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

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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Matchbox Circus

If you know me at all, you know I'm crazy about the circus. It's been a while since I made any circus art, so I decided to have a little fun with another mini matchbox like the one I used a couple of weeks ago to make Mini Mermaids. Here's some more big fun in a little 2 1/2" package.

First, the cover. I put alphabet stickers spelling out the word "circus" on a piece of paper and then cut it out to make a sign for the elephant to hold. Sequin stars add a bit of sparkle. The letters on the spine of the "book" were cut from a collage sheet.

When you open the box, there's a tiny circus performance going on. Or perhaps it's dress rehearsal, seeing as the seats aren't yet filled.

I painted the tiniest of people to create a wee trapeze artist and a ringmaster. I used the thinnest of brushes and the strongest of magnifying glasses to paint these performers. The trapeze artist is perched on her swing, which is actually a thin piece of wire, bent to shape. She's attached to her perch with a little white glue. The baby elephant's blanket is a piece of ribbon, cut to size and glued on.

When I say these people are small, I'm not kidding. Here's the ringmaster with a quarter to show scale. He's just about 3/4" tall.

Star sequins, Dresden trim over the curtains, and gold tape all make the circus shine.

A little bit about how I did part of the box. Here it is before the curtains were added. Obviously, something was needed here!

The curtain image I wanted to use from the the collage sheet was way too wide for the available space in the matchbox, but I really liked the way they looked. I cut them in half to see how they would look if I stitched them together in the center.

I cut the piece on the left along the swag, and then glued the two parts together. If I had thought far enough ahead, I would have saved one of those fringe folds to go in the center, but alas, I had to cut one, and the other was firmly glued to the back of the curtains on the left before I thought this through.

So, I took the thinnest of my pens and drew another fold, then cut it out and glued it on. Voila! Next time, I'll make sure to plan a little better. Meanwhile, however, the show must go on!

Now I have a little pocket circus to take wherever I go.
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Saturday, February 2, 2019

Mini Mermaids, with a Mini Tutorial

I'm not sure why, but I really like to work small. So when I had my choice of projects this month from Alpha Stamps, I chose to work on a Matchbox Sized Faux Book Box (only 2 1/4" tall!) It's the perfect size for a tiny shrine. The papers in this month's kit made me think "beach", and "beach" made me think mermaids.

The outside of the box was wrapped in a lovely shell and seaweed paper, and then covered with a tiny beach poster advertising Mermaid Oysters. I used a couple of charms, a tiny pinch of sheet moss, and some flat back pearls to give the lid a bit of dimension.

The sides of the box have a fun coordinating pattern, and some Dazzles thin line gold border stickers around the edges. I'm sad to report that those stickers have been discontinued, but if you want a little splash of gold, this thin line stripe tape should do the trick.

For the inside of the box, I found a great image of mermaids that coordinates nicely with the new papers. I used three copies of that image to create dimension. Moss, tiny seashells, and a few more pearls were added to the bottom of the box. A brief tutorial is below.

1. Mix acrylic paint to match the colors of the paper you will be using to cover the box. In the photo below, the box is painted and ready to construct. Note that I didn't bother painting the entire cardboard on the sides of the box, because I knew I was going to cover that with paper. I did paint the entire underside of the lid, because I was worried that if that were covered with paper, it would not lay flat when the box is closed. (The middle panel is also not painted, but that's because I forgot about it. Oops. I did go back and paint it later.)

2. You can build up your mermaids using as many images as you wish. Two will work fine, but the box was deep enough to use three, so I decided to go for it. Cut one image out to fit the back of the box, one image of just the mermaids, and one of the two mermaids in the foreground.

3. Put foam tape on the backs of the mermaid images.

4. One at a time, adhere the images to the background. Make sure you do this before you put the background into the box, because you want to make sure your images are lined up perfectly.

5. (See, I did go back and paint that one piece!) I didn't have any cloth bookbinding tape on hand, so I used masking tape to attach the sides and top of the cover to the box. Tape first, making sure the box closes correctly, and then add the scrapbook paper to the top, sides and bottom of the box to hide the majority of the tape.

I wanted a little of the patterned paper on the inside cover, so in order to assure that the box would close correctly, I made sure that the paper was in an area that would fit inside the box part when the lid is closed. 

6. You can leave your box as shown above, but I prefer the box to open more like a book, so I used some white glue to glue the spine to the side of the inside box. Now my box looks like this when opened:

7. A little note on the starfish charm on the front, and the seashell charm on the inside: because they are charms, they each came with a loop. I clipped the loops off with small wire cutters and then used a metal file to smooth down the rough edge a bit.

Here's the final project: a little bit of mermaid magic that fits in your hand.
For a full list of supplies, click here!
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