Thursday, April 3, 2014


Are you ready for a trip to France?  Well, not literally, but creatively speaking.

Astrid MacLean is hosting our creative endeavor this week. It is "A Little Bit French".
This can have so many interpretations ... "Oui"? I invite you to pull out your creative passport and join in on the fun over at A Vintage Journey. The Creative Guides have some gorgeous projects waiting for you there.

Have you ever created something only to have someone say, "that's beautiful but what are you going to do with it?"  Being more of a mixed media artist, I get that question a lot more than probably someone who is primarily a card maker or a scrapbooker. Their art has an obvious purpose.  

But sometimes, don't you just feel like creating something purely for the artistic value and it doesn't necessarily have to have a purpose? I hope that I'm not the only one who feels that way from time to time. 

But I also like to create things that do have a specific purpose; usually a home decor piece.  Today, I took the "A Little Bit French" challenge and created this ....

a French shabby chic kleenex box cover. I'd never made one and thought it might be a fun thing to do.

Anyone can do this.  You just need to measure the sizes of your kleenex box and increase the numbers just a little bit before you cut your chipboard, so that your creation can easily slide over the kleenex box. In this case, my kleenex box sides measured not quite 4 1/2" wide and approximately 5 1/4" tall.

So, I cut 4 sides out of chipboard that measured 4 3/4" wide x 5 1/2" tall.  The top is 4 3/4" square and I die cut the oval in the center using the medium sized oval from Tim Holtz' Sized Ovals die cut

I created "structure strips" out of kraft cardstock cut into 1" strips then scored down the center at the 1/2" mark. Next add a piece of doubled sided tape (in this case I used 1/4" Scor Tape) on either side.

 Then you basically make a box without a bottom on it.  To do this, begin with your center section and adhere one of the structure strips cut to a 5 1/2" length to the outer edge of the chipboard.  Then line up a side piece (it doesn't matter which one is first) at a 90 degree angle and attach the side to your center with the Scor Tape. You will repeat this for all sides of the box. But before completing the square box, add the top of your box to what will be the front or back using the structure strips and attaching it in the same manner. Then complete the box.  At this point, all of the structure strips will be on the INSIDE of the box.

Apply more structure strips on the OUTSIDE of the box for more support. Cut each strip to fit the length of the joint and attach in place. Do the sides of the box first and then the top.  Now you are ready to cover your box.

Since this is a French themed challenge, I immediately thought of Tim Holtz' French Industrial Paper Stash. I cut these papers from the section that has the 6"x6" squares.  I cut them to fit my 4 3/4" x 5 1/2" chipboard sides.  Before attaching them to the sides of my box, I wanted to shabby chic them up a bit.

First I added some of Wendy Vecchi's Crackle Texture Paste through Tim Holtz' Harlequin Stencil.  I absolutely love this stencil for a french theme and also the Crackle Paste. It's creamy, easy to work with and you get great crackled results!

When that was dry, I lightly brushed some white Gesso over the papers.  Be careful to not cover up your images too much with the Gesso. It's fairly opaque if you brush it on fairly heavy. Then heat set it.

Time to experiment! I wanted to add color to my sides; a teal-ish color because I LOVE teal.  But I wanted to do it in an unconventional manner. Experimenting is so much fun and sometimes you stumble onto the coolest things!  So, on my Non Stick Craft Sheet, I mixed some of Wendy Vecchi's new Archival Ink Reinker colors; Leaf Green and Forget Me Not.  (These are permanent inks and once they are dry, they will not react with water). And I added a little water to dilute the ink down and added a spritz of Sunflower Sparkle Perfect Pearls Mist.  

The color was just a tad too green for me, so I softened it with Peacock Feathers Distress Ink and "Oooh La La" ... I love the teal-ish tone that I got!

The absolute coolest thing happened when I started adding my brown tones.  First (not pictured) I used my Ink Blending Tool and began adding Gathered Twigs Distress Ink to pull in the brown from the paper still showing underneath. Then the magic happened!! I used a make up sponge and started adding Wendy Vecchi's Potting Soil Archival Ink to darken the harlequin pattern and then began randomly adding it to the paper. I guess it was the Sunflower Sparkle that was in the teal-ish wash that I created; but when I started rubbing the Potting Soil ink over the colored paper, it started looking like a tarnished brass finish.  The coolest thing ever!  You really need to try that!  It's AMAZING!

Next I added some Black Soot Distress Ink using a small eye shadow sponge just to the raised harlequins and a touch around the edges of the paper.  That really added a lot of definition to the papers.

Here's a trick for adding stamped images to surfaces that are not flat ... I stamped some "french" images from Tim Holtz' stamp sets; Paris Memoir, Papillon, Mini Classics, Attic Treasures and Paris To London onto white tissue paper using Jet Black Archival.  I heat set the image and then tore out around them. Then I lightly brush Matte Multi Medium over the area I was going to apply the stamped image. I laid the stamped tissue paper in place. Then lightly brushed more Matte Multi Medium over the top. The tissue just "melts" into the background.  I actually lightly brushed over the entire paper with the Matte Multi Medium and let it dry.  Once dry, I added highlights to some of the images using a spritz of Sunflower Sparkle on my Non Stick Craft Mat and a Detailer Water Brush.  In the photo above, you can see the stamped images and also the subtle golden highlights.  I also used the eye shadow applicator to add some Florentine Treasure Gold Guilding Wax to the raised harlequins and randomly along the edges of the papers.  

Once all four sides had the stamped additions to them, it was time to attach them to the chipboard sides.  I did that with 1/2" Scor Tape.  When all of the side papers were in place, I added Tim's Tissue Tape to cover the edges. Then I inked the tape first with Peacock Feathers followed by Potting Soil and finally some random swipes of Florentine Treasure Gold.  

I created the top for the box in the same manner that I did on the sides.  I Tissue Taped the edges and it was time to finish embellishing each side.

Side One ~ I added Tim's Ribbon Flags cut out of scrap paper from the French Industrial Paper Stash. I distressed the banner with Picked Raspberry Distress Ink and a touch of black on the edges.  Then I stamped "REVE" which is the French word for "DREAM".  I then brushed Rock Candy Distress Crackle Paint on top and let it dry. I gently pounced the banners with Gathered Twigs and glued them to a piece of black cording that I draped across the top. I added two small Ideaology Fleur De Lis (with their charm tops clipped off) from Tim's Adornments to cover the ends. Finally, I altered the two silver Pen Nibs with Gold Paint Dabber, some Florentine Treasure Gold and a little black acrylic paint to represent dried ink and glued them in place. 

Side 2 ~ I added Tim's Plaquette that I distressed with Potting Soil Archival Ink. Then I die cut the flowers from Tim's Tattered Flower Garland from more scraps from the paper stash.

I distressed the leaves with Evergreen Bough and Gathered Twigs Distress Inks.  The flowers were distressed with Picked Raspberry and Mustard Seed.  Then all were brushed with Rock Candy Distress Crackle Paint and left to dry. After drying, I edged all of them in black. I added a piece of vintage tulle behind the flowers and leaves and glued them in place.

Side 3 ~ I added the Prima resin picture frame that I had distressed with black acrylic paint then a Gold Paint Dabber and a touch of Juniper (greenish) Paint Dabber (for a patina look) and a touch of Florentine Treasure Gold. The metal crown at the bottom is from Tim's Regal Adornments It originally was a pewter color but was altered with Green Amber Treasure Gold, a touch of Silver Treasure Gold and Florentine Treasure Gold.  The decorative metal piece at the top was a little "treasure" in my stash of stuff.

Side 4 ~ I added Tim's Ornate Plate with a computer generated "AMOUR" which in French means, Love.

Once again, here is my finished very vintage/shabby French kleenex box cover! 

"Je pense que c'est très joli. Aimez-vous?"  
English Translation:  "I think it is very pretty. Do you love it?"

I'm glad that your vintage journey led you here today!  I hope you will join us at

A Vintage Journey with your own "A Little Bit French" creation.  You could be the lucky winner of our generous sponsor's
£10 gift voucher at

Have a wonderfully crafty day and enjoy YOUR vintage journey!


  1. This is crazy awesome! I love the paper, the mixed media elements, the tissue! WOW, WOW, WOW!!!!

  2. This is really lovely Candy and so useful as well, hugs Annette x

  3. Fabulous! I love everything about it!

  4. Absolutely stunning ! I've made decorative tissue boxes but NOTHING like this.

  5. Gorgeous! I use an old Stampin' Up pattern for a tissue box cover and have made maybe a dozen over the years. They make fabulous gifts, too!

  6. Wonderful piece Candy! Love love the papers you have used. Tim's papers are on my next shopping list for sure. Great tutorial too. Thanks for visiting me and leaving kind comments. Karen.x

  7. Candy! I adore this and thoroughly enjoyed your write-up. I agree completely with your thoughts about art just being art and that being enough! You certainly create pieces that have purpose-- and that purpose is to make this world a more beautiful and inspiring place. Seriously! Where else are Kleenexes going to look this fabulous? Look at what you've done for them...and for us with your skills. Another fabulous project whose color palette I would like to wallpaper my entire house with.

