Design team member of Alpha Stamps, moderator at Craftster, lover of ephemera and junk.

Welcome! Grab a cold one, kick off your shoes, and have a look around.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Special Delivery Christmas Matchbox with Tiny Package Tutorial

Here's another Christmas shadowbox, this one made with a 2" by 3" Chunky Matchbox with Window from Alpha Stamps. It's got a little of everything: kids with stars, a bottle brush tree, a sweet pink puppy, silver snowflakes, and Santa! There are also some teeny wrapped packages.

I used papers from the Jingle 6x6 Paper Pad to wrap the tiny boxes (tutorial below) and the chunky matchbox itself. I used red striped paper on the ends because it reminds me of a candy cane.

The chunky box allows for lots of items to be displayed inside. Isn't the tiny silver tree charm so cute?

I love the tiny pre-wrapped packages you can purchase, but they were a little too large for this matchbox, and I did want to feature packages wrapped with paper from the same pad I used in making the box. Here's how it was done:
First, you need a box to wrap. I happened to have a bit of gray linoleum (for carving stamps), so that's what I used. Other things you might use would be a rubber eraser or some foam core. Cut to size with an x-acto knife.

Cut some paper squares large enough to wrap around the top and sides of the box. No need to cover the bottom as it will be glued to the matchbox. Center your package on the square and glue down with a little white glue.

Cut the corners out of the paper as shown below, carefully fold the flaps around the side, and glue. You'll probably need to hold the sides down for a bit to let the glue take hold.

Cut a long length of embroidery floss for the ribbon. I separated and used two strands for my package. Put a tiny drop of glue on the top of the package and lay the center of the floss down. This helps keep that ribbon in place as it's wrapped up around the box.

Wrap the floss around the bottom of the box and tie it in a knot on the top of the box. See how long that floss is? You're going to need it long to tie a bow in it.

Tie your bow! Once you get it tied, pull on each end one at a time until you get the loops to the size you want. Alternate pulling the ends and then pulling out the loops a bit to keep the knot tight. 

Once you're happy with your bow, put a tiny drop of glue on it so it won't come untied. Trim the ends of the floss, and there you have it: a teeny tiny wrapped package.
Ho ho ho! For a list of supplies used, click here.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Kitschy Christmas

Be still my heart: PINK bottle brush Christmas trees! When I saw these trees I just had to do something with them! Using the new "3" by 5" Chunky Matchbox with Window" from Alpha Stamps, I made a little kitschy Christmas scene. The pink tree looks great with my favorite color combo of turquoise and red, and of course I had to line the box opening with some pink pom poms. A little turquoise deer I had got a new set of eyes (spot of black paint) and a shiny red nose (tiny red crystal). I tied a little bit of baker's twine around his neck to make him dapper, and used a few layers of foam tape to attach him to the back of the box. 

The box top is flat when purchased. I find it easiest to cover by gluing paper to just the part of the box with the opening first, making sure you have enough paper to wrap around the sides and the back. Then, cut out the opening with an x-acto knife before constructing the box top and then wrapping the paper around it. I chose a red and white striped paper for the top and bottom of the slide out box because they reminded me of a candy cane.

This box is nice and deep, so for a better fit, I used scissors to flatten out the back of the tree a bit. Here's one more shot of the inside.

Just for fun, I put a jolly little Santa on the back. Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
You can find most of the supplies I used here. And please come back next week, when I'll feature a smaller chunky Christmas matchbox.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Altered Costume Boxes

I'm a big fan of making art in vintage Christmas ornament boxes (like these here and here), so when I saw these new Tim Holtz reproduction Halloween Costume boxes, it was love at first sight. Halloween is my favorite! These small boxes (the cat box below is 2" by 3") look great on their own, so it doesn't take much to create cute little Halloween decor. What fun!

For the smallest box, I covered the back of the box with orange and black scrapbook paper, black alphabet beads (boo!) and a vintage image of a girl with a pumpkin. I used foam adhesive dots to raise her up from the back. Rick rack trim and a little pumpkin was added to the box top.

On this next box, I used some vintage kids from one collage sheet and masks from another to make a group of tiny trick or treaters. Foam adhesive was again used to give the group more of a 3D look. C'mon now, give them some candy!

