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.

Is it too early to think about Saint Patrick's Day? If you asked my dad that his answer would have been a resounding, "NO!". My father was very proud of his Irish heritage. He had quite a collection of Irish themed objects including several books about Ireland, pins, ties, green shirts a'plenty, knick knacks and even his business logo (which he asked me to design) was a shamrock! When I saw an unfinished wood shamrock at the craft store the other day I knew it had to be mine and I knew it needed two things: Artistcellar stencils and Dina Wakley acrylic paints. Well, and a wee bit of Inka Gold too, of course!

Here's what I used:

After lightly sanding my wood form I gave it a coat of Evergreen paint. 

While I waited for that to dry I used the stencils and paint on deli paper to create a few sheets with interesting layers.

I chose a couple papers and tore them into smaller pieces and applied them to both sides of the shamrock with matte medium. The best way to do this is to apply a thin layer of matte medium, then the paper and another thin layer of matte medium. Use your paintbrush to smooth everything out.

When dry I painted the edge with the Penny and Umber paint. I used Distress Crayons to add a depth of color to the outer edges of the surface and bring out more green. I also rubbed Inka Gold along the edges to give it some sparkle.

I found an inspiring Irish proverb and simplified it to add a little text to my shamrock.

A few little details made with my acrylic paint pens and a coat of clear finish later and I have a finished piece!

I really like the layers of texture and the shimmer of the gold. Many thanks to my lovely eldest daughter for being a fabulous hand model for me once again. May you all have the Luck O' the Irish with you in your creative pursuits this week!


I've been making some little art in a little book and it's been fun! It's supposed to be a daily art practice (it's a daily planner by Moleskine so there is a page per day) and while I am a little behind I am enjoying the challenge. Some days I just fill several pages with stenciled backgrounds or solid paint colors to give me a nice little jumpstart for more little layers. Can you tell I'm having a little fun?! ;)

The stencils I used for these pages are the Rouen from the Cathedral Series and Sea Foam from the Water Series. The paints are Dina Wakley Acrylics. Other supplies I used are black and white acrylic paint pens and water soluble crayons. 

I ended my mini art session with words I cut out from an old children's book. I feel like this will be a good thing for me to do this year and I hope you are inspired to make a goal to implement some little sort of daily art practice!