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Coral Board

By: Von Pappe II
April 13, 2017

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Coral Board
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My husband, son and I love to go hunting for shells, corals, fossils and other nature treasures! And it is such a shame to store those beautiful pieces hidden in a box - so I decided to set the stage for this coral that actually is one of my mom's finds (so you can tell this has been running in the family for a long time already). I tried to make the background's colours and patterns on my panel match the theme of swooshing and swirling waves that crush upon the shore and bring lovely treasures. And it was a wonderful opportunity to also showcase some other found objects (that were flea market finds). I think they compliment the natural shape of the coral very nicely, don't they?

And I used a layering technique that I named "Gloss Varnish Resist". And here's the how-to.

Items needed:

  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Phthalo Turquoise
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Phthalo Green-Blue
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Raw Sienna
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Titan Buff
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Titanium White
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Raw Umber
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Payne's Grey
  • DecoArt Media Varnishes - Gloss Varnish
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Crackle Paste - White
  • DecoArt Media Antiquing Creams - Raw Umber
  • DecoArt Media Antiquing Creams - Carbon Black
  • Dazzling Metallics 2oz - Venetian Gold
  • Metallic Lustre 1oz - Gold Rush
  • Americana Decou-Page (Glue-Sealer-Finish) 8oz - Americana Decou-Page Matte
  • Assorted Brushes
  • 6" by 4" Canvas Board
  • Old Dictionary Page
  • Small Plaque or Label Dies
  • Die Cutting Machine
  • Heavy Black Card
  • Hole Punch
  • Old Metal Paper Clip
  • Thin Black Wire
  • Metal Ring
  • Palette Knife
  • Baby Wipes
  • Soft Cloth


Cover the canvas board with an old dictionary page using matte Decou-Page. Add a thin wash of Raw Sienna. Do NOT seal the surface! Let dry.

Instruction #1 - DecoArt coral board step1
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Use a palette knife to randomly apply streaks of Gloss Varnish. Let dry.

Instruction #2 - DecoArt coral board step2
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Add some diluted Phthalo Turquoise with a soft wide flat brush. Wait a little, then wipe off the excess from the spots where the gloss varnish has worked as a resist. Let dry.  

Instruction #3 - DecoArt coral board step3
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Add more Gloss Varnish with the palette knife, making sure you partially cover up areas that already have been treated with varnish in step two. Let dry. 

Instruction #4 - DecoArt coral board step4
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Now repeat step three by using Phthalo Green-Blue this time. You will end up with spots that still show the Raw Sienna that we tinted the dictionary page with in step one, others show pure Phthalo Turquoise or Green-Blue and some will show a mix of the tones you used. 

Instruction #5 - DecoArt coral board step5
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Paint the board‘s edge with a thin line of Raw Umber, then – while the paint is still wet - use your fingertip to smudge some of the paint towards the center. 

Instruction #6 - DecoArt coral board step6
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Add sprinkles of lightly diluted Raw Umber and white Simmer Mister.

Instruction #7 - DecoArt coral board step7
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Using the palette knife add some white Crackle Paste here and there and especially to the spot where you later want your found objects to sit. Press both objects into the wet paste so you have marked the exact spots. Leave the paste to dry without the objects in place.

Instruction #8 - DecoArt coral board step8
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Apply a mix of Raw Umber and Carbon Black Antiquing Creams to the whole canvas board and let dry. Then wipe off the excess with a damp soft cloth. This way the little cracks and texture from the Crackle Paste will become beautifully visible. 

Instruction #9 - DecoArt coral board step9
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Cover up the center spot and add more Raw Umber and white Shimmer Mister sprinkles. Paint a thin white frame using a fine tip brush and Titanium White. 

Instruction #10 - DecoArt coral board step10
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Die cut a label or plaque from heavy black card and punch two holes in it. Paint on the desired number for your treasure. Then thread two pieces of thin black wire through the holes and twist them closed.

Instruction #11 - DecoArt coral board step11
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Add a little dab of Gold Rush Metallic Lustre to the die cut label to make it match the found objects.

Instruction #12 - DecoArt coral board step12
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Sprinkle some Venetian Gold onto the board. Then fix the label to it by wrapping the wire around the board and taping it to its back. I also used a sticky foam pad to fix the label directly to the board and to keep it in place. 

Instruction #13 - DecoArt coral board step1349
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You‘re done!

Instruction #14 - DecoArt coral board detail colours
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I hope you like my "Gloss Varnish Resist" technique and are inspired to set some beautiful stages for your treasures too!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Instruction #15 - DecoArt coral board detail crackle
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Hugs and happy crafting!


Instruction #16 - DecoArt coral board fin detail front
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Instruction #17 - DecoArt coral board fin side  view28
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Claudia, this is so perfectly yummy! Those layers of varnish must be truly awesome in person, how I wish I could hold this one! A truly amazing way to feature this found beauty! Well done! Hugs, Autumn


April 13, 2017

Absolutely gorgeous backdrop, love the resist. Fantastic design. Tracy x

Tracy Evans

April 14, 2017

This is a fabulous piece Claudia! The close-up picture with the word 'treasure' really showcases your layers and techniques. Thank you for sharing your steps!


April 15, 2017

This reminds me of how an archaeologist arrives on a 'site' with their spades and brushes hopeful of find something unique and rare. They begin to dig into a plot of earth that could look exactly like your background - full of textures, cracks and dozens of colors. They hope. And then... they find a rare beauty - a white fan shaped artifact. The prize. YOU have taken 'the prize' and preserved it BEAUTIFULLY Claudia. Now it IS a TREASURED ART PIECE for all to enjoy. Xj.


April 15, 2017

Aw! Thank you all so much for the lovely comments, Autumn, Tracy, Leslie and Joi! MWAH!!! Honestly, when I was a kid I wanted to become an your comment so made my day, Joi! Big HUG!!! Claudia xxx


April 19, 2017

super cool! I love the layers and textures. =)

Lisa H

April 19, 2017

Wow Claudia this is a brilliant and beautiful project with layers, techniques and colours that you have brought together to create the most amazing work of art. You have an incredibly imaginative mind which I love xxx

Brenda Brown

April 21, 2017

A fantastic piece full of amazing textures, techniques and ideas, with great step-out photos and information too. Most important it's a beautiful piece of art to showcase that special find of your mother's. Wonderful post, thank you. Alison x


April 25, 2017

So pretty! I love all of the colors, your technique and the embellishments. I am new to this type of mixed media, consequently my stash of supplies is nil. I would love to do this, but I'd have to purchase 14 bottes/cans of paint and paste to do this 6" x 4" project. I'm going to save this to do in the future after my cache of supplies grows a bit. The treatment and design of the board is the perfect way to show case your delightful coral treasure!

Judy H.

April 29, 2017

Thank you all so much, Lisa, Brenda, Alison and Judy! Your kind words are highly appreciated! @Judy - maybe growing your stash feels a more reasonable thing to do if I tell you that the DecoArt supplies will go a very, very long way! Especially the fluid acrylics are so intense that you only need drops of them - (not kidding). And the products are all so versatile! You can use them on any kind of mixed media project and combine them with stamped projects too. Hugs! Claudia xxx


May 31, 2017

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