Category Archives: Tutorial

Putzing around

Putzing around


 There are so many delightful ceramic Christmas villages that people display this time of year. While I have occasionally been tempted to begin such a collection, I have remained true to the Putz houses that stem from an earlier era.

These Japanese-made cardboard houses adorned with sparkly materials, tiny bottle brush shrubbery and cellophane windows were mostly made between 1930 and 1960.

At the heart of my Putz village are the worn and slightly tattered houses that I played with as a child. Since I was born after that timeframe–I am old enough, I don’t need to add on extra years–they were tattered and torn even then.

Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts featured how I made my own little home fashioned after these Putz houses. Here’s how I did it:

GSL-Putz-House-by-Betsy-Skagen-171258 Read the rest of this entry

A Christmas Love Story

A Christmas Love Story

gsl-Christmas-kitsch-angel-by-Betsy-Skagen-0028Nothing sets my heart aflutter like Christmas decorations made from the 1940s-1960s.

Since this era was before my time and people typically collect things from their childhood, my infatuation may not make a lot of sense. But as the youngest child of older parents, most of my family’s Christmas decorations came from the 1940s and ’50s.

gsl-Christmas-kitsch-angel-by-Betsy-Skagen-0046 Read the rest of this entry

Small but mighty holiday album

Small but mighty holiday album


It’s true what they say, good things do come in small packages. At only 6 x 6 inches, this holiday album might be small, but it is packed full of goodness.

You can see how to make it by checking out my tutorial at Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts.

Christmas-Album-by-Betsy-Skagen-0004 Read the rest of this entry

Mixing media with a steampunk star canvas

Mixing media with a steampunk star canvas


With a blank canvas in front of me, I decided to let me creativity soar by creating a mixed media piece for which I had not meticulously planned the final outcome.

In fact, the focal point is something I spontaneously grabbed from one of my studio tables, where it had served as a paperweight for several years.

The impetus for this steampunk project were some chipboard gears made by Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts. Here’s how I brought the whole thing together.


Tutorial How to Make the ‘Steampunking to a Star’ Canvas


Begin by prepping both the Gears Shape Set and a blank canvas with a coat of gesso.


After the canvas dries. apply modeling paste with assorted stencils of your choosing. When the paste dries, dry brush your surface with yellow, grass green and sky blue acrylic paint, making sure you use a heat tool to dry the paint between each color.


Next use a white paint pen to highlight some raised surfaces and Distress pens to emphasize some of the valleys. Then adhere torn pieces of an old sewing pattern to portions of the canvas. Repeat with printed tissue.


Emboss all the gears with seafoam white embossing powder. Then emboss portions of them with copper, bronze, blue and green embossing powders.


If any of the metal bits of hardware (in my case it was the the spring) you plan to use are not rusty enough, you can make them extra rusty with bronze embossing powder.


Adhere your chipboard gears, metal star, metal hardware and dew drops to the canvas with a strong adhesive.


After the glue dries, you steampunk canvas is ready for display. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Enjoy your weekend! –

Great Stuff

Gears Shape Set


Large metal star


Embossing powders in bronze, copper, seafoam white, blue and green

Old sewing pattern

Tim Holtz tissue paper

Metal spring and bits of rusty hardware

Distress pens

Matte medium

Modeling Paste


Acrylic paint

Dew Drops

Beacon Fabri-Tac

A pink retro laundry room? No problem (if it’s in miniature)

A pink retro laundry room? No problem (if it’s in miniature)


Let’s face it, doing the laundry would be so much more fun with a retro pink washer and dryer. Read the rest of this entry

What is this packing light you speak of?

What is this packing light you speak of?

What is this packing light you speak of?

I just don’t “get” people who manage to pack light. Even when I travel to the family lakeside cottage less than two hours from home, I manage to fill an entire minivan with vital stuff I simply cannot live without.

This particular postcard, which I made as part of the “Postcards from the Road” set I created for the Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts/Canvas Corp Match Up, drives home this point. Read the rest of this entry

Memorializing a Mid-Century Updo

Memorializing a Mid-Century Updo


A talented friend of mine has taken on the challenge of giving her entire house a Mid-Century Modern updo with only inexpensive secondhand goods.

Her ingenuity impressed me so much that I though she should memorialize her project with a mini album. As as surprise for her, I made a little album so she could paste in before and after pictures, make notes of her awesome estate sale finds and even add in inspiration and ideas from magazines. Read the rest of this entry

Beware of homicidal parrots when creating altered art

Beware of homicidal parrots when creating altered art


I didn’t know parrots were bullies until I created this little altered art project for Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts. Hopefully not all parrots are such big meanies, and these guys are just a bad lot.

As you can see, they convinced this dim-witted lass that she can fly–that’s why she is precariously on the edge of the house, readying to launch herself into the air. Read the rest of this entry

A new approach to altered tags–three dimensions

A new approach to altered tags–three dimensions
A new approach to altered tags–three dimensions

 The lifelike qualities of the Architextures mixed media embellishments almost demand a new kind of altered art tag.

You can see my unique answer to that call on the 7gypsies blog.


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Turn an Altoid tin into a spooky mini album for Halloween

Turn an Altoid tin into a spooky mini album for Halloween


Spooky things come in small packages. Take for example this Altoid tin that I altered into a Halloween mini album. Read the rest of this entry