Category: Tutorials

Artist Trading Cards – Two Little Birds using mixed media

These two little Artist Trading Cards were quick to make, and a lot of fun.

The cards are 300gsm NOT watercolour paper.  I cut it to the right size for ATCs – always 3.5 x 2.5 inches.

The birds are from the “Love Birds” stamp set from Woodware.  I stamped them with StazOn Jet Black ink.

I strengthened some of the stamped line with a fine Zig Millennium pen.

Next I coloured the birds and the backgrounds using a mixture of Derwent Academy watercolour pencils and Derwent Inktense pencils.  The Acadamy pencils are lovely for light washes and flow very  nicely when water is added from a waterbrush.  The Inktense pencils are (as the name suggest) much more intense and great for building up a bit more colour where needed.

Then I added assorted Zentangle-style doodles on some of the open spaces of the birds using various colours of Stabilo 88 point fineliners.  I also added some details with various Sakura Gelly Roll, Souffle and Glaze pens.  You can not see in the scans but in real life the images glimmer and have metallic accents.TTATCBirds

Mixed Media Year Book – March Pages 2015

The March page of my mixed media book is a little late.. but here it is.

I am trying to use a different paper doll each month, so for this month I chose to use one of the primitive paper dolls from the “Dressing Up Dolly Divas Volume 4” CD by My Craft Studio.

First I covered the 2-page spread with some pretty purple paper from my stash.  I added a little Picked Raspberry Distress Ink around the edge.TTMarchPage1

I used a stencil of an old postcard and a Distress Marker, again in Picked Raspberry, to add a bit of interest to the background.  It looks a little bright here, but in real life it is  more subtle.TTMarchPage2

Next I cut out the pieces of March ephemera from the Graphics 45 pad and laid them on the page to try some layout ideas.  I printed out the Serif doll, it is one of the “ready to use” ones on the disk.  She looks a bit flat compared to the vintage style of the rest of the page, so….

TTMarchPage3I stamped some small feathers on to her dress using the Picked Raspberry distress ink again.  Then I used more Distress Markers to colour over the doll and add some basic details. I kept it very simple as I quite liked her primitive look.TTMarchPage5I found some pretty purple woven “stuff” in my stash and glued a little scrap to each corner of the layout with matte medium gel.  It stuck fine, I used an acrylic stamping block to hold it flat whilst it dried, which only took a couple of minutes.TTMarchPage4

I laid the doll in place and drew a very light pencil line around her.  Then I added a very light wash of gesso around this area to help her stand out from the background a little more.  Then I glued her and the other ephemera in place with the matte medium, including the green, square buttons which I spotted in my button jar.  As they are also a bright green they helped make her bright dress look more like it belongs on the layout.

The little piece of ivy dangling from the March title was cut with a Tattered Lace die.  I had cut this ages ago, from bright green paper, so I daubed it all over with Peeled Paint Distress Ink to make it look less dramatic.TTMarchPage6

Next I used my “Purple Violet” Faber Castell Pitt brush marker to outline the various elements.  Before the ink could dry I quickly smudged each line with my finger to make a shadow look.  This is quite subtle but really improves the overall look of the page, in my opinion.  I also used a Zig Micron black pen to enhance the outlines of some of the ephemera, where they cross over each other. I added a little more detail to the paper doll with it too.  Finally I used a violet coloured pencil and shaded a little around the edges of the pages. TTMarchPage7TTMarchPage9TTMarchPage8

Useful links to some of the products used in this project.  These links will take you to the Amazon.co.uk store.  If you buy them from these links then I will get a small commission for sending custom to Amazon.

Tim Holtz 12 tags of 2015 – March tag

This entry is part 3 of an on-going series of 12 Tags of 2015

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] T [/dropcap] he March tag for the Tim Holtz  12 Tags of 2015 Challenge featured lots of beautiful pastel colours, a great technique for clean stamping and a bright, springlike look.

As in the last two months I wanted to make my tag utilize many of the techniques that Tim mentions, utilizing the supplies I have, and adding my own little twists here and there.  I have also used a lot of Tim Holtz products, but this is mainly because I have quite a few of them, and love using them!

