Monday, 27 September 2021

The Count...

Hello friends...

How is everyone doing? Hope you're all ok and had a wonderful weekend and as we head into a new week, it's time for the brand new Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge and this week our theme is called TOUCHY FEELY and we want you to create something that makes us want to reach inside the screen and feel all that wonderful texture! So whether you choose to use fabric, texture paste, embossing or anything else you have to hand, the DT can't wait to see what you make...

For my project, I'm so happy to be sharing a piece that I created using some of the amazing products from the recent Tim Holtz Halloween Sizzix launch! There is so much texture to this piece, from the moss and the texture paste on and around the window, the mummy cloth hanging down, the crackle paste on the back wall and then when you flip the tray around, I covered the back and sides with embossed metallic panels. You can see the replay on Tim's blog or on his YouTube Channel and see all the amazing makes for this release from all my talented friends and makers! This make is all about that very suave count, who I just love so much who is getting ready for his favourite night, the 31st October ~ when something wicked will be coming your way!

So let's get started and allow me to welcome you into the Count's spooktacular home...

To begin with I'll start with the back and the sides of the Vignette Tray and for this make, I used the smaller size of tray.


I used the Mini Foundry 3D Embossing Folder to emboss a piece of silver metallic kraft card which I cut into sections that would fit the length on the back and the sides of my box.

After running the folder and each of the card panels through my die cutting machine, I then attached them to the back, and onto the sides using Matte Collage Medium. To hide the joins of each panel, I adhered an extra strip of the embossed card over the top, it's approx 1.5cm and this just adds to the panelled effect and neatens up the back. Once in place and the medium was dry, I added some Translucent Grit Paste around the edges and along the joins, again this is a way of creating a seamless finish to those joined panels.

Once the paste was dry, it's time to add the colour and for this I started with a layer of Black Soot Distress Paint which I painted over the metal. I left the paint to become slightly tacky before taking a piece of kitchen paper and gently removing the excess. You don't want to remove it all, because you need that paint to sit in all the little bumps and details of the embossing folder and also knock back that shiny silver.

The paint dries really quickly but if you want to make sure it's completely dry before adding the next layer, you can give a gentle blast of a heat gun over the surface before moving on. I followed the Black Soot paint layer with a very light coverage of Ground Espresso, again removing the excess and allowing it to dry. Around the edges, I pounced Rust Alcohol Ink over the top of the metal to create a rusty finish and then accentuated the grit paste with a little Gilding Wax. I used Prima Alchemy Waxes in Old Silver, Rusty Red and Vintage Gold.


Moving onto the front and I began by covering the raw edges of the tray. I used thin strips of paper but you can also use Tim's Design Tape if you have it in your stash. It really doesn't matter what tape you use, just choose something that works with your make and co-ordinates with the background paper.

With the edges covered, I moved onto covering the back and side on the inside of the box. I used a fairly plain design of paper from the Etcetera Paper Stash but again, you can use any papers of your choosing that will fit the design.

I covered the sides and the back of my tray with paper but at the bottom of the tray, you'll find that you're slightly short on paper, so for this...I inserted another panel of the Foundry Embossed metal, which I coloured exactly the same as I coloured the back of the tray.

Now to add some rips and tears into tray and for this I just tore random pieces of offcuts that I had left over from the paper stash and adhered these onto the inside, tucking them around the edges to create the effect of ripped wallpaper. I then applied some Crackle Paste around the edges of these pieces to accentuate the rips and tears and also down the sides and once this was dry, I ran the Walnut Stain Distress Crayon over the top so that it would highlight the crackle and then blended any harsh lines of crayon with a damp water brush.

To complete the box, I added a Knob to the top of the box, altered with a little Rust and Pitch Black Alcohol Ink and Salvaged Patina Distress Paint, to create more of a vintage feel...

...and I also attached a Hitch Fastener to either side of the tray.

The box is now ready for the next stage and that is the lights and the Cathedral Window.


I used the Cathedral Window Bigz Die from Sizzix to cut four layers of mount board which I then layered over the top of one another, adhered with Matte Collage Medium and allowed to dry.

Once the windows are dry, I gave them a coat of Black Gesso, again allowing this to dry before adding some Translucent Grit Paste over the top.

When the paste has hardened, I then painted the frame with Black Soot Distress Paint, dried this thoroughly before adding a layer of Antiqued Bronze Paint which I dry brushed over the top, just allowing the paint to kiss the surface as you don't want a solid layer, you need the black to still show through. After drying this paint layer, I added a final layer of Crackling Campfire and Ground Espresso, again just allowing the paint to touch the surface and not creating a block coverage. 

With the frame completed, I then added a touch of the Gilding Wax to the pasted surfaces just to accentuate the texture. To create the window behind the frame, I used a Frosted Film Sheet. I still have these in my stash and they work perfectly when you use tiny lights as it diffuses the light through the window. After adding a small amount of Mushroom Alcohol Ink to the back of the film, just so it took on an old, dirty feel to the window, I placed the Cathedral Window over the top, cut around the outline and then stuck the film to the back to create the window.

To attach the lights, I bored a small hole through the back of the tray and thread the lights through, attaching them to the back wall...

Flip the tray over and then ensure that when you attach the lights, you space them out enough to cover the entire area of the Cathedral Window that will eventually be placed over the top.

With my lights in place, I attached them with small amounts of hot glue, placing the glue on the wires, not the actual light bulbs. I then took my Cathedral Window and using foam pads, I attached the window over the top of the light arrangement.

