Monday, April 6, 2020


I've been thinking lately about illuminated manuscripts, women in Braveheart, King Arthur's era, and lover's eyes because I just finished teaching a class on mythology. There is a charming essence to these times that makes me wonder if, perhaps, I might have been born in the wrong era. The roles of chivalry, coyness, and heroics are energizing, which is why I believe I am so drawn to these times. I remember visiting Trinity College in Dublin, being able to view the Book of Kells, and lingering as I walked through The Long Room in the Old Library. The colors, the textures, and the smells of old books, photos, and manuscripts are enticing for me. So I decided to try to incorporate some of these elements into this project. I love the finished version, and I hope that you will, too!

For the project, you will need these fabulous stencils:

You will also need these materials:
  • 1-6.5 x 6.5 inch photo frame with a 4 x 4 inch photo cutout. (1.5 inch depth)
  • 1-4 x 4 inch wood panel (1.25-1.50 inch depth)
  • Acrylic paint (I used Anita's in Black and Deep Celery, Golden's Fluid Acrylic in Quinacridone Violet and Raw Sienna, and Liquitex Basics in Raw Umber.
  • Ephemera (I used some old French script and a vintage photo of a woman.)
  • Lover's Eye Token Alterables and Eye Images
  • Jumbo Dauber
  • Paintbrush
  • Aleene's Tacky Glue
  • Mod Podge
  • Clear Gorilla Glue
  • Baby Wipes
  • Vintaj Brass Jewelry Findings and Components (Optional)

Begin by painting the picture frame on the back side (the flat side) and the wood panel in Raw Sienna. Let it dry. Paint a thin layer of Quinacridone Violet on both pieces. Allow to set for about a minute then use a baby wipe to gently blot across the wood pieces. You should pick up enough so that the Raw Sienna shows through slightly and gives the piece a slightly marbled look. Let dry completely.

Stencil sections of the tree top from the Winter Trees Bark stencil at the top left and bottom right of the picture frame. You could also wait on this step until after you have glued your ephemera down. Let dry.

Using Mod Podge, glue the vintage photo and the French script on the picture frame. Hint: Be sure to place some Mod Podge directly on to the wood before placing your ephemera down. Using a paintbrush, add another layer of Mod Podge to seal the top of the ephemera. Allow to dry completely. Glue the wood panel to the picture frame using the clear Gorilla Glue. Allow to dry at least five hours so that it sets properly but still be careful when handling it.

Using the IZink Ice in Cold Gold, stencil the top of the wood panel with the Sunburst and Earth Song Symbols stencils. Next, stencil the top left and bottom right of both the picture frame and the wood panel in black with the circle stencil from the ATC Mixup #2 stencil. Let dry completely. 

Paint what is now considered the "back" side of the project in Raw Umber. Allow to dry. Turn the project over and create a glaze using the raw umber and paint the entire project. Wait about a minute and then gently wipe away some of the glaze with the baby wipes. Allow to dry.

Glue the back of the lover's eye token using clear Gorilla glue. Glue the eye image to the back using Aleene's Tacky Glue, then glue the outer ring on top of the eye image also using Aleene's Tacky glue. Let dry. Glue the completed eye token to the small wood panel.

At this point, you can finish the painted portions by dabbing a bit of black paint onto the jumbo dauber and rubbing off most of the paint then rubbing on the edges of the frame and the panel as well as the edges of the eye token. Where you might see some areas that are too bright, you can rub the dauber over them to darken edges and allow the eye image to stand out more. I did not paint the lover's eye token but you can certainly do so, if you wish. I would suggest using Raw Sienna.

You can, at this point, decide to display your piece in several ways:

1. Glue a square dowel on to the bottom back edge and let it function as a stand.
2. Place the finished piece on a decorative easel.
3. Add a sawtooth picture hanger to the back and hang on the wall.
4. Add screw eyes, chain, and brass elements to the piece and hang on the wall. 

And the finished piece:

Anne Marie

MSS Blog 
or email me at


  1. Love this!!! It looks fantastic! Thanks for the tutorial. I'm always looking for great mixed media work. Love those stencils-especially the sun.


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