Thursday 22 February 2024

2024 Topic 1: Miniature {by Jenny Marples} on the PaperArtsy Blog

Hi everyone Jenny Marples here with you today. Since the beginning of the year I've been looking back at past projects as a way of reminding myself about favourite techniques - we learn so much over years of creating and it's easy to forget some of the most effective methods for achieving certain results.

This miniature topic had me thinking about little books (of course!) and with the 'glazed' theme in mind it was inevitable that there would need to be a window of some sorts on the cover. So I decided to grab some old packaging and scraps of paper, combining them with one of my all time favourite stamp sets to celebrate the winter season.

All that 'digging back' through the archives really paid off as I had a lot of fun without needing to over-think the processes.

Feeling inspired by the bare trees and remaining fallen leaves seen on early morning dog walks the majority of the pages in this little book use the images on the Courtney Franich stamp set ECF05. You can extend it's design potential even further by the addition of the PaperArtsy Mini stamp MN129 and PaperArtsy Mini stencil PM023.


Starting with strips of paper collaged with a mix of old book pages is always a great way to get rid of that 'blank page' panic and I like to limit that even further by applying some colour and design before chopping it up into pages. Use a brayer or palette knife and your stamps to begin the process.

Adding lighter layers over the top is another of my favourite techniques; I have used three PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic Paints from the same set (Pine Grove, Bora Bora and Seaglass) to do this. If you don't have a complete set to hand remember you can add a white like Cloud 9 and Little Black Dress to any of the mid-tone paints to give yourself a range of tones.

Stamping and stencilling with paints is so effective - just remember to clean them afterwards to ensure you continue to get those great results with your inks too.

Cut up your strips of painted paper into pages tall enough to fit the covers of your book. Having pages of different widths is a great way to add interest and encourage people make their way through the book. I bound my pages together as a temporary measure whilst completing the decorating but you can leave them unbound until the end if you'd prefer.

Below you can see where the paint stamped images have become the focal points of these pages with just a little extra embellishment.

With the first of the pages complete it's time to dip into that 'box of techniques' to create more focal points.

Here's a great way to capture the beauty of a fallen leaf beneath a layer of frost and snow; after stamping the leaf shape onto your page paint over with a shade of brown (in this case Caramel). Cover with a thick layer of PaperArtsy Grunge Paste and leave until it starts to go dry.

Mist the same leaf stamp with a little water before pushing into the Grunge Paste, revealing some of the colour beneath.

When completely dry paint over with Fresco Finish Pearl Glaze to get that frosty look.

The same Fresco Finish Pearl Glaze adds a frosty shimmer to a leaf stamped with permanent ink onto brown card, whilst a little Fresco Finish Metallic Acrylic Paint in Gold catches the light on a painted tag.

Use the Fresco Finish Pearl Glaze over hand-drawn branches too.

Another way of glazing leaves is to heat emboss them. Try using your embossing powders over a piece of card dipped and dried repeatedly in dilute paint (I used Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic Paint in Toffee here).

Cut roughly around the embossed leaves, apply a coat of Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic Paint, then rub away when dry to reveal the full detail of the embossed leaves. 

If you want to dull the shiny surface of the embossing use a coat of Fresco Finish Matte Glaze over the top and allow to air dry. Hint; this also works if you have unwanted shiny patches on your matte book pages left by excess glue etc.

And as a final way to use the same stamps to add extra texture to your book pages try stamping on PaperArtsy Crunchy Waxed Kraft Paper that has been scrunched up and flattened.

Below you'll see how the embossed leaves and stamped Crunchy Waxed Kraft Paper have been used to decorate more of the book pages.

Try slipping a couple of leaves inside a little vellum envelope or pocket too!

Now it's time to complete the book, starting by cutting the covers from leftover corrugated card and plastic packaging. I used the Sizzix 'Needle Book' Scoreboards Die by Eileen Hull Designs for this. Draw and cut a small oval out of the front cover layers to create a window.

I found it was easier to cut a piece of kraft card the same size as the corrugated front cover and heat emboss that - it is flat and less likely to absorb the embossing ink. Use a permanent ink on your stamp as a release agent and press into the molten powder to get a deep impression.

Finally assemble the book, stitching the spine onto a piece of cloth before gluing each side to the front and back covers as shown below. Trim to fit, then add the embossed panel on the front. I chose to make an embossed cover for the back too; the corrugated card adds dimension and strength to your covers whilst the embossed panels give that decorative finishing touch.

Here you can see how the covers look inside when teamed with the front and back pages of the book.

You can add extra details to complete your pages if you want; examples here include washi tape, lace trims, charms, hand-stitching and some die cuts left over from my last PaperArtsy project. And if you are wondering about the words used they are (of course) from an Alison Bomber stamp set EAB01, fitting perfectly with the Winter tree/fallen leaves theme.

And so the book finished! You can see the first of many leaves through the glazed window on the front cover, a glimpse at what can be found inside. The final two pages are relatively plain, giving the eye a place to pause between the busyness.

It was so enjoyable to revisit some much loved techniques and pick up on design ideas that have worked well in the past, like remembering to add touches of black and white to make the pages 'pop'.

So what would you like to repeat from your creative journey? Or are you just starting out and using some of these ideas for the first time? The pages of a small book are easy to cover so make a fantastic place to give them a go.



Words and Pictures said...

Absolutely beautiful, Jenny - your book is so full of texture and meaning and beauty... simply wonderful. And it's one of my favourite quotes of all - set to music by Helen Chadwick, it's pure magic. Thank you for always making magic with my word stamps.
Alison x

Anonymous said...

This is so beautiful! I love the stamped natural elements throughout and the colors are gorgeous! -Ann B

LJMILLER said...

Unbelievable,,,,what a work of art

Darlene Henry said...

Amazing as always Jenny! Such a beautiful mixed media journal! I've been trying new/old ideas myself lately just for a change of pace. Love the book!

Lisa Hoel said...

So lovely! Jenny is a rockstar!

eileen hull said...

Wow Jenny, this was like taking a book making masterclass combined with so many cool techniques! I love this book- the front really caught my eye. Time to get out the embossing powder! <3