Saturday, March 21, 2015

An Artist Trading Block for Spring

The groundhog never has a chance where I live. Winter almost always lasts well into April here in the northern U.S. For me, Betsy Skagen, that just means I have to work extra hard creating spring inside my home and studio.

To remind myself that spring will eventually come, I made this Golden Spring Artist Trading Block (ATB) using several of the Robin's Nest's golden cardstocks.

How to make the Spring Artist's Trading Block

Use a die cut machine to cut a three-dimensional cube out of chipboard. Use the same die and cut Tropicana Fleur Cardstock (both the fleur and stripe sides), Saffron Sunrise Cardstock and Sun Yellow Glitter Cardstock pieces to cover the cube sides. 

Use adhesive to adhere the paper to the unassembled chipboard cube. 

Create a scene with Gina's Designs Spring Shape Set for each side of the cube, except the top and bottom. Using a blending tool, color the spring chipboard shapes with black ink. 

Select five dragonflies and/or butterflies from the Spring Shape set and coat both sides of these with black ink. After the chipboard shapes are dry, accentuate the shapes with gold and  bronze glitter water colors. 

In a well-ventilated area, spray paint the moss black. Let dry. 

Apply slate black alcohol ink to metal box corners and fasteners. Let dry.

While the box corners dry, assemble the cube. Leave the top open so that you can later easily access the inside for further assembly steps.

Next use the blending tool to distress all edges of the cube with black ink. 

Adhere chipboard shapes to create a scene on all sides of the cube, except the top and bottom.

Wrap gold wire around the five butterfly/dragonfly chipboard pieces and leave a long tail on each. Pierce the top of the cube in the center. Thread the wire connected to the largest butterfly into this hole, wrap the end around a large scrap bead and then hot glue the scrap bead to the inside top of the box. This way the butterfly should "spring up" from the box, so to speak. 

Repeat the process four more times on the top of the box, varying the distance the bug is from the top of the box. 

Cut a long piece of gold wire and knot one end. String the black beads onto the wire, alternating three seed beads with one larger bead. Tie the end of this wire onto the base of one of the bug stems and loosely twist the beaded wire around the stem wire. Secure at the top, where the wire attaches to the bug.

Repeat for the other four bugs. (And to those of you who want to be like the male members of my family and lecture me on exactly what kind of creatures falls into the category of bug or an insect--I hope the biggest, baddest, hairiest spider hides in the toes of your shoe),

Now attach the metal box corners to each of the cube's corners with metal fasteners. Secure with a little extra Zip Dry. Close the top of the cube and adhere the remaining box corners. 

Sparingly spritz spray adhesive to the top of the box. Adhere the black moss, pressing down firmly so that the moss does not gain too much vertical height. 

That's it! Now just place in a sunny window and enjoy the view until the snow melts.

Stuff I used

Gina's Designs Spring Shape Set
Beacon Zip Dry Adhesive
Spray adhesive
Hot glue gun
Cube die
Dried moss
Metal box corners
Black beads
Black seed beads
Five larger scrap beads of any color
Black spray paint
Black ink pad
Blending tool
Black alcohol ink
Glitter water colors

Mark your calendars!


The Robins Nest OCrowley said...

So cool Betsy! The colors are awesome, and I love the dimensions!

Terri Sproul said...


LisaM said...

This is so cool Betsy!

Tonya said...

Awesome ATB! Great job!

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