Next week I will begin decorating the house for Halloween. For me, this is the best part of the holiday. I have a china cabinet in the dining room which I convert into a creepy cabinet of curiosities. I thought it would be fun to make a piece to add to my curiosities. Using the Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts 6x6 shadowbox as a base, I created the specimen box. Some shards of mica formed the perfect "shattered" enclosure.
I set aside the box pieces to dry and begin working on the interior papers. I begin with a piece of scrapbook paper that has subtle markings and appears aged. I add ink and some random script stamping onto the paper to give it even more dimension, this paper will be used to cover the inside base of the box. A coordinating paper is cut into strips that equal the depth of the box. These strips are inked around the edges with the same ink that was used on the background paper. When the painted edges are completely dry, I use glue along tabs and edges and form the box.
I measure each of the box compartments and cut the base papers to fit, making sure to ink any cut edges. I label the backs of the papers with a letter designated for each compartment. Typically, the three smaller sections will all be the same size; however, the designation allows me to know which "specimen" stamp will be used in which compartment. Using a stamp platform and black archival ink, I stamp the selected "specimen" in the center of the cut paper. I also stamp each image onto a piece of clear acetate with black StazOn ink. The acetate images are set aside to dry.
The next step involves creating the faux wood box exterior. Using a 3D embossing folder and some damp mixed media paper, I run the paper through the diecut machine to add the embossed woodgrain texture. These pieces are then inked, painted and coated with various mediums resulting in a true "wood" look. I make sure to incorporate some of the paint color that was used on the base box to ensure that the transitions are seamless. The wood grained papers are cut to size and attached to the box sides and back with collage medium.
With the main images in place for each section, I am able to visualize where I want to add rub-ons and additional stamped images. I want the compartment to appear as if the base papers were taken straight from journals or documentation related to each specimen. I add date stamps, signatures, numbers and various other markings. When I am satisfied with the look, the papers are secured in place with adhesive.
When the StazOn ink is completely dry, I turn the stamped acetate pieces over and use alcohol ink to color the images. When dry, I cut out each image, being careful to get as close to the edge as possible without compromising the image. These acetate images are then attached above their respective stamps within the box. I only attach the acetate pieces along the thorax/abdomen. This allows the wings to be folded upward enhancing the dimensional effect.
The final step in the process is adding shards of mica to the exterior edges of the box. I use a strong, clear drying glue along the edges where the mica touches and then add a weight on top while it dries. You can add as much or as little mica as you want to achieve the desired look. I love how the largest piece spans across the compartments, yet still leaves random areas uncovered.
I hope that you have been inspired by this piece to perhaps create your own themed piece, It is always a lot of fun making pieces that can be displayed year after year.
Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by today, I truly appreciate it.
Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts used: 6x6 Shadowbox