Saturday, 13 October 2012


This weeks challenge at 'Simon says stamp and show' called  Rustification has been especially inspiring for me!
A few months ago I rusted some nuts and bolts/washers/tiny screws etc, but didn't get around to using them.So this was the perfect excuse! They seemed to have rusted even further while in storage too (Which I am not complaining about one little bit ;)

These were rusted over a weekend. Dipping them into coke (Yep.. coke! Makes you wonder what it does to your insides eh) dipping them for about an hour or two, then leaving them to air dry outside for another few hours. I repeated this about 5 times.

I also had a tin case I have been wanting to alter for a while..


Here are the beginnings of my altered tin case. I covered it all with tin foil, and made a raised frame on the tins lid, so i could put all of the rusty bits and pieces inside. Made a frame too, with the intention of making something which matched to go inside.

Many coats of paint later, with all the rusty bits inside the frame... I decided to experiment with the PVA glue, and poured a load into the frame. It was approx 80% PVA and 20% water.

It took a while.. but 3 days later it was finally dry :)

I added a cage type grill to the front, so it gives the illusion that you can see into the tin, and its full of rusty nuts and bolts etc. 

 With the tiny frame, I hand painted a spooky image. Inside the tin I lined it with some lush fabric, and added some tiny sea shells and little charms.

 As always, I enjoyed making this :) 

iz x

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Halloween Tag

I used quite vibrant colours for this one, and altered it by carving into the tag (the eyes,mouth and nose of the pumpkin) and putting some yellow tissue paper behind. Also made the tag so it stands up like a little card. The tags string pulls back and latches under the bottom, so it free stands. 

 I had fun making this :) I just hope its altered enough for the challenge! 
iz x

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Leaf-spiration - Mini book

 Today I finished my entry for the Leaf-spiration challenge at Simon says stamp and show

I went on quite a journey making this little book.. as you will see ;)

First I collected an assortment of leaves from the garden.

 Also came across some gorgeous skeleton leaves / and partial skeleton leaves which are stunning! I was so excited when I found these..

At this point I decided that all these little leaves would look cute in their own mini book.
Once I had the papers for inside, and the leather cover all ready to go, I set about adding some detail to the pages, so the leaves had a nice backdrop throughout the book.
I had a rummage through my stamps, but couldn't find any foliage/leaves suitable.So I did the next logical thing (Albeit a little time consuming) and made some !

 I am delighted with how they turned out, and they were so easy to make!

There is a mixture of natural handmade papers/ and linen blend papers throughout. On which there are most of the leaves I originally collected, as well as some little notes, to remind me where they came from etc. Over time, the leaves should dry out and become a lot flatter than they are at the moment. To me, its like capturing a day in history - through the leaves in my back garden! and my geeky self finds that very cool ;)

Here is the book assembled :)

The title of the book should really be 'little leaves' but 'little leaf' just sounded a lot cuter ;)

Iz x

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Experimenting with Cages

Altered Miniature Book-

Recently I have been experimenting with altering these tiny books even further, like this :)

This little book was made using almost the same technique as this tutorial:
Except with a few obvious changes! ;)

I used quite thick mulberry papers -teared a hole in each individual page,  and then dyed with some Tim Holtz walnut stain distress inks, before assembling. It was a lengthy process, but worth it in the end.

The cover itself was quite a challenge, being so small there wasn't much room to glue everything down, especially around the front hole. I would recommend making a slightly larger book, if you wanted to try this.

The grill/cage on the front was made separately using some plastic mesh tape. Painted black with gold highlights. The key within the book was a plastic charm which was painted in the same way.

Altered matchbox Book cover -Metal Cage

This little matchbox turned out looking very masculine, and has a very different feel to my other altered matchboxes. In some ways it looks cold, almost haunting, but I think that adds to character of the cover. Again, this matchbox was altered using almost the same technique as shown here: 

The only change is the grill/cage on the front. This was made by opening up the matchbox, cutting out the frame, and gluing some small mesh type tape from the inside. For the rest of the matchbox I used the foil technique with black and silver metallic paint.

I shall definitely be experimenting further with these, they are a joy to make! :)

Iz x

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Tutorial - How to make an Altered matchbox book cover & Mini book

This is a tutorial on how to make the above altered matchbox book cover, and mini book.

