Thursday, January 29, 2004

Book Review - Holly Harrison's Altered Books Adventure

Altered Books, Collaborative JournalsAltered Books, Collaborative Journals, and Other Adventures in Bookmaking
by Holly Harrison
Massachusetts: Rockport Publishers, 2003
ISBN: 1-56496-995-9
Paperback; 128 pages
Book Review by Kim M. Bayne

The Bad News: If you're a novice, in need of hand-holding or step-by-step project instructions for making altered books, pass this by. You'll only become frustrated as you try to discover exactly how all this wonderful art was created.

The Really Good News: Brief materials lists accompany featured works, so you're not totally in the dark. If you're seeking inspiration, this book is gorgeous. Like a coffee table book, large color photographs showcase the best of the best. It's hard to just flip through the pages. You'll want to stop and gaze. If this appeals to you, then run -- don't walk -- to the nearest bookstore.

I have taught beginner arts and crafts classes so I know what it takes to instill interest in altered books. I can barely put this book down. Every page has something of value. Sidebars include insights into the creative process by featured artists plus some wonderful tips. You'll find help on topics like protecting pages (use wax paper or a spray sealer), using found materials (tissue paper roses transformed from cheese tray decorations), and photo transfers (using caulk as a solvent, of all things).

Check out the Technique Highlight on Digital Art, featuring Melissa McCobb Hubbell. If you have yet to add PCs to your arsenal of artist tools, here's your motivation. The checklist of ways to rework original art includes inverting images, adding color layers and creating mirror images, something you can't do easily without technology. (Isn't it nice to live in an age when art has reached a new and empowering level?)

After perusing this book (again and again), I'm looking forward to tackling several altered book ideas. You'll enjoy reading about exploring books as sculpture. Meanwhile, I'm going to troll through used bookstores or auction sites to find a medical or hotel ledger to alter -- an idea inspired by an example in this book. Next, I'll want to tuck an AB collage into a record album sleeve, as seen on page 50. (Note: My Dad performs in two bands, so he has scores of old record albums and sheet music. Just wait until I try to explain what I'm going to use them for...ahem...but I digress.)

"Altered Books, Collaborative Journals..." is packed full of exciting ideas that are sure to make you a better artist. Or at the very least, you'll wish you were.

Product Resource Guide
· Buy Holly's book now at by clicking here.
· Find Holly's book at a discount on

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Project - Decoupage a Fantasy with Altered Tins

My family and I had just seen "Peter Pan (2003)" with Jason Isaacs and Jeremy Sumpter. The movie inspired me to decoupage a fairy-themed altered tin.

I decided to raid my daughter's "Art Cart" and use some of her art materials for this project. My daughter and her cousin worked on tins at the same time, and they enjoyed using products (like Elmer's) that they already knew and loved. If you decide to do a similar project, you may want to use professional crafter's glue for adhering the image and tissue paper onto the tin. It's up to you! ~ Article by Kim M. Bayne

Believe in Fairies Altered Tin by Kim Bayne

Altered Tin Materials List
· Discarded Altoid's or Other Breath Mint Tin (Size: approx. 2.5 by 3.75 by .75 inches)
· Self-Adhesive White Mailing Label, Rectangular, large enough to fit the lid of the tin
· Scissors or X-Acto Knife and Blade
· Expired Plastic Credit Card
· Elmer's Washable School Glue No Run Gel, or you can use your favorite clear-drying professional glue, like Diamond Glaze
· Color Copy of Fairy from Favorite Book, Reduced (Size: 2 by 3 inches)
· Small Paintbrush for Applying Glue in Small Places
· Acrylic Craft Paint in Purple
· Purple Tissue Paper, Torn into Small Pieces
· Marvy Metallics Marker in Purple
· Wing Stickers cut from dragonfly on sheet of Sandylion Sticker Designs
· Elmer's 3D Washable Jumbo Paint Pens (Gold, Purple, Silver, and Aqua Glitter)
· Elmer's 3D Washable Jumbo Paint Pen (Gold Glitter with Star and Heart Sequins)
· Gold Puffy 3D Star Sticker
· Tiny White Glass Micro Marbles
· "Believe" from Hallmark Cards Word Stickers
· Matte Acrylic Sealer Spray

The Steps

For starters, I "cheated" a little and covered the top of the tin with a label. That became the base for applying all the other materials I added later.