Again I cut out a tag from sturdy mount-board using the Tim Holtz Tags and Bookplates die from Sizzix.  I used thin strips of Tim Holtz tissue paper instead of the washi tape that Tim uses.  I use a lot of tissue paper in my journal and scrapbook pages and always keep any little trimmings for just this sort of purpose.  I glued them down with Ranger Multi Medium Matte.TTTimHoltzTagMarch1

Next I chose some pretty acrylic paints.  I particularly love the three Americana colours on the left of the picture below, yummy.  The squished looking bottles are cheap paints from my local supermarket, the yellow one is actually gold and gives a nice metallic shimmer. TTTimHoltzTagMarch2I blobbed the paints on to my glass craft mat and gave them a couple of squirts of water… TTTimHoltzTagMarch3and a quick poke about with the end of a paint brush, what messy fun!  The green came out a bit lumpy (the joys of using very cheap supplies, I suppose) but I carried on and hoped for the best.

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Then I dropped the tag into the mess, I mean beautiful paint, and wiggled it about a bit.  Believe it or not it came out of this looking very pretty indeed.  Phew!  I left it to thoroughly dry.

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I decided I would also use a butterfly stamp and chose this gorgeous one from Sheena Douglass’ “A Little Bit Sketchy” collection.  I don’t have an acrylic stamping block big enough for this stamp so used my quilting ruler (I always use this for big stamps, after all, it is just an acrylic block too!).  I used Jet Black StazOn ink (why does it small of marzipan?)TTTimHoltzTagMarch6Argh!  The stamp didn’t come out properly!  After a few whispered swear words I decided that I was not going to start again but that I can save it!  That is a crafter for you, resourceful and tenacious (some call this “daft”).

So I quickly sprinkled the ink with Turquoise Sparkle clear embossing powder (from Personal Impressions) and heated it up.  The effect is a gorgeous shimmer which does not really show in photos.. what a shame the butterfly has holes in it 🙁TTTimHoltzTagMarch7I don’t have Mr Holtz’s fancy stencil film, so I stamped my butterfly onto a scrap of copy paper, cut this out and gave it a quick spray of Stick ‘n’ Spray from Crafter’s Companion.  A couple of seconds to let it become tacky and I added it to the tag.

TTTimHoltzTagMarch9Next I used an old alphabet stencil and applied some DecoArt Media Texture Sand Paste around the tag.  I then sprinkled it with Ranger Gold Embossing Pearl embossing powder, tapped of the excess and left it to thoroughly dry.  Despite my background being definitely dry the embossing powder still insisted on sticking to it.  I dusted as much as I could off, but the excess looks pretty, so I am not really bothered by it.  After heat embossing it looks great, adding both shimmer and texture to the tag.  I am very pleased with this technique and will definitely use it again on future projects, thank you Tim! TTTimHoltzTagMarch8Now for some embellishments, and to see if I can make that poor butterfly look a little less pathetic.  I added some little buttons over his body and a few stick on jewels over the wing (in the gaps!).  It is a bit clumsy but overall I think it works ok.

Then I added some little gold star brads (punching holes for them with my Crop-a-dile Big Bite).  The top left one has two iridescent little feathers added to it before I put it on the tag.  Because they are basically clear they are very hard to photograph, but in real life they have a lovely shimmer and catch the light.

I added a pastel purple rivet to the tag’s hole (with the Big Bite again) and then two ribbons.

TTTimHoltzTagMarch10At the bottom of the tag I added some pastel pink gingham ribbon and a little plastic “LAUGH” embellishment.  I couldn’t resist including the bright pink feather.  All the embellishments were glued with Collall Tacky Glue.

TTTimHoltzTagMarch11I can not believe I have made something that does not include any Distress Ink!

TTTimHoltzTagMarch12I enjoyed making this tag and the techniques for the black embossing and the texture paste/embossing powder combo are ones that I know I will be using again and again.TTTimHoltzTagMarch14Here are useful links to some of the products used in this project.  These links will take you to the Amazon.co.uk store.  If you buy them from these links then I will get a small commission for sending custom to Amazon.

Mixed Media Year Book – February Pages 2015

This entry is part 2 of an on-going series of Mixed Media Year Book

I have been working on the two page spread for my little Mixed Media Year Book, for the month of February.

I covered the two pages with a piece of pink floral A4 paper and trimmed it to fit.  I edged the pages with Worn Lipstick distress ink.

Next I scanned and printed out one of the cute paper dolls from Julie Nutting’s book, “Collage Couture Paper Dolls“.  I used coloured pencils to add a bit more interest to her hair.

