Monday 1 June 2020

Steampunk Birthday Tag for SanDee&amelie's June 2020 Steampunk Challenge

Hi, servus and welcome to the launch of our June challenge over at SanDee&amelie's Steampunk Challenges! Over at our challenge blog a new challenge and some new inspirational projects by my wonderful design team are awaiting you!

The theme is as always "Anything Goes - Steampunk/Industrial" - so just enjoy some steampunk or industrial style fun the way that makes you feel best and play along! As always we will give away two prizes from our generous sponsors DecoArt and boozybear - so don't miss the chance to win one of these! ;)

My make for June is a birthday tag with loads of delicious crackle and a special mechanical heart!

I had been given a lovely dies set to create a steampunk heart with loads of cogs and gears quite some time ago and now it was finally time to play with it!

A lot of paint layers, dry brushing, toning down and highlighting again went into my steampunk heart and I really loved building my own mechanics by die cutting some of the gears several times and combining the many different parts in a playful way. Next time I use this heart it will for sure have a different mechanism ;)

I started by die cutting the heart's base and all the cogs and gears from heavy black cardstock. To make the heart even more sturdy I cut another heart shape from some cardboard packaging to glue it behind the die cut heart.

I used the "Foundry" 3D embossing folder to add some texture to the die cut heart before I glued the sturdy back to it. Then I started building "clusters" of cogs and gears. As some of the pieces were really tiny, I used diluted DecoArt matte Decou-Page and a detail brush to apply the glue and to fix the small bits to their proper spots.

This is how my finished heart looked once it was ready to get painted:

I started by dry brushing on layers of DecoArt premium Titan Buff and Burnt Sienna acrylic paints.

Then I went for a rusty, brown-ish look and added more dry brushed layers - this time I used Titan Buff, Burnt Sienna, Quinacridone Gold Hue and Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide.

I actually liked that, but I wanted to go for something a bit brighter - so I decided to add a bit of "patina" by dry brushing some spots with Cobalt Teal Hue.

I loved that version too...but for this particular tag I had a background in mind that would need something more contrasting and I decided to try a third version (isn't it a good thing that you can paint over acrylics again and again?).

I toned everything down with a subtle dry brushed on layer of Carbon Black and then kind of started anew - though the layers that were already there were definitely adding a lot of depth to the end result - so these weren't done in vain.

This time I started by dry brushing the centre of the heart with Titan Buff first, letting the intensity of the layers fade out towards the outer edges. I added about three layers of Titan Buff this way, making sure they all faded out nicely and turned the very centre brighter and brighter. Next I made the centre the brightest spot by adding Titanium White and not spreading that too much. That was the base for the colours to follow: mixes of Titan Buff and Diarylide Yellow, Diarylide Yellow and Vermillion Hue, Vermillion Hue and Pyrrole Red but also the pure colours in between to achieve a kind of blend with the most intense red in the centre.

Yep! I definitely liked that and it was perfect to contrast the background colour I had in mind for my tag. But first I added DecoArt Metallic Lustres Black Shimmer and Radiant Red here and there using my fingertip.

My tag (which was die cut from very thick grey board) first got a thorough layer of DecoArt Americana Lamp Black acrylic paint and one that had dried I applied a generous layer of DecoArt Weathered Wood. I made sure I changed direction while brushing on the crackle medium - this way I would get nice variations of the cracks' directions.

Once the Weathered Wood had dried to the touch I used a very soft wide flat brush to gently apply a layer of DecoArt Chalky Finish paint "vintage". I didn't cover the tag's edges so a black border would remain visible.

The crackling happens so fast that you shouldn't work over the same area twice! 

I definitely liked the result! The very tiny cracks where there is only a very thin layer of paint - and the larger ones where the paint was applied thicker.

To repeat the red from the heart I sprinkled some drops of red DecoArt media Mister to the tag.
I also applied some Black Shimmer Metallic Lustre around the tag's edges.

Next I toned everything down with a very thin wash of Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide media fluid acrylic paint.

The background was still missing some interest - so I added a bit of stencilling  using some of Andy Skinner's DecoArt stencils and DecoArt Americana acrylic paint French Vanilla.

On top of that I added another thin wash - this time of English Red Oxide.
To finish off my tag I added a word sticker that I shaded in using my Stabilo All pencil and a wet brush. The heart was fixed to the tag using very thick sticky foam pads for additional dimension.


Some detail shots: 

I hope you like my tag! There are a lot of different dies sets out there to create this kind of layered steampunk heart - so I am sure you will find the one you like best. And of course the techniques shown and the design can be used on any other kind of theme.

I hope to see you over at SanDee&amelie's Steampunk Challenges soon! And I promise you will love the team's inspirational projects this month!

Hugs and happy crafting!


  1. Love your birthday tag, Claudia! That weathered wood is awesome, and the steampunk heart is wonderful! Stay well my friend, hugs, Maura

  2. love all your makes Claudia, the steampunk heart is amazing. Can you let me know the die set you have used to make the gears etc.

    1. It was a gift and I do not know the name of the set - haven't found it on the internet. Sorry.

    2. As it just came in a cellophane envelope without a manufacturer's label I assume it might be a China product. But it works really well.


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