Papercrafting Inspiration: Mixed Media Halloween Project – Apothecary Cabinet Book
We’re having a spooky good time creating for Halloween – Join In!
Brandy’s a talented mixed media artist located right here in Austin, Texas (where we’re based) and we’re sure she’s gonna knock your socks off with the projects she creates – and teaches YOU to make – starting with this one!
Since it’s that time of year when we’re looking for ways to spookify our homes in celebration of Halloween, Brandy’s created a fun home decor item that can easily be adjusted to any level of scariness you desire.
Brandy’s Apothecary Cabinet Book is perfect for a fireplace mantel, hall table or decorated party table, where onlookers can easily peek inside and see all the detail this talented gal injected into every single inch!
Young kids at home?
Perhaps you’ll want to lean more towards “cute” items for your apothecary cabinet book.
Older kids who love to scarify your place, or perhaps you’re enjoying an empty nest?
You could go all out with super scary scenes.
In any event, this project can be recreated just like you see it here (instructions below), or altered to suit your taste and holiday decor.
And don’t worry if Halloween decorating isn’t your thing – these same ideas can be translated to create a cabinet like this for any holiday, or use it to showcase your favorite photos and/or papercrafting products.
Make it your own!
And now, take it away Brandy!
To start, a complete supply list has been included at the bottom of this post.
Steph’s provided links* to a source for purchasing these products, should you wish to buy them.
Keep in mind that a lot of the supplies I used can easily be replaced with other items that you may already have on hand if you can’t or don’t want to purchase the supplies listed.
Second, this is a fairly large project and it may look overwhelming, but it really isn’t.
It’s all about breaking it down into steps and I’m going to show you exactly how to do that.
Adhere letters to spell out “Book of Spells” on the front of the book and then place dots of hot glue in two rows of four on either side of the letters.
This will be the decoration for the front cover.
I also ran four lines of hot glue across the spine of the book – this creates the look of an “Old World,” antique book.
Adhere tissue paper all over the outside of the book/box.
Let the tissue paper wrinkle – don’t try to smooth it out flat because we are going for a leather-bound book look.
I used my homemade clear gesso (I’ll share that recipe in a future post!), but you can use Mod Podge (matte finish) or a glue and water mix.
You want to use a product with a thinner consistency for this because if it is too thick, it’ll be harder to spread and will most likely tear your tissue paper.
Be sure to work the tissue paper in and around the raised letters and hot glue embellishments – you want those elements to look like they’re part of the “leather.”
Trim off the excess tissue around the edges, leaving enough to wrap the tissue around the edges of the book/box cover – adhere it in place (you’ll be painting over and/or covering this with patterned papers in a bit so it doesn’t have to be super neat).
Now set this aside and let it dry completely.
Rub dark brown antique gel all over the outside of the book/box.
Be sure to carefully work it into all the grooves and crevasses, and don’t forget about the tissue that was wrapped around the edges of the book/box.
I then rubbed Daddy Van’s Furniture Polish, in both antique brown and shadow black, all over the book/box to give it depth and dimension.
This product also helps seal the book/box.
You can use black and brown acrylic paint mixed with gel medium to get the same effect, just be sure to seal it all when you are done.
To help the raised pieces pop and to give them the look of metal, I rubbed Inka Gold, in copper, on top of them.
I also added a few metal corner pieces to the front cover – I’ve had these pieces in my stash for a few years now!
Paint the sides of the box with acrylic paint; I used a light tan color.
Then, because I wanted the sides of the box to look and feel like the pages of a book, I mixed a little raw sienna acrylic paint with gel medium, and then used a palette knife to spread it all along the sides of the box.
I came back with my scraping tool (you could use a fork) and made several passes through the paint – this created many random lines and texture.
Set aside to dry completely.
For the inside of the box:
Paint the inside walls and around the edges of the inside cover with black paint or black gesso.
Once dry, measure the space that you’ll be covering with scrapbook paper.
Transfer these measurements to the desired paper (I used MAMBI Halloween paper) and cut out the pieces.
Then use Distress Ink to ink the edges of the papers – this helps create depth.
Then glue each piece in place with a quick-drying, tacky glue.
Be sure to smooth out any air bubbles.
Paint the inner boxes/compartments.
You only need to paint the inside edges of these boxes. There’s no need to paint the inside bottoms of these boxes because they will be covered with paper.
And, if you’ll be gluing these inner boxes/compartments down to the inside of the big book/box, then you do not need to worry about painting the backs of these boxes either.
