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, July 6, 2019

Postcards from the Past - Faux Postcards with Holder – New Collage Sheet, Digital Download Sets and Gentleman’s Emporium Papers

This project was inspired by the Gentleman’s Emporium 6x6 paper pad.  I haven’t done a collage project in a while so I thought it would be fun to make some faux postcards and a simple holder (which I’ll show you how to make) with which to display them. I also displayed some of my altered envelopes behind the postcards.
In terms of a theme for the cards I went vintage (of course) and then I thought I would have a little fun.
The first card is from Sherlock Holmes (who is in Argentina on the trail of his nemesis Professor Moriarty) to his sidekick Dr. Watson.
The second card is a couple vacationing in Paris, sending a postcard back to their children in London.
The third is a Scotsman on tour writing to his friend Isabella.  One of my favorite authors is Alexander McCall, who lives in Scotland and one of my favorite series he writes is set in Edinburgh and revolves around Isabella Dalahoose.
The images I used to decorate the cards come from new collage sheets and images sets as well as some older collage sheets (more info below and in the tutorial portion of the blog post).  You’ll also find Free vintage postcard image further down in the post.
This sheet contains 11 smartly dressed men from the Victorian and Edwardian period. 
This set is packed with men, women and children from the Victorian and Edwardian periods.  Included are all of the images from the Dapper Fellows Collage Sheet, the Victorian Women Collage Sheet and the Victorian Children Collage Sheet plus an additional 11 images for a total of 47 images.
If you liked my Remnants of the Past #1 and #2 Collage Sheets, you will live the download set.   This set is packed with vintage ephemeral all sized to work with smaller projects like altered tins, and ATC’ although with a download set, you can adjust the size of the image to fit your project.  It contains all of the images from the Remnants of the Past #1 & #2 Collage Sheets plus 7 more for a total of 122 images.

I started by cutting 5 pieces of thick chipboard (you could layer thinner chipboard).  To determine the measurements, I used a combination of the size of the postcards the side of the clay trim, and the size of the feet.

Front and Back – These needed to be at least as long as the postcard but also long enough to work with the trim.  I used a silicone mold and polymer clay (you could use paper clay or Mold & Pour) to make the trim.  The trim has a repeat design, so I wanted to make sure the trim started and end between the designs.  The measurement I used was 6 7/8” wide x 1 ½” high.  The height is arbitrary.   It needs to be high enough to hold the cards and I wanted it low enough to see as much of the cards as possible

Bottom – The bottom piece was cut the same width as the front and back (6 7/8”) and wide enough to hold however many cards you want to display and to accommodate the size of the feet (1/1/4”).

Sides – The height of the sides is the same measurement as the height of the back and front.  But the width needs to be a little wider than the width of the bottom.  The reason for the difference is based on how the pieces are glued together, you need to not only use the bottom width measurement but also include the depth (edge) of the back and front pieces.  In the case of my holder, that ended up being 1 3/8” which I derived by bottom width 1 ¼” + the depth of my chipboard which was 1/16” for the front and 1/16” for the back.
Assembly & Decoration
I first painted all of the chipboard edges with a color that would complement the decorative paper (sand the edges before painting if necessary). Next, I covered all of the chipboard (back and front) with paper.  It is much easier to paper before rather than after you assemble the pieces.
I glued the front and back pieces to the bottom piece.  Once dry, I attached the side pieces.  By attaching the side pieces last, it gives the holder the best support as they are glued to the edge of the front, back and bottom pieces.  Because you are attaching the side pieces last, the width measurement needs to include both the width of the bottom and the depth of the front and back chipboard.

Making & Attaching the Border
I used silicone mold and polymer clay to make a border to fit around the holder.  Because the mold is so detailed, I used a roller to press the clay into the mold.
To remove the excess clay I used a clay blade/cutter to carefully remove all of the layers of excess clay, alternatively, you could use a razor blade.
Once you remove the excess clay you may find areas that aren’t entirely filled with clay, just press more clay into those areas and remove the excess with the blade.
Next, I baked the clay. When working a delicate thin intricate piece like this, I bake the clay in the mold at a lower temperature than usual and for a shorter period of time.  It is better to underbake it then put it back for a little longer than to burn the clay.

The border is shorter than the width of my holder.  Because of the pattern of the border, it is easy to use a full strip then piece a few more sections of the pattern to cover the entire width.
I also made it just long enough to be slightly longer than the holder.  The reason is when I attach the border to the side pieces, they will but up against the back of the front pieces to give me a nice edge.  Early I discussed using this consideration in determining the length of my front and back pieces.
Lastly, I added feet to the bottom of the holder and a strip of paper to the top as trim.
For the front, I used images of vintage postcards (you will find them further down in the post and can download them for your own use.)  Before I printed the postcard images, I added an address and message.   I mounted the images on a thin piece of chipboard to make them sturdier.
I covered the backside with paper from the Gentlemen’s Emporium 6x6 Paper Pad.
Next, I collaged images from the new collage sheet and image sets plus two other collage sheets, Rose Garden and Paris Postcards.  I also cut out detailed images from the paper pad.
Lastly, I inked the edges of the cards with Vintage Photo Distressed Ink.

