Creating Small Art – a Quick Tutorial

Making small art is so much fun, and it really doesn’t take very long to do.  Here’s a look at one of the Trading Cards I made for a swap with other letterboxers:

Supplies
Supplies

First, I gathered my supplies:

  • Card Stock for cards
  • Acrylic Block
  • Markers
  • Mist Bottle
  • Colored pencils
  • Mod Podge
  • Hand Carved Stamp
  • Ink Pad

 

I cut the trading cards myself from a regular sized sheet of card stock.  A heavier weight paper might be more ideal so it won’t curl so much from the moisture.  I just used what I had on hand.  I found my acrylic blocks that I use with my clear cling-on stamps I got at the local craft store many moons ago.  Markers!  I used my kids washable markers, again, because that is what I had.  Any markers will do, unless they are too dried out.  The mist bottle I used came from a business expo.  It’s the kind where you put water in it, pump it, then it will spray or mist as long as it has pressure in it.  Being In Texas this comes in handy as you walk around outside in the heat. And I got to used it for this project.   I also hand carved a stamp and had glue and an ink pad handy.

 

applying the ink
applying the ink

Step one: Apply the ink.  Here just color on your acrylic block and get it moist.  Ink it up well.

 

Spray on the Water.  Isn't that pretty?
Spray on the Water. Isn’t that pretty?

Step two: Mist your block.  Lightly coat your ink with the water. This will blend your ink to achieve a watercolor look.  I love watching the colors run together.

 

Smear it on your paper
Smear it on your paper

Step Three: Turn it over an smear it on your paper.  Be careful turning it over.  It you have too much water, it will run or drip.  Try turning it over very fast and placing it directly on the paper.

Make sure to cover the entire paper.
Make sure to cover the entire paper.

Step four: Make sure the entire paper is covered with ink.  This may take a couple of ink ups on your acrylic to achieve the look you are wanting.  Dragging the acrylic up and down over the paper while applying a slight bit of pressure gives it that blended look.  Be careful not to apply too much pressure or you could rip your paper.

 

A smaller block helps with missed areas.
A smaller block helps with missed areas.

Step five:  Since I wanted the entire sheet of paper to be covered, I got out my smaller acrylic block to fill in the details instead of using my longer block.  It’s not a necessary step, but it got me to use my tiny block!

 

Step Six:  I didn’t take a picture of this step, but I distressed the edges of the cards with my distress ink.  I also used the same color to stamp the image of the apply pie I carved on a white sheet of paper.  After stamping the pie, I cut it out and colored it in with colored pencils.

Almost ready to assemble.
Almost ready to assemble.

 

Step Seven:  After I finished with all the coloring, I glued the pies to my cards.  I then took my steam stamp I carved, inked it up and took most of the ink off of it, then stamped it onto the card to create that steam look.

 

Step Eight:  Lastly, I applied a layer of Mod Podge over the entire card to seal it.  I signed the back and shipped them out.

 

Apple Pie
Apple Pie

And here is the finished piece.  I love how it came out.  I wish I had had an apple pie spray to complete the feel of the card.  It will just have to left up to the viewers imagination to smell the apple pie baking in the oven.

 

What are your favorite techniques for creating backgrounds?  Please feel free to share with us!

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