Category Archives: Mixed Media

Making Signage From Letter Stencils: Part 1

As a member of the “gig economy” I do contract and part-time consulting, marketing and customer service work for various clients. Two retailers I work with recently had need of some in-store signage. One is a hardware store and one is a craft supply store and they both sell stencils. I’ve been experimenting with letter stencils to make signage that gets the message across and at the same time demonstrates how to use some of the products that the stores sell.

JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts in Maplewood, MO has a teaching department of which I am a member. The education coordinator asked each teacher to make a sign or two for the classroom samples display to highlight the categories of classes we teach. I was assigned “Kid’s Crafts” and “Jewelry”. I was given two blank pieces of foamcore already cut to size and access to the classroom supply cabinet. Fun!

I like the look of cut-out letters layered over a background. To help me visualize how to arrange the letters on the foamcore board, I cut out some pieces of scrap chipboard and used a letter stencil to trace the outline of each letter in position. Then I decided what colors to use in the actual sign. Since it’s spelling out “Kid’s Crafts” that’s a good excuse to use some really bright colors!

Planning the placement and colors of cutout letters on a sign

I traced the letters again onto the colorful cardstock pieces I selected then cut the letters out with an X-acto knife. I’ll save the cutout letters in case another suitable project comes up.
Cut out letters

Next I selected papers to use as backgrounds for each letter. I marked the foamcore as a rough guide to where I would place the background for each letter.

Selecting backgrounds for the cutout letters

A little black and white in a design is a great way to add visual interest. Some of the background papers already have some white in the pattern. To get some black in the design, I outlined each cut letter with a black Sharpie marker and drew some faux sewing stitch lines to help convey the hand crafts theme. The black outline also covered up my pen lines from when I traced the letters. Black Sharpie markers are such an essential part of my tool kit (like glue sticks) that I buy them wholesale because I go through so many!

Adding details with a black Sharpie marker

In order to read well from a distance, I thought some of the letters needed an improvement in the contrast. I added high contrast solid paper behind the letters that needed to pop a bit more. Then I added a strip of black and white paper tape (also known as design tape and washi tape) to the top and bottom edges for a more finished look.

Assembled sign with paper tape

The final finishing touch was to glue on a few colorful buttons here and there. I used a similar design idea to make my sign for Jewelry. That was fun to make because it gave me a chance to use some “shiny” supplies that are appealing but hard to find a use for that is tasteful and appropriate – metallic papers, silver ribbon, glitter papers and plastic jewels! I outlined the letters in the Jewelry sign with a metallic gold Sharpie paint marker that looks good with the jewel-toned papers and theme. The paint marker also has good enough coverage to conceal my pen lines.

Finished signs for the Jewelry and Kid's Crafts classroom display signs.

These signs were fun to make and also stretched me creatively because I used a few materials and colors that I don’t design with very often. That’s good exercise for any designer!

Mixing Brands in Vintage Inspired Handmade Journals

My paper crafting and mixed media supply stash is substantial. Recently when I wanted to make some vintage inspired handmade journals as gifts I was faced with a pretty overwhelming number of options. Sometimes if you have too many supplies you can feel overwhelmed and a little inhibited. To get my creativity revved up I decided to see what I could come up with if I limited myself to three brands only – Canvas Corp Brands, Tim Holtz and DCWV. Those three brands still give you a huge number of options don’t they – not much of a limitation! I narrowed the possibilities a little further by setting out items from this list in my studio:

  • 7gypsies Gypsy Paper Pack Collection – American Vintage
  • Architextures™ 12×12 Papers – Collection I
  • Canvas Corp Black & Kraft Postcard Paper
  • 7gypsies Gypsy Moments Cards: Are We There Yet?
  • 7gypsies Gypsy Paper Pack Collection – Gypsy Seamstress
  • Architextures™ 12×12 Papers – Collection 2
  • Canvas Corp Nautical: Black and Ivory Compass Paper
  • Architextures™ Parchment Rub-On – Build
  • Canvas Corp The Watering Can: Seed Packets on Ivory Paper
  • 7gypsies binding rings
  • 7gypsies ephemera (discontinued)
  • 7gypsies papers (discontinued)
  • 7gypsies paper tape (discontinued)
  • DCWV Everyday Essentials Stack
  • DCWV Heirloom Stack
  • Tim Holtz design tape
  • Tim Holtz papers
  • Tim Holz ephemera
  • Tim Holtz mini brads
  • Ok I cheated a little bit – in the second journal I needed some patterned translucent paper so I slipped in some Vellum Swirls paper by Paper Pizazz.
  • Yes, that is still a lot of product to choose from, but it’s at least a somewhat more manageable subset of my stash! These slide shows feature 8.5 x 5.5 inch pages in pairs, starting with the front and back covers.

