Thursday, 6 May 2021


Hello everyone...

Hope you're all having a good week and wherever you are, I hope the sun is shining!

Today, I'm sharing the second project that I 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!

I have received quite a few emails and messages about this piece and thank you to everyone who has taken the time to let me know how much you've loved it! The inspiration behind this particular project was all to do with those numbers and I wanted to really make them shine and be the hero of the piece and that's how it really came to life, what better way than to create a year plaque that would become the focal point!

So, let's get started and this is how I created the project and if you want to enlarge and see the details on any of the photos, just click on the image!

This project has three main techniques, the background and ticket shaped plaque, the enamelled plaque with the numbers and the rust technique and I will break this tutorial down into the three sections so it should be easy to follow, starting with the background and then we just need to add the details.

For the base of this project, I used a small Etcetera Tag. This size tag comes in a set of three and to create the shape, I took one of the tags but I used a second tag as my template.

Placing the first tag with the corners cut away on the right hand side, place the second tag over the top but this time with the corners on the left hand side. This shows you where you will need to cut away those corners on the tag underneath to form your ticket shape. Use a pencil to mark out where the cut line will be, follow the line of the 2nd tag on the top, remove the tag. I then took my craft knife and I use the Tonic/Tim Holtz Craft Knife simply because it really is the best knife I've used and I wouldn't use any other, and cut away the corners. PLEASE BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU'RE DOING THIS and you will need to keep drawing the knife across the surface to cut through the thickness of the tag. It does take some patience but you get there in the end.

Once both corners are cut away the and tag now resembles a ticket shape, I used a sanding tool to smooth any rough edges.

With the surface ready, it's time to move onto the next stage, the embossed surface.

For this I cut and embossed three panels of Mixed Media Heavystock card. I cut the panels fixed onto the left and right hand sides, slightly larger in size than the central panel but the size you use is entirely up to you.
Using the Circuit 3D Texture Fade, run each of the three panels of card through a machine, I use the Sizzix Big Shot.

I adhered each of the three panels onto my ticket shaped tag, using Matte Collage medium and placing two on either side and the third down the centre, cutting away the excess card from the corners.

I then started to apply the paint. I used a combination of Speckled Egg, Frayed Burlap and Picket Fence. I applied a good coverage of Speckled Egg over the entire panel and allowed this to dry. I then used the dry brushing technique to add the next two colours. Apply a dot of Picket Fence Distress paint to your glass mat, and using a paint brush, pick up a small amount of colour. Remove the excess paint from the brush so that hardly any paint is remaining and then gently apply the paint across the surface of the tag, just allowing the brush to kiss the surface and accentuate the raised areas. Allow to dry and then repeat with the Frayed Burlap paint.

To conceal the joins where the panels are attached ~ I added some design tape down each of the joins. Any design tape will work, you don't really see much once you've finished the plaque.

The surface is now ready for the next step.

For the rust effect, I started by applying some Distress Translucent Grit Paste around the edges of my tag, leaving gaps and spaces in-between. I usually use either a palette knife or just my finger as I find there's more control. I paid particular attention to where I've added the tapes and the panels join.

Allow for the paste to dry before then adding some Crackle Paste over the top of the previously pasted areas and dragging it down along the edges. Again I use my fingers to smear the paste over the surface.

Once the paste is dry and the crackles appear, I started adding the paint to create the rusty effect.
For this I used a combination of the following Distress Paints; Ground Espresso, Crackling Campfire, Rusty Hinge, Black Soot, Vintage Photo, and Antiqued Bronze.

I apply the paints in the order listed and use a very fine tipped paint brush. After applying a coverage of the Ground Espresso, I then build up the colours by adding each layer, heat drying between each application. To create the drips and the various shades, I add a touch of water to the paint and by moving the tag around, I just allow the paint to flow. If you need more water, just spritz it over the top and if you need more paint, just add another layer ~ it's all about layering to create the effect you want. You'll also notice that I left some of the crackle paste unpainted.
Once I was happy, I then added a layer of Black Soot Distress Crayon over the top, blending out any harsh colour with my fingertip that I dampened with a little water.

So, now we have the surface ready, and it's time for the panel.

The base of the panel is made from Sizzix Mixed Media board and I cut two rectangular panels which I then stuck together to form one panel. I haven't got the size to hand, as I forgot to write it down before I sent the package but as soon as I know it, I'll add it to this post.

I then painted the panel with clear gesso to prime it. Once the gesso is dry, I applied a good layer of embossing ink, using the Embossing Dabber. With the ink still wet, I sprinkled a good layer of Emerald Creek White Gesso Embossing Powder over the top. Tap away the excess and heat emboss until molten. To build up the layers to create the enamelled effect, I repeated this process a further couple of times. I then added a final layer of the Embossing Dabber over the top, and sprinkled with Blizzard Baked Texture Embossing Powder. You don't want a solid coverage of this powder, just a hint of it here and there.

To create the edges of the panel, I used black embossing powder. I applied the Embossing Dabber around the edges, and then sprinkled the powder over the top. You'll see the little stray specks of powder, which I love as they give more texture to the enamelling. Heat emboss and then finally, I added two more layers of powder but this time, I used Embossing Glazes ~ Walnut Stain and Rusty Hinge. Again, I applied these powders over the top of the ink and heated them until molten.
I buffed the enamelled panel to remove any residue before mounting it onto silver metallic kraft card which I cut slightly larger in size to create a border. I then sanded the metallic card.
After applying foam pads to the back of the enamelled panel, I attached this to my tag, layering it over the top of some Typography Collage Tissue which I tore from the roll and adhered to my tag surface with Matte Collage Medium. You can see the collage tissue just poking out from either side, underneath the plaque.
Around the edges of the enamelled plaque, I applied the rusty paint effect using very small amounts of the colours I used around the edge of the plaque. Ground Espresso, Crackling Campfire, Rusty Hinge, Black Soot, Vintage Photo, and Antiqued Bronze.

