Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Autumn Wreaths

A year ago, I took a mixed media class with Anna Debrowska, owner and creative mind of Finnabair. I've always loved "altered art" (or more commonly called "mixed media" today), and I've been plying my trade for years. My favorite thing is to find a discarded box or tin that seems to have no use and transform it into something pretty and awe-inspiring. Thanks to artists and companies, such as Finnabair, Prima Marketing, Tim Holtz, Dina Wakley, Ranger Inks and so many more, there are now infinite ideas and products to create masterful mixed media pieces.

I've been mostly self-taught, as are so many crafty artists that I know. We sit in our studios or spare room or niche in the basement and just get our fingers dirty as our heads spew out crazy ideas for sticking things together.

Finnabair's class introduced me to some new products, and I immediately set to making Christmas wreaths last year, using wooden wreaths. I still had a handful of these wreaths leftover and decided to make something autumnal this year.
A five-minute video tutorial of the Mixed Media Autumn Wreath is available to watch
Catching a 40-percent-off sale at Hobby Lobby, I snagged plastic pumpkins and acorns, glittery styrofoam balls, pretty pretend grasses and berries, and a cheap economy bag of potpourri with pinecones and things. While Finnabair usually covers project embellishments/pieces completely in gesso, I decided to leave some of the color of the original items, covering 30 to 50 percent of the decorations mentioned above in black gesso. After they dried, I used a stiff brush and DecoArt gold metallic paint and a technique called "dry brushing" to apply gold to all the highlight/high point areas of the decorations. Pictured are some before and after shots of the decorations.




The wooden wreaths were covered in cheap ole corrugated cardboard, which was torn into strips, exposing the corrugated ridges and leaving rough edges.
Pieces were glued to the wreath.
The wreath was then completely covered in black gesso.
After drying, I again used the dry brushing technique to apply gold acrylic paint.
On a later experiment, I also added in some burlap ribbon.

In order to hang the wreath, I added a wire to the top.

The next process is to apply the distressed decorations to the wreath. I used Prima Marketing's Art Basics Modeling Paste Opaque Matte for this.
The modeling paste dries white, so I added in black acrylic paint so that the dried paste blended into the black/gold distressed wreath. The thick consistency of the modeling paste allows you to stick pieces on top of each other, creating layers of decorations. Allow to dry overnight. You also can use another super strong and sturdy glue or product to adhere the decorations; just make sure the product dries clear.

I am making one more autumn wreath, this time adding in some altered leaves, which have been made from colored cardstock and the Sizzix/Tim Holtz Tattered leaves die and embossing folder.


I used the same process of covering 30 to 50 percent of the leaves with black gesso and then "dry brushing" gold acrylic paint onto the highlights of the leaf.

These autumn wreaths were so fun to make, and they have added something delightful to my fall decor.
A five-minute video tutorial of the Mixed Media Autumn Wreath is available to watch