Do-It-Yourself Craft Mat

Hello, Marilyn here with a cool how-to from Alchemist Misty.  Have you ever need something, but just can’t seem to make yourself part with those hard earned bucks to purchase it?  Never fear!  Today, Misty shares with us how to make one of those much longed-for items, a craft mat.  So without further ado or to-do, here’s Misty……………………………………………………

If you’re like me there are things you should probably have but don’t buy because you would rather spend your money on more paper, inks, mists, etc.  One of the things I really needed was a craft mat, but I really couldn’t see spending $20 on one!  So I kept trying different things to get the same effect and finally stumbled upon a roll of laminate…the kind you can find in hardware stores to protect drawers and shelves.  I has some on hand as I had just laminated a chore chart for my kiddo.  Anyway, I decided to test it out over a piece of cardboard and I was so excited to see that it worked PERFECTLY for my needs!

Homemade Craft Mat

First you find a large piece of cardboard.   I’ve used the Gauche Alchemy “pizza box”.  It’s the perfect size and you already have the shape lined out for you!  Plus, who wouldn’t love to have their own Gauche Alchemy craft mat, right?

Craft Mat Step 1

Then you use the “magic cover”, which is just a roll of clear laminate, and cut two pieces about an inch or so bigger than your cardboard piece.  Take the first piece and slowly remove the backing off small sections at a time while laying it over your cardboard piece….trying to smooth it out and prevent any bubbles or creases.  Then once you cover the first side, repeat with the opposite side.  The second side is a little harder because you want to make sure that you place the laminate on the cardboard without touching the sticky side of the laminate on the opposite side…or you will have troubles detaching them.

Craft Mat Complete

Once you have both sides laminated, cut the excess around the cardboard and your mat is ready!

Nonporous craft mat

Craft Mists

As you can see from the pictures you can use inks and mists and since its a non-porous surface, it has the same effect as the expensive craft mats, and you are paying less than $5 for this one!

Now, I’m not saying that this is just as good as a craft mat in every way.  For instance, the Ranger mat is supposedly heat resistant, and this one will melt under extreme heat!  If your a cheap-o like me though, this is a perfect knock-off so that you can spend your money on better things like more mists, inks, and glitter!

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Thank you Misty for once again giving us a great how-to.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but this is the perfect solution to a problem I’ve been having.  See, I LOVE glue, but I get it everywhere & my nice, expensive craft mat is just too big for my work area.  So did I give this a whirl?  Oh, yessiree, yes I did, I sure did, I made a smaller one using Misty’s instructions.  PERFECTION! Now I can glue to my heart’s content and when done, move the mat out of the way.

Until later……………………
Smiles~
Marilyn

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Nature Lesson

Hi everyone! Maggi here to show you a nature lovin’ altered shadow box curio from from Alchemist Jo. Take it away, Jo!

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Altered Shadow Box
I have LOVED looking at Maggi’s and Chrissy’s Curio Boxes that they made from the wonderful Knick Knack Paddy Whack Kit and wanted to have a go at doing one myself – and I wanted to have a go NOW! In one of my ‘things to alter’ box I found a curio box that I got cheap because it had a scratch on the acrylic (but I don’t really mind about that).

Raw Shadow Box Ready to Alter

With this box, the acrylic ‘lid’ slides off. I gave the box a coat of white gesso to seal the wood, and then applied a coat of brown acrylic. I used a crackle glaze medium but, as usual, didn’t read the instructions properly, and applied the second coat of acrylic paint too soon so it didn’t crackle, more flaked. But you know what? I really liked that look, it gave it the look of something that’s been kicking around in a garden shed for many many years and that was pretty much the look I wanted anyway. See, there are happy mistakes!

Mixed Media Shadow Box

The ‘feet’ are 4 beads, painted the same way as the box and applied with a glue gun.

Box Legs Made From Beads

I then had lots of fun filling the box with curios from nature that give us lessons in life…… A heart shaped pebble (love), a shell (Home), a feather (be gentle), eggs (nurture), a seed head (expand your horizon), a seed pod (protect), a leaf skeleton (find the beauty within), and a dead moth that got blown into the house one day (seize the day).

Nature Themed Shadow Box
The eggs are polystyrene eggs painted with acrylic paint and dotted with brown. I used some Ouchless Cardboard for the shell to sit on and the leaf skeleton (which needed to be raised nearer the lid or it seemed to disappear) and some white net from the Wedding Night Mixed Media Color Kit for the seed pod.

Finally, I screwed the clasp into place.

Wow, that was such fun to put together!

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Thanks Jo, you have a way with nature! And I just love how your “mistake” produced this amazing peeled paint look, *love*.

Now go glue something awesome onto some awesome something!

Maggi 😀

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Collage art– it’s not just for Kindergarten!

