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Topic: Ocean Voyage shrine (warning: photos, photos and more photos!)  (Read 16320 times)
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« on: February 23, 2010 09:12:21 AM »

I honestly couldn't figure out what category it should be in so miscellaneous fits perfectly Cheesy I made this shrine thing as a Valentines Day present for my boyfriend. I put about 24 hours of work into it - 3 days of about 8 hours a day. It took a long time because most of the things I had to do to achieve the vision in my head were things I didn't know how to do. Thank god for tutorials on the internet! <3

I found this unfinished wood box at Michael's craft store last Halloween for $1. In retrospect, I should have bought all of them! It's supposed to be a tombstone and it had a wonky looking wood skull and crossbones on the front that I sanded off. Anyway, here's the completed box! I'm using thumbnails because this is several megs worth of photos. So If you are interested in seeing bigger photos of the creation steps, click on the thumbnail!




The steps:

First thing I did was coffee stain the pages I printed out to use on the shrine. I found an old style nautical map of the world and printed out 3 pages of excerpts I thought were interesting from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The pages were blinding white, so I aged them with coffee. Let them press overnight between wax paper then ironed them dry the next day. Then trimmed the map sections to fit, glued them on with white craft glue, let them dry then painted them with pearlescent watercolors to give them some muted color.


Next I made the barnacles from polymer clay (Sculpey III) that would adorn the outside of the box. I made I think 50 or so barnacles.. could have been 100 I have no idea. I made barnacles for an hour or two until I got tired of making barnacles. Grin Then I baked them, let them cool then did a wet wash in a walnut brown acrylic paint to give them that old, weathered underwater look.


I wanted to texture the outside of the box to kind of look like a undersea rock wall with corraline algae growing on it so I took strips of paper towels, soaked them in white craft glue and folded, smooshed and pinched them into place on the front and sides of the shrine. I also made 2 frames for the front of the box out of cardboard which I wanted to strengthen a little and get rid of the plainly visible corrugation on the cut edges. I let it all dry overnight. The next day put metal leaf on the front frame pieces and the porthole I made for the back of the box.


Next I made the fish body for the front of the box. The body and scales of the fish are made from polymer clay. I made a little scale cane sliced off a teeny piece, placed it on the body then smoothed the bottom of the scale down so it attached firmly to the body. I didn't want the fish shedding scales later. Shocked I had such horrid indecision about what color to make the fish. I think I agonized about it, just staring at the clay for a hour. I'm such a dork. The fins are made from baby bonnet colored fantasy film (I had some Fantasy Film samples laying around, they were exactly what I needed! Yay for packratting!) superglued to wire, trimmed then shrunk with a heat gun. In the second photo, I wanted to make sure the fish fit in the frame with room for fins before I went ahead and baked it. It fit! Woohoo!


Unfortunately, I missed photographing a few steps. Here you can see what was missed. The base of the shrine is painted with a mixture of Payne's Grey & a pearlescent olive green. The color is deep, shimmery and very hard to capture with a camera.

I also nailed in some decorative glass, silver and shell beads to give it some visually interesting texture. And really, what shrine would be complete without some sticky-outty things on it? Each of the nails had to be glued in because the wood is so soft that they kept popping off as I was working with the shrine. Grr! You can also see the porthole I made for the back. It has a glass lens in it, and an image of the ocean which I accented with some glitter. It is my favorite part of the box because it looks like you are looking out of a window at a real ocean with sun shimmering on the waves.


Each of the paper elements in the shrine were hand cut and glittered. Personally I think life never has enough glitter in it. Moar glitter please!


I used polymer clay to make a simulated wood grain which was then used to make the hull of the ship. The anchor is a base metal charm. You can see I have also glued a lovely embossed star paper to the back and painted the bottom and sides a bright blue-green.

In the third photo you can see a close-up of the finished ship! The sails are tea stained cotton batiste stitched with black thread then painted with a wash of watercolors. The line is tea stained string. The masts are large painted toothpicks. On the right side of the second photo you can see the painted Foam Core which I used to separate and add dimension to the waves. I selected words and phrases from the excerpts and glued them around the edges of the shrine.


The tentacles are made from a gradient blend of light green and translucent polymer clay fading into gold. Each suction cup is individually placed then holed. After all the suction cups are placed, the tentacle is shaped. I made 3 tentacles for the inside niche, then 4 larger ones for the shrine's feet.


The interior tentacles and the remaining paper wave layers are glued in. I made the sun with a miniature sort-of-working compass and glued on polymer clay sun rays. I cut a plastic skull bead in half with my Dremel and glued it to the bottom. I added some metal microbeads to the niche bottoms because they looked bare and needed some texture. The only other steps needed were to glue on the exterior barnacles, touch-up paint the inside and glue on the tentacle feet to the underside of the shrine.


I had a bit of an issue with the feet tentacles. I made them and they were the same height so that the box would sit level but apparently the tentacles relaxed or something when they were baked because when I glued them on, the box wobbled horribly!! It was awful. Luckily the glue rejected the polymer clay and the feet and glue were easy to remove. I sanded the tops of the tentacles to make them even then reglued them on with 2 part epoxy. They were NEVER coming off EVER again! Epoxy is forever! After the glue set, I tested the box and it still wobbled a bit. Something like that totally kills the perfectionist in me. So I had all these grand ideas about making a little reef under the short tentacle or gluing a shell ugh.. none of it seemed like a good idea until the day before Valentine's Day I remembered I had a miniature bronze ship's wheel. I glued it on with epoxy and the shrine sits perfectly! *phew*

Here are a few more photos of the completed shrine. Thank you for taking the time to look at my work. I really really REALLY appreciate it!

« Last Edit: July 16, 2014 08:46:41 PM by LimeRiot - Reason: broken images to links » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2010 09:18:31 AM »

Wow.  This is hands down one of the most beautiful shrines I have ever seen!  Gorgeous work.  This rocks!

« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2010 09:31:12 AM »

this is incredible..I love it!   Very very nice job...on all the elements. Wowzers...."this Rocks"  Wink Grin

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« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2010 09:35:15 AM »

Oh that is so fabulous!!!! I am not much of a "sea" girl but I totally want it!


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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2010 09:35:37 AM »

wow it's Brilliant! i love it and i want soemthing like it .. it's going on my wist Smiley
« Last Edit: February 23, 2010 09:36:02 AM by FairyWings » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2010 09:39:09 AM »

Wow, this will be going on my wist.

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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2010 09:39:20 AM »

I bow to your amazing crafting skills! This is one of the most amazing things I have seen here! I hope to see this in the featured projects category soon! This. Truly. Rocks! The barnacles are so realistic looking. The tentacles are amazing. The porthole really seems like you are looking out on the ocean. I could go ON AND ON about this. I am in awe!
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2010 10:00:06 AM »

my jaw is on the floor! this is sooooo amazing!!! I'm super jealous of your boyfriend, this is just so... WOW! i could write a whole paper on the epicness of this so I'll just say that i love it and move on. WOW!
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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2010 10:05:59 AM »

This is fantastic!

All of my photos are hosted at Flickr.


"she knew with the right amount of junk she could create a masterpiece" -- I'm still looking for the right amount of junk
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2010 10:33:02 AM »

INCREDIBLE! Thanks for all of the info too! This Rocks!
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