How to Create a Fun Christmas Collage

Merry Christmas!

Its that fab time of year when we add elves and holly to almost anything. This mixed media artwork was created using the adorable Dyan Reaveley stamps, Dylusions Ink Sprays, Tim's gorgeous Collage Paper and a few other supplies. I hope it inspires you to have a go and enjoy the fun process of smooshing paint and colouring stamps!

The colours were inspired by this beautiful bucketful of Geraldton Wax my Dad placed at my door after he pruned our tree.

List of treasures used ...

Strathmore Paper Pad - Mixed Media - Series 400 - 9x12
Dylusions Mixed Media Cardstock
- Tim Holtz Idea-Ology Collage Paper "Forest"
- Dylusions Acrylic Paint (link is to all colours)
- Dylusions Ink Sprays (link is to all colours)
- Finnabair Metallique Antique Coin (tap here for all Art Alchemy Metallique paints)
- Dylusions Stamps "Kiss Me Under the Mistletoe" and "Elf Improvement Class"
Tim Holtz Idea-Ology Cling Foam Stamps - Christmas Ornaments
- Stencils by Dylusions, Tim Holtz and Studio Light (click here for all stencils)
- Jane Davenport Cave Black Squid Ink (or use Ranger Jet Black Archival Ink)
- Dylusions Paint Pens (black and white)
Kuretake Hikkei Black Double Ended Brush Pen
- Finnabair Extravagance Paper Texture Paste
Ranger Multi Medium Matte
Dylusions by Dyan Reaveley Mini Collage Glue Stick
Tim Holtz Non-Stick Mini Snips
- Tim Holtz Plastic Spatula (click here for all spatulas)
Tim Holtz Distress Splatter Paint Brush
- Paint Brushes (link is to all paint brushes)
Tim Holtz Distress Sprayer Bottle
- Ranger Ink Blending Tools (click here for all blending tools)
- Acrylic Stamping Blocks

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Instructions ...

The first thing I did was blend Dylusions Bubblegum Pink Acrylic Paint over the whole of my page using my trusty Ranger Ink Blending Tool. Using the same blending tool, I picked up a speck the Dylusions White Linen Acrylic Paint (I'd put a portion of each colour the size of a 20 cent piece on my craft mat). The white was used to blend over the top right and bottom left of the page, making it a fraction lighter.

The next step was adding some interest into the background... using the small Dylusions Squares Stencil and with the white still on the blending tool, I added patches of squares (see below).

Dylusions Paint dries quite fast on a warm day so remembering to put lids back on straight away is important. When finished for the day, I always open up the jars I've used and add a mist or two of water and give it a light shake. This helps stop the paint from thickening as the jar empties (from use!).

Its pretty rare that I'll only use 1 or 2 stencils on a background... I usually choose designs to match my thoughts or the theme of what I'm creating. At this point I wasn't quite sure where I was headed, so adding the Dylusions Arrows was a perfect replica of my thoughts - all over the place! lol :)
They've been layered onto the page using Bubblegum Pink.

Above is a quick overview of the page so far. Here I've added Dylusions Pomegrannate Acrylic Paint through a Studio Light Flower Stencil.

The flower stencil was flipped to add the third flower then Dylusions Honeycomb, Keyholes and Hearts were layered onto the page with Bubblegum Pink and White Linen paint.

Shapes of baubles from the Tim Holtz Idea-Ology "Christmas" Foam Stamps were then printed across the top of the page using Dylusions White Linen Paint.
The above photo shows how : by placing the foam stamp on an acrylic block, applying paint with a foam ink blending tool and pressing to print.

Once all the paint was dry, I stamped on the Santa sleigh from the Dylusions set, "Elf Impovement Class" using a black inkpad. I then coloured over it using a black paint pen to make it stand out even more from the page.

I've pasted two pieces of Tim Holtz Collage Tissue Paper onto the page using a matte medium gel (adhesives like Mod Podge or Ranger's Glue 'n Seal will also work) and a wide flat paintbrush. The piece on the right hand side has been torn and pieced back to work around the sleigh.

How to add a layer of tissue... brush the matte medium gel or glue onto a small section of the page. Place the tissue paper onto this section and smooth it down using the same brush. Lift the unglued section carefully and apply medium underneath, smoothing it down with the brush as you go.