    Vintage Look Journal #1

    Vintage Look Journal #2

    Give Your Mason Jar Gifts a Beachy Look

    Handmade candle in a Mason jar, decorated with collage papers and a handmade tag.
    Handmade candle in a Mason jar, decorated with collage papers and a handmade tag.

    My tutorial on decorating the lids and making tags for seaglass-colored Mason jar candles has been published on the Canvas Corp Brands blog.

    Read More
    QUICK AND EASY – PRETTY PACKAGING FOR MASON JAR CANDLES

    To learn how I made the candles, you can read my tutorial on the Schnarr’s Hardware blog:
    Make Old Wax Candles Into New Candles

    Schnarr’s Hardware sells several sizes and shapes of Mason jars as well as lids and other canning accessories.

    Making Greeting Cards From Scrap Papers

    Do you have the patience for playing around with lots of fiddly paper bits? If so you might enjoy collecting paper scraps and making them into interesting greeting cards. I’ll show you how gluing small bits of paper to strips of scrap cardstock can give you exciting design options.

    Tools and Supplies:
    Self-healing cutting mat
    Paper cutter
    Rubber stamps with greetings and sentiments
    Permanent black rubber stamping ink
    Clean scrap paper
    Bone folder
    Glue sticks
    Scissors
    Metal ruler
    Corner rounder
    Old food lid to use as a palette
    Rubber stamping ink in complementary colors
    Rubber eraser with flat sides
    Palette knife and/or old credit cards for spreading glue
    Yes Paste

    An assortment of recycled papers:here are some suggested sources
    Gift wrap and tissue
    Gift tags
    Books
    Calendars
    Folders
    Used postage stamps
    Magazines and catalogs
    Old greeting cards
    Wallpaper samples
    Paint sample cards
    Attractive product packaging
    Scrapbooking paper scraps
    Scraps from your old projects
    Paper company sample books and promos
    Ephemera from travel – maps, brochures, tickets, etc.

    I’ll show you two different card designs that you can make by collaging scraps of paper onto cardstock strips.

    Make an assortment of collaged strips

    1. Cut some strips from plain scrap cardstock that are 1/2 to 3/4 inches wide. Old folders are a good source of scrap cardstock weight paper.

    Strips of scrap cardstock and paper scraps ready for gluing
    Strips of scrap cardstock and paper scraps ready for gluing

    2. Lay out a bunch of small paper scraps and glue them down in a row down each strip. You might choose papers at random or try to follow a planned color scheme. When glue is dry enough to handle, use a scissors to trim the strips from the back to make the edges even.

    Gluing paper scraps onto the cardstock strips
    Gluing paper scraps onto the cardstock strips

    3. Choose a color of rubber stamping ink that will help unify your design and squirt a little of it onto an old food lid. Dip the edge of a flat-sided eraser in the ink and apply a line of ink to the edges of your collaged strips. This is a small step that makes a huge difference in the visual appeal of your finished piece.

    The strip at the lower left is in the process of having scraps glued to it. The middle strip has been trimmed and the upper right strip has been stamped along the edge with rubber stamping ink.
    The strip at the lower left is in the process of having scraps glued to it. The middle strip has been trimmed and the upper right strip has been stamped along the edge with rubber stamping ink.

    Instructions to make card design #1:

    1. Print a selection of sentiments with permanent rubber stamping ink on strips of light colored paper to use on the card that you make. Select one to use as the main theme of your card.

    Rubber stamped sentiments on strips of scrap paper.
    Rubber stamped sentiments on strips of scrap paper.

    2. Choose a piece of scrap cardstock or heavy paper to use for the base of your card. Fold it in half. Measure the front of your card.

    3. Next select a piece of thin scrap paper that would make a good background for the front of the card. Tear out a piece that is 1/2 inch smaller than the front of your card, using the metal ruler as a tearing aid.

    For example, if you fold an 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 inch piece of paper in half, the front of the card will measure 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches and the background paper for the front of the card should be 3 3/4 x 5 inches.

    4. Next choose a simple shape to put on the front of the card – you could trace around a found object, use a cookie cutter or a stencil as a source. Trace one copy of this shape onto plain scrap cardstock. Make another tracing on the back of a piece of paper that harmonizes with the chosen colors for your card.

    5. Cut out both shapes with scissors. Set aside the one in the harmonious color to glue to your card later.

    6. Take the shape on plain cardstock and glue your sentiment across the middle or wherever looks best. Just below the sentiment, glue a section of one of your collaged and inked strips from earlier.

    7. Moving from the inside to the edges, glue strips of scrap paper in complementary colors on either side of your sentiment and collaged strip for a striped effect. Cut around the base shape to trim when all covered.