Feel free to click on each image to download these images and use them in your art.  To download the images, right click on the images and select "Save Image As" from the popup menu.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019


If you love Alice in Wonderland and tarot cards, you will love these projects.  One set of cards is the size of an ATC and a mini version of cards that are 1 3/8" x 15/16".  To store the cards, I’ve used two different sized Faux Book Boxes decorated with beautiful themed Alice paper and images from my new image sets.    
For this project, I have designed a 3collage sheet Alice themed Tarot card set of the 22 Major Arcana tarot cards which are ready to be cut out, backed with decorative paper and voila, you have a set of cards. The images are available as collage sheets or as a digital image set.
If you love miniature items, I created a half collage sheet mini version of the tarot cards which is Free with Purchase for a limited time at AlphaStamps (see details further down in the post).


This 3 collage sheet set contains 22 Major Arcana tarot cards featuring characters from “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass” books plus some images to decorate a card box.  It is so easy to make your own set by merely cutting out the card images and attaching a decorate paper backing.   This set fits perfectly in the ATC Sized Faux Book Box.
This sheet contains 18 characters from the “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass” books.  Included are: Executioner, Duchess, Mock Turtle, White Knight, White King, Red Queen, Caterpillar, Humpty Dumpty, King of Hearts, March Hare, Gryphon, Cheshire Cat, Carpenter, Walrus, Unicorn, Lion, Jabberwock, and the Messenger.  This sheet works well with all of my other Alice themed collage sheets and digital image sets.
This sheet is a mini version of 3 Alice Tarot Collage Sheet (22 Major Arcana tarot cards) set featuring characters from “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass” books plus some images to decorate a card box.  The cards measure 1 3/8" x 15/16" and fit perfectly in the Tiny Card Faux Book Box.

This set contains all of the cards found on the Alice Tarot 3 Collage Sheet set which includes 22 Major Arcana tarot cards featuring characters from “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass” books plus some images to decorate a card box for a total of 24 images.  This set fits perfectly in the ATC Sized Faux Book Box.

I started by assembling the box part of the book.  Next, I painted all of the edges that will be exposed after papering, black.
As a closure, I added ribbon to the inside of the lid and the back of the box (before papering).  You could alternately add the ribbon to the front of the cover as opposed to the back. 
To all of the surfaces inside and out I added paper from the Alice 12x12 paper pad which is filled with beautiful designs and images, I had a tough time choosing which ones to use.   Notice how the paper covers the ribbon and helps to hold it in place.
For the spine, I used bookbinders tape or cloth tape.  It is fabric on one side with adhesive on the other.  Other options would be to use paper or to hinge the cover to the spine.  I cut the tape wider than the spine to facilitate attaching it to the lid and back of the box.

I attached the tape to the spine (first picture above) then glued the spine to the side of the box.  I then folded the tape over the back of the box and then folded it over the lid of the box.
I used images from the Tarot Card collage sheet set, the Alice in Wonderland Characters collage sheet (March Hare on the spine) and my Wonderland digital image set (trees & cat on the front cover) to decorate the outside of the box.
I used three layers for the tarot cards to make them sturdy.
Top – tarot card image
Middle – cardstock (alternatively you could use thin chipboard)
Back – Alice decorative paper
After assembling the three layers I painted them with Glossy Accents to give them a shiny finish.

I assembled the mini cards and box in the same manner as the larger box and cards with a few minor differences.
For the small box, I used only one ribbon as a closure.
For the mini cards, I backed the images with the Alice decorative paper but did not use the cardstock in the middle as the cards would have been too thick to fit in the box.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The Anthropomorphic Theater Presents - Death Comes to Call

The inspiration for this project came from a series of shadow box lids with cutouts of various shapes and sizes.  I thought it would be fun to put them together to construct a theater.
Wanting something unusual, I decided to create a new collage sheet “Strange People #2” (further below in the post) filled with anthropomorphic characters and decided on the macabre theme “Death Comes to Call”.
In this theater, multiple scenes are taking place at the same time.  The crocodile and unicorn vie for the attention of the giraffe.
In another room the stork pines for the crocodile who is fixated on the giraffe while in another scene the crow maid quarrels with her fop of a master.
Lurking at the top is Death sensing the tension between the characters while the stag plays his fiddle.

This collage sheet contains 15 anthropomorphic characters.

The theater is made from 4 different shadowbox lids and their corresponding shadow box kits.  I decided to make the opening larger (at the top and bottom) on the largest shadowbox lid which is arched.
I marked cut lines on the top and bottom of the lid and then drew lines along the arch to help guide where to expand the top of the arch.  I used a stencil to help me mark the new arch line.
I covered the lids with damask style paper.

To give the lids the look of a theater I added curtains with fringe (2 different colors).  These are digital images so they can be sized to fit the project.  I also used architectural elements from the Mini Gothic Architecture Collage Sheet.  At the top of the large box is the theater sign which you will find further down in the post and can download for your project.
I painted the shadow boxes on the inside and outside with a combination of yellow shades of paint and added yellow paper to the inside bottom of the box.  I chose this color as it is bright and whatever I added to the inside would not get lost in the shadows after the lid was in place.
Next, I added furnishings from the Mini Gothic Architecture Collage Sheet and the Step into My Parlor Collage Sheet.  All of the images are popped up from the back (using double stick foam tape) to give the impression of dimension.  Lastly, I added the characters (also popped up from the back).

Once I was satisfied with each of the scenes I slid the lids over the boxes and then glued the boxes together, positioning the side boxes slightly in front of the center box.
Feel free to download this image and use it in your artwork.

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