Saturday, 1 December 2018


Mini books are so much fun to make! They are a wonderful means of self expression and a creative outlet. Whether you fill the pages with ephemera or leave them blank for journaling, they make great little one of a kind gifts made with love.

With the holiday season fast approaching, you might want to add these mini books to your "wish list".  They are from Tando Creative and FIVE come in one kit!  

Here are two mini books that I have created using Tando Creative's Mini Book Kit. Blank on the inside; I went from one extreme to the other on my covers. Let's get into the "how to's" of creating these little books and then you can let your imagination run wild! The same basic instructions were used in creating both basic books.

For the more industrial book, I began with parts of three other kits from Tando Creative besides the Mini Book Kit.  I used Andy Skinner's Bike Chains, So Call Me Already and various gears from his Industrial Elements kits.  I LOVE all of these!!  They are made from greyboard and really take mixed media elements well.

I painted everything with DecoArt Media Black Gesso.

Next I glued all of the gears, screw tops and bike chain pieces to the cover.  The dial and book plate will be the front cover but there will be paper added under them so they cannot be glued on yet.  

I put the book together using 1/2" black ribbon on the interior of the cover and 1/2" black cardstock on the outside covers.  I simply folded the ribbon and the cardstock in the center.  I placed the "spine" of the book between the two covers and glued everything in place using  Fabri-Tack Glue. It dries quickly and clear but most glues will work. Allow for the book covers to bend by gluing the ribbon and the cardstock down into the valley between the spine and covers and let dry.  Work the covers to bend easily.

Next I dry brushed over the entire cover with DecoArt Media Medium Grey Volume 6. Just look how the black gesso becomes this lovely textural grey that really shows the detail of the cover so far!

Now the REAL magic starts to happen!  I dry brushed all of the elements and the covers with DecoArt Media Quinacridone Gold. Just look at the "rusty" goodness that continues to bring out the details!

Bring on the metallics!!  Using DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Metallic Silver followed by Metallic Gold and light touches of Quinacridone Gold here and there, the book cover now had a totally different look than when it started! Now it's becoming very aged, and steampunk industrial!

Now add the paper underneath the dial and then glue it in place on the front cover.  I also glued on a small metal key which not only adds some detail but will also be used to make a closure for the book.

Next cut paper to fit inside of the mini book.  My "pages" were cut 4 1/2" x 2".  I edged the pages with a brown cats eye ink pad to make them look more work. I create one signature for this book.  I punched three holes in the center of the spine.  I used waxed linen thread to sew the signature in place: starting with the needle in the center hole pushing from inside to outside, leaving a "tail" of thread on the interior side of the book.  Then I pushed the needle from the outside to the inside of the top hole.  Then I pushed the needle through the bottom inside hole to the outside of the cover.  Finally, I pushed the needle back through the center hole working from the outside to the inside of the book.  Make sure that the thread is on either side of the thread the runs up the center of the signature and then tie it off in a square knot.  Clip the edges.

Here is what the outside spine of the book will look like at this point.  You can leave it like this if you choose.  I added a book plate over it that has "2675" from Andy's Skuldoggery stamp set for added detail. I filled the section where the paper is with DecoArt's Media Fluid Acrylics Liquid Glass to make it look like a glass insert.

I added a bit of chain, a chain tassle, a metal loop on the back of the book and a safety pin to act as a closure for this little industrial style mini book. 

Here is a closeup of the finished front of the mini book.

And here is a closeup of the back and spine of the mini book.  Such fun and easy to do!

Instead of painting the covers with Black Gesso, I added cardstock to the interior of this little retro Christmas mini book. But the basic construction is pretty much the same idea.

Here is the exterior cover of the Christmas book.  I first painted them with DecoArt Media White Gesso, let it dry and sanded it. Then I used a Christmas napkin for the covers. I glued them in place using DecoArt Media Matte Medium and worked out all of the wrinkles and bubbles with a brush.  Then I brushed over the Santa image to seal it.  

I lightly stippled some DecoArt Media White Gesso using a stencil brush around Santa's head.  Then I added some DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Metallic Gold to the edges of the book using my finger.  

Next I laid the spine in between the two covers and glued fabric over the front side and down in the valley between the covers and the spine.  On the backside, I simply glued on the cardstock center and down into the valley.  Work the covers open and close freely.