    8. Using the glue stick glue the colored shape you cut out earlier to the front of the card.

    9. You will probably need some more robust glue to hold the collaged and inked shape since all the layers of paper will have made it pretty thick. Use Yes Paste to attach the striped shape to the front of the card. Trim if needed.

    10. If needed, glue plain light colored scrap paper to the inside of the card to make a clean area for writing a message.

    Instructions to make card design #2:

    This second card design is designed to made from a piece of 4 1/4 inch by 8 1/2 inch cardstock.

    1. Fold the cardstock in half and the front of the card will end up as a 4 1/4 x 4 1/4 square.

    2. Cut a 3 3/4 by 3 3/4 inch square from plain scrap cardstock.

    3. Glue a sentiment, a collged and inked strip and scrap paper strips to the cardstock square.

    4. Trim around the square and round the corners with a corner rounding tool.

    5. Glue the trimmed square to the front of the card with Yes Paste.

    Extra Tips and Techniques for working with paper:
    Cover up unwanted parts of found papers by laminating with other paper.
    You can get wrinkles out of paper by ironing.
    How does one glue down delicate tissue paper? Stabilize by gluing to a stiffer piece of paper with a glue stick and smooth out wrinkles with a bone folder.
    When working on other projects, if you have leftover paint or ink use it up on plain paper scraps. Save these scraps and add to them whenever you have leftover art media. In time, you will have a lot of interesting scraps to work with.
    If your paper project warps or curls, press it between heavy books with clean scrap paper around it to protect both card and books.

    Embellishments that can be recycled and used on cards:
    Buttons
    Thread, string and yarn
    Ribbon and trim
    Fabric scraps
    Wire
    Beads and charms
    Game pieces

    Self-help techniques for depression

    Last year at this time I was fighting major depression as a result of abuse. I am thankful that this year is much better for me but I know some people who are really struggling right now. I vividly remember how last year’s Holiday season made me feel worse. Winter weather and less daylight contributed to the struggle also. I had counseling and intensive outpatient therapy to help me recover. I learned some new techniques and tips to help me pull out of depression and here are some actions that I found to be the most effective for me. Please keep in mind that I’m not a professional therapist or a doctor and I needed professional help along with the following practices I could do on my own to recover. Please get professional help if you are suffering from depression. If you are afraid that you might harm yourself, please call 911 or a suicide hotline immediately. Here is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number – 1-800-273-8255.

    Action #1
    Help someone else who is suffering – No matter what your situation is, there are always going to be people who have it even worse than you. I’m not saying this to invalidate what you are feeling because you feel how you feel no matter what other people are going through. Maybe you can visit a lonely person or make a phone call, make someone a nice baked good or homemade gift, do a good deed for a neighbor or volunteer for a charity. No matter how humble you think your gifts are, someone out there can use them. I know that one of the most depressing thoughts you can have is that you don’t matter or no one would care if you are gone. It’s not true, even if other people have tried to make you think that. Doing things for people helps you prove that to yourself and the gratitude you get is very healing.

    Action #2
    Explore DBT skills for emotion regulation – DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Training. While in group therapy we practiced some DBT techniques which helped me out a great deal. The concepts were new to me and I wish I’d known about them earlier in life. I kept printouts about the anger and sadness emotion regulation techniques hung up in my bathroom for months so that I could perform normal life functions and do things I needed to do for recovery. I recommend you get the workbook and if you can, take classes. When I was feeling overwhelmed with emotions the techniques on the worksheets were invaluable.

    This slide show provides a good overview of distress tolerance and includes some good techniques: DBT Distress Tolerance Skills

    For example, I had to learn to tolerate distress because I was in a situation that I could not fix. You can’t make the trauma not have happened. There were people in group therapy with me that were rape victims, crime victims, were homeless and in other situations that could not be undone or fixed quickly. You have to learn to tolerate your situation to avoid making it worse. For example there were many times at work when I had to run to the refrigerator to put a cold drink on my head and do breathing exercises so I could do my job – that’s an example of learning to cope to avoid making things worse. It wouldn’t help my recovery to add financial and career problems to the trauma I already had. I was left with a huge therapy bill, enough to buy a good used car, and adding unpaid bills to my other problems would not make me feel better!

    Intrigued? Here is some more information about DBT.
    Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

    Action #3
    Attend support groups – Some people tell me that support groups are not effective for them but I find them valuable. It’s a good place to discuss painful things with people who understand some of what you’ve been through and will listen without being judgmental. Sometimes there is no one else in a person’s life to provide this. If you do have people in your life who will listen you have to be careful not to burn them out. It feels good to provide this service to other people in the group because you know how valuable it is. Also you can learn from the other members’ experiences and get good information about resources you may need.

    Action #4
    Use AND statements in your internal dialougue – I learned this in a support group and it’s one of the most helpful things anyone has ever told me. “I feel ______ AND I’m going to _______.” This is a good way to remind yourself that there are a lot of things you can do despite how you feel.

