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Looking to redecorate your home? Crafting for the holidays? Need a fun idea to do with the kids? We have craft ideas for all occasions and experience levels! From simple home decor projects to personalized giftable items, we are sure you will find projects that inspire. Be sure and share any projects you do with our products using #decoartprojects for a chance to be featured.

Altered Layered Frame

By: Bumblebees and Butterflies
April 26, 2016

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Altered Layered Frame
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I am very pleased to be here as one of the newest members of the Mixed Media Design Team. It was about 15 months ago I became a member of the DecoArt Helping Artists program teaching workshops using the fabulous media range and now I am able to bring my ideas and learning out to a wider audience.

I love the whole vintage, distressed look and many of my projects are made in this style. Over the past few years I have been very lucky to take a number of classes with Andy Skinner and have definitely been inspired by his grungy, age worn techniques and projects. Taking something brand new and making it look old and worn excites me but I also love journaling and creating in a mixed media style. When using the media fluid acrylics and mediums I apply lots of layers to create depth and interest especially to backgrounds. Come with me as I show you the first of my projects as a new Mixed Media Design Team member.


Items needed:

  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Burnt Umber
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Prussian Blue Hue
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Quinacridone Gold
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Titan Buff
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Titanium White
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Gesso - White
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Clear Matte Medium
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Crackle Glaze - Clear
  • DecoArt Media Antiquing Creams - English Red Oxide
  • DecoArt Media Antiquing Creams - Patina Green
  • DecoArt Media Varnishes - Ultra-Matte Varnish
  • DecoArt Media Antiquing Creams - Raw Umber
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Translucent White
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Hansa Yellow Light
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Payne's Grey
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Phthalo Green-Blue
  • Tando Creative Triple Arch Layered Frame
  • Ground Espresso Ink
  • Assorted Brushes
  • Brayer
  • Sanding Block
  • Dictionary Paper
  • Water Spritzer
  • Kitchen Roll
  • Baby Wipes
  • Metal Embellishments
  • Mini Hinges
  • Assorted Embellishments (i.e. vintage photos, charlotte doll, glass knob, mini plaquette)


Step 1. Glue the three pieces of the frame together and paint it with gesso to seal the chipboard and preventing it from getting too wet with the additional layers of paint that are going to be added to it.

Instruction #1 - STEP1 Photo
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Step. 2 With a piece of sponge blend some media acrylic paints over keeping them light in colour, I used Phthalo Blue, Translucent White and Titan Buff.

Instruction #2 - STEP2 Photo
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Step 3. Create a watery wash of Titan Buff on your craft mat and the do a process I call "dip and dry" several times until you have a mottled creamy effect.

Instruction #3 - STEP3 Photo
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Step 4.  Repeat the dip and dry process with a watery wash of Burnt Umber.

Instruction #4 - STEP4 Photo
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Step 5.  Repeat the dip and dry process with a watery wash of Translucent White

Instruction #5 - STEP5 Photo
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Step 6. Now you have created a translucent distress effect with the paints go over the surface with clear crackle glaze with an uneven coverage so you have some thick and some thinner areas of the medium.

Instruction #6 - STEP6A Photo
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You will see the cracks appear as it dries but make sure you leave it to dry thoroughly.

Instruction #7 - STEP6B Photo
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Step 7. Take Raw Umber Antiquing Cream and rub a little over the frame and wipe back straight away with a babywipe so that the cracks are enhanced but not the rest of the wood.

Instruction #8 - STEP7A Photo
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You can see how distinct the cracks have become.

Instruction #9 - STEP7B Photo
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Step 8. To create the last of the distressing, use a sanding block and sand areas around the edges and then blend in ground espresso or any brown distress ink. To get the really dark patches you need to sand back to the original chipboard and this then soaks up the ink making it look very dark. By doing this you can create a lot of dust you might need to consider wearing a mask, especially if you are asthmatic.

Instruction #10 - STEP8 Photo
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Step 9. Take the back of the frame and four of the spare arched pieces.

