Category Archives: tutorial

Magic Journal Box tutorial

Magic is in the air in my studio lately. I have been inspired to try new and different things, as in making this type of journal box where you can write down and hide all your secrets. 🙂

I have gone into silicone mold casting adventures and making imprints with my polymer clay or air dry clay. I found small frames and other baroque metal borders and do-dads to use in my mold making. So much fun, and there is never a boring moment as you wait to see how everything turns out.

Anyway, try this journal box

I found a wooden box at Michael’s shaped as a book. It’s pretty big, approx. 7×8″ and it would be too big for polymer clay mosaics. I decided to experiment with mixed media paper, paint, glue, and found objects. I made the tutorial for this box.

Magic mixed media journal box tutorial
Magic mixed media box

I did not take pictures of every single step, but here goes. I painted the entire outside box a dark blue. The inside is painted green, but that does not show in the following picture. I’m giving you an idea of the size.

Magic box mixed media tutorial
Inside view of the box

I glued white tissue paper all over the front of the box with Mod Podge, making sure it was good and creased, squeezing it into a ball before I spread it out.

Magic box tutorial
Glued down white tissue paper on the front and spine of the box

On top of the white paper, I glued some yellow tissue paper for contrast and a pale layer of lavender.

Magic box with tissue paper
I glued down some yellow paper on the front
Magic box with glue
Magic box with glue

When I was finished with the tissue paper, I made liberal blobs with white craft glue for added texture. I had to let that dry overnight. You can also use blobs made with a hot glue gun and glue the hardened texture down–it’s faster.

Then I rubbed several layers of paint over the dry and creased tissue paper and glue. I began with a dark brown, rubbing it into the deeper texture. I also used dark purple and some turquoise. To tone everything down, I finally spread some white paint over the whole front.

Magic box with layers of paint
Layers of paint
Magic box tutorial
More layers of paint
More layers of paint
Magic texture!

When everything was dry, I started digging through my stash of do-dads. Placement can sometimes be tricky. I painted the inside green.

Magic box tutorial
Magic making mixed media

What I used

The metal frame is from a Tim Holtz kit. I stamped the word Journal on a piece of paper, glued it to the back of the frame, and filled in the opening with Judikin’s Diamond Glaze. The flower is a polymer clay imprint from a hair ornament. The key used to be part of an old wind chime, and the hummingbird and the dragonfly are die cut paper, which I sealed carefully front and back and edges with Mod Podge since paper can easily deteriorate. I painted those with Perfect Pearl powder and sealed them again.

Magic box tutorial
Magic box details
Magic box tutorial
Words stamped with permanent ink
Magic felt on the bottom of the box
Some felt to make the box softer inside
Magic box tutorial
The back of the box

I cut some green felt that had a sticky side and put that on the bottom of the box for a softer interior. I placed a bought paper border on the outside bottom of the box for more interest. Below is another box I made in the same style. Both of these are available in my Etsy shop Earth and Faery.

If you missed my previous post, Mixed Media Greeting Card Tutorial, you can still find it HERE.

It’s vital to try new creative things, even if it’s a struggle. You master something by doing it. Resistance and self-doubt be gone!

Have a great weekend, and may you always be inspired! 🙂

Lots of love,

Maria

Spirit box tutorial

Spirit box tutorial with pictures is here!  If you have followed my blog or posts on Facebook, you know that I don’t like to stay with one art medium for long.  I guess I’m half a crafts’ person / art journaler, and half painter.

Mood decides which side wins any given day.

Inspired by mixed media artist Lyn Belisle, I made these Spirit boxes. She wrote a how-to article in Cloth, Paper, Scissors a few years back and I saved said article to experiment with later. Here are my experiments. I made two boxes.

You might have seen my angel shrines described in some earlier posts. I had a couple of left over molded faces from that project and decided to use them for the Spirit box dolls.

First I cut out two pieces of heavy cardboard, 4×3.5″ and glued them together like a “cross.” I covered them with scrap-book paper.

