Clock Work Inspiration Canvases

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This article is written by Peg Rounds

Some days just don’t go right and other days do

There are some days that everyone has things that just don’t go right.  I know I sure do, but I sometimes need to make it a point to stop and think that every day isn’t like those days.  I decided to create these inspirational canvases so that I can see them and remember that there will be good days and not so good days, too.  These are really fun to make and can be done with any inspirational reminder that you may need so be sure to make some of your own and place them where you can see!

Begin by painting the canvas with a base coat.  This will be the paint color that shows through.  Allow it to completely dry.

Next, die cut a piece of acetate with a die cut machine to create the stencil pieces that you will be placing on the canvas.  Spray each piece with Easy Tack by Krylon so that they can be easily removed.  Place them in position on the canvas.

Die cut acetate to create a stencil

Dab paint, using a second color of paint, into the open areas of the stencils so that the paint gets into the smaller areas.

This is the second step to painting the canvases.  First use a dabber brush to dab paint into the open areas of the stencils after they are applied.

Now, paint straight brush strokes across the entire canvas from top to bottom to cover it.

Allow the paint to dry and carefully lift upward on the edges of the stencils to remove them.

Lay those aside and begin the work on the spiral pieces that will be the inside springs.

Start with a piece of jewelry wire.  The length will depend on how large you will want the spiral,

Curl one end of the wire using a pair of pliers,

Create a loop in the end of a piece of jewelry wire.

Continue to wrap the wire until you have all of it wrapped into the spiral.  As you work each new wrap should lay beside and against the last one.

Wrap the jewelry wire so that it creates a spiral

Take the pliers and grasp the center of the wire and lightly pull it up and outward to create the pieces that have sprung.

Pull the center of the spiraled jewelry wire out.

Age the coils by applying a patina to them.

Allow them to dry slightly and sand them with a fine sand paper to shine them up a little.

Create the second canvas in the same way, but when creating the coils do not pull the centers outward or patina them.

Finish both of the canvases by adding the inspirational message using wooden letters and attach everything with glue.


Peg Rounds has been seriously creating many types of art since 2007.  Her focus has become mixed media, card making and jewelry making.  She is often found on social media sites pegscraftingcorner where she enjoys sharing all that she has created.




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Creating a Mixed Media Art Bag

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This article is written by Tamara Dinius

Tamara created this functional mixed media tote bag using canvas fabric and Tattered Angels High Impact paints. Though the creamy, rich colors of Tattered Angels High Impact paints make painting canvas fabric a breeze, one could use almost any brand of acrylic or fabric paints and receive similar results. Tamara created the sewing pattern for this bag but any store bought sewing pattern or canvas tote could be used as well. Even though Tamara will focus on the mixed media techniques of the project and not the sewing of the bag, she will be sharing some sewing tips that will add interest to the final product.

Completed mixed media art bag project

Whether you use your tote for groceries, travel, or about town, you can add a little panache to your day with this stylish bag.

Supplies and first background layer

Top left: Items used are a spray bottle, Tattered Angels High Impact Paints (or acrylic/fabric paints of your choice), stencils, brushes, and permanent markers (not shown).

Top right: Spray your canvas fabric with water and then apply your yellow paint in a haphazard motion.

Bottom left: While still damp, apply your orange paint using a stencil and stencil brush. Please do not try to be precise as this is just your background. A casual approach will give your finished piece a more artsy feel.

Bottom right: In another area of your bag, add water and your yellow paint using a stencil of your choosing. I added the stencil work before the orange background paint so that I would not lose the vibrant yellow color. Next, add some orange around your yellow pattern. Again, this is to keep the vibrancy of the yellow.

Adding script and heat setting the fabric

Top left: I added additional interest by applying script writing with a stencil and red fabric paint.

Bottom left: Spray water on your contrasting canvas fabric and apply orange and yellow paint using your stencils. At this point we are creating some consistency across the fabrics.

Bottom right: Heat set your paints by using a piece of muslin as a pressing cloth. I ironed both sides of the fabrics on a cotton setting.

Sewing the bag and the transformation of fabric

Top left: I sewed the bag together using a 16 needle as the fabric is quite heavy.

Top right: By using a contrasting thread and topstitching the seams you create some wonderful details on the finished bag. It would also be fun to add some freestyle quilting to the bag using different colored threads. I may try this on my next bag.

Bottom left: I added long handles to the bag using the same red canvas fabric that I used for the middle portion of the bag.

Bottom right: Side panel of the bag. You will also notice the transformation of the original fabric by the white and red canvas fabric that the tote bag is sitting on.

The really fun part! Adding the lettering

The really fun part of the project! I took permanent markers in varying colors and started adding wording and a few doodles. You can let your imagine run free and embellish the heck out of your bag. I will be adding more doodles and lettering as time allows.

The really fun part! Adding the lettering

I hope you have a great time creating your own tote and wishing you much joy in your life!


As well as mixed media tote bag, Tamara Dinius creates from her studio on five acres in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and chocolate lab. Most days you will find her covered in flecks of paint, with a cup of coffee in her hand, and a smile on her face.

Her love for mixed media has taken over most aspects of her creative life. She believes mixed media allows for a broad range of styles and anyone can find success in this form of artistic expression.

You can find more of Tamara’s work, and on her website or via her Facebook




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Altered Library Card Pocket

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This article is written by Melanie Statnick

How to alter old library card pockets

I miss having library cards in the back of books. When I was younger we had to look books up in the card cataloging boxes. Signing the books out with your name and seeing who borrowed it before you, or even how many times you checked out the same book.

Lets get arty and alter these library card pockets

Lets get arty and alter these library card pockets

Using Silk Acrylic paints I altered these paper library pockets. I painted the first color coat onto the pocket first, then I used a paint brush to apply the second color to the applicator and rubbed it over the stencil onto the pockets in a circular motion.