To complete the window frame, I attached a Web Trim underneath, again painted with Black Soot and Ground Espresso Distress Paints. Finally, I added some Hardware Heads and a Mini Plaquette to the window frame. Both of these pieces are altered with a little Crackling Campfire and Black Soot Distress Paint to create a rusty look.

The tray is now ready to add to the stand to stabilise the tray.

For this I used two of the Web Trims, these are slightly larger in size than the width of the tray and I painted them with Black Soot Distress Paint. Once the paint was dry, I sanded the edges to reveal the core and create a more worn look.

To attach these and create the depth I needed for my base, I adhered each web trim to either side of a straight edged trim, sandwiching the straight edged trim in the middle. This straight trim is also in the Web Trims pack. Once the trims are dry and set, I attached them to the base of the tray to form the stand.


To begin with I advice you all to use Sizzix Adhesive Sheets on the backs of all your the card you will be die cutting, it really will make your life so much easier.

I used various pieces of card to die cut all the elements for the count ~ red, black, navy and grey Kraft Stash card for his clothes, and for his face, I used Heavystock Card which I coloured with PolyChromos Pencils to create the shading and haunted look to his skin tone.

For the candle sticks, I used card that I had in my stash to cut all my pieces using the Candlelight Thinlits Die Set. These are small offcuts that I save from other projects and they come in so handy when you need inked card. I used Mixed Media Heavystock card that I inked with Ground Espresso, Frayed Burlap and Vintage Photo Distress Spray Stains.

I used the shorter church candles and candle sticks in this set. The candles and drips are both cut from Heavystock Card, I cut multiple layers which I then adhered over one another to form two candles that  will be really substantial in thickness and resemble mount board. Once again, I coloured and shaded these die cuts with Polychromos Pencils.

To allow me to create freestanding candlesticks, I used a wooden stirrer, the kind you find in the coffee shops, (or you can use a cocktail stick), and attached this to each of the two pieces, placing them down the centres on the back. They are now really solid and will stand alone inside the box.

I attached the Count into place, supporting him from behind with a hidden support of an acetate bracket. This is basically a strip of acetate, scored and folded into three ~ you attach one side of the acetate to the back of the figure and the opposite side to the back wall of the box and this will create stability to the count.

I then attached a metal fence to the base of my tray. After snapping the fence in two halves, I placed each piece on either side of the count, attaching it with a thin line of Matte Collage Medium along the bottom edge of each fence. Once the fence was set in place and didn't move, I attached the candles. These are adhered at an angle but what I did do, was use the metal fences as a support and applied the Matte Collage Medium to the candles, just where you see they will touch the fence and the base of each candle piece. You can see in the photo below how they are supported.

Add clumps of moss around the base of the tray, again these will act as support for the candles and create a solid foundation. I also added moss around the windows and I had a few small foliage die cuts on my desk, so I also added these around the base before then attaching the Something Wicked Quote Chip. I have this quote chip in my stash and comes from a previous set from a couple of years ago but you can find something similar in the brand new Halloween Baseboard set.

To complete the scene I added the bats. These are from The Count die set and I cut them from black card. The bats are in two sections and I glittered the smaller sized bat using Nightfall Glitter sprinkled over a layer of Glossy Accents. Once the glittery bat was dry, I then layered it over the top of the larger black bat and then adhered it over the silver metallic kraft stash, slightly offsetting the black glittered die cut so that it creates a slim sliver of a silver shadow.


For the finishing touches, I added and arranged some Mummy Cloth around the top of the tray. I dyed this with Peeled Paint and Frayed Burlap Distress Spray Stains and attached it with Collage Medium. I then hammered a tack from the Hardware Vignette Findings into each corner and also attached a Hardware Head in the top left and right hand corners on both sides of the tray.

Finally, I attached a spider adornment which I painted black and hung this on a chain, hanging it from the knob on the top of the box.

So that's it from me for today and I hope you've enjoyed this project, as much as I loved making it.... always, if you make anything, or been inspired by anything that you've seen here on my blog ~ then please, let me know by tagging me on social media or leaving a comment here and I will be right over to take a look!

Don't forget that every week, one lucky random participant has the chance to win a $25 gift voucher from Simon Says Stamp and you can join in up to 5 times, which means you could have 5 chances to winYou have until Monday 8am Ohio time. 1pm UK time, 2 pm CET to join in and good luck....

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

Recipe for project:

Stampers Anonymous: Web Trims
Distress Spray Stain: Peeled Paint and Frayed Burlap
Alcohol Ink: Mushroom, Pitch Black, Rust


  1. Super cool Emma! Love all the elements and textures.

  2. the detail is brilliant. the back is as good as the front!

  3. The Count rocks!!! He is so fabulous in his mansion. Thanks for all the details.

  4. Hello Emma I love your Halloween Vignette.
    I'm a little late๐Ÿ˜‰ but I'm doing one for each of my sons (2). They are men now but I like to make special things for them. I don't have distress ink what can I use?

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment which I really do appreciate! ❤️

      It's all according in what way you would want to use the inks! If it's to colour your card for using in die cutting, you can always use coloured cardstock, which will work just as well. If you're using the inks to watercolour with, then pencils or any colouring medium would be fine. There are other options within Tim's range, Distress Crayons, Spray Stains and Oxide Inks, so if you have any of these, they work in a similar way! Other than that, I would probably recommend, buying a couple of colours of Distress Inks that you think you would use and maybe start building up a collection from there...I think you'd find they would be really useful! Hope that helps... :)

  5. It's so fantastic! I love all the details! ๐Ÿ˜


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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