It’s a cloudy day here in the desert (quite unusual for May!), and I went in search of some new art inspiration to feed my soul.  And let me tell you, the art world is rich with mixed media and collage work…I was inspired, indeed!

Take a look:

I am really loving the monochromatic quality of this one!  In fact, there just may be a kit full of these neutral, faded tones released soon *hint hint*

 Looking at all this amazing collage work has really inspired me to look at the things around me (even trash!) in a new way.  Receipt from the convenience store?  Ticket stub?  Old letter?  Discarded ribbon?  All of these things can be used to create art that is personal and meaningful.

I encourage you to take some time to think about what inspires you, and how you can incorperate everyday objects into your art.  And then leave us a comment and tell us about it!

**all artwork found on www.notpaper.com**

Laras Grunge Keepsake Box

Lara here! It’s been a looooooooooooonnnnggggg time since I’ve been around these parts!
I’ve come today with a memory box i made for a friend to store his letters and postcards and things he picks up along his many travels.

The outer cover is matte board covered with sheet music from the Wholey Sheet Mixed Media kit, sewing pattern that many a Gauche kit comes wrapped in, Golden Soft Gel Matte and acrylic paint drips, splatters and stamps.

I also used different Golden Mediums mixed with Black Gesso to create additional texture like Coarse Pumice Gel and Heavy Molding Paste. This made it easier to nestle little pieces of things onto the piece. The Molding Paste holds the heavy stuff like a champ!

The cover i am pretty proud of. Its alot of things from my stash of garage sale finds, trash picked up from streets, junk drawers and, of course, Gauche Alchemy Mixed Media ephemera – most notably the Black Out Mixed Media Kit.

One of the most awesome things i’ve heard in awhile came from a co-worker i was showing this box too. She asked me about the glasses on it and if they were mine. I told her i had picked them up in the parking lot of a grocery store and had been saving them for the perfect arty use. She said “you’re the only person i know who sees art in trash.” Somehow… someday… that should be my autobiography title!

The cover opens to show the actual box which is made of handmade paper i picked up at the Scrapbox Creative Recycling in Ann Arbor for $1 – that place is AMAZING – if you live in Southeast Michigan and you like to craft you MUST go!

Some traditional scrapbook epherema mixed with trash – how awesome is that?! The film strip is from the Gauche Alchemy Black Out Mixed Media Kit.

Kas’ Louie Louie

Kas’ altered item this time around…is a dog bowl.

She says….
My daughter informed me the other day that she thought I must not like our latest dog (of about 6 months) as much as the others, because I haven’t made any craft or photo projects about him.
Well, I of course had to prove her wrong…and now she believes me.
So Louie now has his very own work of art.

I glued a strip of scrapbook paper around the inside edge and a picture of him in the center, using Martha Stewart glue.
I made small snips in the paper so that it would lay flat on the curve, much like sewing on a curved seam.

I then embellished it with objects from the following kits:
Scarlet Fever Red Kit,
Banana Hammock Yellow Kit,
It’s All Gravy Baby! Brown Kit, and
Wedding Night White Kit.

I hot glued some dog ribbon for a hanger…and voila!!

’tis the other season….

garagle sale booty

lara here …

so, last weekend i stumbled into a neighbor’s garage sale just to see what other’s trash i might find treasure in.
i’m actually not a big garage sale fan, but as i’ve gotten more into mixed media i’ve approached them with a whole different mindset.
…as i have trash piles on the side of the street 🙂

i walked into the house and saw the “normal” stuff – bedding, books, side tables … in the corner was a sewing table. Really gorgeous, but i would have no place in my home for it. Being the nosy, erm curious, soul that i am, i opened one of the drawers and low and behold it was FILLED with all different colors and sizes of lace ribbon. This is when the adrenaline kicked in and I opened another draw – full of sewing accouterments like super old needles in cool packaging, discolored tape measures, BUTTONS … as i wiped the drool from my chin i asked the woman if i could buy this stuff separately or if it came with the table and she was more shocked than i was to see that the drawers were full. She said how about $3 and i said “sold!”

OK … so then my interest was really piqued and i started looking around a little more – a bag of old sewing patterns! Now, i’m not one to sew, the thought of threading a sewing machine sounds like torture, but the artwork on the patterns alone were wonderful! Back in time when they sketched the models… I asked how much for this huge bag and she said “hmmm $10?” i said “ok”. Then in the other corner were a pile of books – i got two super old ones – a dictionary where the pages are already starting to crumble and an old novel from the early 1900’s i’m scared to touch the pages. And she threw them in to my bag – $13 and enough ephemera to last a lifetime!

Tis the season for garage sales – what are some amazing things you’ve found that have quickened your pulse and infused your creativity?

This is why…

… I adore music videos. And love that you never know how much talent there is out there.

Owl City’s “Vanilla Twilight” Fan Video Winner on YouTube