Making Bird Sculptures with n*Studio Foam Stamps

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

NStudio and Stampendous Blog Hop

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

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

3 Bird Sculptures from Foam Stamp 1 - Gwen Lafleur

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

Handmade Card with Bird Foam Stamp Set - Gwen Lafleur

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

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

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

Sculpture from Foam Stamp Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

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

Sculpture from Foam Stamp Step 2 - Gwen Lafleur

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

Sculpture from Foam Stamp Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

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

Sculpture from Foam Stamp Step 4 - Gwen Lafleur

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

Sculpture from Foam Stamp Step 5 - Gwen Lafleur

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

Sculpture from Foam Stamp Step 6 - Gwen Lafleur

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

Sculpture from Foam Stamp Step 7 - Gwen Lafleur

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

Orange Bird Sculpture from Foam Stamp 3 - Gwen Lafleur

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

Purple Bird Sculpture from Foam Stamp 3 - Gwen Lafleur

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

Gold Bird Sculpture from Foam Stamp 1 - Gwen Lafleur

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


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

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

Today's blog lineup is:

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



Earth Day Upcycled Project with Stencils and Earth Safe Finishes

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

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

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

Upcycled Mixed Media Window - Final 2 - Gwen Lafleur

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Upcycled Mixed Media Window - Final Closeup 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Close up...

Upcycled Mixed Media Window - Final Closeup 1 - Gwen Lafleur

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

Upcycled Mixed Media Window - Final 3 - Gwen Lafleur

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

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

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


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

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

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


Gwen's Gems - Mixed Media Canvas Tutorial

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

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

Mixed Media Canvas with Stencils 4 - Gwen Lafleur

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



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

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

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

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


Make a Reliquary with Stencils, Clay, and Collage

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

Making a Reliquary with Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

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

Journaling with Mindfulness Guest Artist

Hi everyone, just popping in to let you know that today I'm the guest artist over at the Journaling with Mindfulness blog. It's a new blog that has a weekly prompt to get you thinking about including meaningful subjects in your art journaling. They have a wonderfully supportive Facebook group as well, and all styles and experience levels are represented in this group. The prompts so far this year have been great!

My prompt this week was about the place I've visited that has left the longest lasting influence on me. I chose my visit to Soweto when I was in South Africa in 2007...

  Lessons from Soweto - Art Journal Page - Gwen Lafleur

To see more and read the story behind this spread... not to mention a tutorial, make sure you check out the Journaling with Mindfulness blog and join in if you're feeling so inclined!


ATCs and Mini Art Journals with StencilGirl & Inchie Arts

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

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

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - Blog Hop Projects - Gwen Lafleur

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

  StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - ATCs - Gwen Lafleur

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

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

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - ATCs 1 - Gwen Lafleur

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

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - ATCs 2 - Gwen Lafleur

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

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - ATCs 3 - Gwen Lafleur

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now for the best part of the blog hop: 


We'll be picking one lucky winner to receive:

one $25 StencilGirl Products Gift Certificate 


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

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

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

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

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

StencilGirl: Stenciled File Folder Mini Art Journal

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

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

File Folder Mini Art Journal Finished Cover - Gwen Lafleur

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

Art Journaling with NEW Art-C Paints!

I was fortunate enough to be sent some of the brand new goodies that Art-C is debuting at Winter CHA this weekend. They're releasing paints! COOL paints! And some texture mediums as well.

Art-C Winter 2016 CHA Paint ReleaseWhoever packed my box, I think they knew how much I love gold and turquoise :D I got a few metallic paints, some cool chalk paint, some gel stains, their new Luxe paints (in the tubs) and some texture pastes. Before getting started with my project, I got out a piece of cardstock and tested how each one of them worked - opacity, draw-down color, how it worked on paper, etc...

Art-C Winter 2016 CHA Paint Testing - Gwen LafleurIt's hard to see the texture and shine in a photo, but I was very pleased with all of them! I decided that I was going to use as many of them as I could on an art journal page. So here's the page I made with my goodies, and below is a little mini-tutorial to show you some of the steps on how it came together. (I just wish that I could capture the true color and the shimmer and shine and texture on this page... I really love it!)

