Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Medieval Castle Tutorial

Hello everyone! I have a fun Sizzix tutorial to share with you today. When I made my Tall Grungy Houses a few weeks ago, they got me thinking about making a fairy tale castle using my Sizzix dies. I kept thinking about it, until I just had to try it out. 
Here's the final result, I am happy with how it turned out, and it is much easier to make than what it looks like. This medieval castle was made using basically only mat board, dies, paste and paint. It is pretty cool to be able to create something large like this from just those products. I made it for my son to have as an ornament in his room. If you use different colours, such as pink, and don't distress it, you'll end up with a very different looking castle, so there are lots of possibilities. It measures 6 1/4 in wide, 9 in long and 10 in high. This is a long tutorial, let's start.
First, I thought about which dies might help me build a castle, and die cut some blocks using Eileen Hull's Square Box and 3-D Blocks/Cubes dies, from mat board. You can also use chipboard. You need one large block, and three smaller (the mid-sized block on the 3-D Blocks/Cubes).

I wanted round towers and used Susan's Garden Rounded Birdhouse for the piece to the right, and Brenda Walton's Faceted Cone for the roof piece. These dies don't work so well with mat board, which is too thick, instead I used thin chipboard. You need four of each.

On top of the large block I wanted a smaller building and decided to use Eileen Hull's birdhouse, also die cut from mat board.
In one of the large block pieces, I cut a door opening using the smallest Tim Holtz Sized Arches die. The windows were die cut with the Windows set. Use masking tape to temporary hold the dies in place to make sure that they don't shift when you die cut.

At first, I was planning for the square tower to be connected to the entrance building, but later I changed my mind, which is why my tall square tower doesn't have a door. If you want to, die cut a door. Since this is an old castle, there is no glass in the windows, but if you do another type of castle, you can use acetate or mica.

 For the towers I used a Keyhole Movers & Shapers die. 

Adhere the tower together with strong tape. You need to cut off two wedges from the roof in order for it not to be too wide. Check to make sure it is just wide enough before you assemble the roof.

I thought I was pretty clever when I figured out how to do the part on top of the towers (I am not sure what those notches are called), and the wall. I was not keen on having to cut all those notches with a craft knife and suddenly came to think of Tim Holtz Torn Notebook On the Edge Die. I was happy to see how well it worked. Cut a piece of mat board and die cut it until you have cut the whole piece, lining it up on the die.

You can see into this castle through all the windows, so I painted the inside with Pumice Stone.

To give it some texture, I stamped with a crackle stamp and Watering Can ink.
When I made my Tall Grungy Houses, I wished that I had added some people inside them. I didn't have time to make clay people for the castle, instead these wood veneer Potty People had to do. I used nine of them, in two sizes, and painted them with Distress Paint.

I put a blob of hot glue where I wanted the figurines.

Use strong adhesive to assemble the blocks. These are the insides of the blocks in the tall tower. I even added some ornaments for the walls.

A cameo painting inside one of the rooms.

Measure and score the 'roof piece' so that you can easily attach it around the top floor.

Adhere with strong tape. Repeat on the large block.

Assemble all the different buildings, but don't put the roofs on the round towers or on the bird house yet.

Smear a thin layer of Wendy Vecchi's White Embossing Paste on the houses, also covering the joints. Continue until you have covered all the houses, the round towers, and the bird house roof. If you used brown chipboard, as I did on the towers, you might want to give them a coating of gesso first. Leave to dry.
On the conical roofs, I made some impressions while the paste was still wet, creating a cool roof texture.

I wanted more texture on the buildings and was thinking about how to do that. I love this Cobblestones die by Tim Holtz and though it would work great as a stencil. It was die cut from Eclipse tape and used as a stencil, to smear paste here and there through the stone shapes. You can also try using printer paper, but the Eclipse Tape works well. I was happy with the texture and repeated on all the buildings, but not on the roofs. 

When dry, paint with watered-down Pumice Stone. Adding a little bit of water to the paint (make a pool on a paint palette) speeds up painting.

Use a paint brush, and paint the stones with Weathered Wood. It doesn't need to be perfect. At this stage, my son commented that he thought the caste was 'too white, castles aren't supposed to be white'.
I listened to the advice of the four-year old castle expert and added more Pumice Stone and distressed the buildings by dry brushing Black Soot on them. The black paint makes the texture of the paste more visible.

The roof pieces were painted with slightly watered-down Black Soot Paint, and when dry, dry brushed with more black paint. 

