Tuesday, September 22, 2020

specimen shattered

Next week I will begin decorating the house for Halloween. For me, this is the best part of the holiday. I have a china cabinet in the dining room which I convert into a creepy cabinet of curiosities.  I thought it would be fun to make a piece to add to my curiosities. Using the Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts 6x6 shadowbox as a base, I created the specimen box. Some shards of mica formed the perfect "shattered" enclosure.

As mentioned, I begin with a 6x6 shadowbox kit from GSLC. The eight piece kit arrives flat. It's a good idea to wipe down the edges of each of the sections before getting started, to remove any residue from the laser cutting process. Any soft rag or paper towel will do the trick. Once the edges have been wiped clean, I like to test assemble the piece (without any glue) to familiarize myself with how it all works. This also helps me to formulate a vision for my final piece. 

I coat all the edges of the pieces, as well as areas where dividers are located, with a light coat of dark brown paint. I plan on adding dimensional woodgrain embossed papers to the outside of the box so that it will look as if the box is made of wood. Having the edges painted a dark brown will ensure that the faux finish is more believable. I also like to coat the interior corners with a dark color so that when the decorative paper pieces are attached to the interior, any unintentional gaps do not show.

I set aside the box pieces to dry and begin working on the interior papers. I begin with a piece of scrapbook paper that has subtle markings and appears aged. I add ink and some random script stamping onto the paper to give it even more dimension, this paper will be used to cover the inside base of the box. A coordinating paper is cut into strips that equal the depth of the box. These strips are inked around the edges with the same ink that was used on the background paper. When the painted edges are completely dry, I use glue along tabs and edges and form the box.

I measure each of the box compartments and cut the base papers to fit, making sure to ink any cut edges. I label the backs of the papers with a letter designated for each compartment. Typically, the three smaller sections will all be the same size; however, the designation allows me to know which "specimen" stamp will be used in which compartment. Using a stamp platform and black archival ink, I stamp the selected "specimen" in the center of the cut paper. I also stamp each image onto a piece of clear acetate with black StazOn ink. The acetate images are set aside to dry.

The next step involves creating the faux wood box exterior. Using a 3D embossing folder and some damp mixed media paper, I run the paper through the diecut machine to add the embossed woodgrain texture. These pieces are then inked, painted and coated with various mediums resulting in a true "wood" look. I make sure to incorporate some of the paint color that was used on the base box to ensure that the transitions are seamless. The wood grained papers are cut to size and attached to the box sides and back with collage medium.

With the main images in place for each section, I am able to visualize where I want to add rub-ons  and additional stamped images. I want the compartment to appear as if the base papers were taken straight from journals or documentation related to each specimen. I add date stamps, signatures, numbers and various other markings. When I am satisfied with the look, the papers are secured in place with adhesive. 

When the StazOn ink is completely dry, I turn the stamped acetate pieces over and use alcohol ink to color the images. When dry, I cut out each image, being careful to get as close to the edge as possible without compromising the image. These acetate images are then attached above their respective stamps within the box. I only attach the acetate pieces along the thorax/abdomen. This allows the wings to be folded upward  enhancing the dimensional effect. 

 The final step in the process is adding shards of mica to the exterior edges of the box. I use a strong, clear drying glue along the edges where the mica touches and then add a weight on top while it dries. You can add as much or as little mica as you want to achieve the desired look. I love how the largest piece spans across the compartments, yet still leaves random areas uncovered.

I hope that you have been inspired by this piece to perhaps create your own themed piece, It is always a lot of fun making pieces that can be displayed year after year.

Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by today, I truly appreciate it.



Acetate, Distress Archival black soot ink, Distress collage medium matte, Distress inks, Distress paints, Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts:  6x6 Shadowbox, Mica pieces, Mixed Media paper, StazOn black ink, Tim Holtz Ideaology: paper stash, specimen rub-ons, Tim Holtz/Sizzix 3D embossing folder lumber, Tim Holtz/Stampers Anonymous stamps