Sunday 1 September 2019

Upcycled "Inventor" Project for SanDee&amelie's Steampunk Challenges

Hi, servus and welcome back after our little summer break with the two months long summer special challenge over at our steampunk challenge blog. The start of September brings us back to normal (=monthly challenges over at SanDee&amelie's Steampunk Challenges) and this is my project for your inspiration and to kick off our September challenge:

As you can see the picture was taken on the balcony of our summer holiday place and this means I created this project with what I had at hand and the few media and tools I had taken with me this summer. In the last years I didn't even try putting together a bundle to take with me for some crafting and mixed media fun on a rainy day or when taking a break from too much sunshine - simply because I couldn't decide what to take with me and what to leave at home. But this year I managed to prepare some larger die cut shapes and tags and the Sizzix Sidekick I gave to myself (as a reward for over a year of bravery with several dental surgeries) also allowed me to pack some of the smaller Thinlits dies.

The Sidekick "travelled" in a small plastic container where I also stored the cutting pads and some other thin bits like the acrylic blocks for rubber stamping in.

And I used one of my oldest and also very first "luxury" craft items I bought when I started this hobby - the Tim Holtz Cargo Case Toolbox and filled it wih some of my favourite tools and media:

...some Distress and Distress Oxide Ink Pads and refillers, of course a black archival ink pad, a blending tool and several sponges for the different inks, a tiny bottle of DecoArt matte Decou-Page (in the middle section...the perfect size for travelling!), some tacky glue, some clear stamp sets, a palette knife, some Distress Crayons, assorted brushes, two PITT artist pens, a collection of my beloved DecoArt media fluid acrylic paints (these have the perfect height to store them in the bottom section) and media white Crackle Paint and Gesso, a tube of DecoArt premium Titanium White acrylic paint and lots of Sizzix Thinlits dies sets (almost all designs by Tim Holtz). As these are so thin and flat, I could put them in the bottom compartment of my cargo case too. Yay! I was so happy when I found that it all fit into this one toolbox.

I also had taken with me (in a wooden cigar box filled with various paper scraps) some larger die cut shapes done with BigZ dies I could not take with me (like the "Steampunk Parts", the "Trinket Frames" and the bulb from the "Filament" die) and also some die cuts done with Thinlits dies that were too wide to use with the Sidekick.

So I had a mix of various larger die cut pieces (also including some plain larger tags) and Thinlits dies sets, acrylic paints, Gesso and Crackle Paint, some markers, clear stamps and designer paper scraps to play with. But of course the tags I had prepared were too small for what came up in my head when I looked at all the stuff and possibilities to combine what I what should I do?

I knew I wanted to use a lot of crackle media and paint washes and such, so I needed a substrate that could take all of these well and also be of matching size with the design I had in mind...gladly we had ordered a card playing game some days earlier and the sturdy card the envelope it came in was made of was just perfect!

I even managed to cut a kind of easel from the backside! Not beautiful to look at, but it worked just fine!

The front of the sturdy envelope was first covered with a glued on designer paper and then I scraped a lot of DecoArt media white Gesso across the whole front using a palette knife. Once that had almost dried I added washes of DecoArt media Prussian Blue Hue and Transparent Red Iron Oxide fluid acrylic paints. On top of that (after I let it dry in the sun) I scraped some white DecoArt media Crackle Paint here and there and let that dry and crackle in the sun again).

Once the crackle layer had dried I added a wash of Prussian Blue Hue to make the cracks more visible. I also added some Prussian Blue Hue and DecoArt Metallic Lustre "Gold Rush" splatters to finish off the background.

As you can see I got really messy. I used a styrofoam tray (from some bacon wrapped cheese sticks) as a palette to mix the paints and washes on.

detail shot: 

During drying times I had already primed and painted the die cut pieces I wanted to use. Here's a picture of how I had combined the die cut pieces.

I used DecoArt media Prussian Blue Hue, Titan Buff and Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide fluid acrylics on the piece with the porthole and ship's propeller, Quinacridone Gold, Titan Buff and traces of Prussian Blue Hue on the Filament light bulb and Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide, Titan Buff and Transparent Red Iron Oxide fluid acrylics on the piece with the left over shape from the "Trinket Frames" die and the cool propellers from the "Steampunk Parts" set. I also added DecoArt premium Titanium White acrylic paint to some of the mixes, where needed.

Once the paints had all dried, I glued the pieces together and then added washes of Prussian Blue Hue and/or Transparent Red Iron Oxide and Quinacridone Gold to tone all the parts so they would visually fuse. On top of that I scraped traces of DecoArt media white Crackle Paint here and there and later highlighted the cracks with another wash of Prussian Blue Hue.

The Geo Insects were painted with Prussian Blue Hue media fluid acrylic paint...

... and then I dabbed on some DecoArt Gold Rush Metallic Lustre using my fingertip.

I added some hand writing using a PITT artist pen with permanent black china ink.

Then I used cut to size snippets of sticky foam tape to mount all the pieces to the panel with the crackle and splatter background. 

My "Inventor" panel was done!

I hope you like it! I definitely had great fun improvising and up cycling packaging materials to turn them into a piece of steampunk mixed media art.

I highly recommend you hop over to our Steampunk Challenge Blog now to take a closer look at my wonderful team's projects! And of course I can't wait to see what you will come up with!

Hugs and happy crafting!


  1. To make sure I always have a dedicated blending foam for my ink I attach one to the underneath of the ink pad with a piece of velcro. That way I always have one ti hand and it doesn't take up any extra room then. I really like this piece x

  2. Freaking awesome piece, Claudia! I love that you did it on holiday with what you had with you. Wonderful textures and images, and love what you wrote on it. hugs, maura


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