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I drew around the doll on to a scrap of paper then used this to create a template for a simple panelled dress and top.  I then used the template to cut pieces for the dress from different pink papers.  All the papers in the dress are from the Docrafts Pink Capsule Collection.

I then made a simple bow shape to cover the messy waist, and added Worn Lipstick distress ink around the edges of it.  Then I added the girl to the left hand page with Ranger Matte Medium Gel.

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I put some self-adhesive paper lace down the sides of the pages.

As with January, I added ephemera and journalling boxes from the Graphics 45 calendar pad.  I used Worn Lipstick distress ink on the edges of some of these.  I added a foam square beneath the mini vintage Valentine in the middle of the right hand page for a bit of dimension.TTFebruaryPage3

I found a small laser-cut wooden heart and coloured it with Worn Lipstick distress ink, then I coloured the middle with a glittery red gel pen.  I added this to the layout.

Finally I used a small heart stamp from Woodware and the Worn Lipstick distress ink (yes again!) and added random hearts around the page, to emphasize the Valentine connection.

TTFebruaryPage4I thought that top right corner needed something interesting.  So I die cut a cheerful pink heart, added some creamy coloured Cosmic Shimmer pearl to the middle and popped that in place.TTFebruaryPage5

I haven’t added any notes to the journalling areas  yet (I will do it at the end of the month) and I may add a bit of doodling around at the same time.  I am very bad at knowing when to stop!

Next month I will NOT be using pink, much as I like the colour I feel I have had quite enough of it for a while!

TTFebruaryPage6I have written a review of the Julie Nutting “Collage Couture Paper Dolls” book here.

Here are useful links to some of the products used in this project.  These links will take you to the Amazon.co.uk store.  If you buy them from these links then I will get a small commission for sending custom to Amazon.

 

Mixed Media Monthly Challenge Entry – February – Think Pink

I wanted to enter the Mixed Media Monthly Challenge this month (I didn’t get around to it last month, sadly).  The challenge is “Think Pink”.

I decided to create a small canvas using as much pink as I could, so set about rummaging in my paper drawers and embellishment boxes for pink things.

The basic box canvas is 8″ x 8″, I covered it with Ranger tissue paper then Worn Lipstick and Picked Raspberry distress inks. I patted the inks on my glass craft mat, added a squirt or two of water then painted them on to the canvas with a stiff bristled brush.  This gives a nice, thin layer which is patchy.  I didn’t want this first layer to be too heavy or bright.TTDreamPink1

Next I used some old stencils and pounced the Worn Lipstick distress ink through.  I then used a stencil of some script and put gesso through this in the area I was going to place the doll – so she would stand out a bit better from the background.

The doll is Zoe, a stamp and die set by Julie Nutting from Prima.  I stamped her on to a page from my trusty old Webster’s Dictionary using Memento Tuxedo Black ink.  After cutting her out with her die I stamped and cut her hair from a pinky rose design paper.  I added a bit of pink blush with a Spectrum Noir pen and a tiny bit of shading with a lighter shade of pink.  (You can see this pink thing is definitely something of a theme here, hehe)TTPinkDreams3

I stamped the middle part of the doll again, onto a nice pink patterned paper and die cut it, then trimmed it so I just had the bodice part.  I coloured over the two outer parts of it with a darker shade of pink alcohol marker to add some variation, and dotted Signo white gel pen on the lace bits.

I drew around the doll on a scrap of paper then penciled in a large skirt for her.  I cut each section of the skirt out of different scrapbook papers (a good way to use up small bits).  I layered the skirt up and added it to the doll using Ranger Matte Medium gel.  After gelling her to the canvas I added another layer of the matte medium over the top to ensure she was fixed down, and to make a non-porous surface.TTDreamPink2

TTDreamPink4I used a Soot Black distress ink marker and a pink Faber-Castell Pitt Brush marker to add some shading to the skirt, drawing on the ink then quickly blurring it with my finger tip.  I made the border around the doll a bit thicker black to help make her stand out – all that pink could easily blend together!

I added some tiny Docrafts stick on gems for jewelry – a necklace and a hair clip. Her bow is a scrap of pink ribbon onto which I rubbed some Worn Lipstick and Picked Raspberry distress inks before fixing to the canvas with glue dots.

