Monday 19 March 2018

Set the Stage for your Tags and ATCs! - by Claudia

Hi, servus and welcome to the Calico Craft Parts Blog today!
Claudia here to bring you a new project for your inspiration.

I have recently re-recovered my love for small formats - especially ATCs. Actually I don't know why I had almost forgotten how much I love this special tiny format - you can do so much on them (like on this ATC HERE or this ATC set HERE) and for me they totally stand up to a canvas or any other larger format! So I was very excited when I found that Helen had added some awesome ATC storage and display boxes to the store!

I immediately knew I had to alter one of these, so I would finally have a proper ATC storage and display stand for my studio desk!

But of course I have to show you the empty storage box ('cos this isn't about the ATCs I've made) , so you can see how it works. There's a larger compartment in the back for storing ATC and tag blanks and a thinner one in the front for displaying up to 3 ATCs side by side. These are held in place by a thin bar, that divides the two compartments at the same time. There are display kits for only one, two or three ATCs in the store! Just click HERE to check them out.

Calico Craft Parts used:

- Birch Ply & MDF ATC/Tag Display Boxes

I would like to encourage you to pick your very own colours (and/or style) for your display box so it matches the colours and styles of your ATCs and tags. Maybe browse your tags and ATCs to find out which are the colours and patterns you use most. 

It isn't that important to make the display visually match your ATC and tag art, because once the ATCs and tags are put into the box, they will cover up most of the design of the box anyway, but the outsides and some areas from the inside still will be visible (the more the less you put into the display box) and you don't want to have the "wrong colours" from the box make your little works of art look misplaced or contrast them in a disturbing way.

These are the pieces of the display box...

...and I have started altering mine by applying a thin coat of DecoArt Chalky Finish Paint "rustic" to both sides of each piece. As the paint dries really fast, there's almost no drying time. So this was done really quick (using a soft wide flat brush). 

Then I picked the DecoArt Americana "Classic Quatrefoil" stencil and Cobalt Teal Hue Americana premium paint for my next layer. I placed the stencil onto the MDF pieces, then I brushed the acrylic paint onto a piece of cardstock. After that I quickly placed the painted cardstock upside down on top of the stencil and rubbed with my hand (like I would do using a gel printing plate. Only that part of the paint gets transferred to the MDF this time and not the other way round).  

After I had covered the inner sides of the box pieces this way, I brushed more DecoArt Americana premium paints (first Diarylide Yellow and after that Titan Buff) onto cardstock using a flat bristle brush. This time I placed the painted cardstock directly onto the MDF pieces and rubbed to transfer the paint. If you use a worn bristle brush you will get lovely streaks from the brushed on paints being  transferred to your piece! This effect can be created especially well with the DecoArt Americana premium paints as they are quite smooth and liquid - so the brush strokes on the paper keep their texture from the different lengths of the brush's bristles. 

Build up more layers as you go. I added Vermillion Hue premium paint to my layers mix. Some of the paints I brushed onto still wet left over paint from the previous layer - so I got even more colours as they mixed directly on the cardstock (for example the Diarylide Yellow on top of Cobalt Teal Hue - which gave a beautiful green). The slight transparency of the premium paints add to this look beautifully! 

I also made sure I moved my painted cardboard sheets each time I added a new layer, so I got different directions of the scratchy pattern from the brush strokes on my pieces. 

Next I took a fine tip palette knife and scraped on some premium Titan Buff here and there.

As I also wanted to make my display box match this tag sample box HERE, I added Americana Chalky Finish paints "treasure" and "heritage" with the palette knife too. 

The final layer of paint was added by sprinkling on some Diarylide Yellow premium paint with a splatter brush. 

Time to add some texture by stamping in black archival ink. I went for some circles and a bit of text - but only partially stamped on the images for a worn look. 

Then I was ready to assemble the display box! Matte DecoArt Decou-Page (as always) did the job perfectly (I love the short drying time!). 

I needed to slightly sand the ends of the thin bar (that holds the ATCs in place) so I could insert it into the openings in the sides (as I had painted over the ends so they got a bit too thick). 

I thought that the painted box was a bit too "noisy" for my liking, so I created a glaze by mixing DecoArt Americana premium Gloss Medium with some drops of DecoArt media fluid acrylic Raw Umber to tone down the outside of the box. 

Here's the inside of the box - still untreated so you can see the difference: 

I thinned the glaze with water to just slightly tone down the inside as well. 

Et voilá!

From the side...

...and from the back:

And some detail shots of course:

I hope you like my ATC display box and I can't wait to see your designs on this kit - and of course also the other fab display box kits from Calico Craft Parts!

Hugs and happy crafting!


  1. Fabulous mixed media storage! I've been admiring the idea of these and I am definitely going to purchase one now! I love how your ATCs coordinate with this display box - a really inspiring project! xxx

  2. Wow so many wonderful colours! both in the box and your ATCs! I really love how this has come together and what wonderful storage for those gorgeous ATCs. xxx

  3. Absolutely fabulous! Every studio needs one of these beauties! Hugs, Autumn

  4. This is fabulous, Claudia! I love the colors and great designs. What an awesome way to store your ATC's! xx Maura

  5. ich bin restlos begeistert!!! Total Klasse!!!

  6. Hmm, I have been sitting on the fence about buying this ATC box but you have made my mind up Claudia, I love the gorgeous mix of colours you achieved on yours and it looks so textural too! Great 'how to' as well - love your fabulous storage box! Anne xx

  7. Aw! Thank you so much, Julie, Jenny, Sylvia, Autumn, Lisa, Maura, Dani and Anne! I'm so glad you like my storage so much! Mwah! XXX

  8. Phenomenal ATCs and a fabulously decorative display stand to show them off. As a fellow ATC lover, I may have to invest in one or two of these!
    Alison x

  9. I love Claudia's layers of colors-so yummy!!
    Very cool holder to represent!
    Jackie xx