November 12

Altered Book & Mixed Media Canvas Photo Album

How Do You Craft a Project to Hold 49 Pictures?

Mixed Media Canvas
Mixed Media Canvas

Earlier this year I found a great deal where I could go to Glamour Shots and get our pictures taken for free.  The deal allowed me to get a DVD with all of the pictures plus 1 print out.

My mom had previously asked me to get nice pictures done of my son and I because I hadn’t done so in years.  So I saw this deal as the perfect opportunity to do so.

The problem was that I had nearly 50 pictures when I was done and I wanted to give them to my parents in the form of a Christmas gift.  So I wanted to make something special for them instead of just handing them a stack of 49 pictures.

And this is where the Mixed Media Canvas came in.


How I Made It

This was another fairly simple but time consuming project.  It was messy too.  I was talking to a friend and co-worker about what to craft to hold the pictures.  He suggested some form of tree, I liked where he was going with the idea.  When I think of tree, I picture lots of branches and family pictures as I work on family ancestry a lot.

The Altered Book

This led me to thinking of a book.  So I decided to alter a book and use the book pages to form pockets.  I would turn the pictures into bookmarks and then attach the altered book to a mixed media canvas so that my parents can display it on their wall if they so choose.

Altered Book
Altered Book

So I took a rather thick book and distressed the pages.  Do to this, I alternated between a pocket knife and a tool from my Making Memories Distress Kit.  this roughed up the pages for me.  The next step was to paint the page edges.  For this, I used a travel toothbrush, Americana’s Oak Gel Stain, and Lumiere’s Metallic Gold paint.  I first applied the stain with the toothbrush and then went over it with the gold paint.  This made the book look old.  Next I used Tim Holt’s Tea Dye distress ink to distress the pages that the book is open to.  I crumpled the pages a little first to give it some age and character and then I just distressed it lightly.

Once the book was done, I started creating the bookmarks.  I printed all of the pictures from screenshots of the DVD.  I had some tag die cuts that were given to me in a swap that somebody created with a tag die.  I distressed the tags with the Tea Dye distress ink and then glued the pictures to the front and back of each tag until I had 24 tags.  Then I took some miscellaneous embellishments and glued them to the top of each tag to keep them from sliding down into the book.  They make it easier to pull each tag out and look at the picture as well without tearing up the tags.  Once they were dry, I slid them into the book pages and used Mod Podge to glue the pages together creating pockets for the tags.

Craft Supplies

The Mixed Media Canvas

Once the book was done, it was time to start the mixed media canvas.  I took a blank canvas and used my X-Acto knife to cut slits in the canvas to hold the corners of the book.  This will help with the stress on the glue since the book is so heavy.  With the hidden pockets holding the book corners, there is less chance of the book eventually breaking off of the canvas.  I slid the corners into the cuts and used duct tape to secure each corner in the cut canvas and help prevent the canvas from tearing any.

Mini Canvas
Mini Canvas In Progress

Next I mod podged a sewing pattern down in the corners to give the canvas more texture.  I cut two pieces of lace and mod podged them down to the top and bottom edges of the canvas for texture as well.  Next I glued down a bunch of embellishments like gears, beads, flowers, ect.  Once everything was glued on and the glue was dry, I covered everything but the book in a layer of gesso to prime it for painting.

I covered the book with seran wrap so that I wouldn’t mess it up while I was painting and spraying the canvas.  In hindsight, I should have measured the book and marked the canvas without gluing it down until the painting was done.  But the seran wrap worked perfectly at protecting the book and I think it turned out better than it would’ve had I attached the book last.

Once the gesso was dry, I sprayed the canvas with the following Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist colors:  Chocolate Covered Cherries, Dragonfly, and Autumn Nights.  I also used Adirondack’s Purple Twilight Colorwash.  After the first layer of sprays, I painted a coat of Lumiere’s Pearlescent White over everything.  Once that was dry, I put a second coat of the glimmer mists and color wash on.  Finally, after the second coat of mists was dry, I used Lumiere’s Metallic Bronze paint to touch up the embellishments and edges of the canvas to give it an aged appearance.

After all of that was done, I cut a piece of cardboard slightly bigger than the main display picture and I decorated it similarly to the actual canvas.  Once it dried, I glued the main picture to it and glued it to the open pages of the book as the main display.

The Final Result

This project is designed to hold a lot of pictures in a unique way so that it doesn’t wind up on some dusty shelf with a bunch of old photo albums.  I firmly believe that handmade gifts that have a lot of thought involved mean so much more than store bought gifts.  I think this project might end up being one of my mom’s all time favorites.

The following video shows the making of this altered book and mixed media canvas.  It’s a pretty long video so I have increased the speed so that you see me working quickly but get an idea of how I did it.  Feel free to fast forward to the very end so you can see how it all came together.


I hope this post has inspired you to find your own unique ways to display your family portraits and maybe get creative for your mom and give her something truly from your heart.

Happy Crafting!


February 6

Baby Boy Canvas Wall Art – Mixed Media

Baby Calin Memorial

Last year, one of the gals in my Craft Group tragically lost her grandson shortly before her birthday.  While many in the group worked on creating birthday cards and sympathy cards for her, I wanted to create something special that she could display and remember her baby grandson.  I decided a mixed media canvas with a picture of Baby Calin was the way to go.  This way should could hang it on her wall and see his beautiful smile regularly.