Here's the largest box. It got a background of orange with black polka dots and some fun orange tinsel around the opening. The inside features a flying bat and a ready-for-a-party plastic skeleton holding a black cat shaker. The skeleton was, of course, too tall to fit in the space like that, so I took some heavy duty clippers and removed his pelvis and the bottom part of his arms to fit. Sounds ghastly, but look how happy he is; he doesn't mind a bit!

I love the details on these boxes, and the fact that they look so real, despite their size.

What a fun addition to my Halloween decor! These are going to look great on my mantel.
  For a list of supplies, click here!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Tiny Haunted House, with Tombstone Tutorial

I love the new Tealight Haunted House Kit from Alpha Stamps, and am really excited about how my final project turned out. The kit comes with a chipboard house, a 6"x 6" base, four tombstones, and a run of rickety fencing. It's so fun to construct and decorate. Beware! I took a ton of pictures.

I covered the sides of the house with a wood plank scrapbook paper, and the roofs with spiderwebs. Dresden trim accents the roof lines. 

The "stone" path in the front is cut from a cardboard egg carton. It's got the perfect texture for pavers.

Tombstones litter the front yard. The kit comes with four; I chose to use three. Buried in the front yard are "Al B. Bach" and "Ima Goner". Sadly, no one knows who lies beneath the cross. I have created a tutorial for how I made the tombstones, and you can find it at the bottom of this post.

The windows in this little house are actually thin sheets of mica. Here in the front,  I put the image of the child behind the mica, so it looks like she's inside. The pumpkin is in front of the mica so it looks like it's outside, sitting on the windowsill.

I used mica in the window because the house is designed to accommodate a tea light. When it's dark, you can light it up and it looks so spooky!

Here you can see the back of the house. I wanted the inside to be as light as possible when the tea light is lit, so I did not paint the walls or floor. You can also see all the mica in the windows. Believe it or not, it's really easy to cut the mica to size with just a regular pair of scissors. (But not your good paper cutting scissors; use the cheap pair!) I used a little white glue to adhere the mica to the back of the house.

The tree is made from a branch of an azalea bush. Perfect! I punched a little hole in the base and just fed the bottom of the branch in. The crow sitting in that tree used to be a bluejay. I filed down the tuft on his head and painted him black. He prefers life as a crow.

Next to the door are a couple of tiny pumpkins and a skull.  Although the house is designed with three windows across the front, I decided to include a door. It's just a piece of painted cardboard, with a window cut into it so the light can shine through. The doorknob is a brad.

The sides of the house are solid. I used some window frames backed with mica to make it look like there were windows there.

I had so much fun making this haunted house! I love that it looks good both in the daytime and at night.
For a complete list of supplies I used, click here! And now, the tombstone tutorial:

(I put together this tutorial after this house was complete, so these are not the tombstones seen above. The tombstones shown here are larger and from another set, but the same process was used.)
Items needed:
Chipboard tombstones
Ratty old paintbrush
Black, white, and grey paint
Straight edge (optional)
Very fine black pen. I used .1 and .05 Copic Multiliner pens (above)
N4 Grey Copic Marker (not shown above)

Dip your paintbrush into each of your three colors and dab it onto the tombstone at random. It's best to use an old stiff brush that's pretty wrecked already.

Keep dabbing on the mixed paints until you are happy with the results. Once I get the mottled look I like, I often dip the brush in just the white paint for some contrast.

Make sure you also paint the back and sides of each piece. If you're making a little graveyard, it's nice if some of the stones are lighter than the others.

Using a straight edge and a .1 black pen, draw thin lines to give the tombstone a 3D effect. If you have a steady hand (or you need to go around a curve, like the stone at top below, just freehand it.)

Use the .05 pen to draw tiny cracks in the tombstones. I also used a grey Copic marker (N4) to give some shadows and dimension. For the tombstones in the haunted house project above, I hand lettered the gravestones, but for these two, I found some odd bits of rub on type that added detail. Either way works great. Now that I've got some new tombstones to play with, I need to do another Halloween project. Hmm....
For a complete list of supplies I used in the Haunted house, click here, and for the set of tombstones used in the tutorial, click here. Happy haunting!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Witch, Please!