Lets get arty and alter these library card pockets

Lets get arty and alter these library card pockets

Lets get arty and alter these library card pockets

Dry the paint and add some stamps and paper collage sheets and embellishments using a gel medium or mod podge. I outlined the images using a black Pitt pen, white get pen and then added some Stickles.

Lets get arty and alter these library card pockets

Lets get arty and alter these library card pockets

I used a Valentine theme to stuff the pockets with. You can makes them however you like. Cute for sticking a magnet strip on the back and posted it onto your refrigerator and leaving notes for your sweetheart.

*All materials can be found on Altered Arts website

How to alter old library card pockets


Melanie Statnick is a published artist/writer out of North Carolina. Melanie creates art daily from her private studio. Her style is happy and whimsy. Statnick’s artwork can be found in art galleries and shops extensively in NC with international private collections. Learn more about Melanie view her website at:


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Designer Block Puzzle

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This article was written by Martice Smith II

Remember those little A-B-C blocks you may have played with as a child? This tutorial is a spin on that very concept, although, this one is the “grown-up” version! (Well, if you have a baby Einstein on your hands, that’s a different story…) Each side of the wooden block will have a different design. I will demonstrate how to use various techniques from stamping, cut-outs, stenciling and masking to create a beautiful designer block puzzle. Let’s get started!

Create a Designer Block Puzzle

Need to add a bit of visual interest in a corner of your living room, craft space or maybe even a coffee table, this designer block puzzle packs some major punch of creativity! It may look challenging- given that there are 10,077,696 different combinations – but don’t let it fool you. This puzzle is very easy to create yourself.

Gather supplies

Gather supplies; wooden blocks

Any size blocks will work. For this tutorial, I used nine 7.5 inch wooden blocks.

Gather supplies; stencils and stamps

Stencils, stamps

Spray paints (various colors) and a face mask

Masking tape

Prepare the wooden blocks

I love the natural look and feel of the wood, so I let them remain that way.

(Other options to consider: use a clear gesso or wood stain on all six sides of the wooden blocks. This will need to be done in stages to ensure that each side is dry before doing the next side.)

Set up the blocks

Set up the blocks and mask off sides

Working on an even surface, set up the blocks three wide by three long.

Use low-tack masking tape around the sides to secure them together, leaving six surfaces facing up together to make a 7.5 inch diameter square surface. (The tape prevents any over-spray from the spray paint.)

Use a stamp to design SIDE 1 

Use a stamp to design SIDE 1

SIDE 1 is designed with my popular chevron stamp (tutorial on how to make your own)

* Let dry and turn each wooden cube to a random side, so that there are 6 blank surfaces on top again. (I will call this step: “Reset the blocks“)

* Re-tape the sides to prevent any over-spray.

Let dry and turn each wooden block to a random side. (Reset the blocks)

Spray paint the cardboard cut-outs and stencils for the remaining sides

Spray paint the cardboard cut-outs and stencils for the remaining sides

Wearing a face mask and working in a well-ventilated area, spray the first color of spray paint over the cut-outs using a steady, consistent motion.

Design SIDE 2 with lightweight cardboard

Here’s how cardboard stencils and masks can be used as well. I’ve used circular, hand-cut shapes as masks and my custom made ampersand cardboard as a stencil. (Side note: The ampersand is on SIDE 6).

SIDE 2 shows how I arranged my circular, hand-cut shapes in an interesting pattern. Kind of looks like bokeh from photographs!

Design SIDE 2 with lightweight cardboard using circular, hand-cut shapes

* Apply spray paint. (Note: Spray paint can remain tacky for up to 30 minutes depending on the humidity.)

* Remove the shapes.

* Once the spray paint is completely dry, reset the blocks

Design SIDES 3 and 4 with commercial stencils

A couple of my favorite commercial stencils from StencilGirl!

SIDE 3 is designed with Square Dance.

Design SIDE 3 with commercial stencil; Square Dancing by StencilGirl

* Spray the stencil; let dry

* Reset the blocks 

For SIDE 4, I used the Art Nouveau stencil.

Design SIDE 4 with commercial stencil; Art Nouveau by StencilGirl

Design SIDE 5 and 6 with handmade stencils

Add more of your own flair to this project! Here are two handmade stencils that I cut out by hand. This one has a tribal and primitive feel, displaying the triangle and rectangular patterns.

Design SIDE 5 with handmade stencil for personalized touch.

Reset the blocks

Finally, for SIDE 6, I took a more bold and graphic approach by using the “and” symbol (technically called, the ampersand. Look how much style this has!)

Design SIDE 6 with lightweight cardboard using the "and" symbol.

Now that all sides have been designed, you can create different looks for your visual pleasure! This will keep your imagination fresh and give you a good challenge to recreate your own, unique combinations.

I will use my designer block puzzle as props and a cool backdrop for my product photo shoots!


Try utilizing this puzzle in unexpected ways. Add visual interest in a corner of your living room, craft space or maybe even place them on a coffee table. It’s your choice!

How will you use your Designer Block Puzzle?


Author bio:

Mixed-media illustrator and designer Martice Smith II

Martice Smith II is creative director of Martice Smith II – Illustration & Design Studio, based in Kansas City, Missouri and owner of Uneek Art Boutique. She established herself as a freelance Illustrator and graphic designer after receiving her Bachelor of Arts Degree. Her stunning illustrations reveals her love for fashion, typography and wildlife- using a combination of analog and digital techniques.

Martice also contributes as an article writer for the Creating Mixed Media Art website.

You can see more of her work via her Facebook page or her blog. She invites you to join her monthly newsletter, Uneek Art Letter, for art biz tips, advice and free digital goodies!




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