video tutorial where you can see this process in action.)

Below, you can see how I went back in with a VersaMarker and lightly brushed ink over the surface of the embossed area...

Abstract-Embossed-Mixed-Media---Step-10---Gwen-Lafleur

I added a light sprinkling of Chunky Rust and embossed, repeated with an even lighter sprinkling of Patina Oxide, and then added a bit more Rocky Road on top. I kept sprinkling and heating until I was happy with the results - I think I had at least 10 layers of embossing powder on this section! When you look at it up close, it's a really cool effect.

Finally, it just wouldn't be one of my pieces unless I added some funky boho touches, so I dug through my stash of Turkmen jewelry parts and added some buttons and other cool bits on to some of the circles, finishing with a Turkish glass nazar bead in the center of my focal point. I used a touch of black wax around the edges of the panel to frame it, and that was it!

Abstract-Embossed-Mixed-Media---Step-11---Gwen-Lafleur

Here are a few close-ups so that you can get a better sense for the different textures you can get using the Baked Texture powders... they're so addictive!


Textured Circles - Top 2 - Gwen Lafleur
Textured Circles - Top 2 - Gwen Lafleur
Textured Circles - Top 2 - Gwen Lafleur
Textured Circles - Top 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Also, not too long ago I did a video tutorial using Baked Texture powders and another Emerald Creek embossing powder, and in that video you can see the live-action version of how I use embossing powder with acrylic mediums (it's fun just to watch that stuff bubble on camera!) Check out that blog post for the video as well as the three samples I shared.

Sadly, this brings us to the end of our week-long celebration of all things Baked Texture, but hopefully you've picked up tons of ideas and inspiration for how you can incorporate these amazing embossing powders into your own mixed media work! If you missed them, make sure to check out these four posts from this week, each with lots of amazing inspiration and fun techniques for you to try:


Gwen's Gems - Make a Wire Jewelry Pattern from a Stencil!

Just popping in to let you know that I'm up on StencilGirl Talk today with the March edition of Gwen's Gems. This month I'm showing how you can use a stencil to create a pattern for wire jewelry - see how I made this wire peacock feather pendant from start to finish!

Wire-Peacock-Feather-Pendant-View-2----Gwen-Lafleur

Make sure you head over to StencilGirl Talk to see the tutorial. (PS... the necklace is now sold - thank you!)

 


Create a Beautifully Etched Decorative Window with Stencils

Hi all, welcome to my stop on the blog hop with StencilGirl and etchall! For my project, I knew immediately what I wanted to do... about two years ago I'd taken an old multi-paned window that I'd found in an architectural salvage shop and painted it, then added some stenciled deli paper to the panes. At the time, I wished that I'd etched the glass instead, so when this project came up, I decided to go back and do what I'd originally wanted to do with that old window. Here's how it turned out! 

Etched-Decorative-Window---Gwen-Lafleur

The how-to for this couldn't be any easier. I took my window (or any glass surface,) and peeled off the old deli paper with a razor, then washed it. (One of the few times you will ever catch me washing windows. LOL.) When it was totally dry, I took the stencil adhesive spray and coated the back of my Decorative Curvy Ornament stencil as well as my Decorative 6-Petal Flower stencil, let the adhesive dry, and then placed them in the center of two of the window panes. From there, I just followed the instructions on the bottle of etching cream; I applied it with a squeegee tool, then scraped up the excess and put it back in the jar. 

Etched-Decorative-Window-Step-1---Gwen-Lafleur

Etched-Decorative-Window-Step-1a---Gwen-Lafleur

When the first two were done, I set a timer for 15 minutes and then rinsed them in the sink under running water, scrubbing lightly to get all of the etching cream off of the glass. I did leave the stencils in place until after I'd rinsed off the cream, as per the instructions. They started to loosen before that point, but it worked out just fine!

Etched-Decorative-Window-Step-2---Gwen-Lafleur

From there, I just repeated the process two more times; each time I dried and re-sprayed my stencils with adhesive since they'd been soaked in water during the previous step and I wanted to make sure they stuck well to the glass so I wouldn't get any seepage with the etching cream.

Voila! It took less than an hour to get rid of my unsatisfactory deli print stenciling and replace it with something that looks pretty darn professional!

Etched-Decorative-Window-b---Gwen-Lafleur

It's hard to get good photos of the glass, but here you can see a bit of the close-up of each of the stencil designs after they'd been etched:

Etched-Decorative-Window-Closeup-3---Gwen-Lafleur

Etched-Decorative-Window-Closeup-5---Gwen-Lafleur

That's it! I hope you enjoyed seeing how I used the etchall products with my stencils to finish off this decorative window... now I just need to find the perfect place to display it.

Of course, now it's time for the best part of a blog hop - the giveaway!

 

GIVEAWAY
One lucky winner will receive an etchall® Glass Etching Bee-ginner Kit, reposition/reuse stencil spray
AND a $25 Gift Certificate to StencilGirl Products!

Enter to win by leaving a comment below, then be sure to visit the other blogs in the hop and comment to win.
The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN!
One winner will be chosen at random from all blog comments.
(One comment per person per blog please.)

You have until Tuesday, March 20th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.
Winner will be announced on
StencilGirl's Facebook page and etchall’s Facebook page on Wednesday, March 21.

 

Here are the links to all of today's blog posts - make sure to visit and comment on each of them for your chance to win!

Mary Beth Shaw
Gwen Lafleur <-- you are here!
Mary C. Nasser
Debi Adams
Tina Walker
Cindi McGee
Nadine Carlier
Joe Rotella


Gwen's Gems - Add Some Glam to your Grunge!

Hi all - just popping in to let you know that it's time for Gwen's Gems again over on StencilGirl Talk! This month I'm sharing a pretty intuitive mixed media piece with a super textured and grungy background accented with pink, gold, and plenty of glam!

Mixed-Media-Collage-with-Stenciled-Texture-and-Skins-closeup-3-----Gwen-Lafleur

Head on over to StencilGirl Talk to see the full piece along with a tutorial.


Mixed Media Abstract with Embossing Powder Tutorial

You may have noticed that I've been using a lot of embossing powder in my recent work. I've actually been using EP in mixed media for several years, but started doing it with much greater frequency after discovering Emerald Creek last year. Their powders really lend themselves well to working with mixed media; from the fabulous colors and blends to the mix of textures, plus they melt quickly and most of the powders I've used can be re-melted over and over as you build layers. Of course, they also partnered with Seth Apter to release Baked Texture - a new line of embossing powder that just debuted last week at Creativation / AFCI. I may be just a little bit addicted. Or a lot. Maybe. (The Artist Tribe has also been playing with them recently and has referred to them as crack, magic dust, and a few other similar terms, so I know I'm not alone!)

With that said, in the spirit of enabling... err, sharing, I've put together a video tutorial using Baked Texture and one of the Emerald Creek Allure embossing powders to show you some of the techniques I used to make a piece of abstract art from start to finish. This was based on a project that I originally shared in last year's free online class from Nathalie Kalbach, Artful Adventures, so the process may be familiar to some of you. However, this rebooted version has some updates and additions that I hope you'll enjoy.

Here's the piece that I made in the video along with a few close-ups so you can see some of the details:

Mixed-Media-Abstract-with-Embossing-Powder-2---Gwen-Lafleur
Mixed-Media-Abstract-with-Embossing-Powder-2---Gwen-Lafleur
Mixed-Media-Abstract-with-Embossing-Powder-2---Gwen-Lafleur

And without further ado, here's the video! It runs just a bit over 30 minutes, so grab a drink and a snack and sit back and enjoy!

As you saw at the end of the video, I also went back and finished the panel that I used to demo the DAP - here are a few photos of how that turned out so you can see them a bit better:

Mixed-Media-Abstract-with-Embossing-Powder-3---Gwen-Lafleur

Mixed-Media-Abstract-with-Embossing-Powder-3-Closeup2---Gwen-Lafleur

Mixed-Media-Abstract-with-Embossing-Powder-3-Closeup-1---Gwen-Lafleur

 

Finally, here's the original panel that I did in the workshop last year; you can really see how much I was able to amp up the texture with the new embossing powders!

Mixed-Media-Abstract-with-Embossing-Powder-1---Gwen-Lafleur

Mixed-Media-Abstract-with-Embossing-Powder-1-Closeup---Gwen-Lafleur

So there you go! I hope you enjoyed it, and if you try this at home make sure to link me up so that I can see what you do!

 


Gwen's Gems - 3D Collaged Boho Fish!

Hi all,  just popping in to let you know that I'm up today on StencilGirl Talk with the January edition of Gwen's Gems! This month I'm taking my collaged boho fish and making them 3D, using a stencil as a pattern.