Instruction #11 - STEP9 Photo
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Step 10. Paint a layer of gesso over them and then adhere torn pieces of dictionary paper using matte medium and seal everything over the top, leave to dry.

Instruction #12 - Step10 Photo
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Step 11. With a paintbrush, water spritzer and a piece of kitchen roll blend a darker tone of the colours you used on the frame and dry. I used Prussian Blue.

Instruction #13 - STEP11 Photo
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Step 12. Adhere small die-cuts and brayer white paint lightly over the whole background. Dry. Note I am doing the same with the four small side panels as I am to the frame background.

Instruction #14 - STEP12 Photo
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Step 13. Stamp text with black archival ink. I used an old handwriting text stamp.

Instruction #15 - STEP13 Photo
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Step 14. Bring the warmer shades of blue that are on the frame by mixing phthalo blue, titan buff, translucent white and burnt umber to give it a more vintage feel.

Step 15. Lightly brayer the colour all over.

Instruction #17 - STEP15 Photo
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Step 16. Daub a little white paint on top edge of pieces and spritz with water allow it to run down the pieces and through the die-cuts and heat dry. Repeat this until you are happy with the outcome. Also mix a little Hansa Yellow Light to the blue you had mixed before and daub and spritz with some of that too.

Instruction #18 - STEP16 Photo
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Step 17. Splatter some Titanium White and dry it. The do the same with some Burnt Umber. To get the Burnt Umber looking slightly faded once splattered leave for a few seconds so that it has started to dry then dab the excess of with dry kitchen roll.

Instruction #19 - STEP17 Photo
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Step 18. Mix a vintage glaze using two drips of Burnt Umber, one drip of Quinacridone Gold and a smaller drip of Paynes Grey to about a teaspoonful of Ultra Matte Varnish and mix together. Paint it sparingly over the pieces to achieve a more vintage look.

Instruction #20 - STEP18 Photo
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Step 19. Use a brown distress marker and draw and blend with your finger around the die-cuts to create some shadow effect.

Instruction #21 - STEP19 Photo
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Step 20. Distress the edges of the smaller pieces with a distressing tool or sanding block and blend in brown ink. 

Instruction #22 - STEP20 Photo
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Step 21. Adhere the frame onto it's background, sand the edges and blend in brown distress ink.

Instruction #23 - STEP21 Photo
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Step 22.  Collect together ephemera and embellishments to add to the frames.

Some metal pieces.

Instruction #25 - STEP22A Photo
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An original vintage Charlotte doll, a glass nob and a mini number plaquette.

Instruction #26 - STEP22B Photo
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Two small vintage photos and square acrylic blocks.

Instruction #27 - STEP22C Photo
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Step 23. Make the metal embellishments look old and rusty using a quick technique using the media fluid acrylic paints. a) - take a piece of dry kitchen roll and dab burnt sienna all over and heat dry it. Of course metal gets hot so we need to be very careful we do not burn ourselves. b) - for the next layer use Burnt Umber and dab it over randomly leaving some of the Burnt Sienna showing and dry. c) - repeat the random dabbing with Paynes Grey and heat dry. Following that use antiquing creams, lustres and archival ink to add more depth of colours and interest.

Instruction #28 - STEP23 Photo
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Step 24. Add some iced espresso metallic lustre to the base of the knob and the vintage glaze from earlier to the mini plaquette and charlotte doll. Also add a small random amount of coffee archival ink to the plaquette.

Instruction #29 - STEP24 Photo
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Step 25. Rub the coffee archival ink pad around the acrylic blocks to create a more vintage look.

Instruction #30 - STEP25 Photo
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Step 26. Adhere the elements onto the frames using matte medium.

Instruction #31 - STEP26 Photo
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Step 27. Glue mini hinges between the end pieces and onto the triptych frame to add the extra arches and make this a free standing arch layered frame.

Instruction #32 - Final Staged Photo32
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 Thank you for taking a look at my first project and thank you DecoArt for having me on the Mixed Media Design Team. I hope you have enjoyed my make and process steps and please let us know if you take any inspiration from this frame and try anything similar.


