Friday, January 20, 2017

Seth Apter's Stencils, Stamps, & Wood Chips!

Hi, everyone! Seth Apter here! I am excited to be releasing two new stamp sets and a completely new product for me: Wood Chips. Perhaps the piece I am most pleased with is the fact that these new products were designed to all work together. They also coordinate perfectly with my Insider/Outsider stencils from StencilGirl Products. And, they mix and match with many of my die designs from Spellbinders.

Now on to the new items. The two new stamp sets each consist of 5, deeply-etched, red rubber cling stamps in the shape of a tag, square, star, circle and bar.

Eclectica 3 features grungy design elements

Eclectica 4 features text

Each of these stamp sets are sized perfectly to stamp onto my new Wood Chips, which come in the same set of shapes as the stamps. They all have regular edges to make them more...well...edgy. These lightweight, wood elements are perfect to add depth, dimension and a unique touch to all your projects.

Not only do you get five different shapes in the set, you also get a frame in every shape as well. The shapes nest inside a wooden template which can also work as a stencil.

Now it's time to see what Gwen Lafleur and Martice Smith II created!

Gwen here... I was so excited when Seth asked me if I would like to play with his new stamps and Wood Chips from PaperArtsy along with his StencilGirl stencils. I couldn't say yes fast enough! As I thought about what I wanted to make, I decided that it would be fun to do a second take on the projects we'd made in Seth's Library of Memories class (I took it the first time it was offered at Art is You Stamford in 2015. If you ever get the chance to take this class, DO IT! It's still one of my favorite classes of all time.) 

This is actually two coordinating projects that fit together; the case is 5"x7"x2" (not counting all the stuff sticking off the surface!) and the book is about 3.5"x5.5" and fits perfectly inside the case. 

Here's what it looks like with the case open and the book inside:

And another quick view of the outside just so you can see some of the details:

Here's a quick view of the book:

Ready to dive into the details? Let's start with how I did the outside of the case. It was made from 2 5x7x1 cradled birch panels and some hardware (Seth shows you how to put it all together in Library of Memories.)

Unlike my original class project, I knew that I wanted this one to have a window in the front of the case that I could frame with one of the circle Wood Chips. Before assembling the case, I traced the opening used the router bit on my Dremel to cut it out.

With that done, I put the case together, gesso'd it, and then stenciled on some stars from Seth's Urban Outsiders stencil using molding paste.

When that was dry, I used the Midnight paint from Seth's PaperArtsy paint collection, along with Squid Ink from his set of favorites, and painted the outside of the case.

I let the paint dry, then used pigment ink and gold embossing powder with the star stamps from Seth's new Eclectica sets (ESA 03 and ESA 04) to stamp and heat emboss the images inside the molding paste star outlines. I also used my finger to spread some PaperArtsy gold paint along the raised surfaces.

To complete the background for the case, I randomly stamped parts of the square stamp image from the new ESA 04 stamp set with black Archival ink, then mixed Turquoise paint from Seth's Favorites with some water and splattered that all over the place.

Next is when things really got fun! (For me, at least!) I took Seth's Drip Drop die from Spellbinders and cut that out several times from thin chipboard and glitter paper, then glued the layers on top of each other for a nice dimensional piece. (Seth has shown this technique before, and I love it!) I glued that down around the window on my cover, then I used some Aves Apoxy Clay to build up a bit of a frame. I topped that with the circle frame Wood Chip which I had painted gold and then randomly stamped using the ESA 04 stamp images.

While the clay was still wet, I stuck some green shell beads and some gold beaded trim into the clay underneath the Wood Chip frame. I also added some dark blue Angelina fibers and then tucked a thin layer of mica into the inside of the frame so that it would actually be a window.

When the clay was cured, I painted it turquoise, then added some other doodads to the front. On the back, I added the star frame Wood Chip over the molding paste stenciled star, then painted that gold and stamped over it with the rectangle stamp from ESA 04. Then I filled the inside of the star with Diamond Glaze and let that dry.

You can see where I added some black ink and gold paint around the edges to frame things up a bit. That was pretty much it for the outside of the case!

Ready for the inside?

I started with paint... I used Buff from Seth's PaperArtsy paint set for the inset areas, then I painted the inside surface gold, let it dry, applied a nice layer of PaperArtsy crackle glaze and let that dry, then used Mahogany paint over top. It didn't crackle a ton (it seems to be hit and miss in the dry climate here,) but enough to make it interesting! 

