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Welcome

Welcome! Artfully Musing is a blog dedicated to sharing art and the techniques and products used. I'll be showcasing collage, altered and mixed media art as well as miniature. I hope you'll check back often and are inspired. Thanks for visiting! Laura

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Little Red Riding Hood with a Halloween Twist - Tutorial

Since Little Red Riding Hood is such a dark story, I thought why not push it a little further with a touch of Halloween.  The poor much-aligned wolf in this story gets the short end of the stick. 

I decided to use a paper mache house accordion shrine as the backdrop and create a faux book with the story.  The book rests tilted and open in the niches.
I used a textured sand paste and a stone stencil to create the vintage crumbling look on the house

The touch of Halloween comes from the pumpkins, bats, ravens, spider webs and a large moon.

Prepping the Houses
I started by removing one of the house shapes.  The shapes are attached with hinges that are screwed into the paper Mache.
Next, I marked the areas for the niches and cut away the marked area using a box cutter and metal ruler (as a guide).
 
I spray painted the houses black (because it was a fast and easy way to paint both the inside and outside).
I papered the outside of the houses and the inside back of the niches.

Stone Work
To create the stonework I used a textured sand paste.  I started by taping down the decorative paper with low tack painters tape. 
Next, I taped the stonework stencil to the paper.
I mixed up a batch of the paste by coloring it with black acrylic paint.  You can color this product with ink, paint, or pigment powder.  Start by adding your color slowly, stir to blend and then decide if you need more color. 

VERY IMPORTANT:  The more liquid you add to the paste the thinner it will get.  You need to let the paste dry out to the consistency it was before you added liquid color; if you don’t, it will seep under the stencil.  As the liquid evaporates, stir the paste occasionally so that the parts exposed to the air don’t dry out and clump. 
 
Next, spread the paste very carefully over the stencil using a light touch  (I used a popsicle stick).  Be careful not to push the paste under the stencil. 
Carefully remove the tape from the stencil while holding the stencil down Next, lift the stencil.  You don’t have to immediately lift the stencil but don’t wait too long as the paste will dry and parts of the paste that you want to stay on the paper will be lifted with the stencil.
You can reuse any of the excess paste on the stencil. 

Carefully cut away the stenciled area and then you can start the process over again with a new section of the paper.

I suggest you wash your stencil between each usage as the paste will build up in the open areas and you won’t get a good result.

To give the house a vintage crumbling look, I cut up the stenciled stone pieces and attached them randomly on the house.

Decorating the Houses & the Chipboard Support
I framed two of the story images with a frame from my Antique Frames Digital Image Set and used double-sided foam tape to pop them out from the back of the niches.
Next, I used one of the pieces I cut out of the houses as support.  I covered the support with decorative paper and glued the houses to the support.
I spray painted spooky trees black and then added a sparkly textured mix called Elements that I purchase online from the Art Glitter Institute.
I glued the two larger trees to the front edge at an angle and added bats and owls. To the top, I added spider web pieces and titles.  I also attached Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf to the trees.

Making the Faux Book
I didn’t have a book that was small enough to use so I cut one.  The final size of the cut-down book (pages) is 3” x 5”.  I removed the cover and cut away the side and bottom.
 
Next, I cut a piece of paper for the spine and two pieces of chipboard for a new cover.
I glued the paper to the front and back of the pages but not to the spine, then glued the chipboard to the pages.

I covered the chipboard with paper.
Next, I glued the covers to the front and back pages.
I opened the book to the middle and glued story images to the pages.
The book is glued to the chipboard support and rests on the niches in the houses. Since the houses are glued in place and won’t move, they support the book so you don’t need to glue the book to the niches.

Decorating the Back
On the back, I painted brown vines, attached the remaining trees and two windows with images from the story.

Feel free to download the image below that I used in my book.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dr. Raven's Pandemonium

Dr. Raven’s Pandemonium is one of the more popular attractions at the Halloween Carnival.
Mr. Yule B. Next, had an unfortunate accident at the Pandemonium this week.  Dr. Raven thought that in light of the goulash condition of Mr. Next, perhaps he would fit right in at the “Dodge the Zombies” game. 
Of course with a business like Dr. Raven’s it’s important to have a wagon for occasions like these.  The bars on the wagon are a must when transporting some of the more unusual oddities to his Pandemonium.
Mr. Skeletony is hitching a ride over to the Boo Bash.  He goes every night hoping to find his lost love (a purported beauty) carrying her picture and moldy roses (her favorite).
The coachman has a pet gargoyle which is sort of a nasty fellow, so the coachman keeps him in a glass dome; it’s the only way he can prevent him from biting people.

The Wagon
The wagon is as a Masonite kit which includes assembly instructions. 
It’s original purpose is for a circus wagon to hold ATCs but as soon as I saw it I knew I would take it in a spooky direction.  I thought it was a perfect addition to my Halloween Carnival.  In the picture below you can see how the top is open if you want to use it for displaying ATCs.
In addition to sharing with you how I embellished the wagon, I’ll describe the changes I made to its assembly.

I started by spray painting all of the pieces black which made the process much faster than hand painting all of the pieces.  Note in the picture below I also painted the slats from the bars.  The slats will become the benches for the coachman and Mr. Skeletony.
Before assembling the main section of the wagon I added paper to the front and back pieces.  
I approached attaching the wheels in a slightly different manner than the one described in the instructions.  I first glued the washers in place on the inside of the wagon.  I pushed the axles through the washers to make sure everything lined up as the glue dried.  The axles are loose and not glued to anything.
Next, I evened up the axles and slid the wheels onto the axles and then the washers.  The instructions call for the outside washers to be glued to the axle but not to the wheel if you want the wheels to turn (not an easy thing to do).  If you put glue in the washer hole, it gets all over the axle as you slide the axle in place.  Instead, I used skull beads to keep the wheels and washer in place.  The particular skulls I used fit snugly on the ends of the axles.
To pull the wagon I used the wolf image from the Halloween Carnival Rides #1 Collage Sheet which contains spooky carousel animals.  To support the wolves and to make them stand on their own, I glued two pieces of a wooden skewer between them.  I used two skeleton hand food picks to connect the wolves to the wagon.  The wooden skewers slide perfectly into the gap between the thumb and fingers on the pick.
At the end of the picks, I attached a bead.  The purpose of the bead was to give me a larger surface area to attach the wolves to the wagon.  The beads are attached under the front bench.
To create the benches I glued together two of the pieces that were in between the wagon bars.  The kit comes with two decorative hitches to which you can attach a string to pull the wagon.  I repurposed the hitches and used them as supports for the benches by gluing them vertically under each bench.  Just gluing the benches to the front and back of the wagon was not enough to support the weight of the skeletons.
The blood on the coffin was made by dripping red candle wax.  I decided it was not dark enough so I painted it with Red Pepper Alcohol Ink.
To manipulate the skeletons into the position I wanted, I used heavy scissors to cut them at the arms, elbows and knee joints.  I then glued them into the desired position.
Mr. Skeletony’s monocle is made from a jump ring, bead, eye pin, and chain.  It’s attached to his google eye using Glossy Accents.
The posts are made from chevron patterned straws.  These are heavy and stiff paper straws.  The tails of the owls fit perfectly into the straws.
The tent comes from my 3D Tent Digital Image Set which includes 4 different tents.  Some of the tents are available as collage sheets.  For a video tutorial on how to assemble the tents click here. 


You can find the tutorials and more information about building a Halloween Carnival at: