I was so excited about this challenge. I had one of Tim Holtz's Composition Worn Covers, but I was at a loss as to what to do with it. There are so many cool inspiration pieces from the Curiosity Crew (oh ... go check them out!) and I had way too many ideas floating around in my head (including the lymric keeper ... still gotta try that one some time Linda :) )
However, one afternoon, I was playing around with Wendy Vecchi's Crackled Texture Paste (great stuff!) on a burlap canvas and throwing paint and stain and ink on it. Part of the panel ended up looking at what I envisioned dragon skin would look like and that is how I came up with my idea of turning Tim's Mad Chemist into a Mad Alchemist. I know ... that's a bit of a leap, but see if you can follow my thinking. What if the Mad Chemist started to learn some magic (just in time for Halloween, of course)? Being a practical scientist, he would just add his Alchemy notes to an existing science composition notebook. However, these secrets may be a little more valuable to him and thus he would probably need more security. Through his connections with the magic community, he manages to acquire a Dragon's Eye Security System (notice the keyhole in the dragon's eye below) that just happens to come with a bit of dragon skin for easy attachment to the individual's chosen valuable. Ok ... yes ... my imagination ran a little wild this time around and I lost the reins. That's when it's time to just hang on and enjoy the ride :)
So here we go. I apologize in advance for all of the pictures.
After I had the dragon skin, I needed a dragon's eye. I remembered I had some of Tim's tear drop Facets in my stash. I used some alcohol ink on Ranger's Glossy Cardstock to get the fiery iris of the eye. I then used my facet to trace and cut out the eye. A black sharpie added the pupil and (can't remember the name of the part that surrounds the iris -- oops). Now to put the paper onto the facet. I put my paper on my craft mat (this is a critical step) and used a thick layer of Glossy Accents to cover the entire piece of paper. Then I pressed the facet down onto the paper. I pressed down until Glossy Accents squirted out around the sides of the facet and I didn't see any air bubbles in the Glossy Accents between the paper and facet. I cleaned the craft mat around the edges of facet with a damp cloth (careful not to move the facet and paper). Then I left it to dry over night. It turned out great! The one you see below was my first attempt. It turned out too big for the cover, so I created another one and this time put the keyhole in the pupil ;)
Now that I had the dragon's eye, I needed to create its skin. I decided to use canvas instead of burlap for the actual project because it would be easier to mold around the torn cover. I ended up using a piece of Sticky Back Canvas for the base of my dragon skin. This worked great since I didn't have to worry about applying my own adhesive. The texture paste process took two steps. First I put down an extra facet (the same size and shape of my dragon's eye) on the canvas in the location where I wanted my eye. Next I applied some "glops" of the crackled texture paste to the canvas. Here is where the finger painting comes in ... I spread out the paste on the canvas with my fingers. I tried all sorts of implements to spread it around the facet, but nothing really worked. I didn't want a flat level surface. I wanted it to have some contour to give the feel of a three dimensional dragon's facial contours (not that I know any dragons in person ... but the facial contours of my imagination's dragon :) ). After I had a good, fairly thick layer of paste down, I pressed in Tim's Honeycomb Stencil at the top and bottom left-hand corners of the paste-covered canvas to make it look like larger dragon scales were taking over as the skin went further away from the eye (you can't see this in the picture below ... check out the pic of the entire front cover above to see this). I then took the facet out of its "eye socket" which left a hole for me put the real eye in after the texture paste dried, cracked and was colored. I left it alone to dry overnight.
When I came back the next day, I was thrilled to see all the cracks!!! I started with some Peeled Paint, Frayed Burlap and Walnut Stain Distress Paint to begin my coloring. I really did not use too much and spritzed it with water to let it run and dabbed up the excess with paper towels. Then I grabbed Black Soot Distress Ink and blending foam to work the black ink into all those wonderful cracks. I worked in small sections and used a paper towel to take off the black ink off the top of surface (the foundation layer of Distress Paint, once dry, resisted the water-based black ink). Then I grabbed Matte MultiMedium and mixed it with Peeled Paint, Frayed Burlap and Walnut Stain Distress Ink. I used these colors to give me some more intense, yet translucent color, to the dragon skin. I let that layer dry.
I came back and took my dragon's eye and put it in the premade eye socket. I adhered it with MultiMedium. I let that dry for awhile then came back and added another layer of Crackled Texture Paste around the eye to create the scales and wrinkles directly around the eye (again with the finger-painting method). I used the same drying and coloring process (adding some Distress Stains to create a more intense color around the eyes). I did use a heat tool to dry the skin create some bubbling of the MultiMedium. It made a great addition to the dragon skin effect. After everything dried, I cut out the piece that I wanted to wrap around the outside and inside of the front cover. I added some shading with a Black Soot Distress Marker to highlight some of the three-dimensional features as well as provide the dried-up skin look to the edges. Then I painted edges with a coat of Matte MultiMedium.
I took the backing off the canvas and adhered it straight to the worn cover. I took a little more MultiMedium to go over the "bend" where the canvas wrapped around the edge of the front cover. This was to keep the crackled paste from cracking off as I grunged and added more crafty goodness to the project.
Whew!! What fun!!!! I was so glad that worked. I held my breath every time I sat down to work on it. I turned blue a couple of times. I used a Tiny Attacher to add some small criss-crossed staples around the edges (and colored them black with a Sharpie -- thanks for that idea Tim!) Then I grabbed a screw top brad to add it to the left hand edge where I couldn't get the staples near the notebook's spine.
For the rest of the cover, I used a variety of remnant rubs, stencils, Distress products, stamps, papers, sandpaper (to really distress the edges since the Mad Chemist had used this notebook for some time before adding other Alchemy elements), tissue tape, etc. I created my own pocket folders out of kraft paper, lightly painted with Antique Linen Distress Paint and then covered with Black Soot Distress Ink. That served as the base for each decorated pocket.
Here are some pictures of the rest of this project: