Tuesday, 12 October 2021

The Stranger Within...

Hello friends...

As Halloween is fast approaching, I'm sharing one of the projects that I made for Tim Holtz's idea-ology YouTube live! I've received so many messages about this particular piece and I know some of you have been waiting to see it in detail, so it's finally here and I hope you enjoy your visit to meet the librarian, a woman with hidden secrets and darkness that lies beneath! 

So let's get started and in the photos below, I have shown the make with the lantern that is on the right hand side ~ lit, and with it not lit!

There is a lot of detail to this make, so I want to try and break it down into smaller sections and we'll start with the stacked boxes and I used three different sized vignette boxes ~ the largest, the second smallest and the smallest.


I prepped all my boxes before assembling them and starting with the largest box, I flipped it around to use the solid side of the box, I painted the inside of the box, which will become the back with Black Soot Distress Paint and once dry, I covered the front and sides with Halloween Worn Wallpaper, two different patterns, and adhered the panels with Matte Collage Medium, which is my chosen adhesive and is used throughout my make.

Using the remaining boxes, with the opening at the front, I painted the backs with Black Soot to match the large box, and then covered the sides with the same papers as I used on the large box. Seal all the boxes with a coat of Matte Collage Medium.

For the base, I used the largest sized Vignette Panel, which I covered with paper from the Halloween Backdrops and sealed with a coat of the medium. Once dry, I added some Translucent Grit Paste around the edges and allowed this to dry, before applying Walnut Stain Distress Crayon to colour the paste.

To form the stack, I attached the second smallest box on top of the larger one, placing it towards the back edge of the box, so they are all flush if you turn the boxes around. 

I then attached the stack to the covered base panel, arranging them to the right hand side of the base. 

Then, I attached the remaining small box so that it fits on the left hand side, slightly overlapping the edge of the larger box so it is staggered.

At this stage, I applied some Crackle Paste to the front edges of the small vignette box, allowed it to do it's thing and then coloured it with Walnut Stain Distress Crayon.

To create the torn edges that you can see around the boxes, I ripped some small sections of the paper that I had leftover and curled the torn edges of these pieces, inked them with Walnut Stain Distress Crayon and then, adhered them into place, adding them around the edges on the front of the box. 

To add even more texture, I applied some Crackle Paste to the sides and also on the front, paying particular attention to the ripped areas, and allowed this to dry before applying Walnut Stain and Gathered Twigs Distress Crayon over the top of the paste, blending away any harsh lines of colour with a waterbrush and allowing the crayon to sink into the crackle and accentuate it.

Before adding any embellishments, I would advise that you drill the hole for the tiny lights and you can see the placement of the hole where I fed the wire through and the formation of boxes in the photo below.

Your structure is now ready to bring to life but the very last thing I did was to neaten up the back, and for this I used the pinked edge Design Tape from last year. If you don't have any of this tape, you can use any of Tim's Design Tape but this step is not a necessity, it just made it look finished.

Moving on...


In the attic of the library, which is painted inside with Black Soot Distress Paint, I added the Halloween Baseboard pieces, 31. These are two separate pieces and I applied Translucent Grit Paste around the edges, and once dry I painted them with a combination of Crackling Campfire and Black Soot Distress paint to create a rusty look to the edges. I then attached them inside the box, using foam pads.

For the frame, I used one of the new Window Frames Baseboard pieces and I placed some Mica Sheets behind the frame to create the look of broken glass. I then attached the frame to the front of the Vignette Box.

To form the window ledge, I used a Pinked Etcetera Trim that I crackled with Crackle Paste, and once dry, I attached this to the bottom of the frame.

At the top of the frame, I added a Web Trim. I painted this with Black Soot Distress Paint and then spritzed a light coverage of Crooked Broomsticks Mica Spray over the surface. Once it was dry, I attached the EW Halloween Snippets Ephemera piece in the centre and then attached the trim to the top of my box. To finish the box, I added some Hardware Heads either side.

The final detail on this section is to add some Translucent Grit Paste all around the edges of teh box, and frame. For me this almost acts as a cement to fill in any cracks and crevices and also makes sure that the frame and trims are securely fixed into place. The paste is coloured with Distress Paint as before.

To fill the box, I used some Coconut Fibres which I bought from the floristry section in my local craft store. I attached these with clumps of moss and places them to tumble out of the window frame. I completed the frame with a skull, placed and attached on the left hand side.


On the back of the large box, I attached a Halloween Word Plaque. I painted this with Speckled Egg Distress Paint and once the paint was slightly tacky, I removed the paint from the letters before adding Rust and Black Soot Alcohol Inks around the edges. I then placed a Hardware Head either side of the plaque to create the appearance it's nailed into the wood.

We're now ready to build the scene...starting with the tiny books.


For those who have followed me for a while, I actually made some tiny books last year, click HERE to see the project, but this time, Tim has made it easier for us and he's actually produced scaled down book covers in the Halloween Ephemera pack. Once I had scored each of the ephemera pieces, to form the book covers, I added the pages inside.