1. Peel the backing off a plain white self-adhesive mailing label. Lay it "adhesive side up" on the table. Place the mint tin "top down" on the label. Use the back of a spoon to "burnish" the label onto the lid and smooth out any bubbles.

2. Use scissors or craft knife to trim the extra label that extends beyond the lid. You can trim it to fit down the sides of the lid or remove the extra entirely.

3. Trim around the fairy image. Using a plastic credit card (one that has expired or a promotional one received in the mail), spread a thin layer of glue on the label. Carefully place the fairy picture on top of the glue, smoothing it to remove any wrinkles. Set aside to dry.

4. After the fairy has dried, you're ready to paint. Using a small paintbrush, apply a thin coating of purple acrylic paint on the sides and top of the lid, covering all but the fairy image and a small border around her. Go take a break while the tin dries -- again! (smiles).

5. Glue torn tiny pieces of purple tissue paper in selected places on top of the acrylic paint, pushing the pieces up in spots to create texture. Don't cover the acrylic paint entirely -- the mix of paint and tissue on the lid will create different shades of purple. With a paintbrush and some gel glue, I glued both sides of the tissue to make it appear somewhat translucent. Go for a walk...while this dries.

6. With the purple metallics marker, create a cloud-like outline around the top of the lid. If you like, you can apply metallic marker to the sides of the lid, too.

7. Embellish the fairy's hair with gold glitter glue.

8. Cut the wings off a holographic dragonfly and apply them to the back of the fairy.

9. Extend the wings "out of frame" by brushing on aqua and silver glitter glue. Before the glue dries completely, add dimension to the wings by sprinkling on tiny glass beads, using a spoon to control placement. If you wish, you can add more gel glue on top of the marbles to create a softer look for the wings.

10. Apply the large gold puffy 3D star sticker just above the fairy's head. Enhance the star with gold glitter and gold glitter with stars and hearts. As you apply the glitter, paint in an arch to resemble a shooting star.

11. Tear the edges of the "believe" sticker. Place the sticker on the lid just under the fairy. Add gel glue and micro marbles on top of the word. Don't worry about the word becoming cloudy. When the glue dries, the word will be readable.

12. To cover the torn edges of the word, tear and glue tiny pieces of purple tissue paper around "believe" to frame the word.

13. If you just can't stop yourself -- like me (wink wink) -- add purple glitter glue in strategic places on the lid and on the sides of the lid.

14. Let dry overnight. The next day, protect your elaborate creation using a matte acrylic sealer spray over the entire design.

It was a challenge to stop altering this tin because I'm very fond of the subject matter. Even after I had completed it, I wanted to go back to add more glitter, but I moved on to other projects -- thank goodness!

Product Resource Guide
· Buy your craft supplies at
· The project photo on this page was taken with a 5.0 MP resolution KODAK EASYSHARE DX4530 Zoom Digital Camera

Related Links
· Free Class: Altered Tin Class by Jen Kinton-Bailey, on ARTChix Studios
· Altered Altoid Tins
· Altered Tins and Boxes

Article Description: Take a discarded mint tin, tissue paper, glue and glitter and you´re off to Neverland.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Project - Make a Rustic Western Paper Tag

Colorado Cowboy Western Tag Art
Colorado Cowboy Western Tag Art (click to enlarge)

Tag #2: Colorado Cowboy:
This tag was inspired by actor Bruce Bayne (Yes, he's related!), as he posed for a Western publicity shot in Cripple Creek, Colorado. I like this tag so much, I decided to host a paper crafts tag swap titled "Old West Artsy Tags". ~ Article by Kim M. Bayne

Starting with a dark brown handmade textured paper tag, I added the following items in order:
• Light brown tag, cut from a Bruegger’s coffee sleeve using a tag cutter and die
• Ink jet printed color photo of my cowboy, cropped with scissors to fit the frame (see next item)
• Corrugated frame, cut from a Cinnabon coffee sleeve, using a square paper punch and scissors
• Torn piece of brown paper from old paper press kit folder
• Brass star charm
• Aluminum pistol charm
• Piece of brown lightweight crafts mesh, wrapped around the tag and taped on the back
• Piece of thin twine, tied and looped to resemble a lasso
• Three old shirt buttons
• Star-shaped brass paper clip, tied into the fibers
• Fibers on the top of the tag include a thin piece of black necklace cord and a wonderful selection of classic brown, tan and white yarns from the sarabooks™ Fibers & Key Collection (Note: Check your local store for these new fibers!)