    Examples of AND statements I’ve used to motivate myself:
    “I’m angry AND I’m going to give this customer extra good service and make their day easier.”
    “I’m sad AND I’m going to take a walk and enjoy nature.”
    “I’m tired AND I’m going to go grocery shopping so I have nutritious food to eat.”

    Action #5
    G.R.A.P.E.S. – This is an acronym to help you remember to take steps each day to help recover from depression. When you are really depressed, it’s difficult to take any kind of action. I learned from experience that if I did everything on this list daily I would improve. It was hard. It took a long time. But it did work!

    • Being Gentle with yourself
    • Relaxation
    • Achievement
    • Pleasure
    • Exercise
    • Social

    I made a set of felt ornaments for a friend to put little pieces of paper in as a reminder of which activities have been done that day and motivation for getting as many as possible completed each day. I suggested she start with the papers on the sun side and move them to the moon side as they are finished to get more out of the cycle of each day. I also made a set for myself. The patterns for the sun and moon came from the book “Forest Fairy Crafts”.

    I made a PDF file that includes reminders that you can print out on cardstock or on clear sticker paper to incorporate them into different systems that you might use for motivation such as calendars or planners. I threw in some motivational sayings that are designed for cards the size of ATCs (artist trading cards). Some people call these “self care cards”.
    Download PDF here

    Action #6
    Light Therapy – Other people can explain better than I can the science behind improving your mood with light. I just know that it works. I give myself exposure to a natural light lamp and try to get natural sunlight on me as much as possible. Of course that is difficult in winter when you have to cover up to be outdoors but I use the outdoor activities I enjoy and gardening to motivate me to get what sun exposure I can.

    Action #7
    Meditation – I never tried meditation before I was in group therapy. I was having severe sleep problems and a group meditation session got me closer than I had been to sleep in quite some time. I decided to download some apps to help me meditate on my own and I’ve enjoyed using them ever since. There are guided meditations designed especially for problems such as sleep, anxiety and depression. Meditation has been a great discovery for me!

    Action #8
    Collect motivational and comforting sayings – fighting depression feels like you are fighting your own brain and your own thoughts all the time. Putting an input of healthy thoughts in my brain is helpful. I put some of them in my journal where I can use them for inspiration, a journaling prompt or just a reminder to get my thoughts in a healthy direction. You might put such sayings on the wall, on a fridge, on a computer slide show, on a Pinterest board or wherever it’s convenient for you.

    In a support group meeting that I go to, we read affirmations at the end. We are supposed to pick ones that resonate with us at the moment. Sometimes I or other people have to look at the list a long time before we see one that we think is the truth. I know what it’s like to read an inspirational or motivational saying or affirmation and think “yeah, right”. Give it a chance and give it time and maybe more and more of them will seem true to you.

    Action #9
    Try new activities with a group – Doing something fun with a group of strangers may not be a substitute for having a close friend to do activities with. However, I think it’s much more likely to lift your mood than staying home alone. You’ll also get the opportunity to make some friends. For example I do a lot of activities with groups on Meetup.com. There are groups you can join for every interest and activities for every budget.

    Action #10
    Journaling – there are several ways my art journal helped me fight depression.

    I wrote down thoughts which helped get them out of my mind. Once expressed, it was easier to get my mind on something more pleasant.

    I gained new insights through writing. Forcing myself to organize my thoughts by writing them down made me understand situations better.

    I kept track of my tasks. I found it much more satisfying to do what I needed to do to get better if I made a task page or some kind of task listing for it in my journal/planner. I found it motivating to fill in or mark completed tasks as opposed to just keeping track in my head. Seeing tangible evidence of the completed tasks made me feel proud.

    Do artwork that expresses your feelings. Some of my best artwork was made when I was really having a bad time. It makes me feel a little bit better to know that if I had to go through the feelings, I at least got some strong artwork out of it. Here are a couple of art journal pages that I did Christmas Day 2016. I hope I never feel again like I did that day but I did get quite a bit of satisfaction out of my artistic expression.
    “Going Cheap”
    “Secrets”

    I made gratitude lists. It’s easy to forget about the good things we still have – referring to a list of things to be grateful for is a good reminder that life isn’t all bad. As an exercise when I felt like I “hated everyone and everything” I decided to go through two magazines and make a collage out of things I was grateful for. I realized that even if I could not enjoy them now I would again in the future.

    I made a list of my progress. Seeing what I’d achieved in recovery then referring to it when I felt frustrated by my seemingly slow progress was a great motivator for me. I had been taken down so far by abuse that performing normal, everyday activities became milestones. Keeping track of them DID help me realize I was slowly getting better and gave me determination to keep working.

