Blog, Mixed Media, tutorial

WOYWW And A Collage Backgrounds Tutorial

It’s What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday (pop on over to Julia’s blog to find out more) and on my desk I have:

Some bits and pieces to recycle into art!

I have a tutorial to share but for the WOYWWs feel free to hop on to the next person!


A number of folk have asked about how I make the backgrounds that I’ve been using in recent makes so here you go folks!

The photo above gives you a clue at some of the things I use for my backgrounds: old books, music scores, maps, magazines, newspaper, telephone books, old dress patterns. You can use this technique on all sorts of bits and pieces.

What you need is your collage material and a base card to work on; I use old scraps, and the thickness will depend on what you subsequently want to use the piece for. As a starting point try some card of over 240gsm to play with.

I have a dedicated glue brush for all my glue work, a little nylon bristle paint brush. You want to dilute some PVA to the consistency of single cream, I usually store mine in an old bottle. You might also want to have a mini-bottle of water to hand and to work on a plastic sheet.

I’ve torn my collage materials into strips; you can make the pieces as small or as big as you want but bear in mind what the final piece will be used for and, if it’s going to be something small, you might want to make the collage pieces small otherwise you won’t get that lovely texture of the torn edges.

To start, spread a layer of the diluted PVA over the base card and don’t let it dry, you can always spritz with water to keep it moist.

Start adding your strips of collage materials to the wet base card and brush more diluted PVA over the top. If you are working with collage material that is glossy or thick, it is a good idea to brush the underside with diluted PVA before putting onto the base card. You want the collage pieces to be pretty saturated with the PVA.

Everything is going to get pretty wet and pretty sticky! But that’s the fun bit!

I add my pieces as randomly as I can and not really worrying which way around the collage piece is.

So keep adding bits to the base card, with a layer of diluted PVA, then a new strip of collage material and a layer of diluted PVA over the top and, if you need, spritz with water if you think areas are drying or add more diluted PVA.

If you are working on a plastic sheet then once the card is dry it should just peel off of the plastic. But I often peel mine off whilst wet and dry it on the top of some flat-topped paint bottles. It will take a while to dry, often taking overnight, but you can help it along with a heat tool if you are that impatient!

Need some more ideas? How about…

Use your collage with distress inks

Use your collage with paints

Use with watercolour pens like the ZIG Art and Graphic Twin from Kuretake

Using textured card, like corrugated card, as the base card

Pass the collaged card through a die-cutting machine in an embossing folder

Use fabric as the collage pieces

Yep, the possibilities are endless and I can’t wait to see what you do!

Have fun


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Circle Flowers For An Anniversary

Hi Guys got a little make for you today that is just perfect for using up those little bits of paper so that you can have an excuse to buy lots of new paper of course! Which is lucky because Elaine has been adding some lovely new papers to Quixotic Paperie!

I’ve used the Fancy Pants Rusted Sun paper for the flower and leaves and added a button and some embroidery thread to finish the flower.

I’ve had a request to show how I make this little circle flower, they are one of my favourites so you will see them a lot on my blog from time to time! So if you haven’t made one of these before here is a very quick how to:

You will need:

Patterned paper, embossing tool and mat and something to make circles with such as a template or your nesties or you can use bottles to draw around if you don’t have anything else.

Cut out three circles from the patterned paper and have them decreasing in size so that they fit inside one another. The cutting doesn’t have to be perfect as you can distress the edges (I’ve used my favourite paper distressor a seam ripper/ unpicker).

Using a foam mat as support, mould the circles into shallow bowl shapes by rubbing the large end of an embossing tool in the centre of the circle and working in circles move out to the edges. You will have to vary the pressure depending on the thickness of your paper. If your paper is thin then only use slight pressure.

Cut a couple for leaf shapes, distress the edges and mould just as before. I stick mine together with silicone glue but you can use tapes or other glues just as easily.

There you go, a little circle flower.

Hope you have a Saturday full of flowers.


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How To Make Your Love Fly Free!

Hi guys, we have reached Sunday again and last Sunday I posted a little altered canvas called Let Your Love Fly Free and promised you a post with a step by step of the process for putting the canvas together.

So go bookmark this page and grab yourself a cuppa (with biscuit of course) and read on!

