Friday 21 September 2012

Magic Box - Miniature Broomstick Tutorial

This is really easy and very messy to make so don't
have a go if you've just had your nails done!
It's a great size to add as a spooky embellishment
on the front of a card
1) one paper clip
2) one length if kitchen towel -
(torn to about 20mm (0.75 inch) wide)
3) one length of brown paper (35mm wide x 170mm long
(1.4inches wide x 6.5inches long)
4) PVA Glue
5) distressing inks 'forest moss' & 'brushed corduroy'
6) short length of sewing cotton
7) paint brush
8) crystal glitter to highlight (optional)
9) Ranger 'Glue N seal' to finish (optional)
1) Start with your paper clip and straighten it out.
 2a) Cut it to around 70mm (2.75inches) long
2b) Give it a 'witchy bend' or two
3) Dab your inks onto a waterproof surface -
I've used a glass coaster here.
4a) Squeeze some PVA glue onto the ink
and mix the colours into it.
You don't need as much glue as this -
my nozzle popped off!!!
4b) Drag the kitchen towel through to
load it with the mix.
5) Bind the paper clip to the end
and back again.
Don't worry if it hangs off either end
you can trim when it's dry
6) Clean the glue off your surface
and apply more ink.
Roll the 'broom handle to and fro to pick up
more colour.
This is best done before the 'handle' dries.
note: You can also pick up the ink on a paintbrush
to cover any stubborn recesses (clean your
brush straight after).
7) Ink up your length of brown paper -
using the same colours as before.
8) Allow to dry, or blast dry with a heat gun,
then cut fine strips across the full length.
8a) Be sure to leave about 15mm (0.6 of an inch)
uncut along the top.
9a) Cut fine slits across the other (top) side
leaving about 6mm (0.25 inches) uncut
9b) You don't have to do this all the way along
about three quarters of the length
then trim off from there
10) Run some glue down the uncut area and,
starting with the trimmed end (shown in 9b), 
roll the paper length tightly onto the 'broom handle'
11) This is how it should look
12) Run your length of cotton through some ink 
to colour it.
Apply glue to the uncut area of your 'broom'
and wind the cotton tightly round. 
13) When the glue has dried snip into the broom
you're aiming to make the 'bristles' irregular in length 
14) Scrunch the 'bristles' to make tem untidy -
think 'bed head' hair style (scruffier the better)!
Fan out the short bristles - 
(along the top, nearest the handle).
 You can highlight with crystal glitter or
just varnish with something like Rangers 'Glue N Seal'
It has a matte finish but gives a nice gentle glow.
Hope you give it a go and thanks for popping by!

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Magic Box - 'Something Wicked'

by the pricking of my thumbs
something wicked
this way comes...

This box was purely for fun.
I love Halloween and I love these lines from Macbeth.

It had to be a blustery, Autumnal day.
I wanted a broomstick - in the air,
an old, twisted hat
(made from velvet paper),
and a book of spells.
There's a 'bobbly eye' on the front cover...
...that bobbles when the book is opened.
I think I love Halloween more than Christmas.
Is that bad?

Here's what I used to make the box:
Basic Grey clear stamps set 'Eerie Collection'
(for the box and inside panels).
I used the large web. Stamped with VersaFine 'Onyx Black'
and highlighted with black holographic glitter.
Star Highlights on inside panels;
A star background stamp I made myself
(I have the Imagepac Daylight Stamp maker)
Stamped using IndigoBlu 'FlitterGlu' - FABULOUS glue!
and sprinkled with holographic gold glitter.
Spell book stamp;
Hero Arts wood mounted rubber stamp 'Small Script'.
Stamped using Tim Holtz Distress Inks 'Brushed Corduroy'.
I also aged the pages with this colour.
The page edges are highlighted with ultrafine brown glitter.
Mini spider punch (
Xcut botanical embossing punches;
Woodware small maple leaf.
Leaves inked with;
Crushed Corduroy
Rusty Hinge
Spiced Marmalade
Mustard Seed
Crushed Olive
Box panels inked with;
Rusty Hinge
Spiced Marmalade
Mustard Seed
Crushed Olive
The Bats;
I drew the bats (using a white pencil)
onto black card and cut them out.
I applied Woodware black 'Fluffy Stuff' to their bodies.
A straightened paperclip bound with a
glue soaked length of kitchen towel.
Inked with 'Brushed Corduroy' and 'Crushed Olive'
after it had dried.
Broom Head;
A length of brown paper inked with the above colours.
I cut fine slits along the full width then rolled it onto the handle,
applying small amounts of glue along the way.
I wrapped a small length of sewing cotton near the top -
to mimic a rope tie.
Finishing with highlights of clear and brown glitter.
Witches Hat;
I made this from black 'Velvet Paper'.
It held its shape well but was a 'Devil' to stick!

