Adding SERIOUS texture to your Art Journals: A Composimold Tutorial

I’m thoroughly hooked on this awesome Composimold product and have been pouring it all over things around my house.  But before I start in on this easy and very cool tutorial, I need to share a bit of back story…

You see, I while ago I bought this amazing black rubber bag.  That’s right, all rubber.  It was bag-love at first sight.  I happened to see it hanging amidst a sea of unworthy purses at Marden’s in Scarborough.  It was tough and thick, and made in Canada.  All of this and it was only 20 dollars!!! I mean, right????  The purse reminded be of a distant cousin to the Croc sandal.  But better, much better.

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I think what I love most about this purse, besides it’s high-end quality and originality, is that it is hilarious. The bag is almost sooo heinous, it kind of does a 180 degree shift towards unsurpassed glory.  It is the purse of super heroes. Or heroines.

I soon encountered one large problem with my amazing find… After bringing it home I learned quickly that my significant other couldn’t stand it.  He immediately and completely detested it.  Like nothing else I’ve ever worn, sported, or carried.  It disgusted him thoroughly.

One of the things that I love about Jason is that he cares very little about fashion or current trends.  He doesn’t really pay attention to that sort of thing.  Except in the case of this bag, which made his skin crawl.  I kept telling him, “But look!  It was made in Canada!  It’s really high quality.”  It didn’t matter.  Nothing mattered.

Bag detail

 

I used the bag as my main purse throughout the winter months, always downplaying Jason’s protests about it.  When he would tell me he was going to burn it, run over it with the van, or throw it off a bridge,  I would just chuckle, and remind him playfully about the coat he used to wear that I couldn’t stand.

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Eventually I decided it was time to stop using the bag.  Jason’s protests became more frequent and desperate.  I realized that the bag was hurting him more than it was benefiting me.  I loved him, so I compromised. Because when you love one another, you make compromises.  So I switched purses and retired the bag.  But I wasn’t going down without a fight.  Or without a wonderful reminder of this rubber beauty.  That is where Composimold came into play…

First, I lightly greased one side of the bag with a little olive oil.   I then heated the mold making material in the microwave, following instructions, until it became a hot liquid.  I poured it on the greased side of the bag, repeating the process once in order to develop a thick “skin.”

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Above shows melted molding making material dripping over the edge of the bag onto parchment paper below.  Once cooled, I was able to easily peel of the skin and trim off the solidified drips and uneven edges.  Leaving me with this fantastic skin-like mold, just perfect for an art journal page… Here it is below sitting in an aluminum pan.

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I then spread out a bunch of Golden Crackle Paste on an art journal page already in progress.  I used a pallet knife and spread it to about the thickness of a cake frosting… Maybe a little thinner than cake frosting…

Spreading on crackle paste

 

I then pushed my skin gently into the crackle paste.  I massaged it from the center out, to get rid of any air bubbles.  I managed to get the Made In Canada part in there (just barely).

Skin pushed into crackle paste

 

After letting the paste solidify for a couple hours, I was able to gently peel back the skin, revealing an amazing sight.  The cast of my glorious bag.

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After a day of drying, the crackle paste did it’s thing and crackled.  A bunch of lovely delicate crackles that wanted desperately to fall right of the journal page.  I sealed them well with a mixture of Golden Fluid Matte Medium added to a bit of water.  I really pushed the matte medium mixture down in the cracks to help adhere them to the page.  I repeated this again for added insurance.  Then I painted the entire  mold casting teal and gave it a black topcoat.  This art journal page is a memorial of sorts to all the misunderstood purses everywhere.  You are worthy of carrying around a bunch of crap.  Lest we forget.Art journal page

 

Here’s a bit of insanely awesome detail:

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Here’s another journal page I did in the same way.

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And a glorious detail of the lock:

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And here are several other mold “skins” that I made recently:

A variety of skins

 

So I cannot stop pouring Composimold all over the non-pourous surfaces in my home.  The stuff is so crazy-easy to use.  And you can re-use it too.  When your done with the mold, just melt it back down in the microwave and use it again.  It’s absolutely fantastic stuff…

 

 

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Composimold Impressive Putty Tutorial: A Barbie-Was-Murdered Resin Pendant

A few weeks ago I got my hands on an awesome product: Impressive Putty by Composimold.  It’s a one part, reusable mold making putty.