You will need:

A mini canvas 10 x 10 cm

Stamps – Crafty Individuals CL-234; The Artistic Stamper Music#1 011; Basic Grey Aviary; Studio G Alpha stamps

Inks – Archival Jet Black; Versacolor Grape, Opera pink, Heliotrope, Cyan, Lapislazuli

Kuretake ZIG Wink Of Stella clear pen; ZIG Millennium pens

Caran D’Ache Neocolor II

Washi / Tissue tape

The Crafters Workshop Mini Cosmic Swirl



Golden Heavy Gel

Winsor and Newton Matte Varnish

Glossy Accents

Blending tools and foam

Heat tool

Water Spray bottle

Paint brushes

Rock Salt

Gosh what a lot of stuff for such a little canvas!

I started out by building up a base of colour onto the canvas by scribbling the Neocolor II crayons onto the surface and brushing with water, adding texture as I went along with salt.

I let the colour dry naturally before putting on the next layer of colour. Make sure your background is dry before starting to stamp.

The next step is a bit of a leap of crafting faith as stamping on mounted canvas isn’t always easy. Be brave and remember you have the get out clause that imperfections add texture to a piece!

I used one of the music stamps from The Artistic Stamper Music#1 011 kit, luckily it was the perfect size for the 10 x 10 cm canvas and the stamps aren’t wood backed. I have mine on EZ Mount.

The trick to stamping on mounted canvas is to use the stamp as it is, i.e. DO NOT use an acrylic block or any other solid surface to back the stamp.

Ink up your stamp, I used Versacolor Grape, lie your canvas on your table, decorated surface face up. Place your inked stamp onto the canvas and, being careful not to let the stamp slide or nudge out of place, press it gently down making sure to press a little extra on the areas of the canvas that are not supported by the wood of the canvas frame, like the middle of the canvas.

Ok scary part over – the rest is all a breeze!

Using my Versacolor inks, the Crafters Workshop Mini Cosmic Swirl template and my blending tools, I started to build up some more texture to the edges of the canvas; I wanted to keep that lovely light pink glow of the Neocolor crayon in the bottom right hand side of the canvas as this would fit my design. So I built up the colour to be a bit darker on the top left hand side of the canvas as I knew this would be the background to the wings and cage focus.

I did this process gradually by applying colour than drying it completely with my heat tool to stop the colour from just wiping off again as I used the blending tool.

Once I was happy with my background, I sealed the canvas with a layer of Winsor and Newton Matte varnish and let it dry.

Some more canvas stamping but this time I only want the image on one side of the canvas and we have the added bonus that I’m stamping in Archival Jet black so if it doesn’t stamp perfectly I can just go over it with a black pen like the ZIG Millennium pens from Kuretake.

Same principle as before with stamping – don’t use an acrylic block with the stamp and apply slightly more pressure on the stamp where the canvas is unsupported.

Once the ink was dry I carefully went over the black image with my Glossy Accents and let that dry whilst I worked on the cage, wings and sentiment.

Cover a piece of card big enough for two wing shapes with Washi / Tissue tape in a random manner. I made myself a little wing template and cut out two mirror-image wings. 

Using my finger I covered both wings with Gesso (you can use a brush – I just found it quicker to get messy!) and before the Gesso had a chance to dry I pressed the wings together and then lifted them apart to get that lovely river and stream texture (you might need to click on the picture below to get a larger image to see what I mean).

Once the Gesso was dry I scribbled the ZIG Wink Of Stella Clear pen over the wings to get a lovely touch of sparkle.

More card was covered with Washi / Tissue tape and then I painted a light layer of Gesso over the top, let it dry and stamped out the sentiment with the Studio G Alpha stamps and cut it out. 

The cage was stamped onto card, cut out and then coloured using the Versacolor and blending tools. I used the Golden Heavy Gel to attach the cage, wings and sentiment to the canvas.

There you have it! 

Hope that was of help to you and I would love to see if you have used any of the techniques or ideas I’ve used here in your own makes so just pop on by and leave me a comment and I’ll hop on back for a nosy! 

Have fun!


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Sharing The Making Of A Shabby Chic Tag

Some more Shabby Chic for you today and this one is a follow on from my Shabby Chic make from last Saturday that I did for Quixotic Paperie. It is a little Shabby Chic New Home Tag and I thought I would share some of the making process with you today.