This time, I added two signatures with the same instructions as above.  Here you can see the two sets of holes to sew your signatures through.

Again, I covered the thread with a decorated book plate but if you choose, you can leave the spine looking just like this.  I tied jingle bells and little red bells to the spine threads for decoration and glued silver tinsel trim along the edge of the fabric to cover the raw edge.

I added a loop at the top and am going to use this mini book as an ornament for my Christmas tree.  Here is a closeup of the front.

And here is a view showing the book plate on the spine.  The center of the paper is filled with DecoArt Media Liquid Glass.

The same Tando Creative Mini Book kit but two completely different looks!

Now for the list of supplies you'd need for these books or something like them:


  • Paint Brushes
  • Fabri Tak Glue (or other clear drying glue)
  • Silver Jingle Bells/Red bells
  • Silver Tinsel Trim
  • Red and White Bakers Twine
  • Dark Linen Waxed Thread
  • Needle for sewing signatures
  • Christmas Cardstock
  • Plain Cardstock for inside pages
  • Christmas Santa Napkin
  • Awl To Punch Holes for Signatures
  • Metal Key, Safety Pin, Chain, Tassle and Snap for Industrial Book Decor
  • Black 1/2" Ribbon (2)
  • Black 1/2" cardstock strip (2)
  • Cats Eye Ink Pad (to edge inside pages)
Thanks so much for stopping by!  I hope that these examples of mini books give you some ideas for creating your own little works of art!

About the Artist: Candy Colwell

Friday, 9 November 2018

Monochromatic Grunge - Fiona Randall

Morning all today I'm sharing my latest make using Andy's Industrial Box Frame Kit.

I started by giving all the tiles for the frame a coat of DecoArt Chalky Finish in Relic. Next I applied DecoArt Chalky Finish in Yesteryear and before completely dry wiped back  until I was happy with the look. I then stamped in Watering Can Archival Ink using my favourite Textures Stamp Set from Andy randomly over the tiles. 

I then Inked all the edges of the tiles to give them definition and glued them on to the box frame base. Next up, I embossed 300gsm cardstock and cut up into strips and attached to the small frame. The small frame was then given a coat of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylic in Silver and when dry DecoArt Media Antiquing Cream in Carbon Black was applied and wiped back giving a vintage feel to the frame. A mix of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics in Pyrrole Red and Naphthol Red Light was applied to a resin heart. When dry DecoArt Media Crackle glaze was applied to form a lovely crackle appearance. DecoArt Media Antiquing cream in black was the applied and wiped back to highlight all the cracke. The same antiquing treatment used for the small frame was then applied to the resin flame that sits atop of the heart. DecoArt Media Black Gesso was then applied to a metal word plate and when dry DecoArt Metallic Lustre in Black shimmer was applied and buffed to a shiny finish. 

Finally text paper was applied to the backboard of the box frame. The resin heart and flames were then attached raised up by grey board offcuts to give a feel of depth and fixed in place to the back of the frame. The metal word plate and some black metal studs were then applied to the small frame and this was then attached on top of the tiles to finish.

Close up detail.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by today.

Products used.

DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics in:-

Silver, Pyrrole Red, and  Naphthole Red Light.

DecoArt Media Black Gesso

DecoArt Media Black Antiquing Cream

Relic and Yesteryear.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

A Feast for Crows- Fiona Randall

Happy Halloween.
Today I'm sharing my latest project with an eerie feel befitting the occasion. I wanted to create something different for a change and decided upon a painted canvas called
A Feast for Crows.

This piece came together with Andy's Stamp sets and DecoArt Media paints and mediums.
I started by applying DecoArt Media tinting base to the main substrate and when dry applied  DecoArt Extender Medium to the whole canvas. Whilst still wet I applied  DecoArt Premium Acrylics in Titanium White, Medium Grey Value 3 and Carbon black  with a flat brush. This was then blended with a mop brush to create an ethereal feel to the background. and set aside to dry. Next up I created the pumpkins by applying air dry clay to some Tando Creative grey board circles and sculpting the shape. Once dry these were given a coat of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylic. Once dry, DecoArt Media Antiquing cream in black was applied and wiped back.