Art-C Winter 2016 CHA Paint - Art Journal Page - Gwen Lafleur

I started by using the pearl colored texture paste with a Momenta self-stick stencil and just spread it randomly in the background. Then when that was dry, I painted the entire background with brown gel stain. I knew that the texture paste and the paper would take the color differently giving me some nice variation. I used the gorgeous, deep brown Luxe paint with my Groove tool to start adding variations, then I did the same with the turquoise Luxe paint.

Art-C Winter 2016 CHA Paint - Art Journal Page Step 1 - Gwen LafleurWhile the paint was drying (which it does extremely quickly here in Utah right now!) I pulled out various sheets of paper - some patterned paper from Art-C ephemera packs, some old maps and book text, some cardstock I'd stamped on to test handcarved stamps... I took different paints and stains and painted over them - most were transparent enough that I could still see words or patterns, some were quite opaque (like the chalk paint or the copper metallic paint.) That's totally cool too! I wanted lots of different looks.

Art-C Winter 2016 CHA Paint - Art Journal Page Step 2 - Gwen LafleurOnce those were dry, I started cutting them into circles, then distressed the edges of each circle with Luxe paint. I layered them up, then I took some wooden buttons from an Art-C ephemera kit and stained them with the gel stain and glued some cute little Art-C charms on top.

Art-C Winter 2016 CHA Paint - Art Journal Page Step 3 - Gwen LafleurI glued all the layers together and then adhered them on the background. Next it was time to add some details! You all know how I love my dots, so one of my favorite things about the metallic paints is that they came in tubes with fine tips! Not ultra fine, but enough to do dots and add some writing. I used the copper metallic paint to put dots around each circle, then I used the gold metallic paint to add some illegible journaling down the page in a few places. Those are actually words!

Art-C Winter 2016 CHA Paint - Art Journal Page Step 4 - Gwen LafleurSo there you go! My finished art journal page with the fabulous new Art-C paints. They have them in lots of colors, and I can't wait to get my hands on more of them!

Art-C Winter 2016 CHA Paint - Art Journal Page Close-up 1 - Gwen LafleurLook at all the wonderful sparkly grungy texture I got in these layers! I'm in love...

Art-C Winter 2016 CHA Paint - Art Journal Page Close-up 2 - Gwen LafleurA huge thanks to the team at Art-C / Momenta for letting me work with more of their products! This was a lot of fun, and I absolutely LOVE the new paints!

StencilGirl: Making Your Stencils Your Own

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

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

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


Video Tutorial - 4 Ways to Use My New Stencils

4 Ways to Use Masks in Your Artwork - Gwen Lafleur

In various classes I've taught (and taken!) as well as recently following the release of my first batch of stencils (which is actually mostly masks!) I frequently get asked, "what's the difference between a stencil and a mask?" Which is also usually accompanied by the question, "how do I use a mask?" So by request, I've put together a 12-minute video that goes over the basics of stencils vs. masks, and also gives you demonstrations and samples of four ways you can use masks in your artwork.


Here are some of the samples from my video demo:

Method one - treat it like a stencil and just apply your medium over top and around the mask. Followed by method two, two-step stenciling - use both the stencil and mask parts that come together when you buy it. I used my Ornamental Compass Mask for this sample.

Ways to Use a Mask - Methods 1 and 2 Demo SampleHere's a sample spread from my art journal where I've used this mask the same way - just treated it like a stencil, basically!

Peace Art Journal Page Cropped - Gwen LafleurFor more ideas with two-step stenciling, check back here on Monday ;)

Method number three was to mask a patterned background and paint around it, giving you a "window" to the pattern beneath. This is one of my favorite things to do with a mask. This was done using my Ornamental Peacock mask.

Mask a Patterned Background Demo Sample - Gwen LafleurThe final method I shared in this video was to use masks with reduction stenciling; use a baby wipe while the paint is still wet to remove the paint around the mask for a cool and subtle look.

Reduction Stenciling with Masks - Gwen LafleurI hope this was helpful and maybe even a little bit fun! If you haven't already seen them, you can see and purchase all of my stencils at StencilGirl Products, or your local store.

If you enjoyed this, I bet you'll like Creative JumpStart even more! (How was that for a segue?) Just another reminder that the introductory pricing is only good through December 31st. Make sure you check it out! Here's a little infographic that breaks down all the awesomeness for you.

