Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sticks and Stones and Animal Homes (Cuttlebug Challenge!)

(It was hard to get good pics of this, sorry. Don't forget
you can click the photos to see close-up, if you like...) :O)

Forgive the pun, but this project was really a "hoot!" I can't remember the last time I had this much fun making something! It was for my first Cuttlebug Challenge Blog project & for their wicked Wednesday Inspiration Challenge:

(A) Create with a woodland theme; and/or
(B) use these colours: orange, green & turquoise; and/or
(C) use some natural elements (that are not usually used)

So...this wacky high-backed box ended up with all kinds of things scrounged from our patio on it: Curry plant fuzz and sticks and some stones too.

Maggie & the team are making a big effort to make the challenges accessible to everyone. There are SO many ways to play in this Wednesday Inspiration challenge, so I hope you'll play along with us!

1...Cuttlebug Challenge
2...How an angled high back box
3...Templates (trees & shrubs-to shape it like a diorama of the woods)
4...Cheap tricks... for embellishing it (sticks & stones & animal homes)


You can find the Cuttlebug Wednesday Inspiration Challenge
and see the gorgeous work of the design team
as well as read about the prize and other details here:

-2- a high back box & shape it like shrubs

  • 1 & 1/2 pieces of standard (8.5 x 11") cardstock
  • Template
  • Double-sided tape
  • Sharp scissors
  • Scoring tool
  • Ruler or straight edge
  • Pencil & eraser
This makes a high-backed box:
  • When finished it measures 4.5 inches high in back...
  • 3 inches high in the front...
  • and 3.5 inches deep (mid-section)
However, if you embellish with a section for the sky, it can be however tall you like in the back. There's lots of space for a gift or cards in it.

For now, there are just written instructions for scoring the box (to keep this insane tutorial relatively short, BWAhahaha.) If you're way visual, like me, rest assured that I'm working on a sketch of instructions for this box (I wanna make a different version, so you may see it soon.)

Step 1} Start with a standard piece of cardstock

Step 2} With the cardstock on the horizontal (so it looks short) score at 4.5 inches and at 8 inches

Step 3} Turn the cardstock & mark the top at 1 and 1/4 as well as 7 and 1/4--with the cardstock on the vertical (so it looks tall) score at those marks

Step 4} Cut 4 slits to make the side flaps

Step 5} To get a box this size from standard cardstock it requires side panels. (These instuctions make 4 panels to line the box for extra strength or appearances sake):

For shrub-shaped side panels

A) Cut 2 pieces of cardstock to measure 3 and 1/2 inches wide & 4 and 1/2 inches tall
B) Print the shrub template. Line up the edges & trace the curvy part of each side panel onto the pieces above (please note: there are 2 different shapes)
C) Emboss the sides if you like.

Step 6} Fold the box (creasing the folds with a bone folder)

When you assemble the box the highest part of the side panel should be towards the back of the box; it should meet up with the high back of it, but if you'd like to shape the box, then don't assemble just yet, first...

Step 7} Make the rest of the shrub panels to line & decorate the box:
(Granted, that is extra work, but boy does it make for a sturdy box!)

A) Trace the template for the shrub line on green paper.
B) Cut it out.
C) Dry Fit the shrub line & trim the box: Place the shrubs along the box to trim away any areas of the original box that stick above the curvy shrub line.

To line the box inside: trace it to make a mirror version & cut it out. No need to erase the pencil lines if you're sticking it on.

Step 8} Embellish the shrubs: if you'd like an embossed layer just repeat this step on a second piece of matching paper, cut it out & emboss it. I added berries by piercing & stitching beads onto the shrubs.

and Finally, Step 9} Assemble the box & adhere the shrub line. Embellish however it strikes your fancy! :O)


for tree & shrubs...

Click to Download the templates
(or click the photos below for the JPG versions)

Please note: (I used the trees at 75% of this size) :O)

(for embellishing woodsy projects)

Here are some very cheap (free) tricks for using sticks & stones to
make animal homes! ;O) This made me feel like a kid again. Too fun!

create leaf-embossed TREE TOPS
(and other strange woodsy things. Literally!)

Basically, it boils down to this: cut trees shapes, use any folder you like to emboss them, & stick rocks and twigs on. :o) I did it all a little backwards (cutting after embossing) since I wanted the shape to conform to the leaf embossing (plus me likey backwardsness!)

  • Embossing folder of your choice (coming soon: how-to make this leafy one)
  • 2 or more standard sheets of cardstock
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Optional ink & crystal lacquer
  • Certain Celery ink & make-up sponge
  • Copic marker & Colourless blender (tree shading)
  • Crystal Lacquer (leafy shine)

Step 1}
Emboss a piece of green cardstock (or 2) depending on the size of your folder....I used this leaf embossing plate that i made from cereal box cardboard to Cuttlebug emboss some leafy tree paper, then...

Step 2} Draw a guideline for cutting the tree tops (on the backside of the embossed cardstock.)

Step 3}
Cut the tree tops out

Step 4} Embellish....

Print tree trunk templates & cut the trees out
. I used the trees at 75% of this size.

