Sunday, May 18, 2014

Jewels in the Sand...

Hello creatives! Susan here to share a special project combining Amazing Crafting Products and Frog Dog Studio – our Partners "In-Crafting". Last weekend I took a little road trip north up to the Daytona Beach to visit with family and have a meetup with ACP Creative Team member Brenda who was vacationing in Florida for the week. All things worked out – including the weather for a perfect weekend at the beach!

This May Mixed Media Kit is the perfect mix of colors and products to create a summer getaway keepsake. Please grab a cuppa {and perhaps a snack} this is a bit lengthly with techniques I'm sure you will be excited to try.

I was so excited to receive the Paper Artsy paints and an add-on of Grunge Paste... if you've used modeling paste – Grunge Paste definitely kicks it up a couple notches.

I have been on a kick of organizing supplies, purging and utilizing projects started but never finished. This project is starting out as plastic shell dishes that I had in my stash leftover from a party from who knows when {yes - it's been that long}. I had started out to make a clamshell shaped book with these and collaged two of them with recycled phone book pages. I need a couple of templates for making my pages and embellishments later on; so I also traced onto a styrofoam takeout box {for it's non-stick qualities} and scrap of cardboard. I repeated the traced shape about 1/8" inside and cut on the inner line to create slightly smaller shape for pages.


I began by priming my collaged base using a gesso/paint/glazing medium mix that I prepare so often I mixed a whole bottle of it. I applied this in a dry brush fashion so as to not wet the paper too much; covering enough so the ink from the pages won't bleed through. After the gesso layer was dry, I misted the New Sprout Fireworks Mist on my craft sheet and brushed this onto the shell shapes. This is starting to really come to life now.

Now to add some texture and dimension with the Paper Artsy Grunge Paste. I grabbed some craft sand I have in my stash {I like to combine it with pearlescent glitters for summertime projects} and dumped a little on the craft sheet. I combined a spoonful of the Grunge Paste with the sand and a few spritzes of the New Sprout Fireworks Mist and also the Lindy's Shadow Mists from March Kit. I applied this methodically to build up the highpoints and texture, but not covering the collaged paper entirely. I used my fingers to feather and blend out any hard edges and set aside to dry on a recycled takeout styrofoam box.

I set those aside to dry completely for about an hour then flipped over and sprayed a bit of the two Lindy's sprays and the Fireworks to the interior of each shell. I certainly could have stopped here... but I'm all about the details and bringing my vision of this book to life.


Next - bringing out the depth with rouging! I brushed the high points with the Prima Chalk Edger Pastel Peach ink. I love mini ink pads to do this kind of detailing. The small foam applicator fits in small areas and drys almost instantly. I focused on the high points with the peach. In the right photo, the top shell has the peach and the bottom looks flat and monotone.


Now for contrast by adding the Pastel Green Prima Chalk Edger ink pad in the low points. This really brought the blue tones out of the collaged paper below and finished off the realistic texture I was going for. I had originally planned to use a can of that texture spray stuff from the hardware store – this worked out so much better than that!

WOW... these really look like weathered old shells found on the beach!

I'm going to be needing some interior pages for my book. ACP Creative Team Member DeeDee Catron invented a new twist on the image transfer technique using Amazing Casting Resin and this project is a good project to give this a try.


I have some photos that I took at the beach that I will transfer to the casting resin and when cured will leave me with durable, sturdy pages ready for more mixed media application. Please CLICK HERE to view the how-to on the image transfer process. With 4 laser printed photos prepared sized to fit my shell template, I poured one Tablespoon {1 oz.} of parts "A" and "B" of Amazing Casting Resin. I poured both into a mixing cup and stirred slowly. The casting resin starts out cloudy and milky and will turn completely clear when it's completely combined – then it's ready to pour.


I poured some resin onto each photo and spread out across each image to cover completely. This will be a distressed book, so I'm not so concerned with the perfection of flatness of the resin pour. When the resin cures it becomes opaque white. 


I started with a thin layer because I want to be able to cut these to the shell shape when done, so I'm prepared to make multiple pours to cover images completely. The left image is after the first pouring; the right is after a second pouring of the Amazing Casting Resin. In hindsight, I will do one photo at a time – the resin heats up and cures faster when adding multiple layers which limits time to manipulate and spread out the resin. 

These are the completely covered images after the third and final pouring of Amazing Casting Resin. The last pour cured faster than anticipated so the backs of my pages are very streaky and distressed – adding to the charm of my shell book.


