Monday, 17 March 2014

From The Jaws of Disaster, part one

Good morning crafters, Kirsten here.

I hope everyone had a great weekend. I’ve split this blog post into two parts, because it’s a long one & I don’t want to bore you all.
I used one of the 8x8 cardboard frames that some of the ladies used in Lisa’s classes two weeks ago as my substrate, adding some dry wall mesh (available in DIY stores, it’s great for adding texture) to a few corners & covering it with white gesso. If you’re using paint on paper, cardboard, mount board, even plastic, you need to cover the surface with gesso first. It will seal the substrate & provide a ‘tooth’ for the paint to grip onto.  It also means you’ll use less paint. I used cut & dry foam & applied a few thin coats of gesso, allowing each coat to dry, which it will do very quickly if you don’t use too much. You can also use a heat tool to speed up the drying process.


I had selected my colours from my colour palettes board on Pinterest – VERY useful idea for someone like me who can’t put colours together no matter how hard she tries – and used a wide brush & watered down acrylic paint. I think I painted about three layers, drying in between each one.


My vague idea at this point was a kind of shabby chic look, so the next step was to cover the colour with white paint, which I did with very small amounts of paint on a dry brush, dragging the brush to get streaks & the appearance of texture. Again, I built up layers, drying in between & wiping paint off with a baby wipe from time to time. There’s no right or wrong to this process, you just keep going until you’re happy. And I was happy with it at this point.


The next step was more texture & I decided to use a dark blue embossing powder from my stash through the Glitz Craft Sweetpea stencil. Embossing ink is very sticky & if you were to apply it directly through the stencil onto the frame it would lift the stencil off the surface & more than likely you’d get ink seeping underneath, resulting in a blurred image. The solution is to use a clean piece of cut & dry foam, tapping into the embossing ink & then gently through the stencil with one hand, while holding the stencil in place with the other hand.

I wanted more texture on the frame so I scrunched up a piece a of paper & used that to apply embossing ink to the rest of frame, covering it with the same EP. I really loved how this looked. It was patchy & random & I’ll definitely use this idea again.


I added the black card to the centre for the focal image & at this point, I decided the frame was finished & I still liked it. I put it to one side while I worked on the centre piece. Fifteen minutes later, I looked at the frame & HATED it. I thought it was one of the ugliest things I’d ever done & I had to fix it asap. There followed about an hour of faffing & I was so annoyed with myself that I forgot to take any photos, so I have to just tell you what I did.


I removed some of the mesh from the corners & painted over the patches with the pinky/purpley paint, followed by white, adding & wiping away as I’d done previously. That went on for ages & I loved the different textures, but hated the colours. So, rapidly losing patience, I painted the entire piece with a few coats of black paint. I scrubbed vigorously with baby wipes to remove some of the paint from the embossed areas & I sanded the edges, inside & out. Then I applied silver acrylic paint to various areas, using my fingers to dab it on in places & rub it in, in others.
 And then I left it alone. I ended up with something that is shabby-ish, but is most definitely NOT chic. Sigh.


Phew! Are you still with me??  I’ll be back tomorrow to show you how I finished this frame. Don’t forget to leave a comment on all the stencil promotion posts to be entered in the GIVEAWAY. While I think of it; don't worry if your comments don't appear immediately when you post them. I usually don't get time to publish them until the evening.
Sweetpea     Versamark Ink Pad   
Happy crafting!


  1. Interesting - I was with you until you used the black/dark paint - will pop back tomorrow to see what you do. On a separate note - I struggle to get that shabby style x

  2. Oh I love this post.... it's comforting to know I am not the only one to struggle! Can't wait to see the winning idea that turned the project around.

  3. You have left us is great suspense and can't wait to see the finished project tomorrow. I know just what you mean about going back to a project, I have done this several times, left a project, gone back 20 mins later and then don't like it. If it can't be salvalged it normally ends up in the bin lol.

  4. Some interesting ideas, mistakes are a big part of the creative process! Looking forward to seeing how it ends up.

  5. Kirsten, this is so reassuring!!! The trouble with blog following is that everyone posts their brilliant finished pieces. You've been brave enough to show that even the experts have to try different things and are not always satisfied with their projects. As a learner crafter, I appreciate knowing your thought processes and that sometimes you're not happy with your efforts! Thank you, Jan

  6. hi, pleased its not just me that faffs for hours and still isn't happy, look forward to seeing finished result, x

  7. Thanks for the step by step, it is looking fabulous and I looking forward to seeing the finished project. Sometimes it is best to walk away and then come back to it.
    Linda xxx


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