Cutting-wise, I found that there's no need to cut on the lines, since it gets hidden when you adhere the trunks. That way you can make improvements to the trunk shape however you see fit. I cut the top branches longer for ease of placement.

Tree branches with STICKS: Since the challenge was to use things from nature that are not normally used in scrapbooking/cardmaking, I also added branches with twigs (disguising the end with leaves) I cut pieces of my curry plant (such a lovely scented herb) :O) to make the twigs.

E.T.A.This pic shows you the inside & the bottom of the trees:

To make the BIRDS' NESTS I used dried bits off the curry plant stems, but you could use spanish moss from any craft store, if you like the look.

Step 5}
Assemble your scene.

The SKY: To fit all this critter action, the top of the box had to be extended (which was okay since the sky panel can be a completely different cardstock that way.) It measured 4 1/2 inches wide. I made a cloud folder to embossed the text paper, coloured it turquoise & painted the raised clouds with gesso.

Optional finishing touch for the tree-tops: You can add ink to bring out the embossing. I added Certain Celery ink with a make-up sponge & then some Copic marker shading at the bottoms of the trees. A bit of leafy shine is fun too... just paint some Crystal Lacquer on trees for texture and then you have a home for bird critters.

...script embossed POND with pebbles

  • Vintage Dictionary definition with "tree" (text)
  • Pond template
  • Scissors
  • Watercolour wonder Crayon (Tempting Turquoise & Taken with Teal) and Copic markers
  • Cuttlebug embossing folder (Script)

Step 1} Print tree dictionary text (or use whatever paper you like to print it on....)

Step 2} Draw a pond shape on the backside of the text & cut it out.

Step 3} Colour the pond [I used Watercolour wonder Crayon (Tempting Turquoise & Taken with Teal) and Copic markers: BG72 Ice Ocean, BG45 Nile Blue, B00 Frost Blue, & a colourless blender.]

Step 4} Stick it onto Cardstock & trim around (this is on Tempting Turquoise S.U. cardstock)

Step 5} Emboss the pond. If you use Watercolour Wonder Crayons first, the colour will get on your embossing folder but it cleans off with dish soap. :O)

the Script embossing looks like ripples in water:


Step 6} Glue stones to bottom of pond (I just used a bead of Crystal Lacquer to hold them on)

The waterlilies were fun to make too (cut from cardstock that was stamped with a text stamp & painted in gesso. It's the same gesso cardstock that I used to emboss the owl after I printed him. The waterlilies were coloured with Copics & then covered in Crystal Lacquer & glitter.

And an embossed owl...You can see on the owl {if you click that photo above} how really deep of a heat embossing that you can get with gesso cardstock in the printer (I use the standard printer setting, clear embossing powder, then heatgun it.)

and that's it...

freebie images

(birdies, and birdies & owls, oh my!)

The birdies & owl used here are doodles I made that were inspired by the style of the Basic Grey set "Gone Fishing." I thought I'd share them in case anyone might like to use 'em.

Click the picture to Download
the flying critters on SCS

(JPG & PDF are both there):

Thank You for visiting me (and all the other crazy critters!) ;o)


Kathy the Teawife said...

Wow! You've outdone yourself again! I am always so amazed at your creativity, imagination and energy! Thank you so much for taking time to share with all of us crazy stampers and paper crafters. Hugs, Kathy the teawife

Claire Phillips said...

This is the most beautiful project! Just wonderful - full of sooooo many great ideas - beautifully exicuted! Cheers Claire x

Karen W said...

Wow, this is amazing, what a gift!!!

Ruth said...

I usually scroll down with my jaw dropping open over your projects but this one really takes the biscuit(hope you understand the Ulster phrase)To say it is fantastic is such an understatement! Ruth x

Kit said...

this is amazing and so clever must have taken you a while

Finja said...

this is amazing... i am speechless.... a my god what for a work....
Hugs Finja

julietk said...

That's a fab make,love it :-D

julietk said...

That's a fab make,love it :-D

Anonymous said...

HOLY COW!! This is absolutely amazing!! Your crafty mojo is certainly back with a vast measure! Sorry it tuckered you out! I'm so excited for you to become a Cuttlebug DT member!! Congratulations, you're most deserving!!!!
Beth Greco

Lisbet said...


I´m surfing around and discover lots of new blogs. I just love to see how people use colours and designs different.

See you again.

Kim said...

You are so amazing and they are so lucky to have you represent them. This is the most glorious project and I am definitely going to try one.

Norine said...

this card is awesome alot of love and time went into this great job

SueStampin Daly said...

You are so amazing!!You always inspire me.

Tiff said...

WOWzers~ This is gorgeous!!!!! I just love all your projects Mel!

Elena said...

Wow! FABULOUS! BRILLIANT! Absolutely AMAZING! Creating your own texture, bird nests idea, templates, images - the most beautiful project I have ever seen!
Thank you so much for sharing, Mel!

Mary Director said...

WOW ... great detail !!!!

trishia said...

thanks for stopping by, Mel! I didn't realize my profile was set that way, it is now changed.

I do have a friend with a cuddle bug, I'll pester her to let me come over for a day to play :) thanks!

