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A Nautical Themed Box Craft by Alison Stephens

A Nautical Themed Box Craft by Alison Stephens

An avid crafter and Katy Sue fan, Alison Stephens has wowed us with her amazing craft projects made from Katy Sue products. We reached out to her and asked if she would create a unique project just for our Katy Sue Blog. We were so happy when she said yes! Here is her Nautical Themed Box Craft - A Journey To Atlantis. We hope you can give it a go at home.

You will need:
MDF Bits and Bobs Storage Box
White - Hearty Air Drying Modelling Clay 200g
Freestanding Acrylic Shapes - Teapot, Coffee Pot and Wine Bottle

Fish, Seaweed and Coral Mould
Seahorses Mould
Seashells Mould
Treasure Coins Mould
Sea Monster Tentacles Mould
Ancient Columns Mould
Ropes and Knots Mould
Clam Shell Mould
Neptune Mould
Swimming Mermaid Mould
Hinges and Screws Mould
Bubbles and Pearls Mould
Belt Straps Mould

A selection of matt finish acrylic paints
Deep brown creme wax
Hot glue
Heat gun
Stainless steel spatula
Tacky glue
Alcohol ink pens
Gilding wax in gold and silver
Modelling cork lumps

 

Method

1. We'll start by making the Shadow box background. Unscrew the hinges on the MDF Bits and Bobs Storage Box for better access. Paint the insides of the base and lid aqua blue. I like to use matt finish acrylic paint as I feel it gives a more lifelike final piece.

Alison Stephens Katy Sue Craft Project - A Journey To Atlantis

Alison Stephens Katy Sue Craft Project - A Journey To Atlantis

Using picture references build up the background using darker colours remembering that the closer the object the darker it will be. Use straight brushstrokes of white to create light beams.

Alison Stephens Katy Sue Craft Project - A Journey To Atlantis

Alison Stephens Katy Sue Craft Project - A Journey To Atlantis

 

2. Now it's time for the moulding and painting. Using the Swimming Mermaid and Neptune moulds and white hearty clay, mould a mermaid and merman. (Tip - wet the tip of your finger and rub over the skin parts of the moulds when you first remove them to make them super smooth).

3. Skin tone can be difficult to paint, try matching it to the back of your hand. Use a darker tone to paint in shadows and a lighter tone to add highlights. Again I use matt finish acrylic paint. Do not underestimate the need for a very fine paint brush for the facial features or use a fine brush nib pen. Use the same painting method for the hair using an overall colour and then painting shadows and highlights.

I painted the tails using metallic paints to give a shimmery finish. To get a good blend I used four different colours per tail.

I've put together a Youtube video on how to paint the mermaid, which you can watch here

Alison Stephens Katy Sue Craft Project - A Journey To Atlantis

 

4. Next, it's time to make some sea creatures! Use the white hearty clay with the Fish, Seaweed and Coral mould and Seahorses mould to create several fish and sea horses. Then paint then with matt finish acrylic paint (you can use my reference pictures to help). 

Alison Stephens Katy Sue Craft Project - A Journey To Atlantis

 

5. Mould the coins using the Treasure Coins mould and white hearty clay, then paint the coins a matt chocolate brown. When dry lightly rub gold gilding wax over the surface to highlight the details. Leave some parts brown to indicate ageing.

Alison Stephens Katy Sue Craft Project - A Journey To Atlantis

 

6. Mould several octopus tentacles with the Sea Monster Tentacles mould and gently shape them so they are not uniform. First paint them purple with matt acrylic paint then paint over in red leaving the tops of the suckers purple. Using white, highlight the tops of the suckers.

Alison Stephens Katy Sue Craft Project - A Journey To Atlantis

7. Mould two clam shells with the Clam Shell mould and white hearty clay and leave to dry over a curved surface. Paint with matt acrylic paint using reference pictures to help. When dry, brush with deep brown crème wax to give a more natural finish.

Alison Stephens Katy Sue Craft Project - A Journey To Atlantis

Alison Stephens Katy Sue Craft Project - A Journey To Atlantis

 

8. Using the Seashells mould, make several shells with white hearty clay, paint either brown or coral pink and then drybrush with cream. Finish with a coat of deep brown crème wax. (In the picture below you can see the brown base seashells on the right side of picture, and the coral pink base seashells on the left side).