For this, I used old book paper and cut each piece to the same size as the tiny book cover. Layer each of the tiny pieces of book paper over one another, attaching them with matte collage medium and then adhere them inside the book cover. I then curled and scuffed the edges of the book paper, before inking them with Walnut Stain Ink.

attached the books on top of the small vignette box on the left, placing them over a bed of Mummy Cloth and piling them on top of one another, adding the final book to lean by the side of the stack.

Next to the books, I placed a couple of Boneyard Findings, tied together with twine and then attached to the shelf.


On the right hand side, I attached my lantern. I wanted a rusty finish to the metal and for this, I used Crackling Campfire, Antiqued Bronze, Black Soot, Speckled Egg, Vintage Photo and Ground Espresso Distress Paint, layering each colour of paint over the top of one another, drying in between layers and building up the rusty colour. Allow for the paint to dry before adding the lights.

You have the lights already fed through from the back and will need as many lights as fit inside the lantern ~ I think I used about four or five, which I twisted and then placed inside. With the lights in place, I then attached the lantern to my base.


I'm sure you'll have seen my bottles on previous projects and I have a many tutorials showing these, including this one from last year ~ Open Day or Night.

I used various sizes and shapes of corked vials and following the same technique as in my previous project, I added the crackle before then colouring them with alcohol inks. The fun part about applying the inks, you can make the bottles any colour you choose, just go with what you love.

I placed a couple of the bottles inside the small vignette box, holding back some more of bottles that will be placed in front of the gate. All the bottles are labelled using the amazing new Halloween Snippets, and I just attach these to the fronts with matte collage medium.


I can now fix the gate into position. I used one gate from the set of two and after adding some Translucent Grit Paste to the metal and allowing this to dry, I coloured it with the same paints as I used on the lantern to create the rusty appearance. I then attached my gate to the edge of the box, placing it at a slight angle to look as if it's open.

Using one of the keys from the Lock and Keys idea-ology set, I gave it the rusty paint treatment with the same colours of paint, and hung this from a metal chain, and attached this to the gate.

I then attached the remaining bottles in front of the gate.


We're nearly there and after choosing my paper doll, which is really what inspired this piece as she has a book in her hand, I added a colour tint to the doll with Distress Crayons and then I attached her to my make. I added an acetate bracket to create support for the doll and placed this on the back of the paper doll, attaching the other side of the bracket to the vignette box. Once again I have a tutorial for how I do this, HERE.

Final details, I added a Drippy Candle placed on the Candle Stand and attached this to my base, to the left of the paper doll and then I added clumps of moss, and coconut fibres around the embellishments. 

Finally I used a Floral Adornment and attached this to the right of the base. In the centre I added a Creepy Eye ~ I popped the coloured part from the white surround and just used this.

For the finishing touch, I placed a Curiosities Clippings Sticker, "Office, 36 St" along the edge of the base.

So that's it from me for today and I hope you've loved the visit to my creepy library...I'm sure this librarian has enjoyed showing you around and welcomes you again soon ~ if you dare!

See you soon, take care and stay safe...love Emma xx


Distress Crayons: Walnut Stain, Gathered Twigs

Mica Spray

Distress PaintSpeckled Egg, Crackling Campfire, Antiqued Bronze, Black Soot, Vintage Photo and Ground Espresso 

Idea-ology: Window Frames BaseboardsDrippy Candles, Candle Stands, Halloween Word Plaques, Ornate Metal Gate, Creepy Eyes, Lantern, Mummy Cloth, Halloween Worn Wallpaper, Lock and Key AdornmentsCorked Vials, Boneyard FindingsVignette Box, Vignette Panels, Skulls and Pumpkins, Halloween Baseboards, Halloween Backdrops, Tiny Lights, Halloween Ephemera Pack, Halloween Snippets, Paper Dolls, Curiosities Sticker Book, Floral Adornment

Mediums: Crackle Paste, Matte Collage Medium, Translucent Grit Paste

Alcohol Inks: Rust, Pitch Black

Stampers Anonymous: Web Trims, Pinked Etcetera Trims

Tools: Heat Gun, Glass Mat, Black Foam Tape, Waterbrush, Collage Brush

Moss and floristry fibres from my own stash


  1. OMG Emma, This is also very beautiful, i love your work a lot, i wish you live next door :) :)

    1. I wish she did too! What fun we could all have. Emma's the best

  2. WoW Emma! This is brilliant. The attention to details is mind Blowing. Thnx so much for sharing xxx

  3. This is one of my favorite projects on Tim’s video. It really looks like a building. I love the torn wall. The gate is my favorite part. The way you placed it is genius. I can tell you love Halloween as I do. The little books are cool too. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Love this make your creepy librarian is wonderful. Its great to be taken on a creative ride by one of the dolls and so good to be able to join you on yours allways so detailed and clever. xo


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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