For the back of the inset areas, I took some cardstock that was cut to size and used a background technique that I learned from Seth in his Collage Camp class. Then I stamped and stenciled on top using the star stamp from ESA 04 as well as the Urban Insiders Star Stencil. The stamps and stencils actually layer on top of each other pretty well! I used PVA to glue these onto the background.

For the embellishment on the inside left of the case, I started with gold paint on cardstock, then stenciled with the Techno Insiders Circle Stencil and then stamped and heat embossed on top of that with the circle stamp from ESA 04. I added some sari appliques on top and this became the central piece - I built everything else I did around it.

A few things as I continued to embellish... I added Turquoise paint stripes to the inset area (with some gold paint pen accents,) and I embellished around the window with some bead trim and used layers made from Seth's Robo Ring Die Set and thin chipboard for a perfectly sized frame. I painted that with Midnight paint and added a little gold glitter glue, then just tucked in some wire and a few other random things that seemed to fit.

Here's what the entire inside of the case looked like when I was done:

Whew! That's already quite a lot... but now are you ready for the book that goes inside here?

First, here's what the assembled book looked like before I decorated the pages:

This is a completely handmade book - I learned this binding technique from Seth in Library of Memories, but he also teaches it in his class For Your Eyes Only. If you don't have the chance to take a class with Seth in person, he also teaches this method on his DVD, The Altered Book: 10 Mixed-Media Techniques

When I decorated the cover, I wanted to make sure that the focal point would fit perfectly with the window so that you could see it when it was inside with the case closed and it would then become part of the case decoration. I used the Drip Drop Die Set again in the background, then used the circle from the Wood Chip set and painted it Buff. I stamped on top of that with the circle stamp from the ESA 03 PaperArtsy stamp set and heat embossed that with gold. I used the same sari appliques here as on the inside of the case so there would be continuity, then added more wood stars to carry the theme throughout.

On the bottom, again to reinforce the star theme that emerged as I was working on this, I took Seth's Text and Texture Explore stencil and used letters from different words to spell "SHINE" on the bottom. I stenciled with black Archival Ink and outlined with a gold paint pen.

Can I tell you how much I LOVE how this turned out? So much! Below are all of the inside pages:

On the first page, I used the star Wood Chip frame as a template to cut a star shape from the page. I framed it with more thin diecut chipboard layers glued together (I used the RoboStar Die Set and snipped a few pieces from the opening so that I could have the star Wood Chip come through the window.)

You can see how on the second spread, I took the star Wood Chip and stamped it with the star image from the ESA 03 stamp set, and placed it so it would fit through the opening in the previous page. I also used the Text and Texture Explore stencil to add words and images to the page. You can even see some hints of the star background stamp from Seth's ESA 02 stamp set scattered around the page.

Next spread...

This spread features the Urban Outsiders stencil, the Urban Insiders Square stencil, and stamping from the ESA 04 set. The word "open" is from the Text and Texture Discovery stencil.

"Closed" is also from the Text and Texture Discovery stencil, and "destiny" is from the Text and Texture Explore stencil. Background stamping is from the ESA 02, ESA 03, and ESA 04 stamp sets. The star on the left is from scraps of diecut chipboard using the RoboStar Die Set that I painted gold and mounted on some painted underpaper that had bits of stenciling on them from several of Seth's stencils. Here you can see what it looked like as I was making these:

Moving on to the next pages in the book...

This spread has several more RoboStar Die Set stars, stamped and heat embossed text from the ESA 04 stamp set, stenciled the word "timeless" from the Timeless stencil, and then used the Techno Insiders Circle stencil along with the circle stamp from the ESA 04 stamp set.

(You may be wondering about all of the patchwork pieces on the left side of this spread and on some previous pages... those were all made with stamps and stencils - I added a bonus tutorial on how I made the papers for that technique on my blog.)

On this spread I used the Urban Outsiders stencil, the Techno Insiders Circle stencil, and the Urban Insiders Circle stencil along with the circle stamps from both the  ESA 03 and ESA 04 stamp sets. The X on the right was from the center of the Drip Drop Die Set

The tape in the middle was made with the ESA 02 and ESA 04 stamp sets - I just put a few strips of plain white artist's tape on the shiny side of a piece of deli paper, then I painted them with Midnight paint and stenciled, stamped, and heat embossed on top.

I used these strips on several pages throughout the book, and I love how they looked! You just need to add a little extra adhesive to make sure they stick (not unlike regular washi tape!)

"Begin" (previous spread) is from the Text and Texture Discovery stencil and "End" (above) is from the Text and Texture Transform stencil. On the right side, I used the outline from the tag Wood Chip to trace and cut out the window on this page. I used a printed transparency to back the window, then stamped on it with the tag shape from Seth's ESA 04 stamp set (I used Staz-On ink so it would stamp on the plastic.)