I prepared a shallow dish of warm water and soaked my images. After about 15 minutes, I began the rubbing process to remove the paper to reveal the images below. These images are approx. 5" x 7" so this took a considerable amount of time. I used a 28lb. color copy grade paper {a step up from standard 20lb. bond paper} for my images. I plan to experiment with a cardstock weight paper and see if the removal process eases – for with this paper I used it seems the resin soaked all the way through the paper making the paper seemingly moisture resistant. After much rubbing, sanding and scrubbing, I enlisted my bone folder {one made of actual bone} to use as a scraper to break through the layers of paper fiber revealing my images. The bone folder has a dull edge allowing me to apply some pressure in pressing sideways across the image and not scrape it entirely away. 

Since I used Amazing Casting Resin as the base, the durability of the images is SUPREME! My photos took a considerable amount of abuse to reveal their beauty... and I this was totally worth the labor put in. Just these four images took a couple of hours to remove the paper fiber to my liking. I am grateful to DeeDee for this gift of a technique – I have tried pretty much every image transfer technique, which are far more time consuming resulting in delicate, thin images which are great for layering in collage. Transferring to the Amazing Casting Resin eliminates much of the preparatory steps and gives a beautiful transfer that is durable with an opaque base that is ready for mixed media application on the back. This process was totally worth the time and elbow grease invested, and I look forward to exploring this technique further on different papers and also using Amazing Clear Cast Resin.

With image transfers completed and dry, I hold my template behind the page in front of the light to see where I want to crop my image. Holding the template in place, I trace around the template with a Sharpie, then cut out using my tonic scissors. 

Any visible marker after cutting is removed with rubbing alcohol. I gently sanded the edges and added more distressing to the image with an emory board and sanded the backside of the page to remove the glossy finish. Then I spritzed with the New Sprout Fireworks mist... BAM! This page looks aged and weathered with a pop of color and I repeat with the other three pages.

Inside the shell scoop area I am creating a pocket to hold a mold/cast resin starfish and pieces of shells from my recent trip to the beach. I punched a series of holes using my Crop-A-Dile to wire wrap some beads and pearls from my stash {leftovers from other projects}. I also punched two holes set with eyelets at the bottom of each shell to accept binder rings for assembly. I repurposed some plastic packaging from some embossing folders and cut two shell shapes – distressed and stamped with Nathalie Kalbach n*Studio Stampendous stamps; then added a rub-on distressed border. I layered some shimmery floral mesh and May Arts burlap, added shells and secured items in place with hot glue.


On left is collage of shells and blue mesh with a copper die cut shell from my stash. On right, pocket is complete with plastic cover in place. I wire wrapped beads and pearls around the edges. The plastic will stay secure in place wedged under the wire wrapping – allowing access to add more beach found treasures later.

Each of the pages have been accented with the Pumpkin Soup and Beach Hut Paper Artsy Fresco Finish paints and over-stamped using my collection of Nathalie Kalbach n*Studio Stampendous stamps with Fresco Finish in snowflake. These stamps are so wonderful... I had to have the other two sets also.

The backs of each page rubbed with with the Pumpkin Soup and Beach Hut Paper Artsy Fresco Finish paints to bring out the weathered, watery detail. I will add other pix and ephemera to these pages later. This book has room to grow.

The stamping over the image transfers add texture and interest.


Using medium book binder rings from my stash, I assembled the book together. I even included a little charm "made with love" from by bead stash completes this treasure from the beach.

I tied some strips of tulle, gold ribbon and sections
of frayed May Arts blue cotton ribbon.

I'm so excited to have completed this labor of love to commemorate my special time at the beach. This is a keepsake I will enjoy adding to – and include my trips to beaches in exotic destinations.

I'm so in love with the end result of this vision I had long ago. Thank you for taking time to stick with me to the end. I hope you are inspired to create your own mixed media keepsake using ordinary items. 

You can find more of my work at the Amazing Crafting Products Blog
~ Susan M. Brown {sbartist}


  1. WOW!!! Your creativity never ceases to amaze me! This is an incredible project! It looks so real! The way you utilized the kit colors is ingenious and I love all the beautiful detail:) My mouth is still hanging open....The shell, the compartment, the beads the photo transfer...not to mention the creativity of combining all these into a photo book!!!!!!! Love it Susan! Crazy talented:)

    1. Thank you Sue for the AMAZING compliments. This project has been in my head for far too long. I can't wait to get home this afternoon to see if I still have a larger shell bowl in my Junque stash :)

  2. This is so amazing, great idea. Love all the wonderful ideas and techniques. I cannot wait to give something like this a try. You are such an inspiration.

    1. Thanks Brenda! I have four more pages in the works... one is the pix you snapped of me smelling a Hibiscus. I have to say this project is my all time favorite.

  3. Unbelievable...I'm completely WOW-ed. Beautiful project!

    1. Thanks so much Isie! Call me if you wanna see it in person. :)

  4. What a fantastic project! Thanks so much for including our Stampendous Mixed Media Stamps by n*Studios! They really work with your distressed themes! Great job, this is a forever keepsake for sure!

  5. Such a beautiful project Susan! Just love it! :)