Autumnal Splendor Tag

Autumnal Splendor Tag

Posted by DecoArt on Nov 14th 2019

Autumn is my favourite time of the year! I love the especially beautiful sunsets, the fog that somehow wraps the world in cosy cotton wool and also kind of turns down its volume. The trees lose their leaves and show their beautiful branch shapes and patterns and the crows sit in them and sing that typical autumn birds tune...I especially love the crows around my home as they already know my dog, my husband and me and often try to tease our dog or wait for us to crack their walnuts open that they leave on the street for us only to pick them up once we have moved on. I love the fading skyline of Vienna - as if it was swallowed by the fog. Sometimes you only get the idea of the sky scrapers out there...faint silhouettes on the other side of the Old Danube, where my dog and I enjoy our late morning of afternoon walks. I wanted to capture all of this in a tag and play with textures and different surface treatments - the sunsets, the bare trees' shapes and weathered bark, the crows' feathers, the foggy sky and last traces of orange, red and brown fallen leaves on the ground...

Items Needed:


Composing the tag: I arranged the die cut letters, the MDF and chipboard pieces on the tag until they had all found the perfect places to go in and took a picture for later reference.

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Step One: The tree shape and MDF tag were primed with a thorough layer of Raw Umber DecoArt Student Acrylic paint.

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Step Two: The crow shapes first got a layer of Lamp Black Americana Acrylic paint and once that had dried I applied a quite thin layer of DecoArt Media Black Modeling Paste with a palette knife. Then I used the very tip of the palette knife to kind of engrave a feather-like texture while the Modeling Paste was still wet. Then the crows were set aside to let them dry naturally.

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Step Three: In the meantime, the painted tree shape had dried, so I went in with a small soft flat brush and added a thin layer of clear Crackle Glaze on top. That was set aside to dry naturally too.

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Step Four: Time to paint the tag‘s background! Using a flat wide brush I started by covering the whole tag (except the bottom part that was meant to be the ground the tree and crow were to stand on) with Zinc Americana Acrylic paint and went in from the top with Snow White while the Zinc was still wet. This way I created an ombre effect as the paints mixed directly on the tag.

While that was still wet I went in from the bottom of the sky area with Charcoal Grey and let that fade towards the top of the tag. On top of the Charcoal Grey I went in with a bit of Cranberry Wine and Primary Yellow and mixes of these to paint a fading sunset. As all the paints were still wet that created beautiful mixes and soft blends.

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Step Five: Once the paints had dried I used some painters tape to mask the ground line so the white Crackle Paint I was going to apply next would form a neat edge. This way I could easily apply the Crackle Paint with the palette knife. I removed the masking tape while the Crackle Paint was still wet and let the tag dry naturally again.

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Step Six: As soon as the crackling process had finished I used my fingertip to add more Raw Umber Student Acrylic paint around the tag‘s edges. Then I went in with a damp brush and smudged the paint so it formed a kind of fading edge.

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Step Seven: I went in with more Cranberry Wine and Primary Yellow and added traces of thin fading sunset tinted clouds. I almost dry brushed these in with only very little paint on my brush instead of painting them with a well-loaded brush. This way the colours were easier to blend and that added to the fading, foggy look of the tag background. I also added washes of the two colours used to the crackled bottom area.

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Step Eight: The crows‘ feet and beaks were painted using Lamp Black and Snow White. Using a fine detail brush I first added the black and then painted in the highlights and blended these while the paints were still wet.

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Step Nine: To highlight the crackle on the tree I first added a layer of Titanium White Antiquing Cream and used a heat tool to have it dry quickly. Afterward, I went in with a damp soft cloth and removed most of the Antiquing Cream so it only remained in the cracks. 

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Step Ten: My tree was ready to go on the tag! I fixed it there using matte Americana Decou-Page. I also glued the die cut letters in place.

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Step Eleven: The crows‘ feathers still needed to be done – as the dried Modeling Paste already formed the feathers these only needed to be highlighted by dry brushing everything with a thin layer of Zinc acrylic paint first and then a second with Bleached Sand on top. I later found I needed more colour contrast so I added a very thin wash of Prussian Blue Hue on top – which then needed another dry brushed layer of the Bleached Sand on top so the feather-like texture was still well visible!

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Step Twelve: To add another different surface texture to the tag I painted the beaks and feet with a thick layer of Triple Thick.

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Step Thirteen: The glued on and painted letters got a layer of Triple Thick as well.

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Step Fourteen: After that had dried I found that the yellow on the black die cut letters actually looked too green-ish and therefor depressing (which is why I didn‘t mention painting the letters in the previous step), so I simply painted them over with Jack-O‘-Lantern Orange. Yep – that was a perfect fit! The acrylic paint adhered well to the Triple Thick – so that wasn‘t causing any trouble. Phew!

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To finish off the tag I used matte Decou-Page to glue all the crows in place and added a word sticker to the bottom of the tag. Done!

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What is it that you love most about autumn? Which colours and things pop up in your head first when you think of autumn? Why not try to capture all of that in your personal Autumnal Splendor Tag?! I can‘t wait what it will look like! I hope you like my interpretation of autumn and what I love about it and that my tag inspires you to challenge yourself by trying to capture a certain mood or tim of the year in a project. 

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The good thing is: if you do not nail it at your first attempt (which happened with me when I painted the letters in yellow at first) you can go over anything you find needs some fixing again and again – until you‘re there! It is such a rewarding experience – I promise!

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