Tag Archives: Terrifically Tacky Tape

Paper, Glass & Wire Butterflies


Remember the vintage radio tubes I picked up in Austin, Texas?  I designated them as one of my Artful Ingredients for 2011 – an element/material I planned to include in an art or craft project by year’s end.  Well, somewhere along the line in my brainstorming process I thought the tubes would make great bodies for butterflies.  I think the resulting butterflies are both pretty and unique, don’t you?



These butterflies can be used in a number of ways.  Consider using them for interior decor, attaching one to a wooden skewer and putting it into an indoor planter or a flower arrangement, or attaching one to a headband for a bold wearable art look!



I used radio tubes for the two larger butterflies and an old photographic flash bulb for the smallest, but you could easily substitute something else for the body if you don’t have access to radio tubes.  A glass vial or an old-fashioned, round clothespin would work well instead.



Instructional Overview

I started with the bodies (the glass tubes and flash bulb), and drew the shape for one wing on a piece of scrap paper.  Once I had the size and shape of wing that I wanted, I folded the paper in half along the wing’s inner edge, and then cut the wing out of the folded paper.  When completely cut out and unfolded, I had a template for my butterfly and traced the template onto watercolor paper.  I did this for all three sizes.  If you’d rather not draw your own wings, you can use a template you find online.

Once the three butterflies were traced onto watercolor paper, I cut them out.  Next, I used rubber stamps to create a pattern on the butterfly wings, and used a different stamp and pattern for each butterfly.  For the smallest butterfly I used an O stamp from an alphabet stamp set. For the medium butterfly I used an X stamp from the same alphabet stamp set.  For the largest butterfly I used a stamp I’d made from a wine bottle cork a few years back. I used black StazOn ink for all the stamping I did – it’s permanent and stands up to wet treatments well.  I also rubbed a bit of black ink along the outer edges of the wings on all three butterflies.

Next I added color, and used a paintbrush to apply acrylic inks.  I used orange, purple and pink pearlescent inks from FW.  Once the butterflies were completely dry I affixed the glass tubes to the paper wings with Terrifically Tacky Tape.  I pierced the paper in two spots on either side of the tube with a thick needle, threaded two pieces of wire across the butterfly at the top and bottom, and twisted them together at the back.  This helps secure the glass tubes to the paper butterfly piece and adds visual interest.  Finally, I folded a piece of the same type of wire in half, and bent and wound the ends to create antennae for the butterflies before affixing them to the back of the butterfly wings/bodies.

I hope you like this project and are inspired to create some butterflies of your own.  Please let me know if you have any questions on the assembly process or my techniques.

Warm regards,

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A New Collage: BABY


Collage is one of my favorite art forms, and the recent birth of my newest niece, Bryn, inspired me to create a baby-themed collage.  Though I have yet to meet this new baby (I’ll be flying out to see her soon), she was on my mind as I sorted through my art supplies in search of the perfect elements to use.

I chose a vintage photo for my central image, but those of you who are artists and crafters could certainly re-create this project using a current photo.  This collage would make a lovely gift for new parents or grandparents, and the baby’s name could be spelled out instead of “baby”.

Similarly, you could create this collage using an heirloom family photo.  Perhaps a photo of an older relative when they were young?  This would be a lovely way to include an older generation in a new baby’s nursery.

Please read on for instructions on what materials I used, and to learn how I assembled my collage.


8” x 10” canvas panel
vintage ledger paper
vintage velvet ribbon in two widths (pink = 1/4’”, blue = 2”)
alphabet stamps
vintage photo
vintage photo frame
vintage buttons in two sizes
Terrifically Tacky Tape (TTT)

Assembling the collage:

Trim the ledger paper and vellum to 8” x 10”, and staple the two sheets together in each corner.  (Note: The vellum softens the look of the paper underneath it, so you may not need the vellum if your background paper is soft/subtle enough.)  Attach the ledger paper/vellum to the canvas panel with Terrifically Tacky Tape.


Cut a wide piece of velvet ribbon (blue) and affix the ribbon to the collage with TTT.  Then attach the hanging tags to the velvet ribbon using TTT.  The strings should then be stretched up and taped down.  (Note: Ensure the photo is large enough to cover the starting point of all the strings, or consider leaving the strings off of the tags.)  Attach the vintage photo to the collage using TTT, and attach vintage buttons to the four corners of the photo with needle and thread or an adhesive.


Finish the front of the collage by running narrow velvet ribbon (pink) along each edge of the collage, wrapping it around to the back, and taping it down.  If you aren’t going to frame your collage, attach an 8” x 10” piece of cardstock to the back to cover your ribbon ends and tape, and don’t forget to sign and date your creation.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this vintage baby collage and the related instructions.  Please post any questions you may have in the comments section – I’d be happy to respond to your queries.