Now trace each box onto the area of the paper that you’d like to include as the inner back of each of these inner boxes/compartments.
Here, I liked the design, but the white was too bright for the look I was going for with this piece.
So, I took the Distress Ink and rubbed it into the paper in the area I wanted to cut out and use – this “distressed” the paper a bit and darkened it to suit my taste.
Next, cut out the traced pieces and ink their edges.
Then, glue the papers into their respective boxes/compartments, as shown below.
Here I’m showing you how I’ve used Dimensional Pearls, in Eggplant, around the inside edges of the boxes/compartments.
I was not completely neat about this; I allowed it to smear as I was applying it.
There are several reasons why I used this medium to cover the inside edges:
- This is all about layers and adding dimension;
- Leaving it a bit messy added some grunginess to the look; and,
- This “bead” of Dimensional Pearls helps hide any cutting mistakes you may have made and/or uneven edges in the boxes/compartments
Arrange all, or some, of the small boxes/compartments inside your book/cabinet in any configuration that works for you.
I left out one box (so I have 11 boxes/compartments instead of 12) and I’ll save that twelfth box/compartment for another project…or storage!
Note: If you make a mistake in any of the boxes/compartments, and it’s not something you can fix, simply leave it out. Voila, problem solved!
I also chose to glue my boxes down so that they cannot be removed.
Time to start embellishing!!!
I chose the haunted house paper for the inside cover of my book/box:
And this is what I did to enhance this page:
- I outlined all the windows with a metallic, purple gel pen and used Glossy Accents in the window openings to give the appearance of glass.
- This paper already had bats printed on it, but I wanted more. I added a few extra glitter bat stickers to the page as well. Then, I outlined them all with a metallic, gold gel pen.
- I typed up a quote that I liked and printed it out. I tore out the quote and inked the edges with Distress Ink to give it all a grungy look, and then glued it down.
- The little skeleton guy is one of those “lick and stick” tattoos that kids get. I dampened it slightly with water to transfer it to my project.
- The graveyard is made with Pebbles chipboard stickers, puffy stickers and shredded gauze (cheesecloth) that I inked (see tips below).
- For the moon, I cut out a circle from black scrapbook paper, inked the edges and added a stamped witch silhouette.
Add foam dots to the backs of some stickers so they’ll sit at different levels. Also, ink the edges of your stickers or draw on them – again, this adds layers and dimension.
To decorate all of these little boxes may look overwhelming, but it’s not if you work and think in levels.
Level 1: Glue down any images or words that are flat and that you want to be positioned in the background.
Level 2: Add any 3-D or puffy embellishments, things that do not lay flat, but that you want adhered to the background. At this time you can also adhere foam dots to flat pieces and make them stand out from the background.
Level 3: This is when you will add all of your bigger items, and items that will be glued down onto the shelves rather than the box/compartment backs.
Level 4~ Decorate the front of the boxes/compartments.
Note: I want to be able to close my book/cabinet, so my embellishments needed to lie flat. I added the stamped images of a skeleton and candelabra at this time.
Once you’ve completed all four levels, look over the whole piece and fill in any odd spaces or gaps with more embellishments.
Look for uniformity and balance.
Close-ups and ideas of what you can add to the boxes…
Here I added a small piece of cheesecloth in the back and some tree bark on the shelf, and I filled the vials up with dried parsley from the pantry and googley eyes from my stash.
For the “Pumpkin Juice,” I added a small amount of orange paint to the jar. On the shelves I added some rocks, a small sea shell with glitter, and a torn piece of paper – I inked the paper’s edges, rolled it up and tied it with twine.
I shredded some raffia and tied it into a bundle, then glued it to the top of the box. The “bowl” is an acorn cap into which I glued some yarn and glitter.
A torn piece of paper that I doodled on. The ink well is a couple of beads that I threaded on a head pin and then glued down.
“Hemlock” is just some white yarn I cut up into small pieces. “Hoot of Owl” is merely uncooked white rice sprayed with ink.
Another sea shell and rock, and a candle in a holder.
For the candle, I just got a birthday candle from my junk draw, cut it in half and scraped off the lines. I then glued the candle onto a bead cap and it’s done!
”Grave Dirt” is dirt from a potted plant. “Cobweb Shreds” is shredded cheese cloth.
“Stewed Bat” is simply uncooked white rice colored with black spray ink.
To make the Crystal Ball you will need a large bead cap and a marble. Simply bend the prongs on the bead cap backwards, and turn up the ends to make little feet. Use a strong glue like E6000 to glue the marble down on the stand and you have a crystal ball suitable for the scariest of witches and warlocks.
