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Steampunk Art: A Mixed Media Take On This Stylish Craft Trend!

Steampunk Art: A Mixed Media Take On This Stylish Craft Trend!

What is steampunk? Well this stunning trend was born in the 1970s, where it began life as a science-fiction sub-genre, incorporating technology and designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. Merely an idea of an alternative history that was explored in fantasy literature, steampunk quickly took on a life of its own, evolving into an art movement, a fashion statement, and even a way of life!

And when you look at the bold and stylised imagery and designs associated with the steampunk trend, it’s not hard to see why! For those entirely new to the movement, steampunk is best be described as how someone from the Victorian era might have imagined the future world would be – a combination of old-school industrial gadgetry with a modern twist!

Crafty contributor, Hannah Oxberry, explored the steampunk trend in her latest project, and the results are stunning! Want to learn how you too can create a stunning mixed media project like this one? Check out Hannah’s step-by-step tutorial below!

I love the historic vibe, and atmosphere a Steampunk piece can create! For this project, I decided to focus of layered images, and show how balance can give edge to a design.

You Will Need:

Step 1:


Begin by selecting a 10” x 10” square wooden frame. Paint the frame in a base layer of deep grey. Next, cover patches around the frame, and to the centre, with a clear wax crayon; this will create a resist layer that we will take advantage of later.

Step 2:


Now, over the top of your base layer, cover the frame in a deep blue. For these techniques, I find a chalk finish paint works well, but you can achieve similar results with paints from your stash. Once dry, heat the frame with a heat tool. This melts the wax, allowing you to easily rub away sections of blue paint using a baby wipe! Once you’ve done this, coat the frame in a layer of Crackle Medium.

Step 3:


Add a layer of white chalky paint; this will activate the crackle medium, bringing a distressed look to the frame. Again, rub back the paint layers to reveal the paints underneath.

Step 4:


Further weather the frame by adding washes of acrylic paints, using Paynes Grey and Quinacridone Gold. Build the intensity of the washes and start working in neat paints to create interest.

Step 5:


At this stage, begin laying out your design elements. Start with papers from Tim Holts Paper Stash, French Industrial. Tear the background papers, in keeping with the weathered vibe. Next, select elements from the Tim Holtz Ephemera Pack – Thrift Shop to work into the design. Laying out the design allows you to try things out and move things around. The split design creates a balance to the piece, allowing the elements to work together.

Step 6:


Remember you can always adapt the paper elements to suit your colour palette. By adding a wash to the background papers using the same colours you’ve used in the frame, you can create your own custom papers!

Step 7:


Introduce a tag element as another layer. Here, I have die-cut a tag using the Framelites Tag Die. To drawn the layers together, repeat the paint layers as seen on the frame, on the tag.

Step 8:


Add more depth and colour to the frame, include splatters of the paints, and further washes.

Step 9:


Now you can begin sticking the elements to the frame. The best way to do this is with Everyday Essential Glue and a flat brush. Spread a layer of glue onto the frame, spritz the paper element with a little water, and layer glue over the top to seal. I have introduced further elements of stamp designs stamped  onto tissue paper. Tissue layers are great, as they allow the background to show through.

Step 10:


Continue adding more elements, including Tim Holtz Mini Gears. Highlight areas of the design by framing them with cogs.

Step 11:


Now you can add even more images; the focus image of the gentleman in the top hat is from Tim Holtz Paper Stash, French Industrial. He is mounted on Stix2 Foam Pads to raise him from the background. The moth, from Tim Holtz Ephemera Pack – Thrift Shop, has its wing raised from the background. Finally add a few subtle finishing touches – I’ve used grey cotton and Aurora Classic Self Adhesive Pearls – for detail.



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