I was poking around an antique mall with friends a few weekends ago, when I came upon an old photo that just spoke to me. It was a photo of four women, and the two ladies on the ends happened to have pretty creepy eyes. With Halloween approaching, I knew I just had to make them into a small coven of witches. I trimmed the cardboard the photo was mounted on and added a border made from Dazzles thin line stickers.  The two creepiest ladies each received a nice broomstick, and all were adorned with witch hats. I added a few dark black "buttons", and one skully badge.

Usually, I would scan a photo like this and use the reproduction, but I do feel that using the original photo makes a much better result. It's a little scary gluing things down when it's a one of a kind, but the result is definitely worth it. Here, I enlarged it for you so you can see those eyes, especially on that witch on the left. She's definitely working on a spell.

Stay spooky!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Haunted Halloween Surprise Box

I don't know about you, but if someone gave me a beautifully wrapped little gift that had a tag proclaiming it "haunted", I might think twice about opening it up. It's so tempting, though. I do love Halloween, and look how fun that bow is...

But beware! This is not an ordinary box, it's an exploding box straight from Alpha Stamps. Once you lift the lid, the sides of the box slowly open, and you see exactly what's doing the haunting.

Yikes! It appears to be a forgotten cemetery, and one of the grave's occupants seems to be clawing his way up from underground. I cut those hands off of an unfortunate plastic skeleton.

The chipboard tombstones were painted in mottled black, grey and white acrylic paints, and then embellishments were added: a silver medal flower on the cross, some rub on scrolly lines and a painted RIP on the rounded stone, and a silver skull charm, also painted, on the pointed headstone. Some tiny bats, cut out of a chipboard border, fly overhead. A spooky skull has also made an appearance.

There are also a few pumpkins in the graveyard. The two in the back help stabilize the chipboard fence. The flap of the box with the night sky on it is supported in the back by some clay so it remains upright when the box is opened. I added a faux orange side behind it for symmetry.

Would you open it? Happy haunting! For a complete list of supplies, click here.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Teeny Tiny Halloween Shriney (x 3!)

It's the most wonderful time of the year: college football, and Halloween crafting. Yay! Today I present to you three out of the five adorable mini Halloween shrines just released from Alpha Stamps. The opening of each one measures just 2" by 2". The tallest one shown below is a little less than 6" tall. So cute! Here's what I did with mine...

For the Raven October Shrine, I painted the front with acrylics, and gave the raven a witch hat and a red rhinestone eye. The interior is lined with a very dark paper (with bats!) that is pretty much impossible to photograph due to the depth of the box. Please use your imagination.  Three tiny trick or treaters stand on a bed of moss and select from the available pumpkins. I considered printing out the "pumpkin patch" sign, but every pumpkin patch I've ever been to seems to sport a crudely painted sign, so I hand painted the sign in the interest of historical accuracy. Rickrack covers the tabs that show on the front when the box is assembled.

I love the orange polka dot paper that I used on the sides so much that I used it on all three of the shrines.

Here's a slightly better view of the inside.

I considered painting details on the top part of the Haunted House Shrine, but once I painted the back black, I really liked the plain silhouette, so I painted the front plain black as well. This shrine was lined with a dark purple paper with a bed of moss on the floor. A full moon smiles at a black bat, as two little black rats explore the graveyard. Black and white baker's twine hides the tabs on this one.

There's that orange polka dot paper again!

The interior. The rats were actually tiny white mice, but a little black paint made them look more sinister and rat like.

And, the cat. I gotta be honest: I am not a cat lover by any means. However, there was something about this cat that I just couldn't resist. This shrine is similar to the others, so it comes with the 2" by 2" square opening, but I gave my kitty a mouth. And teeth. I cut a piece of shirt cardboard just big enough to attach to the front, and painted a nose and mouth. Once the paint dried, I cut out the interior of the mouth, and it was the perfect size to catch a big ole black rat. The cat looked so happy, that I felt it needed a Halloween party hat.

And yes, the cat got the orange paper sides as well. Kitty better watch out, or that rat's going to get away!

There are two other shrines in this set: a cat sitting on a pumpkin, and a cat in front of a full moon. I might get around to constructing those soon, but I'm working on a different Halloween project for next week first. Meanwhile, if you want to make some of these tiny shrines, click here for a complete supply list.
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