What you will need:

Paper and card – Cream card, designer papers Pink Paislee Sweetness pad is perfect as it has some lovely Shabby Chic colours and the big flowers to cut out.

Image – I’ve used the SCACD Guardian Hearth and Home, perfect for my ‘Home’ theme

Glitter Glue – Viva Decor Glitter Liner Holo-Iridescent

Crystals – I’ve used some Prima crystals but you can easily use Flat Backed gems or the Viva decor pens with your Bazzill Jewel Templates

Other stash bits and bobs – Glue, leaf skeleton, keyhole, Alpha stamps, seam ripper, Blending foam/ tool

Inks – Distress ink, Archival ink Coffee and jet black

Layers, Layers, Layers! I want to matt and layer my tag so I cut out three sizes of tags with the cream card as the background and then the designer papers getting progressively smaller but only by a few millimetres. I’ve also cut out one of the lovely flower patterns from the Pink Paislee Sweetness pad, so pretty!

Inky Fingers! I wanted to slightly darken the pink layer as it wasn’t quite the colour I wanted so used my blending tool and distress inks to roughly intensify the colour. If you haven’t got a blending tool or even some of the Rangers foam, don’t worry – dig out a clean make-up sponge!

Oh I’m just so distressed! Yep it is time to get a but distructive – be brave – you can do it! I use my seam ripper on the edges of the paper and card and if you aren’t sure what a seam ripper is, or it is called something else where you are from, I mean one of these:

They are usually easily obtainable from your local haberdashery and you can often pick them up for under £1 (but I have seen them more pricey!)

Oooo Shiny! Glitter time is here again and I’ve used the Viva Decor Glitter Liner Holo-Iridescent on all of the card and paper edges to add more Shabby Chic sparkle. This step takes a little patience but it is worth it!

Ok so everything is dry, you have coloured your image and stamped out the sentiment so all you need to do is stick it all together and add your gems and extras!

Quick – Shiny distraction alert!

Enjoy your weekend!


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Scribble Technique

Want to know how I got the colouring on this Christmas Tag using ZIG pens from Kuretake?

It is a fabulous colouring technique which I’m calling the Scribble technique.

You will need:

A craft mat or non-stick surface

ZIG Pens in this case I’ve used the ZIG Calligraphy pens

A spray bottle with water

Heat tool


Scribble the pen onto the craft mat or non-stick surface and spritz with water.

Layer the card on top of the coloured droplets and lift off then dry with the heat tool. Repeat until you have the look you want.

Try getting different patterns, if you swirl the card in the droplets, or the droplets are big you will get a more even coverage of the colour. If the droplets are small and you touch down and lift off without swirling then you will get a more patterned look. 

Have fun with this one!


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Multicoloured Embossing Tips

Yep, I’ve another Christmas card today and these are some cards I made for a commission using the lovely Scrolls Work Poinsettia Stamp that I showed you on Sunday in Kraft and Bronze

Well for today I’ve gone real old School Christmas with traditional Christmas colours and some heat embossing but to mix it up just a little bit I’ve used a multiple colour embossing technique that I thought I would share with you.

For this technique you will need:

Embossing powders, I’ve used bronze, gold and green.

Stamp – Scrolls Work Poinsettia Block


Coloured Card

A spare piece of paper for each embossing powder colour (folded on half and open up again)


Stamp out the image in Versamark onto the coloured card and place on the first spare piece of paper. Pick the first embossing powder colour (I used the bronze) and pour onto small areas of the image. I started by pouring little piles of powder over the corners of the image and very little splashes in the centre of the image.

As quick as you can turn the coloured card over to pour the excess powder onto your spare piece of paper and give the card a few good taps to get all the excess off. As you can see not all the areas have been covered by the powder which is just the effect you want at this stage. You can pour your excess powder back into the jar for later use, the fold in the paper should help!


Repeat STEP ONE for the other powder colours, using one colour at a time with a new piece of paper with a pouring fold in it. I used my gold colour second and finally my green, but play around to get the look you want. Each time you use a new powder try to cover the areas you missed with the previous powder.

Remember to use the spare paper for each powder you pour and don’t mix them up if you want to pour the excess back into the jar.

