Making Beaded Mosaics with Stencils

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

Beaded Hamsa Mixed Media Panel - Gwen Lafleur

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


StencilGirl Throwback Thursday with an Orly Avineri Stencil

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

Here are the ATCs I made with this stencil:

Stenciled Halloween ATCs - Gwen Lafleur

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

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

Stenciled Halloween ATCs Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

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

Stenciled Halloween ATCs Step 2 - Gwen Lafleur

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

Stenciled Halloween ATCs Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

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

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

Here are some close-ups of the cards:

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

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

 


Adventure Themed Art Journal Spread

Hi all, just popping in to let you know that today I have a new art journal spread and tutorial up on Nathalie Kalbach's blog! This month the team is working with the theme, "say yes to adventures!" Not something I usually have a problem with... lol. I used stencils, stamps, paints, and a photo I took in Cambodia a few years ago to make my adventure-themed spread.

Adventure Art Journal Spread - Gwen Lafleur

Make sure you hop over to Nat's blog to see more photos and the tutorial. Enjoy!
 


Christmas in July with StencilGirl & Imagine Crafts

Christmas in July Blog Hop banner

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

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

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

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

Christmas Decor with StencilGirl and Imagine Crafts - Gwen Lafleur

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

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

Molding and Casting to Make Cherubs - Gwen Lafleur

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christmas Ornament from Stencil Steps 1-3 - Gwen Lafleur

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

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

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

Christmas Ornament from Stencil Steps 4-7 - Gwen Lafleur

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

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

Christmas Ornament from Stencil Steps 8-10 - Gwen Lafleur

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

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

Faux Ceramic Ornament from Stencil 1 - Gwen Lafleur

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

Faux Ceramic Ornament from Stencil Close-up - Gwen Lafleur

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

Christmas in July GIVEAWAY image

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

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

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

One comment per person per blog please.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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n*Studio - Mini Art Journal - Advice to My Future Self

Hi All! Just popping in to let you know that today I'm up on Nathalie Kalbach's blog sharing a project featuring several of Nathalie's stamps and stencils. Our theme  for this month centered on a letter to our future selves (like 10 years from now selves.) I thought it would be fun to make a little mini art journal where I could write out advice to myself. It's 2"x3" and I picked 5 pieces of advice to include:

Letter-to-Future-Self---Mini-Art-Journal---Gwen-Lafleur

Make sure you head over to see the full post - there are pictures of all of the inside pages as well as a little tutorial for how I made the entire thing. Enjoy!

 

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Gwen's Gems: Stenciled Mixed Media Panel

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

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

 

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All Occasion Handmade Cards with n*Studio Stamps

Hi everyone, welcome to my stop on today's blog hop with Stampendous and n*Studio! I'm excited to be able to participate today in sharing some fun project inspiration using Nathalie's Stampendous stamp sets.

STM_NatNfriendsHop_banner

For today's post, I decided to use the Elephant Foam Stamp, Cling Rubber, and Stencil Set to make some handmade cards. I can always use some fun all occasion cards; I like to keep a little stash of them in case I need a card quickly, and the elephants seemed like such a fun motif to use for these. Who doesn't love elephants?

All Occasion Elephant Handmade Cards - Gwen Lafleur

I put together a quick little overview of how I made each of these cards, along with a few more photos so you can see some of the details.

First up, I really wanted to make some kind of a window card. To start, I made my own card base from cardstock and sized it to work with the stamps. I took the stencil from the kit and inked through it with gold pigment ink, then I heat embossed with Aged Gold Frantage Embossing Enamel.

Elephant Window Card Steps 1-4 - Gwen LafleurNext, I used some gold paint in a dauber bottle to paint the solid side of the foam stamp - I centered that on the embossed area and stamped it. I wasn't worried about precision; I just wanted the outline so that I could use my x-acto blade to cut out the elephant shape.

Once I had my window, I used some gold foil washi tape to add a frame around the edge of the card.

