Category Archives: mixed media

Art journal made from a manila folder.

I have a fun tutorial to share today on how to make an art journal with a manila folder cover.

The pictures are not the greatest, but I had only artificial light when I took them.  I wanted to show the step by step process.

Now for the tutorial…

 

old manila folder
I started with a used manila folder and blacked out the text on the tab.  I used a liberal amount of Mod-Podge to glue the folder together, being careful that the edges stuck well.  I still ended up with some air bubbles once it dried.  Grrr.
I used a strip of washi tape over the uneven edges and glued down some white cardboard to reinforce the tab.  I made sure to lay down a strip of glue to hold down the washi tape forever, lol.
I folded the manila folder in half, using a bone folder to really press down the crease hard once the Mod-Podge had dried.  This was before the washi tape obviously…
I cut the white cardboard to the shape of the tab and now had a very sturdy tab.
I now laid the folder flat on my table and spread out a layer of paint…
I spread some paint on the back of the folder.  I like the shabby uneven look.
I used several layers of paint, mostly spread with an old gift card.  Both sides are similar, just a slight difference in the colors.
I painted the tab purple and wrote the words “Good Dreams” on it.  I stamped the front cover with the word Imagine, and there is plenty of space for embellishment.  The back cover has only paint on it, so there is plenty of room for creativity.
I cut out some paper stars to cover the air bubbles on the inside cover and stamped some inspirational words.

 

I used card stock paper for the signature.  There are 24 empty pages to embellish when all is said and done. They are a bit narrow, but that’s the shape of the folder. Card stock is not as durable as watercolor paper, but you can certainly use wet medium and paints on it. I used card stock in various colors.

 

I tried to get a picture of the various papers, but it didn’t turn out great.  There are two sheets of green, two yellow, and two manila colored.  I thought it was fun to add varied colors.

 

The inside front cover adjoins a green paper…

 

And another close up of the back inside cover.  The picture is pinkish, and I blame my camera for that.
What do you think? I really enjoyed the project and I can’t wait to embellish the pages.  It’s a good size for traveling too.
What are you working on now?
xo
Maria
P.S. I have some journals for sale in my etsy shop. CLICK HERE.

Art versus craft

Art versus craft, what is the difference?

What part of us needs to know?

I was making some polymer clay mosaic picture frames today and was struck by the thought that I feel the same when I’m doing crafts as I feel when painting.

In the past I have labeled painting as “art” and anything else that I enjoy to do with my hands as “craft.”  Craft ought to be more lowly than art, but there is NO difference since I’m the same creator.

Doesn’t it all come from the same inner source?  Yes, of course it does. Craft may be more mechanical in that you make more of the same items, but not one is exactly the same.  With my mosaics it’s hard to even make two that look alike, but if you put them all side by side, there is a definite similarity of style and a preferred choice of colors.

When I paint I also prefer certain colors to others. I don’t prefer a particular motif, but if I did, I might find painting easier than facing a blank canvas to start something completely new. I can’t seem to focus on a particular subject.  My color choices do carry “my” signature.  The mosaics all look similar because I have only so many tools in my toolbox for imprints and only so many rubber stamps. No matter. It won’t stop me from creating.

The me sitting in my studio is the one who creates, not necessarily the ego me who likes to think I’m The Great Artist. It doesn’t change what appears on the canvas or on my mosaic frames. If I’m having a good time, that’s good enough for me.

Feeling alive is what I enjoy, no matter what I do.  In other words, doing what I love.

It is a choice and sometimes a compulsion to create, but no matter how things transpire in the studio, I spent the day in a good way.

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polymer clay mosaic frame.

This one will end up with an altered Christmas ornament in the shape of a heart in the middle. I adhere some text to the surface and glue inspirational words on it. Then I attach it to the background that I alter with awesome paper.

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small frame with polymer clay mosaic tiles.

A 5×5″ picture frame.  Fun and fast to make since it’s so small.

What are you working on today?  I wish you all kinds of creativity.

This concludes day 10 of the blogging challenge …

xo

Maria

P.S. Check out some of my stuff for sale in my etsy shop HERE.

Polymer clay mosaic tile tutorial

For years I used to make polymer clay mosaics.  I don’t know if you’ve heard of Laurie Mika and her fabulous book, Mixed Media Mosaics?  I was smitten while reading that and used some of her techniques for making my own boxes and frames.  I have made many, but I got burned out on making them.  They make great gifts!  I took photos of the process, but I struggled to get good pictures.  I will post them anyway since the mirror I worked on is done.

First layer of paint after baking the polymer clay tiles.
I didn’t get pictures from the tile making process, but you knead a block of polymer clay and roll it flat like cookie dough with a rolling pin.  The slab should be about 1/8″ thick.  I then use rubber stamps, old buttons, charms, and found objects that make good indentations.  I cut out the tile with a polymer clay blade.  I put the tiles in a baking pan and put a same-size pan on top, bottom up, like a lid.  I secure the pans together with binder clips and bake in the oven per manufacturer’s instructions.  Carry the pans outside, release one of the clips and slide top pan open to release fumes.  I like to use Sculpey III, but I’m sure Fimo and other brands are good too.  I tried self-drying clay for a batch and it was very difficult to work with.  You can use any color clay since you’re going to paint over the tiles, but black will make the tiles darker.

 

Charms embedded in the clay.

