Altered Art: Dream


I chose to keep this little piece of altered art under wraps until I’d featured it on my DecoArt TV shows on Hochanda early last month. I’d also left the originals with John the floor manager/set designer to use, and had to make a second set with what was left of my prepped demos. Building on the 6½” high paper-mâché letter forms, I’ve used a lot of mixed media tricks to make this home decor piece.


Use embossing folders to emboss scrap pieces of card, trim to shape and stick to letterform. Cover with DecoArt Media Metallic Gold. Smear on DecoArt Media Raw Umber and Cobalt Turquoise Hue fluid acrylics for the patination before sealing with DecoArt Media Ultra Matte Varnish


I chose an image of gears and cogs from the internet, printed in black and white with a laser copier and then used DecoArt Americana Decou-Page Paper glue to transfer the image onto the letterform. In this version, I spritzed with DecoArt Media Black Mister before sealing with DecoArt Media Ultra Matte Varnish. In the main image, I added DecoArt Media Clear Crackle and then rubbed in DecoArt Media Antiquing Cream in black to highlight the cracks


In this edition, I undercoated with DecoArt Media White Gesso before adding dry brushed areas of Black Gesso and DecoArt Media Texture Sand Paste to the corners. Paint a thinned layer of DecoArt Media Metallic Silver and dry. Repeat, adding a drop of DecoArt Media Quinacridone Gold, and splat with water, quick dry, blot off water and then dry completely before repeating to build up the galvanised steel look. Layer DecoArt Raw Umber, Quinacridone Gold and Quinacridone Violet glazes to create the rust effect over the texture paste. In the main image, I used DecoArt Media Crackle Paint over DecoArt Americana Weathered Wood to create the mega-crackle and then aged the piece with similar glazes


Paint corners of letterform with DecoArt Media Metallic Silver fluid acrylic. Emboss juice cartons in embossing folders, cut to shape (foiled side out) and glue to the letterform. Wipe with DecoArt Media Carbon Black fluid acrylic and wipe off to create the brushed look. Add smears of Cobalt Turquoise Hue before sealing with DecoArt Media Ultra Matte Varnish


All done with paints: mix drops of DecoArt Media Raw Umber, Burnt Sienna and Raw Sienna fluid acrylics on the letterform surface using directional brushstrokes to emulate the wood grain. Stipple the ends with left over paint to simulate the end grains. Dry brush with the darker shades if required to emphasise the grain effect. Finally draw on the ‘joins’ and seal with several thin coats of DecoArt Americana Gloss Sealer/Finisher spray

One thought on “Altered Art: Dream

  1. Stunning, Neil! I’ve watched a bit of your TV show online and really enjoyed it – been too busy lately to catch up. I love these letters, with so many different effects, very realistic. Amazing what you can do with all the wonderful materials at our disposal these days, isn’t it. I was particularly interested to read that you’d embossed drinks cartons – I’ve often felt guilty about throwing them away and wondering if I could do something with them. Not sure if the ones I have have foil linings in them or whether they are just waxy, but I am sure they would emboss just as well.

    Loving your work!


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