  8. This is amazingly clever Candy. So many ideas now buzzing around in my head from this. Love the colours and the touch of shine you've achieved. Jenny x

  9. Stunning Candy, as always!!
    What a fabulous theme I adore France & have lots of yummy French craft goodies :-)

  10. Ooo candy this is truly gorgeous!! Love the colour awesome as always xxx

  11. I do, I do, love it I mean!!! Wow, Candy this is such a totally wonderful project yet again! I so love the colour effects on the papers, what a brilliant transformation! Each side is so beautifully finished too with all your usual brilliant attention to detail. The whole box is just a feast for the eyes, I ADORE it!!! By the way, I also just know what you mean with those "useless" pieces of mixed media art, - my studio is full of them, but to me it is the process always, that is the most important bit. Having said that, it is great to have something useful too, specially when it is as beautiful as this!!!

  12. Oh my goodness, who would not want to have this displayed in their home for all to see!! Candy, I think this is fantastic, I love to construct boxes and must give this a try this method. The colour you have achieved by using the re-inkers and Peacock Feathers is stunning, I love the crackling on the harlequin pattern and all your beautiful embellishments. This really does have the Ooh la la factor. Anne xx

  13. Whoohoooo! What a fab idea and such a gorgeous project. Love all the techniques and texture Candy - a definite winner! Chris xxx

  14. this is gorgeous Candy. I love it. it stood out on the page... I am coveting your piece and Astrids piece this week.
    And I too get fed up of people asking me "whats it for?" "what will you DO with it?" ... its pretty, its a curio, its interesting, creative and artistic. what do you mean "what will i do with it?" LOL.

    dont people have things just to love any more?

  15. Glorious! The antique look of the green crackled harlequins is wonderful against those fabulous French papers. A fantastic structure too, and thank you for all the how-to details - as always, an inspirational, educational post - and a fabulous creation!
    Alison xx

  16. Pass a tissue please as I am going to cry! Candy, what a fun and functional project and certainly a great home décor piece. Love the glaze you created to add a subtle tint of color to the texture and images. The Treasure Gold adds a rich feel! Beauty at every angle and love this! Hugs!

  17. Oh wow, this is awesome! I love all the details, you will have to check your friends purses as they leave to make sure they have not snagged this beauty, lol! ~Diane

  18. AWESOME art Candy, you never cease to amaze me with the fabulous and genius ideas you come up with.... big hugs xxx

  19. This is SO gorgeous, Candy! Love all the rich colors you've built up in the base papers and the fabulous pops of color on top. I just keep eyeing all the details... lovely!!

  20. Oh my Candy! What a stunning project! I love all the texture and detail! PURE eye candy!

  21. Stunning piece Candy, I adore the tarnish brass finish, so effective and adds a touch of opulence to your design, love your use of coordinated imagery too and the metal touches are divine. I agree with you Candy creating for pure enjoyment is the best kind and it shows wholeheartedly that you enjoyed creating this piece. Stunning finish to your design. Enjoy your weekend my friend, Tracy x

  22. I always love coming here to see what you are creating, Candy. You are one talented gal. This box is outstanding and belongs in a magazin! LOVE the papers you have used.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  23. This is gorgeous Candy, love how you created such a beautiful piece from scratch. You always add such wonderful details! I love the use of the texture paste and as usual, gorgeous details ! hugs x Trace x

  24. I can't believe I'm calling a tissue box "stunning," but after all I you decorated it. I love the simplicity of the base construction to, and all the creative possibilities that it offers. Blessings, my friend!

  25. Absolutely stunning Candy! I love the French theme and the crackle paste and the embellishments, all of it ! I am in agreement with you about making something practical for a change. My craft room is full of pieces that I enjoyed the process of making but they have no purpose whatsoever! Sue C x

  26. What beautiful piece.... !!!

  27. If I were in your house Candy, I would just keep sneezing so that I could admire this all the more. It's yet another stunner. Brilliant construction and design and all sides look superb. Terrific make! Nicola x

  28. Dear Candy, this tissue box is totally divine!!!!!
    Your unique art is always something special for me.
    Biggest Hugs,MARTINA. xoxx

  29. Candy, I am drooling again. I loved the crackled textured bits. Loved the Pen Nibs and the banner. You are amazing as always.

  30. Oui! Bien sur, je l'aime! C'est tres magnifique! It looks like you snagged this off a sale table in a French Flea Market, and that is very, very cool. Love the tarnished brass look you achieved. It is so fun when those happy accidents occur during crafting. Again, I'm amazed and thrilled with the details you build into your magnificent altered art. Thanks for the step out on building the gave me an idea that I hope to be able to carry out soon.

  31. Oh you did again Candy - your tissue box is just FABULOUS!!!! I want one! And all those fabulous French details and textures mmmmm ....... Just love it xxxx

  32. Holy Cow, Girlfriend! This project is RIDICULOUS! Every element and detail is so beautiful!


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