Monday, August 27, 2012

Mixed Media Monday- Featured Guest Artist Robin Nowak

Hey there peeps,

Today we are featuring another guest artist here on the Aviary, Robin Nowak.

Bird, Crown, and mica

by Robin Nowak

Gather all of your materials together:
book board (or chip board), card stock for the cover, stamps, inks, eyelets, paint dabber, and wet wipes.

For this project, I used Bird Melange, Royal Melange, and Text Melange stamps from Paper Wings Productions

Begin by measuring your paper to coincide with the width of your cover. The width of the cover of this book is 2 ½”. The height of the cover is 3”, so make sure your image will fit inside of those dimensions.

I used a script stamp from the Text Melange set. Stamp the image, then turn it upside down and fit the image where the other one ends. Do this until you fill the length of your paper.  Fill in the edges of the paper so it looks like it’s one continuous background.

After the paper is filled with script, come back with the small postal stamp and add a few accents.   Using the sweet bird from the Bird Melange set, I centered him on the background paper I just created.

For this technique, use your Acrylic Paint Dabber in Snow Cap.

Go ahead and cover your stamped image with the Dabber. Don’t worry, you will still be able to see the image faintly when you’re done. Go outside of the lines of your image and cover a little of the background while you’re at it.  Let the paint dry. Use a heat gun to speed things along if you like.

Now ink up your stamp again, this time use a permanent ink like staz-on or India Ink. Center your stamp directly over the first image as exact as you can get. Don’t fret if you don’t do it exactly, ghosting makes it even more unique.

This is where your creativity really kicks in. Start tearing your paper down to size. Always tear towards you so that you can really showcase that torn edge later on. As you tear, check the size of your paper with the size of your book cover. Remember, you also have a crown to fit on the front.  Tear the crown too. I decided not to use the filigree shapes on either side of the crown after all, so I just tore them.

After you’ve gotten your images the way you like them, start laying them out on the cover. Continue to tear away pieces until your images fit.

Find two pieces of mica that will fit on the front cover. It’s better if they are different shapes. If they appear too dark, you can always peel a few layers off and lighten them up.

I liked the idea of the mica separating the images, so the bird goes on the bottom, then a piece of mica, then the crown, then another piece of mica.

Mess around with it until you find a design that you like. 

Take your images and your favorite Distress Ink color (in this case I used Walnut Stain) and darken the edges.

You can see how the torn edges begin to stand out when you ink the edges.

When the ink is dry, take a wet wipe and wipe/blend the Distress Ink. The dabber paint acts as a resist. Wipe off as little or as much as you like.

Here is my result. I like how the Distress Ink blends with the Dabber and the edges are much softer.

Don’t forget to do your crown too!

When the crown was dry, I used a colored pencil to brighten it up. I liked this bright yellow. It will show up nicely under the layers of mica.

I chose a sentiment from the Bird Melange set and stamped it in black ink on a piece of scratch paper. I covered the first two lines of the sentiment because it would have covered my entire image.

Take the mica you’ve chosen to go on top of your layers and center the sentiment towards the bottom of the mica and between the edges. Tape it into place.

Now use clear embossing ink and ink your stamp. If it doesn’t print well the first time, just wipe it off with a wet wipe (and dry it really well) and do it again. It took me several times to get it just right.

Cover in white embossing powder and shake off the excess.  If the image isn’t as clean as you want it to be, use a small paintbrush to remove anything you don’t want. Just know you cannot put it back so be very careful!  Heat set it being careful not to burn yourself. 

 If you want, you can use an x-acto knife to very gently scrap off the dots of embossing, but I kind of liked the texture it made. Also, you can use a permanent gel pen to touch up anything that didn't emboss well. I used a uni-ball signo to touch up the ‘s’ and ‘h’ of the first word.

Ok—start layering!!

Glue or double side tape the crown image to the cover.
Do the same with the bird and mica. Layer the bird/mica on top of the crown and finally, put the last layer of mica, with your embossed sentiment, on the top of the pile.

I used a small bulldog clip on the outside edge of the cover to hold the layers where I wanted them to stay.

Use your crop-a-dile or use a screw punch to make at least 4 holes through all of the layers, one near each corner.

Add your eyelets then set them.

Your cover art is finished!

I tore the overlapping pieces of mica to be flush to the cover edges, but again, it’s all about what you want.
I also added an extra hole on the front to use when I bind the book together. It’s always fun to add a little extra design element to a book.

Measure for holes for the binding of the book. Use the crop-a-dile or screw punch to make the holes, set your eyelets, and bind your book with whatever stitch you like.


  1. Absolutely love this project. I'm thinking of making a larger version to be the cover of a book for some of my bird photos. You've inspired me! Great job.

  2. Robin this is so great! Love this project!

  3. Amazing tutorial and beautiful project, Robin!

  4. Really, really love this! Always one of my favorite bird images.


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