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DecoArt Mixed Media Blog

A Grateful Heart Canvas

by: Candy Colwell
August 16, 2018

A Grateful Heart Canvas

The lazy days of summer are winding down as we begin another school year: rekindling friendships with schoolmates, buying school supplies and of course, a return to the books.

In this little vintage style mixed media collage, I am paying homage to our lovely feathered friends as well as little school chums all dressed and ready for their first day of school.

This is a little 6” x 6” piece of chipboard that would be absolutely darling in a white crackled frame as a home décor piece. With layers of cardstock, mixed media elements, stencils and vintage lace, this was a delight to create.  Here are all of the supplies you’ll need and the step by step instructions:

Items needed :

  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Clear Matte Medium
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Gesso - White
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Modeling Paste - White
  • DecoArt Vintage Effect Wash 8 oz - Pink
  • DecoArt Vintage Effect Wash 8 oz - Patina
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Titanium White
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Hansa Yellow Light
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Yellow Oxide
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide
  • DecoArt Media Antiquing Creams - Raw Umber
  • Andy Skinner Stencils 6x6 - Baroque
  • Americana Spray Sealers/Finishes 12oz - Americana Matte Spray
  • 6x6 piece of chipboard
  • Andy Skinner Rusty Wire
  • Glue
  • Masking tape
  • Various cardstock papers
  • Paper doll
  • Palette knife
  • Paint brushes
  • Blue ink pad and sponge (for colorizing paper doll)
  • Pink ink pad and sponge (for colorizing paper doll)
  • Chestnut ink pad
  • Computer generated bird book covers
  • Plain copy paper scraps
  • Exacto knife
  • Adhesive pop dots

Instructions :

Step 1: Cover 6” x 6” piece of chipboard with various cardstock pieces that are torn and glued in place using a brush and DecoArt Media Matte Medium. Heat set. Then add another layer over the first in the same manner. Repeat with a third layer or partial layer if desired. I intentionally placed two birds on the top layer because I wanted them to be seen on the final piece. I love how they fade into the background with all of the layers of color and depth yet they continue to be points of interest. Heat set.

Step 2: Randomly tear strips of masking tape and burnish them onto the top layer of cardstock. Then rip off the masking tape strips leaving layers of torn paper exposed. Then randomly flick DecoArt Media White Gesso onto the surface of the chipboard using an old toothbrush that has been smeared into some gesso. Repeat this until you are satisfied with the amount of gesso on the chipboard.

Step 3: In the upper left and lower left corners of the chipboard, use DecoArt Media Modeling Paste and a palette knife to stencil the Baroque pattern. Let air dry or heat set.

Step 4: Lay a couple of pieces of vintage lace onto the chipboard. Glue them in place using a paint brush and DecoArt Media Matte Medium. Matte Medium is an excellent glue and sealer and dries clear. Once the lace is glued in place, brush over it with the Matte Medium to seal it. Also, apply a coat of Matte Medium over the two birds on the cardstock to seal them. This will protect them as you apply layers of gesso and paint that can easily be wiped away from the bird images. Let air dry or heat set.

You may want to add a bit more spackled gesso onto the chipboard surface at this time. Here is a photo of what the chipboard piece will look like at this point. 

Step 5: Using a brush, add DecoArt Vintage Effect Wash in Pink randomly onto the surface of the chipboard. Brush over the lace as well. Wipe away any excess paint with a damp cloth. Heat set or air dry.

Step 6: Repeat the step above using DecoArt Vintage Effect Wash in Patina to add a greenish tint to the chipboard. 

Step 7: Using a small paint brush, apply DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics in Titanium White followed by a mixture of Hansa Yellow Light and Yellow Oxide over the raised stenciled designs on the left side corners. 

Step 8: Now still working on the stenciled areas of the chipboard, use your finger and apply a light layer of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics in Titanium White followed by a light layer of Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide. This will soften and “enrich” the colors of the raised stenciled areas and blend them into the overall design. Also using your finger, add touches of the white paint on top of the laces. This will really make them pop.

Step 9: To antique these areas, brush some DecoArt Media Raw Umber Antiquing Cream over the raised surfaced and wipe away excess with a damp cloth. Repeat until you have achieved the antiqued look you desire. 

Also add the antiquing cream to random areas of the chipboard to give it a worn, aged look by repeating the process in Step 9. This is a photo of how the chipboard piece will look at this point. 

Step 10: Using some of Andy Skinner’s Rusty Wire, create a “nest’ by winding and tying off the wire. Also, add some little pieces of wire that are wound into the nest and then curled around a small rod to create “twigs” coming off the nest.  

Step 11: Create little books by computer generating them. These little books were 1” x ¾” to ½”. I made three of them. They were printed onto cardstock and then cut out so that the front side of the book was the printed image. The back side of the book was plain cardstock. The spine of the book is where I folded the cardstock. I then inked the edges with a chestnut ink pad. The interior pages of the book were simply three rectangles of cardstock cut to fit inside the book cover and folded in the middle. I then glued the pages together along the fold and glued the pages to the inside fold of the book cover. 

Step 12: The little girls were colorized using a pink and blue ink pad and a small makeup sponge. I inked the sponge and rubbed it over the dresses, bows and socks. Once I was happy with the colorizing, I sprayed the dolls with a matte sealer. I then used an exacto knife to slit the line between the girls’ arms and their dresses. This allowed me to slide the books into place and glue them to appear as if the girls are holding the books.

In this photograph, you can see how the little girls are positioned on the chipboard with adhesive pop dots, holding their books and standing in the rusty wire birds’ nest. 

Step 13: Place a Chit Chat sentiment or something computer generated onto a piece of kraft paper cardstock and glue it in place. Cut around the sentiment, leaving a slight edge cardstock to show. Ink around the edges of the rectangle with a black ink pad. Using adhesive pop dots, glue the sentiment onto the lower edge of the lace. 

Thanks so much for stopping by and joining us on DecoArt’s Creative Team Blog. I hope you’ve found some inspiration here from this and other beautiful art from the members of this team.  

Don’t be afraid to experiment with texture, color and mixed media elements that can add so much to your art pieces!

Be sure to visit Creativity Is Contagious for more projects and to learn more about Candy Colwell.


Fantastic make Candy and I love all the wonderful details/techniques xx You are so kind to share Hugs Annie x


August 16, 2018

Oh, Candy! This is so beautifully vintage! I love all the texturnfrommthe lace, modeling Paste and layered papers, too! The wire bird nest is magical with those two sweet schoolgirls ready to step out of the nest and into a great learning adventure! But the piece de resistance is the itty bitty books. Your work is so poetic and filled with grace! Thank you for all the inspiration you share with us all. Huge hugs!


August 17, 2018

As always, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how you created this gorgeous piece Candy, I love the tip about pulling the masking tape off the paper, it looks wonderful, the little books you created are just adorable! This would indeed look beautiful inside a crackled white frame! Hugs, Anne xx

Anne R

August 17, 2018

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