Spring is Just Around the Corner
Well, here it is, March already! I don’t know about you, but I feel as though someone has pressed the fast forward button on 2013. I know many folks are socked in today with terrible winter storms, and spring seems pretty remote. But here in North Carolina, even though the weather is chilly, the lovely spring birds are beginning to return to our yards and gardens, a sure sign that spring is just around the corner. In honor of these sweet birdies, I decided to create a Spring Triptych with Gesso, and share the results with you here. I’m also entering this triptych in the Crafty Secrets March Linky Party and the Simon Says Stamp and Show By the Numbers Challenge.
Creating your Spring Triptych
A triptych is defined as a picture or relief carving on three panels, typically hinged together vertically and used as an altarpiece. With Easter coming, this triptych would make a lovely centerpiece or home decoration. So, let’s begin.
You will need watercolor paper, an embossing folder of your choice, a circular die of your choice, gesso, acrylic paints, distress inks, glue, ribbon and stamps for your triptych. Cut two sheets of watercolor paper measuring 7″ by 10″. Score each piece at 5″ on the long side and fold with a bone folder. It should look like this:
Now, lay the left hand panel of one card over the right hand panel of the other and secure with strong glue. I don’t recommend tape for this project, as we will be using lots of water and sprays. We want this union to hold. It should look like this: Using your bone folder, really crease these fold lines as follows: right hand panel to center, then left hand panel to center. It will look like this: This is now the base for your triptych.
Use a ruler to find the center point of your front panel. (2.5″) Mark this point with a pencil. Then, measure down 2.5″ on both the left and right sides of the triptych and mark with pencil. Connect the side marks to the top mark using a ruler. It should look like this: Use scissors or a guillotine to cut off the two triangles. When you are done, it will look like this: Voila! A triptych!
Adding a window to your triptych
To add a window to your triptych, you will need to open out all three panels. Place a circular die in the top of the first panel and secure it with stencil or painter’s tape. Run this through your die cutting machine, pop out the die cut and set aside. You now have a lovely window in your triptych. Get out your craft mat, because we are about to get messy!
Adding Gesso to your triptych.
I used a foam brush to add thick layers of gesso to the front of my triptych. Go for a thickness of mayonnaise on tomato sandwich, but not quite as thick as peanut butter. Put the gesso down in varying directions, intersecting stroke lines and varying the thickness. This will add lovely texture to your front panel. While the gesso is still wet, you can add additional texture by scratching the gesso with Tim’s craft scratcher or a fine tooth comb. Set this aside to dry. The Studio gesso dries pretty quickly, but it’s best to leave this overnight.
You will also need to add gesso to the die cut portion that we set aside. Lay the die cut on a Jumbo Shipping Tag and begin to layer on the gesso. Bonus! When you lift the die cut from the tag, you will have a lovely dimensional image left behind. Set this aside to dry and use it another day. Set the die cut aside to dry as well. Over night is best.
Adding Color to your triptych
At this point, I had to stop taking pictures for two reasons. One, my desk looked as though a bomb had gone off on it, and two, my fingers were too messy to handle the camera. You can add color to your triptych by using acrylic paints, as I did, or with distress inks, alcohol inks or even Distress Markers. I use a divided plastic plate to mix my colors. and then I just layer them on with abandon. If a color is too strong, I spritz it with water, and then lift off using a cosmetic sponge. I use the sponge to kind of “grind” color down deep into the gesso layers. This part is fun! Don’t worry for a second about doing it wrong, because you can easily lift the color off. I do thin my acrylic paints with several spritzes of water. You want it to be semi-transparent. Once you are happy with the way things look, use a heat gun to carefully dry the whole thing. You can go back and add more layers of color, or accent color. Sometimes, I use a little piece of bubble wrap dipped in acrylic paint to add interesting texture and design. The idea here is to play…the more fun you have, the better things will turn out.
Adding papers to your triptych
All the papers I used in this project were printed from Crafty Secrets Creating With Vintage Typography CD. This CD is loaded with gorgeous vintage images that you can print from your home computer. I chose my papers, printed and then traced around a triptych panel so they would fit well on the page. I edged the first panel with a Zig Gold Painty Pen. Here is the first inside fold, covered with paper and the die cut we created earlier. The die cut has been generously spritzed with copper Perfect Pearls. The paper was lightly spritzed with clear Perfect Pearls. It adds a lovely sheen. The edges were inked with Distress Ink (walnut stain) and edged with gold painty pen. The center of the medallion was stamped with Sing For Joy stamp set using Jet Black Archival Ink and then heat embossed. I used this stamp set throughout the project. The little bird images are some of the dearest I’ve ever seen, and it is a joy to work with. I also used Crafty Secrets Antique Trims to stamp a border on the front of the triptych. Images were pulled from the Birds and Botanicals Art Journal booklet.
Finishing touches for your Spring Triptych
Because the finished spring triptych is rather bulky, I needed a way to keep it closed for mailing purposes. I simply punched a hole on the right hand side of the triptych, then took a piece of seam binding ribbon, folded it in half and ran it through the hole from the backside of the card. I pulled the loose ends of the ribbon through this loop and gently pulled to close. Then I tied a bow. Easy peasy, and pretty. I created several spring flowers as well. If you’re still with me, you definitely deserve a peek at some photos!
Thanks for taking the time to visit my little blog today. I hope you were inspired to create your own Spring Triptych with Gesso. Playing with sweet birds and flowers and soft colors really made me believe that Spring will return one day soon. Your comments are greatly appreciated….they make me happy right down to the tips of my crafty little fingers. Until next time, stay warm and think Spring!