Sunday, March 22, 2009

Little Mixed Media Books

I am working on making a couple small canvas books with copper metal covers. I am using 4 inch square copper metal, it is a heavier weight metal than the aluminum I use for Fiesta Ornaments.

I have drawn several designs to use for front and back covers for two books, one titled Flora, the other Birds & Bees.
I begin by taping the metal to a foam mat and then taping the drawing in place over the metal. I transfer my image to the metal by tracing over my pencil lines with an embossing tool. I remove the paper and use the embossing tool to deepen the lines on the metal and add details by working on the front and the back side of the metal, creating dimension. I like to make a small outline around my whole design and fill in the background with stippling by tapping the point of the tool repeatedly over the surface of the copper. This helps the main design stand out from the background.I found the best product to color metal is Adirondack Alcohol Inks. You can apply inks using a felt pad or paint brush. I wanted to paint color in specific areas so I used a brush to apply the ink. You don't need much when working with the inks, just drop a few drops of ink onto a paint tray and use a paint brush to apply the ink to the metal. The ink goes on very bright. If you decide that you want less color, dip your brush in a little of the Alcohol Ink Blending Solution and go back over the area previously painted and the color becomes lighter as it removes the ink. Or you can add the blending solution to the ink on the tray and lighten it before painting it on the metal.

The inks dry very quickly and can be reconstituted in the tray by adding a little blending solution. To rinse my brush between colors I dipped it in the alcohol blending solution and wiped it on a paper towel.On the copper design with the waterlilies I lightened the ink to make a soft pastel tint on the copper and I painted the ornate floral design brightly to look more like the metal ornaments you see in Mexico.


  1. Judy; I can't wait to see these finished books. What absolute jems! I was so inspired I went and bought material and Gesso and am currently waiting the 24hrs. before I can start doing whatever I'm going to do on my pages! So much fun! Thank you again for always being such an inspiration! I don't have 'blog awards' to give but if I did; You would totally get the one that says "THIS BLOG ROCKS!"

  2. Anonymous5:41 PM

    always love what you do with metal! do you have to protect the ink coloring with any fixative, or is it permanently stable once dry? and will these be stitched to canvas, or how do you manage the raw edges (i'm thinking they're sharp?)

    looking forward to seeing these progress. you're always so creative!

    p.s. saw you on the latest QA episode, making the fiesta ornaments. great segment! you make it look so simple, but the real magic is in your designs.

  3. Thanks Stacy! I will post picks of the insides of the book soon.

  4. Thanks LuAnne! The inks are permanent on the metal once dry and they dry FAST. The ink can be reworked or removed if you wet it with the blending solution, so you never have to stress out about not doing a good job or liking the way it is coming out.

    The edges are not really sharp. But I have thought about mounting the metal to painted Grungeboard to give it more stability. The first two books will be metal and canvas alone, since I have already done most of the insides of the books.

    If I get around to doing another book I will add the metal to another surface, but I will need to adjust the size of my canvas pages to accommodate the added bulk. I keep getting other ideas I want to try with this, too many ideas, too little time.

  5. These are just beautiful. I have always been intersted in this type of work but have never tried it before. You make me want to even more :)

  6. Gorgeous, Judy! But then, I'd expect no less of your work.

    I love the inks on the copper. You say they are permanent. How permanent?? Do you think I could use them on my copper electroforming? The ability to paint the copper on my beads would just be mind boggling!

  7. Anonymous5:01 PM

    Like Stacy, I was so inspired by your canvas book that I am also waiting for the gesso to dry on my pages. I love the metal covers. Your designs are beautiful!


This is my old blog, please visit my new website at

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.


Related Posts with Thumbnails