Monday, 19 February 2018

Don't Hide, Little Pike! - by Claudia

Hi, servus and welcome to today's new project post over here at Calico Craft Parts! I am so happy you're stopping by and can't wait to share with you my latest make (which my son snapped from my hands the second the last shot I needed for this post was done).

In my stash I found a very old IKEA box frame (in which my son had created dioramas with dinosaurs or sometimes fish as well when he was little...but this one never got finished and so I was allowed to take it apart and recycle the box frame for a new fish-themed project).

It was so hard getting a shot of this diorama without having nasty flares on the screen, so I had to play around for quite a while with lighting - and the one solution that worked made the soft pastel turquoise from the outer box almost invisible (sorry for that). 

See the little spike that's trying to hide in the far back of the pond? (my son immediately spotted him...spikes are one of his favourite fresh water fish and he sometimes is lucky to spot one when snorkelling in the lake where we always stay in summer). 

The colour scheme for this make was mainly inspired by a picture I took when we visited Castle Orth, which lies close to the Danube and in the midst of the Danube Wet Lands National Park. There's a walk-in underwater observatory where you can watch all kinds of fish in their natural environment which my son and I love a lot!

So my aim with this project was to capture the musty impression and monochrome colour scheme.

A biologist will immediately spot that I have combined fish and plants that usually come from different environments (some not even from underwater!)....but I went by the shapes that I found most pleasing together (and as I had some more wild grass and seaweed and fish wood shapes, I played around with all of them until I was content with the composition) son doesn't mind that I have created a biological I am more than fine with it ;).

Calico Craft Parts used: 

- Brown Trout MDF Fish Wood Shape
- Common Carp MDF Fish Wood Shape
- Crucian Carp MDF Fish Wood Shape
- Pike MDF Fish Wood Shape
- Cladhymenia Iyallii - MDF Seaweed Wood Shape - Style 7
- Dotted Peacock Weed - MDF Seaweed Wood Shape - Style 3
- Wildgrass MDF Wood Shape - Style 1
- Wildgrass MDF Wood Shape - Style 5
- Wildgrass MDF Wood Shape - Style 6

I started with mixing DecoArt Americana Navy Blue with some DecoArt Watercolour Medium to make it more liquid - this way I needed less paint to paint the insides of the box frame. I added loose strokes of Leaf Green and Jade Green wet on wet to create soft streaks.

The background panel was also painted mixing paints directly on the panel to create an ombre effect. Then I brushed mixes of different greens and blue (Arbor Green, Leaf Green, Navy Blue) onto one of the wild grass wood shapes and used it like I would use a stamp to create my background image. 

Using caps of felt tip pens and other small circle shaped items I stamped on airbubbles (in three different greens). Then I added light reflexes with a very fine tip detail brush. 

The seaweed and wild grass wood shapes were painted with the same colours and I made sure I brushed these on loosely, wet on wet, to create the effect of moving light spots from above (as you see them from underwater when the wind is creating little waves on the lake's surface). 

I did the same with the fish wood shapes, but this time I applied a dark green-blue to the bottom of the fish, and a light green to the top for more depth. The final highlights were still added wet on wet in Limeade DecoArt Americana acrylic. 

Then it was time to lay out the shapes to find the perfect hights and layers for the seaweed, grass and fish shapes. I took a picture for later reference (already looking quite cool, huh?).

I used acetate from old packagings to create the stands for the plants. As these already had shaped edges, I simply cut these off the packaging as they were - this way I didn't have to create a template and fold the acetate, as it had all already been done for me ;)

I only had to adjust widths and lengths of my acetate stands. Then I glued them to the backs of the plants using DecoArt media Liquid Glass.

And this is how the glued in place plants look on the backsides:

The stands are really barely visible from the front!

Then I painted some small boulders from my collection with washes of blue-green (Navy Blue and Arbor Green) to tone them down.

I used matte DecoArt Decou-Page to glue everything in place. The plants to the bottom of the frame (of course), the fish "hanging" from the top (on acetate strips), and the boulders where I thought they would cover up any visible edges or glue spots from the acetate stands. 

To cover up the nasty looking gap where the glass sits in the frame (on the bottom left and right), I applied some DecoArt media Texture Sand Paste and added some rough sand (that is usually used for home decoration) while the paste was still wet. 

