If you have stacks of Gelli® made prints and are looking for some fun
ways to use them… how about making some Artist Trading Blocks! If you like to
create small collages—Artist Trading Blocks (ATB’s) are a
perfect substrate! Each block gives you SIX small surfaces to cover!
There are no rules, so any block will do. Many artists choose to
make a block, or cube, from chipboard or matboard. Templates for making boxes
are easy to find. Or you can construct a cube from book board to the size you
want. But I especially love wood blocks, so that’s what I used.
Luckily, I had a renovation project going on and my contractor
was kind enough to cut up a 4×4 post and supply me with a bunch of 3-1/2″
square wood blocks.
I sanded them and filled the rough surfaces and imperfections
with molding paste. When they were dry, I sanded them again and gave each
surface a coat of gesso. These blocks are heavy and have a nice solid look and
Here’s how to create the collages:
- Cut six squares of heavy paper stock or bristol,
each slightly larger than the block’s surfaces. I used Strathmore Bristol
(Smooth)—it’s a great collage substrate.
- Select Gelli® made prints to create backgrounds for
the collages. Tear or cut printed pieces, then arrange and glue to the bristol.
- Glue a collage background to a side of the
block. Place the block on a cutting mat and carefully trim the paper against
the edges of the wood block with a craft knife. Do this for each side.
- Build a collage image on each background—and
glue the pieces in place.
- If desired, add details with colored pencils,
metallic paint pens, rubber stamps, and your favorite embellishing techniques.
- Color the edges with permanent ink or paint. (I
swiped the edges with a StazOn ink pad—Saddle Brown.)
- When the piece is complete, you may want to
varnish it. The smooth block begs to be handled!
I found my theme for this ATB when I came across a circle I had
punched out from an old book titled, Substance of a Dream. So my plan
was to create a dreamscape collage on each side of the block, each including a
sphere or circle image. It’s a bit like the process for creating content for an
artists’ book—the six sides lend themselves to presenting a narrative or
taking a thematic approach.
ATB’s don’t have to follow a theme—they look fabulous
as decorative blocks, covered with some of your favorite gel prints! Make a
bunch! Mix up the sizes! Cover assorted small wood blocks from the craft store!
NOTE: I used
several coats of DecoArt Satin Varnish on this block and loved the way it
intensified the colors. However, it was a bit too shiny to photograph without
glare, so I added a final coat of DecoArt Ultra Matte Varnish to eliminate the
shine. The block ended up with a lovely matte finish and the artwork is
completely sealed and protected.
Wood blocks are perfect for further altering, like hammering
embellishments into them. Lots of ATB’s are covered in dimensional
embellishments. Many are built up with pieces added on, such as feet, finials
and all sorts of found objects. Some are constructed into a stack of
multi-sized blocks, which can be glued together… or not. So many
This Contest is officially CLOSED
And for a fun and different
giveaway... I’m offering my Artist Trading Block, ‘Substance
of a Dream’—shown in this blog!
To enter the giveaway, click on the red ‘ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE’
button below! (This will ensure that we can contact the winner and that entries
are limited to one per person. One winner will be selected from all the entries
via a random number generator to win this fun giveaway!)
Entries will be accepted until Friday, Nov. 7th at 12 pm EST. Our lucky winner will be contacted by email and
announced here on the blog and on our Facebook page no later than Friday, Nov. 7th at 5 pm EST!
This Contest is officially CLOSED
Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts! We love
hearing your feedback!
Good Luck and Happy