Tag Art in This Series
• "Night on the Town"
• "Colorado Cowboy"
• "Love and Kisses - Letters from the Heart."

Product Resource Guide
• Project photos taken with a 1.31 megapixel Olympus D-460 Zoom digital camera
• Shop for stickers at eSticker
• Find discount art supplies and craft supplies at

Article Description: Bring out the cowpoke in you or a friend. Attach a picture to a paper tag for a unique mini-collage right from the O.K. Corral.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Project - Make a Romantic Artistic Paper Tag

Romantic Tag Art Love and Kisses Letters from the Heart
Romantic Tag Art Love and Kisses Letters from the Heart (click to enlarge)

Tag #3: Love and Kisses - Letters from the Heart:
This tag was made for my altered book project titled, "Love and Kisses." I made eight different tags, which are inserted into a double-page pocket spread found inside the altered book. ~ Article by Kim M. Bayne

Starting with a pre-made manilla paper tag, I added the following items in order:
• Sand-colored inkpad, sponged directly onto the tag using a cosmetic wedge
• Faux postage cancellation mark from a rubber stamp, stamped in black on the tag
• The USPS postage stamps were found searching on with the keywords "love" and "stamps." I printed them in miniature on label stock and cut them using scalloped decorative scissors.
• Two pieces of red card scrap, torn freehand. I applied a red inkpad directly to the torn edges before adhering the card pieces to the tag. After putting the scraps on the tag, I cut the edges to match the tag shape.
• Rubber stamped image of a small heart, stamped multiple times on the top piece of red card stock
• Piece of torn botanical-infused specialty paper, applied in front of the bottom red card scrap, edges cut to (almost) match tag shape
• A strip of three red satin puffy hearts -- probably found at a fabric and notions store, but I got them in an embellishment swap run by Deb Rottum
• Heart-shaped aluminum paper clip, tied into the fibers
• Fibers on the top of the tag include a red and gold cord-like yarn and a red eyelash yarn

By the way, please don't let my style dictate how to create your own tag art. Your tags can be as simple or elaborate as you like, using your favorite supplies and tools.

Try designing a few original tags of your own. Now your next gift package can include something extra that no one dare tear or throw away!

Tag Art in This Series
• "Night on the Town"
• "Colorado Cowboy"
• "Love and Kisses - Letters from the Heart."

Product Resource Guide
• Project photos taken with a 1.31 megapixel Olympus D-460 Zoom digital camera
• Shop for stickers at eSticker
• Find discount art supplies and craft supplies at

Article Description: Ready for some romance in your life? Make a romantic gift tag to attach to your Valentine's Day gift.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Project - Remember Your Night on the Town with a Paper Tag

Wouldn’t it be great to lend your card making talents to something practical and fun? Try Tag Art. Turn boring paper hang tags into the perfect hand-crafted masterpiece or embellishment.

For random acts of kindness, artistic tags are both gift tags and greeting cards in one! Tag Art is also used for altered books, bookmarks, scrapbooks or just for collecting and trading.

If you're into miniature art, you'll love this craft. Tag Art incorporates supplies you have already and you can complete a tag or two during your favorite TV program.

I created three different artistic tags, using a variety of materials. Links to the other two tags are at the end of this article. ~ Articles by Kim M. Bayne

Recommended Tag Art Materials List
• Pack of Large-sized Manilla Office/Retail Hang Tags – any color – size: 2.5 x 4.75 inches
• Small Tag Templates or Dies
• Card Stock to make your own tags, if you prefer
• Hole puncher, if you decide to create your own tag stock
• Adhesive, Tape and/or Glue
• Double-sided Foam Squares or Sticky Dots -- good for sticking on found items and/or for creating a three dimensional look
• Plain and Decorative Scissors
• Square Paper Punches
• Miscellaneous Pigment and Dye Inkpads
• Cosmetic Wedges or Sponges -- great for applying ink to paper
• Favorite Rubber Stamps -- alphabets/letters, backgrounds, images, sayings
• Embellishments -- eyelets and setter, beads and wire, stickers, brass and aluminum charms, found objects
• Plain and Patterned Papers (scrapbooking paper, handmade paper, vellum, gift wrap scraps, etc.)
• Alterable Pictures, Old Photos and/or Clip Art (Folk, Vintage, Victorian, Whatever)
• Fibers -- jute, raffia or hemp strands, satiny cords, luxurious yarns, fabric ribbons (i.e. sarabooks™ Fibers & Key Collection in Ivory)
• Small photo album, with insertable sleeves, to store your growing tag collection -- that is, if you collect them, rather than give them all away!

The Tags
(Click to enlarge each image. Another browser window will open.)

Travel Tag Art - Night on the Town in New York
Travel Tag Art - Night on the Town in New York (click to enlarge)

Tag #1: Night on the Town in New York:
This tag was made for my altered book project titled, "New York, New York," which was inspired by my family’s trip to the Big Apple in 2002.

Starting with a pre-made black paper tag, I added the following items in order:
• Piece of holiday ribbon (black sheer wired-edged ribbon with silver sparkles and silver edges), cut to the the exact size of the tag. (Isn’t it great how holiday ribbon can be transformed into a beautiful night sky?)
• Four 3D puffy star stickers, different sizes to create interest
• Piece of silver lace ribbon -- yes, it's there!
• Torn piece of a used silver-colored paper envelope
• Manufacturer’s tag from a blouse that was obviously 'Made in New York'
• Small rhinestone
• Pair of small white satin roses, found in a collage pack
• Pair of silver square beads -- the letters "N" and "Y"
• Small piece of faux rabbit fur
• Fibers on the top of the tag include two different types of black eyelash yarn, thin black satin ribbon and silver rick-rack

Tag Art in This Series
• "Night on the Town"
• "Colorado Cowboy"
• "Love and Kisses - Letters from the Heart."

Product Resource Guide
• Project photos taken with a 1.31 megapixel Olympus D-460 Zoom digital camera
• Shop for stickers at eSticker
• Find discount art supplies and craft supplies at

Article Description: Now your next gift package can include something extra that no one dare tear or throw away!

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Video/DVD Review - Stamp Art with MaryJo McGraw

Stamp Art Inspirations with MaryJo McGrawStamp Art Inspirations with MaryJo McGraw
Director: Suzanne Lamar
Studio: PageSage
Format: NTSC, Color, 108 minutes
DVD Release Date: May 2003
Review by Kim M. Bayne

If you're just discovering rubber stamping, check this out. This DVD includes step-by-step instructions and cool projects for the budding rubber stamper. It contains great ideas for veteran stampers, too.

For starters, host MaryJo McGraw clarifies the three differences in inks -- dye, pigment and solvent/permanent ink -- then she recommends which ink brands to buy for cost-savings. The helpful demonstration on how to use bottled re-inkers, to breathe new life into spent pads, is well worth the price of the video alone.

In her introduction, MaryJo explains that lessons are geared to non-specific products. She has her favorites, featured throughout the video and in the Extras segment, and she recommends a few brands in order to get certain desired results. MaryJo's bonding agent of choice is Diamond Glaze, but she does highlight PPA (Perfect Paper Adhesive) or another "clear glue medium" as acceptable choices. In each lesson, MaryJo is very conscientious about re-emphasizing which products to use, whether brand-name or generic.

For the finger-painting kid in you who loves to work wet, you'll like MaryJo's approach. She uses her bare fingers to apply glue, and sometimes ink, to just about everything. Tape lovers need not fret -- MaryJo recommends double-stick tape for paper-to-paper applications, which she says "holds up very well long term."

The artist works her rubber stamp magic (on matte card stock, poly paper, acrylic, shrink plastic, mica tiles, and so on) to create interesting looks for handcrafted rubber stamped treasures. Sometimes crafts elements overlap -- Catalina Tiles were featured first alone then later, as part of the project on Mini Books.

If you prefer the multi-sensory approach to learning, you'll be glad to know boxes on the screen appear frequently, offering tips and insights into using specific products and tools. During a Mini Book gluing demonstration, on-screen text cited plastic wrap as helpful in preventing glue from sticking to unwanted areas.

MaryJo offers excellent tips for budget-minded crafters, as well. In the Catalina Tiles project, the on-screen text noted a cereal box as a substitute for chipboard. On occasion, these text boxes clarify MaryJo 's casual comments, too.

While viewing, just relax and forget about taking notes. MaryJo's style is easy-going and easy-to-understand. Plus, the inside cover of the DVD label insert contains a complete outline of all of the supplies needed, segmented by project.