The John Lennon quote is from the stamp set called “A Little Bit Sketchy: True Colours” by Sheena Douglas.  I stamped it with Stayzon black ink, onto a scrap of pink paper from the skirt.  I cut this into a simple banner shape and matted it with white mulberry paper.  I also cut three strips of the mulberry paper which I put behind the quote banner.  I edged them with a Picked Raspberry distress marker and added a little white Picket Fence distress marker on top to help them stand out a bit better.  I added white gel pen to the insides of some of the letters (which doesn’t really show up in photos, but is more noticeable in real life).

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I felt the canvas looked a bit flat, so I added some little stars using a mixture of Grange Paste and Shimmer Paste.  I mixed the two products as I wanted the sparkly effect of the Shimmer Paste, but it is very thin and doesn’t work too well on tiny designs.  Adding the Grunge Paste gave it a lot more body and it stayed in shape perfectly.

I added a line of sticky paper lace from Salco to the bottom of the canvas.

I used the same papers as the skirt to die cut some flowers.  I used the Tim Holtz Tattered Flower Garland die from Sizzix, one of my very favorite dies.  I daubed Worn Lipstick distress ink on to the edges of each flower piece, on both sides of the paper, then bent the sides up and over a bit.  I stacked them up with tacky glue and added more of the Docrafts sticky gems.  Before adding them to the canvas I painted a little dilute gesso to the area, again to provide a little more contrast to prevent all the pinks blending in together.  Two little pink buttons were popped on.TTPinkDreams1

Finally I added a little bit of Barn Door distress ink around the edge of the canvas.

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Link to The Mixed Media Monthly Challenge for February.  I quite enjoyed the challenge of trying to use only one colour as I rarely do something like this, and the overall analagous colour scheme is quite pleasing.  In retrospect I wish I had used a wider range of pinks, more bright and dark pinks, to give a bit wider tonal range to the finished piece.  Making this canvas has given me some good ideas for future projects too.

 

A Quick and Easy Background from Stencils and Pastels

I have been experimenting with cutting stencils from acetate using my Cameo Portrait.  So now I have a pile of stencils, I wanted to try them out!

I have a lot of soft pastels, but rarely use them.  So I thought I would experiment with them for a background in my journal.

If you are new to pastels then I invite you to have a go with this technique as it is a lot of fun, economical and versatile.

Soft pastels are rather like soft chalk, and very cheap to buy too.  The professional quality ones are indeed quite pricey, but for this technique you can use the cheapest ones. I am using a 32 pack of Inscribe Pastels (link at bottom of page).  You don’t need a lot of colours to do this though, just use whatever you have.

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There are other products called “pastels”, which you may encounter.  Oil pastels are like oily wax crayons and quite different from soft pastels.  There are also harder versions of “soft pastels” which are much more like chalk.  These are great for when you want to draw very sharp lines, but not so good for this technique.  Therefore you want the soft type of pastels, which are usually called “soft pastels”.

There are three things you need to know about pastels before using them.

1 – they can be very messy.  You will probably end up with pastelly fingers, a pastelly worksurface and more.  Make sure you work in a clear area and cover any surfaces you need to protect.  Make sure you have a piece of paper behind your journal page to protect the rest of the book.  Keep baby wipes on hand for cleaning up.

2 – the dust can be a little bit hazardous.  Don’t fret about this, every day there are thousands of artists using pastels without any harm whatsoever!  The problem comes when people blow the dust away as they work, which is what you will probably want to do unless you know not to.  This puffs the dust up into the air.. and then it is easy to accidentally inhale it.  Inhaling the dust is not good for you, so please do not blow your work.  If you have any sort of respiratory problems then you may want to wear a mask whilst working with pastels for any length of time.

3 – pastels need to be “fixed” in place when you have finished or they will smudge and come off everywhere.  This is easily done though.

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I sprayed the back of my stencil with Stick ‘n’ Spray to help it stay in place.  I didn’t do a very good job of this as it did move a little when I was working – this was also because I hadn’t tried this with pastels before and underestimated how closely I needed to hold the stencil in place.  Practice makes perfect, as they say.  If you stencil is not too complicated then you will probably be able to work just fine without sticking it down first.  You could also use a bit of masking tape around the edge of the stencil.