At this stage, I had no idea what I was going to place the castle on and happened to think of the packaging for Brenda Walton's dies, very sturdy boxes. I have kept the packaging, knowing it would come in handy, and used one of the boxes from an L-sized die. I coated it with a few coats of gesso to cover up the pink. The wall was cut from mat board and die cut with the Torn Notebook die. I didn't make it very high because I wanted the castle to be clearly visible.

Smear paste all over the base and place the buildings into the wet paste, which then acts as an adhesive. As you can see, the roofs are still not attached.
When the paste is dry, paint the ground and the wall in the same way as the buildings. I used Black Soot to make a little path into the castle.
I made flags by folding Tim Holtz tissue tape around a pearl needle and adhered them to the roofs with hot glue. After this, the roofs were attached to the buildings, also using hot glue. Always be very careful when you use hot glue since it is very hot.
Add some people to the outside areas of the castle too. This one has the watch.

With some modifications, you can make a lot of different kinds of castles, use different colours, add more embellishments, cover the shapes with patterned paper instead of paste, there are lots of options. This could also easily be turned into other types of buildings.

It is a welcoming castle and the couple owning it are standing here to welcome guests.

You could leave the bird house out, but I thought it worked as a little building for the guard to take shelter in if the weather is bad.
The stone texture is really nice. I love using my dies in ways they were not originally intended for.
This is what the castle looks like from the other side. There are people on all the three floors in the tall tower and if you look closely you can see the ornaments on the walls too.
Here you can see the people better. This was a tricky project to photograph with all the dimension.
From the top it looks like this. There is paste on the flat roofs too. When you touch the castle, it is hard to guess that it is made of mat board and chipboard. 
You don't have to use exactly the same dies as I did, have a look at the shapes your dies can cut and see what you can build. It is lots of fun!

From the side it looks like this. There are some open areas for people to walk around in.

Here's a woman walking, maybe on her way to the market. 

From the top the finished castle looks like this.

The happy recipient of the castle. This also gives you an idea of how large it is. For now, this is mainly going to be an ornament. If you make it to a small child, be careful with the needle flags, maybe use something else or leave them out all together.
Thank you so much for looking at this long post!! I hope it inspired you to look at your dies differently and see how many different uses they can have.
Happy crafting!
Surfaces: Sizzix: Little Sizzles Mat Board 6 x 13; chipboard
Stamps: Tim Holtz Stampers Anonymous: Ultimate Grunge
Ink: Archival Ink: Watering Can
Paint: Distress Paint: Pumice Stone, Black Soot, Victorian Velvet, Chipped Sapphire, Weathered Wood
Medium: Wendy Vecchi White Embossing Paste
Embellishments: Tim Holtz Idea-ology: Merriment Tissue Tape; Studio Calico Wood Veneer: Potty People, Birds
Adhesive: Ranger Wonder Tape; Judikins Eclipse Tape

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Lilac Tree Shadow Box

Hi and very welcome! I got some of the new Susan's Garden flower dies the other day, designed for Sizzix by Susan Tierney-Cockburn. All the new flowers are gorgeous of course.  

May is just around the corner and I was inspired to do a project with the Lilac set. We had these trees in our garden when I grew up, with flowers in several different colours and I always loved them, both the flowers (especially the bluish ones) and their heart shaped leaves. Years ago, I got a bunch of these small wooden shadow box frames (4.5 x 4.5 in) and one of them was a good home for a flowery branch.

The frame was first coated with gesso and then I adhered Tim Holtz tissue tape to it. I used three different tapes. They were coated with multi-medium matte, to make sure they were safely stuck down. Then I painted the frame with Picket Fence Distress Paint, letting some of the pattern show through. When it was dry, I dry-brush a little bit of Frayed Burlap and Walnut Stain here and there.

To make the flowers, I first coloured three pieces of Neenah Smooth Solar White cardstock with Pan Pastels, back and front. They were misted with a matte fixative, which prevents the pastel from colouring your cutting pads. If it does, you can simply wash it off.

The tiny flowers come on one plate, making them fast to die cut. I ran it through my Big Shot three times to get enough flowers. The Magnetic Platform works great together with these dies. Use the Susan's Garden tool kit to shape each flower. Die cut the branch twice, vein and shape it a little and glue the two together. You can find an instruction sheet for this die here.