Here is a close up of the jewelry charms I baked into the clay.  They add bling!  These are the tiles after one coat of paint where I usually fill in all the indentations and wipe off the rest.  Looks messy at this stage….

 

Mirror frame painted black front and back.

This is a mirror frame.  I took out the glass part and painted the frame front and back with black craft paint.  It seals the wood and also adds “tooth” to the surface, which makes it easy to adhere the tiles.  Attach a sawtooth hanger on the back before adding the tiles.  There are sometimes holes for hanging, but it’s difficult to use those and get the mirror straight on the wall.  (At least I find it so..lol.)

Second layer of paint

 

Second layer of paint.

 

Same two pictures in different light.  This is the second coat of paint.  I usually smear it on with my fingers.  I try to vary the colors to get more tiles to choose from for my project.

 

Last layer: embossing powder
Finished tiles
Basket of tiles!

Third coat of paint, which is embossing powder in different colors that I also smear on with my fingers.  I use Perfect Pearls.  See how it all came together?  Now the tiles don’t look messy at all, but handmade for sure.  Embossing powder smooths everything out and adds a nice highlight to any ridges.  Where there is white shining through from the tile, I usually go over it with a paint pen or a fine brush, or fill in larger areas, like the purple star and sun with more of the same paint.

A basket of yummy tiles!  Now my mirror frame is dry too and I sand the edges.  Then it’s time to match up the tiles for the design. This is the fun part…  It can be painstaking, but I have never done a project that didn’t come together just perfectly. 🙂

 

Tile selection and adhering.

When the design is done, I put the tiles in order on the table and spread LOTS of glue on one area at a time.  I use Aleene’s craft glue, which works great, but Weldbond is also a good brand of glue for mosaic tiles.  For the wings and heart on the center piece, I used E6000 jewelry glue, which is heavy duty.  I really like my pieces to be solid.  Where there are small gaps between the tiles, I pour in a string of seed beads.  It adds bling and gives the piece a finished look.

Finished!

 

Finished!  I painted the edges with good black acrylic paint.  I also like to paint the back one more time to make it really look good.  I sign it on the back.

Are you willing to try one of these?  It’s not hard, but it looks hard. 🙂  What are you working on now?

xo
Maria

P.S. I don’t have any mirrors for sale in my etsy shop, but I have paintings and mixed media HERE.

Art Journaling stuff.

Day 6. I have been doing some art journaling lately, experimenting with a lot of background techniques, which is fun. It’s an adventure since you don’t know how it will turn out. Art is very forgiving so usually everything turns out okay in the end.

In the two pictures below, I wet my heavy duty journal paper thoroughly with water. Then I used very diluted acrylic paints and dripped them on the water-logged paper. The paints spread in a nice, sometimes subtle way. You can use any craft paints or finer art paints as long as they can be diluted with water. Watercolor paints would work well if you want a more soft and subtle background.

Star angel

This is another version on my freebie art tutorial Star Angel. You can get that video tutorial HERE.

Splatter background detail

In the picture above, you can really see the background variations. Lots of fun. 🙂

Leather effect with tissue paper.

The one above is a faux crinkled leather background. I used medium spread liberally across the paper, and then I glued tissue paper over it. It’s important to crinkle the tissue paper into a ball in your hand, and then spread out the wrinkled paper on the medium. Let dry thoroughly, and paint whatever colors you like. I used some raw umber on my fingertip to brush over the ridges as a last coat to make the creasing more dramatic.

Art journal page with glued paper background.

Fantasy flowers painted on top of decorative paper, which was glued down in my journal.

art journal page

Just for fun!  Grow wild and free. Hell yeah!!!

What are you working on today?

Please share in the comments.

…because Life happens NOW!

xo

Maria

PS. If you’re interested in a fun self-study art journaling ecourse, please check out my e-course site HERE.

First snow grunge

 

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First snow, grunge art journal page

First snow is not really relevant since we’re coming up on Memorial Day weekend, but First Snow is what happened when I created this grunge art journal spread.  I made a video of it that you can watch. I added so many layers that it got really interesting, (almost a page ready to be cut up for some other project.) But I think I saved it. Judge for yourself.

What Jane wanted.

What Jane (Austen) wanted might be a strange title, but that is what came to me as I pondered the finished art.  Who knows what yearnings she had, but she would not have showed up without a bonnet or a DRESS anywhere.  Those were the polite rules of the day.  Her hair would not have been as messy either, but in my heat of creative passion I took some artistic license.

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What Jane wanted.

I can tell you the process this art went through. I started out with a layer of various colorful papers all across the canvas.  I usually tear those and just put them down randomly with medium, making sure the edges are well glued down.  Then a painted a couple of layers, did some spatters and runny paint patterns.

I added the birds, and they are cut from paper that I painted turquoise and glued down on some black paper. The yellow legs are also glued down paper that I painted.

I added some more paper for texture and painted the face with charcoal and acrylic paints.

To be honest there was another portrait under all of this that I ended up hating so I painted over it with white paint–another layer.  I saved the areas that I liked, and embellished others.

This is usually how my art evolves but sometimes I paint straight without mixed media.  I still use many layers of paint to get the effect that I like. Layers will create the depth that I prefer.

This art is now for sale in my etsy shop HERE. Lots of other goodies there as well.

If you would like to check out some of my fun ecourses, go to this link HERE. 

I always like to try new things when it comes to art. I wish you a creative week. Time flies, so we might as well do something fun…

Happy creation,

Maria xo