Thursday, 29 January 2015

Mixed Media Tealight Holder Alteration

Good morning everyone. It's my turn (Julia) to share an ATP Exchange Post where we do something a little different for your inspiration.

One of my favourite things to do is to alter new or secondhand items so they look more to my taste, may be given as gifts or alternatively used in my own home.

This week, I'm going to show how I've altered two small tealight holders which are available from Artist Trading Post.

These tealight holders are hollow so not as heavy as they look.
I wanted to make them look old and somewhat beaten up so chose to use paints and mediums to help. Here's what they looked like after I finished:

They are a little in shadow here but you will be able to see more detail in later images.
Both holders are given two coats of gesso and a light sanding in between coats. This is followed by using a stencil (find similar here) and modelling paste to create a design on three sides of each holder.
The holders are given two coats of Fresco paint in Snowflake. I want to have a good surface for the mediums to follow.
Initially I wanted to leave the metal candle holder as it was but this wasn't my best idea!
Each metal holder is given a coat of Snow Cap Alcohol Ink. To age the container, some Espresso Alcohol Ink is applied.
The alcohol ink is applied with a baby wipe. For some reason it seems to help the colour to split and the Espresso becomes a lovely rusty colour.
The blocks are now painted with Fresco Vintage Lace.
The next step is to add colour to the modelling paste. Fresco paint in London Night is added first followed by a light dusting of black Pan Pastel (find similar here). A good tip is to replace your stencil over the design and add your chosen product through this.
A light touch of Treasure Gold White Fire is added with foam through the stencil. This mixes nicely with the pastel to create a grungy look.
Each face with the stencilled paste is then coated with crackle glaze which is antiqued with acrylic paint when dry.
The fourth side on each holder is stamped with a PaperArtsy Mini Stamp (find similar stamp here) Versamark (or similar) then embossed with detail gold embossing powder - sorry, I forgot the photo for this stage! A coat of crackle glaze is then applied which is antiqued with acrylic paint once dry. Strangely, the gold embossing powder turns quite a pewter colour under the glaze but I like this very much.
To age the blocks, small pieces are cut away with a sharp knife.
To age the cut areas and edges of the holders, Archival Ink is applied with some cut n dry foam.
Two butterfly charms are coated with Snow Cap Alcohol Ink - I used an old cheap paintbrush for this task as it can be difficult to remove. This is followed by lots of Espresso Alcohol Ink, various acrylic paint colours and crackle glaze.
When the crackle glaze is dry, some antiquing cream or acrylic paint is applied and left to dry a little.
The paint is wiped away with a baby wipe leaving it behind where required. It slips into crackle glaze cracks really well and gives a great look. I will probably dirty this up a little more with some black acrylic paint and finish with some matte medium just to tone down any shine. I rather like the butterfly on the left too but perhaps it's a bit shiny for this project!
A hot glue gun is used to fix the butterflies to the embossed face of each holder. Acrylic paint is then used sparingly to give the effect of rust runs from the butterfly. This image clearly shows where the holder has been cut with the knife to give it that aged appearance - once the archival ink is added of course!
Once the holders are finished, a nightlight is added. I'm pleased with the rusty effect created by the alcohol inks.
Always difficult to see any sheen in a photo so I thought I'd hold this one and photograph it at the same time! Interesting to see the different tones in the Treasure Gold - I've probably mixed my colours a little in the pots!
Finished holders complete with lighted candles.
A night time photo so not perfect but here are my grungy, altered candle holders on the fireplace in my lounge.

Really pleased with these and even Husband says they look good there!
I hope this post inspires you to either buy a product ready for altering or perhaps have a look around the house and see what's hiding there just begging  for a makeover! Check out the stock at the Artist Trading Post for all your alteration needs and products.



  1. What a fabulous tutorial Julia! Beautifully aged, love the rusty drippage on the butterflies and the rusting of the metal holders with alcohol inks. Stunning! Ruth xx

  2. Love these Julia! Fantastic home decor project and a great step by step toni xx

  3. These are beautiful...lovely home decor piece!

  4. Fabulous altering, its a great tutorial, love all the aging effects.

  5. Wow, these are just fabulous! Love that stencil and those butterflies are killer gorgeous! These would look fabulous on my side stands!! HAHA!! Love the crackle too! hugs :)

  6. Fanrtastic project Julia ! Love all the detail and the crackle is stunning ! Sue C x

  7. Absolutely gorgeous makeovers Julia!! I am so glad you were able to get such a great close up of all the texture and color goodness- and the sheen- yum- just the way I like it! Thank you so much for the step out- I shall have to give a few of these tips a try! xoxo

  8. A wonderful creation ! I love the aged look and the way you show the steps.

  9. Oh wow, such a brilliant alteration, using some amazing techniques!! Love how the butterflies turned out, the stencils and crackle look brilliant too, love it!!

  10. What a fabulous transformation, Julia! I love the crackle and that RUST!

  11. What a fabulous transformation, Julia! I love the crackle and that RUST!

  12. Ooh these look fab Julia,what a brilliant idea and tutorial,thank you
    Big hugs
    Donna xxx

  13. A pair of absolute beauties Julia, great step by step :) Xx

  14. A pair of absolute beauties Julia, great step by step :) Xx

  15. Woooow!!! What a fabulous tutorial and wonderful tealight holders you have made Julia!!! I adore this project!!! Thanks so much for sharing your art with us :) Coco xxx

  16. Woooow!!! What a fabulous tutorial and wonderful tealight holders you have made Julia!!! I adore this project!!! Thanks so much for sharing your art with us :) Coco xxx

  17. Julia, your candle holders are amazing! I love the butterflies in particular, they are simply stunning. Your tutorial is excellent and as I have many of the things you used, including the holder, I am going to give this a try. The crackling is so beautiful - everything is beautiful about this project! Hugs, Anne xx

  18. They are stunning Julia, I'm inspired!!! xox

  19. They're wonderful, Julia - and what a great tutorial full of interesting tips. The babywipe's effect on the alcohol ink sounds really cool - going to check that out - and all that crackle is stunning, both on the wood and on the butterflies.
    Alison xx

  20. Lovely candle holders, Julia and fabulous tutorial! Just WOW and now I completely know I NEED more crackle paints/pastes!! Simply beautiful!! XOXO-Shari

  21. Great effect and brill pictorial x

  22. Great effect and brill pictorial x

  23. An amazing alteration Julia....very inspiring. Wonderful details and textures. Those items are now on my wish list

    Huge hugs Annie x

  24. So many incredibly clever ideas all so beautifully executed. I love the ageing techniques you've employed. And would you believe it, I'm told there is a small amount of alcohol in baby wipes, hence the reason for the splitting! And to think we've used them on children for years!!! Jenny x