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You see, I was experimenting with jeweler’s grade resin (also available as a Composimold product) and needed some kind of squishy mold making material.  Something I could manipulate around an object to make an impression.  However, I needed it to stay flexible when solidified in order to be able to pop out the resin object. This stuff ended up being just perfect!!!

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I had serious plans for these mini perfume bottles pictured above… But first I had to follow package directions and heat the Impressive Putty in the microwave for a few seconds.  Once it cooled a bit, I kneaded it much like dough.

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For a little while, during the kneading process,  it was almost too warm and gooey (sticky really), to use.  So I set it on a plate to cool for just a bit longer.  (This was, afterall, what the package instructions said to do!)

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Just as it became almost room temp, the Impressive Putty was ready to use.  I kneaded it a bit more and rolled it into a ball.

I coated my perfume bottle with just a dab of dish soap.  (I learned this awesome trick from a super smart teenager that I’ve been working with lately, thank you Kaylee!!!!!)

Then I pushed the bottle into the ball of putty.  I worked the putty up around the sides of the bottle too, as I wanted a deep well for my resin.

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I then removed the bottle slowly.  The dish soap really helped with this step, allowing the bottle to come out freely without the putty sticking to it.  I took several more bottle impressions this way.

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The putty captured the detail of the glass bottle well.

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I then waited about 45 minutes and voila! My molds were solid enough to use.  I rinsed them very briefly to remove the excess dish soap and let them dry thoroughly, upside down on a paper towel.  Once dry, I coated the molds with vegetable oil, poured my first round of resin in them, and let the resin dry overnight.

I then added funny little objects to my molds.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED Barbie as a kid.  But I simply needed to capture her hand in a pendant…  Plus there’s that whole body image thing… With Barbie’s figure being totally unobtainable and well, you know the story… She had to die.  I cut off her hands with a pair of tile nippers.  After she bled out, I chucked her lifeless corpse in the garbage.

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I truly LOVE the hippo below!

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I poured more resin in my molds, covering the objects completely.  However, I soon found out that some objects float, and thus can shift, so next time I’ll just add a dab of resin to each and let that dry.  This dab of dried resin would act as a glue to secure the object in place for a final pour.

After my little resin goodies were completely dried (24 hours at least had passed), I popped them out of the molds.  They came out easily.  I washed them with soap to remove any vegetable oil. With just a bit of sanding on the sides and edges, my resin casts were perfect!

For the Barbie hand pendant, I drilled a hole at the top.  I strung it on waxed linen cord and added store bought resin (plastic) beads.

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I really like how thick the pendant is…

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The button-toggle closure is also quite simple…

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It reminds me a little of something Wilma Flintstone would wear… (Who also had an unobtainable waistline!)

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An Incredible Visit, A Woolly New Book Class, and Summer Camps Posted!

Our Cloth Paper Scissors event went off gloriously and without a hitch.  We had an incredible time with the very wonderful and generous CPS magazine editors, Jeannine Stein and Barbara Delaney.  They brought an adorable make and take project; a faux plaster plus stitch technique that I am just itching to do again…And again… And again.  Here are some yummy, oh-so-textural examples:

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Everyone had a fabulous time and our humble studio became a magical place, buzzing with a joyful, creative din.  A steady stream of people came and went throughout the day.  There were door prizes, food and freebies too.  Oh how I wish we could do this again… Here’s hoping!

 

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I’ve also added a fun new class to my long list called Felted Sweater Books.  On Monday April 25th, from 6:00-8:30, come and stitch up this woolly beauty.  I’ll provide felted sweaters to choose from, along with waxed linen thread and wool felt for the lining. You’ll just need to bring paper.  You should have enough time to add a felt embellishment to the cover too!

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The spines are pretty rad, yes?

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And the soft, premium wool felt lining is a super sweet touch!

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Lastly, I’ve listed two weeks of summer camps!!!  These are half days, 9:00am to noon, and you can sign your kiddo up for just one day or for the full week.  See my class page for more details.

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Meet The Amazing Duo Behind Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine!!!

