Thursday 14 July 2016

Artist Trading Blocks

It is Cec here and it is my turn to provide you with a little inspiration.  I decided to make some Artist Trading Blocks with a love theme and work them into a tower.

I was given the actual Artist Trading Blocks by Linda Coughlin of The Funkie Junkie Boutique and they are cut with an Eileen Hull die from chipboard.  For this project I used three sizes and you need two of each size.  The score marks are part of the die and I added Scor Tape on the outside of each of the narrow edges.  The two pieces are then joined together to form a block or cube.

Using Mod Podge I adhered torn pieces of old book paper to all sides of each block.

The next step was to coat each block with Gesso.

I used some Golden Light Molding Paste through a Prima flourish stencil to add some texture on one side of each block and then repeated the process using a Wendy Vecchi stencil called Checkmate on another face of each block.

Next I painted the blocks with some Fresco Finish Blush followed by some Fresco Finish Candy Floss that was wiped back a bit with a baby wipe.

I decided at this point that the other two faces of each block needed some texture so I added thread to one and crumpled up pink tissue to the other.

Next I sprayed each block with a variety of spray inks in this order:

Tim Holtz Worn Lipstick Distress Spray Stain
Dylusions Bubblegum Pink
Tim Holtz Barn Door Distress Spray Stain
Lindy's Starburst Frozen Jack Frost
Tim Holtz Hickory Smoke Distress Spray Stain
Tim Holtz Brushed Pewter Distress Spray Stain

I painted some tiny wooden blocks with the Fresco Finish paints to act as feet and then glued all the pieces together before I added embellishments.

I started to work on some decorations next.  First I altered a couple metal charms and a medallion by painting them with Deco Art Media Paynes Grey and then rubbing some Treasure Pewter on them.  The little hearts on the crown were then coloured with a Copic marker and I added a brad from Making Memories to the floral heart (you can see those touches in the final photos).

Next I dug out a really old swirly heart stamp and used Jet Black Archival Ink to stamp it on a card stock scrap.  I didn't take photos but the next step was to colour the heart with Wendy Vecchi's Red Geranium Archival Ink and then coat it with Tim Holtz Clear Rock Candy Distress Crackle Paint.

I created a little finial for the top by mounting a small shank button on top of a large bead and then adding them to the medallion.

I used Jet Black Archival Ink to stamp some text from a set from Stampabilities called Everyday Expressions and then cut them into strips, distressed the edges and inked them with Hickory Smoke Distress Ink.

I painted a resin butterfly with some Folk Art Rose Shimmer metallic acrylic paint and then collected a variety of lace, buttons, burlap string, ric rac and flowers for additional embellishments.  Each side of each block has some sort of embellishment.

Here are final photos of the tower.  If they look like they are tilted it isn't the tower, it was the photographer - LOL.

Artist Trading Block are so much fun to make and can be used alone or in sets as I have done this time.  They can be adorned in almost any style from cute to shabby to vintage to grungy.  I hope I have inspired you to give this a go - it is a great way to practice techniques and also to use up bits and pieces from your stash.


  1. Loved them..pretty color and fab textures !

  2. Your attention to detail is fabulous, such gorgeous colours and textures, thank you for the inspiration x

  3. I saw these on your blog, but seeing the step by step on these makes them even more special. You had me at the book paper, actually, but the texture/stencil work is fabulous and the colors are brilliant! Hugs!

  4. Cec, these are beautiful, I love ATB's!! x

  5. These are super cool, Cec! Wonderful step by step! Thanks so much for the inspiration! xx

  6. Super project Cec! Love the way you have decorated this little stack of ATB's , I have that die, after seeing this great tutorial I shall be getting it out! Thankyou for the inspiration xx

  7. super wonderful Cec - love this xx

  8. What amazing techniques! The finished stack is gorgeous! Love this Cec, thanks so much for sharing the tips! <3