Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Crackle Album Tutorial

Hello friends! The Eileen Hull Inspiration Team has a Mixed Media Mayhem this month, in cooperation with DecoArt. Mixed media is also the theme for the May Art With Heart Challenge.  

I've been looking forward to using the new Sizzix Passport Book die by Eileen, since I love to make mini books. I made a mixed media book, using DecoArt's fabulous Media line. The book was meant to look a little like a children's board book, and I used mat board also for the inside pages, instead of cardstock. I've taken quite a few photos of the two brothers, and wanted a place to document some of my favourites and to do a little theme book on brotherhood. 

This is a pretty long post, let's start.

Die cut the spine and two covers from mat board using the Passport Book die. This is an XL die so you need the Extended Cutting Pads. Sandwich: Extended Cutting Pad, die facing up, mat board, second Extended Cutting Pad. Coat with a thin layer of gesso, on both sides, except for the spine, where you only need to coat one side. 

Do the same with the inside pages. I really like that this die contains the inside pages too, so you don't need to cut them by hand. It also scores and adds holes to the inside pages, making it very easy to bind the album.

The DecoArt Fluid Acrylics are great, and contain lots of pigment so you only need a little bit. Mix Medium Grey into Tinting Paste, which is a great white mixing product. Paint on the top part of the covers, and drag some darker grey paint into the lighter grey. Mix a tiny bit of Prussian Blue Hue into Ultramarine Blue and paint at the base of the covers. Paint the spine red.

When dry, randomly stamp the covers and spine with a text stamp. I used Hero Arts' Friend Definition stamp. Stamp it on scrap paper once first, and hold the cling stamp in your hand for a more random impression.

I was planning to use Crackle Paste, which can be a little brittle, especially on the cover of a book that will be handled a lot. To ensure that it adhered better to the background, I coated the background with a layer of Matte Medium first.

I used Andy Skinner's Children stencil. But it depicts a little boy and a girl, and I wanted two boys instead since my book is about being brothers. I masked out the girl with masking tape. Place the tape on your clothes first, if it is too sticky.

Apply Crackle Paste with a palette knife and carefully lift the stencil. Leave to dry and cracks will appear.

Turn the stencil around and use the smaller impression of the little boy. As you can see, it looks like the little brother is walking a bit in front of the big brother, but I was okay with that (and it will probably be the case in a few years). The thicker you apply the paste, the larger the cracks, but I find that this Crackle Paste gives quite large cracks even at thin applications, so don't apply it too thick.

Use dark grey paint to add a shadow on the one side of the children, which makes them look more dimensional. I also painted a shadow with black paint over the blue, but you don't see it so clearly since the blue is really dark. Paint a little black around the edges.

I coated the covers with two coats of Satin Varnish, letting it dry in between. This protects them, at the same time as it made them glossy, which worked well with my children's board book look. If you rather want a matte look, use the Ultra Matte Varnish instead.

Paint the pages light grey and pull darker grey into the pages. Paint on both sides, and leave to dry.

Add detail to the pages, and to the inside covers, with stencils. I used the Irregular Checkerboard and Weeks & Months stencils by Hero Arts and Simon Says Stamp Stars & Dots stencil. Use the same colours as on the covers.

Embellish the pages further with stamps. The tree stamp is from a Nature set by Andy Skinner, the rest of the stamps I used are by Hero Arts. At this stage, I started to plan which photo would go where.

Glue the spine to the covers and place under a heavy book to make sure it is stuck.

Use twine to tie the pages to the spine. If you want to use cardstock instead of mat board for the pages, you can add a lot of pages to this book, since the spine is wide. The spine can also be made narrower, for thinner books.

I was happy with how my crackle children turned out. This is such a cute stencil.

For the title of the book, I used Chit Chat stickers.

The flying bird stamp is from the same Andy Skinner set as the tree. I love stamps of flying birds.

From the back, the book looks like this. You can of course embellish the back too if you'd like to.

I printed all my photos 2 x 3 in in black and white. The pages were embellished with more stamping and text.

I had to get this cute lion stamp by Hero Arts as soon as I saw it, I am sure it will feature on quite a few of Leo's projects. Some of the sentiments were stamped with alphabet stamps.