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Magic Box - Lovebirds

Well I'm still here!
Hope you will forgive my 'long time no blog'.
I've been busy making boxes but don't always get the time to photograph them.
This box was commissioned by Gloria for her daughter's wedding earlier this year.

The theme of the wedding was lovebirds.
Gloria wanted a hidden message tag within the box.
I made a hidden compartment under the lid (flower) panel.
This held a small 'tag book' with a beautiful message from
Mum and Dad.
The book was bound using iridescent cord and a mother of pearl heart - pull the cord and the book slides from its hidden compartment.
The roses match the ones in the bride's bouquet.
Ivory tipped with maroon.

There had to be a cage with lovebirds inside.
I couldn't find a bird cage die small enough... I adapted my memory box
'wraught iron gate' die instead. 
I had to draw and cut out the lovebirds by hand -
I wouldn't want to do that too often - boy are they small
(smaller than my fingernail)!
Thank you for your emails and messages you are wonderful!  

Friday 12 November 2010

Magic Box - Mica Butterflies


I'd been playing with mica and thought how well it would suit butterfly wings.
These are painted with mica pigment 'Festive Brights'.

The butterfly stamp is by Personal Impressions
Unfortunately it doesn't seem to have a name, just a code: P547 E.
The rounded shape reminded me of the butterflies depicted in traditional Japanese art..

Using mustard coloured card as the base seemed to enhance the colours of the mica pigment..

I wanted to carry the 'shimmer' effect throughout the box
but decided not to use mica pigment on the panels
it would have overpowered the butterflies.
Using ivory pearlescent card as the base I inked with
the green and blue from Rangers Big & Juicy 'Mountain Meadow'.

To add a final touch of luxury I stamped Hero Arts 'Leaf  Flourish'
in VersaMark and embossed with gold.
Mounting the panels onto gold mirror board framed them nicely
and added weight to the sides which always helps with 'the drop'.

I must say, I thought glitter was difficult to capture in a photograph
but mica is a nightmare!

Thankyou for visiting.

Thursday 7 October 2010

90th Birthday! - magic box

My friend Kathy asked me to make a box for her Mum's 90th Birthday!
The Brief:
1) The explosion - pink striped roses, these were the flowers Kathy's Mum grew in her garden.
2) NO BUGS, (I wanted the occasional butterfly or bee), Kathy assured me that they would be swatted!!!!

I'm sorry it's been a long while since my last post - this year has been a little bit manic.

Saturday 27 February 2010


and the winner is...

Congratulations Elaine A!

The goodies will be winging their way over to you as soon as you let me know your postal details.
Just click on 'About me' then hit the email link in 'contact' (forgive me if you already know where to go)!!!

Thanks to everyone for taking part.
I wish you all could have won but I'll make another 'box candy' soon!

Monday 1 February 2010

Butterfly Tutorial - Magic Boxes

Thank you all for your heart warming comments.
I'm completely overwhelmed by your response to my blog candy. I'm now thinking that perhaps I should have only run it for a couple of weeks!

Quite a few have asked for a butterfly tutorial and as it links nicely to the blog candy - here goes...... 

I used a butterfly stamp I designed myself and stamped onto lightweight card using VersaFine Onyx Black then embossed with clear embossing powder.