The face is really too small for this. I should have used a smaller cardboard base.  But, I decided I would make it look narrower with some vertical stripes.  I didn’t get a picture of that exact process, but you can see the result in the finished picture.

spirit box
spirit box

I like to use twigs as a natural element to add dimension. I have some very tough branches in my backyard, and I don’t know the name of the tree, but you need to find tough dry twigs to use or they might break. I suppose you could use green twigs, but I haven’t tried that.

Hook and Eye, but only the eye…

I used a random metal eye to wrap with copper around the twig. I added a bead for some sparkle on the main focus point.

I made a cardboard halo and painted it gold. The second halo is a scrap-book cut-out of a clock face.

spirit box
spirit box

Spirit box
Spirit box

I chose random scrap-book papers and wrapping paper. I used hand-dyed strips of fabric and hemp string to make the parts dangling off the metal eye.

Hair and head are attached here with a large glob of glue. I used eyelash yarn in two colors, green and purple.

spirit box
spirit box

spirit box
spirit box

Where is the box part?

I gessoed an empty Altoids(tm) tin and inserted a metal wire, using an awl to punch two holes on the bottom end of the tin. See picture. The doll will be glued to the lid for unhindered access to the box.

You can glue a piece of paper to the bottom of the tin (that will face the wall when hanging.) Optional.

spirit box

spirit boxspirit box

I added more dangly stuff to the metal eye, buttons on hemp string in two colors, a prayer box charm.

spirit doll

Everything is glued on securely.  I believe in heavy application of glue… 🙂 Speaking of glue, below is a picture of the attached tin to the back of the doll.  As you can see, the lid is glued to the back. I added scrap-book paper to cover up any paper gaps on the back of the doll itself.

spirit doll

Doll number two.

I used various papers and strips I cut to fashion the “clothing” for this doll.

spirit doll
spirit doll

All my materials covered every inch of my work table.

spirit doll
spirit doll

spirit doll
spirit doll

Now make your own. It’s easier than you think. Use whatever materials you have on hand. You could use a thrift store doll face. Great gift idea, and you can put some special treasure in the box for the recipient to find.

I have some doll faces (more elaborate than these) for sale in my etsy shop. They are meant to be used in doll assembly, but would work as talismans or ornaments too. Check them out in my etsy shop EARTH AND FAERY.

Free shipping, yay!

You can find Lyn Belisle’s website HERE.  She has so much inspiration to share! I love her spirit dolls.

You can also join my NEW Facebook group for more sharing: HeART Inspiration.

Handmade gifts are awesome

Handmade gifts are awesome because they contain a bit of YOU. It could be as simple as a batch of cookies, or as complicated as a large bronze statue (though I don’t see anyone giving me a metal statue for my birthday…)

Gifts can be a quagmire though. Take the example of cookies: there are vegan cookies, sugar-free cookies, and cookies the person is allergic to, and regular sugar-laden cookies.

So, the safe thing is to make something pretty. I love hand-knitted and hand-painted things, like boxes and usable items like cardholders and coin purses.

The sky is the limit! Since my etsy shop is called Earth and Faery I like to make things that are magical but also down to earth.

Since school just started here, I thought of a gift a child might like and came up with a pencil box that I painted and embellished.

pencil box

This is the end result, a mystical night view with a fairy and a dragonfly.

I bought a box of raw wood, which I sanded within an inch of its life. Then I painted some primer, using craft paints. The last layers of paint are done with artist acrylics for better results. Pictures are in the sequence of production.

pencil box
primer

pencil box
primer

pencil box
lid artist paints

In the above picture I used three shades of purple to get the night sky, using artist acrylics.

pencil box
inside finished

pencil box
lid embellished with gold paint

pencil box
fairy and dragonfly

There you can see the details of the lid embellishment. Simple but fun and I think some child would treasure it, don’t you?  As a child I would have been enchanted to receive this gift.

We don’t receive enough homemade gifts in my opinion. All the cold store-bought things just inspire you to buy more (in search of that thing that gives a sense of satisfaction within.)