I completed the plaque with hardware heads in each corner, again altered to create a rust effect with the Distress Paints.

Now for the numbers and if you follow me, and loved my Insect Vignette Tray that I shared a couple of weeks ago, you'll be familiar with this technique.

I cut the numbers using the Countdown Thinlits Die Set from silver metallic kraft cardstock, and then cut them another couple of times from Mixed Media Heavystock, I layered them over the top of one another to form the four numbers, 1927.

I inked the surface of each number using the Embossing Dabber and then sprinkled the following Distress Embossing Glazes over the top ~ Speckled Egg, Hickory Smoke, Rusty Hinge and Walnut Stain. I layer the glazes, one by one over the top of each other, heating each layer of the glaze with a heat gun before adding the next. Also, each time I reduce the amount of glaze, so that the last colour, Walnut Stain is really just a sprinkle over the top. Practicing this technique really does make perfect and there's no rights, or wrongs ~ it's up to you how you want the finished look of these numbers to be!

Once I was happy with the way my numbers looked, I attached them to the enamelled chipboard panel. (NOTE: If any of the card layers have slightly lifted due to the heat gun, just add a dab of Matte Collage Medium between to reattach).

I overlapped the numbers, attaching the 1, & the number 2 directly onto the plaque itself, and then lifting the 9 and 7 with foam pads added to the back.

On either side of the plaque, I've added the hole reinforcer pieces that come with the set of Etcetera Tags. I always have a few of these left from previous projects where I haven't used them, so I keep them in a box ready to use for another time, and this was the perfect occasion. I've used two of the pieces from the small sized Etcetera tags, and two of the pieces from the Mini sized tags. I've layered the small ones over the top of the larger size and applied a coat of Clear Gesso to prime the surface. I then applied a coat of the Embossing Dabber over the top and sprinkled a base layer of Speckled Egg Embossing Glaze. Heat until molten, before adding the next layer of Walnut Stain and Rusty Hinge. You only need a sprinkle of these over the top, not full coverage as you want the blue to show through from underneath.

As a final layer, I sprinkled a minimal amount of the Emerald Creek Gesso Embossing Powder over the top...and when I say minimal, you are talking grains, that's all! I just want a speckle of white over the surface. Heat emboss the final layer of powder.

From the photo below, you can see how much I've used on the pieces either side.
I attached the enamelled hole reinforcers to either side of the central panel and then added a Hardware Head, altered with a little Rusty Hinge, Crackling Campfire, and Ground Espresso Distress Paints to create the rusty look, and I adhered these above and below each of the hole reinforcer pieces.
So now everything is in place and it's time to add some more Distress Paint to create the rusty finish around the numbers, around the hole reinforcers.
I used the same colours of Distress Paint, as I used around the outside edge of the plaque and applied each layer with a very fine pointed paintbrush. You may need to add more water to the paint to create the drips, and by adding the water, it will create a more fluid paint, therefore allowing you to move the paint around easier and create the rust effect. It's really all about playing and creating the effect you want with the colours of Distress Paint that I've suggested!
We're nearly there and all that's left is to add the Solo Paper Doll, which I colour tinted using Distress Crayons and a waterbrush.

I placed the paper doll onto a 'seat' of a ruler piece, that I broke, hammered and then coloured with a wash of Walnut Stain Distress Ink. I attached the ruler over the top of a Pinked Etcetera Trimming. I applied a layer of Crackle Paste over the top of the trimming, allowed for this to dry and then applied Walnut Stain Distress Crayon over the top, followed by a mist of water, which allows the colour to sink into the crackles to accentuate them.

I adhered the paper doll using foam pads, and placed him onto the ledge, sitting on a bed of Mummy Cloth, from the Halloween Trimmings set, that I inked with Frayed Burlap and Antique Linen Distress Spray Stains.

Finally, I added the Display Hanger, which I clipped onto the plaque before applying a Remnant Rub, "Tell Your Story".
...and that's my plaque complete.

I hope you've enjoyed following along with the tutorial and if you do use any of the techniques I've shared, I'd love to see your makes ~ just message me or tag me on any social media platform, or you can leave a comment on my blog, and I'll be right over to take a look!

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

Recipe for project:

Distress PaintAntiqued Bronze, Black Soot, Crackling Campfire, Rusty Hinge, Ground Espresso, Speckled Egg, Picket Fence and Vintage Photo
Distress Spray Stain: Frayed BurlapAntique Linen
Distress Embossing Glaze - Speckled Egg, Hickory Smoke and Walnut Stain.
Embossing Powder: Simon Says Stamp White
Distress Inks: Walnut Stain


  1. WOW, I really LOVE this piece. It looks SO awesome! It is so generously kind of you to share every step of your creation for our inspiration.

  2. WoW Emma! Thnx for taking us through your journey on how you created this amazing make! I’m loving all the layers of rusty crusty grunge xxx

  3. Magnificent as always! Love your process, thanks so much for sharing!♥️

  4. Thank you for sharing, love all the details, the rusty effect is perfect!

  5. Absolute perfection! Emma I love this plaque so much...thank you for sharing all the steps, I'm gonna try them out!
    Hugs xxx.

  6. Wow! I am just starting to dabble in mixed media and am very thankful for your detailed instructions. This is very lovely.


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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