Sunday, 31 July 2016

Bee Forever True - Printer's Tray by Julie Ann

Hello Everyone! Thank You so much for all the kind comments on my fairy-tale, walking house! This week I've gone for something just a little larger from the beautiful array of Calico Craft Parts, but the Printer's Tray I've chosen does allow for miniature 'worlds' within each little compartment. it stands 20 cm high and measures 10 cm across. With a depth of 2 cms you can fit miniatures onto the little shelves.

It's inspiring and fun to browse the assemblages and printer's trays on Pinterest: you'll come away intrigued, I promise. I love how the printer's tray can become our own 'Cabinet of Curiosities', telling a unique and personal story.

The Calico Printer's Tray kit is so easily assembled. I painted mine, first with some terracotta acrylic paint, then a coat of crackle and finally a turquoise top coat. While all this was waiting to dry, I had lots of fun creating elements to go inside my tray.

My aim was to create as much interest as I could inside - and around - the tray, using Calico Parts. I wasn't sure exactly how my assemblage was going to turn out. I just let my imagination run free as I combined painting, my own miniature art-work and collage on the crowns, greyboard hearts, wings, feathers, ovals, Steampunk top-hat and Butterfly Bramble flourish. Old map-paper collaged onto hearts and copies of vintage playing cards stuck onto strong card that I aged further with a sepia archival ink-pad around the edges, suggested a playing-card king and queen coming to life. I was reminded of the playing cards in Alice in Wonderland - a text I find myself returning to again and again. Maybe this Queen and King are not the same tyrant or ineffectual husband as those in the story! 

Once my tray was dry, but not stuck in place, I played around a little with arranging the elements inside. You might notice I also stamped some script and patterns on it as well.

Having assembled all my details, it was time to stick everything together with strong, white, multi-purpose glue and to add some flourishes. Sometimes I'll use the whole piece, as with the butterfly and bramble; but it can be fun to snap off sections to soften a corner.

My tray was beginning to evoke memories of how our hearts take flight to distant lands, while reading fairy-tales on hot summer days with the hum of bees in the sweet-scented air. The bee charm, aged with Gilder's Paste added a final touch and - along with the text on the playing cards - asks us to 'Bee forever true'. As you can see from my first picture, I went on to add a tiny slipper from an old earring and three miniature dice.

I hope that, as you look into my Printer's Tray, you will be encouraged to create your own stories...

and recall dreams long ago on sunny afternoons. I used a sprinkling of gold UTEE melted onto the feathers and blobs of pearl pen to accent my flower centres.

Thank You so much for stopping by the blog today. I hope that your summer is proving to be a happy and creative time.

Calico Craft Parts Used
Printer's Tray Kit Style 2
Greyboard hearts
Sheet of Mini MDF Crowns Style 3
Sheet of Mini MDF Wings Style 1
Sheet of Mini MDF Feathers Style 1
Mini Oval Wood Plaques
Butterfly Bramble Flourish
Sheet of Mini Steampunk Motifs Style 3


  1. Astounding and beautiful ! So much intricate work -lovely how it all ties to together!

  2. A truly beautiful and inspired use of the printer's tray Julie - I love how your art always tells a story! Anne xx

  3. This is a magical piece Julie Ann. How beautifully decorative it is and what wonderful colours. It's amazing how you can transform a plain tray into something that opens up another world. I love your characters and their stories and never tire of hearing them. So much inspiration. Xx

  4. Wow! A beautiful, inspiring project Julie Ann! x

  5. This is wonderful, Julie Ann! What a fabulous idea to use your own faces on the playing cards; it works seamlessly. I love the terracotta with the turquoise crackle layer,

    Lucy x

  6. Amazing, magical, inspiring - as always, Julie Ann! I especially love how you used the flourish on the printers tray! xxx

  7. This lovely little universe sings a song of joy, Julie Ann. Thank you for bringing such beauty into the world! xox

  8. Julie Ann! You nailed it! Every aspect of interest, fun and magic, you were going for, well- you rocked it!! This is outstanding and what a super assortment of Calico parts you have created with!! Bravo! xoxo

  9. Thank You so much for the kind comments everyone! They mean such a lot! I hope you're all managing to find some creative, play time this summer.

  10. This is just wonderful! I love everything about it!

  11. Thank You so much, Kimberley. :)

  12. You've created an enchanting royal court in your tray, Julie Ann. I love the King and Queen, and how you borrowed the lovely artwork on the vintage playing cards and combined it with your own wonderful painted faces. Glorious work as always!
    Alison x