    Action #11
    Spiritual practices – In my life I’ve gone back and forth from having religious faith to having serious doubts. I’ve resolved my doubts for the most part at this stage of life but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy for me to take time out for prayer and worship. However, I’ve found spiritual practices are one of many things where if you don’t “feel like” doing it, if you do it anyway the feeling will follow. In other words, let feelings follow the actions, don’t let feelings dictate your actions. Is this proof of the existence of God or just how the human brain works? Either way, if you’re open to it spiritual practices have been a source of strength and healing for me. I’ve prayed for strength in many tough situations and received it and I am very grateful.

    Finally Finished My New Year Cards!

    For many years I’ve responded to Christmas Cards by sending out New Year cards – I explained why I do that in this previous blog post: Why I Send New Year Cards Instead of Christmas Cards.

    I started this year’s design by collaging small pieces of paper onto scrap paper strips that were about 3/4 to 1 1/4 inches wide. I began with the numbers “2018” which I cut from the 7gypsies papers Paddington Blackfriars and American Vintage: 12×12 State Plates Paper. I filled in the paper strips with assorted scrap papers from my small scrap box.

    Next I rubbed on some images from the set Architextures™ Parchment Rub-On – Build which were a good fit for my chosen theme “Let’s build a great 2018!”. I added a bit of Tim Holtz paper tape.

    I trimmed my strips with scissors to make the edges as even a possible then I scanned them and used Adobe Photoshop software to refine my trimming job and arranged some of the strips into a rectangular digital collage for the front of the card. I made a selection outline of all the areas with the year numbers and turned up the contrast so that they would stand out more. I added some grid designs and hardware looking graphics using Adobe Illustrator then I saved a PDF file of my cards to take to the printer.

    While I was working on the collages for my New Year card, I also completed a project for Canvas Corp Brands. I’ve been selected for the 2018 CCB Creative Crew , the design team that makes samples and comes up with projects for Canvas Corp Brands products. Our first challenge was to decorate a 4 x 4 inch canvas in a way that highlights our personal style.

    To create the above decorated mixed media canvas I cut three of my collage strips to fit the 4 x 4 inch stretched canvas from Canvas Corp.

    I squirted some StazOn Timber Brown permanent rubber stamping ink onto an old food lid to use as a palette. I used the side of an eraser to print a line of Timber Brown along the edges of each collage strip.

    I painted my canvas with yellow acrylic paint and allowed it to dry.

    Then I applied Tattered Angels Color Wash paint in Rose Gold with a brush along the sides and around the edges of the canvas.

    To finish my canvas, I glued the collage strips to the front with Turbo Tacky Glue and nailed tiny tacks into the corners of each paper piece. All done!

    Using paint as a background for journaling pages

    I recently made some abstract painted backgrounds for a class I’m going to be teaching at JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts. I will be demonstrating how to make mixed media pages for journaling with acrylic paint, watercolor paint, assorted markers and Fiskars gel pens. I embellished my sample pages further with decorative scrapbooking paper, stickers, paper tape and rubber stamps. The binding rings I used in these samples are by 7gypsies.

    On the left is one of the pages I painted with acrylic paint using a water wash technique. Besides some painted paper scraps, on the right I also used some scrapbooking paper, decorative paper tape, and a word from the rubber stamp set “B Journal Stamps” by Teresa Collins.
    I emphasized a paint splotch with a die-cut circle embellished with gel pen doodling. On the right side page I used a couple of Heidi Swap stickers over some doodled circles and small die-cut circles. The paper patterns and colors in the paper pad The Everyday Essentials Stack by DCWV blend really well with the painted backgrounds so I used a lot of designs from that stack in this project.
    Product used on these pages: markers, gel pens, Heidi Swapp stickers, punched out paper shapes, Everyday Essentials paper, Mrs. Sparkle & Co. planner stamps.
    Product used on these pages: translucent vellum scrapbooking paper with gold designs, Heidi Swapp Stickers, B Journal Stamps, markers and Everyday Essentials paper.
    Product used on these pages: markers, B Journal Stamps, paper tape.
    Product used on these pages: Everyday Essentials paper, B Journal Stamps, paper tape, punched out paper circles, markers.
    Product used on these pages: Mrs. Sparkle & Co. planner stamps, paper tape, Heidi Swapp Sticker, a sheet from the stack Heidi Swapp Memory Planner Journaling Pages, punched out card stock circles.
    Product used on these pages: B Journal Stamps, Everyday Essentials paper, markers, Heidi Swapp sticker, a cut up Heidi Swapp journaling page, punched out circles.
    Product used on these pages: Punched out circles, a cut down Heidi Swapp journaling page and sticker, B Journal Stamps, Mrs. Sparkle & Co. planner stamps, metallic paper tape, markers, Everyday Essentials paper.
    Product used on these pages: Everyday Essentials paper, gel pens, markers, translucent vellum paper with metallic designs, Mrs. Sparkle & Co. planner stamps, punched out circles, B Journal Stamps, paper tape Heidi Swapp stickers..