The flowers were glued to the branch, making sure to glue them all around the branches, so that it looks like the real thing. I added a tiny dot of yellow Paper Pen in the centre of each flower. Some of the branches were bent a bit to add dimension. The leaves were glued to the branch after gluing the branch to the shadow box.

Two Chit Chat stickers gave a sentiment to the frame.

Thank you so much for looking!!

Happy crafting!


Surfaces: Neenah Smooth Solar White Cardstock
Dies: Sizzix: Lilac Flower
Paint: Distress Paint: Picket Fence, Burlap Panel, Walnut Stain; Viva Paper Pen: Sunny Yellow
Pastels: Pan Pastels: Ultramarine Blue, Bright Yellow Green Shade, Permanent Green Shade, Turquoise, Red Iron Oxide, Raw Umber
Ink: Distress Ink: Gathered Twigs
Medium: Ranger Dina Wakley White Gesso; Ranger Matte Multi-Medium
Embellishments: Tim Holtz Idea-ology: Symphony Tissue Tape, Laboratorie Tissue Tape, Elements Tissue Tape, Chit Chat Stickers, Seasonal Chit Chat Stickers
Tools: Sizzix: Big Shot, Susan's Garden Tool Kit

Monday, April 28, 2014

Joy Everyday Canvas Layout

Hello everyone! A big thank you to everyone who commented on my Frameworks Mosaic post after it was linked in Tim Holtz Springtime Blogworthy links. It is Monday and a new challenge is up at Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog. I suggested doing a yellow challenge, because it is one of my favourite colours, such a happy spring colour.

I made a layout using mainly yellow, which just a few touches of white and black. With this amount of yellow, your project will always have a happy feeling. As a base, I used white sticky-back canvas, which gives a great textured feel to the layout and is fun to colour, stamp and stitch. It was coloured with watered-down Distress Paint (Mustard Seed and Scattered Straw). First I held the canvas under a tap, making it completely wet. This helps with getting a fluid watercolour look with the paint. Don't worry if it warps, it won't show once it is dry. To make the layout less flimsy, the canvas was adhered to cardstock.

I was going for a tone-on-tone effect and coloured a second piece of canvas using the same paints. From this piece, I die cut circles and a Picture Wheel. The circles were stitched to the layout. Then I stamped it with various Tim Holtz stamps and two yellow Archival Inks (Saffron and Chrome Yellow). I love the look of the yellow stamping on the canvas. The new Typography and Distress Damask sets will be used a lot by me, such great images. I found a piece of acetate that I had stamped with a script stamp in my scrap box and die cut some circles from that too, for an extra layer. The Alpha Part was painted white and coated with Glossy Accents. There was a Honeycomb Frameworks mirror piece on my desk and I adhered that to the layout too.

A Picture Wheel adds a playful feel to a project and it is fun to embellish. I stamped a compass in the centre and placed a piece of stamped vellum behind it, also adding two rub-on words. 'Joy' was die cut from white sticky-back canvas.

I love this star stamp, either stamp it as a full row, or you could stamp just a star here and there. The flower was stamped on Clearly For Art Modeling Film, heated and shaped. The film keeps its shape perfectly. I found this one in my scrap box too. The vellum piece under the photo was dry embossed.

Two hearts die cut from vellum, more stitching, stamping, a rub-on and an Alpha Part arrow.

Under the photo, I added a film strip ribbon, more rub-ons and some lace trim.

I hope you will join us in our yellow challenge this week! As every week, one random participant wins a $50 gift voucher from Simon Says Stamp and can do some shopping.

Thank you for the visit!


Surfaces: Ranger White Sticky-Back Canvas; Wendy Vecchi Clearly For Art Modeling Film; Tim Holtz Idea-ology Mirrored Sheet; Bazzill vellum
Dies: Sizzix: Picture Wheel, Sized Circles, Mini Hearts, Honeycomb Frameworks, Vintage Market XL
Embossing folder: Sizzix: Courtyard & Trellis
Stamps: Stampers Anonymous Tim Holtz: Distress Damask, Typography, Mini Muse, Classics #9, Air Travel; Stampers Anonymous Wendy Vecchi: Forever Art, Metro Art
Ink: Archival Ink: Saffron, Chrome Yellow; Tsukineko Stazon: Cotton White, Platinum
Paint: Distress Paint: Mustard Seed, Scattered Straw, Picket Fence
Embellishments: Tim Holtz Idea-ology: Life Quotes Remnant Rubs, Framed Alpha Parts, Lavish Trim, Filmstrip Ribbon, Game Spinners, Long Fasteners