Collaged Frame with 3D Embellishments

December 15th, 2011 by
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Collaged Frame with 3D Embellishments

The Art of Paper Collage by Susan Pickering Rothamel

I met Susan Pickering Rothamel a couple of years ago at a convention. I watched how easily she created beautiful projects with USArtQuest products and purchased a “starter kit.”  I bought her book, The Art of Paper Collage, and was so excited to start exploring the world of mixed media. I stared at the supplies and thumbed through the book many times over the past two years and then finally, this year, I decided to get my hands dirty and try it. I was pleasantly surprised to see how easy it is to make beautiful things – and how much fun it is!! To me, collaging bits of paper makes me feel like I’m playing and brings a huge smile to my face! So, it’s with that fun feeling I created this collaged frame to submit to the USArtQuest Design Team call.

Unfinished Frame and Paperclay Embellishments Painted frame Preparing to collage - Layout of decorative handmade papers Collaged Frame - Trimmed

When the collage was dry, I stamped it with a couple of Dragonfly/Teensy/Clear ¾ x ¾ from Viva Las Vegastamps! I overpainted the grass and the wings of the teensy dragonflies with Perfect Pigment. The wings are teensy and I was a bit nervous to try and paint them, but the #4 Round Brush that was part of the Perfect Brush Trio from US Art Quest worked like a charm!

I started with an unfinished framed I picked up at a local craft store. Inspired by one of the samples in The Art of Paper Collage, I decided to create a collage that resembled a pond scene using handmade decorative papers. I tore them in to strips and roughly arranged them on the frame to get myself organized. Once I was satisfied, I flipped the frame over (so the papers were all upset down on the table) and started to apply them, layer by layer, using  US Art Quest Perfect Paper Adhesive (PPA) – Matte. It’s transparent, UV protective, acid free, archival and absolutely non-tacky when dry. I started at the top of the frame and worked my way down to the bottom. And get this… the grass is cut out from the wrapper of toilet paper from a hotel! Joe Morgan and I were away on vacation, saw the paper wrapper and saved it knowing it would be great to collage with.

Molding a Rubber Stamp, Casting with Paperclay, Finished Casting Paperclay Castings Casted cattails without and with flock

Now on to the 3d embellishments….

Carole Lassak introduced me to Amazing Mold Putty and showed me how you could mold a rubber stamp. Once molded, you can cast an embellishment that perfectly matches the stamp using resin, wax or even food, like chocolate or butter. So, we molded Viva Las Vegastamps! Dragonfly Large/Clear 3 x 3 ½ and then I casted it with Creative Paperclay.

I’m not a sculptor, for sure, but it was easy to wrap some Creative Paperclay around lengths of coat hanger to look like cattails. Next I rolled the Paperclay out to a thin layer, cut it with a kitchen knife and formed leaves. To give the leaves a curl, I draped them over a large jar while they air dried.

Once the Paperclay pieces were dry I cleaned up the edges a bit with a small sanding wheel on my Dremel. Dried and sanded, everything was ready to be colored.

I wanted the dragonfly to have rich colors so I sprayed it with Stewart Superior Memory Mists in Blueberry Shake, Liquid Pine and Eau De Pansy. A final spritz with Memory Mist Iridescent added just the sparkle I was hoping for. I darkened the abdomen, thorax and head with a bit of gray acrylic paint. I was amazed how well the mold and Paperclay casting picked up all the detail in the stamp. To highlight those details, I dabbed the casting with Perfect Pigment.

Dragonfly casted in paperclay Cattails casted in paperclay Collaged Frame - Overpainted grasses and stamped dragonflies

Spraying the cattail leaves with Memories Mist Liquid Pine gave them an incredibly deep green color. I painted the cattails and rock with Perfect Pigment too. To give the cattails some texture I coated them adhesive and rolled them in flock. To help the rock blend in to the frame, I collaged it too! PPA works great on painted Paperclay!

To finish the project I adhered the cattails and dragonfly to the frame. The sides looked a bit heavy compared to the bottom, so I added a couple of patches of grass. It was easy to add to the collage. I overpainted the extra patches of grass and it was complete.

I made a video to walk you through the steps I used to create this collage. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making this frame.

I’m thrilled with how the project turned out and know I’ll repeat these techniques again. I’m thinking of a coral reef. There’s a beautiful one in the The Art of Paper Collage so I have some inspiration.

Happy Crafting!

Joe Rotella



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Meet Create N Craft Blogger Joe Rotella

Joe’s mom started the family on crafting. As early as he can remember, his mom was crocheting. When she brought home a Brother knitting machine, he was fascinated and soon he was creating designs from Christening dresses to ski wear. He dabbled in macramé, string art and latch hooked rugs when they were hot in the 70’s. Now, in his mid-forties, Joe’s turned his eye to paper crafting. He loves detail and 3D work. His specialty is upcycling.

Joe’s work has appeared in Scrap & Stamp Arts, Just Steampunk! and Somerset Studio Gallery magazines. He’s filmed a segment of Crafting at the Spotted Canary with Joy Macdonell (airs on PBS Fall 2011), many segments for Scrapbook Soup TV and has won Archiver’s One-of-a-Kind Wall Art contest (Ohio, August 2011). He’s served on the Viva Las Vegastamps! design team.

Joe’s an expert on the Zing Air Cutting Machine and frequent teacher at events including Artiscape, Stampaway, Memories Expo and Gen Con.

When he’s not designing paper art projects, he works as CMO at Delphia Consulting.

Send Joe an Email


  1. Venicia said:

    Joe– You are AWESoME!! Love it…..Bet it is even More spectacular in person!!


  2. Terri Sproul said:

    completely ROCKS. thanks for you application to be a part of the UsARtquest DT

  3. Just beautiful Joe! Great work as always!

  4. Tanya said:

    So happy to see someone else in the world crafting with toilet paper. Hotel and gas station toilet paper works best : ) Makes me feel less crazy and more crafty lol. This is an amazing project! Thank you so much for sharing!

  5. Heather B said:

    This is such an amazing piece – the up-close details are superb! Thanks for bringing this to share at the December Card Swap Club. :)

  6. Love the dragonflies… great work, Joe!

  7. Kristi said:

    Awesome my dear friend! Love the video clip!!

  8. Shirley Wheeler said:

    Hi Joe!

    Just when I think you can't top the last altered piece of art work…you AMAZE me!!! This is simply beautiful. I bet it's even more lovely in person. Really great job and I love how professional your videos are. Thanks for sharing!



  9. Carly W said:

    Wow! This is just so beautiful! I am a follower of Shirley (Simply Stamping With Shirl) and saw the gorgeous gift you made her!! Had to come and check out how it is all done …… WOW!!!!

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