Grungy Steampunk Lightbulb

Close up image showing the completed 6" x 6" mixed media Steampunk artwork with a lightbulb on the lefts, gears in the background over a crumpled, grungy background, and a sentiment on the right that says "Sit and ponder the things you want out of life".
The completed 6″ x 6″ Steampunk artwork on mixed media board with die cut lightbulb, gears, and sentiment.

I’ve been on a gel plate printing mission lately. I really love working with my gel plate and trying to create as much texture as possible. I’ve been taking those gel prints, and die cutting them with my Sizzix Big Shot manual die cutter into some collage elements for my works. The lightbulb you see used in this piece was created by die cutting several gel prints into all of the pieces and parts that make up the lightbulb featured in this grungy steampunk artwork.

The Crafter’s Workshop provided me with some product to create this project. The opinions I share are solely my own.

I’ve wanted to use this TCW210 Number Collage stencil for ages, but had just never found the right project to use it in. In this Steampunk artwork, I decided to use this stencil to help create a sense of depth in the background. I laid the stencil directly over the TCW9053 6″ x 6″ mixed media board. Using a brown spray ink containing turquoise mica powder, in a splat box, I sprayed the entire piece, as shown in the image, below. I left the stencil on the mixed media board for a while until the ink had a chance to sink into the mixed media board. I then removed the stencil and washed it off.

Image showing the TCW210 Number Collage stencil with mica spray ink sprayed over the top, laying in the splat box.
TCW210 Number Collage stencil laid over the top of TCW9053 6″ x 6″ mixed media board.

Next, I took our TCW262 Gears stencil and laid it over the top of the mixed media board in the splat box. This time, I took a brown spray ink with a copper mica powder in it and sprayed over the top. Again, I waited for the ink to sink into the mixed media board a little, before removing and washing and drying the stencil. I repeated this process one more time (after I turned the stencil 90 degrees) using a blue black spray ink.

Close up image showing the TCW262 Gears stencil laying over the background in the splat box. The stencil has been sprayed with brown ink containing copper mica powder.
Close up image showing TCW262 Gears stencil laid over the top of the mixed media board and sprayed.
Close up image of the completed background showing the layers in greater detail. Outlines of each of the stencil layers can be seen randomly around the background.
Close up image showing the layered, sprayed mixed media board background.

Next, I took our modeling pastes in TCW9039 Copper Penny and TCW9038 Antique Gold, and used our TCW9025 palette knife to apply them over the top of the background to add way more depth and another layer that really stood out from the background. I swiped both modeling pastes through the stencil at the same time to achieve a messy, muted, variegated look which I then dried with my heat gun to create a 3D bubbly rusted effect. I truly love this effect and how it looks!

You know, I really adore how this back ground turned out, but it really wasn’t the look I was going for. It was far too pretty, and shiny, not grungy and grubby like I was going for. So believe it or not, I decided to cover it up! I took a piece of brown paper bag (a heavy duty, paper grocery bag), and repeated the process written above onto the paper. Then, I crumpled it with my hands into a ball, and smoothed it back out again. I dry brushed TCW9002 black gesso over the top of the crumples, which gave me the really sooty, dirty, grungy, industrial look I was going for. The matte finish of the black gesso also took the shine off a lot of the underneath layers, which was a perfect grunge effect. You can see this contrast of finishes much more clearly in the following close up images. I use these techniques often in my steampunk works to create lots of texture, layers, contrast, and variegated grunge.

Now it was time to attach all of the elements of the finished piece to the mixed media board. I began by adhering the grungy paper bag background (over the top of the pretty background) using plenty of TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium to ensure it really stuck to the uneven layers underneath. This provided some underneath texture that helped support the grungy creases in places, and gave it a really great 3D effect.

I had some black commercial scrapbook paper that was embossed with black outlines of gears in my stash (that almost perfectly matched our TCW262 Gears stencil!). Before adhering all of the additional elements, I finished them using a series of metallic waxes to make them stand out, and used black ink around the edges of the hand torn papers to give them an extra grungy feel and shadow effect. All of the elements were then attached to the mixed media board background using TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium.

Close up image of the bottom right corner of the completed artwork, showing the sentiment, layers of background, wooden and metal gear embellishments and all of the details in their grungy gloriousness.
Close up image showing the grungy, yummy textures of the background and wooden & metal gear embellishments.
Close up image of the finished artwork taken from the bottom left corner, showing the bottom of the light bulb, multiple wooden and metal gears, and a bit of the sentiment to the right of the light bulb.
Close up image showing the gel printed, die cut, hand outlined light bulb.
Extreme close up image of the left side of the artwork showing part of the lightbulb, a wooden cog embellishment and the paper background showing the textures, crumples, and finished in detail.
Close up image showing the texture of the modeling paste in the background under the lightbulb die cut.
The completed Steampunk Grungy Lightbulb work with the "Sit and ponder the the things you want out of life" sentiment, over two torn layers of background paper and foil.
The completed steampunk grungy lightbulb piece 6″ x 6″ mixed media on board.

If you’d like to watch a super quick fly-by video (57 seconds) of this process, please hop on over to my YouTube Channel @TealHareCreations.

Michaela Butterworth
The Crafter’s Workshop Design Team Member

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