Art Alternatives Canvas Panel Super Value 5×7 Pack of 12
Brand New Aqua Oxford Blue Bulk Tissue Paper 15″ x 20″ – 100 Sheets
Hero Arts Hero Arts Mounted Rubber Stamps, 4 by 5.25-Inch, Old Letter Writing
Hero Arts – Moments Background – Mounted Wood Stamp – E309
La Blanche Vintage Pocket Watch Rubber Stamp
Mod Podge CS11302 Original 16-Ounce Glue, Matte Finish
Claudine Hellmuth Studio Multi Medium Gloss
Adirondack Paint Dabber – Pool
Adirondack Paint Dabber – Cloudy Blue
Blue Trim
Tim Holtz Vintage Shabby Mat Stack
Hampton Arts Studio G Mini Alphabet Stamp Set
Tsukineko Full-Size StazOn Multi-Surface Inkpad, Jet Black
Strokes Office Supplies 12 Paper Edger Scissors with Organizer Stand! Great for Teachers, Crafts, Scrapbooking (SBA5115)
Smooch Accent Inks, Bayside


Baby Canvas

The first thing I did was stamp the tissue paper with the script stamp, the moments stamp, the pocket watch stamp and the black Stazon ink pad.  I used the Studio multi medium gloss to adhere the tissue paper to the canvas and tore gently around the edges.  Next I used the two colors of Adirondack paint dabbers to add a little more color.  I used Mod Podge to adhere the picture and glue for the trim.  Next I cut a piece out of the Tim Holtz Vintage Shabby mat stack and stamped the sentiment on it.  Once that dried, I drew over the stamped letters with two different color blue smooches.   I adhered that and a doily to the canvas and then used flowers and other embellishments to decorate.  Check out the video below to watch me create it:

They say that those who have lost loved ones never forget it.  They remember their lost each and every day.  I think about a dear friend of mine that I lost a few years ago pretty regularly and having her picture on my wall has helped me to remember her bright smile and happy face rather than remembering her as she was in her last days.  My hope with this project was that Grandma could remember her precious baby grandson with that amazing smile and let go of the tragedy that took him way too soon.  May it bring her a little more peace.


January 27

Mixed Media Christmas Canvas

Christmas Gifts 2015


I am a firm believer that the best gifts for any holiday are gifts from the heart.  Whether they are purchased or handmade, I try to always get gifts that mean more than, “Oh, she’ll like that.”  I like to give gifts that will be cherished.

This year, my parents moved from Florida to Puerto Rico.  For the past 10 years, they’ve lived within 5 miles of my house and my son and I visited them nearly once a week.  Now that they’ve both retired, they decided to retire to paradise and bought a house on top of a mountain with a view of the nearby beach.  While we’re all happy about their retirement in their paradise, the day they left was very hard.  The first Christmas without them was hard on all of us.  So instead of buying a gift for them this year, I made a mixed media art canvas with family pictures for them to hang on their walls at Christmas time.

Christmas 2012 with Grandma
Christmas 2012 with Grandma

The first one I made turned out to be my favorite.  One of the things I’ve learned since I started crafting is that my mistakes often turn into masterpieces so long as I don’t give up on them.  This piece stayed true to form.  I painted the background of the canvas with a couple of different colors and then printed out copies of those pictures and glued them down with some decorative paper borders.  I hated the way it turned out.  It looked cheap to me.  So I ripped the paper and photos off which ripped some of the paint off and made me want to throw the whole thing away.  So I sat on it for a day or two.

When I sat back down to try again, I decided to take some texture paste and give the piece texture throughout.  This disguised the rips from the previous attempt.  Next, I grabbed a paper doily and some snowflake stencils that I had in my stash and created the snowflakes with my texture paste.  Then I painted it with Folk Art Metallic Emerald Green Acrylic paint.  I went over the snowflakes and edges of the canvas with Viva’s Precious Metal Colour – Mother of Pearl.  After pasting on some flowers and decorative frames from Michael’s, I made a stick pin with beads from my stash.  I put a little more of the Mother of Pearl paint around the edges of the canvas and picture frames to give the look of snow.

Christmas 2015
Christmas 2015

On the next canvas, I started by painting the background with Folk Art Sahara Gold Acrylic paint.  Next I covered the entire background with Delta Ceramcoat Crackle and let it sit for a few minutes.  I then painted the entire background again with Folk Art Lipstick Red Acrylic paint which gave it the red and gold crackled effect.  Once dry, I used decorative Christmas paper from my stash to border the picture.   I took the lamppost fence from my Christmas village collection and used various holiday items from my stash to decorate this one up a bit.

I decided to keep both canvas’ somewhat simple as I have a tendency to make things a bit too busy.  I didn’t want to distract from the actual photos so I used just enough decoration to frame the photos.  I really liked how they turned out and my parents absolutely loved them.  I enjoyed making these and will probably create another set for my own home.

If you are interested in the painting materials I’ve used, I put links below to the exact products.  I apologize for not having links to the decorations as they were just miscellaneous items I had leftover and did not have the original packaging to provide the brands.  I will be sure to keep track of these items for future posts.

Happy Crafting!



Supplies Used:

In no particular order –