I gently rubbed the pastel into the stencil holes, for very tiny holes it mostly went onto the stencil itself.  Then I rubbed it into the hole using my finger tip.  You could use a tool if you preferred, such as  an ear-bud (Q-tip).TTSencilPastel2

I used five colours – reddy purple, dark red, bright red, orange, yellow and a pale yellow.  Obviously you can use whatever colours you have/want.

I blended the colours together to try to give a more subtly shaded look across the page.  It is easy to add a bit more pastel to change the colours a bit as you go along.  I enjoyed blending within the bigger areas.

Some of the acetate “spirals” did move a bit whilst I was blending, so a few are not as neat as they could be, but as this is a background I don’t think it really matters, there will be things over this anyway.  I quite like the slightly smudgy effect.

I also put some of the colours around the edge and blended them together.  My stencil is 8″ tall, the same as my journal page, but quite a bit narrower.

When I had finished I carefully removed the stencil and went to wash it, and my grubby fingers, clean.  Just run under the tap and the pastel should wash off easily.  You can see I also got some on my black trousers, but again it came off really easy with just a bit of water.

TTStencilPastelFingersTo stop the pastel coming off now I was finished, I gave the whole page a quick spray of Spray ‘N’ Shine.  You could use any similar fixative spray.

I am now going to make some more pastel backgrounds on Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) and for card making.  I like to make up a batch of backgrounds for future use.

Here is a link to the pack of 32 Inscribe Pastels that I used.  If you buy them from this link then I will receive a small commission for sending custom to Amazon.co.uk.

 

Mixed Media Year Book – January Pages 2015

This entry is part 1 of an on-going series of Mixed Media Year Book

I am making a little book with a 2 page spread for each of the 12 months of 2015.  I want to try out some new ideas, include a bit of information which will be fun to look back on, and give myself a little challenge to do each month.

The album is a very simple one, made from Kraft card. The pages are 5″ x 7″ and held together by three book rings.  There will be a fancy cover (eventually).

Here is the spread for January.

First, I took 2 pieces of 8″ scrapbook paper, cut them in half and fixed them to the pages with a tape roller. Then trimmed to fit.  I used Distress ink around the edge of the page, Tea Dye over the yellow paper and Worn Lipstick over the pink.  Yes, I did mess up re-punching one of the holes but I will put some thread through at the end and hide it!

TTJanuaryPage1I then used a stencil of a “steam punk butterfly” and pounced Chipped China Distress Ink through it, one on each page.  Then I drew some little circles with watercolour pencils – pink middles and yellow around the edge for the bottom of the pages, and reversed for the top.  I gently added some water with a waterbrush and left them to dry (in the picture below some of the right hand page is still wet).  I added some faux stitching around the edges using a blue Zig Calligraphy pen.TTJanuaryPage3I cut out a paper doll with my Silhouette Portrait.  She is a print-and-cut design called Lizzie and available from the Silhouette Store.  I then cut out some winter clothes (also from the Silhouette Store) using different coloured papers.  Strangely her clothes were a little too small, so I ended up cutting her apart (eek!) so as to get her to wear her clothes properly.

I added a little Distress Ink around her edges and later on put a bit watered-down Distress Marker over her clothes so she didn’t look so bright and new when the rest of the page was more shabby looking.  I added a few little details with Distress Markers too.

TTJanuaryPage2I added Lizzie to the pages, and then some January themed ephemera from Graphics 45.  These were from a little calendar pad that came free with a craft magazine in 2013 – I have been waiting for a project to use them on as they are so pretty.  I added some written info on the tags, and will add more at the end of the month – I don’t yet know what might happen in the final week of January!  Every thing was fixed down with tacky glue.  I also added a little banner with a scrap of the pink paper (top left of the spread).

TTJanuaryPage4Finally I added a few little faux pearls with Dovecrafts 3D Pearl Effects in Coral and Yellow.  I still feel the page looks a bit flat, but am uninspired as to what more to do to it.  So I will leave it for now and perhaps something will jump to mind later on.

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Tim Holtz 12 tags of 2015 – January Tag

Tim Hotlz Tags of 2015 January
This entry is part 1 of an on-going series of 12 Tags of 2015

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] I [/dropcap] never got around to doing the Tim Holtz monthly tags in 2014, and was determined I would do so this year.

