Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Mixed Media Hearts

Mixed media projects were making a big splash at the Creativeworld trade fair in Frankfurt which we attended last week to show off all our new products, I shall share some of the photo's with you in a couple of weeks time.

Mixed media can sometimes look a bit scary if you have never tried it before, what I want to do today is try to explain a few simple techniques using Sizzix dies together with inks, paints, stains and waxes to create some stunning effects which are really much easier than they may at first appear.

Becoming proficient with mixed media techniques is all about experimenting and not being afraid to make mistakes because if you believe the old maxim then that is how we learn. As the famous inventor Thomas Edison once said in reference to his attempts to create the first light bulb " I have not failed, I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work". 

The dies I am using today are from the new Tim Holtz collection, click on each link below to check out the individual dies/sets:

Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 4PK - Scribbles & Splat
Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 4PK - Mixed Media
Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 7PK - Handwritten Love
Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 102PK - Alphanumeric (1" Tall)
Sizzix Bigz Die - Heartfelt

As well as the dies I used a selection of Ranger products including Distress Paints, Distress Stains, Distress Embossing Powders. I also used various gilding wax products, and stamps etc.

This is a quite a big blog post so let's cut the preamble and get under way!!

I strarted by die-cutting the scribbled heart and attaching it to a piece of mount board which is a very heavy weight card. I placed this face down over the largest heart on my 'Heartfelt' Bigz die which cuts no less than 11 different hearts. and with one pass through the Big Shot I now have a beautiful heart ready to decorate. As you will see further down the page I am trying to create textures using a faux embossing technique.

As you can see below, I die cut a selection of different patterns and textures from kraft card (any card will do!) prior to attaching to the mount board and die cutting.
Below are a selection of die-cut hearts which have been painted with white acrylic, this gives me a great surface on which to make a mess...... I mean, create bespoke embellishments of unrivalled beauty, each one as unique and individual as a snowflake (Whatever Pete!!!)

1. Here I painted the heart with black acrylic and applied pewter gilding wax with my finger which brings out the detail beautifully.

2. I painted over this heart with a couple of different shades of green acrylic which I dried with my heat tool before applying a dark blue stain which I then blotted with kitchen roll so that it gives extra definition between the cracks. Next, I applied white acrylic applied with a dry brush technique to pick out the detail before applying the subtle stamped image.

3. For this heart I used Alcohol inks mixing reds and oranges, I applied the same dry brush technique to lift the detail before applying Perfect Pearls powder to give a pearlised lustre.

4.Here I scrunched up some tissue paper before partially flattening it and attaching to the mount board. I  die-cut the heart and applied a couple of shades of brown acrylic. Once it was dry with the help of my trusty heat tool I applied a dark brown stain before blotting the excess. After another blast with my heat tool I applied a little gold gilding wax with my fingertip.

5.The texture was created as with the previous heart but I used green and blue alcohol ink to add colour and once dry I finished off using pewter gilding wax to pick out the detail.

6.I applied a few shades of green and blue acrylic in a really slapdash manner before applying a deep green stain and blotting away the excess where it gets in the cracks. to enhance the die cut detail I again used a little of the pewter gilding wax.

7.I coloured  this heart using two shades of metallic Distress Paint. Once dry I applied black Distress Stain. I also blotted a little white acrylic onto the heart before rubbing away most of it with kitchen towel. Finally, I brought out the detail in the letters with gold gilding wax.

8.I applied an embossing ink pad to the surface before sprinkling with Distress embossing powder which was fixed with a heat tool. I painted with red, brown and orange acrylics and dried with my heat tool. Next I applied a dark blue stain, most of which I blotted away before applying some gold gilding wax to enhance he detail. Notice the wonderful rust texture left by the embossing powder.

9.I love this one and it is the easiest of the lot, simply apply a slightly watered down solution of black acrylic paint before wiping over with a piece of kitchen roll, dry with the heat tool and stamp the text.... simple!

10.I took a plain mount board heart and covered it with black acrylic paint. Once dry, I stamped the leafy branch image using an embossing ink pad before applying clear embossing powder and fixing with my heat tool. Next I applied a thin layer of pale Distress Paint (Victorian Velvet is perfect). While the paint was still damp I very gently rubbed over the embossed motif with a damp piece of kitchen roll thereby removing the paint before it had a chance to fully dry (timing is everything with this technique!) Finally, I stamped into the top left corner using a white ink pad to leave a very subtle image.

11.Here I painted the die-cut heart using shades of green and blue acrylic and dried the paint with my heat tool. Next, I applied metallic Distress Paint before spritzing with clean water, I started to dry with my heat tool and half way through I placed a sheet of kitchen roll flat against the heart and pressed down firmly. When I lifted off the kitchen roll some of the metallic paint has remained and some has been lifted. Timing again is very important with this technique and if you want to see how it is done then why not check out Creative Chemistry 102, a great series of technique demo's from the master himself Mr.Tim Holtz. I finished by adding some stamped detail.

12.Last but by no means least... I attached the metal cogs using assorted faux screw head brads before applying a coat of white acrylic. Next, I applied a couple of shades of metallic Distress Paint which I dried with my heat tool. I applied black Distress Stain which gets into the cracks and adds definition before blotting most of it away with kitchen roll. Finally, I enhanced the detail with a little white acrylic applied with a dry brush technique

I attached the hearts to the glass on the front of a box frame and I'm going to take it around trade and retail shows with me to explain some of the several mixed media techniques that can be used to enhance our marvellous die-cuts.

Take it easy, see you all next week!


  1. Love this and can't wait for mine to arrive ....thank you for sharing your inspiring project

    Best wishes
    Annie x

  2. Thanks Annie, in truth I created this more as a sample to show a few aspects of die-cutting/mixed media techniques rather than a stand alone piece of artwork but I really like having it about the place! Pete x