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

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

It’s All About BEEs – Domino Books, Accordion Book Box & Coasters – Tutorials & New Collage Sheets & Giveaway

Let’s hear it for the fuzzy buzzing bees that make our lives so sweet!  I love everything about bees.  I’ve used the tiny busy creatures as inspiration for four projects and two new collage sheets. 

The projects include two different domino books; which I’m giving away (details below), an accordion folded book in a box and a set of coasters.  I’m thinking any of these projects would make great gifts.
NEW – Bee Themed Collage Sheets
Colorful bee themed medallions and faux postage fill this sheet.  The medallions make great labels for bottles, jar lids and on coasters. The faux postage can be used as ephemera on your artwork or to jazz up envelopes.

This sheet is loaded with bird and bee themed art.  Included are 12 small panels are sized to fit on a 1” x 2” domino and a long panel that can be accordion folded to fit inside two 1” x 2” dominoes like a book.  There are also ATC sized collaged images and extra birds and flowers.

I’m giving away both of the domino books.  There will be two winners.  To enter the drawing leave a comment on this post or send me an email.  You’ll find the email button in the right hand column of the blog.  The giveaway is open to everyone.  If you live on planet Earth you can enter.  Random.org will choose the winners on Monday August 4th.  


Accordion Fold Domino Book
I started by painting the domino's front, sides and edges of the backs with a combination of Patina Paints.
Next, I glued a panel from the collage sheet onto what will become the back of the book and glued a strip of Dresden around the edges of each domino.
Using E6000, I attached the brass leaves to the bottoms of the dominoes to serve as feet.
To the backsides of each domino, I attached ribbon which is used to tie the book closed.  Don’t worry if you see the glue seeping through the ribbon as it will be covered with the accordion folded pages.
On the front domino I collaged images from the collage sheet (flowers & bird), various brass leaves, paper roses and a bee.
The long panel on the collage sheet measures 1 7/8” x 7” which is slightly shorter than a standard 2” tall domino and long enough to create an accordion folded strip with 8 panels.  If you are not using the image from the collage sheet for your book just be sure that when you fold your strip you end up with an even number of panels (to facilitate attaching it to the domino covers).

Mark and score along the panel every 7/8” and accordion fold the panel.  
Ink the edges and the back of the panel.  I used Vintage Photo Distress Stain.  Cut 8 panels from decorative paper and glue to the back.  I cut my panels 1 5/8” x 6/8”.  You could also use the small panels on the collage sheet but you would need to reduce them first.
The final touch to decorate the back is the addition of some of the faux postage from the collage sheet.
The last step is to glue the end panels to the inside of the dominoes and you are finished!
Alpha Stamps Supplies Used in Making the Accordion Domino Book

Hinged Domino Book
To Bee or Not to Bee…Queen (always a tough decision)
This type of domino book is much simpler to put together as it consists of simply hinging two decorated dominoes.
Start by coloring your dominoes on all of the surfaces that will remain exposed after embellishing.  I used Onyx Patina to paint mine.  I used panels from the collage sheet to cover the backs and fronts of both dominoes and glued Dresden around the edges. 

Dresden Note: In the case of a hinged domino book use sturdy glue like E6000 to attach the Dresden so that when you attach the hinges to the sides (onto the Dresden) the Dresden won’t pull away from the dominoes when you open the book.

I also added the crown (with jewels) and the bee banner from the collage sheet.
Once I had finished decorating each of the dominoes, I glued two small hinges to the sides of the dominoes (using E6000).  In the hinge holes I glued small brass beads.  Make sure you let the glue dry completely before trying to open the book.
The final touch are handles (glued in place with E6000), which are made from bead caps, eye pins and Victorian drops.
Alpha Stamps Supplies Used in Making the Queen Domino Book

Accordion Fold Book in a Box
The idea with this project is to use the box as the covers for an accordion folded book.  When you lift the cover off of the box it opens the book.  The book is attached at one end to the inside lid of the box and at the other end to the inside bottom of the box.  The box I used measures 3" square.
Start by assembling the box.