3D-Collaged-Boho-Fish----Gwen-Lafleur

There are lots more photos and details in the post, plus a tutorial to show how I did both the fish and the background! I hope you'll head over and check it out!

 


Gwen's Gems - Translucent Mixed Media with Stencils!

Hi all, just popping in to let you know that I'm up on the StencilGirl blog today with the December edition of Gwen's Gems. This month I experimented with using translucent elements in a mixed media piece, and I'm loving the results!

Transparent-Mixed-Media-Abstract--Tilt----Gwen-Lafleur

Here you can better see the translucent part of the piece:

Transparent-Mixed-Media-Abstract--Closeup-2---Gwen-Lafleur

Head on over to StencilGirl Talk to see more photos as well as a tutorial!

PS... in case you haven't heard, I'm also going to be an artist instructor in Creative JumpStart 2018! Join me and 30 other teachers to get a jump on your creative year with daily mixed media video lessons... it says $50 in the image below, but from now until December 31st, it's only $45 - that works out to just $1.45 per lesson, and you can download them to keep forever!

CJS18-Rectangle-Ad---Gwen

 


Mixed Media Abstract with Stencils & Embossing Powder

I love embossing powder. Love it. So when I found out that the StencilGirl team would be doing a blog hop with Emerald Creek (who makes pretty much my favorite embossing powder ever,) I may have jumped up and down a little in excitement. (On the inside, at least!) I started heat embossing twenty or more years ago as I dabbled in other crafts, but as my interests have evolved, my love of embossing has remained. I never get tired of watching that powder melt, and in recent years I've found a few ways to make it even more fun to use! I've mixed a few of my favorite techniques together in today's project, which is an 8"x10" abstract mixed media panel with lots of EP and stencils.

Mixed-Media-Abstract-with-Embossing-Powder---Gwen-Lafleur

I've put together a little tutorial so you can see how I used the various products in this piece and hopefully give it a try yourself!

To start, I took a plain 8x10 canvas panel and coated it with black gesso.

Mixed-Media-Abstract-with-EP---Step-1---Gwen-Lafleur

I set that aside to dry and pulled out a few sheets of deli paper that had some paint on them and not much else - I formed my color palette as I looked through what I had that was already painted and ended up with yellow, teal, dark gray, and a kind of blend of all of the colors with a bit of stenciling already on it. I pulled out a few different stencils, inked through them with a foam applicator and pigment ink, then heat embossed the designs.

Mixed-Media-Abstract-with-EP---Step-2-3---Gwen-Lafleur

I used the X Rows stencil by Michelle Ward along with Mirror Gold embossing powder, my Ornamental Floral Screen stencil with some Fractured Ice Embossing Crystals, and two StencilClub stencils by Mary Beth Shaw: the one on yellow is the 6x6 from the April 2016 StencilClub collection used with Oil Rubbed Bronze EP, and the one on teal is the 9x12 from the January 2016 StencilClub kit along with Northern Lights EP.

I wanted to have each paper be roughly one quarter of a wonky circle, so I made a template from a piece of copy paper and used it to cut the pieces I wanted from my embossed deli paper, then adhered them onto the panel with matte medium. When collaged, deli paper wants to wrinkle much more than regular paper - sometimes I want that look and let it happen, but here I wanted it smooth so I used an old hotel room key and scraped it over the top to force out all of the bubbles.

Mixed-Media-Abstract-with-EP---Step-4-5---Gwen-Lafleur

I let the panel dry thoroughly at that point since I was going to add more embossing powder, which would stick to anything that was still wet. Once dry, I used some soft gel medium and painted a thick outline around my circle of patterned papers, then used Charred Gold EP on that. I did not let that dry - if you melt embossing powder on a wet acrylic medium, it will bubble... and I love to make it bubble. (However, it will also create some not-so-lovely fumes - protect your nose and mouth or even better, use a respirator while doing this - especially for extended periods of time.) You have to be careful that you don't burn it, but this process makes a really fabulous texture in your work.

With the circle done, I got out the Verdant Moon stencil by Carol Wiebe and used gold pigment ink to stencil parts of the border designs into a slightly skewed cruciform over the seams of my papers. I embossed that with more Charred Gold EP.

Mixed-Media-Abstract-with-EP---Step-6-7---Gwen-Lafleur

To create a bit of a halo effect around the circle, I just used some teal fluid acrylic paint along with acrylic glazing medium and my finger and spread the paint around the edge of the embossed circle.

Next, I glazed the patterned sections with gray, then used some gold paint in a fineliner bottle to scribble an echo of the embossed circle.

Mixed-Media-Abstract-with-EP---Step-8-9---Gwen-Lafleur

I wanted to add a touch of contrasting dimension and texture, so I used some Pebeo relief paste to add tiny gold glass seed beads into the center of my Xs.  (As you can see here, I generally use a needle or hatpin to place beads.)

With that, the background was done and it was time to start building my focal point. I started by stenciling my Art Deco Sunburst Medallion stencil onto deli paper that had been painted black, then I embossed it with Mirror Gold EP. Next I took a shape from the Periscope Die Set by Seth Apter that had been cut from a thin sheet of teal colored aluminum and added some alcohol inks, then glued it on top.

Mixed-Media-Abstract-with-EP---Step-10-11---Gwen-Lafleur

I cut around the diecut piece and then adhered it onto my panel. To go on top, I rounded up a few found objects - a metal clock face, some broken jewelry parts, and a glass Turkish Nazar. I assembled those into a focal piece and adhered it in the center of the diecut.

Mixed-Media-Abstract-with-EP---Step-12---Gwen-Lafleur

Finally, I added a sprinkling of Pyrite Gemstones around the border of my focal piece, and it was finished!

Here are a few closeups so you can see some of the details of the embossing - it's such a natural pairing with stencils!

Mixed-Media-Abstract-with-EP---Closeup-3---Gwen-Lafleur
Mixed-Media-Abstract-with-EP---Closeup-3---Gwen-Lafleur
Mixed-Media-Abstract-with-EP---Closeup-3---Gwen-Lafleur

Mixed-Media-Abstract-with-EP---Closeup-1---Gwen-Lafleur
Whew... that's it! I hope you enjoyed today's project as much as I enjoyed making it :) 

Now for the best part... we have two amazing giveaways this week!

Emerald Creek Blog Hop Giveaway image

One lucky winner will receive a $25 Gift Certificate to StencilGirl Products AND a $25 Gift Certificate to Emerald Creek!

Enter to win by leaving a comment on this post, then be sure to visit the other blogs in the hop and comment since the more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to win! One winner will be chosen at random from all blog comments. (One comment per person per blog please.)

You have until Tuesday, December 19th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments. The winner will be announced on StencilGirl's Facebook page on Wednesday, December 20th.

AND

Seth Apter is also generously giving away his original artwork which he created for this blog hop!

Seth-Apter

 Head over to Seth's blog and leave a comment on his post to be entered to win this piece. You need to do this by Tuesday, 12/19 at 11:59PM Central Time to be eligible.

Here are all of the posts so far:

December 13:


December 14:

And... don't forget to come back tomorrow for the final four projects!

December 15:


Mixed Media Seahorse Sculpture

The last few weeks I've had lots of energy and inspiration and have been working on quite a few projects! One of them is a new seahorse sculpture that I started before Thanksgiving and just finished up Friday night. I have to say, I absolutely love how this turned out!

Mixed-Media-Seahorse-Sculpture---Gwen-Lafleur

It was really hard to get good pictures of this guy because of his size and the darker paint colors I used, but hopefully you get the idea... personally I think he's even cooler in person :)

Over the last few years I've been working a lot with the idea of making 3D sculptures based on stencil designs; my original idea started with inspiration from a class I took at a Create retreat as well as some old grade-school art class techniques, but slowly I've been evolving my process as I find new supplies and tools and get more experience in this area.  At some point I'll probably make this into a class (most likely online or a 2-day in person class,) but for now I thought I'd share a very quick overview of how he was made. 

I started with the Seahorses stencil by June Pfaff Daley and inked it onto cardboard and then cut out the general shape.

Mixed-Media-Seashorse-Sculpture-Steps-1-2

From there, I used aluminum foil and masking tape to start to build up the armature. I found that the tip of a bone folder was really helpful for molding some of the details. When the armature was finished, I covered the whole thing with Aves Apoxie Clay and then once it was no longer water soluble, I went back in and added details. While the clay was still workable, I also made sure to insert a wood skewer so that he could be attached to a base later on and then let the whole thing cure overnight.

Mixed-Media-Seashorse-Sculpture-Steps-3-4

Once it was cured, I coated it with gold gesso, then started adding layers of paints and washes as well as some waxes and gold leafing until I got it looking the way I wanted. It started to take a very metallic and steampunk-esque turn along the way, so I just went with it. When all the paint was dry, I continued along those lines and started adding some metal gears that I aged in Jax solution as well as some old watch parts and vintage watch faces. I also inserted some vintage rhinestones to tie in the broken Turkmen bracelet piece I had added as a collar.

Mixed-Media-Seashorse-Sculpture-Step-5

It still felt like it needed something, so I pulled out my collection of broken Turkmen jewelry (which is admittedly large and also pretty fabulous,) and started searching for the perfect finishing pieces.

Mixed-Media-Seashorse-Sculpture-Step-6

I found a few pieces of chain and the absolute perfect section of another broken bracelet to attach to the collar as a kind of pectoral piece. That was the exact detail it needed to feel finished. I added a bit of sari yarn around the skewer and inserted it into a vintage wooden spool that I'd glazed and waxed and accessorized with some embellished sari trim and more broken jewelry parts. (The skewer is held in place with more Apoxie Clay.)

Did I mention how pleased I am with the result? Here are some more photos so you can see details of the finished piece:

Mixed-Media-Seahorse-Scupture---Front-View---Gwen-Lafleur
Mixed-Media-Seahorse-Scupture---Front-View---Gwen-Lafleur

The sculpture itself came out quite symmetrical, but I didn't want to have the embellishments the same on both sides so I mixed it up a bit.


Mixed-Media-Seahorse-Scupture---Front-View---Gwen-Lafleur

On the post, I added more chains and some bronze microbeads to cover the join with the sculpture. (And let's face it... I really just wanted to add more bling!)


Mixed-Media-Seahorse-Scupture---Front-View---Gwen-Lafleur

I've got plans to keep working on a series of these sculptures - maybe different sizes of seahorses, different animals... (an elephant for sure!) We'll see where it goes!

PS... in case you haven't heard, I'm also going to be an artist instructor in Creative JumpStart 2018! Join me and 30 other teachers to get a jump on your creative year with daily mixed media video lessons... it says $50 in the image below, but from now until December 31st, it's only $45 - that works out to just $1.45 per lesson, and you can download them to keep forever!

CJS18-Rectangle-Ad---Gwen

 


Gwen's Gems - Winter Art Journaling

Hi all! Just popping in to let you know that I have a new project available over on StencilGirl Talk... this month I'm sharing a tutorial showing how I made this page in my art journal featuring my new Christmas Cardinal and Holly stencil.

Winter-Cardinal-Art-Journal-Page-angle--Gwen-Lafleur

Be sure to check out the full post for lots more photos and that tutorial I mentioned :)

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Make a File Folder Art Journal with Stencils & Tim Holtz Distress Oxides

Hi all! I can't tell you how excited I am to be participating in this week's blog hop... all of the members of the StencilGirl creative team are using some of Mary Beth's favorite Tim Holtz products with our StencilGirl stencils. 

Tim Holtz Blog Hop Header

Today is all about the Distress Oxide Inks, and I'm so excited that I got to work with them! My friend Tracie owns Papercraft Clubhouse in Connecticut, and when these ink pads first came out, she couldn't say enough about how awesome they were, so I couldn't wait to play with them. I was not disappointed... in fact, if you've seen my projects lately, you can probably tell that I'm more than a little bit addicted!

For today's project, I've made a file folder art journal and then used my stencils and Distress Oxide Inks to decorate the front and back covers and to make five different backgrounds on the inside pages.

Stenciled-File-Folder-Art-Journal-with-Distress-Oxide-Inks---Gwen-Lafleur

Here are all of the inside spreads, and rather than my usual photo tutorials, I've made six little videos showing you how I made each one of the backgrounds in the journal. Ready to get started?

For my first spread, I used lots of browns and had a lot of fun with the oxidized background effects! I used my Art Deco Sunburst Background stencil, the X Rows stencil by Michelle Ward, and the Numbers and Inside Out stencils by Seth Apter.

Stenciled-File-Folder-Art-Journal-with-Distress-Oxide-Inks-Spread-1--Gwen-Lafleur

Here you can see a few close-ups of the finished backgrounds:

Stenciled-File-Folder-Art-Journal-with-Distress-Oxide-Inks-Spread-1-Closeup-2--Gwen-Lafleur
Stenciled-File-Folder-Art-Journal-with-Distress-Oxide-Inks-Spread-1-Closeup-2--Gwen-Lafleur

For the second spread, I went much brighter! I did some reduction printing with my Ornamental Petals Screen stencil, then added a few layers of pattern with my Ornamental Peacock Feathers and Decorative Medallion stencils.

Stenciled-File-Folder-Art-Journal-with-Distress-Oxide-Inks-Spread-2--Gwen-Lafleur

Here's the video for this spread:

And of course, a few close-ups of the finished pages:

Stenciled-File-Folder-Art-Journal-with-Distress-Oxide-Inks-Spread-2-Closeup---Gwen-Lafleur

Stenciled-File-Folder-Art-Journal-with-Distress-Oxide-Inks-closeup-2---Gwen-Lafleur
I just love the way the layers of pattern blend together when you use these inks!

For the third spread, I tried out an idea I had to use the Distress Oxide Inks with some Distress Paint to do a page inspired by a piece of metal with lots of patina. In the video, I added a little Wild Honey Distress Oxide on the right-side page to add a bit of a rusty effect as well. I love how it turned out! On this one, I used my Art Deco Borders stencil along with the Numbers and Inside Out stencils by Seth Apter. 

Stenciled-File-Folder-Art-Journal-with-Distress-Oxide-Inks-Spread-3---Gwen-Lafleur

Of course, the video to go with this spread...

Here's a close-up of the effects I got on this background:

Stenciled-File-Folder-Art-Journal-with-Distress-Oxide-Inks-Spread-3-Closeup---Gwen-Lafleur

For the fourth spread, I added in some Distress Glaze to do some resist effects using the Marrakech Mix stencil by Michelle Ward.  I also used my Ornamental Floral Screen stencil and the Decorative 6-Petal Flower Screen to build up some layers of pattern and texture.

Stenciled-File-Folder-Art-Journal-with-Distress-Oxide-Inks-Spread-4--Gwen-Lafleur

Here's the video for this one:

It's a very subtle effect, but I really like how it turned out!

Stenciled-File-Folder-Art-Journal-with-Distress-Oxide-Inks-Spread-4-Closeup---Gwen-Lafleur

For the final spread inside the book, I used the Distress Oxides to print directly from my stencils onto the background. On these pages, I used my Ornamental Floral Screen stencil along with the X Rows stencil by Michelle Ward.

Stenciled-File-Folder-Art-Journal-with-Distress-Oxide-Inks-Spread-5--Gwen-Lafleur

One more background tutorial video... 

With a close-up, of course! This technique was a lot of fun and I love how it looked with the stamped border!

Stenciled-File-Folder-Art-Journal-with-Distress-Oxide-Inks-Spread-5---Closeup--Gwen-Lafleur

Last but not least, I have a tutorial for the front and back covers of the journal. This one used quite a few stencils! The focal point was my Art Deco Bookplates stencil, then I did the lettering with my Art Deco Alphabet stencil and the front also uses the word "inside" from Seth's Inside Out stencil. I added a bit of texture with my Ornamental Floral Screen stencil and my Decorative 6-Petal Flower Screen.

Stenciled-File-Folder-Art-Journal-with-Distress-Oxide-Inks-Covers--Gwen-Lafleur

The last video tutorial... in this one I show you the back cover from start to finish:

A few close-ups from both sides... did I mention how much I love the way the Distress Oxide Inks blend and fade into each other to make such gorgeous effects?

Stenciled-File-Folder-Art-Journal-with-Distress-Oxide-Inks-Back-Cover-Closeup-2---Gwen-Lafleur
Stenciled-File-Folder-Art-Journal-with-Distress-Oxide-Inks-Back-Cover-Closeup-2---Gwen-Lafleur
Stenciled-File-Folder-Art-Journal-with-Distress-Oxide-Inks-Back-Cover-Closeup-2---Gwen-Lafleur

Whew! That's it! I probably went a little overboard with this project, but I really loved using the Distress Oxides with my stencils. It was so fun to play and experiment!

The links for my stencils go to my own website, but of course you can also find all of my stencil designs on the StencilGirl website.

Of course, it's not a blog hop without a giveaway, and StencilGirl has an especially awesome prize this week!

GIVEAWAY

One lucky winner will receive a $50 Gift Certificate to StencilGirl Products!