Here's a list of what I used to colour them:
A) Sakura Black Gel Pen
B) Black marker Pen - I used Marvy Le Plume but any will do
C) Purple marker pen (any)
D) Blender Pen
E) Twinkling H2Os - Sky Blue
F) Watercolour brush

And here's what to do: 

1) Stamp the butterfly using Versafine and emboss with clear embossing powder - nine times.
It's a good thing to brush the card with an anti-static bag beforehand - this ensures the powder only sticks to your image.
2) Cut the butterflies out. If you're not happy cutting round the antennae a fine slither of black card folded in half and glued to the back of the body works just as well.

To stamp the reverse:
3) Ink the stamp again and carefully position the blank side of the butterfly onto the stamp
4) Firm it down using a second acrylic block or something smooth and flat like a glass coaster. Don't worry too much about achieving a perfectly aligned image, just do the best you can and I'll show you later how to 'cheat' it good.

On the embossed (top) side:
5) Run the purple marker pen round the outer edge of the butterfly's wings
6) Blend using the blender pen 
7) Dot purple round the outer edge again
8) Use the blender pen to soften the edges of your dots. These butterflies look more three dimensional if you don't colour in one solid colour. Make your first colour fade towards the body.

9) Colour the next section of the wings using Twinkling H2Os (Sky Blue) - applying it with a brush and not completely filling the areas to the edge.
10) Blend out using the blender pen.

Turn the butterfly over to the reverse side (not embossed)
11) Here's your chance to correct any wobbly stamping (on the reverse) - in stages 1 & 2.
12) Run the black marker pen round the edges of the butterfly - to cover any blank or missed areas
13) Tint colour across the surface, similar to the colours used on the front. This doesn't need to be perfect - it's only a hint so the underside isn't glaringly bare!

Turn the butterfly over again (embossed side up) to finish the top detailing
14) Now using the Sakura black gel pen draw round the top edges of the butterfly wings, the antennae and the body markings
15) To finish colouring - run the black marker pen round the very outer edges of the butterfly - otherwise these are white and very visible in the explosion.

Dare I say it? GLITTER

Even if you're not a glitter person glitter makes the explosion more dramatic - it catches and plays with the light as the butterflies dance, highlighting and drawing attention to their every flutter.
Glitter colours used on this box are:
A) Crystal (in the blog candy)
B) Black holographic (in the blog candy)
If you have no other colours these will cover every need - Crystal allows any underlying colour to shine through and black holographic is dark and rich, it makes a bold statement 'fizzing and sparkling' like fireworks in a midnight sky.
C) Is a colour I mixed myself. I had blue (which was not very exciting) and mixed crystal into it. Crystal glitter made it more sparkly and a little bit translucent so the underlying colour still hints through.

16) Apply fine lines of 'dries clear' glue on some, but not all, of the purple wing areas and sprinkle with crystal glitter.
17) Allow to dry then brush off any surplus glitter (be tough with the brushing). Always start with your lightest glitter and work to your darkest being last.

18) Apply fine lines of glue to the blue areas (not all) and the body (dots only) and sprinkle with the blue glitter mix, or crystal again.
19) Allow to dry and brush off the loose glitter.

20) Apply fine lines of glue to the body and curves of glue to the wing edges.
21) Sprinkle with black holographic. Allow to dry then brush loose glitter off.
note: I dotted glitter on the wing edges of the blog candy butterflies. Curves are much better so I'll be putting that right! When glittering always try to compliment the lines of the image.

Shaping the butterflies:
Gently curve the wings by placing your thumb on top and index finger underneath, one wing at a time. Pinch and move your finger to the wing edges several times. This warms the card and 'bows' the wings. Take your time and don't force it, rushing this stage causes creases to form.

Place your thumbnail along either edge of the body and fold the wings upwards.

Attaching to the acetate:
I attach them to the acetate using 'What Glue' by Jomil. It's a 'dries clear' all purpose glue. Apply to both surfaces and just before it dries fully clear press both surfaces together - it grabs like a magnet. This glue dries flexible so it has a much stronger bond when the butterflies are exploding from the box. 

That's it.

Hope it all makes sense!