Once that was dry, I painted everything with the same mix of DecoArt Americana acrylics I had used on the other pieces (Navy Blue and Leaf Green...and whatever else was left on my palette sheet). 

The outer frame of the box was given a coat of DecoArt Americana "refreshing" Chalky Finish paint. 


Some details:

Ah, there you are, little pike! I can see you! 

I hope you like my little fish observatory diorama! 
There are loads of beautiful fresh water fish wood shapes and seaweed and wild grass wood shapes to play with - if you browse the Calico Craft Parts shop you will find that you could create dozens of dioramas without ever having to repeat yourselves! ;) 

Hugs and happy crafting!

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Altered Rusted Triptych-by Lesley

Hey people. Lesley here with an altered triptych for you.

I opted to use one of the rounded arched ones, but there are other shapes available over in the shop.

I started by drawing round the three shapes onto patterned script paper and cutting out.
I then started to layer up the pieces, using ink, paint and stamps.

I used a stencil and crackle paint to give the pieces some more depth.

Rust embossing powder was used in patches. And I added liquid rust, allowing it to drip down the pieces.

I used some of the new art deco tulip pieces as centre pieces, embossing them in rust, a dark green and patina oxide colour.

Twine was attached around the large one using staples.
I then glued the pieces of card to the shaped wood.

I added wording from my stash, using a piece of corrugated card from packaging.

To finish, I added jump rings to hold the pieces together.

Thanks for reading,

Ingredients used
Domed Triptych Kit
Art deco tulip ornament, style 25
Art deco tulip ornament, style 26

Monday, 12 February 2018

Fragile Hearts - Valentine's Day Plaque by Julie Ann.

Hello Everyone! Valentine's Day is just 2 days away, so I thought I'd create a speedy heart-themed project in honour of the occasion. I've created various hearts in the past, but I'm not a huge fan of traditional Valentine's cards and gifts. That said, both hearts and flowers feature on this project, which I've given a 'shabby' and 'vintage' look.

I'd been having fun experimenting with bottle-tops;hand-drawn faces and ice resin. I used one of the faces for an art-doll and then - in an idle moment - added this little face to a Calico Craft part rose.

I was rather taken with my quirky rose girl, but I was unsure of where she might belong...


until she alighted on this medium-sized birch ply wood heart plaque. To create a vintage look, I spread a thin crackle glaze over bright turquoise paint, waited until it was completely dry and then applied black acrylic. A touch of gilding paste completes the vintage look.

I decided to add wings. After painting these in reds, oranges and yellows, I gave them a coat of clear UTEE to add shine and dimension and then a sprinkling of gold UTEE.

A quirky rose girl can grow lonely, so I gave her a little robin to be her companion. There's an extra leaf, snapped from another Calico rose and I drilled a couple of tiny holes so she can be suspended from a twig.

Thank You so much for stopping by today. As always a list of the Calico Craft Parts I used in this project follow below. Apart from the bottle-top face that needed to cure for around 24 hours, the rest of the project was super quick to complete. There are so many sizes and styles of hearts available in the Calico shop and other Valentine themed bits and bobs so you still have time to create something original for the one you love.

Calico Craft Parts used.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Rose is a rose ..... by Jennie

Hello and welcome to my first project of the month. As it is February roses sprang to mind and so I decided to alter this little MDF box.

The box comes as a kit and I decided to paint it first before putting it all together. I used the same colour chalk paint on both the inside and outside. Before glueing it all together I did stamp some text onto the inside pieces .... but rather too subtlety ... and it pretty well disappeared when it dried!

The lid and outside of the box were then crackled using DecoArt Weathered Wood and white chalk paint over the underlying soft green paint. I find it easier to do this with the box made up.

The edges of the box were edged with DecoArt Gold Metallic paint to give a shabby vintage feel.

Gold paint was also addd to the little feet which come with the kit.

I decorated the box with these beautiful Rose Vines. The larger of the two went onto the top of the box having been painted with the same chalk paint as the base colour of the box.  I kept the rest of the decoration simple with just one word using the Mini Copperplate Gothic Alphabet letters.