Elephant Window Card Steps 5-7 - Gwen LafleurI found a fun printed transparency with purple foil polka dots, so I cut a piece of that to back the window. Then on the front, I outlined the cut-out area with gold dimensional paint. Once that was dry, I stamped the rubber stamp elephant on the inside, lining it up with the opening on the front. I painted around the elephant with gold matte paint, then added a sketchy outline around the image and a border around the edges.

To finish it off, I decided to add a little nod to India with some sequined trim and a fun sari applique. The perfect touch, don't you think?

A few more photos of how this card turned out - I think it's kind of fun, elegant, and eclectic all at once!

Stamped Elephant Window Card - Gwen Lafleur
Stamped Elephant Window Card - Gwen Lafleur
Stamped Elephant Window Card - Gwen Lafleur

Now for the second card... this one is actually reversible! I used the detailed side of the foam stamp plus the rubber stamp - they face opposite ways, so it makes it perfect for this type of card.

Reversible Stamped Elephant Card Top View - Gwen Lafleur

Here's a quick overview of how I made this one.

First, I lined up the two stamps on the cardstock, then stamped each one of them in black. I cut around one of the elephants, leaving about a 1/4" border. When I got to the point where the images met, I folded it in half (carefully - it takes a bit of checking to make sure they line up) then I used the first cut elephant as a guide to outline the second one so the edges would all line up. (I don't usually have much luck folding it in half and cutting both at once - it's almost always wonky!)

Reversible Elephant Card Steps 1-2 - Gwen LafleurNext up, I pulled out a gouache palette and added some watercolor to the stamped images. I used complementary colors to reinforce the reverse / opposites theme.

Once the watercolor was dry, I used glitter glue to add some fun sparkle and detail.

Reversible Elephant Card Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

To finish off this card, I mounted it on another piece of cardstock to add some more stability, then punched some holes and threaded ribbon through the top. Here you can see each of the sides:

Reversible Stamped Elephant Card Side 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Reversible Stamped Elephant Card Side 1 - Gwen Lafleur
That's it! I hope you enjoyed today's projects, and that you're feeling inspired with new ways to use Nathalie's awesome stamp and stencil sets.

Before you go... make sure you comment below and stop at all of the blogs on this week's hop for even more chances to win one of three awesome prize packages from Stampendous!

STM_NatNfriendsHop_prize

Here are all of the blogs on today's portion of the hop... make sure you check in on the Stampendous blog each day so you can be sure and catch all of the fabulous inspiration this week.

 Until next time... happy stamping!

 

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Art Journaling with nStudio - My Own Drum

Hi all, just popping in to let you know that I have a post up on the nStudio blog today featuring Nathalie Kalbach's Fashion Dame stamp set. Our theme for this month's creative squad posts was "my own drum." I did my own interpretation of the theme with a page in my art journal:

My Own Drum Art Journal Page - Final - Gwen Lafleur

Head on over to Nathalie's blog to see the story behind this month's page, as well as a tutorial for how it came together.


StencilGirl Throwback Thursday with the Dia de los Muertes Mask Stencil

Throwback Thursday Blog Hop Banner

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

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

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

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

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

Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling - Gwen Lafleur

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Gwen's Gems - Mini Hand Shrine with Stencils

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

Mini Mixed Media Hand Shrine - Gwen Lafleur

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

 


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! 

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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! 

Earthday_stencilgirl_blog_hop_giveaway

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

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

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

 


Gwen's Gems - Mixed Media Canvas Tutorial

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

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

Mixed Media Canvas with Stencils 4 - Gwen Lafleur

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

 

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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!

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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: 

GIVEAWAY!

We'll be picking one lucky winner to receive:

one $25 StencilGirl Products Gift Certificate 

and

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

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

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

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

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


StencilGirl: Stenciled File Folder Mini Art Journal

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

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

File Folder Mini Art Journal Finished Cover - Gwen Lafleur

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


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!

CJS2016web1


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.