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1  Maximus The Magnificent, Altered Tin in Completed Projects by rackycoo on: March 18, 2019 07:21:28 AM

So. I had a little spell of free time where I didn't have a deadline for any art projects, and I decided to look for a tin to alter. I had in mind doing something Spring/Easter related. People are always giving me empty tins, so I looked through my tin drawer hoping to find something different. I found a square green tin (perfect for Spring; let's use that!) but I also pulled out a long skinny gold tin, thinking it would be fun to use for a future project. Well, I fought with the green tin just long enough to remember I had some new gold striped paper that might look really, really good with that second tin. The green tin got tossed aside, and Maximus the Magnificent the Strong Man was born. The image of Maximus came from a collage sheet by Knickertwist. I added some wings, a prize fighter belt, and a wee silver crown.

The three blocks I used in this piece are all vintage. I cut the red and white block Maximus stands on in half so it would fit inside the tin, and cut a wheel in half for the top. The sides and back of the tin are covered in patterned paper; the dots around the opening were done with Gesso. I used black and cream striped paper for the inside walls of the tin, some of the pennants in the background, and the belt. The belt buckle is actually a peanut butter label, intended for a dollhouse jar. Maximus' outfit needed a pop of red, and it was the perfect size and shape.

Maximus didn't start out wearing any headgear, but when I found that tiny crown and let him try it on, he refused to take it off. I think it suits him. 

Maximus has been looking for a nice place to live. Currently, he's residing in our keeping room, but he may move into the living room in the near future. You know how those circus folk like to travel.
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2  Matchbox Circus in Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General by rackycoo on: February 26, 2019 07:39:48 AM
If you know me at all, you know I'm crazy about the circus. It's been a while since I made any circus art, so I decided to have a little fun with another mini matchbox like the one I used a couple of weeks ago to make Mini Mermaids. Here's some more big fun in a little 2 1/2" package.

First, the cover. I put alphabet stickers spelling out the word "circus" on a piece of paper and then cut it out to make a sign for the elephant to hold. Sequin stars add a bit of sparkle. The letters on the spine of the "book" were cut from a collage sheet.

When you open the box, there's a tiny circus performance going on. Or perhaps it's dress rehearsal, seeing as the seats aren't yet filled.

I painted the tiniest of people to create a wee trapeze artist and a ringmaster. I used the thinnest of brushes and the strongest of magnifying glasses to paint these performers. The trapeze artist is perched on her swing, which is actually a thin piece of wire, bent to shape. She's attached to her perch with a little white glue. The baby elephant's blanket is a piece of ribbon, cut to size and glued on.

When I say these people are small, I'm not kidding. Here's the ringmaster with a quarter to show scale. He's just about 3/4" tall.

Star sequins, Dresden trim over the curtains, and gold tape all make the circus shine.

Now I have a little pocket circus to take wherever I go.
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3  Mini Mermaid Matchbox Book in Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General by rackycoo on: February 06, 2019 11:04:01 AM
I really love to work small, so this little faux book box from Alpha Stamps is right up my alley (only 2 1/4" tall!) I had some gorgeous sea-themed scrapbook papers, some great collage sheets, and tons of beachy charms to pick from. Here's the little cover:

Fun coordinating paper on the sides:

And when you open it up: mermaids!

I used three copies of the same image + foam tape to create depth, then place some sheet moss, tiny shells, and faux pearls in front for that beachy feel.

It's a little bit of palm-sized mermaid magic on a cold winter day.  Cheesy
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4  Winter Shadowbox in PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) by rackycoo on: January 02, 2019 08:23:14 AM
Here's a little shadowbox I made to celebrate winter. I love the vintage look of the colors and images. The snowflakes at the top are glittery, and there's glitter both in the background and surrounding the opening of the box.

I used two of the same image to give the inside dimension. The background used the full image (plus glitter!), and the foreground is the girl and her dog.

A tiny holly garland surrounds the opening.

Even though it does say "Merry Christmas", I think I can get away with keeping this out all winter.
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5  A Little Reminder... in Winter Holidays by rackycoo on: December 18, 2018 08:20:32 AM
...He sees you when you're drinking.