The red stars added a nice touch to the pages.

I placed a photo on each page, except on the one to the right, with the great tree stamp.

Quotes about brothers were printed and cut into strips. The heart and 'love' stamp comes from Hero Arts Baby Animals set.

And there you can see the bird stamp again. 

I should have photographed the pages before binding the book, because it was a little hard to get good photos. 

The very cute mouse stamp comes from the Hero Arts Baby Animals set and the sentiment is by Kelly Purkey.

It looks like Anton is holding the little feet hard on the lower photo, but that wasn't the case, they just look dark on the photo for some reason.

Isn't that a cute sentiment by A.A. Milne, and it will work for other themes than babies too. 

The cottage is from the same Andy Skinner set as the tree and birds.

I used some Small Talk stickers by Tim Holtz as sentiments too. 

This new Baby Elephant stamp is so cute and happy. I also gave it a little crown.

I've used the Discover the World stamp on quite a few of Leo's projects so far. It is meant to be a travel themed stamp, but fits well on projects about children since they have so much of the world to discover - but then of course, don't we all?

I love this photo, of Anton trying the help Leo when he is practicing lifting his head.

The last page of the book, with a really great quote, and extra fitting here since Anton is wearing Darth Vader clothing.

I hope this post inspired you to make a little book. By changing the colours and stamps, you can make this little book fit many different themes. Or just use the techniques to make a card or an art journal page.

Thank you so much for stopping by today!

Happy crafting!



Paints: DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics: Ultramarine Blue, Prussian Blue Hue, Pyrrole Red, Carbon Black, Medium Grey Value 6, Dark Grey Value 3
Medium: DecoArt: White Gesso, Crackle Paste, Matte Medium, Satin Varnish, White Tinting Base
Stencil: DecoArt Andy Skinner: Children; The Crafter's Workshop Mini Word Association


  1. Oh my gosh Anna-Karin! What a treasure for both boys. I love the colors, the stamps and the DecoArt Crackle colors and paste is amazing... Beautiful photos and tutorial too! Thanks for working with the Passport Book!

  2. oh, this so sweet Anna-Karin! I absolutely love it. Those photos of the boys are adorable. It reminds me of my boys when they were smaller. sniff sniff… they get big so fast!

  3. I love this album Anna-Karin, I love how you used the stencil to create the two boys, that was so clever. Like Lisa said, it reminds me of times gone by too, it really does tug at the heart strings! The pictures of the boys together are adorable, Anton looks completely smitten by Leo. A wonderful, wonderful album! Anne xx

  4. This is such a great project. Thanks for sharing it.

  5. awesome how you made this. beautiful project and photo's!!

  6. what a simply amazing piece!!!! and so will be treasured for years to come !!! i love your album Anna-Karin!!

  7. Your book is so touching! If it had nothing but all those beautiful photos of your precious little babes it would still be perfect but the stenciling and stamping and lovely sentiments you have added though out all make it so perfect. I really like the crackle silhouettes for the cover. I never thought of using crackle paint for stenciling. I always just painted it on top of something like chipboard die cuts.
    Thank you for sharing your lovely work. Its always so inspiring! :)

    1. Thank you so much!! The paste works great for stenciling.

  8. Anna-Karin, what a wonderful keepsake for your boys, a beautiful and heartfelt book full of brotherly love. A real treasure thanks so much for sharing it.

  9. What a sweet keepsake Anna-Karin. Your tutorial is wonderful...great pictures and write up of each step. I love the mini album's construction, too. Every page is so beautifully done.

  10. Wow. I LOVE this album, Anna-Karin!
    I am usually not much into scrapbooking and albums for pictures but this one is absolutely stunning! Brilliantly done on the inside AND the outside as well! And I love all the fab stencilling!

    Claudia x

  11. A wonderful album! I love how you layer stamping. The crackle silhouette on the front makes the perfect cover. A labour of love for your boys, one they will appreciate as they grow up.

  12. A wonderful album! I love how you layer stamping. The crackle silhouette on the front makes the perfect cover. A labour of love for your boys, one they will appreciate as they grow up.


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