The Crow from Andy's  Birds and Bones Stamp set was then stamped and fussy cut and set aside. Time to create the moon which was a Tando Creative grey board circle which was given a coat of DecoArt Media Tinting base. Watering Can Archival Ink was then applied to an acrylic stamping block, spritzed with water and applied to the Grey board circle to create the effect of moon craters and dried with a heat too.

Some stamping of gravestones was then applied to the canvas base using Andy's Illusionary Artists Gothic Grunge Stamp Set. All elements were then applied to the canvas base To finish birds in flight were painted on the canvas and black wire curled around the pumpkins to form the roots.
Close up Detail shots.

Thanks for stopping by today

Products used.

Monday, 29 October 2018


Happy almost Halloween, my creative friends!

I love Halloween because it's a time you can really use your creative thought to create all sorts of wonderful home decor pieces. It's so easy to do that with the combination of Andy Skinner products and his Tando Creatives fabulous line of grey board kits!

Today I am sharing my latest ghoulish creation with you. I call it the "Sacred Secrets Skeleton Shrine".  Say THAT three times really fast!

This really came together beautifully with the aid of a few of Andy's stamp sets and DecoArt Media products. Let's get started on this instructional journey and then I'll list all of the elements you'll need to make something like this.

Here are just a few of the pieces in this kit. I first gave all of them a light coat of DecoArt Media White Gesso and then mixed DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Carbon Black with DecoArt Media White Crackle Paste. It gave me a lovely stone grey color that I promptly stenciled onto two of the shrine pieces through a brick image stencil.  Once dry, I stenciled the back sides of these pieces as well and allowed them to thoroughly dry. Next I brushed a layer of Crackle Paste onto the arch inset adding extra with my finger here and there and on the edges of the arch.  This needs to AIR DRY for the crackling to work properly.

Here are these pieces at this point. Just look at the lovely texture and crackling!

To further "age and weather" the stone look, I rubbed DecoArt Fluid Acrylics Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide all over the stone pieces. I wiped off the excess with a baby wipe and repeated this step until I was happy with the results. Then I added some DecoArt Medium Grey Antiquing Cream to bring back more of the grey tones. Here you see one piece that is finished and the other is not. Quite a difference!

For an even "eerier" appearance, I DRY BRUSHED some DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Paynes Grey over the stones (front and back) and then added a light DRY BRUSHING of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Titanium White. Finally, I added more of the dark grey dry brushing in random areas. I love how these walls turned out! Creepy but very cool!

I loved the heart on the door of the shrine but for this piece, that heart was just not going to work!  So ...

I found the perfect solution to cover the heart in Andy Skinner's Curiosity Stamp Set from Stampendous. I stamped four of the triangles onto heavy card stock using Black Permanent Ink. Then cut them out, glued two of them together (to make two triangles), slit at the top of the eyelid and slipped in dimensional eyeballs I found at a local craft store. I glued them in place and then covered them with DecoArt Media Liquid Glass. This seals them with a clear coat and also gives them an eerie dimension. The triangles were then colored using DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide mixed with a little water to create more of a water color effect and leave all of the black stamping fully visible. Then I added a bit of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Burnt Umber using the same method.

Next I stamped Andy's wonderful "wheel of fortune" from the same Curiosity Stamp Set. I colored it using more DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics in the same manner as above; mixed with a bit of water to make them semi transparent. The colors I used were: Cereluan Blue, Primary Magenta, Primary Yellow, Yellow Green Light, Metallic Gold and a mix of Titan Buff, Hansa Yellow Light and Cadmium Orange Hue to create a fleshtone for the little hands in the center of the wheel. I painted the grey board gear from the Sacred Secrets Kit with DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Metallic Gold. I cut out the wheel and glued it onto the gear and added a large brad in the center so that the wheel can turn. In the center, I added another dimensional eyeball and topped it with DecoArt Media Liquid Glass.

Finally, I added the sacred heart piece. This was painted using DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Cadmium Orange Hue and Primary Yellow for the "flame" above. The heart base was painted with DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Carbon Black. I used my finger and some DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Metallic Gold to highlight the exterior of the heart shape and compliment the "wheel of fortune". The face in the center was a Bottle Cap Image cut to fit the heart.

