Wednesday, 7 April 2010

DT challenge, month one, part one -AKA Be careful what you wish for!

Here's what Lynne at The Altered Element sent me for the design team challenges in April....

Firstly, a Golden Mixed Media kit with products for making various materials suitable for ink jet printing. I have to confess I am still regarding this with some trepidation. Followers will know I am a bit technophobic -straightforward printing on a sheet of A4 paper is about my limit. However, I did confess to Lynne that image transfer was something I'd like to try so this is a case of be careful what you wish for. I will report back on my experiments in due course....

The second items were six little wooden building blocks for the upcycle challenge. Lynne selects interesting things from the local charity shop for us to turn into something new.

The first thing I made was a perpetual calendar. Now you can do this with only four blocks by putting six months onto each of two blocks and the numbers onto another two as follows:

First block: 0,1,2,3,4,5
Second block: 0,1,2,6,7,8 NB You need to use a 6 which can double as a 9 when turned upside down.

However if you are a fuss pot like me it will drive you mad having the spare month block lying around (or worse still put safely away so you can't remember where it is six months later). I decided to put four months on each of three blocks and add images to the spare faces on each so all the cubes can be displayed at once.

You can use any technique to decorate the cubes so long as you keep the surfaces smooth and flat because your blocks need to stand level on every face. I covered each face with patterned paper scraps and then doodled with black and white gel pens to create the numbers and months. I used rubber stamps for the images. I put men's faces onto one side of each month cube and nature images on the others. That way there is a choice of theme to display with each month, or you can mix the two if you aren't obsessed with things matching!

I sanded back the single block left over to remove the paint and used it as the base for a dinky little ornament.

The bird is by Twiddleybitz. I have painted it with Tim Holtz Distress Crackle Paint in Antique Linen. I needed to water it down as it is a bit old and was too dry to work with so the crackle is quite fine (unintentionally). I rubbed Pine Needles Distress Ink over the top to highlight what cracks there were and blend the colour closer to the sanded wood.

The stick is a bamboo skewer from the kitchen drawer, trimmed and slotted into a hole drilled into the block. The pointed end was pushed into the bird. I wrapped some jute ribbon round the stick. It was dark green to start with but I'd previously used it to sponge through with paint for a background so it too was quite distressed, and recycled, so I prettied it up with a few Prima flowers.

I stamped the block using eden green StaZon Ink with assorted nature themed images and sanded back a bit to soften the colour, before glueing the elements together.


  1. wow what a fabulous idea! I have trouble working in monochrome but you have inspired me to have another go as these look stunning

  2. What a marvellous idea, and beautfully executed.

  3. What a marvellous idea, and beautifully executed.