Warm regards,

p.s. If you’re new to collage, or need a refresher, please click here to see my collage basics tutorial.

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Collage Basics: Less is More!

Collage – meaning “to glue” in French– is an art form in which the artist gathers various items and glues them to the base of their choosing.  Though this particular artistic medium is many centuries old, it really moved into the mainstream art world in the early 1900’s when Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque started adding a little “something extra” to their canvases.

Collage can be a tricky medium to master.  What materials should you use? What goes where?  How do you know when to stop gluing things down?  I’ve come up with my answers to some of the questions collage asks of us, and will share these collage basics below.  Photos of some of my collages will serve as visual examples.

Getting Started

Plan ahead:
I like to make a very rough sketch of my collage idea before I start the hands-on part.  Making these notes on design, materials and color will also help you remember what you’re hoping to create if you’re inspired weeks, days, or hours before you can actually sit down and create.

Decide on a base for your collage: Know this – you’ve got options. You can collage on something as flimsy as a blank greeting card or as dense and as immovable as a wall.  However, sturdy and portable are usually better options.  Some of my favorite collage bases include a rectangle of matboard, an old book cover, or a canvas.

Select some collageables: Gather odds and ends that appeal to you, including one to three images or elements that could be your main focus.

Stock up on a few different types of adhesive: Different adhesives work best in different situations.  I like to have a glue stick, photo mounting squares, Terrifically Tacky Tape, and Diamond Glaze handy when creating.

Design Tips

The Rule of Thirds is your friend

Wikipedia provides an excellent explanation of the rule of thirds: The rule of thirds is a compositional rule of thumb in visual arts such as painting, photography and design. The rule states that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections.  Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject would.

(To see the complete entry, click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_thirds)


This collage’s main image, the photo, is off-center.  It’s aligned along a vertical third.

Throwing away the rulebook

I use the rule of thirds in my work the majority of the time.  However, from time to time I do stick something smack-dab in the middle of the collage. It’s occasional, but it does happen. Once you’ve gotten used to using the rule of thirds, you’ll likely know when to deviate.


With the main image in the center, I matted it with the yellow, vintage photo envelope.


Size matters…

Ensure that your collage materials include items that range in size.  From small to large, you might have something as big as a postcard and as small as button.  Too many items that are the same size will result in an uninteresting collage that lacks finesse.


From the very small buttons and nail, to the larger shamrock image and the piece of fabric, this collage shows range of size. Variety in size also helps the viewer’s eye move around the collage.

Variety is the spice of life!

Your collage materials should also include a variety of textures.  Slick, bumpy, satiny – these are just a few adjectives you may want your collage to embody.  Paper, ribbon, buttons, glass, aluminum foil, dried flowers – almost anything that can be glued down is fair game!


Textures for this rose collage include tissue paper, fabric, paper, metallic tape, and glass.

Limit your color palette and be complimentary

Rainbows are beautiful but a chaotically-colored collage is not.  Best to limit the main colors you use to a handful, including neutrals like black, white, and metallics.  And remember to use complimentary colors when you want something to “pop”.


This collage’s palette, red, black, and silver, is striking but harmonious.

Give the eyes a break

Please, please, please – resist the urge to cover or fill every fractional inch of your collage with glued on materials.  Leaving some blank space for the eyes to rest (also known as negative space) is very important.  You may find it very hard to follow this suggestion, as open space sometimes makes us feel as though the work isn’t complete.  The line between “too much” and “not enough” is very fine, but with practice you’ll find it.  In the beginning, it’s best to err on the side of more negative space – you can always add more to your collage later if, after much careful consideration, you decide you’ve stopped just short of perfection.


Though the background is subtly textured and patterned there is plenty of negative space, which gives the eye a chance to rest.

I’ve been framed!

Whether you put your collage in an actual frame, or just use some of your materials to create a decorative border, consider adding a frame to your project.  It will add a little polish to your piece, and will tie everything together – whether your frame is made of decorative tape or varnished wood.

I like to use tape for a quick, easy, and inexpensive frame, as in the rose collage above.  Metallic tape from the hardware store and masking tape both work well. You can also find a slew of decorative tapes online and in stores.

Go Forth and Glue!

As I said before, creating a good collage is a tricky thing.  Finding the path to visual interest while avoiding visual overload isn’t easily done.  However, with a little practice you can do it!  Play.  Practice.  Have fun! Enjoy getting your hands dirty and covered with adhesive, and when you execute a successful collage give yourself a pat on the back.  Just make sure you wash your hands first!

Warm regards,

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