Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Inspire Artist Trading Block Tutorial

Hello everyone! Since it is a new month, we also have a new Art with Heart challenge at Eileen Hull. This month's theme is May Flowers. Don't miss the inspiration by the team.
This morning I woke up with the idea of an Artist Trading Block with Darkroom Door photo stamps on the sides. This is the result. I enjoy making layered flowers from different materials, and I used three of Eileen's flower dies to make these flowers: 3-D Fringed Flower, Flower Layers with Heart Petals, and the 3-D Wrapped Flower. I took step photos.
Die cut the 3-D Block/Cube/Bank from mat board and assemble into a block. Smear gesso on all the sides with a palette knife. This box is 3 x 3 x 3 in. Leave to dry.

You could stamp right onto the gesso, but I wanted to be able to move them around a bit to decide which parts I wanted so I stamped them on tissue paper. This also preserves all the details in these detailed photo stamps. Just because these stamps are rectangular, doesn't mean you can't make them square, by only using a portion. Leave to dry.
Apply glossy multi-medium on the block and place one of the tissue papers on top. Add another layer of gel on top. Work one side at a time. It is easy to tear the tissue along the edges.
Complete all the four sides and adhere a piece of Tim Holtz tissue wrap on top using the same method. Leave to dry.
Paint with Distress Paints, adding a tiny bit of water to puddles of paint. I was going to use pink in my flowers, originally thinking this would be a Mother's Day gift, so I added some pink to each image. Finally, dry-brush a little bit of Walnut Stain, especially on the edges.

Now to the flowers. I die cut flowers from vellum, old dictionary paper, tissue wrap, natural sticky-back canvas (first adhered to a piece of cardstock) and patterned papers. These papers are 6 x 6 papers from Prima. I sometimes find collage papers with lots of different patterns hard to use, but loved how they came out here die cut into flowers.
Smear Distress Inks on a craft sheet and mist with water. Press the canvas flowers into the ink. Fray the edges.

Scrunch up most of the other flowers to add dimension and ink them with pink and brown inks. I ended up not using the black and pink flowers.

Layer the flowers, alternating the different surfaces. You can make quite a few flowers, I had lots of left-overs. Smear a little bit of Antique Linen Distress Stickles on the flowers.

Place a dot of Glossy Accents in the centre of the flowers and sprinkle with gold mica flakes. Leave to dry. 
Glue the flowers to the top of the box with hot glue - be careful since it is very hot. For more examples of these mixed flowers, check out this and this tutorial of mine.
I die cut leaves and swirls from vellum, patterned paper and text paper and tucked in here and there.
Let's look at the four sides of the block. I love that you can turn the block around when it is displayed to alter the images. I stamped each side with a small sentiment stamp, using Stazon Jet Black.

These Darkroom Door photo stamps are so much fun, for more ideas of how to use them and colour them, have a look at my Altered Wooden Blocks and Colour Love posts.
The dry-brushing with the dark brown paint increases the texture of the block, by showing the texture created by both the gesso and the small wrinkles in the tissue paper.

This Country Cottage is one of my favourites and I love the large tree in the foreground.

A pink sun-bleached cottage, I think I want to go there for a holiday.

And this is my pink bike...(no, my bike is yellow and not parked in such a pretty spot). You could also use photos instead of stamps. My box is closed, but you can also leave one of the sides without adhesive, and use it as a gift box.
The flowers are pretty chunky and would look great on a card too, or glue a magnet at the back for an ornament the recipient can keep on using.
The second flower, with a few more layers. The Antique Linen adds a nice vintage shimmer.
Thank you so much for looking! I hope you will join us in the challenge this month, there is a great prize to be won.
Happy crafting!
Surfaces: Sizzix Little Sizzles White Mat Board; Tim Holtz Idea-ology: Melange Tissue Paper; Ranger Natural Sticky-Back Canvas; vellum; Prima Lyric 6 x 6 paper pad; old dictionary paper; tissue paper
Stamps: Darkroom Door: Castle, Bicycle, Canal, Country Cottage, New York Vol. 1
Ink: Ranger Archival Ink: Jet Black; Distress Ink: Victorian Velvet, Tattered Rose, Gathered Twigs, Frayed Burlap; Tsukineko Stazon Jet Black
Paint: Distress Paint: Antique Linen, Frayed Burlap, Walnut Stain, Victorian Velvet
Medium: Ranger Matte Multi-Medium; Golden Artist Paint Gesso
Glitter: Distress Stickles Antique Linen; Stampendous Gilded Mica Fragments


  1. Gorgeous, those Darkroom Door images look fabulous as do your flowers. Love this. Tracy x

  2. Wonderful,you do think of some great ideas


  3. I love this ATB! The colors are so soft and fitting for the stamps and your flowers are to die for! Beautiful!

  4. I think this has to be one of my favourites of your ATBs, it almost tells a story! The scenes you created are beautiful and your flowers are stunning - I love all the different elements you added to your flowers. This really is a beautiful ATB! Anne x

  5. I love how the stamps on tissue paper came out Anna-Karin! Almost like a muted old photo. The flowers really top off the box too and add. Nice vintages feel. Love you ATB as I love everything else you do!

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. very amazing! Love this very much!

  8. Suce a fantastic Tutorial Anna-Karin! I can't wait to try these techniques you innovator you :)


  9. Oh, wow! This is absolutely AMAZING! Love every facet and detail of this!! Super-inspiring!

  10. This is beyond stunning! I love everything about it, the images, backgrounds, colors ... so yummie! Suzanne

  11. Oh, I am in love with the bicycle stamp! I need to get that die and try my hand at the boxes, they look like such fun :)

  12. What a fabulous artistic block! The images you used are absolutely perfect for this project. LOVE!

  13. Utterly gorgeous, Anna-Karin - the tissue stamping over the gesso looks completely amazing. The photo stamps are fabulous, and those flowers and flourishes on the top are just wonderful. I'm in love with this! What non-stop inspiration you offer!
    Alison xx

  14. Anna-Karin-Love the tissue paper technique! It is one of my favorites! The stamps were perfect. You did a amazing job and it is very inspiring!
    Way to go!

  15. This is really beautiful! Nice work!

  16. Fantastic, ! Love the way this has been put together, x

  17. The vintage photos are so great. The nostalgic feel of your ATB really draws me in. Great job!


Thank you so much for leaving a comment! Happy Crafting!