Spirit House (or) Shrine – Part 3

I ended Part 2 with covering the project with a coat of white gesso.  Now it’s time to add some color.


I wanted to match, as closely as I could, the color that’s predominant in the picture cards and T.H.’s Distress Paint in Antique Linen was spot on.  I poured some in a dish and added a bit of water as I wanted this to be more of a ‘wash’ than a solid color.


Yep, that’s just what I was after and see how the gesso gave this extra texture for the paint to show in light and dark streaky layers?


Next I went all over the edges with a couple of brown inks and a sponge.  Starting with  the light ‘Sand’ I get my sponge wet then squeeze out as much water as I can and then wrap it in paper towel to get a bit more wet out.  You just want it barely damp so when your brushing the sponge on the edges there’s a good consistent transfer of the ink where you can see a nice smudge but not watery puddles or too dry lines.  The darker ‘Coffee’ is next and I kept this color more to the edges only.  I prefer a permanent ink on these areas of the project as Tim’s Distress ink is water base and will ‘move’ if water gets on it and these pieces are meant for decor items that may, at some point in the future, get a damp wipe down for cleaning purposes and I wouldn’t want my efforts to come off on a cleaning rag.


This is where I lament my inferior photographic skills, it’s difficult to tell here but the color on the house matches the color in the cards perfectly (take my word for it).  I’m also ready to start working on the hinges.  These are also a Tim Holtz product (as are the photo cards, by the way).  But the silver color is not going to work here – no problem.


Tim’s Copper Mixative and Pebble Alcohol Ink are easy to work with, permanent and quick.  Just put 3-4 drops of copper on and move it around with the tip.  This will dry in seconds and then you can add as much Pebble – a drop at time – until you get the look you want.  Be sure to put the brads in the holes before you start coloring so they will get colored, too.


Close, but not quite it.  I wanted a bit more patina so I added one more color of alcohol ink.


That’s it.  With a few drops of Willow, now this hinge looks like it’s been around for a while – just what I wanted.  (Nice fingers though, huh?)  That’s pretty easy to fix, too.  I always keep a bar of Lava at my craft sink – it makes cleanup considerably easier than scrubbing with regular hand soap.


I love digital downloads, and every day the selection online grows larger.  The only downside I can see is that it’s too easy to blow an hour or two just wandering through galleries as you look for the perfect picture(s).  These feathers had it all – nature, some color punch, and a Vintage feel.  I needed to shrink them down a bit but manipulating downloads is pretty darn easy.


A person could have gone with just about anything for these front door panels including traditional human portraits – but I’m always looking a bit further a field.

Now that I have them shrunk to the right size, I trim off the excess paper so the picture will fit easily into the frame.  I needed to trim a bit more on the bottom right so I could tip the picture over some.  It just looked better at more of an angle.  Once I had it where I wanted it, I dabbed a bit of white glue on the back so it would stick to the inside of the frame.  You don’t want the picture slipping out of place over time.


MORE PATINA.  I love a Vintage/Antique look and the more layers you give a piece the more ‘interesting’ it becomes.  Back to the Coffee ink pad and sponge.  The frame on the left is showing where I gently lifted the cut out oval section so I could rub some ink around the inside of the opening.  You can see on the right frame how this adds a bit more depth to the framed feather bouquet.  And, of course I went all around the edges, front and back.  The left will get the same treatment.  Oh yeah, I forgot to show you but these frames come decorated on the back side, too.  That’s what’s going to make them such perfect doors.  They’ll be very pretty open or closed.


No hinges on yet, but you can get the idea of how these doors are going to look once they’re in place.


My hinges came out almost exactly the color of the printing on the photo cards.  This is really starting to come together nicely.  I arrange the hinges where I think they’ll look and work the best and then I make a pencil mark through the holes where I need to punch.  Using a 1/16th hole punch I run the brads through and spread them uniformly on the back.  You can also add some glue behind the hinges on the front side to keep them from moving on you later.


For me, it’s all about the little details.  So a small blunt paintbrush,dry, and rubbed on the Coffee ink pad then just brush/scrub it in the seams and voila – ten times the depth than you were seeing before.


This shows the difference fairly well.  See where I’ve done the bottom but not up the inside seam?  Way different!

This project is just whipping along.  As I am working I realize how long it’s been since I’ve made a Spirit House and how much I really like making them.  The hardest part is deciding what theme to go with because the options are absolutely limitless.  You can make these into a Love Shrine for Valentines Day, or a Memorial for parents/grandparents who’ve moved on.  A Tribute to Quilting or your backyard birds – literally whatever.   And the shape is almost as varied a choice as the theme so come on, jump in.  I think you’ll like playing, too.

Part 4 (the finale) coming soon.

Craft On



3 thoughts on “Spirit House (or) Shrine – Part 3

    1. I gave up having ‘clean’ fingers years ago. I’m sure they look pretty nasty when the color’s brown or black – but I bet people really wonder when they’re green or purple – like what the heck’s wrong with this lady! I’m suffering from Crafter’s Disease. I don’t know if it’s terminal but it’s certainly incurable.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s