Graphic 45 Nature Sketchbook Brooch & Gift Box

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Accessorize with Graphic 45 Nature Sketchbook Brooch & Gift Box

Hello, G 45’ers!  I bet you never thought I’d be sharing a post about making jewelry with you.  But today I have a Graphic 45 Nature Sketchbook Brooch and Gift Box that represents a personal triumph. Read on if you are curious…or just skip ahead and look at the pretty photos.  The choice is yours!

One of the things I truly love about being on a design team is the challenge of trying new things. You may not be aware of this, but we are given monthly assignments that guide our creativity.  Sometimes, the assignment fits like a glove.  And then there are the times when the assignment forces you to pull your Brave Boots out of the Closet of Shame.

An Opportunity for Growth

The above statement is code for “holy cow…I have no idea what to do/how to do this, lay awake at night and wonder how I’m gonna pull this one off.”  By the luck of the draw, I was assigned the task of creating jewelry using Graphic 45 metal staples.



You see, i barely wear jewelry.  I’ve always been a mom and a housewife, so I keep it pretty simple with just my wedding band and my mom’s engagement ring most of the time.  And I have NEVER made jewelry.  Until now.  This Graphic 45 Nature Sketchbook Brooch & Gift Box is the outcome of a  “growth opportunity.”  (You can laugh at that…because I am!)

Ta da!  My very first piece of handmade jewelry.  That is, unless you count the macaroni necklace I made for my mom in first grade.  I don’t.  Hang with me for a while, and I’ll share the details of this with you, leaving out the weeping and gnashing of teeth, of course.

How I Made a Graphic 45 Nature Sketchbook Brooch with Faux Porcelain Flowers and Butterflies

It all started with  the flower.  This is one of the die cut flowers that  is part of the Nature Sketchbook collection.  I used the 3 smallest flower layers to make this flower with what I like to call a “faux porcelain” technique.

Begin by misting your punched out flowers lightly with water.  This will help to break down the starches that make the paper nice and stiff and allow you to shape them with a stylus and mat.

Working with UTEE and a Melting Pot

First, a word of caution.  Melted UTEE is hot.  By that I mean it will burn you and blister your skin and hurt like mad, make you cry and maybe even utter a forbidden word.  So USE CAUTION with this technique.  Keep melted UTEE away from children and pets!  Now, on with our regularly scheduled programming!

While you are shaping your flowers, heat up some UTEE (Ultra Thick Embossing Powder) in a Ranger Melting Pot.  (You could use an old pot from the thrift store and any heat source, but for safety, I recommend a Melting Pot. The one from Ranger is hard to find and kind of pricey, but here’s one from Darice that is reasonable and looks like it would do the job.)

You want your UTEE to be deep enough that you can dip your shaped flower layers in it…maybe 1/2″ deep.

Once the flowers have been shaped and dried completely you are ready to give them the “faux porcelain” treatment.

Get Out Your Tweezers

Lay out your non stick craft sheet on your work surface.  You will need this or some other non-stick surface to cool your dipped flowers.  A piece of glass from an old picture frame will work in a pinch.

USE TWEEZERS!  Refer to the word of caution above.

Dip the shaped flower into the UTEE and submerge it completely for a second.  You have to work quickly so that the paper does not burn.  Catch the edge of a petal with your tweezers.  Lift out of the melted UTEE and let the excess drip off into the melt pot.  Place right side up on a mat to cool.  Repeat with all the layers.

I also shaped my butterflies and dipped them.  And, even my chipboard tag base took a UTEE bath.

Working with UTEE is fun as long as you are cautious and stay focused on your task.  I recommend a fairly clear work surface for obvious reasons.
When you’ve finished dipping, unplug the melt pot and move it to a safe place.  It will stay hot for some time.  Again, be mindful of children and pets!

Let’s Look at the Details

Here you can kind of see the glossy finish the faux porcelain process lends to the chipboard flower and fussy cut butterfly.  I love this look!

My shabby chic door plate was altered with paint and alcohol inks then glued onto the chipboard base with Glossy Accents.  Hold it in place with binder clips until the glue dries.  Then it’s just a matter of hot gluing your flower layers together and adding all the elements to the base.  The flower center is the mini door knob that matches the door plate.  Feathers add a fun touch of texture, color and design.  Your final step should be adding the pin bale to the back side of the chipboard base.  I actually used my heat gun and while holding the chipboard with a pair of tweezers, I re-melted the UTEE. You have to work quickly here, but you can press the pin bale into the melt using the points of your scissors.  Or, you could be more cautious and use Glossy Accents.  I was feeling lucky.

Making the Gift Box

Next, I wanted a gift box to house my brooch, so I altered a Kraftboard Matchbook Box from Graphic 45 using papers from Nature Sketchbook.

I had a couple extra petals left over from my UTEE adventure.  One is filled with a sweet little bird nest that I found in my stash. The other is filled with seed beads and tops my bow cluster. Then I turned a Staples Metal Key into a butterfly body.  This part of the project came together very quickly.

Pinning the finished brooch on a piece of felt helps to keep it from getting knocked around inside the gift box.

I know this was a long post,but I knew you would have lots of questions about the process.  If I forgot to address something, just ask in the comment section below and I’ll be happy to answer.

This ended up being a very fun project, and I learned a lot. My final word to you is to embrace growth opportunities because maybe there’s fun waiting out there in the scary unknown.

Thanks for hanging with me!






9 thoughts on “Graphic 45 Nature Sketchbook Brooch & Gift Box

  1. Jenny L.

    Hi Kathy,
    this is so gorgeous and the colours are so vibrant and lovely.
    Beautiful feather and superb desig as always.
    Lots of crafty love. Jenny L.

  2. Carol

    Well done Kathy, another successful challenge on the path of life. Love what you’ve achieved with the box and the beautiful piece of jewellery. As always clever lady well done. Hugs x

  3. margiehmalone

    I’m afraid you are a lot braver than I am. I don’t like things that get that hot! It’s really beautiful though – as always.

  4. Pattie Jns

    Hi Kathy, beautiful job, but me an the hot pot will have to part company. A hot glue gun is my limit. The embossing powder does a beautiful job. but, I will leave this beauty to the expert, you. This is gorgeous. thanks for the tips I appreciate you very much….hugs….

  5. Janice Rosenthal Rock

    Well, of COURSE I “read on” and didn’t just look at the pictures! And could feel your fear . . . . I’m in the midst of a project right now where I completed the “draft” and don’t know if I even like it! Your “maiden voyage” was for sure a success! So beautiful . . . and great tips on how you did this, and I’m going to use some of them in another project I’ve got coming up! Thanks, as always, for sharing your gorgeous “stuff”!!

  6. Barb Macaskill

    You did a beautiful job making this brooch! I love all of your warnings and back story to making this brooch! You are so fun to read and I always feel as if I am a part of the adventure! TFS!

  7. Candy Colwell

    Kathy, your blogs are always such a great read! So much of your personality comes through and I could really appreciate all of the agony you went through in trying to dream up your brooch. Ha. You did a beautiful job, by the way. UTEE is fun but as you said, can be a bit tricky and a few burnt finger tips are usually involved. Ha Beautiful brooch and box. Beautiful use of the Nature’s sketchbook papers. You’ve got so much talent, girl…even down to those burnt fingertips! Ha

  8. Helen

    Kathy, your brooch idea is lovely. It’s given me an idea for a project I need to complete that has me feeling as you did. . “I’ve never done this before and. . .” So I truly thank you for sharing this one!

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