Me Myself and I-N-K said...

Holy Moly! Mel, you have outdone yourself once again! You just have great patience putting all of these teeny tiny details to make these spectacular 3D projects. I wanna grow up to be like you someday *wink*!

Alma =)

Unknown said...

WOW Mel....this is absolutely STUNNING!!!

Nicki said...

WOW fab project! and thanks for the downloads too!
love the creation!

Anonymous said...

Oh My days!!!
Mel you `Rocked` this Challenge
Your tutorial is just fabulous
I am honoured to be part of the fabulous DT at CB...:)
Enjoy the rest of your Day :) x

Karen said...

WOW..WOW..WOW Mel! I love every single bit of this. Thanks for the inspiration and the detailed info! I would love to try and make one of these!!


Donna Baker said...

I'm not the least bit surprised this wore you out! it is so awesome! WOW!!!

Kathy said...

love this, looks like a lot of work went into it. thanks for sharing

Jessica Diedrich said...

Um, I don't even know WHERE to start, although the little bird's nests are by far my favorite. This is so many types of JAW DROPPING I am floored over here! You are SUCH a talented and LPS is so lucky to have you! I just can't get over this! WOW!!!

Allison Rankin said...

You are insane, certifiable and I will personally come to BC so I can drive you to the sanitarium! Jaw-dropping project Mel! What are you gonna do with a house full of these? (I guess you could trade them for cigarettes in the loony bin!)

Ewonne said...

This is outstanding Mel!!! So incredible creative!! And the tutorial is just as good! ♥

Unknown said...

OK Mel, I knew you were amazingly, astoundingly talented, but this is beyond, beyond! All I can think to say is WOW!!!!!!! One of the coolest things ever! Esp. since so many of the elements you created yourself!!

(-: Heidi

PS you are the undisputed QUEEN of tutorials!

Debbie said...

Mel im blown away! That truly is the cutest project i have seen!!

Kim Etherington said...

Your craftabilities blow my mind! This is absolutely amazing! I'm glad to see you've gotten lots of comments. Your work deserves them! The time you take making all these creations and sharing all your drawings and ideas for free.

Cindy Haffner said...

OMG girl, the time it must taken to write this up let along make it. WOW-ZERS!!!!! You Rock!!!

June Houck said...

Holy Moly! You are amazingly talented!!! I keep going back to your diorama studying every little wonderful detail. There are just not enough positive adjectives to describe your project :)

Vicki said...

You are just so awesome!!! Thank you so much for sharing your brilliant talent with us! Blessings to you!

Hanneke van der Linde said...

AMAZING WORK!!! Great tutorial also!


Dawn said...

OMWord woman!! you need to get out into the fresh air!!

you are just one creative overloaded crafter!! another awesome project Mel!!

Shantaie said...

Mel, you are a genious!!! this project is so "fantastical" girl you just ROCK!! ~ Shanatie

Jennifer_GlitterInMyHair said...

Holy Cannoli Mel!!! This is absolutely amazing. WOW!! Iam sitting here in jaw-dropped speechlessness.

Anonymous said...

WOWZER!! This is just amazing!! Stunning details and such intricate work!! I love it!! Thanks for sharing all your hard work!! :)

Cathrine said...

OK... I'm exhausted even reading the tutorial. LOL! That is AMAZING Mel. Just too cute.

Congrats on the Cuddlebug DT - I'm sure you'll knock their socks off.

Princess said...

I've seen a lot of amazing things on line...but this is insane...I can not believe my eyes. And when I looked at the larger picture I was stunned! Floored, shocked and amazed. The detail on this project is amazing.

Very nice. How long did this take? Seriously?

It's adorable.

Lulu's Scraps said...

this is awesome!

and a fellow canuck?
i am in northern bc :)

Holly =^..^= said...

Incredible doesn't even begin to describe what you do! I enjoy your blog so much, thanks for sharing all your stuff. :)

kathleenh said...

Whew! I'm worn out just looking at all of the pictures! This is a fabulous project! I can't believe all of the fun details!

I left you an award on my blog.

L.A. said...

Hi Mel,
To use Ruth from Ulster's phrase, this post "really takes the biscuit"! Love it! Thanks as always for the fabulous post!

lynda said...

My mind boggled. I rarely post comments, but this is just unbelievable. I need to win the lottery just so I can stay home and read this blog, and wish I had a quarter of the talent.

{S} said...

please tell me how long does a project typically take you to create? I'm stunned. Each of your pieces has so much life and character. Your details are absolutely breath taking.

take a little piece of my art said...

You have mad skills! 'course I didn't need to tell YOU that!! Awesome Mel!! I have to try that diy embossing someday!!!

Kendra said...

Wow... this is very cute and holy work batman! It's a good thing all this crafty stuff is fun :) Your animal house rocks... thanks for the tuts and freebies!

tHE cRAFTY mOMMY said...

oh my! your projects area amazing! how do you make the time to do such complex things. Very, very, very beautiful!

Anonymous said...

It is certainly interesting for me to read this article. Thank you for it. I like such themes and anything that is connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more on that blog soon.

Mona_63 said...

WOW!! Wow!! Wow!!