Last spread! The right side uses the star from the Urban Outsiders stencil and the Urban Insiders Star stencil along with the star stamp from Seth's new ESA 04 PaperArtsy stamp set.

I noted it above, but all of the pages in the book that look like a patchwork of different patterns? That's yet another technique that Seth taught us, and I put a twist on it by making all of my own patterned papers with stamps and stencils

I used all of the stamp images from Seth's new PaperArtsy stamp sets (ESA 03 and ESA 04,) and I also used the following designs from Seth's StencilGirl stencils:

I also have a short tutorial for how I made these patterned paper sheets on my blog if you're interested.

Whew! That's all for the inside of the book, but I can't finish without showing how it looks when you put the two projects together...

I've always been a fan of Seth's work and his products, and I LOVE the new stamp sets and Wood Chips and how they coordinate so perfectly with each other, as well as with his StencilGirl stencils and his Spellbinders dies! I think you can see how much fun I had playing with the new products, and I absolutely love the projects that came out of it... I hope you do too. Make sure you run, (don't walk!) to grab the new stamps and Wood Chips. You'll be glad you did!

Paper Storage Wall Hanging
Martice Smith II

Hi everyone! Martice Smith ( here, sharing an unconventional way of storing paper. This project serves a dual purpose: part decor item, part hidden storage contraption. Yes, I’m aware this might raise a few eyebrows but, I enjoy the fact that my supplies and storage items can be playful and unexpected, just like me. Curious, aren’t ya? Let’s get started!
Supplies to Gather:
Stencils by Seth Apter:


  • PaperArtsy Eclectica Pack ESA 03: Rectangle (“Create”)

PaperArtsy Wood Chips: I’ll be using the circle and rectangle.

Supplies + Tools
  • PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylics: Midnight, Buff, Terracotta, Mahogany
  • Paper towels/wipes + container of water
  • Bristle paintbrushes
  • 140-lb watercolor paper (Size: 13 ½ inches by 20 inches)
  • Old book pages + recycled mailing envelope, cut to size (10 inches square)

  • Palette knife (or any tool that you can mix paint with)
  • Black gesso
  • Black modeling paste
  • Fineliner applicator (with black paint inside), optional
  • Texture sand paste, optional
  • Matte Medium
STEP 1 // Paint the watercolor paper
Using matte medium and a medium bristled, flat paintbrush, adhere torn book pages to the front side of your watercolor paper.

Next, brush on black gesso. It’s not necessary to cover the entire surface. Use a dry brushing technique to reveal your brushstrokes. Allow some of the text from the book pages to peek through.

TIP: I like to use a good ol’ sturdy bristle brush for this step. It adds a bit more texture to the surface!

Squeeze out a few drops of Midnight directly onto the paper. Midnight is an opaque acrylic paint with high coverage. It glides across the paper and gesso smoothly without any hiccups. I was surprised by how thick it was! A single layer was all I needed.
Allow the watercolor paper to dry and in the meantime, let’s choose our wood chips.

STEP 2 // Add Stenciling
I LOVE the grunge feel of these stencils! Seth has created with layering and flexibility in mind. (He’s clever like that.) Each individual stencil can also be used on its own, either as a whole or broken into sections. Cool, right?!

Create a mixture of texture sand paste and modeling paste for a rough, sandpaper-like feel.
Scrape mixture onto the star, rectangle and circle parts of the Urban Outsiders Circle Stencil.
I’ve never used wood pieces like these in my work before, so, it was fun to see how versatile they were. I also appreciated the thickness of these wood chips (approx ⅛ inch) which allows for dimensionality.

The surface was stamped with the “Create” stamp and sealed with matte medium.
STEP 3 // Paint the mailing envelope
This is an envelope that I’m repurposing. The stencils you see in this project came in it. This envelope is perfect for our wall hanging because it’s very sturdy and hard to bend. (You could also use chipboard or lightweight cardboard.)

Repeat STEP 1. Black gesso, Midnight and Buff were painted on in a messy, dry brush technique.
(I decided, at the last minute, that I wanted to permanently close the opening of the envelope. I poured a glob of matte medium into the opening, spread it out with a paintbrush and sealed it. To keep it flat while drying, I placed a stack of heavy books on top for a couple of hours.)
STEP 4 // Add stenciling and wood chips
The natural, warm look of the wood chips gives a nice contrast to the dark, cold color palette. Here, I used the outline of the circle wood chip to offset the stenciled Urban Insiders Circle.