Tim Holtz Blog Hop Giveaway image

Sign Up for The Scoop for your chance to WIN!

* indicates required field
 

Then...

Visit the blogs of Team StencilGirl and comment for MORE chances to win!

The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN! One winner will be chosen at random from The Scoop subscribers and blog comments! (One comment per person per blog please.)

You have until Tuesday, October 24th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.

Winner will be announced on StencilGirl's Facebook page on Wednesday, October 25th.

 

Here are all of the links for the posts that have gone up so far - make sure you comment to be entered for this awesome prize!

October 18: Adirondack Alcohol Inks


October 19: Distress Oxide Ink Pads 

Check StencilGirlTalk.com tomorrow to get the links for all of the posts using Distress Crayons!

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Kantha Quilting with Stencils and Kuchi Patches

Hi all, it's that time again... today I'm up on StencilGirl Talk with this month's edition of Gwen's Gems! For October, I used some of the things I learned in India about Kantha quilting to make some hand-stitched embellishments for a canvas handbag. I used some of my stencils as my patterns and embellished with Kuchi patches and sari appliques.

Kantha-Quilted-Handbag-with-Stencils---Gwen-Lafleur

Kantha-Quilted-Handbag-with-Stencils---Closeup-1---Gwen-Lafleur

Make sure to head over and see the whole post for more photos and a tutorial!

Also as a reminder, if you're feeling inspired by all of the projects with Kuchi patches that are being shared this month, they're on sale in the shop for 15% off all through October!

October-Product-Spotlight-Banner-Kuchi-Patches

Just use the coupon 15OffKuchiPatches when you check out to get 15% off! (It only includes patches specifically marked Kuchi, and doesn't include other Kuchi textiles or jewelry.)

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Artist Tribe Blog Hop - Making ATCs!

Welcome to the first ever blog hop for The Artist Tribe at Gwen Lafleur Studios! I'm so excited to see and share all of the fabulous projects from these talented ladies, and I hope you'll enjoy it just as much!

There are three posts today, and three tomorrow, and of course, there's a giveaway! But before we get to that, here's a summary of today's inspiring projects:

First up, we have Jackie Neal,  who's sharing some beautiful diary style art journaling!

Dear Diary (29)

Here's what Jackie had to say about her project:

"Today I would like to share with you a journal spread I put together using some of Gwen's yummy products.
Most times I gather my inspiration from things around me, something in my studio or from the beauty out in nature.
For this journal spread, I was actually was inspired by Gwen and her travels to exotic countries where she procures these gorgeous papers, trims and embellishments!
Thank you and please stop by my blog for more details on how I put this together."
 
Items from Gwen's Mixed Media Supplies store:
 

 

Next up in today's lineup, Lynda Shoup is sharing another fabulous project! Lynda took inspiration from a recent outing where prayer flags and beautifully carved paving stones helped bring everything together.

Mixed Media Elephant Banner - Lynda Shoup

Lynda used some Turkmen jewelry parts, newspaper yarn, an image from the Enchanting Elephants downloadable collage cut-outs, and some hand-printed paper I sent to the team that's similar to the ones in my themed collage and embellishment packs to make her beautiful banner!

 

Last up for today... it's me! I'll show you how I used my stencils and some goodies from the shop to make a set of ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) for my latest swap.

Here are the cards - believe it or not, I made all of these in one sitting... it just took a few hours (which for me is pretty fast!)

Stenciled-and-Embellished-ATCs---Finished-Cards-2---Gwen-Lafleur

Ready for a little tutorial? I started with an 11"x14" sheet of heavy weight paper, then I blended some Distress Oxide Inks onto the surface, spritzed with water, and dried it. I wanted to do two different colorways so that I would have some variety in the backgrounds for my cards.

  Stenciled-and-Embellished-ATCs---Steps-1-2---Gwen-Lafleur

Next, I pulled out my stencils and just started adding designs all over the background without much rhyme or reason. Here, I used two designs from my Art Deco stencil collection: Art Deco Sunburst Background, Art Deco Sun Medallion, then the Decorative Medallion stencil and Decorative 6-Petal Flower Screen, and from my Ornamental stencil collection, the Ornamental Peacock Feathers stencil, Ornamental Floral Screen, and Ornamental Embroidery. I stenciled all of those with Archival Inks - I wanted the slightly more soft and transparent look of inks for this, plus they give a nice, crisp image and no drying time. 

With that done, I cut the sheet down into 2-1/2"x3-1/2" cards, then took paper scraps and adhered them along the bottom or side with matte medium.

Stenciled-and-Embellished-ATCs---Steps-3-4---Gwen-Lafleur

Then I took different washi tapes and added those as another layer, sealing them with matte medium.

With the matte medium dry, I took some different Dresden trim border designs and added a small section on each card.

Stenciled-and-Embellished-ATCs---Steps-5-6---Gwen-Lafleur

Next I cut out nine images from the collage sheets (these were provided as part of a kit for my swap group, but you can find similar designs in my Irresistible India downloadable collage cutouts.) I decided which backgrounds looked best with which images and then adhered them in place with matte medium.

After that it was time to embellish! For this, I mainly used different trims, jewels, and charms from various ATC kits for my swap group and glued those in place.

Stenciled-and-Embellished-ATCs---Steps-7-8---Gwen-Lafleur

Finally, I used Sepia and Jet Black Archival Inks along the edge of each card, then finished them with a line of gold from a Pen-Touch paint pen.

That's it! The cards themselves are quite easy to make - the key is the background, which adds a lot of complexity and depth without a lot of work. Then you just add a few layers on top, and voila! Fun ATCs, all ready to trade!

Here are close-ups of each of the cards I made:

Stenciled-and-Embellished-ATCs---Closeup-1---Gwen-Lafleur
Stenciled-and-Embellished-ATCs---Closeup-1---Gwen-Lafleur
Stenciled-and-Embellished-ATCs---Closeup-1---Gwen-Lafleur
Stenciled-and-Embellished-ATCs---Closeup-1---Gwen-Lafleur

Stenciled-and-Embellished-ATCs---Closeup-5---Gwen-Lafleur
And of course, one final look at all of them together:

Stenciled-and-Embellished-ATCs---Finished-Cards-1---Gwen-Lafleur

I hope you enjoyed my project today! Of course, wow it's time for the part everyone is waiting for... a GIVEAWAY!

Blog Hop Giveaway Banner

One lucky winner will receive $20 Gift Card to the Shop at Gwen Lafleur Studios! All you need to do to enter is leave a comment on any or all of the blog posts 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 Sunday, October 1st at 11:59pm mountain time to leave your comments. The winner will be announced on the Gwen Lafleur Studios Facebook page on Monday, October 2nd.

 Today's posts:

Make sure to come back again tomorrow to see the next three projects!

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Gwen's Gems - Using Stencils in my Travel Journal

Hi all! Today I'm up over on StencilGirl Talk with the September edition of Gwen's Gems! This month I'm getting ready to travel, so I'm showing how I use my stencils to help prep my travel journal so it's all set to go on the road with me :)

Stencils-in-Travel-Journal---Finished-Book-Side-View---Gwen-Lafleur

Head on over to see lots more photos, as well as a little overview of how I used stencils to make the covers and decorate the inside pages of my journal. Enjoy!


"Choose Love" Mixed Media Panel

Hi all! I'm up on StencilGirl Talk today with this month's edition of Gwen's Gems! This month I'm making a large mixed media panel featuring clay, collage, painting, and lots of stencils, of course!

Here's my project:

Choose-Love-Mixed-Media-Panel---Gwen-Lafleur

Make sure you head over for more photos and a tutorial!

(P.S. - for those who are interested, this piece is now available for sale on my website.)

 


Art Journaling with StencilGirl and Colourcraft

Hi all! Welcome to my stop on our blog hop with StencilGirl and Colourcraft! I was so excited to get to try some new-to-me products with stencils; I was able to just play and experiment and have a lot of fun in the process! 

SG Colourcraft Blog Hop banner

For my project, I used the Brusho starter pack with 12 colors along with Aztec Lustres Craft Paints in Aquarmarine and Dark Blue. I also got to try a very cool medium - EXpandit 3D Expanding Fabric Medium - you can see how I used them all with StencilGirl stencils in the tutorial below, but first... here's the art journal spread that I made:

StencilGirl-Brusho-Art-Journal-Page-Gwen-Lafleur

Ready for that tutorial?

I started with a spread in my handmade journal (my book is 11x11) and the elephant was actually a large patterned diecut that I bound into the book - it was fun to work that into the spread! I coated the pages and the elephant with gesso, then when it was dry I took out some of the turquoise Brusho crystals and sprinkled them on the background. I spritzed with water until it looked like they were dissolved.

