Mixed Media Art Found Objects


You can never have too much stuff in your collection, ready and at hand for your next Mixed Media Art project. But you don’t need to purchase special, shop made embellishments. I am always on the lookout for odd pieces of paper, sticks, colourful feathers, rusty pieces of metal and bottle caps that have been run over. All of these items can be used to add detail into your artwork.


My obsession with collecting found objects began after starting down the mixed media path. In my blogging travels, I found fantastic artwork with old keys and bottle caps. I was drawn into the beauty of adding antique objects into artwork; taking an everyday item and creating a story in the piece of mixed media art. I am now embarrassed to admit that I have even bought these items from craft stores which had been repackaged and sold to unsuspecting artists.

After several purchases I realised that some of this stuff was things I could find around my own house or in my Grandma’s bottom drawer. I didn’t need to buy repackaged items from a craft store when I could find these items around me. I needed to put my “art stuff” glasses on.  Once I had changed my mindset, it was amazing at the things I could find around me that can be used in my art.

On a recent foray into country Victoria, we were walking around the local lake and found an area that must have been an old dump. While many of the pieces were broken, there were a few pieces worth saving. I’m not quite convinced I have found any antique pieces but they will clean up nicely.


As you expand your creativity in the Mixed Media Art field, make sure you are wearing your “found object” glasses when you are out on a walk, tidying up an old drawer or slinking through an antique shop. You never know what you may find. And you will be surprised when that bolt of inspiration hits while you are creating  and you remember those found objects you have hidden away.

Happy Creating!




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Using Nature as a Substrate

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This article is written by Sandee Setliff

Looking for something different to use in your art? Then why not try substrates nature has provided for you.

Displaying art on a bark substrate.

Substrate is just a fancy word for the underlying material on which you choose to work on, like paper, canvas, wood or in my case…a piece of bark that had fallen off a tree.

Sometimes my art starts with a walk in the woods, picking up bits and bobs from nature that inspire me. It can be a shape, or perhaps a texture that captures my imagination or just something I like to collect, like leaves and bark.

I brought home this odd shape piece of bark and it sat in my collection bin for awhile before I finally knew what to do with it, for you see, the pieces need to speak to me too. Originally I was going to do this piece on a large leaf but when I began to plunder around in my bin, the bark remnant stood out, like it was calling to me. I already had painted my (self portrait) caricature of an artist, cut out the butterfly and laid out a twig to use, all that remained was printing out a daily affirmation and arranging my elements on the bark to see if everything fit.

Arranging the elements on the substrate to be glued down


Once I had arranged everything I began the gluing process. Gluing on an uneven surface can be a bit tricky and one of my go to glues is from Helmar called Liquid Scrap Dots because it conforms to the bumpiest, roughest surface you can imagine and creates a smooth base for even the thinnest of papers.

Using specific glues for specific needs will make the project easier to complete and will make your work more professional.

The last thing to keep in mind is that when using nature for your art also means that the art work will not be permanent but can decay over time unless you preserve it.


A little about Sandee Setliff:

Since childhood, I am happiest when I have paint and glue on my hands! Playing with new products and getting messy is time well spent in my book. I create a variety of mix media signs, cards, and altered art, and my creative style ranges from cute and fun to clean and simple which I sell in a local gallery called the Art MoB. My latest passion is art journaling, typography and making hand made paper.  When I am not crafting, I am photographing wildlife and hiking through our lovely North Carolina mountains.







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How to Invert Colors in your Mixed Media Art Projects

This article is written by Jon Webb

This artwork features my dog Wally who passed away several years ago. I call this artwork, “Celestial Surfer“.

Inverted Colors in Mixed Media Art

I created this by using:

  • black marker to make star-like dots on
  • water color paper
  • glue
  • photo cutout of my dog
  • cardstock
  • water color crayon

This is how I created it:

  • draw the surfboard and painted it with a water color crayon.
  • After the paint dried, I glued to the surfboard.
  • Then it was all scanned into the computer – I used the inverse colors feature from the jpeg menu to create the night sky effect (I actually had to use a photo of the dog with the colors inversed when I glued it onto the surfboard). When I inversed the colors in the computer, the photo of the dog also changed back to normal.
  • I created the window from the jpeg menu and, once again, inversed the colors to make it opposite of the surrounding background. The trim around the edges was created from cardstock and from the jpeg menu.

I usually experiment on different things to discover new ideas. Creativity as well assists me in all my artworks. Don’t be afraid to explore new things. Art is fun and you can always use art to express your feelings, thoughts and who you are.

I started a blog last month which features the rest of my artwork. Here is the link to it: jonfwebb.blogspot.com. You are welcome to visit it anytime. I hope you’ll like my artworks. I hope you get a good laugh out of it if anything else. Thank you, once again.