Here's a quick little project I made with a small vintage Christmas ornament box. After all, 'tis the season!

I love using these tiny boxes for shadowboxes. They're awesome. Notice how the little deer is enjoying a festive Christmas Cosmo. Mmmm!

Sometimes I wonder how many of these little boxes you would need to purchase in order to decorate an average sized tree. They weren't expensive, though; this one has a price tag on it. It only cost 15 cents.
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6  Gingerbread Matchbox in Winter Holidays by rackycoo on: November 26, 2018 08:41:06 AM
I got a little Peaked Roof Matchbox kit from Alpha Stamps. The inside drawer slides out to make a tiny scene. The outside brown cardboard immediately reminded me of the color of gingerbread, so I decided to make a sweet candy house using dimensional paint and polymer clay canes that look like peppermint. The doorknob is a red brad. I used the paint to adhere the "candy", just as one would use icing on a real gingerbread house.

There are even some little gingerbread people (from a collage sheet) on the back.

If this roof were really made of candy, it would be a huge sugar buzz!

The drawer slides out the bottom to reveal a wintery scene. Isn't that vintage plastic Santa the cutest? His Christmas tree is decorated with seed beads.

So much Christmas goodness in a standard sized matchbox. Ho ho ho!
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7  Kitschy Christmas in Winter Holidays by rackycoo on: November 05, 2018 08:45:06 AM
Be still my heart: PINK bottle brush Christmas trees! When I saw these trees I knew just what to do with them: make a little kitschy Christmas scene. The pink tree looks great with my favorite color combo of turquoise and red, and of course I had to line the box opening with some pink pom poms for extra kitsch. A little turquoise deer I had got a new set of eyes (spot of black paint) and a shiny red nose (tiny red crystal). I tied a little bit of baker's twine around his neck to make him dapper, and used a few layers of foam tape to attach him to the back of the box.

I chose a red and white striped paper for the top and bottom of the slide out box because they reminded me of a candy cane.

Even though the box is nice and deep, I used scissors to flatten out the back of the tree a little so it fit inside better. Here's a little better idea of the inside color (that deep box is difficult to photograph well!)

Just for fun, I put a jolly little Santa on the back.

Fa la la!
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8  Altered Costume Boxes in Halloween Decor and Parties by rackycoo on: October 26, 2018 07:24:53 AM
 I'm a big fan of making art in vintage Christmas ornament boxes, so when I saw these new Tim Holtz reproduction Halloween Costume boxes, it was love at first sight. Halloween is my favorite! These small boxes (the cat box below is 2" by 3") look great on their own, so it doesn't take much to create cute little Halloween decor. What fun!

For the smallest box, I covered the back of the box with orange and black scrapbook paper, black alphabet beads (boo!) and a vintage image of a girl with a pumpkin. I used foam adhesive dots to raise her up from the back. Rick rack trim and a little pumpkin was added to the box top.

On this next box, I used some vintage kids from one collage sheet and masks from another to make a group of tiny trick or treaters. Foam adhesive was again used to give the group more of a 3D look. C'mon now, give them some candy!

Here's the largest box. It got a background of orange with black polka dots and some fun orange tinsel around the opening. The inside features a flying bat and a ready-for-a-party plastic skeleton holding a black cat shaker. The skeleton was, of course, too tall to fit in the space like that, so I took some heavy duty clippers and removed his pelvis and the bottom part of his arms to fit. Sounds ghastly, but look how happy he is; he doesn't mind a bit!

What a fun addition to my Halloween decor! These are going to look great on my mantel.
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9  Tiny Haunted House & Tombstone Tutorial (so many pictures!!) in Halloween Decor and Parties by rackycoo on: October 08, 2018 07:47:26 AM
Can't stop making things for Halloween! This haunted house is tiny, but still pretty spooky. The base is only 6" by 6".

I covered the sides of the house with a wood plank scrapbook paper, and the roofs with spiderwebs. Dresden trim accents the roof lines. 

The "stone" path in the front is cut from a cardboard egg carton. It's got the perfect texture for pavers.