I prefer to give gifts people can use, like candles, edibles, boxes for keepsakes, knitted wash cloths or hot pads, a painting (IF the person professed a liking prior (unless they were lying…)) That’s their problem then. 🙂

Etsy is full of cool handmade gifts. Maybe this Christmas is a good time for a shift in gift giving, what do you think?

If you liked this simple tutorial on how to paint a wooden box, you can check out this blog post about making a handmade art journal. GREAT gift!!

Crafty girl’s guide to art journal making.

An art journal for an artsy friend is surely the best gift.

I also have a short e-course on how to make a polymer clay mosaic embellished box. Check it out.

Polymer Clay Mosaic Box from start to finish.

I know we’re a long way from Christmas still, but now is the time to look into making handmade gifts. What calls to you? Yarn? Check out some local sales. It’s a good start.

Have a creative week, lovelies!

xo

Maria

P.S. I have lots of goodies in my etsy shop right now just in case people don’t want to make their own…Earth and Faery.

 

I thought I would be bored

I thought I would be bored in the long run making polymer clay mosaics. Ever since I came across Laurie Mika’s book Mixed Media Mosaics I have been hooked. That was years ago and I still make them.

polymer clay mosaic
Polymer clay tiles

Check out that cute elephant. I pretty much use dragonfly charms for the center tile, but I’ve had this special charm for a while.

I used to do stained glass mosaics on tables and such, but that is very fiddly and I wasn’t really into beautifying furniture for life.

My main gig is painting, but I have a strong streak of “craftiness” and I find it soothing to plug away at crafty things, namely mosaics. Though I also make some handmade journals for those who don’t know how to start art journaling. Starting with a painted page is easier.

To go back to mosaics, my You Tube video on how to paint polymer clay tiles have gotten more views by far than any of my other videos. Lots of people into polymer clay these days, and that’s great!

If you haven’t seen the video, here is the link.

It’s really not that hard once you get the hang of it.  The variations are endless.

follow your heart
polymer clay mosaic wall plaque

I like to add some inspiring words to the art. People should be reminded to follow their dreams. Otherwise, life is pretty much wasted in my opinion. We all need something inspiring in this day and age….

mermaid
Believe in magic

If you’d like to find out more about making polymer clay mosaics like these, I have an e-course where you would make a box (similar to the one above) from beginning to finish. I show you every step of the progress.  The course is ONLY $23! Check it out.

Back to painting now! Wishing you a creative and happy weekend.

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. You can check out the journals and other things in my etsy shop Earth and Faery.

 

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Don’t follow the rules!

Don’t follow anything.  Break the rules and do your own thing.

With my art I have discovered that every day is different.  Some days I feel inspired to paint, others I craft, and then again, the crafts change as I see an opportunity.

I suck down a lot of Altoids due to allergies, so I end up with a lot of empty tins. They are too cool to throw away. Sometimes I recycle them, but lately I have had the idea to make travel shrines out of them.

tin shrine
Tin shrine

 

tin shrine
tin shrine

This is an example of one.  I used scrapbook papers, borders, polymer clay mosaic tiles, words, and a picture of Mary. I’m not even Catholic, but I like the classical pictures of her and what she stands for.  This shrine is for sale in my etsy shop. (Link in sidebar.)

I love it when creativity takes me on detours. I often have the notion I should paint, or work on my art journal, but I see something and I see possibilities with the items around my house.

I go where inspiration leads me. I made a video about how to make these Altoids mini shrines. You can check it out HERE.

They are very easy to make. Basically all you need is paper and glue. If you have any stray ribbons or mini silk flowers, they would work too.

It doesn’t have to be a religious shrine.  It could be a nature shrine, an inspirational shrine with a picture of someone who inspires you. It could be used as a small gift box. The sky is as wide as your imagination!

I have a 50% off sale on one of my e-courses: ART AS ORACLE.  It’s a way to tap into your intuitive answers through art. It’s a lot of fun also.  You can read all about it HERE.

The sale ends on November 3, so only two days left.

I also have lots of things for sale in my two etsy shops. Christmas is coming. Are you looking forward to it? I enjoy all the lights the most.

Have a creative rest of the week.

xo

Maria