Hi! my name is Jon Webb. I am a mild-mannered grocery store employee, who lives in a world of weird, ridiculous, and sometimes serious art which is represented here. Although my artwork is warped and twisted much of the time, it is G-rated and not meant to insult anybody, though I do reserve the privilege to poke fun at myself. I now live in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex after spending most of my life in the western U.S. I am also a jack-of-a-few trades who mastered none of them. My greatest joy in life was the 25 years that I spent with my dear wife, Renee, who passed away in 2010.

I now invite you to visit my bizarre and sometimes serious world, and I hope you enjoy the experience. Come back as many times as you wish. To get the picture of what I am doing here, I recommend that you start at the beginning and work up to the current date. Remember, art saves!




Using Yarn for your Mixed Media Art Projects

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This article was written by Katja Blum

I love yarn!

Imagine a hysterical, yet manly cackle in the background, as my husband marvels at this bold understatement, surveying the yarn-filled tubs and baskets and boxes that are taking over our apartment. I am endlessly fascinated with the colors and textures of yarn. A skein of silk, wool or bamboo yarn is a feast for the senses – even for your nose, if you happen to enjoy the faint whiff of vinegar bath on hand-dyed yarn. But yarn is not just pretty; it is a ball or hank of raw artistic potential. A ball of yarn could become anything – a sweater or hat, obviously, but also a piece of jewelry, a fuzzy pom-pom or a prayer flag woven saori-style. It could be wrapped around a canvas as a textural background or dipped in glue and molded around a balloon or bowl for a yarn sculpture. It can be painted, stitched, knotted, cut, braided … you get the idea.

If there is one thing I like more than using yarn, it would be making it. Spinning is my very favorite craft activity – I spin way more yarn than I could ever knit or weave up. It’s great fun to make the big, crazy, textured yarns that are commonly referred to as “art yarns”. Bobbles and beehives and beads, oh my!

Mixed Media Art Yarn

If you are a spinner, grab some fiber, decorations and a tutorial and start making art yarn. If spinning isn’t your thing, you can find beautiful art yarns from fiber artists at craft fairs and online. If you need just a few yards of a special embellished yarn for an art project, you can make it yourself. No spinning required.

You’ll need:

  • Yarn
  • Craft wire, 28-30 g
  • Fabric strips, paper strips, ribbons, beads, sequins – any embellishments that can be strung or spiked on your thin craft wire
  • A sturdy clamp or vise

Mixed Media Art Yarn

The base for your art yarn is, well, yarn. Ingenious, I know. Any fiber content and thickness will work, but bear in mind that your finished yarn will be quite a bit bulkier than the base strand. You can, of course, combine different yarns for a marled look.

Prepare the wire:

A length of craft 28g craft wire is going to be the “spine” of your yarn. Obviously, yarn is made by twisting fibers, so that they for a long string and hold together. Your no-spinning art yarn is held together by twisting the base yarn with thin wire, which will make it hold its shape and secure the embellishments. For one yard of finished yarn, you’ll need to string about ½ yard’s worth of embellishments, if you want them fairly closely together.

Mixed Media Art Yarn

Paper strips are best spiked on the wire in a harmonica fashion for a firm hold, but with fabric and ribbon, you can just poke the wire through one end and secure the loose length of material while twisting. You should leave the wire on the spool while threading your embellishments. They will be spaced out later, and it’s best not to run out of wire. If you do want to use wire scraps or different colors, you can twist the wire ends together and smooth them into the other materials.

Secure the ends of your base yarn and wire in a heavy clamp or vise. If you don’t have any, that’s fine – just knot and wrap the ends around something stationary. They have to stay in place as you twist. I once duct-taped the ends to the leg of my desk. It worked.

Twist away. Make sure to twist in the same direction throughout. Longer fabric strips tend to wrap around everything else, so take care to have the wire wrap around the outside of all materials. When a length of yarn is completed, move it up in the clamp or vise for a convenient working distance. Don’t crush beads and other embellishments when securing the yarn – ask me how I know this is an issue.

Make as much yarn as you need and embellish to your heart’s content. Obviously, the wire-reinforced yarn is going to be stiffer than regular yarn, but it is a wonderful addition to mixed-media collages, jewelry, sculptures and art dolls.

Mixed Media Art Yarn


Katja Blum is a writer and translator from Tulsa, OK. As an artist, she started with yarn, fabric and papier mache (rarely together), branching out into collage and other paper arts about ten years ago. Her latest obsession is making soft stuffies and art dolls – to the delight of her toddler. She also likes to find creative solutions for ugly or broken things around the house – to the delight of her husband.

You can see more of her work with fiber, paper and words at www.thewaywardsheep.com



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