    I hope these samples inspire you to take a class with JoAnn or experiment with mixed media journal and planner pages on your own!

    See these Pinterest Boards for more ideas:

    Planners, Journals, Albums, Scrapbooks and Handmade Books

    Art Journaling

    Make a Storage Box Out of Recycled Mat Board

     

    storage box out of recycled mat board

    When matting artwork, it’s common to have a lot of mat board scraps left over. I had a number of scraps that were large enough to make small open top storage boxes. If you would like to make one similar, here is how I did it.

    You will need:
    5 square mat board pieces of equal size
    An assortment of collage papers
    An assortment of tools for decorating paper – I used stencils, rubber stamps, paint, printmaking ink, markers and colored pencils
    Yes Paste
    Clean scrap paper
    Bone folder or Squeegee multipurpose tool
    Old credit card or your favorite glue-spreading tool
    Acrylic medium
    Paint brush
    Tim Holtz Idea-ology Metal Box Corners – they come in a package of 8 and you’ll need 4 corners per box
    Pencil
    Awl
    Chunk of old wood
    Metal corner braces
    Old belts or strips of leather or faux leather
    Metal brads

    First take your five mat board pieces and decorate both sides with collage papers combined with the paper embellishing techniques of your choice. Use water resistant inks because you’ll be applying acrylic medium over your collages later. Yes Paste is my favorite glue for sticking down large pieces of paper that have to look flat and free of wrinkles. I apply the glue with a credit card to get a nice thin layer then after laying down the paper piece I’m gluing I put a clean piece of scrap paper on top and burnish with a bone folder or Squeegee tool to get a tight, flat seal.

    While working on this project at Perennial, another member asked me where I get my paper ephemera. The short answer to that question is that I’ve been collecting papers since the year I first got turned on to making collages – 1985! A more involved answer is to suggest some of the following sources of interesting papers:

    • Old magazines and catalogs.
    • Is someone you know doing some major cleaning? Offer to help in exchange for keeping interesting papers. This is a good way to get old graphic design samples, newspapers, books, maps, photos, negatives, stamps, envelopes, tickets – all kinds of neat stuff.
    • Purchase some reproduction ephemera from a craft supplier.
    • Save your art and paper craft “failures” and experiments. Whenever you have extra paint or ink, add a little more embellishment to your scraps until you get something you like. Toward the end of this article are examples of some great results I got using this method – Fun With Stencils.
    • Check thrift stores, estate sales, garage sales, flea markets, etc.
    • Shop a teachers resource recycling center like Leftovers, etc.
    • Make your own with any paper technique that you like, or a combination of techniques, such as rubber stamping, stenciling, painting, printing, making paste paper, rubbings, handmade paper, computer printouts, cyanotypes or drawing.
    • Use the decorative paper pads commonly sold for scrapbooking. There are designs for every taste and decorating style.

    When you are satisfied with your designs, brush both sides of your mat board pieces with acrylic medium for durability and let dry.

    Next start assembling your box from the bottom up, using the box corner hardware and the metal brads included in the package. Use a pencil to mark where the holes go and punch out the holes with an awl. An old chunk of wood is handy for protecting your work surface from the awl point. Be carful with the awl and aim it away from yourself while pressing down and through. Push brads through holes and spread the tines from the inside of the box to assemble the four bottom corners.

    At this point the top four corners are loose and flapping so you’ll need something to stabilize them and keep your box shaped like a cube. At Perennial I rummaged through the spare hardware bins and found a couple of metal corner braces which worked wonderfully when attached with brass brads. There were only two available so I looked for something else for the other corners. You can buy metal corner braces at a hardware store and use them on all four top corners if you like.

    Storage box with pieces of old belts on the corners
    Storage box with pieces of old belts attached to some of the corners with metal brads

    At Perennial there is a box of old belts and belts have holes! Idea! I selected some to cut down and use on the other corners. Attached with brads, they work well with the “grunge” look of my boxes. If you lack old belts, you can use a variety of materials that can be cut into strips and have holes poked in it – plastic from old lids, scraps of faux leather, scraps of real leather, thin metal – what do you have lying around that you want to try?

    Make Four Different Valentine Cards

    I have four free templates you can download to make these card designs!