Two smaller vines were used, one on the front side of the box and the other on the inside lid. Here you can see the stamping that should have been in the inside of the box! I loved this wonderful quote stamp which was really my inspiration for this little box.

A useful little jewellery box which I know will be used by the recipient I have in mind.

Thank you for joining me today and happy crafting!

Jennie x

Calico Craft Parts Used:

Monday, 5 February 2018

Creativity & Courage - Triptych - by Claudia

Servus and welcome to the Calico Craft Parts blog today! Claudia here and it's already two weeks since my last project on here - so time to share something new!

A little mixed media triptych I created using one of the new lovely Triptych Kits Helen has added to the store lately!
There are four different kits with different shapes available at the moment - all in three different sizes to chose from and all made from MDF which is perfect if you want to add some heavy mixed media treatment to them ;) . And they can also be ordered with either ribbon slots or jump ring holes to join them or without any openings  at all.

My triptych was great fun to create and I heavily enjoyed the scraping on, dripping on and stencilling on acrylic paints and letting the media and effects take the lead at some point.

And I love how the doors open up to some important sayings I found I tend to forget about at times...

Calico Craft Parts used:

- Scalloped Triptych Kit - medium size
- Door MDF Wood Shape - Style 5
- Sheet of Mini MDF Door Wood Shapes
- Fancy Plaques 3 - Mini MDF Wood Plaques
- Oval Shape - Mini MDF Wood Plaques
- Sheet of Mini MDF Label Holders Wood Shapes

I first primed my triptych pieces with DecoArt "primitive" Chalky Finish paint...

...then I added some text using a rubber stamp and black archival stamping ink.
As it was a rectangle shaped wood mounted stamp, I ended up with quite rigid, cornered shapes that I didn't like, so I used white DecoArt media Gesso and a palette knife to "break up" some of the edges from the text patterns with scraped on Gesso to help the text pattern blend in with the background.

That was followed by the especially fun part! I wanted to use the new DecoArt Americana premium acrylic paints in a more translucent and watercolour-y way, so I mixed them with equal parts of DecoArt Traditions Watercolour Medium and also added a tiny bit of water. 

I did that directly on my palette sheet using a palette knife to mix the medium and the paint well. Then I took a plastic pipette and soaked some of the mixed paint up from the palette... spritz it on the triptych pieces. I started with Cobalt Teal Hue premium acrylic, followed by Primary Yellow...

...and finally Dioxazine Purple. I didn't wait for each paint to dry - so some mixed directly on the piece and created beautiful extra tones (like green) and marbled patterns. I left the paint to dry naturally so none of the patterns would be "blown away" by the heat tool.

I had done the same with the backs of the doors, because I wanted them to open up and then visually fuse with the triptych background. 

I dry brushed some heavy body white DecoArt Acrylic Gesso onto the other Calico Craft Parts I wanted to use (the word element, door, mini doors, label holder and plaques). Once that had dried I painted some pieces with DecoArt media Gold Green fluid acrylic paint...

...and used the (still not dried!) mixed premium paints from my palette to paint the doors' fronts.

Using a piece of sequin waste as a stencil, I applied dots of white DecoArt media Gesso here and there with a stencilling brush. 

Next I outlined the doors with a black Stabilo All pencil...

...and with a water loaded brush painted a subtle dark outline for the door openings. To stop the black colour from the watercolour pencil from reacting with water or added paints again, I sprayed on a matte finish varnish before I continued.

 The backs of the doors were given a wash of DecoArt media Quinacridone Magenta so they contrasted the colours from the triptych and I stamped the words onto the mini plaques in black archival stamping ink.

Neon green washi tape and DecoArt matte Decou-Page (the washi tape itself isn't sticky enough to hold the doors) were used to create "hinges" for the doors and the triptych pieces .  To finish off my piece I added some doodling with a black permanent marker and a white gel pen. The word element was fixed to the centre piece with a sticky foam pad and some matching cord that I tied at the back of the piece.

I drew thin outlines around the doors and plaques, some faux stitching on the hinges and I highlighted some of the shapes from the wood shapes by tracing these too. 

Some detail shots:

and once more the finished triptych:

I hope you have enjoyed your visit on our blog today and leave inspired and ready to create your own meaningful triptychs! Thank you so much for stopping by and happy shopping and creating!