Next, I decided to accentuate some of the detail of the stenciling and texture paste. I dabbed on Buff, using my finger, to add highlights to certain areas.
STEP 5 // Attach eyelets, wood chip, sticks and yarn
Use a pencil to make a mark, approximately two inches down from the top edge and two inches from the side edges. Firmly attach the eyelets.

I gathered sticks from my backyard to create a decorative piece to rest above the top of my paper wall hanging. Gave them a basecoat of white paint and topped it off with a thin layer of Buff.

Next, wrap the ends of the sticks with yarn to keep them firmly in place.
Place the wood chip near the top, left edge. Secure with matte medium.
STEP 6 // Add an inside sleeve
I used some leftover watercolor paper to make a sleeve for the papers to fit snugly and to prevent them from sliding out. (Remember, this is just a fun way to store your papers. What a way to think outside those boring and unsightly storage boxes!)
Measure the height of the envelope and cut the sleeve to size. I cut mine to fit snuggly on the watercolor paper, without extending too far past the bottom edge of the envelope.

Fold both ends of the sleeve under ¼ inch and attach with matte medium.

Optional: Create “straps” to keep the flap closed while not in use. As soon as I hung my clever new paper storage wall hanging, the flap swung open...and stayed that way.

:: Womp, womp, wooomp :: (That’s gravity for ya!)

I got so carried away that I forgot to figure out how to keep it closed. Good thing my brother is a great engineer! He suggested a simple way to close it: create “straps” that attach to the flap and folds around to the back. He also mentioned that a hinged flap would work best because it wouldn’t swing all the way open...I think I’ll add those later but, for now, I’m going to admire my new, unconventional storage solution!

Wooden Collage Tiles
Martice Smith II

Hi everyone! Martice Smith ( here, with a fun project where I show you how to use up those scraps of collage material and paper ephemera, along with some basic stenciling techniques. This is also a playful way to discover and learn techniques you might be curious about.
Supplies to Gather:
Stencils by Seth Apter:

  • PaperArtsy Eclectica Pack ESA 03:Rectangle (“Create”) and 1234
  • PaperArtsy Eclectica Pack ESA 04: Tag and Star

PaperArtsy Wood Chips: I’ll be using the tag and square.

Supplies + Tools
  • Paper towels/wipes + container of water
  • Medium Bristle paintbrush
  • Wood panels, cut to various sizes (small sizes work best; square, rectangle, etc)
  • Sandpaper
  • PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylics: Midnight, Buff, Terracotta, Mahogany
  • Palette knife
  • Black modeling paste
  • Matte medium
  • Walnut wood stain, optional
  • Old book paper or Kraft paper
STEPS 1 & 2 // Cut wood, Stain wood
Cut the wood. Place a cutting mat or an old, open book on your work surface. Decide what size tiles you want, then cut them out. I used a metal ruler to help me cut straight. It will take several passes to cut through the wood. Be careful and take your time doing this.

Use sandpaper to round the corners and remove jagged wood edges.

Stain the wood. This step is optional - I decided to darken my wood pieces, just to give it that deep, earthy tone. I used a bristle brush to apply a thin layer of walnut wood stain, then wiped it off with a baby wipe.
STEP 3 // Add stenciling, wood chips and stamping
I’m chose to use the Urban Insiders Star and Urban Outsiders Stencil (Tag), the square and tag wood chips, and the tag stamp.

What beautiful sentiments on these stamps! The tag stamp reads: ‘Always remember there are many people in this world who are in your corner and want to see you reach your goals and become the person you are meant to become.
Using my fingers, I rubbed on Mahogany along the edges of my wood tile. This color adds a touch of warmth! It's semi-opaque which allows the grain of the wood to peek through.

I love incorporating texture into my work, so, modeling paste was scraped through the stencils using a palette knife.

After the modeling paste is dry to the touch, more variety was added with the star stamp.
Wow! Look at stamped texture in the modeling paste! This happened by accident...but I think it looks really cool, don’t you?
STEP 4 // Continue working on other wood tiles
For this little fella, I stamped onto a piece of kraft paper I was hoarding in my paper stash. To my surprise, this stamp printed out well. I was wondering if I’d lose some of the fine line work because the stamp is so detailed.

Next, I secured the scrap paper in place with matte medium. When it was dry to the touch, I brushed on two layers of Buff.

STEP 5 // Seal with matte medium

Thank you for visiting us today!

To learn more about Martice and her mixed media art tutorials, please visit her website or follow the inspiration trail on her Instagram  @MarticeSmithArt.


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