Finally, the nicest feature about viewing MaryJo's projects on DVD, instead of the now-traditional videotape, is the interactivity. The DVD includes a sample artwork gallery that allows viewers to jump directly to the associated technique. For me, the DVD made it easy to just click to the exact project I wanted to tackle.

DVD Project Outline:
• Ink Basics
• Glazing with Glue
• Quick Collage
• Collage Veneer
• Glazed Metallics
• Faux Fresco
• Catalina Tiles
• Quick Cards
• Heirloom Cards
• Mini Book

Product Resource Guide
• Buy this DVD at

Content copyright © 2004-present by Kim M. Bayne. All rights reserved. This content was written by Kim M. Bayne. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission.

Article Description: A review of the DVD "Stamp Art Impressions with MaryJo McGraw"

Technique - Creating Serendipity Squares

Do you have a box full of random paper scraps that you can’t bear to throw away? Don’t waste them. Remake them – into Serendipity Squares. ~ Article by Kim M. Bayne

What is a Serendipity Square?
Serendipity could be defined as an accidental discovery, like finding out you can use odd bits and pieces of leftover paper to create something beautiful for your paper crafts. A serendipitous discovery might be this article. But seriously, a Serendipity Square is made from paper crafting remnants -- made to be used in new projects.

What can you do with them?
You can incorporate Serendipity Squares into a variety of crafts projects:
• As page borders and headers in scrapbooks
• As background mats to highlight tiny ephemera on an altered book page
• Glued to the front of a greeting card, complete with a different dangling charm on each

Are you game? Let's get started.

Materials List
• Random, small (2 inches or less) pieces of cards or paper -- any type will do (vellum, handmade, patterned, Bingo papers, gift wrap...) -- throw nothing away!
• Adhesive, like a glue stick or glue that dries clear and quickly -- it's no fun to wait
• Larger pieces of cardstock for your collage canvas and for tiny mats
• Your favorite cutting tools
• Embellishments -- charms, wire, stickers, whatever

The Steps
1. Gather your entire collection of orphan scraps. Sort the pieces by main color. Now you have separate piles of reds, greens, blues, etc. Pick a color scheme (one or more complementary colors) and select the pile(s) of scraps to match. The different pieces and patterns will blend to look great when you're done.

2. Grab a large piece of blank card stock for your “canvas.” Select a piece that is at least 5.5 by 8.5 inches so you have room to experiment with your collage design. It doesn’t matter if the background or "canvas" is plain or patterned. The choice is up to you. I prefer plain, solid colors so the background pattern doesn't fight with the paper scraps for attention.

3. Start gluing scraps randomly onto the larger piece of card stock. Cover as much of your "canvas" as possible. You can leave a few gaps here and there, but remember that you'll cut squares later. Be generous with the glue, making sure all of the pieces adhere and no loose ends creep up, trying to break free.

4. After you've created your crazy collage, cut your masterpiece into small (2 by 2-inch or smaller) squares. Sometimes I'm not in the mood for measuring so I use a large square paper punch, as it creates perfect little squares (see Project Tips below). If you prefer, you can use a paper trimmer instead.

5. Mount each of your squares on matching card stock, cut slightly larger than the square. Think “picture mat” and you’re on the right track. Now you’re ready to use your new squares in other projects.

6. Either before or after you’ve cut/mounted your squares, you can embellish them.

Before Cutting
• Rubber stamp and emboss images in metallic ink randomly all over the collage to create added interest
• Add stickers -- what a great way to use up those odd sticker sheets
• Doodle or stencil designs all over with a fine-tip marker, gel pen or metallic pen
• Splatter bright white paint in dots all over the collage

After Cutting
• Rubber stamp a large embossed letter on each square to spell out a word• Add small holes, some wire and beads
• Wrap a short piece of ribbon around each square before mounting it on the mat
• Use a paper punch to punch out a shape on each square then glue a piece of colored cellophane behind the punched "window"

Project Tips
• Pick a color scheme before you start and select matching background and mat papers.
• If your scraps are too large, they’ll restrict your freedom in creating a design. Tear or trim your scraps before using them.
• Paper trimmers are better at reducing scrap waste when compared to paper punches.

That's it! Serendipity Squares are just that easy. What are you waiting for? Clean up that crafting area and start gluing.

Related Links
Serendipity Squares (Scrapbook Outlet & More)
ScrapAngels Layout Gallery > Serendipity Squares