CJS2016InfoGraphicIf you haven't already signed up and you're even just slightly tempted, make sure you head over and check it out today!



A Mixed Media Project with Art-C Mini Pallets

Not too long ago I got a chance to work with The Groove Tool by Art-C (Momenta) for a blog hop with StencilGirl. That was tons of fun, so I was super flattered and excited when Art-C contacted me and asked me to do a project and a tutorial with more Art-C products. This time, they sent me some of their mini wood pallets and paints as well as some of their embellishment packs. I've always loved the crafts I've seen online using pallets, so I was super intrigued and excited by the idea of having mini craft pallets.

Without further ado, here's the project I created:

Mixed Media Art-C Pallet Project by Gwen LafleurI have to say, this was so much fun for me to make... I got so caught up in playing that I literally couldn't stop! If you'd like to get a few mini pallets and try something similar at home, here's an overview of how I put this together.

First, I knew I wanted to stack my two of the pallets together, so I picked them out and put down a base color with the Art-C Chestnut gel stain. I just rubbed it in with a paper towel; I love how it brought out the texture in the wood. I used a Q-tip to make sure I could get into the tight areas.

Mixed Media Art-C Pallet Project Step 1 by Gwen LafleurI also added the stain to a wooden frame from an embellishment pack. Then I used some of the Art-C gold metallic paint to add a slightly distressed effect to the wood and a paper butterfly embellishment.

Mixed Media Art-C Pallet Project Step 2 by Gwen LafleurFollowing that, I went through and used some Art-C white chalk paint for another layer of light distressing. Then I took the same paint and some of their fun stick-on stencil packs to start putting down the background where I was going to build up my layers. I love letters and numbers as a design element, so I picked out some numbers and randomly placed them in a few areas of the background.

Mixed Media Art-C Pallet Project Step 3 by Gwen LafleurNext, I started building up my layers with papers and embellishments from the collage packs. I laid them out on the desk to audition, then once I had the ones I wanted I used the Art-C Chestnut gel stain and the gold paint and distressed the edges of each piece. I added in a strip of embroidered ribbon and a few jewels and laid it all out to see how it would look.

Mixed Media Art-C Pallet Project Step 4 by Gwen LafleurI decided it still needed a little something... this was my "a-ha!" moment of the project. I pulled out some Art-C mini glass bottles and sand packs. Then I grabbed the blue Art-C gel stain and stained my white sand blue (put a few drops in a cup, pour in the sand, and stir!) then let it dry a bit and funneled it into my bottles.

Mixed Media Art-C Pallet Project Step 5 by Gwen LafleurOnce the sand was in, I put the corks firmly back into the bottles and used a hat pin to poke a hole in the center of each cork. Then I took two blue paper roses out of my stash and pushed the wire stems through the holes.

Mixed Media Art-C Pallet Project Step 6 by Gwen LafleurI used the Art-C gold metallic paint and blue gel stain to add some final distressing to the flower petals, the pallets, and a few other little touch-ups. Then I used some strong glue to adhere the bottles to the 3x5 pallet. I wrapped the gold ribbon around and glued that in place, then glued everything together and let it set overnight. And voila! A finished mixed media piece made with Art-C wooden craft pallets that will be perfect to hang on the wall.

Here are a few more details of the finished project:

Mixed Media Art-C Pallet Project close-up 3 by Gwen Lafleur

Mixed Media Art-C Pallet Project close-up 2 by Gwen Lafleur

Mixed Media Art-C Pallet Project close-up 1 by Gwen LafleurIf you'd like to get some of these pallets and paints / stains for yourself, they're currently sold at Michael's, or you can contact Art-C directly and they'll hook you up. I hope you enjoyed today's project! Make sure to visit and like Art-C Mixed Media Products on Facebook for more ideas and inspiration.


December 2015 StencilClub

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy stenciling!

Traveler's Notebook Junque Journal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Making a Triptych with StencilGirl and VerDay Paints

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

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

Triptych with Stencils and VerDay Paints Final - Gwen Lafleur

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

VerDay Paint Reference Chart

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_5363Voila! So cute!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for stopping by!