For anyone who is not familiar with this fun challenge, every month Tim has a tutorial on his blog, to make a tag.  Then participants make their own tags, utilizing whatever elements of Tim’s they wish.  It is a great way to try out the new techniques, new products or just be inspired.

Here is my tag for January 2015.

I started by cutting out a nice big tag with my trusty Tim Holtz tag die and Big Shot die-cutting machine. I used mount board as it is so sturdy.

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Whilst I have often covered journal pages and tags with tissue paper, I always tend to smooth it right out.  So this time I wanted to use Tim’s technique of having crinkles.. so I screwed up the tissue paper first. I glued it down with Decoupatch glue as this stays wet for longer than my usual Ranger matt medium – and I wanted to be sure to get some crinkles!TTJanuaryTag2

I don’t yet have any Distress Paints, so I used Distress Ink instead.  I dabbed Peacock Feathers and Salty Ocean around the tag then rubbed it in with my fingers.. it blended beautifully.  I then gave it a quick spritz of water and left it to mostly dry.TTJanuaryTag3

Then I used a Ranger foam applicator and added some Brushed Corduroy Distress Ink to the left side and bottom of the tag and rubbed it in with my fingers.  I added some more around the edges of the tag.  I scribbled a little Tea Dye distress marker in the same area whilst it was still wet.

Then I took some Ranger Perfect Pearls dust (Perfect Gold) and with my finger tip I rubbed it over the tag so it stuck on the tops of the crinkles.  I added a bit more to the left and bottom sides.  The shiny effect does not really show in a photo, but it is very nice in real life.TTJanuaryTag3.5

I cut out the words and number with my Silhouette Portrait, cutting each three times from kraft card. I then layered them up using PVA glue.  I used PVA because it is slow drying, and wanted to be sure I had time to ensure each word was properly lined up.

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I painted them with black acrylic paint. I then applied Crackle Glaze to the two words, waited until it dried, then gold acrylic paint over the top.  I waited for this to dry… and… nothing happened.  No crackles 🙁

So then I attempted to distress the words with a black Posco paint pen, which didn’t really work, so I ended up making some suspicious looking stitch marks on them.  Not really happy with this, perhaps I will change them later.

I made the 5 in a very similar way to Tim, but I used some Docrafts glitter on mine, as I don’t have the Distress Glitter.  Tacky glue all over the 5, then sprinkle on plenty of the glitter and wait for it to dry.  Yay, bling!TTJanuaryTag5

I made my own set of word labels in Photoshop, so I could have sentiments that were personal to me.  I want 2015 to be a very artistic and crafty year, so emphasized those things.  I pounced the words with Tea Dye distress ink, then edged them with Peacock Feathers (I so love that colour!).

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Everything was glued on with Collall tacky glue and left to dry.  Then I added a little black ink around the edges.

Finally I found a piece of teal coloured satin ribbon.  I scribbled on it with a Brushed Corduroy distress marker, then spritzed it liberally with water and screwed it up a few times.  The end result looks nice and shabby, just what I wanted.

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Tim Holtz 12 Tags of 2015 Link

A Homemade Box of Christmas Crackers

Crackers are a traditional part of the Christmas celebrations, here in the UK.

This year I wanted to make my own crackers to give to family members.  So here is how I went about making my very own boxes of proper little Christmas crackers.

The Crackers

I used the Tonic cracker die and my Sizzix Big Shot to cut 6 crackers for each box.  I used a pad of 12″ x 12″ scrapbook papers in red, green and gold colours – the front of the pad has been lost so I do not know the brand, but I suspect it is a Hot of the Press pad from about 2005.

I added a thin strip of the paper to the ends of the crackers, one in each colour.  So the two green crackers are one with red strips and one with gold.

I used a score board and bone folder to crease the bendy bits of each cracker, to ensure they folder up nicely.

To make it easier to glue the crackers into a tube I wrapped them around a  paint bottle first, then glued the seams with strong tacky glue (I used Collall).

I tied ONE end of each cracker with ribbon, again in the same colours, so now each cracker had a bit of each colour on it.TTCrackersOpen

Next I inserted a “crack” into each tube and glued just one end against the inside, trimming it flush with the cracker.  I got my cracks from a seller on Amazon, they were very cheap!

I popped a gift into each cracker, and a homemade joke (obviously they are very corny jokes, as is the tradition!).

Once loaded I tied the other end of each cracker, then glued the opposite end of the “crack” into place as before.