By the end you will have the whole image covered waiting for the magic to happen!


Heat emboss and watch your embossing colours shine through!

Enjoy and I would love to see your embossing makes so drop me a comment so that I can have a nose!


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Crackle On!

Hi Guys, we have had some questions about how I did the crackle on the frame for my recent Enchanted Seamstress make. So we thought it would be a good idea to put a quick ‘How To’ post together for you all.

This is such a wonderful and really easy technique. I first came across it some time ago from a Youtube video but more recently Craft Stamper did an article about the technique too.

For the technique you will need:

Acrylic paints

PVA glue (yes I have a HUGE bottle of PVA glue!)


A palette for the paint and PVA

The item to be altered

Step One

Paint your item to be altered with the first coat of acrylic paint. Pick which colour you want to come through the crackle, dark colours are perfect but you can do all sorts of colour combinations so don’t be afraid of trying different colours. You can always have a play on a spare piece of paper to see the end effect before using your item to be altered.

Important bit – let the first layer dry completely.

Step Two

Once the first layer is dry start covering it with your PVA. Don’t dilute the PVA, a nice consistency of soft, fluid caramel is about right. Cover the whole area and don’t feel that the layer has to be thick, but don’t make it so thin that it drys before you can get the next layer on.

Important bit – Don’t let this layer dry

Step Two

As soon as you have covered the item with the PVA start covering it with your acrylic paints, again don’t thin the paint. I don’t even change brushes, as you can see my palette has room for both the paint and the PVA. I like a smooth layer so keep the brush nicely loaded with paint, again it isn’t a thick layer but not too thin otherwise the effect will be a bit ‘lumpy’.

Important bit – leave it to dry. 

You can use your heat gun but I like to just leave mine overnight.

The PVA and Paint dry and you get contraction and this is what makes the crackle, you can actually see the crackle develop nicely as the item drys.

We would love to see any makes where you have used this technique just come back and leave a comment so we can have a nose!

Have fun!


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Multicolour Stamping

I posted this recent make yesterday and a couple of nice folk have asked me how I stamped the Banana Frog planet in the different colours. I thought the easiest way would be to show you!

You need:

Your stamp

Something to stamp on

Range of inks

Little spray bottle filled with water.

I’ve used three inks in the pink/purple range using the Opera Pink as my lightest colour and Grape as my darkest colour, with Amethyst in the middle.

This technique works with all sorts of different colour matches so play around with the inks you have to find your favourites.

Step One

Decide which side of the stamp will be the lightest and which the darkest. Then start to ink your stamp with your lightest colour on the ‘light’ side of the stamp. I use gentle tapping of the ink pad on the stamp, better to put on too little rather than too much ink, you can always reapply as needed.

I pretty much cover the ‘light’ side and the middle of my stamp with the Opera Pink, making sure I get good pink coverage on the ‘light’ side.

I then use my middle colour, Amethyst, on the middle of the stamp, being careful not to leave any straight lines caused by the ink pad edge. If you need to diffuse any lines or marks then you can always reapply a little of the lighter colour to blend it in.

Step Two

Apply your darkest colour, Grape, to the ‘dark’ side of the stamp, again if you need to diffuse or blend the colour you can always add a bit more of the middle colour. I then very lightly go all around the edge of this stamp with the Grape colour to get the edge differentiation, you don’t have to, I just like it on this stamp.

Step Three

This is the crucial bit! Lightly spray your stamp, this requires a bit of trial and error to know what is the right amount of water for the effect you want, so don’t worry if you have to repeat the whole process – it is all part of the fun!

For me I like to have the bottle at least 8 cm (~3 inch) away from the stamp and I hold the both the stamp and the spray bottle upright so the spray is nice and fine and you are less likely to get any spitting or drops on the stamp. For this lightly water coloured effect I only gave it one spray, but it all depends on your spray bottle!

Step Four

Stamp out your image!

This is a wonderful technique to play with on all sorts of different stamps. It works beautifully on your ‘block’ stamps like this one, where a lot of colour is needed but it also works well on your ‘line’ stamps where there is more details. Get one of your flower image stamps out and have a go!

Enjoy playing!


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Whiff Of Joy Hand-Stitch Tutorial

Hey everyone, how are you all this Monday morning? Hope you all had a good weekend.