StencilGirl Blog Hop - Seth Apter New Release!

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

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

Never Again Art Journal Page - Gwen Lafleur

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tag with new Seth Apter Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

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

$25 StencilGirl Gift Certificate to one lucky winner!

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

One comment per person per blog please. 

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

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

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

StencilGirl: Making a Mixed Media Kalaga

Hi all - I've got a post and tutorial up on the StencilGirl blog today showing details and instructions for this project:

Mixed Media Dragon Kalaga Final - Gwen LafleurIt's a mixed media kalaga! A twist on the elephant sculpture based off of a stencil that I did a few months ago (and taught last month at the Clubhouse!) and I used it to make my paper and glue version of the gorgeous embroidered wall hangings. Make sure you head over for details and more photos... this was a fun one and I love how it came out!

Sequined Art Journal with May StencilClub

Just popping in to share a project that I have over on StencilGirl Talk using the May stencils from StencilClub. This was a fun month, and I love how my sequined art journal turned out! May StencilClub - Sequined Art Journal 2 - Gwen LafleurIf you want to see more, head over to StencilGirl Talk for more photos of the finished book, as well as some details on how I made the cover.

Color Themed Book with Doodle It Border Stencil

I'm pretty excited to share this project... it's been under wraps for a while! A month or so ago, I got a chance to work with Maria's new stencil from StencilGirl called Doodle It Borders.

Doodle It Borders Stencil by Maria McGuirePretty cool, huh? I thought this would be awesome to use with some of the Pergamano techniques I've been playing around with, so I pulled out some vellum and my embossing tools and started playing. In the end, I decided to make all the pieces into a book and I LOVE it!

Color Themed Coptic Book by Gwen Lafleur

And, in my first ever blog video, here's a walk-through of the inside of the book. (This was just a quickie with my iPhone... one of these days soon I'll get an actual video camera with some editing software! But this worked okay for my first video, I think. Apologies for the vertical view - I wasn't thinking about how it would look when I uploaded it. Oops!)


Here's a quick overview of how I did the vellum pages. I'll admit... it can get a tad tedious. I did most of this sitting in front of the TV which helped a lot.)

First, I embossed the borders. Just use a stylus and a foam pad underneath - I have a Pergamano pad, but you could probably use some thick craft foam or something similar. I use wax with my stylus to help it glide better. You have to watch your pressure or it will tear through the vellum. I might have done that a few times, but you can work around it.

Color Themed Coptic Book 1 by Gwen Lafleur
Color Themed Coptic Book 1 by Gwen LafleurNext was the paper piercing part. (Say that 5 times fast!) I used Pergamano tools, but you could just use a needle or skip this part. I wanted to get some more texture into the design. I also cut out a few pieces from one of them.

Color Themed Coptic Book 3 by Gwen Lafleur
Color Themed Coptic Book 3 by Gwen LafleurThen I got some watercolor pencils and started coloring. This was about the point where I decided each one was going to be its own color, but I hadn't yet thought about keeping each signature the same color.

Color Themed Coptic Book 5 by Gwen Lafleur
Color Themed Coptic Book 5 by Gwen LafleurThis is the "ugly phase" that my project went through. I almost chucked it and went another route, but decided to see if maybe my Liquid Pearls could save the day. (Duh. Of course they could!!!)

Color Themed Coptic Book 7 by Gwen Lafleur

Color Themed Coptic Book 8 by Gwen Lafleur
As I was getting everything ready to make the signatures and start binding, I decided it would be really cool to have each signature be the same color, so I dug out patterned papers that went with each design and cut it all down to size, then bound it up.

The cover was painted with iridescent Pebeo paints and DecoArt black gesso, then detailed with more Liquid Pearls.

Color Themed Coptic Book Close-up by Gwen LafleurThere you go! My finished book. The Doodle It Borders stencil couldn't have been more perfect for this project... I can't wait to play with it some more! (And while you're looking, check out Maria's other stencil that was released today - Doodle It Bigger!)

