Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Steampunk Shapes

Hello everyone, Ann here today to share some steampunk inspired, artist trading blocks.
Artist trading blocks have always drawn my attention. Each set is so unique to its creator and each block unique unto itself. The multitude of surfaces presents so many opportunities for creativity and artwork to be showcased; yet it remains relatively small scale in size, making it very manageable.
I started with Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts artist trading blocks. Three blocks, in graduated sizes, arrive flat with score lines along the areas intended for folding to make it easy to construct. 
 Before I begin, I fold each piece along the score lines and create the box. This allows me to visualize which side of the tabs will be glued into place. To make it easier to add embellishments later on, I do not glue the top flaps into place, leaving the boxes "open". Once the blocks have been formed, I paint the outsides with black acrylic paint and set aside to dry.
 Each artist trading block has six sides to be embellished. For each block, I created a full piece of art that was cut into squares to fit the sides. While creating the pieces of art, I tried to keep in mind the size increments that the paper would be cut into. The smallest size block is a 2" cube, and each ascending block size is 1/2" larger. Using inks, stamps, and stencils from some of my favorite designers, I created the papers to adorn my trading blocks.
 Once I was satisfied with the overall design, I cut the sheet into squares, Each square was inked along the edge with black soot Distress Oxide ink to create a seamless transition when adhered to the painted block. These squares were then adhered to the six sides of the block.
While I attach the pieces of artwork, I constantly keep in mind ideas for the next layer of embellishments, this helps me decide the locations for the different pieces.
I found it easiest to work on one block at a time, meaning that I created a sheet of artwork, cut it to size and attached it to the corresponding block before starting the next piece of artwork.
Although I was using the same color inks, and similar themed stamps and stencils, I wanted each block to have its own unique quality. You might find it easiest to create all of the artwork at the same time. It's best to work in whatever way you are most comfortable.
I searched through my stash of bits and pieces and found elements I felt went well with my steampunk theme; then I die cut gear pieces, which I coated with gunmetal alcohol ink, to complement the palette.
The embellishments were attached to the blocks, using eyelets, brads and adhesive. The possibilities for these artist trading blocks are endless, they could be done in any style you choose, each creating a very different display.

I hope that you have enjoyed my photo heavy post, and perhaps are inspired to create something of your own. Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today.

Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts used:
Artists Trading Blocks (set of 3)

There is a Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts Craft Group on Facebook. We would love to have you share your creations with us. You can find the page here.  


  1. Ann, your ATBs are fabulous!! I love your steampunk style, the backgrounds you created are gorgeous! Anne xx

    1. Thank you so much Anne! I am thrilled to hear you loved them. I hope you have a wonderful day! ~Ann xx