Red-eyed Tree Frog Box With Mica D’Lights

Red-eyed Tree Frog Box With Mica D’Lights2017-12-27T11:23:06-04:00

Project Description

Red-Eyed Tree Frog Box using Mica D'Lights from USArtQuest

Sometimes ideas for a project float around in my head for weeks or months. Concepts float to the top, sink to the bottom, fade in or fade out. That was certainly the case for this project. Here are some of the random thoughts that came together to create this little box.

Zing Cutting Machine PackageMy favorite electronic cutting machine, the Zing! For the first time, I can cut very detailed designs, with lines about 1/16”. I can also easily control the blade depth and cutting speed, so I can cut very lightweight paper up to wood veneer and grunge board. And with the software that comes with it, Make The Cut!, I can design my own cutting files!

Cut • Bond • Create from USArtQuestCut • Bond • Create from USArtQuest, a thin, acyrlic-based, double-sided adhesive sheet is heat resistant, transparent, non-yellowing, flexible and acid-free. Cut • Bond • Create has three layers; the bottom layer is paper (feels a bit like wax paper), a thin sheet of adhesive as the center layer and a top later of paper (with a blue grid pattern on it).

Mica D’Lights, also from USArtQuest, are sparkling bits of mica with a touch of glitter.  Mica D’Lights have a natural organic quality and a beautiful metallic sheen and are available in 18 colors! I used Collection 1 which comes with 8 colors.

Bush Beauties by Jillian SawyerInspiration from several wonderful ladies I met at CHA Winter 2012 who travelled all the way from Australia to attend the show, including Mary Wilcockson, Kaye Churchill (A Crafter’s Passion) and Lee-Anne Thompson (Scrap Therapy).

Jillian Sawyer’s book, Bush Beauties, where the animals, trees, and flowers of the Australian outback come to life in a collection of more than 50 crafting designs. Litoria chloris, also commonly known as the Red-eyed Tree Frog, is a species of tree frog native to eastern Australia.

A tiny little box; all that remains of a stationary set that was a gift from a friend years ago. Yes, I save everything.

Here’s the process. You can click on each photo to enlarge it.

Step 1 - The original box and Bo Bunny paperCut Zoology Stripe 12ZS398 paper from Bo Bunny to fit the top and sides of the box. Ink the edges and fronts of the paper with Ranger Archival™ Inkpad #0 Sepia ink using an AppliQates sponge.
 Step 2 - The original box with the edges paintedPaint the edges of the box with Burnt Umber Perfect Pigments™ – Pure Liquid Acrylics™.
Step 3 - The box covered in paper which has been inked and then the edges were painted
Use Great Tape to adhere the paper to the box and then add some Burnt Umber to help blend it in to the edges of the box.
Use the Red-eyed Tree Frog design from Jillian Sawyer’s book, Bush Beauties, to create a vector image in Make The Cut! Put the silhouette of the frog in one layer and all the other shapes in a second layer.
Step 4 - The silhouette of the Red-Eyed Tree Frog on the Zing matPut the Cut • Bond • Create on the Zing! cutting mat and brayer it in place. Use the Zing! to “kiss cut” all the interior shapes that make up the frog. “Kiss cutting” means the force behind the blade is low enough that only the top layer of paper is cut. The adhesive layer and bottom paper layer remain intact. Then increase the pressure and cut out the silhouette (cutting through all three layers). You can see the cutout of the silhouette in this photo, but it’s impossible to see the delicate kiss cut of the top layer.
 Step 5 - The silhouette of the Red-Eyed Tree Frog adhered to the box lidPeel off the bottom layer of the silhouette, exposing the bottom side of the adhesive layer, and press it down on the top of the box. The silhouette is now firmly adhered to the box lid.
 Step 6 - The "leading" peeled away from the silhouette in preparation for heat embossingUse a pin to get under the edge of the top layer of paper and peel up the cut that outlines all the other shapes. In a stained glass window, this would be the leading. This exposes the top side of the adhesive layer (only where you peeled off the paper).
 Step 7 - The leading after it's been heat embossed with black embossing powderSprinkle JudiKins EP013 Black Detail opaque embossing powder over the exposed adhesive. It will only stick where the adhesive is exposed. Shake/brush off the excess and heat emboss. Cut • Bond • Create is heat resistant, so you can use it to emboss without any worries. Now the “leading” of our design is a nice shiny smooth black.
 Step 8 - Portions of the image removed, exposing the sticky side of the Cut Bond Create, ready to apply Mica D'LightsWorking with one color of Mica D’Lights at a time, from the darkest color (i.e., Tanzanite) to the lightest color (i.e., Gold) peel off sections of the frog to expose the top layer of adhesive, apply the Mica D’Lights, press it into the adhesive a bit with your finger, and shake off the excess.
 Step 9 - Peeling away portions of the silhouette to apply Mica D'Lights color by colorSince some of the shapes are very tiny, I found it easiest to use a pin to lift off the top layer of paper. You can see the size of the frog’s upper lip compared to the pin – it’s very narrow! This process reminded me of paint-by-numbers.

USArtQuest 2012 Design Team
After you have applied each color, your Red-eyed Tree Frog box is complete!

I think this technique would work really well with any design that’s suitable for a stained glass window or paper piecing. And with 18 colors of Mica D’Lights to work with, just image the images you could “color!”

You can find more USArtQuest projects on the USArtQuest blog. You can also see some pictures of my work on Pinterest.

Happy Crafting!



  1. Kelly February 22, 2012 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    OMStars! I love this!! I am so impressed…and inspired! Thank you Joe, for the great step by step walk through your process. Very well written and beautifully executed! Love it!

  2. Tanya February 23, 2012 at 3:51 am - Reply

    Beautiful, you can see the detail and work you put in, You know how I feel about upcycling! Its such a waste of art and talent to throw it away!

  3. Sandy McCauley February 23, 2012 at 5:12 am - Reply

    Wow! Wonderful idea and what an amaZing result!

  4. JudyK February 23, 2012 at 11:11 am - Reply

    This is wonderful!!! Very creative and I love the amount of detail. I like working with intricate shapes. Thanks for all the information.

  5. Kaye Churchill February 23, 2012 at 11:28 am - Reply

    Hi Joe

    This is an awesome project. I think I may need to have a go at this.

  6. Penny Duncan February 25, 2012 at 6:05 am - Reply

    This is one GORGEOUS creation!!! LOVE all the beautiful detail!!!

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