Thursday, December 3, 2015

Grungy Tree

The new challenge starts today at Stamps and Stencils and Julia is our hostess and she is calling the theme Grungy Christmas.  She describes it this way:

"I love Christmas but I'm a little shy when it comes to the bling, glitter and tinsel bit. We'd like to see you step away from the normal Christmas colours and create a mixed media piece which has a real touch of grunge. Think alternative colours, layers, antiquing and all things which are not pristine red and green! Remember to add in some stamping or stenciling too!"

This is also my first challenge as a new member of the Stamps and Stencils team and it tested me - a lot.  First of all, grungy doesn't really fit my tree and home decor, which are in beautiful sparkly red and gold with a few touches of white.  Then I had a couple of fails along the way, which I will tell you about as I go along but I did discover that I am not a quitter and you might learn from my mistakes.

I started with a 7" x 9" flat canvas from the dollar store.  The next step was to lay out all the elements I had collected to make my tree, which I love by the way.  I have used some wooden bits and pieces cut for me by husband on his new laser cutter, gears, buttons, screws, charms, electronic parts (also provided by husband), nuts, washers, flowers, soda pop pull tabs, etc.

Once I had a design I was happy with I took a photo of it with my phone.  Why you ask - because I never seem to remember where I intended to put things when I take them off to get ready to glue them on and of course then nothing fits so the photo solves that problem.

I took everything off and gave the canvas a coat of Liquitex Gesso.  Then I added a layer of crumpled tissue paper with Mod Podge.  The next step was to use some Golden Light Molding Paste through a snowflake stencil.

Then I glued all my bits and pieces down with Liquitex Matte Super Heavy Gel.  I covered everything with another coat of Gesso followed by a coat of Champagne Gold Metallic acrylic paint from Deco Art.  Since Julia doesn't want traditional red on our projects, I added some coppery highlights with some Rose Quartz Treasure Gold wax paste.

So now here is where the first fail comes in.  Despite the fact the texture snowflakes in the background looked OK before I started to paint, they didn't show through with all the gold paint.  Since I could see them (barely), I laid the stencil over them and added some silver metallic paint but they didn't take the paint evenly.  Since this is a stamping and stenciling challenge blog and I couldn't see my stenciling, I decided to go to bed and sleep on it.

When I got up in the morning, I made the decision to take whole background off.  I grabbed an X-Acto Knife and very carefully made a cut all the way around the tree because remember, I love the tree.  Then I proceeded to take off the tissue paper and was happy to discover that it was almost like rubber from the Mod Podge and I was able to peel it off in sections - whew.

Now I had a white background that still had a bit of texture so I painted it with some Bleached Sand acrylic paint from Deco Art using a tiny brush to get next to the tree elements.  Then I covered the tree with a paper triangle and splattered some Gun Metal Grey Metallic paint from Folk Art and some of the Champagne Gold on the background.

The next step was to stamp snowflakes from a Recollections set randomly over the background using a Versamark embossing pad and then covering them with Stampendous Detail Gold embossing powder and heating them. 

Then I decided it needed some snow so I took a palette knife and spread some of the Golden Paste on it and when it was dry, I painted it with Pearl White Metallic acrylic paint from Deco Art.  I decided to have more snowflakes on the ground so they were stamped onto card stock and fussy cut.

So this was the next fail because after I took a photo of it I looked at it online and it didn't really make me happy - in truth it made me downright grumpy.  I slept on it for many more nights and then decided the background was still not right so I came up with version 3.  It is a good thing I still like the tree or by now this would be resting in the circular file marked "G".

I painted the whole background with Liquitex Black Gesso and then took a sea sponge and dabbed on some Deco Art Gun Metal Metallic acrylic paint.  Then I took some Wendy Vecchi Crackle Texture Paste and did the snowflakes through that same Mini Snowflakes stencil from The Crafter's Workshop.

Now I think I have a grungy tree with all its eclectic bits and pieces and I have a grungy background with grungy cracked snowflakes so I have decided to quit here and call this my Night Tree.

I am going to enter this canvas in the following challenges:

Mixed Media World - Anything Goes
Altered Eclectics  - 25 Days to Christmas


  1. Wooooooow, Cec, what a genius idea to create a tree out of all those fabulous bits and pieces! Marvelous Christmas card! Love it!
    Hugs! Branka xxx

  2. Wow Cec, this is not only gorgeous, but completely unique!! LOVE all the amazing little things you used to create the texture on your tree, wow! The gold just shines and the contrast with the black is stunning! big hugs :)

  3. Such a neat design here and the color is amazing!

  4. Oh wow Cec - first of all - I loved that you shared with us your challenges because it truly makes your tree shine ever brighter and I already thought it was a glimmering jewel before I read your blogging! It truly is beautiful. I love everything about it. So so so happy you persevered and made such glistening eye candy in the end. This would work for SanDee and Amelie's challenge too!!! LOVE. j.

  5. This is special Cec, a brilliant project with an awesome tree.
    Yvonne xx

  6. Hi Cec What a gorgeous project so much to look at on your wonderful tree ! so glad you've joined us at Stamps and Stencils. Toni x

  7. Wow! Just love how you've constructed your fabulous metallic tree, Cec - all the bits and bobs look amazing. Fabulous first make, and so good to read about the process... always encouraging to know one's not alone in the stops and starts of it all!
    Alison xx

  8. BEAUTIFUL!! Its amazing Cec and I love it! Cxx

  9. Absolutely Fabulous, thank you for sharing your lovely canvas with us at Altered Eclectics.
    xxx Hazel.


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