Tombstones litter the front yard. The kit comes with four; I chose to use three. Buried in the front yard are "Al B. Bach" and "Ima Goner". Sadly, no one knows who lies beneath the cross. I have created a tutorial for how I made the tombstones, and you can find it at the bottom of this post.

The windows in this little house are actually thin sheets of mica. Here in the front,  I put the image of the child behind the mica, so it looks like she's inside. The pumpkin is in front of the mica so it looks like it's outside, sitting on the windowsill.

I used mica in the window because the house is designed to accommodate a tea light. When it's dark, you can light it up and it looks so spooky!

Here you can see the back of the house. I wanted the inside to be as light as possible when the tea light is lit, so I did not paint the walls or floor. You can also see all the mica in the windows. Believe it or not, it's really easy to cut the mica to size with just a regular pair of scissors. (But not your good paper cutting scissors; use the cheap pair!) I used a little white glue to adhere the mica to the back of the house.

The tree is made from a branch of an azalea bush. Perfect! I punched a little hole in the base and just fed the bottom of the branch in. The crow sitting in that tree used to be a bluejay. I filed down the tuft on his head and painted him black. He prefers life as a crow.

Next to the door are a couple of tiny pumpkins and a skull.  Although the house is designed with three windows across the front, I decided to include a door. It's just a piece of painted cardboard, with a window cut into it so the light can shine through. The doorknob is a brad.

The sides of the house are solid. I used some window frames backed with mica to make it look like there were windows there.

I had so much fun making this haunted house! I love that it looks good both in the daytime and at night.

And now for the Tombstone tutorial:

Items needed
Chipboard tombstones
Ratty old paintbrush
Black, white, and grey paint
Straight edge (optional)
Very fine black pen. I used .1 and .05 Copic Multiliner pens (above)
N4 Grey Copic Marker (not shown above)

Dip your paintbrush into each of your three colors and dab it onto the tombstone at random. It's best to use an old stiff brush that's pretty wrecked already.

Keep dabbing on the mixed paints until you are happy with the results. Once I get the mottled look I like, I often dip the brush in just the white paint for some contrast.

Make sure you also paint the back and sides of each piece. If you're making a little graveyard, it's nice if some of the stones are lighter than the others.

Using a straight edge and a .1 black pen, draw thin lines to give the tombstone a 3D effect. If you have a steady hand (or you need to go around a curve, like the stone at top below, just freehand it.)

Use the .05 pen to draw tiny cracks in the tombstones. I also used a grey Copic marker (N4) to give some shadows and dimension. For the tombstones in the haunted house project above, I hand lettered the gravestones, but for these two, I found some odd bits of rub on type that added detail. Either way works great. Now that I've got some new tombstones to play with, I need to do another Halloween project. Hmm....

Whew! If you're still reading, you deserve a prize! For a complete list of supplies I used in the Haunted house, click here, and for the set of tombstones used in the tutorial, click here. Happy haunting!
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10  Haunted Halloween Surprise Box in Halloween Decor and Parties by rackycoo on: September 25, 2018 07:51:35 AM
I don't know about you, but if someone gave me a beautifully wrapped little gift that had a tag proclaiming it "haunted", I might think twice about opening it up. It's so tempting, though. I do love Halloween, and look how fun that bow is...

But beware! This is not an ordinary box, it's an exploding box! Once you lift the lid, the sides of the box slowly open, and you see exactly what's doing the haunting.

Yikes! It appears to be a forgotten cemetery, and one of the grave's occupants seems to be clawing his way up from underground. (I cut those hands off of an unfortunate plastic skeleton.)

The chipboard tombstones were painted in mottled black, grey and white acrylic paints, and then embellishments were added: a silver medal flower on the cross, some rub on scrolly lines and a painted RIP on the rounded stone, and a silver skull charm, also painted, on the pointed headstone. Some tiny bats, cut out of a chipboard border, fly overhead. A spooky skull has also made an appearance.

There are also a few pumpkins in the graveyard. The two in the back help stabilize the chipboard fence. The flap of the box with the night sky on it is supported in the back by some clay so it remains upright when the box is opened. I added a faux orange side behind it for symmetry.

Happy haunting! Would you open it? If you want an exploding box or other supplies, click here.
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