Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Funky Insects Vignette Tray

Hello everyone...

Hope you're all having a fantastic week and the sun is shining! It's been beautiful here in London over the last few days, so I think we can say Spring is finally in the air!

Today, I'm sharing the first of my projects created for Tim Holtz's Sizzix Chapter 2 live. If you missed the live, then you can catch up on replay and see all the wonderful projects from the makers HERE, together with the full collection of dies that are available within this launch!

When the box of dies arrived in the house, like many of the makers, I was immediately drawn to the Funky Insects and I knew exactly what I wanted to create and had so much fun making this project. 

So let's get started and here's how I made my Funky Insects Vignette Tray!

To begin with I covered all four raw edges of the back of the wooden tray with Tim's Design Tape to create a nice neat finish. Any design you have to hand will work, I used one with script on but unfortunately I couldn't tell you which set this came from as my tapes are so mixed up, lol!
I then moved onto covering the back and sides of the tray and for this I used silver metallic kraft stock and embossed enough panels of the card using the Circuit 3D Texture Fade to cover the surface.

For the length of the tray, you will need to cut and splice the panels together but once this is done, you won't see the join at all ~ it's cleverly hidden!

With all the embossed panels in front of me, I then started to add the colour to create a really cool metal effect and for this I used Distress Paints; Black Soot, Ground Espresso, Evergreen Bough and finally a layer of Antiqued Bronze.

I started by applying the Black Soot paint over each of the panels, by the time I've covered each of the panels, I can move onto the next step and working quickly, I took a dry paper towel and removed any excess paint that is on the panels. The paint that remains will slightly darken the metal, sit in the recesses of all the embossed detail but it shouldn't be black in colour, it should still retain some metallic sheen to the surface.

Allow for this to dry, or you can gently heat dry but be careful not to overheat the metallic card.

Next colour, Ground Espresso and using a dry brush technique, apply the paint over the previous paint layer just allowing the paint brush to kiss the metallic card, don't go in too heavy as it will become a solid block of colour. Repeat the process by applying each individual paint colour, gradually building up the layers, adding different paints to different areas to create colour variations and depth to the metallic surface but always remembering to dry between each layer as you don't want a muddy mess. If at any point you feel you need more of any of the paints, just reapply and repeat the process and remember the mica in the Antiqued Bronze paint will always help to maintain the metallic shimmer which will shine through.
Once I was happy with the coverage, I cut the panels to size and adhered them to the sides...
...and back of my tray. To cover and mask the join across the back, I added a strip over the top which just neatens up the look.
With the tray covered, I wanted to add some rusty crusty goodness and for this I applied Translucent Grit Paste using my fingers and/or a palette knife to apply the paste along the edges and over areas of the metal.
Once the paste was dry, I then started to add more paint layers but this time I used Rusty Hinge, Vintage Photo, Antiqued Bronze and Black Soot and applied the paint with a fine detail paint brush. To complete the box, I used a little gilding wax, which I lightly applied over the raised areas of embossing and paste to accentuate all the detail.
So the outside of the box is ready, now for the inside and I began by covering the raw edges using Design Tape, folded over onto the inside and just adhered with a little Matte Collage Medium to secure it in place.
For the background and sides on the inside of the tray I used Distress Watercolor Card.

Taking the card, I inked up the Tapestry background stamp using clear embossing ink and stamped randomly onto the cardstock. For this particular background, I don't stamp the whole image, I stamp a partial image to create more of worn effect.

I then applied Speckled Egg Distress Glaze over the ink, tapped away the excess and heat embossed.

Once all the stamped areas were embossed, I misted the card with water, then spritzed the background with Antique Linen and Old Paper Distress Spray Stains, adding just a touch of Frayed Burlap into the mix.

After gently heat drying the card, I stamped some script onto the open areas of the background inking the calligraphy stamp from The Poinsettia stamp set with Black Soot Archival Ink.

I then cut the background card into panels to fit the sides and back of my tray, before inking the edges with Frayed Burlap and Walnut Stain Distress Ink and stamping a number from the Field Notes stamp set in , using Barn Door Archival Ink and placing it in the top right hand corner of the large back panel.
Attach the side panels, together with the panels along the top and bottom using Matte Collage Medium and after machine stitching a border around the edge of the back panel, I attached this into place.
Around the edge on the inside of the box, I used Mummy Cloth. I dyed the cloth with Pumice Stone and Frayed Burlap Distress Spray Stain and once it was thoroughly dry, I pulled  the cloth apart to create a looser weave and attached it around the edge of the tray with Matte Collage Medium.
To complete the tray, I added some Hardware Heads, altered with a little Picket Fence, Rusty Hinge and Black Soot Distress Paint, and placed two down each side.
We now have a completely covered box ready to house those gorgeous Funky Insects...

To begin with I cut the oval layers. Each of the three layers are cut from watercolour card, inked with Antique Linen and Old Paper Distress Spray Stains using a combination of the older Stitched Ovals dies, that I have in my stash, and the new Stacked Oval Tiles. Once the ovals were cut, I stamped the smaller Stacked Oval Tiles with the calligraphy stamp that I used on the background and then layered them over the top of the larger die cut using foam pads.

