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Astar's Craft - Tissue-Covered Frames and New Rose Designs - 5 June

Tissue-Covered Canvas Frames

Believe it or not, but pretty patterned/printed paper napkins (serviettes) can make for the most wonderful beginning of semi-original artwork.

Things to gather

  • Pre-stretched canvas frame - these can be purchased from Spotlight or the Warehouse or stationery shops in sizes to suit.  I used 8x8 canvas frames.
  • PVA glue - water down to - 50% water 50% glue solution and container for mixing glue and water.
  • Paintbrush - or just use a pastry brush for glue application to canvas.
  • Paper napkins - with printed pattern to suit. These can be found at supermarkets or really nice kitchen gift shops.
  • Soft muslin cloth
  • Cracking varnish kit - available from all fine art shops


  • Take printed napkin and either rip or cut to size of face of canvas - or cut to cover face and sides of canvas.
  • Remove all layers of napkin - leaving just the top printed layer.
  • Mix glue and water to combine well.  Use paint/pastry brush to apply a good layer of glue to surface of canvas.
  • With care, position napkin to glued surface.  Use cloth to remove any creases that may appear.
  • Let completely dry.

To apply cracking aged vanish effect

I used Lefranc & Bourgeois cracking varnish kit available from the French Art shop in Ponsonby Road, Auckland or try fine art shops nationwide for supplies.

Full instructions for the aged and crack antique effect come in the kit, but basically this is how it works:

  1. Apply Ageing Varnish in a medium thickness coat that covers well.
  2. When above coat is tacky and no longer wet and has started to set - but before it is dry - you may proceed with the next step.
  3. The amount of time you wait will affect the crack you make - for large cracks wait up to 1 1/2 to 2 hours; for smaller cracks wait 2 1/2 to 4 hours.
  4. Apply Cracking Varnish to the tacky but not wet coat of aging varnish. For best results apply in smooth even strokes in one direction. The cracks should appear within 1 hour as the varnish dries. Allow 2 hours to dry completely. 

Application of the antiquing colour - black

Dip a brush or non-fluffy cloth into the black antiquing colour and rub it onto the canvas using a circular actions and concentration on one small area at a time. NOTE: The rubbing mentioned means to rub as much black into the cracks then remove any excess.

Leave to dry for 24 hours away from humidity and sources of heat.

NOTE: Use white spirit to mix with antiquing colour before applying to canvas surface - makes application easier.

Sealing art work: Apply a final protective coat of ageing varnish to work 24 hours after the antiquing colour has died.


New Ways of Designing with Roses

My friend has just returned from Europe along with photographs of how the florists in Europe are using roses in their design work, so today is an introduction into designs to come.

Things to gather

  • Tall black ceramic or glass container
  • Wet floral foam to fill container
  • Several big leaves like aralia, monsteria or aspidistra
  • 20 long stemmed roses


  • Place one of your selected leaves into the back of container.
  • Insert several of the long stemmed roses to rest in front of above leaf.
  • Place another leaf in front of above roses.
  • Cut another two roses about 1" shorter than first and place these in beside second leaf.
  • Place another leaf in front of above roses.
  • Cut another 3 roses to a stem length of 2" (below above cut roses), and step place these in front of leaf.
  • Repeat rose placement - this time 4". Continue in this pattern until you reach the base of container.

My friend tells me that this type of new designing is called 'stepped' and is all the rage.