StencilGirl-Brusho-Art-Journal-Spread-Step-1-Gwen-Lafleur

There was a good amount of water, which made for a great vehicle to move the ink around the page and get a cool look in the background. I dried that layer, then repeated with purple and dried it again.

I pulled out my Aztec Lustres Craft Paints and used a paper towel to dab them around the page - it added a subtle difference in color and some shimmer.

StencilGirl-Brusho-Art-Journal-Page-Step-2---Gwen-Lafleur

With that layer dry, I took the EXpandit 3D Expandable Medium and mixed it on my palette with some Leaf Green Brusho crystals and then used a cheap bristle brush to stencil the mixture through my Ornamental Peacock Feathers stencil

StencilGirl-Brusho-Art-Journal-Page-Step-3---Gwen-Lafleur

Then while it was still wet, I used my heat tool to do the magical expanding! I have no idea if this was what it was supposed to look like when I was done, but I really liked it - it feels like it's been flocked, and adds such cool texture to the background! (I think a thicker coat of the tinted medium would give you a more solid expanded surface, but I liked it this way.)    

Next, I mixed up some orange Brusho crystals and airbrush medium in a glass dropper bottle and dropped tiny puddles around the page. I waited a minute - just until I could see the color underneath start to reactivate and come to the surface, then I used a paper towel to blot it back off. This is a fun reduction technique; it pulled out the blue / purple colors but left a bit of an orange stain, which looks pretty cool!

StencilGirl-Brusho-Art-Journal-Page-Step-4---Gwen-Lafleur

Next I used some white acrylic paint with my Ornamental Floral Screen stencil and randomly added some pattern to the background. I like white for this since it brightens up the page and unifies everything all at the same time. 

StencilGirl-Brusho-Art-Journal-Page-Step-5---Gwen-Lafleur

With the background pretty much done, I moved on to the elephant inclusion. I used sepia and black Archival Inks to edge it on the outsides...

StencilGirl-Brusho-Art-Journal-Page-Steps-6-7---Gwen-Lafleur

Then on the inside - when I opened up the diecut, I painted it with aquamarine Aztec Lustres Craft Paint, stenciled "TIME" from the Story Time stencil by Seth Apter and added the rest of the title with small alphabet stamps.

I decided that the title area needed something more, so I used my Art Deco Sunburst Background stencil and sepia ink to add a bit of pattern.

StencilGirl-Brusho-Art-Journal-Page-Steps-8-9---Gwen-Lafleur

I had originally planned to do my journaling on the background of the spread, but after some trial and error I decided to add it as an outline around the elephant instead which I think worked really well. From there, I pulled my orange Brusho acrylic ink back out and added a few splatters, then let it dry.

To finish up the entire spread, I pulled out my washi tape - I love to use this to add just a little something to the edges of my pages.

StencilGirl-Brusho-Art-Journal-Page-Step-10---Gwen-Lafleur

I sealed the tape with a coat of matte medium, and voila! Completed art journal spread with fun new techniques and products.

StencilGirl-Brusho-Art-Journal-Page-Closeup---Gwen-Lafleur

Here you can see either side of the spread when the elephant is folded over:

StencilGirl-Brusho-Art-Journal-Page-Elephant-View-2---Gwen-Lafleur

 Just a few close-ups so you can see some of the cool effects I got with the Colourcraft products...

StencilGirl-Brusho-Art-Journal-Page-Closeup-2--Gwen-Lafleur
StencilGirl-Brusho-Art-Journal-Page-Closeup-2--Gwen-Lafleur

That's it! I hope you enjoyed my project for today. Now, without further ado, it's time for the giveaway!

 

GIVEAWAY!

One lucky winner will receive both a $25 Gift Certificate to StencilGirl Products AND a $25 Gift Certificate to Colourcraft!

SG Colourcraft GIVEAWAY image

Visit the fabulous designers from both teams and comment for your chance 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 Sunday, August 20th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.

The winner will be announced on StencilGirl's Facebook page and Colourcraft’s Facebook page on Monday, August 21st.

In case you missed it, here's the list of all of the blogs in this week's hop: 

August 16

August 17 

August 18 

 


A Dimensional Mixed Media Panel with StencilGirl & Imagine Crafts

Hi all! Welcome to my stop on this week's fabulous blog hop with StencilGirl and Imagine Crafts! I'm sure it's fairly obvious at this point that I'm a stencil addict, but I'm also a big fan of Imagine Crafts' products - I have a ton of them in my studio that I work with regularly, so it was fun to feature a few of my favorites along with my trusty StencilGirl stencils!

SG Imagine Blog Hop banner

For this project, I had an idea for a technique I wanted to try and dove right in - I was pretty pleased that my little experiment actually turned out a lot like I'd envisioned! I used stencils, cardboard, and some of the irRESISTible products, along with a few others that I'll mention below to make a dimensional mixed media panel: 

StencilGirl-Imagine Crafts Mixed Media Panel - Gwen Lafleur

It's hard to really capture in photos how this project looks in real life, but it's actually pretty cool looking! You can get a better sense for the details in the tutorial photos.

Ready to see how I made this piece?

My idea was to do something that would create depth, so that I could have pools of color that were reminiscent of enamel or stained glass. I had a few different ideas on how to do that, but decided to go with cardboard to create the dimension. I started by tracing the Ripples Small stencil by Michelle Ward onto the surface. Since I had decided I was going to layer this on a 6x8 panel, I then flipped the stencil and lined it up so I could continue the pattern and make it taller.

Dimensional Mixed Media Panel - Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Then I used an x-acto knife to cut it out. (The lines on the stencil were where I wanted to have "channels" on my piece, otherwise I could have just used molding paste. This gives me a reverse of what I would have gotten by just stenciling.) You can also see that I added a few bridges to the design so that my circles would still be attached after they were cut out.

Dimensional Mixed Media Panel - Steps 2-3 - Gwen Lafleur

Again, there were several methods I could use to adhere the cardboard to my panel and then cover the raw edges, but I decided to use masking tape because it's cleaner, a bit faster, and has the bonus benefit of no drying time! You can see above how I took small pieces and laid them over the cardboard, adhering to the wood panel on either side. 

Dimensional Mixed Media Panel - Steps 3a-4 - Gwen Lafleur

Above, you can see how I used the tip of a bone folder to trace along the edges of the cardboard and make sure the tape got worked into the corners and was flush with the wood along the lines of the cardboard. This gave me much cleaner channels for the next steps.

Next, I wanted to create a metallic surface across the whole panel. I painted the entire thing with white gesso, and then while it was still wet I coated the entire piece with gold embossing powder from Imagine Crafts. Without waiting for the gesso to dry, I used my heat gun to melt and bubble the embossing powder. (The bubbling happens because of the wet acrylic medium under the embossing powder. I love to do this! You can also use gel medium, matte medium, paint, etc...) I should note that because of how long it took to heat something this large, I covered my nose and mouth to help minimize any unhealthy fumes that might come from this process.

Dimensional Mixed Media Panel - Step 5 - Gwen Lafleur

This gives you such cool texture! I continued heating and bubbling until the whole thing was done, then I started adding color. I took my irRESISTible sprays (I took the sprayer off and poured as you see below,) and my irRESISTible Pico Embellishers and started flooding some of the channels with color. (I used Paris Dusk, Copper, and Morocco.) I love these products because they look so much like stained glass when they're dry.

Dimensional Mixed Media Panel - Step 6 - Gwen Lafleur

In the last photo above, you can see where I also used some of the StazOn Studio Glazes to add color to some of the smaller areas (I used Ganache and Gothic Purple.) Once all of the color was in place, I set the panel aside to dry overnight.

With all of the color in place (and looking pretty cool, I think!) I wanted to add some last accents. I started by taking one of my medium sized Kuchi Patches (which was also the inspiration for my color palette,) and putting it in the center of the top set of circles.  Then I added one of the Imagine Crafts Ancient Dynasty Coins on top of that.

Dimensional Mixed Media Panel - Steps 7-8 - Gwen Lafleur

I decided that the sides of my panel needed a little something extra, so I pulled out my Art Deco Borders stencil and used some Royal Purple StazOn ink to add the pattern on all four sides.

It felt like the front of the panel was still missing something, so I dug through my stash and pulled out one of my Beautiful Butterflies tassels from India and hooked the loop around my coin and adhered that in place, letting the tassel itself hang free. Then I used my purple StazOn Studio Glaze and my finger to add a little color along the edges, as you can see below.    