StencilGirl Blog Hop: Craft Attitude

SGCABlogHopTopperHi everyone, welcome to day 3 of the StencilGirl - Craft Attitude blog hop! All this week the StencilGirl creative team has been sharing projects using stencils and Craft Attitude Printable Craft Film. Lately I've been inspired by all of the gorgeous Artist's Trading Blocks that I've been seeing around the web, so I decided to make one for today's post. Here's what I ended up with:

StencilGirl and Craft Attitude - ATB by Gwen LafleurI used my stencils along with polymer clay and lots of beads and other trinkets and then used the craft film to apply photos to the clay. It worked out really well!

Here's a quick overview of how I made mine. I started by picking a few colors of clay and getting them pretty well conditioned, then rolled out a few sheets that were big enough to cover a side on my box (which I cut from chipboard using the Eileen Hull Sizzix ScoreBoards XL Box Die). Once I had those, I pulled out a few 6x6 stencils and used my little clay roller to roll the clay into the stencils to get an impression.

StencilGirl and Craft Attitude - ATB Step 1 by Gwen LafleurYou can see where the clay moved a bit while I was rolling, but it turned out fine. For the ones where it stuck a little to the stencil, I just cleaned it with a baby wipe. I rolled a few more pieces to use as layers on the top and sides - for the one with a 4x4 stencil, I just put it through my clay roller.

StencilGirl and Craft Attitude - ATB Step3 by Gwen LafleurFor the large square tiles, these are the stencils I used:

Then for the layers on the top I used Tiny Medallion Stencil by Maria McGuire (I cut out around the design with a knife) and the Bali Doily Stencil by Lizzie Mayne (cut with a circle cutter.) I also used a circle layer on one of the sides that was cut from the center of the Rose Window stencil, also by Lizzie Mayne.

I made the crown on top from a scrap of clay that I'd embossed with the Seaweed 6 Stencil. Since I wanted to use photos of my nieces and nephews dressed up and posing with princesses at Disneyworld, I thought it would be the perfect topper for my block.

After the clay was rolled out, I used Rub 'n Buff and some Inka Gold to color the clay. This is just after the first layer of color, but you can see how much it makes the texture from the stencils stand out.

StencilGirl and Craft Attitude - ATB Step 2 by Gwen LafleurFrom here, I kept adding color and started building layers on top of my tiles. I decided where I wanted my photos to go on each tile and then added embellishments around them. Once I had all the layers the way I wanted them, I baked them and let them cool, then started gluing them onto the cube.

StencilGirl and Craft Attitude - ATB Step 5 by Gwen LafleurI left the photos and frames off until after baking - I wasn't sure if the film would do okay in the oven and decided not to risk it. I sized my photos to fit the frames, printed them out on the Craft Attitude Craft Film and then cut them out. To apply, I just used spray adhesive and then adhered them directly onto the little clay bases I'd left for them.

StencilGirl and Craft Attitude - ATB Step 7 by Gwen LafleurI chose to use a light coppery clay with a little shimmer as the background for the photos, so that showed through the film - you can even see the shimmer! It's a pretty cool effect. You could also just use white clay so that the colors in the photo stayed a bit more true.

Finally, after all the glue had dried, I went through with dimensional paints to add details and also kind of act like grout to my clay tiles - I filled in around the edges with gold.

StencilGirl and Craft Attitude - ATB Step 4 by Gwen LafleurI let that dry and that was it! Here you can see the top and the four sides of my ATB:

StencilGirl and Craft Attitude - ATB 1 by Gwen Lafleur
StencilGirl and Craft Attitude - ATB 1 by Gwen Lafleur
StencilGirl and Craft Attitude - ATB 1 by Gwen Lafleur
StencilGirl and Craft Attitude - ATB 1 by Gwen Lafleur
StencilGirl and Craft Attitude - ATB 1 by Gwen LafleurI love how it turned out, and I'm excited to use my craft film in other projects - it worked so cool on this!

The giveaway is now closed... thank you to everyone for your comments!

StencilGirl - Craft Attitude Giveaway Winner

Make sure you check out all of today's posts and don't forget to check in on StencilGirl Talk to make sure you hop to all of the posts this week - not only will you find some fabulous inspiration, but you can enter to win on every post on the hop!

Thanks for stopping by!

New Mixed Media Painting - DecoArt Media

Today I have a new mixed media painting to share. It was so much fun to get back to this after weeks of traveling and craziness with holidays and work and classes... I finally had a chance to relax and do one of the projects that's been floating around in my head!