    Tool and Supply List:

    Cardstock
    Clean scrap paper
    Bone folder
    Metal ruler
    Craft knife (X-Acto or something similar)
    Palette (could be a real ink palette or plastic lid, piece of freezer paper, etc.)
    Cutting mat
    Pencil
    Eraser
    Rubber stamps (Valentine themed, postal themed, alphabet stamps)
    Stamping ink pads and re-inkers in the following colors: Black, dark brown, rust brown, red, lt. ochre, hot pink, lt. gray, lt. tan
    Acrylic stamp mounting blocks
    Scoring tool
    Double-sided tape
    Paper cutter
    Heart shaped punches
    Alphabet stencil (optional)
    Markers (optional)
    Colored pencils (optional)
    Standard hole punch
    Scissors
    Decorative scissors with postage stamp perforation pattern or deckle edge pattern
    Glue stick
    Masking tape
    Unused white plastic eraser with flat sides (like Magic Rub)
    Small heart cookie cutter (for Card 4) or heart punch or stencil

    vcard_4_web

    Card 1 – Faux Postage Valentine

      • Download template “Faux Postage Valentine” and print out on cardstock if you are able, otherwise print on text-weight paper.http://www.carolynsstampstore.com/catalog/members/valentines_2016_1.pdf
      • Cut out the two viewfinders and if you printed out the template on text-weight paper laminate to scrap cardstock or chipboard with a glue stick for durability. Cut out the two centers and keep for tracing.
      • stamped_strips_webStamp background stamps in a variety of light to medium colors on light colored papers. For my samples I used inks in the neutral range on pastel and neutral papers.
      • Use the viewfinder labeled “Viewfinder for inner piece” and trace in pencil on the backs of your stamped pieces a number of rectangles for the inner pieces. Make more than you need in case you make any stamping mistakes and need extras. Cut out pieces.


    inner_pieces_web

      • Choose ink colors for the edges of the inner pieces. Squirt a little ink onto a palette and use your flat-sided eraser to apply to all the edges. A color of medium intensity or darkness is a good choice.
      • Next we will be adding the letters L, O, V, and E to these pieces. An easy way is to stamp the letters with alphabet stamps in black.
      • A variation is to stamp a plain heart stamp in red and pink in the pieces first then stamp a smaller alphabet set in black. Make sure the heart ink is dry first before stamping the letters or the ink may blur (see below).


    vcard_1_web

      • Another option if you want to use a smaller stamp set is to stamp hearts in brown then glue on heart shaped punch-outs that have been stamped with letters in black (see below).

    vcard_2_web

      • If you have an alphabet stencil in the right size range you could also add the letters by tracing with marker and coloring in with marker and colored pencil. Markers can make some rubber stamp inks smear so test first before coloring (see below).

    vcard_3_web

    • Next select some patterned papers that would make good edges for your lettered pieces. This is a good way to use up some scraps if you have them in harmonious colors. Use the viewfinder labeled “Viewfinder for edge piece” and trace in the window in pencil on the backs of your patterned papers. cut out an assortment of rectangles with patterned scissors – stamp perforation and deckle edge patterns are particularly effective for simulating the look of a postage stamp. See what inner pieces look best on which outer pieces and glue down when you’ve made your choices.
    • Arrange your letter pieces on a piece of scrap paper and stamp some accents with small stamps that reinforce the postal and Valentine themes.
    • Choose a piece of cardstock that would make a good ground for your card and cut it into an 8″ x 5.25″ piece. Score it down the middle and fold in half. Flatten well with bone folder.
    • Choose a background stamp that is about 3″ wide and stamp it on the front of the card at an angle according to the sketch. If you don’t have a suitable background stamp you can glue on a piece of decorative paper instead.
    • Cut a 1″ wide strip of light colored paper with decorative scissors and glue it across the card front according to the sketch. Trim off the edges.
    • Glue down letter pieces on front of card as indicated on sketch.
    • Stamp a faux postmark in a dark color at the upper right, or a different stamp that fits the theme if you don’t have a postmark stamp.
    • If you like, stamp a credit stamp on the back of the card.

    Card 2 – Valentine With Three Postal Collages

    trimmed_card2_web

    • Download and print out template.
      http://www.carolynsstampstore.com/catalog/members/valentines_2016_2.pdf
    • Cut out and make viewfinders as you did for the first card.
    • tag_bg_webTake half of an 8.5 x 11 piece of cardstock and stamp all over in a light neutral color with stamp that fits a Valentine or postal theme.
    • Glue down four real Love themed postage stamps. If you don’t have any real stamps you can make some Valentine Faux Postage or use Valentine themed stickers. Some faux postage is here: http://www.chasenfratz.com/wp/valentine-faux-postage/
    • Punch eight small hearts out of variety of paper scraps in harmonious colors and glue down.
    • tag_collage_bg_webStamp a variety of postal and Valentine themed stamps in a medium color such as rust brown. This type of collage can be used in a variety of projects so while you have all the parts out you might want to make several collages.
    • Use viewfinder to choose and cut three pieces (1.25 x 1.5 in) out of your collage.
    • Glue these onto three pieces of paper (1.5 x 1.75) cut out with decorative scissors.
    • Stamp edges in a dark color with the flat sided eraser.
    • Highlight with postal themed stamps in a dark color.
    • Choose a piece of cardstock that would make a good ground for your card and cut it into an 8″ x 5.25″ piece. Score it down the middle and fold in half. Flatten well with bone folder.
    • Glue a 5.5 in x 2.25 in piece of decorative paper across the front of the card.
    • Stamp a border accent stamp above and below the paper strip. You could also use a sticker or a rub-on.
    • Glue your collages down.
    • Stamp credit stamp on the back if you want to.