A fabulous introductional piece, Brenda! x


April 26, 2016

AMAZING! What a cool concept! I can only imagine how beautiful this looks IRL and on display. Great techniques and you really rocked your kickoff post! FABULOUS!


April 26, 2016

I really love your work of the "Altered Layered Frame". It's absolutely fantastic. It makes me want to have a go again at Steam Punk again. I have tried it before and some of it looks ok but I have some that are best filed away in the bin. Well done. xx


April 26, 2016

What a brilliant project Brenda with such a clear step by step. Thanks so much for sharing your creativity and many congratulations on this very well deserved team appointment! Lucky DecoArt ;0) xx


April 26, 2016

absolutely stunning Brenda - really gorgeous - love what you have done and the step by step is perfect! Hugs rachel x

rachel fisher

April 26, 2016

Absolutely amazing project and a wonderful detailed tutorial Brenda, thank you so much for sharing it! Amazing to see your process, hope that I can find some of the DecoArt Media line of products here in Canada so I can experiment with them, stunning results! Deb xo

Deb ~ Paxton Valley Folk Art

April 26, 2016

Brenda, it is so lovely to see you here. Your tutorial is excellent and the finished piece is stunning. I love how you added the layers to give a wonderful textured look and I also love how you aged the metal pieces and the Charlotte doll and pictures are just perfect additions. Anne xx

Anne R

April 26, 2016

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Brenda - this is just PERFECTLY SCRUMPTIOUS for your first post as a DecoArt Media Design Team artist. CONGRATULATIONS!!! Just OUTSTANDINGLY INCREDIBLE. You did it all - texture, fab color, depth, super embellishments for a UNIQUELY LOVELY creation. YEAH!!! I'm so excited for you with a big smile on my face too. SUPER FAB project. Xj.


April 26, 2016

Oh this is just fab Brenda ... I really love the techniques you have used here and the colours too! It is a beautiful piece of artwork. Carol x

Carol Findon

April 26, 2016

Wonderful texture on this project, you have placed your elements perfectly to create interest to the onlooker. Turquoise is a dynamic and engaging colour; very pleasing to the eye, Your complimentary rusty brown adds warmth and stability. A fantastic first creation Brenda you should feel very proud of yourself because you have equaled, if not surpassed their expected standard of work as their DT. Well done my friend. Smiles:) Sue


April 26, 2016

This is so incredibly yummy! I love the layers and textures and the vintage look and feel. Fabulous!

Cathy Parlitsis

April 26, 2016

Totally fabulous Brenda - Love every bit of it!! Sandy xx


April 26, 2016

Brenda this is fabulous the tutorial the project it is all brilliant really pleased that you are now a Deco Art Design Team artist. x

Dee Adams

April 27, 2016

Fabulous work Brenda! x

Nikki Acton

April 27, 2016

A totally brilliant piece Brenda, amazing effects!! Great to see you be part of this wonderful team!!!


April 27, 2016

Fabulous project, Brenda! Love all those yummy details!

Barbara Rankin

April 27, 2016

Fantastic piece and very clear instructions! Thanks


April 28, 2016

Stunning creation Brenda!


April 28, 2016

Fabulous, Brenda! Thanks for the step by step.


April 28, 2016

Wonderful project Brenda and super tutorial. Congrats again on your DT position with DecoArt. Looking forward to your next post. Julie x


April 28, 2016

A completely glorious project, and such a fabulously detailed step by step - thank you so much, brilliant Brenda! Alison x


April 30, 2016

What a brilliant debut from Brenda!! Fantastic step x step - love your photos - and the end result is exceptionally beautiful. Nicola x

Paper Profusion

May 5, 2016

This is a gorgeous project and you did a great job at giving detailed instructions!


May 11, 2016

Utterly fabulous debut project! Brenda and a fantastic step by step . Thank you so much for sharing and inspiring . I hope you enjoy every minute of your Deco Art adventure . Amanda xx

Amanda Pink

May 22, 2016

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