Alison Stephens Katy Sue Craft Project - A Journey To Atlantis

 

9. Mould long lengths of rope by picking up and moving down the Ropes and Knots mould to continue creating a longer length. Paint cream and then finish with a layer of deep brown crème wax.

Alison Stephens Katy Sue Craft Project - A Journey To Atlantis

10. Mould four double-length columns with the Ancient Columns mould, using the same method as for the extended length of rope. Also mould four bases and four top pieces. Glue the halves together and fill in any gaps with hearty clay using a shaping tool. Paint dark grey with matt finish acrylic paint and then dry brush with cream paint. Create two blocks of hearty clay and add details using a shaping tool. Paint in the same way and glue together to create altar steps.

Alison Stephens Katy Sue Craft Project - A Journey To Atlantis

Alison Stephens Katy Sue Craft Project - A Journey To Atlantis

 

11. Now it's time to mould seaweed and bubbles. Using the hot glue, push it directly into the Bubbles and Pearls mould and Fish, Seaweed and Coral mould until full. Heat the surface with a heat gun to help push out air bubbles and flatten the surface. Whilst still hot use a metal spatula to scrape over the top to take away excess glue. Once cool, colour with alcohol ink to keep the transparency of the glue or use pre-coloured glue sticks.

Alison Stephens Katy Sue Craft Project - A Journey To Atlantis

Alison Stephens Katy Sue Craft Project - A Journey To Atlantis

12. Get the Wine Bottle acrylic shape from the Freestanding Acrylic Shapes - Teapot, Coffee Pot and Wine Bottle Set and paint highlights onto the clear acrylic bottle to give it a 3D shape.

Alison Stephens Katy Sue Craft Project - A Journey To Atlantis

13. Using hot glue, gather all your pieces together and place them where you'd like them to go in your box and lid (being careful the lid and base can still close). You can create extra depth by building up a hot glue length on the back of some pieces so they stand out from the background like in the photo below.

Alison Stephens Katy Sue Craft Project - A Journey To Atlantis

Here is how I arranged all the pieces in my box:

Alison Stephens Katy Sue Craft Project - A Journey To Atlantis

Alison Stephens Katy Sue Craft Project - A Journey To Atlantis

Alison Stephens Katy Sue Craft Project - A Journey To Atlantis

 

14. Now that the inside is done, it's time to think about the outside of your box. You can decorate it however you like, but if you'd like to copy my 'Journey To Atlantis' design, this is what I did.

15. First I painted the outside of your box chocolate brown with matt acrylic paint and added lighter patches to areas to show wear and tear.

16. Using white hearty clay mould and the Belt Straps mould, I created extended lengths of leather strap and eight pieces of individual leather strap. Gently manipulate the individual pieces into curves to create a port hole effect. Paint dark grey then dry brush with white. Gently cover with silver gilding wax to highlight the details and give a metallic finish. Do the same with two hinges.

17. Mould several screw tops with white hearty clay, paint brown then highlight with bronze gilding wax. Glue your pieces down with tacky glue and paint a title for your box, I chose A Journey to Atlantis.

Alison Stephens Katy Sue Craft Project - A Journey To Atlantis

 

Thank you to Ali for this wonderful picture tutorial of how to create this beautiful box craft!

To see more of Ali's craft projects, you can find her on Facebook and YouTube.
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Comments

Karen Marriott - May 21, 2020

I know Ali from doing some of her workshops at Crafters Companion Evesham Store, all of them are amazing just like this. Ali – this is fantastic! I love they way you’ve moulded the clay then manipulated it in some cases to get it to go round i.e. the porthole on the lid. The sea creatures, shells and scenery are all so realistic – I love it!
I love hearty clay and have made many flowers and sea creatures myself. It’s so quick and easy to mould and as light as a feather! Thanks Ali for an amazing explanatory tutorial – I might just have a go now… x

SUsanne lOvering - May 21, 2020

Wow!

Laura - May 21, 2020

This is AMAZING!! So much thought and detail have gone into it. It all looks so real.

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