 Here is the new and improved shrine door. The triangle image is glued onto both sides of the door and the "wheel of fortune" is glued onto the inside of the door.

Here is the back side of the main portion of the shrine. It is enhanced with more grey board elements from the Sacred Secrets Kit. The ray of gold was painted with DecoArt Media's Fluid Acrylics Metallic Gold. The smaller gear is given a rusted effect using DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics' Metallic Silver, Carbon Black and Quinacridone Gold rubbed randomly onto the grey board piece.  Finally, I added another eyeball in the center and added the DecoArt Media Liquid Glass to give it a more clear, dimensional lift.  "Unexplained" is a wonderful added stamp image from Andy's Unexplained Stamp Set from Stampendous.  It was stamped using Black Permanent Ink and heat set.

To join the shrine body and door together, I added a large decorative metallic piece I had in my stash to use as a "hinge". I also added a small metallic handle on the door using a good glue to hold them in place.  

Finally for the star of the show; the black clad skeleton.  He is from Andy's Birds and Bones Stamp Set from Stampendous.  I stamped him onto heavy cardstock using Permanent Black Ink and cut him out.  I added the black mesh cloak using a needle and thread around his neck.  I also added the chains and handcuffs using a bit of scrap chain and two jump rings.  "FEAR" is stamped in Permanent Black Ink right onto the right side of the stone wall.  This is from Andy's Skuldoggery Stampendous Stamp Set.  Perfect spot for it!  I added little black eyelets onto the arch front and the black slips on the golden rays are the remnants that were removed from the gear on the backside of the shrine door.  They are painted black and glued in place.  Don't throw away what you think might be grey board trash!  You never know when it will come in handy!!

This project is finished!  So fun and really came together easily with Andy's Tando Creative Sacred Secrets as my inspiration.

Other Miscellaneous Supplies

  • Paint Brushes
  • Palette Knife
  • Brick Stencil
  • Craft Sheet
  • Heat Tool (for drying)
  • Long Brad
  • Black Eyelets (large)
  • Eyeballs from craft store
  • Large Metallic Round (for hinge)
  • Good Glue
  • Black Mesh
  • Scrap Metal Chain, 2 Jump Rings and Small Metal Door Handle

Friday, 26 October 2018

Crystal Clear.... - Nikki K

'Crystal Clear'

Morning all,

I'm sharing with you today a little Mixed Media Board with Andy's stamps, Handle with Care, Fossil, Toxic and DecoArt Media Line paints.

The board was given a coat of DecoArt Media Tinting base, and then a wash of Pthalo Blue and Paynes Grey, very lightly, and then deeper around the edges, leaving a little white showing as well.  I used a Chocolate Baroque Harlequin stamp on the edges of the board.

I used Media Line Metallic Silver to add splatters, and Andy's Scratches stamp from the Toxic Set stamped in black to give more grunge.  'Fragile' was stamped in the centre of the board, where I thought I wanted it before the next stage.

I added a layer of DecoArt Media Crackle Glaze to the whole board, and let it do it's magic.  Love those crackles!  I took some bolt heads from Andy's Industrial Elements kit, and gave them the rust treatment with Texture Sand Paste, Raw Umber and Quinacridone Gold. Some 'drips' were added to the board below the bolts to show rust runs.

I stamped 'Classified' and Fig XII onto light card, and gave a wash the same as the background.  These were edged with my finger in Paynes Grey to look chipped.

The skull is one that I'd only 'half-poured', into a silicone mold, using resin.  It was just enough to give me the front of the skull, and I thought it was great to add to this piece.  I used Liquid Glass to 'glue' it to the piece, as it dries as clear as glass and doesn't leave any residue like a glue would.

I love using just the words or the elements from several stamp sets, all the smaller stamps are so handy!

Hope you like today's make,

Best Wishes,

Nikki K.

Products Used:

Stampendous Toxic Stamp Set.
Stampendous Fossils Stamp Set.
Andy Skinner Word Up Stamp Set

Tando Creative Media Board

DecoArt Media Line: 
Pthalo Blue, Metallic Silver, Paynes Grey, Carbon Black, Tinting Base, Crackle Glaze, Raw Umber, Quinacridone Gold, Liquid Glass, Texture Sand Paste.