I have a card that I’ve made for the Whiff Of Joy Tutorials And Inspiration Blog today. Each of the design team and guest design team members have been writing tutorials and today is my turn.

So I thought I would do a tutorial for these swirls. You can see how to make them yourself over at the Whiff Of Joy Tutorials and Inspiration blog – I hope you like 🙂

The image is the Whiff Of Joy Santa Reading List stamp and I’ve coloured him with my Prismacolor pencils and Sansodor.

I’ve used pearlescent glue on his beard and fluffy stuff fluid on his hat and coat trim. I was going to fluff-it up but I decided I actually liked the way it looked unfluffed!

The paper is some of my own design distressed gingham papers and the fabric? Well let’s just say that my boyfriend wont want to wear that work shirt any more – tee hee!

Have a lovely shirt re-purposing day!

Stamp – Whiff Of Joy Santa Reading List stamp
Ink – Versafine Onyx black
Colouring – Prismacolor pencils; Sansodor
Papers – Distressed gingham (made by me)
Usual Suspects – Paper trimmer; double-sided tape
Others – White fabric; sewing machine; Kraft card; Beads; Silver embroidery thread; needle; Doily; Pearlescent glue; Fluffy stuff

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Stitched Border Tutorial

Hey Guys, How are you all today? I don’t know if any of you remember this card from a few weeks back? I was asked how I did the border stitching on this card so I thought I would put a tutorial up about it. Hope it is useful!

I actually use two stitches to get the effect, the first is a loose buttonhole stitch (aka blanket stitch) and the second is a backstitch.

Thread, a piercing tool, needle and the card to border. Sticky tape will also be useful!

Step One
When I’m stitching on card or paper I pierce the holes with my paper piercing tool before stitching.

If you are a perfectionist you might want to mark off the holes with a ruler but I usually use judgement – I like the rough and ready look (least that is my excuse!).

Step Two
Stick your thread end on the back of the card with tape and bring the thread through to the front of the card.

Step Three
Take the thread from the front of the card to the back of the card and back up to the front of the card through the next hole along. Leave the stitch loose in a loop.

Step Four
Now take the thread to the back of the card through the loop just as if you are doing a Buttonhole stitch (Blanket stitch) but don’t pull tight.

Step Five
Bring the thread to the front of the card through the next hole along leaving the loose loop.

Step Six
Repeat Step Three to Step Five to build up the border.

Step Seven
Depending on the size of your card and length of thread you might run out of thread before finishing the border – so what do you do to make sure it looks like continuous stitching?

Well, with the end of the thread make a loop in line with the next hole along and stick the end to the back of the card with tape. Then with new thread continue repeating Step Two to Step Five as before. Simple!

Step Eight
When you get to the last stitch make your last loop and connect up the border by taking the thread to the back of the card through the first loop

Step Nine
You can leave the stitch as it is – it is a good look or you can add a backstitch to give some extra definition.

Clicking on the photographs will give you a closer view of the stitching.

Feel free to link in the comments to any projects you make with this stitching – I would just love to see what you do with it!

Happy Stitching

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Paper Quilting with a Cutting and Folding Tutorial

I love sewing paper 🙂 This design today was actually inspired by something we have been doing in my creative embroidery class. A couple of weeks ago we were using the cutting and folding of fabric to add texture and dimension to a background. I’ve used the same technique for the paper heart as the focal part of the card.

You can use double-sided papers or if like me you wanted to use some papers that were not double-sided (D’oh!) then cut yourself a couple of similarly sized pieces of patterned paper.

Use glue dots to stick the two pieces back to back.

Lightly draw around your template and cut the shape out.

Using a craft knife cut on one side of the shape leaving a reasonably sized border (approximately 1/4 inch or 1/2 cm).

Fold the paper over to show the underside. You can fold it over flat or to keep the dimension don’t completely fold it but fix in place at one point so that it is a rounded fold.

If anyone wants to know how to do this in fabric then just give me a shout 🙂

Stamp – woodware
Ink – versafine onyx black
Paper – Hot Off The Press
Usual Suspects – Paper trimmer; glue dots; double-sided tape
Other – buttons; sewing machine; thread; Bazzill Kraft card
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