I then placed them down the centre of my tray, again using foam pads to adhere them into place.

I used three of the bugs from the Funky Insect set ~ the beetle, dragonfly and bee and to begin with I was going to just watercolour these to make them look realistic but I decided that I wanted to make them just a bit edgier and carrying on the metallic theme, the lightbulb moment struck and I made them from metallic kraft stash. What is fun with this technique is that each time you make a bug it will be totally individual, you will never get them to look exactly the same but this is how I built up the colour.

Using all the dies that are needed to complete one insect, I cut each from silver metallic kraft card.

Now to create that effect and for this I used a combination of Distress Embossing Glaze and embossing powders.

Body; CRACKED PISTACHIO and gold embossing powder.
Head and legs; FIRED BRICK, RUSTY HINGE, WALNUT STAIN and gold embossing powder.
Final layer; WALNUT STAIN

Final layer; WALNUT STAIN

Body and legs; FOSSILIZED AMBER, RUSTY HINGE, HICKORY SMOKE, black and gold embossing powder.

Using the embossing dabber, dab the ink over the surface of each individual piece of each of the three die cut insects and using all the glazes, except Walnut Stain and the gold embossing powder, apply the powders, one by one. If there are areas you want to accentuate with different colours, apply the dabber or an embossing pen to those individual areas and then apply the glaze over the top. Gently heat emboss the glaze between each layer and just play, building up the colour and once I was happy, I added a hint of gold. Once again apply the embossing dabber ink to the surface and then sprinkle a very small amount of the gold embossing powder over the don’t want or need a lot as this is just to add highlights, not a block colour! Once I had melted the gold powder with heat and achieved the colours I wanted for each bug, I then applied a final layer of embossing dabber and just a very light sprinkle of Walnut Stain glaze. I brushed away the majority of this, so you just see hints of the powder speckled onto the surface. I then gave a final blast of heat to melt the darker glaze into the previous molten layers of powders.

With all the pieces ready, I layered them to create each of the bugs, shaping their bodies and wings to create dimension.

Attach each of the bugs onto the oval tiles and underneath each of them, I stamped a Fig #...1, 2 and 3 from the Field Notes stamp set. I just stamped these on small inked offcuts of card using Barn Door Archival Ink and then attached them underneath.
We're nearly there and all that's left is details...

A Clippings Sticker, 'Interesting Items' is placed along the top of the box....
...and finally the handle on the side, which is altered using Evergreen Bough, Rusty Hinge, Vintage Photo, Picket Fence Ground Espresso and Antiqued Bronze Distress Paints. 
I then attached the handle onto the side, before dangling a Typed Token, 'Lost & Found' and a Factory Tag from a Swivel Claps, again all of which are altered with the same colours of Distress Paints. Attach the handle with Matte Collage Medium.
So, that's my first project for the Sizzix 2021 Chapter 2 release and I hope you've enjoyed the creative process and all the tips and techniques I used to make this tray.
As always, I want to thank Tim, Mario and Paula for inviting me to create projects for this amazing release and thank you to everyone for all your lovely comments about my makes, they are always appreciated and I can't wait to see how you'll be inspired by this tray!

Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by today ~ stay safe and keep well.
Love Emma xxx

Recipe for project:

Sizzix/Tim Holtz Dies: Funky InsectsStacked Oval Tiles, Circuit 3D Texture Fade, Stitched Oval Dies from my own stash
Distress PaintAntiqued Bronze, Black Soot, Evergreen Bough, Rusty Hinge, Ground Espresso, Picket Fence and Vintage Photo
Distress Embossing Glaze - all colours used for the insects are listed above in the step by step.
Embossing Powder: Simon Says Stamp Black and Gold
Distress Inks: Walnut Stain and Frayed Burlap
Stampers Anonymous: The Poinsettia, Field Notes, Tapestry


  1. Thank you so much Emma!! I really love this project!! I'm so glad with your tutorial, i can't wait to start. I hope the dies are soon here in the Netherlands. Margo Marnette.

  2. Fabulous xx Your creativity never ceases to amaze me xx

  3. WoW Emma, your creativity always amazes me. Love the details xxx

  4. Absolutely stunning! I've got to practice coloring those bugs the way you's fantastic!
    Thank you so much for sharing your process. It's helping me to get a better grasp of the various properties of the products. 😃

  5. As I said on Facebook, I'm not a bug person but I love the dragonfly, and enjoyed reading the whole process. I love that embossing folder you used on the outside. Your technique work is outstanding! Very interesting and creative!! Beautiful project!

  6. This is an amazing project, thank you so much for the tutorial.

  7. prachtig wat een geweldig project , dank je wel voor het delen

  8. Emma, this is an absolutely stunning project, the bugs are beautiful and I love how you did the outside of the box. So, so beautiful! xx

  9. Seriously, when the back is as good as the!

  10. Fabulous make, Emma! Thanks for the in-depth tutorial.

  11. Fabulous project, thankyou for the detailed tutorial, Cathy x

  12. Fabulous! So inspiring, thank you.

  13. This is beyond gorgeous! Thank you for sharing your beautiful piece with us today. Hugs, Lesley


Thank you for all your comments and messages, they are all appreciated and I hope you'll come back and visit again soon...
Emma ~xx

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