    Card 3 – Valentine Tag Card

    Valentine Card by Carolyn Hasenfratz

    • Download and print out template.
      http://www.carolynsstampstore.com/catalog/members/valentines_2016_3.pdf
    • Cut out tag and envelope templates.
    • Trace tag onto back of collage and cut out tag piece. Punch a hole where indicated.
    • threetags_webStamp edges of tag with dark colored ink with a flat eraser on both front and back of tag.
    • Stamp around hole in a dark color with small heart stamp or a circle stamp if you have one.

    • iloveyou_tag_webStamp a light colored heart on the back of the tag followed by a sentiment in a dark color.
    • Tie a piece of string or ribbon onto tag.
    • Choose a piece of cardstock that would make a good ground for your card and cut it into an 8″ x 5.25″ piece. Score it down the middle and fold in half. Flatten well with bone folder.
    • Cut a 1″ strip of decorative paper and glue it down the left side according to sketch. On this strip or any of the other paper strips you can use decorative scissors if you want to.
    • Cut out a wider strip of contrasting paper and glue it down at an angle across the top of the card.
    • Cut out another 1″ wide strip in a light color and stamp a sentiment on it. When ink is dry, glue in the middle of the wider angled strip.
    • Use pocket template to trace on decorative paper and cut out. Trim if needed and burnish glued pieces well.
    • Fold down flaps on pocket.
    • Trace the small heart cookie cutter with pencil (or use a punch or a stencil) and cut a small heart shape out of the front of the pocket.
    • Put double-sided tape onto flaps, trim if needed. Press pocket down on the front of the card. Burnish with bone folder with a piece of clean scrap paper between.
    • Stamp the back of the card with a credit stamp if you want to.
    • Slide tag into pocket.

    Card 4 – Collaged Heart Card

    vertical_card_4

    • Download and print out template.
      http://www.carolynsstampstore.com/catalog/members/valentines_2016_4.pdf
    • Cut out the two hearts on page 2 to use as templates.
    • Make a collage of Valentine themed paper scraps on cardstock.
    • Cut a heart shaped piece out of your collage using the inner smaller heart on the template as a guide.
    • Choose a piece of cardstock that would make a good ground for your card and cut it into an 8″ x 5.25″ piece. Score it down the middle and fold in half. Flatten well with bone folder.
    • Choose a piece of decorative paper that contrasts well with your collage and the background of your card. Trace around the larger heart and cut out.
    • Glue the smaller heart onto the larger heart and glue all to the front of the card.
    • Trim card and stamp the back of the card with a credit stamp if you want to.

    Image Transfers on Wood Jewelry

    Image Transfers on Wood Jewelry
    Image Transfers on Wood Jewelry

    Class Info
    Make amazing lightweight pendants by transferring found images onto wood. You will be supplied with the materials to make four pendants and two necklaces (one chain and one cord) for wearing your interchangeable pendants. You will learn the basics of transferring images with gel medium and attaching a clasp to a cord necklace.

    Each class attendee will receive a printout with a written tutorial for that class so if you forget anything we learned you can refer back to it later. Jewelry tools will be available to borrow during the class and some tools and supplies will be available to purchase if you want to continue working on your own.

    The class time is kind of long but the pace won’t be hectic – there will be breaks while we wait for things to dry. You will have time for lunch and there are lots of good places to eat or pick up food in downtown Maplewood.

    NEW! At each class, there will be at least one door prize randomly awarded to an attendee – probably a craft supply item of some type that relates to the theme of the class. Past prizes have included a necklace kit, a polymer clay frame kit and a craft stencil. That’s my way of saying thank you for coming!

    What to bring
    It’s not necessary to bring anything but it’s a good idea to wear old clothes in case there is a paint mishap. You can bring or buy snacks or lunch. We have a refrigerator for storing food.

    What will be provided
    I will provide wood pendant blanks, paint, gel medium, images, findings and parts for four pendants and two necklaces, tools to borrow during class.

    Image Transfers on Wood Jewelry
    Date: July 2, 2016
    Time: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
    Location: Studio:art, 7403 Manchester Road, Maplewood, MO
    More information and registration: Class Signup