You will need -

For the cover -

An empty matchbox
Catering foil
PVA glue
Acrylic paints

For the Mini book -

The pull out draw in the matchbox/and an extra small piece of card
Thin leather/or fabric (For the cover)
A piece of Hessian/or other material (For the inside of the cover)
Papers (For the pages)
Black cotton thread
PVA glue
Awl (or something sharp and pointy)

How to make the matchbox book cover

Start by opening up the inside draw of the matchbox. Using the sides, cut 4 strips of card to form your frame on the front of the matchbox. Put aside all that is left, for your mini book. Glue into place with PVA glue. Don't worry if your frame isn't perfectly straight or the widths differ slightly- This will all add to the aged effect.

Once dry, take a foil piece, approx 4 times the size of your matchbox. Crumple up the foil in your hand, and then unravel again. Cover the entire matchbox in a thin layer of PVA glue, and stick on your foil. Fold over the edges on the ends, and glue inside of the box.

Take your paintbrush and gently rub over the box, flattening the foil. Your raised frame should now be visible.

Paint the whole box black. If you find your paint will not adhere to the foil very well, then mix your paint with some PVA before applying.

Let it dry completely.

 Now to find the treasure! I mean texture ;) This has to be the best part, in my opinion.

Mix some white paint with another 'warm' colour. Using a dry paintbrush, put a very small amount of paint onto the brush. Very lightly rub the brush all over the box, and all the wonderful textures should slowly begin to reveal themselves.

You can add extra highlights if you wish, using the same technique but with purely white paint.

Once dry, coat in a layer of PVA to seal everything.

You can use the frame to display charms/photos/fabric ect (Examples at the end of this post)

How to make the mini book (which fits snugly into the matchbox cover)

 To prepare the book cover, Take the bottom of the pull out draw and cut/shave off 2mm all the way around. Use this as a template to cut another piece of card, exactly the same size. You will then need to cut a piece of card for the spine of the book. This should be as long as the covers, and the width around 2mm smaller than that of your matchbox.

                             (Excuse the mess on my cardboard - I am a messy crafter ;)

Next, glue the three pieces as shown, onto your leather/Material you are using for the cover. You will want to leave a small gap in between each section, as shown.

Trim 1cm around the glued card, and cut off the corners.

Glue each tab down with PVA, and try to match up each of the corners (Cutting away any excess)

Once firmly stuck down, apply a thin layer of glue to the inside of the cover, and pat down your material. Trim away any excess and fray edges if you choose.

Preparing the pages-

 Cut the papers to the necessary size. They will want to be slightly smaller than your cover, when folded. Use a bone folder/or a ruler to smooth down the fold. Use your made cover as a guide. The pages should fit nicely into the book, and not be too crowded or sparse.In my example book, I used some thick grey card and some teared mulberry paper. As these are fairly thick papers, I only needed 3 pieces within each signature.

The number of pages you have will depend on what type of paper or card you use.

Separate into 2 equal piles. Each pile will become a signature within the book.

Open up each signature, and hold together with paper clips/mini bull dog clips.

Using a pencil, mark the centre of the fold. Then mark 1 cm above and below this point. For the spine, draw a line to mark the middle horizontally, and then vertically

Along the middle line mark 2 points equally spaced apart from the edges, as shown in the diagram. Mark 2 points 1cm above and below these 2 points.

Using an awl (Or a sharp pointed object) carefully make holes in both the points marked in your signatures, and the points marked on the spine. Make sure your holes go right the way through your pages, and also through all of the spine.

Sewing the signatures into the spine -

This is very easy to to. Think along the lines of a 'figure of 8'.

If you are using a standard cotton thread, make sure to double it up, adding more strength.

Sew each signature separately. Take the first signature, and align roughly the holes you have made, with those on the spine. Start from within the signature, on the middle point.  Go through all of your pages, and out through the spine. Leave at lease 4 inches of thread within the book. Then go back through the top hole, and through your pages. You will now be inside the signature again. Go back through the middle hole and out through the spine. Then come back inside through the bottom hole, making sure you go through all of the pages again (This is when the paper clips/bull dog clips will come in very handy) Once inside, pull your thread tightly being careful not to snap it. When your signature is firmly pulled against the spine, tie off tightly together with the thread you left inside the book, when you began. Cut of any excess thread.

Repeat this on the other signature.

Remove the clips holding your pages together, and voilĂ  your mini book is complete! :)

Here are some examples I have made, of how you can decorate your altered matchbox/and mini book.

If you find this tutorial helpful, or make an altered matchbox/mini book using my instructions, I would love to hear about it! Even better, I would love to see a picture of you finished piece. :)

If you have any questions, please ask.
Comments on my first ever tutorial are also very welcome!

Izzy, x