Background for this project: early last month I was contacted to see if I would be interested in playing with some new products. Um... yes!!! So when I got back from Thanksgiving, there was a wonderful and extremely generous box from DecoArt waiting for me with lots of cool products from their DecoArt Media line for me to play with. It was like Christmas came early! They have lots of professional quality fluid acrylic paints (including irridescent,) mediums, shimmer sprays, antiquing creams, and more! I have to admit, before I was asked to do this, I didn't even realize that they had a line of mixed media art supplies!

So... my job - to do a project using their products with stencils to share. Here's my disclosure - all paints and mediums were provided to me by DecoArt, but projects, thoughts, and opinions are all my own.

That said, here's my painting and a quick overview of the steps to complete it and what I used for each part.

DecoArt Media and StencilGirl Painting by Gwen Lafleur
I started with a plain 18x18 canvas and mixed up a few colors of DecoArt Media fluid acrylics with their tinting base to start the underpainting.

DecoArt Media and StencilGirl Painting Step 1 by Gwen Lafleur
DecoArt Media and StencilGirl Painting Step 1 by Gwen LafleurThen I used the untinted fluid acrylics to start building layers of color. The paints are mostly translucent, which works well to get lots of layers, but you have to be patient.

DecoArt Media and StencilGirl Painting Step 3 by Gwen LafleurI have to say, I was super impressed with the quality of the paints. I'm pretty picky about my paints, but these are really good and I'll keep using them for sure!

DecoArt Media and StencilGirl Painting Step 5 by Gwen LafleurBetween the Tinting Medium and the transparency of the paints, I was able to get lots of different gradations of color just by mixing and layering. And I love how vibrant they are! They have a nice finish too. I also took some of the white DecoArt Media Shimmer Mist and spritzed it across the flowers to get a little softness and lots of white dots. I really liked how thick and opaque it was, but you have to be careful because it comes out in a pretty heavy stream rather than a mist.

After I got the main images down, I brought out my stencils to get some pattern on the vase. I used the Stitch a Circle stencil by Maria McGuire with some Pthalo Turquoise fluid acrylics. (Just a hint - the trick to stenciling with the thinner paints is to keep your brush almost dry - don't load it with paint - and then build up layers so that the paint doesn't spread under the stencil.) I also put some of the acrylics in fine line applicator bottles so I could add some dots.

DecoArt Media and StencilGirl Painting Step 4 by Gwen LafleurYou can also see above where I used some of the DecoArt Media Sand Texture Paste in the background. I also used some of their Ultra Matte Varnish to collage some pieces of torn patterned paper and maps onto the background. I wanted to get some additional texture into the background and this worked perfectly!

For the vase, after everything was dry I went over the entire area with a thick coat of Crackle Glaze and let it dry. Then I used some dark brown Antiquing Cream and rubbed it in so that you could really see the cracks. I love the effect! (See the close-ups below for a better look.)

DecoArt Media and StencilGirl Painting Step 6 by Gwen Lafleur I used a few different colors of turquoise and green fluid acrylics to work my way around the painting putting in the background. You can see where the Texture Sand Paste is because it grabs the paint and makes it a tad darker and you get the rougher texture.

Once the background was dry, I took the River Rocks Stencil by Mary Beth Shaw and some Pthalo Turquoise fluid acrylics to add a bit more to the background. To finish it off, I mixed some glitter and microbeads with some of the Ultra Matte Varnish and spread them in a few places to get a bit of sparkle. It might have been a bit of overkill, but I've always liked lots of "stuff" in my work, and this was definitely no exception!

DecoArt Media and StencilGirl Painting by Gwen Lafleur
Here are a few close-ups so that you can see how vibrant the paints are and how the crackle glaze and texture paste turned out.

DecoArt Media and StencilGirl Painting Close-up 1 by Gwen Lafleur
DecoArt Media and StencilGirl Painting Close-up 1 by Gwen Lafleur

I just want to say a HUGE thank you to DecoArt for sending me their wonderful products to work with! I have to say, there wasn't anything I didn't like, and that's being totally honest. Their Media paints and mediums are very nice and the results were excellent. I definitely feel like they're pretty comparable to some of the higher-end professional paints but without the price tag; I'm excited to keep playing with them!