That’s right!!!  In-person, at The Painted Dog!!!!!!!!!!!!! (The art studio that I share with my dearest and most creative friend, Rebecca Sweek of Duncan’s Family Jewels).  We are both so absolutely THRILLED to announce this!  Jeannine Stein, Editor of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine and author of Adventures in Bookbinding and Re-Bound, will be traveling from the Boston area, along with her Assistant Editor, and author of The Cloth Paper Scissors Book, Barbara Delaney, to visit our humble studio.

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They will be at The Dog on Saturday March 5th from 10am to 2pm.  They are bringing a darling make and take project too (A fun faux plaster technique done on a mini canvas) along with magazines and DVDs for door prizes!  Rebecca and I will provide yummy refreshments and we will have some of our awesome handmade wares for sale as well.

This is FREE and open to the public.  A must for local creative souls and Cloth Paper Scissors fans.  We hope to see you there!

 

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Waxy Stab-Bound Journals… Craft Publishing Royalty This Way Comes… And Sew Somerset Winner Announced!!

In all my varied creative endeavors, I always come home to book making, especially stab-bound books.  I try lots of different things, often winging off in strange or new directions, but I seem to circle back, like a vulture really, and devour book making.  I LOVE HAND MADE BOOKS.

I also have been thoroughly enamored with my very good friend’s waxed fabric creations lately.  Becky Sweek of Duncan’s Family Jewels has been waxing her own fabric for quite a while now.  She makes and sells amazing bags, with up-cycle belts for handles, like the one pictured below.

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Needless to say, I had to try waxing my own fabric, with book making in mind as an end result.  I quickly discovered that waxing is a two-step process, kind of stinky, and not super quick. In other words, it’s quite a production, literally.  However, the end result is a stiff, waxy, sturdy fabric with a built-in crinkled-look.  It’s nothing short of AWESOME STUFF.  My waxed fabric eventually turned into many glorious stab-bound books.  They have “hard” covers, with special cardstock inserts, and are filled with mixed media paper, ready to sell. (It’s going to be hard to part with them, especially the first one, directly below!)

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And then there’s the binding.  The doubled waxed linen thread in a cross-stitched formation is really quite dreamy.

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Now, as some of you already know, my fabric-waxing friend and I have opened up a little studio where she sews her bags and I teach a variety of art and craft classes for kids and adults.  We named our studio venture The Painted Dog (after our crazy love of dogs) and are happy to announce that a Painted Dog website is currently in the works, so stay tuned!

We are also ABSOLUTELY thrilled to announce a very exciting upcoming event at The Painted Dog; the visit of two very special ladies, Jeannine Stein (editor of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine and author of Re-Bound and Adventures in Bookbinding) and Barbara Delaney (assistant editor of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine and author of The Cloth Paper Scissors Book: Techniques and Inspiration for Creating Mixed Media Art).

That’s right! On March 5th (with a snow date of March 12th), from 10am-2pm these gals (craft publishing royalty, really!) will grace our humble studio.  They will have crafty shenanigans in tow too; i.e. make and takes and possibly giveaways or door prizes.  Becky and I will provide yummy refreshments and have our handmade wares for sale as well.  So if you happen to be in the area and are a Cloth Paper Scissors fan, be sure not to miss it!!  It’s gonna be a hoot! (Okay, shameless plug I admit, but I simply couldn’t resist adding the Cloth Paper Scissors PAGES picture below.  It’s no coincidence that my felted books don the COVER!!!)

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Lastly, (oh how I do love this part) I get to announce a lucky winner of the latest Sew Somerset magazine bundled with a hand made book and some other artsy stuff.  All your comments were lovely, touching really.  The New Year landmark is a peaceful time for hope, positive change, redirection and renewal.  May every New Year be filled with just that!  I wish I could give a magazine to all of you. But alas, I must choose just one person. So, I  put all 9 names in a hat and picked a winner.  Pretend there’s a drumroll… And the winner is….

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KAREN!!!  Congrats Karen Zaller!  You won!! YAY!!!!

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Simply email me your address at arusse71@maine.edu and enjoy your goodies!!!  You will LOVE this magazine I promise!!!!  And I hope that your new year is much less painful.  Thank you everyone for playing!

 

 

 

 

 

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