This technique makes it easier to line up the tissue paper without it getting stuck where its not wanted. The smaller section then holds the paper in place while you glue the rest of it down. If you put glue over the whole page first, it might be dry before you've placed your tissue. The size of your section depends on your page size and the weather... I generally work in strips of 2-3 inches wide until the whole sheet is stuck. I also cover the whole page with more matte medium to ensure it is completely stuck! On a loose page like this one, I fold and glue the excess to the back.

White splatters of paint always seem to liven up a page. Sometimes I use the Dylusions White Linen Ink Spray or Tim's Distress Spray Stain in Picket Fence.
I still had some White Linen paint on my craft sheet so added a few sprays of water and mixed it in with the splatter brush (as shown above). I then flick paint all over the place and let it dry.

Adding areas of texture paste onto a background creates a tactile element to the page. The Ranger Translucent Gel Texture Paste is easily seen when wet and clear after its dry.

Using a spatula or palette knife (some use an old credit card), scrape the gel across and through a stencil (I've used the Tim Holtz "Poinsettia" and "Festive" Layering Stencils). Lift the stencil carefully to reveal the beautiful design.

The above photo is a closeup of the texture paste before it dried. Once dry, it is clear but remains raised.

Above is an overview of the whole page so far... waiting for all that texture paste to dry! While waiting, I coloured in my stamps.

Using the Jane Davenport Squid Ink in black, I stamped out oodles of holly leaves, mistletoe and elves. Jane's hybrid ink is both water and solvent resistant... which means you can use it with both watercolours and alcohol markers - and the stamped image didn't go blurry with either of them!

All the images were coloured with Dylusions Ink Spray... the leaves were painted using a small round brush using Fresh Lime with London Blue painted into the shadows and stems. Some had more blue than others and I left all the berries white (ie, unpainted).

The leaves were all handcut using small scissors then edged in Bubblegum Pink Ink Spray (to complment the background). A few sprigs of holly had white space left in tact which was also painted with the pink Ink Spray.

The elves' heads were painted with Dylusions Ink Sprays as well. To get their elfish skin tone, I started with a very small puddle of Bubblegum Pink on my plate (see further above) and added water (2-3 times the amount of ink) to make it alot paler. This was painted onto their faces.
I then mixed in a teeny tiny drop of green to the pink (turning it slightly brown) and used that for shadows around the neck, cheeks and ears.

The hats were painted using Cherry Pie (red) and silly me tried to paint out the spots using white paint before they dried (which is why they're so muddy!). The shadows were added using the greeny brown mix left over from the faces. The bells were different colours to see which I liked best but were only a base for underneath the gold paint.

After the muddle of the elf hats, I painted the shoes more carefully, leaving the white spots without colour... takes longer to do but a much better way to go.
Fresh Lime and Cut Grass were used for the leggings and inside of the boots.

I was hanging out to use the beautiful "Falling Stars" stencil by Tim and the very cool Finnabair Paper Texture Paste (made by Prima Marketing). I applied this thick paste through the stencil and let it dry (which didn't take long, always a bonus!). It remained white when dry with a hard, raised, 3-dimensional texture with a rough finish.

After being introduced to Ranger's Dylusions Glue Stick by Dyan, I've not used anything else (apart from Glossy Accents and various mediums). For such a little gluestick, it packs alot of punch! It dries fast, clear, permanent on porous surfaces and is non-yellowing. Being little is so handy too, as it makes it alot easier to apply glue to tiny leaves and skinny stems.

Almost finished... I cleaned up the elves' hats and fixed up Santa's sleigh using the Dylusions Paint Pens and Kuretake pen. The cat on Santa's sleight got given whiskers and a longer tail.

Closeup photo showing how the legs were pieced together for the two elves carrying the Christmas trees. The pair of legs on the left were cut apart and put back together to appear as if they're walking or taking a step. Each shoe has a spot of gold acrylic paint for the bell.

Not all characters need a body! Simply make them look like they're carrying something (like a tree) or hiding behind something else. Create the illusion of a body by showing just the head and feet, the eyes will do the rest :)

The elf on the right hand side of the page has tripped over a tiny leaf of holly and dropped his tree. Adding another leaf over the top of the thigh hides the lack of body as well :)

All finished :) Click to view larger!

I hope this helps and inspires you to get creative with your layering. Don't forget to allow some layers to dry before adding more. I'm here if you need a hand :) Have fun!

Happy Creative Day!