Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Tutorial Repost: Altered Houses

This weekend, I'm reposting a couple of tutorials. This one is on how to create an altered house. I developed for a blog hop I hosted a while ago. The starting point is a baggie filled with two pieces of mat board or card board (one square, one triangle), a variety of coordinating colored cardstock and patterned paper, a few images and a variety of embellishments. The rest of the tutorial describes what I did with these. Enjoy!
Welcome House Party guests and anyone else interested in altered houses!  Several people asked for a tutorial on making altered houses, so I thought I would walk you through the creative process I used to make this house, which I call my Beach Shack. I hope you find the tutorial useful. I started with an envelope of supplies, which included the following:
I began by looking at the supplies to decide what kind of house they suggested and whether I wanted to go with it or change it entirely.  I thought these supplies suggested a beachy, funpark kind of theme, and I liked that. [If I'm starting from scratch (without a bag of supplies), I usually start with a theme in mind and pull out supplies (images, paper, embellishments) which support that theme.  Or, I might start with an image that calls to me and then choose supporting papers and embellishments.]  The next thing I did was to think about any of my own supplies that I might want to add - things that had a similar feel and color scheme.  I pulled out a few things, including paint, ink, brads and some 1940's pictures of women in swimsuits:
From here, I basically proceeded to follow the three steps that I outlined earlier in my collage tutorial:  create a background; add an image; and add embellishments. You can find that tutorial here.  It's truly not so different than what your probably do in making cards or scrapbook pages.
Step 1:  Background. To create a background for my house, I considered a variety of different ways to use paper and paint to cover my house.  I started with these three papers:
I liked this basic approach, but I really wanted my beach shack to have a rustic feel, so I tried out my two paint colors to see if either would work:
The brown seemed too drab. I liked the blue, so painted the bottom half of the house blue.  I still wanted it more rustic, so I considered using either crackle paint on top of the blue or spritzing brown ink onto the blue.
Since my crackle paint was a little dried out (and also drab), I decided to spritz the bottom with brown ink.  I also used brown ink to ink the edges of all the papers and the edge of the blue. Then I glued the papers in place, and my background was done:
Step 2:  Images. I decided to use two images:  the elephant from the envelope and a 1940's woman doing a handstand.  I double-matted the elephant, single matted the woman, and placed them on the house:
Step 3:  Embellishments. When it's time to decide on embellishments, I usually try a few different variations to see what I like before I glue anything down.  I used a selection of things from the envelope and from my stash for my first pass:
I thought this looked pretty good, but thought it felt a little plain still. I wanted to add something else, and I realized I hadn't used any of the cool gingham ribbon from the envelope. I tried out the idea of putting some under the roof line or maybe some squares in the lower right corner of the house:
I decided I liked it along the roofline, but not so much on the house.  I decided to put some yellow brads in the lower right instead.  I adhered everything to end up with this:
I liked it pretty well, but I felt like it still needed one more element in the upper left hand corner of the house.  I rooted around on my desk and found a cream-colored star button with orange polka dots.  The orange pulled some orange out of the elephant picture.  I adhered the star with yellow brads, and my beach shack was complete! [Just to be sure it was complete, I toyed with the idea of adding something else (small shells, a flag on top, flowers), but they all made it feel cluttered.]
A few things about the design that I think work well.  The color scheme followed the gallon-quart-pint formula (where you use approximately 70% of your main color - blue; approximately 25% of your supporting color - brown; and approximately 5% of your third color - yellow) which often works for me. The vertical line of the brads reflect and balance the vertical image of the woman doing the handstand (she's a friend of my Aunt's, by the way), the star with the circular brads reflect and balance the picture of the elephant on the round ball.  Like many of my collages (or scrapbook pages or cards), there's a background, a title (live simply) and then three embellishments (tickets, star and brads).  Everything (color, images, embellies) supports the theme of a Beach Shack. I've never studied design, but I think this is why the house works for me to feel balanced and complete. Usually when I'm creating, I don't think consciously about any of these design principles, but I can look at the completed product and describe them (and I find it an interesting exercise).  If I'm struggling with a project, then I usually try to think about design principles to find out what is or is not working.
I didn't use everything that came in the envelope or that I pulled out.  Here's what I had left over (it's probably enough for another house - LOL!):
A few additional thoughts. There were other directions to go with the background and embellishments. For instance, I considered painting the roof brown or using a brown paper on the roof piece and then cutting some of the flowers out of the patterned paper to decorate it.  I also thought about cutting out some of the compass designs and using those as part of the background on the house or cutting little triangular flags out of the yellow paper. Any of these could have worked.  Second, if the theme suggested by the supplies in the envelope doesn't speak to you, feel free to substitute for any or all of the supplies.  Third, just play with the embellishments until you find something you like. As Paul Gardner said, "A painting is never finished.  It simply stops in interesting places."  I love my beach shack.  I think it's an interesting place to stop and spend a few moments. It might even be a fun place to have a house party . . .
I hope you found this tutorial useful.  If so, I'd love feedback as to what was helpful.  If not, polite suggestions as to what to add or delete are always welcome.  Party on!


Sian said...

I still have my little house propped up where I can see it on my desk every day. It was a favourite project of mine last year.

debs14 said...

I loved this project Rinda and I too have my little house propped up near the computer at home!