Next, I inked all of the edges inside and out.  Tip: to get in the box crevices use alcohol ink and a brush.  I have brushes dedicated to using the ink as once they are use with ink you can’t use them with other products.  I used a combination of Vintage Photo Distress ink and Caramel alcohol ink.
I applied decorative paper to all of the surfaces, inside and out.  Be sure to glue the paper down securely so that when you open and close the box it does damage or lift the paper.  Don’t use thick paper or cardstock as the lid won’t fit back on the box.

I used Distress Ink and a honeycomb and bee stencil to decorate the sides. 
For an additional decorative touch I used Masonite bees.

I started by painting the bees with Ocher Patina paint.  I didn't completely cover up the brown of the Masonite but tapped the paint on with a brush.
Next, while wearing a rubber glove, I used my finger to lightly brush on Espresso Alcohol Ink.
For a final touch I used Onyx Patina paint to paint black stripes.
To make the book, cut strips of decorative paper 2 7/8” tall and as wide as the paper.  Cut as many strips as you like based on how many panels you want in the book.  The only restriction to the number of strips is the size of the box and you must have an even number of panels to facilitate gluing the book to the box.  I suggest using 12x12 paper as the strips will be longer and you will have to cut and glue fewer together.

Score and fold the paper strips every 2 7/8".  You should end up with a short piece at the end of each strip which will be used to connect the strips together.  For the sample piece, I cut 4 strips.
Connect the strips together.  Cut away any short sections that you didn’t use to connect the strips.  I decided to go with 14 panels.  Notice the direction of the folds and how the end pieces lay flat on the surface (this means the book is folded in the right direction.  Decorate the pages.  Be mindful of the bulk of the book to make sure it will fit in the box.  In addition to using images from the collage sheets I also used bee poems.
Glue one end of the book to the inside bottom of the box and the other end to the inside lid of the box.
Lastly, I added a stained wooden knob to the top of the box.
After creating the Bee collage sheets with the round medallions, I was thinking that they would be perfect for coasters (I need a new set of coasters).  I think they would also make a great gift.
To make each coaster I cut 3 pieces of heavy chipboard 3 ½” square.  I glued the 3 pieces of chipboard together to form one coaster.
I sanded the edges to make sure they were even and that there were no loose bits.  Next, I applied a product called Texture Magic to the edges so that you could not tell that there were 3 pieces layered together.  I used this product because it was handy but you could use anything that you might have like Gesso, wood filler, embossing paste etc.; anything that hides the layers.
I lightly sanded the edges one more time to make sure they were smooth.

Next, I used Vintage Photo Stain to color the edges (you could also paint them).  Depending on the product you used to cover the edges, you may or may not be able to stain them.  I glued decorative paper to each side and then the medallions from my Bees collage sheet.  I sealed the coaster by painting it with multiple layers of Mod Podge.

Alpha Stamps Supplies Used in Making Coasters

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Circus Carousel & Circus Theaters - Tutorial

Step right up and checkout these two fun circus themed projects.  The first is a spinning carousel made from a Masonite kit which makes building a carousel easy. 
The second is Sells Flotos Circus made from chipboard theater boxes and lots of collage sheet images.

The carousel kit comes with all of the pieces you need to construct the carousel as well as assembly instructions.  Depending on how you want to decorate your carousel, you may need to make adjustments to the assembly order.