“Moon Beams” is white glitter. The broom was made by wrapping paper-coated wire (that I clipped from the paper flowers I used) with black twine.
I decorated the vials by writing the names on some coffee-dyed paper. I then tore out the label shapes and inked the edges, and glued the labels to the vials using Mod Podge.
And that’s it – this project is complete!
I hope you see how simple it is to make a project like this by breaking the project down into simple steps, and I really hope you give it a shot.
If you have any questions about what I did,
please ask –
I’m happy to help.
Also, if you make one of these,
please share pictures of yours –
we’d love to see it!
What’s that, Steph?
You want to host a Configurations Book Challenge?
Ooh, that sounds fun!
How’s it going to work?
It’s easy to enter…
- Grab one of these Tim Holtz Idea-ology Configurations Books (linked to the left and below, and available at many local papercrafting retailers and most larger craft retailers)
- Style yours any way you’d like to (you do not have to create for Halloween or even for a holiday – be creative and make one that suits your personality, home, etc., or make one as a gift!)
- Share a link to your finished project (before the deadline mentioned below)
It couldn’t be easier, especially now that you know how to break it down into simple steps, right?
And what’s the prize?
A $25 Amazon.com Gift Card!
(So you can pick out some fun new papercrafting supplies…
perhaps a couple more Configurations Books, once you’re hooked!)
Midnight (central, GMT-5),
Friday, November 13, 2015
(Yes, you have a full month for this challenge!)
The winner will be announced
on Friday, November 20th
(just in time for Black Friday shopping!)
This challenge is open to all papercrafters wherever you are in the world,
however, should an Int’l papercrafter win,
we will need to substitute a prize of equal value
(due to issues with U.S.-purchased gift cards not being valid overeas).
Thanks for your understanding.
Send an email to Steph
(shackney [at] papercrafterscorner [dot] com).
Thanks for joining us today – we hope you had a great time.
I’d love it if you’d come by my blog, BeEclecticArtStudio, to say hi, or catch me on one of my social channels:
BeEclectic on Facebook
BeEclecticArtSt on Pinterest
BeEclecticArtStudio on Instagram
BeEclectic on YouTube
Thanks and see you soon,
Types of supplies and tools used in this project:
- Idea-ology Configurations Book – 9″ x 12″
- Me & My Big Ideas (MAMBI) Halloween Papers (Other Paper Pad Options)
- Plain Black Paper/Cardstock
- Tim Holtz Alpha Parts (Ransom Typeface)
- Plain White Tissue Paper (I used paper that came in a shoebox!)
- Inka Gold (Copper)
- Gel Medium
- Acrylic Paint (Black, Light Tan, Raw Sienna, Bright Orange)
- Black Gesso (can be used instead of black acrylic paint)
- Dimensional Pearls (Eggplant)
- Glitter (Asstd. Colors to coordinate with papers & embellishments)
- Spray Inks (Orange, Black)
- Metallic Gel Pens (Purple, Gold)
- Glossy Accents (you could also use Diamond Glaze)
- Firefly Imports Glass Bottles
- Tim Holtz Distress Inks (Aged Mahogany, Rusty Hinge, Peeled Paint)
- Pebbles Halloween Chipboard Stickers & Puffy Stickers
- Kid’s Temporary Tattoo (Skeleton)
- Gauze or Cheesecloth
- Hampton Art Clear Acrylic Stamps – Halloween Sets
- Aleene’s Paper Glaze
- Mod Podge (Matte)
- Glue Dots
- Foam Dots
- Scotch Quick-Dry Adhesive
- Antique Gel (Dark Brown)
- Daddy Van’s Furniture Polish (Shadow Black & Antique Brown)
- Hot Glue Gun
- Glue Sticks
- Palette Knife
- Scraper/Texture Tool (or Fork)
- Paper Flowers
- Beads & Jewelry Findings (Head Pin, Bead Cap)
- Random finds from around your house or craft room, or from outside (I used: a clear marble, tree bark, dried parsley, googley eyes, rocks, shells, raffia and yarn, an acorn cap, white rice, dirt and a birthday candle)!
- And most important, use your imagination! 😉
*Links to the supplies listed above are affiliate links – this means that PaperCrafter’s Corner may receive a small commission from sales resulting from click-thru’s on these links. You do NOT pay more for these products by using these links and these paid commissions are one way we are able to provide so many FREE and valuable papercrafting resources for you! We greatly appreciate your using these links when you purchase supplies.