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WELCOME to my little arty world! Trying to make art is a huge part of my life ... love nothing more than messing around with inks and sprays and generally making a mess!

Saturday, 12 September 2015

TUTORIAL : Mixed Media Box

Well I never thought I'd "do a box" but I did and I certainly never EVER thought anyone would want a tutorial on it but so many people asked me to do one after posting it on the Finnabair & Friends - Open Studio Facebook site and also here on my blog I thought I'd better give it a go!

PLEASE bear in mind this is my first time ... I am not saying this is the right way to do it, just MY way of doing it.

If there is too much information then I apologise.
If there is not enough information then I apologise
(if anything is not clear then do please ask ... I am very happy to say how I have done something!)

I am sure there are 101 ways of getting the same results but this method worked for me so here goes ...

Basic box ... this one is about 28x28 cm / 12"x12" square.

Painted it inside and out with Art Basics Heavy Gesso - Black.

Picked my current two favourite stencils to use :
Tim Holtz Layering Stencil - Flourish
Crafter's Workshop Stencil - Live Laugh Love (the small 6" one)

Mask off the parts of the stencil you don't want to use!

I used Art Basics Light Paste - Opaque Matte to apply the design.
I dry each part with my heat-gun as I apply it as I LOVE the way this paste puffs-up with the heat ... make it even more dimensional.

WARNING : next photo' may prove too much for some! 
TOTAL CHAOS as I rummage and sort out bits & bobs to decorate my box. 
I change my mind many times ... it gets stuck on and pulled off and then stuck back on again ... not sure if it is fun or stressful!

But eventually I get something that kinda works.
Or does it?  
I go into meltdown at this point and consider giving up - but come too far now so carry on!

I used Art Basics 3D Gloss Gel - Transparent to stick everything in place.

Doesn't it look truly awful?
Such a mess!
Paint it all black again!

Now comes the part that REALLY freaks me out ... applying colour!
I have no eye for colour.
I dislike pink BUT it kinda worked on the other box so decided to go for it again.  
I still dislike pink.
I spritz & squirt & spray over and over ... drying in between layers.
The colours used here are:
Art Ingredients Mica Powder - Rust (put a little into a spritzer bottle of water)
Ranger Distress Ink - Faded Jeans
Perfect Pearls Mists - Forever Blue / Blue Smoke / Heirloom Gold
Colour Bloom - Pressed Petal (the only pink I like!) / Worn Leather

I built up the colour bit by bit ... if the colour is too much I squirt with water and dab with kitchen paper ... or squirt with water and let it run and drip ... get some amazing effects doing that!

Once the inks have dried I enhance the stencilling and highlight the flowers and cogs and - well, just about everything really with gilding wax, applied with my finger.
Creative Expressions Gilding Wax - Golden Light / Decadent Denim / 
Vintage Plum

Final stage I mixed a little glass glitter with gel and used a paintbrush to apply it to small areas of the lid of the box.
When that was dry I brushed on a little gel into a few places and sprinkled it with fine black glitter.
I dislike glitter BUT totally love the black one used here!

Art Basics Soft Gloss Gel - Transparent
Art Ingredients Glass Glitter - Pitch Black
Art Ingredients Glitter Set - Ebony & Ivory

Final step was to mix a little mica powder with gel and DRY BRUSH it over the box to highlight the details ... pick up a little of the mix of powder & gel and wipe most of it off onto kitchen paper ... you need VERY little on your brush.

Art Basics Soft Gloss Gel - Transparent
Art Ingredients Mica Powder - Copper

And when all that has been done you end up with a very different box to one with which you started!


Two sides



Close up of the details

I hope this inspires even one person to have a go ... will have made the stress of doing my first ever tutorial worthwhile!


  1. This is beautiful! I am working on a project myself right now and was at the "tearing my hair" out phase. I finally declared the project a trial run and put anything and everything in regards to colours on to try and decide what looks best, still have no clue LOL. Love this.

  2. Thanks for the tutorial! I might give it a go! Yep its scary - lol!

  3. Great job !! Easy to follow and the results are totally awesome. Thanks

  4. Great job...I love doing mixed media...I have made too many probably...but it gets addictive and it's so much fun!! So enjoy the process and let each project speak to you...creating should be a stress release not cause!! ;-)

  5. Great job...I love doing mixed media...I have made too many probably...but it gets addictive and it's so much fun!! So enjoy the process and let each project speak to you...creating should be a stress release not cause!! ;-)

  6. Beautiful!! Thanks for the great instructions - your tutorial is awesome and very helpful.

  7. Awesome step by step! I admire others, but haven't tackled this level of mixed media yet. I have a little more courage to have a go now. Thanks so much!!

  8. Lovely box !! really wonderful, I love the way you have done it!! Fabulous!, thanks so much for your totorial, big hugs, Caty.

  9. That's a truly awesome piece of work, Debbie. Your instructions are such that I may even have a go myself! Thank you! More please!!! Gill x

  10. Only your 2nd box!?! AMAZING project and wonderful tutorial, can't wait to see more!

  11. Another beautiful piece of artwork

  12. Your tutorial is absolutely fantastic Debbie and the box is amazing! Thanks for sharing!
    Much love, Sanda xxx