Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

As I was putting away various supplies from my daughters' recent school projects I came across a small white gift box we picked up at a dollar store that was part of a package of three (My daughter used one to create a sarcophagus for her Egypt diorama). I figured I could use some stencils and paint to transform it's plain exterior into something more colorful and fun. 

Here is what I used:

I started with a thin layer of gesso and then put a few drops of a few colors of acrylic ink on the top of the lid and the bottom of the box and then smooshed (yes, technical term) the two surfaces together to mix the inks. Before the inks were completely dry I placed a stencil onto the surface and used a baby wipe to rub off excess ink. It left a beautiful texture.

After tearing a page from an old dictionary into strips I used gel medium to glue them to the edges of both the lid and the main box.

I wanted to create a more weathered appearance so I used a resist technique I learned from artist Claudine Hellmuth. I used my finger to gently rub petroleum jelly onto the surfaces in thin loose lines. Don't cover the entire surface, just in a few places you want the original surface to show. Then I took white paint and watered it down to a milk-like consistency. Lightly brush this over the entire surface and you will see the petroleum resisting the paint. After the paint is completely dry take a baby wipe and rub off the petroleum. It will look like your surface is old with peeled paint! In the picture the surface on the left was left to dry longer than the one on the right so the white is more vibrant after I wiped off the petroleum.

To finish the design I added more layers and marks with a homemade foam stamp, the side of an old gift card and a small paintbrush. When everything was dry I brushed a thin layer of fluid matte medium to seal it and give it a uniform finish.

Lastly I cut a few rectangles from some of my homemade collage papers and glued them to the inside of the box and lid with the fluid matte medium to give the finished gift box a little more flair. 

I don't know about you, but I think I'm going to have to make a little book to go in this little gift box! Please share with us if you make one of your own.

The gift-giving season has begun but I think that the plethora of ideas that pop up around this time of year can be applied year round. Giving a small token of our love and appreciation to a loved one is always a good thing no matter the time of year.  Today I bring to you a simple ornament-style project. To me, some ornaments do not need to just be displayed on a tree once a year. Some can adorn our homes, studios and sacred spaces and be enjoyed at all times. I'd like to think the designs I created this week can do just that.

Here's what I used:

I started out by tearing a old dictionary page into pieces and then collaging them onto the front and back of the ornaments. Let dry.

Then I painted each side with acrylic paint. Don't put it on too thick as you still want to see the cool texture from the dictionary pages. Let dry.

Using a complementary color apply stencil design to each ornament and, you guessed it, let dry. I put a few coats on as I wanted the colors to be super bright and vibrant.

Using an acrylic paint pen I embellished the designs with my favorite element, DOTS. I also added a word to the focal point of one of the ornaments. As a finishing touch I applied Inka Gold to the edges.

And there you have it! Easy-peasy and beautiful results. I think that you could further add a quote or special handwritten message on the back of the ornaments to give them a personalized touch.

I hope you have a great week. Take the time to surround yourself with loved ones and CREATE beautiful things.

I've enjoyed making my own collage papers lately and I've only used paper, stencils and paint. I decided I wanted to make more interesting textures for my collages but this time I decided to leave the paper on the shelf and only use acrylic paint, gloss medium and stencils. The result is called an acrylic skin. They are super fun to create because the outcomes can be equally unpredictable and fabulous. Please know that this is a drawn out process with lots of drying time. Let's get started!

Here's what I used:

The reason I used page protectors to build my layers on is so I can peel off the "skin" when it is dried. I made sure to slip in a sheet of white cardstock to give the page protector more stability and to better see the colors of the paint.

The first layer is stencils and gesso or paint with the goal to create various designs and textures. Use a palette knife to scrape the gesso or paint through the stencils. Let dry. Clean your stencils right away!

The next layer is paint mixed with a gloss gel medium. I like to use a couple colors so I can get fun color mixing effects. You could also use a matte gel medium if you want to mute your colors. The choice is yours! I just squeezed the paint and medium right on top of the dried gesso layer. Use a palette knife to gently spread around the paint and it should be thick, like spreading peanut butter on bread. You could do a thinner layer but the resulting skin will be easily stretched and wrinkled, which could be a fun texture! A thicker layer will take longer to dry but will be more sturdy and thus easier to cut into shapes when using it in your collage. When using your palette knife go slowly so you don't over mix your colors because those variations will give you stunning results!

Now comes the difficult part, letting everything dry again. If you do this at the beginning of the day then set your creations outside in the sun and let it help expedite the process. I would not recommend using a heat gun because of how it could affect the page protectors. I did this in the evening thinking I would wake up to beautifully dried skins ready to use. I was mistaken, a few were almost dry but others needed more time so I set them outside and went about my day. I checked on them in the late afternoon and they were ready to carefully peel off the protectors. The results were awesome and I can't wait to use them. I am thinking an abstract collage would be fun!

Do not store these on top of each other as they will stick to each other. If you used matte gel medium there should be minimal stickiness. There are some quirks to this process but it is fun to experiment. I encourage you to search the internet for more inspiration, tips and tricks. Have a creative week!

Autumn is my favorite season. I love the weather and the comfy clothes. I love the colors, the smells and the crunchy sounds of leaves. To celebrate the arrival of Autumn I felt inspired to create a fall themed craft. Here's what I used:

I began this creative adventure by gelli printing over a dozen sheets of deli paper with a set selection of paints colors and only two stencils. I wanted the papers to be cohesive so they would layer nicely when I collaged them onto the pumpkins.

To prepare the pumpkins I first applied a layer of gesso. When it dried I used a glue gun to "draw" lines and dots on the surface. 

Now to collage the paper onto the pumpkins! Tear the deli paper into smaller pieces to make it easier to apply to the curvy surface of the pumpkin. Paint your chosen collage medium onto the surface of the pumpkin, then apply the paper and finally paint more collage medium on top. I used a stiff brush that I could abuse because I wanted to really form the paper onto the textured surface. 

The final layer was the addition of a metallic paint (I used Dina Wakley Acrylics in Gilt and Penny). I think it really makes everything pop! 

The finished pumpkins make me so happy! The colors and textures created by the stencils are gorgeous. What Autumn themed artwork would you create?

Hello again! 

This week is extra exciting because NEW STENCIL RELEASE! And this time - it's faces!

The new stencils are called "Fowler Faces" and they were designed by mixed media artist, Kylie Fowler. Eeee!

I love using portraits in my art journaling and mixed media paintings, but I still find using portrait stencils to be super fun as a launch point. It's also great for anyone who has trouble with proportions, etc. 

You will see in the video that I end up taking a different direction than what I started with - and that's okay. Don't be afraid to change course halfway through. 

I also had an issue with video'ing, so you miss some of my color, but you will still see how I set up the collage/spread. I hope you enjoy the video I created for you today!

Supplies used: