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How to Build a Mixed-Media Story Panel

Chronicle your own unique story panel inspired from this mixed-media board using found objects.

Anastasia Weigle of Portland, Maine, feels compelled to tell a tale with every project she undertakes. Coming from a traditional Greek family, her own story didn't begin with the encouragement to pursue her artistic dreams. But this outgoing librarian found a way to bind her book restoration skills with her creativity, resulting in unique and telling altered books and story panels, using a variety of found objects and original artwork.

Materials and Tools:

5" x 8" wooden board (approx. 1/2" thick)
lattice strips (to frame artwork)
copper sheeting
copper and red wire
copper finishing nails
photocopies of two photographs (portrait and full body from personal stock)
doll's arm
dragonfly made with wire
small directional compass
4 small stones
newspapers or old books
fountain pen
decorative art paper
rubber stamp (right and left wings)
burnt sienna and yellow stamp pads
white tulle
gold metallic pigment powder
4" wide brush
1 lb. beeswax
pot to melt wax
stove or hot plate
PVA glue
bone folder
gold, silver and bronze leaf
leafing adhesive
glue gun and hot glue
pin vice
spray clear coat
heat gun
flat black spray paint
hand drill


1. Sand the wood board.

2. Brush PVA glue on the board and lay two pieces of decorative paper totaling measurements of 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" over the glue. Smooth out any air bubbles using a bone folder. Let dry.

3. Sand the edges to remove excess paper that overhangs on the board.

4. Stamp wings (right wing and left wing) onto art paper making 12 wings (six right and six left). Alternate the colors.

5. Cut wings out and set aside.

6. Cut a piece of copper sheeting into a 3 1/2 inch circle. Brush with leafing adhesive and let dry approximately 30 minutes until tacky. Apply a variety of gold, copper and bronze leaf pieces and burnish with a dry brush. Attach the copper circle to the center of the board with hot glue.

7. Hammer copper finishing nails around the circle leaving the bottom part open. Weave copper and red wire around the nails.

8. Cut out the face in the portrait photocopy. Apply PVA glue to the back and adhere it to the bottom portion of the copper circle. Let dry.

9. Cut off the doll's arm below the elbow. Attach the cut end to a pin vice for ease in holding the arm and spray the doll's arm with clear coat, and then dip it into gold metallic pigment powder. Let dry. Hot glue the arm above the portrait.

10. Tear out and piece together the words Believe, Inspire, Create from old newsprint or books. Adhere the word "Believe" to the forehead of the female face. Adhere the words "Create" and "Inspire" anywhere on the panel.

11. Tear out the letters A-W-A-K-E-N using different fonts and sizes from old newsprint or books. Adhere them to the bottom left part of the panel.

12. Adhere the second photo to the left of the portrait.

13. Adhere three wings to each corner in a fanned pattern. Overlap the wings onto the smaller photograph creating depth.

14. Tear a small piece of art paper and write a poem using a fountain pen. This poem represents/interprets the "Resurrect Thyself" mixed media story panel.

15. Adhere the poem onto the board angled on the top right of the panel. Hot glue stones to each corner.

16. Heat wax in a pot on the stove or hot plate. Brush melted beeswax onto the board and using a heat gun, spread the wax around so that it evenly coats the piece. Let dry.

17. Measure and cut lattice strips to frame the board. Paint each strip with flat black spray paint.

18. Nail the frame around the outside edges of the board.

19. Glue the compass to the bottom right extending over the frame. To create the dragonfly, use copper wire and small pliers to shape a body and wings. Adhere this to the mouth with the glue gun.

20. Brush shellac over the entire mixed media panel including the frame. Let dry thoroughly.

21. Cut a 5-inch circle of nylon tulle and attach it to the nails around the copper circle.

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