Finally the cracker had a 1″ circle from the Tin Teddy Vintage Christmas Digital Collage Sheet glued onto the front.  I originally intended to make little rosettes but ran out of time on that.  The circles look cute on their own though.

The Cracker Box

To make the box I used A3 sized Centura Pearl by Crafter’s Companion.  This is 300gsm, I wanted a sturdy box.

I calculated the size of the box by laying the crackers out and measuring their width, length and height.  Obviously I measured 6 crackers!

I scored the sides of the box using my Ultimate Crafters Companion and Boxmaking Board (again by Crafter’s Companion).TTCrackersCloseUp

Carefully, I then measured one inch in from the edges on the inside of the box lid, to mark where the aperture would be.. and cut it out with a steel rule and sharp craft knife.

I glued the corners of the box base and lid with the Collall tacky glue, holding them in place with paper clips until I was sure they were bone dry.

I cut acetate panels, just a bit bigger than the aperture hole, and glued them to the underside of the box lid with tacky glue. I used a little sticky tape too, just to be sure.TTCrackerFlowers

The Tonic cracker die comes with some sentiment dies, and I used the “Happy Christmas” one to cut some of the scrap Centura Pearl out.  I coloured the words with Letraset Prom (arker alcohol pens – they looks sort of metallic now because of the shimmer on the Centura Pearl.  I added a little blob of red Cosmic Shimmer glue to the holly berries to make them have a bit of dimension.  Then I stuck the sentiment accross the top left corner of the aperture with Pinterest silicone glue (so it was not totally flat, plus the silicone glue sticks to acetate well).

Then I cut the poinsettia from plain red and green card using my Silhouette Portrait and a file from the Silhouette store.  I had originally planned to use a die-cut poinsettia, but the one I have was far too small.  I assembled the poinsettias with tacky glue and when dry they were added to the box lid with the Pinterest silicone glue.

All ready to give as a gift… or use with Christmas dinner. TTCrackers

Simple Christmas Gift Tags – quick, easy and economical

I suddenly realized how close Christmas is, and that I better get on with wrapping presents up.. but no gift tags!

I wanted handmade tags, but as I would need quite a lot (I have got most of my family multiple little presents this year), I wanted to be able to make a bunch of them quite quickly and easily.

I started with cutting out some snowflake topped tag shapes using my Silhouette Portrait.  The tag is a free download from Monica’s Creative Room.  Monica has very kindly posted many fantastic free cutting files, thank you!

Monica’s Cutting Room free Tag cutting file Link – in the first set of tags

You could also die cut tag shapes, use a template, cut simple tags shapes manually or use ready made tags.

I used 160gsm high density white card for mine, so they were not very thick.TTGiftTags3

Next I stamped on a simple Christmassy greeting.  My stamp was from a set given free with a craft magazine last Christmas.  I used Memento Tuxedo Black ink, but coloured ink would also look great.

Then I used two rolls of cheap Christmas sticking tape.  I got mine in my local Wilco but you can buy it in many shops at this time of year.  Mine is shiny, but washi tape would work just fine too.

I put down a bit of the red and white diagonal tape, which I also cut diagonally.  Then layered a short piece of the Christmas tree motif tape partially over the top. I trimmed any bits that were sticking out.

Next I squeezed a thin line of gold glitter glue above the tape.  Put it somewhere safe to dry, glitter glue can take an hour or two to dry properly, and goes everywhere if you get anything on it before it is dry.

TTGiftTag1I used Glitz It glitter glue from DoCrafts which is amazing value and looks lovely.  You have to have some bling at Christmas, don’t you?

On the reverse I stamped a To and From, and a little rope motif that happened to be on the same sheet of stamps as the To and From.  To make the stamping quick and easy I laid the stamps out on the tag, then pressed my acrylic block on top to pick them up.  Then I inked and stamped them as if they were one bigger stamp.

And now my tags are all ready to string onto some red and green baker’s twine, or perhaps paper ribbon, and tie to my parcels.  I will write the names of the recipient etc with a Zig Millennium pen.

You could embellish these tags more if you have time.  You could add a bit of colour with alcohol markers, or edge the tag with an ink pad for a bit more definition.

You could also add little 3d embellishments such as buttons, beads or mini wooden shapes.   The stamping could be embossed for a bit of dimension.TTGifttags2