If you haven't already, be sure to check out their website and sign up for the newsletter. They have a lot of tutorials posted and other great content as well as links to their social media sites.

StencilGirl Blog Hop: Leslie Riley TAP

I'm so excited to be participating in this week's blog hop with Leslie Riley and StencilGirl! I've always loved the look of transfers, especially photo transfers, so I was excited to use Leslie's Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) along with stencils for this week's project.

Blog HeaderI frequently audition ideas for bigger pieces of art in my art journal, and I had an idea I wanted to try out using TAP to transfer a photo and embellish with stenciling. So my project today is my art journal "prototype" using a picture of my niece Aubrey that was just begging to be played with!

I started out by following the directions on the packaging for creating the transfer and printed out my photo.

StencilGirl-Leslie Riley TAP Hop Step 1 - Gwen LafleurThen I cut it out and ironed it onto a blank page in my art journal.

StencilGirl-Leslie Riley TAP Hop Step 2 - Gwen LafleurFor my first time trying this, I was pretty pleased! I messed it up a little, but I was good with it... most of it was going to be covered up. The transfer has kind of a cool, grainy texture (which might be because I did it wrong... lol. It could happen.) and you get pretty true colors but with a slightly grungy feel. I really liked it!

From here, I wanted a background to surround the photo, so I took the backing I peeled off during the transfer and used it as a mask to stencil the background.

StencilGirl-Leslie Riley TAP Hop Step 3 - Gwen LafleurTo do this, I used the Rembrandt's Words stencil by Carolyn Dube and stenciled it first in light green ink, then just nudged the stencil over a bit and did it again with teal to create an offset effect with the words.

Next, I took the Layered Peonies stencil by Jessica Sporn and started creating a crown of flowers around Aubrey's head with various shades of pink acrylic paint.

StencilGirl-Leslie Riley TAP Hop Step 4 - Gwen LafleurSo far so good! Then, since she had pink and purple flowers on her shirt, I thought I'd add purple flowers to her crown. So I used purple paints and the Tossed Blossoms stencil by Terri Stegmiller to put some in here and there. Yeah... the purple? Not so good. Maybe it would look better with a butterfly? I had planned that all along, but was hoping it would cover up some of what wasn't working and make it better. I added that using the one on the Nature's Promises stencil by Roxanne Evans Stout. The butterfly looked good! The rest? Not so much. This was definitely an ugly phase.

StencilGirl-Leslie Riley TAP Hop Step 5 - Gwen LafleurAm I wrong? No. Ugly. (Not my niece, she's adorable. But the rest? Ugh.) In an effort to keep going and salvage things, I attempted several potential remedies that didn't turn out well. I was about 90% convinced that I was going to be starting over, but decided to give it just one last try before throwing in the towel.

I kind of morphed the pinks into yellow (because neon is really best in small doses.) Then I glazed the entire page with Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide Golden fluid acrylics and let it dry. And finally, when all else fails, add Liquid Pearls (and turquoise, of course!) I thought I might have gone too far and finally ruined it completely, but I kept pushing it and ended up really liking it, even though it was absolutely not what I originally had in mind.

StencilGirl-Leslie Riley TAP Blog Hop Project by Gwen LafleurIt's kind of like a cool, pop art piece and despite the fact that it's a little weird, I really like it! A few close-ups:

StencilGirl-Leslie Riley TAP Hop Project Closeup 1 - Gwen Lafleur

StencilGirl-Leslie Riley TAP Hop Project Closeup 2 - Gwen LafleurAnd that's my project for this hop! Despite my near epic failure, I had a lot of fun and really loved using the Transfer Artist Paper. Such a fun product!

And now for the part you've all been waiting for, the giveaway!

Do you want to try TAP Transfer Artist Paper and StencilGirl stencils? We have you covered! Just leave a comment and enter to win this FABULOUS pack that will get you started!

LRGiveawayALL comments left on all the posts in this week's blog hop are eligible to win! (One comment per person per post, please.) Giveaway closes on Sunday, November 16th @ 11:59PM Central Time.

If you haven't already, don't forget to hop over to the other posts today for more inspiration and chances to win!

Thanks for stopping by, and happy hopping!