I started by spray painting the pieces gold.  Using spray paint made the job quick and easy.  In the picture below, you can see that I left one of the poll pieces unsprayed to show you the change in color.
Next, I covered the top of the base piece with wedges of paper from the Anthem 6x6 paper pad.  I used a template that divides the circle into 6 wedges (for each of the 6 horses).  I cut out the wedges and glued them to 6 different pieces of patterned paper.  Lastly, I cut out the paper wedges and glued them to the base using the pole holes as a guide.
Below you’ll find the template sized to fit the base piece.  The base is slightly larger than the top piece so you need a different template for each.  Further down in the tutorial is the template for the top piece.  To download the template, click on the image to expand it, right-click and select Save As.
Next, I reopened the holes for the posts using filing tools.  The tools are from Basic Grey’s Precision File Set which you can find online at Amazon and other stores.
I flipped the bottom over and glued the base panels in place.  These panels lift the base off of the surface.
In order to make my carousel spin, I added Lazy Susan hardware.  The hardware is inexpensive and can be found at hardware stores and online.  The one I used measures 3 inches square.
I added layers of foam core to the base to raise the Lazy Susan above the panels so it would spin.
Next, I cut a piece of paper tubing for a center column and covered it with paper.
I glued the tubing to the base.  Note, I also added Dresden in between each of the paper wedges.
I cover the posts with Dresden and wrapped them in red star tinsel.  Next, I glued the horses to the posts at different heights so that it would look like they were going up and down.  Horses – the kit comes with 6 horse images that I glued to one side of the Masonite horses.  So that the horses would look the same on both sides, I scanned the image, flipped it and printed it 6 times.  I cutout the images and glued them to the other side of the horses.  An alternative is to paint or paper the other side.
I covered the top of the top piece with paper wedges and Dresden just as I did with the bottom piece.  I reopened holes for the decorative panels and glued them in place.
Below you’ll find the template sized to fit the top piece.  The top is slightly smaller than the bottom so you need a different template for each.  To download the template, click on the image to expand it, right-click and select Save As.
On the top, I added a ping pong ball spray painted with the same gold paint I used for the other pieces.  It is attached to the top with a small wooden box foot.  The woman is from a set of mat board cut-out acrobats.  The set includes two of each piece.  I coated the pieces with glitter and glued them to each side of a flat toothpick.  I poked a hole in the ball with a pin and then glued the toothpick in the hole.  Lastly I wrapped the wooden piece and ball with a piece of gold star tinsel.
Around the edge of the top I added Dresden and stars that spell Circus.  To each of the horses I added clowns, cats and a ballerina.
Alpha Stamps Supplies Used to Construct the Carousel
Tiny Circus Collage Sheet – Clowns, Cats, Ballerina

This circus is made from chipboard theater boxes.  They come in a set of 3 boxes so I thought I would create a scene in each box and then combine the boxes.

Unlike most of my projects, this one includes very few embellishments.  The circus is created almost entirely with collage sheet images.
I first assembled the box leaving one side open.  I glued the scene in place (in the back) then glued the tab of the open side to the back of the box rather than inside the box.  I finished by covering the sides, top, bottom and backs with paper.  I did not color or paper the inside except for the background scene or curtains you see in the back of the boxes.  Once you have the facade in place you can't see the inside except for the back.

To create more dimension, I glued paper curtains to the inside front of the box.  On the outside front of the boxes, I glued various paper theater facades.
In addition to the paper theater facades, I added gold Dresden.  The characters in the boxes are attached with double stick foam tape at various distances from the back,making them appear 3-D.
The latter on the front of the center box is made from 2 wooden skewers and toothpicks.
Notice the clown at the top of the latter; he has a stick and I think he is trouble.
All of the images are backed with paper adding stiffness and providing more support.
The gold bangle is attached to a chain which I inserted into a hole on the top of the box and is held in place with a jump ring which is bigger than the hole.  The woman on the left is also attached with a chain going through the top of the box.

Notice how the one acrobat is extending outside of the box.  The same is true for the woman on the horse in the first box.  Having some of the characters coming out of the box added to the 3-D appearance.
Alpha Stamps Supplies Used to Construct Sells Floto Circus
By Theater
NOTE: There are overlaps in the supply list by box as I used some collage sheets on more than one box.
Right Box
Toy Paper Theatres Collage Sheet - Red Curtains on side panels
Paper Theater Cirque Collage Sheet - Background, Bottom Trim, Outside architecture, inside red curtains
Middle Box
Circus Clowns #1 Collage Sheet - Clowns on latter
Left Box
Circus Performers #2 Collage Sheet - The Fabulous Clodoche sign & Girl with skirt & Woman with umbrella
Aerialist Collage Sheet - Guy on bottles & guys hanging from sign
Circus Parade Collage Sheet  - Zebra/Woman on Horse