Dimensional Mixed Media Panel - Step 9 - Gwen Lafleur

Finally, I took my StazOn Studio Glazes out again and used them to add some dots throughout the design.

Voila! A finished dimensional mixed media panel with some fun new techniques, and some unique accents!

Dimensional Mixed Media Panel - Side View 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Here are a few close-ups of the project so that you can see some of the details:

Dimensional Mixed Media Panel - Closeup 5 - Gwen Lafleur
Dimensional Mixed Media Panel - Closeup 5 - Gwen Lafleur

I hope you enjoyed today's project and tutorial as much as I enjoyed making it!

Of course, the part everyone is waiting for...

GIVEAWAY!
One lucky winner will receive both a $25 Gift Certificate to StencilGirl Products AND a $25 Gift Certificate to Imagine Crafts!

SG Imagine GIVEAWAY image

Visit the fabulous designers from both teams and comment on their posts for your chance 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 Sunday, July 23rd at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments. Winner will be announced on StencilGirl's Facebook page and Imagine Crafts’s Facebook page on Monday, July 24th.

July 19

July 20 

July 21 

 

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Making a Decorative Clay Flower with Stencils

Hi all! I'm up on StencilGirl Talk today with the July edition of Gwen's Gems. This month I used Aves Apoxie Clay and stencils to make a fun, decorative flower that you can use on an art journal cover, in mixed media projects, or add to home decor. You can even make a smaller version to create your own statement pendants to use in jewelry making!

Here's my flower:

Stenciled Clay Flower - Gwen Lafleur

Head on over to StencilGirl Talk for lots more photos and a full project tutorial. Enjoy!


Gwen's Gems - Textured and Layered Art Journal Cover

Hi all! I'm over on StencilGirl Talk today with the June edition of Gwen's Gems. This month I'm using lots of stencils and even more molding paste to make a layered and textured cover for a new 9"x9" handmade art journal.

Textured Stenciled Book Cover Angle 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Textured Stenciled Book Cover Angle 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Head on over to the blog for more photos and a tutorial on how I made the cover! Enjoy!


June Classes at Papercraft Clubhouse in Connecticut

Hi all! I've mentioned the classes I have coming up at Papercraft Clubhouse in Westbrook, CT, (in less than two weeks now!) but I thought I'd give a little more detail about each class and also share some videos I've put together that may help decide some of you who are on the fence about coming. Hopefully they'll also help those of you already signed up so that you have a better idea of what to expect, what I'll be providing, and what you'll want to bring to work on your projects.

Here we go!

First up, Friday morning (June 16th) I'm teaching my Mini Mixed Media Medallions class from 10am to 1pm. This class is $60, but it also includes 1/4 lb of Aves Apoxie Clay (normally $10) as well as a few other goodies I'll be supplying for you. (You can also click through to the class page where there are lots more pictures of the class samples, plus a full description and supply list. You can watch the video there as well.) The samples are very much in my style, but you can bring elements, colors, themes, etc... that are totally different and really make these medallions your own!

Mini Mixed Media Medallion Samples - Gwen Lafleur

We'll use clay, beads, metal findings, and more to create 1-2 medallions during this fun and fast-paced class. For those who have taken my Mixed Media Shadow Boxes class, there are some similarities in how the projects start, but then we diverge quite a bit from that approach with how our foundation evolves into a medallion that can be used on a book cover, in a shadow box or assemblage piece, or as a piece of statement jewelry.

Here's a 9 minute video that shows you more about the samples and talks about class supplies and some of what you can expect from this workshop.

____________

Also on Friday 6/16/17, I'm teaching Boho Art Journaling from 2-5pm... this class is $55.

Boho-Art-Journaling---Class-Preview---Gwen-LafleurIn this workshop, we'll learn a background technique to start our pages (or canvas - you can bring your own canvas or panel if you'd prefer that to working in a journal,) and then we'll use stamps, stencils, and some fun techniques to make boho style animals to go on our pages.

Here's a 7-ish minute video going over more about the class and what to bring with you.

Again, you can hop over to the class page for lots more photos of the class samples with the full description and supply list.

_____________

Finally, on Saturday June 17th I'm teaching a full day class called Of Angels and Icons that runs from 10am-5pm with a one hour break for lunch. This class is $105 and includes the canvas, plus other supplies that I'll be bringing to share.

Of Angels and Icons Class Samples - Gwen Lafleur

We'll create an 11x14 mixed media canvas inspired by Russian Icons and Mexican Folk Art (with my own spin, of course!) You can go in whatever direction you want - lots of opportunities to really customize this for your style. We'll build the background for our canvas (different techniques from Friday,) as well as working on wings and halos and creating the paper doll itself, then we'll pull it all together.

I've got a video for this one as well - also about 9 minutes, that will talk much more about the samples and supplies.

As always, you can check the class page on my website for lots more details as well as many more photos of the class samples.

___________

Spots are filling quickly for these classes (especially Saturday's class which only has a few openings left!) so if you're interested, give them a call at the Clubhouse to sign up! (860-399-4443 - note that they're closed on Mondays.)

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or message me on my Facebook page. Hope to see you there!

 

 


It's Time for an Artful Adventure!

Hi all, I'm super excited to share that I'm a surprise guest instructor today in Nathalie Kalbach's FREE online class, Artful Adventures! We're celebrating the release of her new book and taking a Stroll through the Hood where we find inspiration based on fun prompts to help you look at your surroundings in a new way and interpret them in your art.

ArtfulGuestTutorialMay24

My prompt was "cracks" and I've put together a 20ish minute video tutorial showing you how I interpreted my inspiration for the day and turned it into a fun piece of abstract art.

Here's just a little peek at my project:

Cracked Pavement - Mixed Media Sneak Peek - Gwen Lafleur

I don't do pure abstract pieces a lot, but I really had a lot of fun playing with different products and techniques for this one, including a  few that might surprise you! Head on over and check it out! If you're not registered for the class, jump in and sign up - it's free! There's already a ton of great inspiration and lots of fabulous tutorials, with more to come. Hope you enjoy it!

 


Gwen's Gems - Boho Stenciled Mandala

Hi all, I'm up on StencilGirl Talk today with the May edition of Gwen's Gems! This month I made a mandala-inspired mixed media panel using a whole bunch of stencils and some fun, new-to-me products.

Boho Stenciled Mandala - Gwen Lafleur

As usual, there's a tutorial, so make sure to head over for that and more photos of the finished project. Enjoy!

 


Deco Book & Box with Stencils, Molds, Resin, & Shrinky Dinks!

SG & ACP Blog Hop Header

Hi everyone! Welcome to day 2 of this week's blog hop with StencilGirl Products and Amazing Casting Products! I'm excited to be joining in since I love using molds and resin in my work, and using them with stencils was even more fun!

For this project I took some left-over packaging (it was the box from the ceramic Peking Opera mask that I used in a panel I shared last week,) and turned it into a decorated case for a mini handmade book. Can you tell where I used molds and resin with my stencils?

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box - View 5 - Gwen Lafleur

I put together a little tutorial for you, including a fun technique I came up with using Amazing Casting Products mold making putty and resin with a few of my stencil designs.

First up, my new technique. I wanted to use some of my new Art Deco stencils (here I'm using my Art Deco Borders stencil,) but I wanted to work with a smaller size. So, I inked the part of the design I wanted to use onto a piece of Shinky Dink film.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Next I used an X-Acto knife to cut out the inside pieces. Since this was going to shrink a lot, and since it takes a fair amount of effort to cut through the film, I only cut out the details I really wanted to have show that were big enough to look good in a much smaller size.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Then I cut around the outside of the design with a pair of sharp scissors. I repeated this process using my Art Deco Medallion stencil, then followed the instructions on the package to shrink them in my oven. It did take a few tries reheating and uncurling the plastic for the medallion, but in the end, they both worked!

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Now that I had my stenciled designs in a smaller, 3D version, I could move on to the next step - making molds so that I could create multiples! (Please keep in mind that all of StencilGirl's stencil designs are copyrighted, so you should only do this for your personal use, or for use in one-of-a-kind artwork that you sell.)

I took my Amazing Mold Putty and made molds of both of my mini stencil designs.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 4 - Gwen Lafleur

Then I took some white casting resin and cast both molds. When they were cured (which only takes about 15 minutes!) I cleaned them up a bit and then they were ready to use!

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 5 - Gwen Lafleur

Before I started I had a few ideas for how I'd planned to use these, but once I got to this point I realized that the shapes I'd picked would fit together perfectly to make some really cool embellishments! I got out my Aves Apoxie Clay and mixed up a small amount to start connecting things together and then to start adding to the structure.

  StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 6 - Gwen Lafleur

You can see above (middle photo) where I added thin ropes of clay around the edges as a border and then used it to start adding other bits onto the structure. I also put dots of clay in a few spaces and then indented the middles in order to create a space to add a jewel or pearl or something later on.

Next up, I painted it. I used gold and bronze metallic acrylic paints as well as a patina colored paint to make it all more cohesive. I also added a metal gear and a random piece of Turkmen jewelry and painted those as well so they'd all go together.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 7 - Gwen Lafleur

You can see in the photo above right that I did end up adding some jewels, and also glued one of my embellishments to a scrap of Chiyogami paper so that you could see some of the color and pattern through the holes.

With that done, I set my new embellishments aside to dry and started working on the box. I taped off the metal corners and spine (it had a cool design I wanted to keep) and then gesso'd the whole thing.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 8 - Gwen Lafleur

Then I used metallic gold and turquoise paints... you can see where I used my heat gun to bubble them a bit (I love the texture it adds!)

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 9 - Gwen Lafleur

Once the paint was dry, I used my Art Deco Sunburst Corners stencil and some gold embossing paste and added a bit of dimensional pattern to the cover of the box.

With the outsides of the box painted and ready to embellish, I started working on the inside. First, I stenciled a piece of blue mulberry paper with my Art Deco Sunburst Background stencil and bronze paint.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 10 - Gwen Lafleur

I tore those down to the sizes I want and then adhered them (inking the edges of the piece for the inside cover first.)

To embellish the inside cover, I decided to use another molded piece. This time I made a mold of an old vintage metal face that was sent to me from Latvia and then cast that with resin and painted it to look like the original piece.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 11 - Gwen Lafleur

The resin takes paint so well - it was actually almost hard to tell which was the original when I was done!

Once dry, I took my new embellishment and layered it with some other metal pieces and adhered them to the inside of the cover.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 11a - Gwen Lafleur

Next up, to embellish the back of the box, I taped off a section of my Art Deco Borders stencil so that I could just stencil the middle circle I wanted to use. I stenciled on deli paper with pigment ink and then heat embossed with a mix of Emerald Creek embossing powders.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 12 - Gwen Lafleur

I cut that out and adhered with matte medium. 

To finish off the inside of the box, I attached some different trims, then added a bit of gold dimensional paint.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 14 - Gwen Lafleur

Whew... that's done. Back to the outside of the box!

With my resin & clay medallions cured and dried, I could finish up the cover. I adhered the medallion with the Turkmen jewelry pieces to the front in the center, then used a Tsukineko irRESISTible Pico Embellisher to fill in some of the stenciled sections.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 13 - Gwen LafleurVoila! The cover is done!

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 15 - Gwen Lafleur

While that dried, I moved on to make the handmade book that would fit inside. I measured to see how big it could be, then cut down some pieces of Davey board and made a little 3"x5" book using the single-sheet Coptic binding. I painted the covers with a turquoise background paint by Matisse, then used a section of my Art Deco Bookplates stencil and some gold pigment ink to stencil the cover.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 16 - Gwen Lafleur

I heat embossed the stenciled area with gold embossing powder, then adhered my other resin and clay medallion into the center and embellished it with some acrylic rhinestones.

When all was dry, I put the book into the box - all ready to have the pages filled and to be a fun display piece when I wasn't using it.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box - Inside - Gwen Lafleur

Here are a few more photos and close-ups of the finished project so you can see some of the details:

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box - Inside with book - Gwen Lafleur

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box - Inside with book 2 - Gwen Lafleur
StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box - Inside with book 2 - Gwen Lafleur

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box - View 6 - Gwen Lafleur
There you go! I hope you enjoyed today's project and tutorial. Of course, this wouldn't be a blog hop without a  GIVEAWAY!

One lucky winner will receive both a $25 Gift Certificate to StencilGirl Products
AND a $25 Gift Certificate to Amazing Casting Products!

SG & ACP Blog Hop Giveaway image

Visit the fabulous designers from both teams and comment for your chance 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 Sunday, April 23rd at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.

Winner will be announced on StencilGirl's Facebook page and Amazing Casting Products’s Facebook page on Monday, April 24th.

 

Here's the lineup of blogs for this week - make sure you visit and comment on all of them to increase your chances to win!

April 19 

April 20 

April 21 


Gwen's Gems - Art Journaling with Canvas Corp Brands

Hi everyone! I'm up on the StencilGirl blog today with the April edition of Gwen's Gems, which also happens to be a collaborative post with Canvas Corp Brands!

This month I have a tutorial for this art journal spread using lots of awesome Canvas Corp Brands products (like a 7 Gypsies journal and papers, and some amazing Tattered Angels natural aging paints,) and using some of my new Art Deco stencils, of course!

StencilGirl-Canvas Corps - Art Journal Spread - Gwen Lafleur

Make sure you head on over to see more photos and the tutorial. Also, there's a GIVEAWAY! Make sure you go to StencilGirl Talk to see the giveaway instructions. You need to leave a comment over on that post (not this one) in order to be entered to win. Enjoy, and good luck!

 


Gwen's Gems - A Boho Mixed Media Canvas

Hi all! Just popping in to let you know that I'm up today on StencilGirl Talk with the latest installment of Gwen's Gems. This month I went a bit crazy with different texture pastes and stencils to make a mixed media canvas centered around a vintage Afghan Kuchi patch.

Boho Stenciled Canvas - Gwen Lafleur

There's a tutorial along with lots more photos over on the StencilGirl blog, so make sure to check it out!

 


Stenciled & Wood-Burned Diptych Photo Frame

SG & WH Blog Hop Header

Hi all! I'm excited to be joining in with the StencilGirl / Walnut Hollow blog hop today! This was a very fun project for me as it gave me the opportunity to try something entirely new with my stencils. I knew as soon as I saw these decorator plaques from Walnut Hollow that I wanted to make a diptych and do some wood burning with my Versa-Tool.

Here's what I made - a diptych photo frame for me to display in my house - I love it!

  Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Gwen Lafleur

I've got a quick tutorial to show you how I made this piece. Ready?

First I started by stenciling each piece with my Decorative Medallion stencil using a light color of brown ink. I knew I was going to trace over this design with my Versa-Tool, so I wanted to make sure that the color I used wouldn't interfere with the beautiful burned wood color that was coming next.

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Next step? Get comfy... this part takes a while. I pulled up a chair and turned on the hockey game and patiently traced over the stenciled lines with the detail tip of my tool. I really wanted that dark brown color, and I love the way that it created almost a debossed effect as I worked over the design. You can clearly see the difference in color and texture as each section was burned. Beautiful!

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 2 - Gwen Lafleur

You can also see a circle drawn in the center - I knew that I was going to cover up the middle with a circular element, so why waste time burning sections that would be covered up? This was my line to tell me where I could stop since it would later be hidden.

With the burning done, I didn't want to do any painting, so I coated the plaques with a glaze made from polymer medium, transparent yellow iron oxide fluid acrylic paint, micaceous iron oxide, and gold interference paint. (All from Golden.)

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

I have several ready-made colored glazes I keep in small bottles, so I used those to add a few touches of color to some areas of the design. (These were cobalt turquoise and pyrrole red, both mixed with polymer medium and nothing else.)

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 4 - Gwen Lafleur

Next I used some metallic waxes around the edges to frame the design and add a bit more depth. 

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 5 - Gwen Lafleur

Everything was still feeling very flat and "blah" to me (keeping in mind that more is usually more in my world,) and I glanced over at my palette and just randomly started peeling off sections of dried gold paint and sticking them around the edges of my plaques. It was working for me - it looked a bit like gold leafing, so I kept doing it and then sealed it.

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 6 - Gwen Lafleur

It was still all feeling like it was missing something, so I pulled out some molding paste skins I made several months ago and then didn't use. These were done from the Damask Borders stencil by Michelle Ward. (To make a molding paste skin, you just put molding paste through your stencil onto a non-stick surface like a Teflon of silicon craft mat, then set it aside on a flat surface and let it dry completely. The "skins" will peel off and work great as dimensional embellishments! I stored mine in wax paper until they were ready to be used. As always, make sure to clean your stencil immediately after using any kind of texture paste!)

Here you can see the steps I took to paint them - I wanted them to look kind of like metal, so I used several layers of paint and finished with a bit more wax.

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 7 - Gwen Lafleur

I picked out a few other embellishments to use with my flourishes; some Dresden border trim, and some really cool vintage Turkomen jewelry findings. I adhered everything into place and let it dry.

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 8 - Gwen Lafleur

From here I got out some small hinges and mini screws and turned my plaques into a diptych by connecting them together:

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 9 - Gwen Lafleur

Finally, I took a few family photos and sized them in Photoshop, then printed them and used a large circle punch to shape them. I mounted those on some wood circles (I burned a pattern around the edge of them with my Versa-Tool that looks pretty cool!) I edged the photos with strands of rhinestones and then adhered them in the center.

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 10 - Gwen Lafleur
Done? Of course not! I took some gold and brown beads strung on wire and adhered those around the circles - this helped cover up gaps between the circle and the plaques where there weren't any embellishments.

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 11 - Gwen Lafleur

Okay, last step - for real this time! I took out some Liquid Pearls and added dots along my Dresden to bring the colors out from the center and into other parts of the piece.

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 12 - Gwen Lafleur

Voila! C'est fini! 

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Just a few close-ups...

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Close-up 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Close-up 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Close-up 1 - Gwen Lafleur

I'm thrilled with the results :) I hope you enjoyed today's project! Of course, now is the part that I'm sure everyone is waiting for...

GIVEAWAY!

One lucky winner will receive both a $25 Gift Certificate to StencilGirl Products AND a $25 Gift Certificate to Walnut Hollow!

SG & WH Blog Hop Giveaway image

Visit the fabulous designers from both teams and comment for your
chance to win!

The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN!
(One comment per blog please.)

You have until Sunday, March 19th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.

Winner will be announced on
StencilGirl's Facebook page and Walnut Hollow's Facebook page on Monday, March 20th.

 

March 15

March 16 

March 17 

 


Gwen's Gems: Stenciled ICE Resin Papers in an Art Journal

Hi everyone, it's time for Gwen's Gems again over on StencilGirl Talk! This month I'm tackling a new technique that I've wanted to try for a long time... I used ICE Resin to coat stenciled papers (so fun and cool!) and then used those papers to make a handmade art journal with window pages and covers.

Stenciled ICE Resin Window Art Journal 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Make sure you head over to StencilGirl Talk to see the full post with instructions and more photos of the finished book!

 


Make a Stenciled, Embroidered Book with Kraft-Tex!

Hi everyone, I'm so excited to be joining in on this week's blog hop with StencilGirl and C&T Publishing (makers of Kraft-Tex!) This week the creative teams are using stencils with Kraft-Tex... I can't tell you how much fun it was to stencil on this incredible product. It's so cool! I could keep talking, but why not just show you?

First off, here's what I made - it's a riff on a traveler's notebook style book cover with two book inserts; I made it with elastics to give me the ability to swap pamphlet books in and out of the inside, only I customized the structure to be more like an actual book.

Stenciled-Kraft-Tex-Notebook-Cover---Front-Bottom-View---Gwen-Lafleur-sm

Here's how it all came together...

I started with the brand new turquoise, pre-washed Kraft-Tex and cut a piece approximately the size of the spine and covers, then used some Archival Ink and my Ornamental Peacock Feathers stencil to put down a pattern on what would become the front cover of my book.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

I really wanted to take advantage of the fact that Kraft-Tex is paper, but it has a lot of the qualities of fabric and leather, so I started the process of embroidering my peacock feather designs. 

  Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 2 - Gwen Lafleur

A few tips for sewing on Kraft-Tex:

  • It feels like leather, but it's still paper. If you put the holes too close together, it will tear. (You'll probably want a designated Kraft-Tex or paper needle, for either hand or machine sewing.)
  • If you poke a hole in it and it's not where you wanted the hole, it will show - it doesn't disappear the same way it would on fabric. To outline each section of embroidery, I used a needle to pre-poke the holes for my back-stitched borders.
  • Use a needle with a hole that's big enough for your thread, but not unnecessarily big - you don't want too-wide holes because it will show.
  • It can be hard to pull the needle through - I wore Finger Gloves on my thumb, pointer, and middle fingers. This helped me grip the needle to pull it through as well as protect my fingers (I hate thimbles... I have a really hard time working while wearing one.) The other big help for pulling the needle and thread through - Thread Heaven - it takes some of the hand stress out of the stitching process.
  • Working with a design like this one with sections of color, work from the inside out. Re-use existing holes if you can when setting new stitches.

Honestly, all of that satin stitching probably should NOT have worked... lol, but I love how it came out! Of course, you do NOT have to stitch! You could stencil the design on as a pattern and then use paints, Liquid Pearls, markers, etc... to add in color and details.

When the stitching was done, I wanted to put some structure behind it to make sure that my stitches were secure, so I cut pieces of thin chipboard and adhered them to the back of my cover piece where the front and back covers were going to be.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Next I cut another piece of Chocolate Kraft-Tex the same size as my cover and clipped it to the back to sandwich the chipboard and give me nice inside covers in a contrasting color. (Mine wasn't pre-washed... I cut a chunk off of the roll and threw it in with a load of colors in my washing machine, detergent, fabric softener, and all! It's colorfast, so there was no bleeding. Then I took it out and laid it on the table to air dry.)

I pre-poked holes around the chipboard and back-stitched with gold Sizzle thread from Wonderfil to bring it all together.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 4 - Gwen Lafleur

You can also see where I added some ribbon... I had the perfect piece of peacock feather patterned ribbon so I tucked the ends between the pieces of Kraft-Tex and sewed it into place as I stitched the border. 

After I finished the front cover, I poked the holes for the back and then slipped another piece of chipboard into the spot which would become the spine. I kept stitching until the whole thing was finished.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 5 - Gwen Lafleur

Next, I punched holes where I wanted to insert my elastics and put in grommets, then added Tim Holtz elastics (2 kinds - one for the inside to hold the book inserts, one with only one end that would wrap around the outside as a closure.)

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 6 - Gwen Lafleur

I went back and stitched a few beads onto my peacock feathers as a finishing touch.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 6a - Gwen Lafleur

You could leave the inside covers plain, but of course... I stenciled them! I used gold pigment ink through my Decorative 6-Petal Flower Screen stencil and then heat embossed.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 6b - Gwen Lafleur

With that, the covers were done!

Of course, next I needed to make some booklets that would fit inside. I measured my book - the height shouldn't be much taller than the distance between the holes where your inside elastics go. I kept the width about 1/4" smaller than the width of the cover. I cut and folded some papers - bristol and watercolor paper, and also cut and folded covers from Stone Kraft-Tex and Chocolate Kraft-Tex. Then I used my awl to punch four holes into the creases (you want an even number of holes for this method.)

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 7 - Gwen Lafleur

I used the pamphlet stitch and waxed linen thread to bind the books together. In total, it takes about 10 minutes to make one of these little books... quick and easy! I repeated this process for the second book so I could fill up both of the elastics I'd attached to the spine.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 7a - Gwen Lafleur

Now for the fun part... embellishing the covers! Starting with the stone book, I once again stenciled with Archival Ink, this time using my Decorative Medallion stencil. Then I used Liquid Pearls / dimensional paints and Stickles and went over the top (this is another way you could do the outside cover if you don't want to sew.)

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 8 - Gwen Lafleur

I added a sari applique in the center (I picked it out first and then matched the colors of the Liquid Pearls and the Stickles,) and a scribbled gold border around the edge.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 8a - Gwen Lafleur

For the second book, I did something a little different to decorate the cover... I stenciled with Versamark ink, then with the stencil still in place, I went over top of it while it was still wet using bronze PanPastels.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 9 - Gwen Lafleur

I sealed that layer with a workable fixative, then used the same process to embellish with dimensional paints and Stickles.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 9a - Gwen Lafleur

I let everything dry... I just love how these turned out!

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 10 - Gwen Lafleur

Slide your new journals into the elastic in the cover and you're ready to go!

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 10a - Gwen Lafleur    

I really like the stiffer, more structured covers, but you could totally follow this same process to construct your book and just leave the chipboard out. In that case, though, you'll want to make sure that the height of the books you make to go inside is a little shorter than the distance between the holes in the spine... without the chipboard, it would probably collapse it a bit to add that extra tension.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 10b - Gwen Lafleur

Voila! A finished reusable notebook cover with your own custom books inside. I'm already using mine as an art journal :)

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover without Band - Gwen Lafleur
Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover without Band - Gwen Lafleur

That's it from me... I hope you enjoyed the project and tutorial! Of course, now it's time for the best part of all...

 GIVEAWAY!

One lucky winner will receive a $25 Gift Certificate to StencilGirl Products

AND a $25 Gift Certificate for C&T Publishing!!

February Blog Hop GIVEAWAY image
Visit the fabulous designers from both teams and comment for your chance 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, February 18th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.

Winner will be announced on
StencilGirl's Facebook page and C&T Publishing’s Blog on Sunday, February 19.

February 15

February 16 

February 17