Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Step by step

I had a few emails saying that people didnt have facebook so were missing out on the step by step on how i make my fusible film / fantasy film boxes and canvases. so here it is on blogger.
One thing about blogger that stands out when you are loading a fair few images is, its irrational way of loading them, regardless to the order you upload them, it displays them in any order it likes. so I hope i managed to shuffle them around in to the right order.... so here it is ..

1/ Here is the stuff. it has a lot of names, it depends on the make really. 'fusible film'. 'fantasy film' 'glitter film' angelina or angel fibres... you will have to work out where you can get stock from easily and go with that, but they are all pretty much the same and it comes in lots of lovely colours. ( I get mine at the craft barn at the moment and its by Cosmic Shimmers)

2/ paint your canvas or box a base colour that reflects the over all look/ theme you are going with. I have a bit of a thing with either autumn forest colours, or deep see colours so todays example is going to be ocean related.. I painted my box with Deco-Art paint in a nice aqua blue. it doesnt have to be perfect as the over all 'end feel' is somewhat aged looking.

3/ I have chosen a film in aqua tones. bear in mind that these films have more than one colour going on in them. although this one is predominantly aqua, it has a lot of pink in it when tilted to the light.

4/ I smeared acrylic gel medium over my box. this is what your film will stick to. in this instance I have used golden (brand name) and smooth gloss, but regular and matt are fine too. stick with what you have. its possible that good quality PVA glue would do as a substitute but do a test piece on card or something first to be sure.
5/ now tear off a bit of your film and scrunch it up...

6/ place it on your surface.

7/ Cover the areas you want the film on.. in this instance i am covering the whole lid of a box.... allow the film to overlap in places as it adds interest and texture in the following steps.... once you have your surface covered its time to take out the heat gun.

8/ start heating up the film. you can have the heatgun on at full blast for this because you actually want it to melt the film. as it gets warm it will shrink and tighten up, sticking to your surface...

9/ don't be timid with it... as my mentor, Linda Baldock, always told me when she was telling me about this technique ... "heat the holy crap out of it".... concentrate on specific areas and let the heat melt holes in the film... you can also use the heat to shrink the film back from the edges. dont worry about the Gel Medium bubbling up, it will turn clear when it dries and its only adding more interesting texture to your item.

10/ here is my melted film lid... see the holes and also ridges etc where the film overlapped itself. so this is the basic first step... you can leave this as it is and just add embellishments or use it as a basic background... but if you know me, you know i like to keep adding layer upon layer so I'm far from done.

11/ I want to highlight the ridges and bumps to just make it richer and more obviously textured. so for this I am using "treasure gold, gilt wax polish". the colour I use is whitefire gold. if you dont have this you can use rub'n'buff, or gleams etc. any cream based metallic polish will probably work. if you have none then try a krylon pen.. press the nib on to a cloth and use the gold from that. but as every step on this is optional, dont worry if you dont have anything. just move on to the next step. i simply used my finger to apply the polish to the ridges and raised bits of the film at my discretion.

12/ you can see where i have added the gold polish as it hits the light.

13/ its not as "in your face" as that when the light isnt reflecting from it... here is another angle.
again you can stop now and leave it as it is.. but I am not done yet......

14/ I want to add even more texture. I am using some of the fusible fibres (angel fibres) and i attach it in the same way as I attached the film. I use the gel medium. but the fibres require a fraction of the heating. be warned that as this is not the manufacturers intended use, then i am heating it in a way that its not expecting. the majority of the "twinkle" will be melted out. i am going for a more organic look. if you want the twinkle to stay in then gently iron some pieces as per the manufacturers instructions and simply glue them into place. But i am heating mine with a heatgun and letting them melt. they become a bit plant and moss like....

15/ here it is with the fibres melted on.... you can leave it like that... but I am not done yet.

16/ Remember you melted little holes into the film? well now I want to make a feature of them. because this is an ocean themed piece I am imagining the holes as rock-pools. fill some of the holes with glossy accents (you can use gel medium or PVA glue but the accents dry nice and clear and smooth like water)... once you have filled them, sprinkle in little seed beads etc.... let them dry... you can leave that step till last if you like but i like to get some of my other layers going over the beads.. so I am doing it now.

17/ I wanted a bit more variation in colour added to my surface and for this, i like to use alcohol inks... you can apply in the usual way but i like to wet the surface with blending solution (or use the cheaper version of "rubbing alcohol" which is fine as long as its not on glass as it seems to have a slight cloudy residue on glass. ) when the surface is wet I drip on my chosen alcohol inks... this time I used "stream". i tilt the surface and let the inks run across the surface. I also gave this one a slight misting with a mica based mist ( i used a gold one).

18/ so its looking pretty cool now. shiny and textured with some subtle colour variations . again, you can leave it like this. I just cant help myself, so I have more to add.

19/ I want to add some embossing powders. you can adhere the powders any way you like. i like to sprinkle them on right after the ink and mica spray, while its still wet (maybe give it another wee spray to be sure its wet enough) I used cosmic shimmers powders for this... a gold one (forget its name.. might just be "gold" lol.... and i used "Lapis jade". More heatgun and melting. concentrate the heat on the powders as you want them to melt down in to pools of lava like colour..... then let it cool.

20/ as a final touch, i sued a few dabs of "stickles" glitter. I think i used one called "ice crystal" or something. (I'm not very informative am I lol). you can see the effect of the stickles a little better in the next photo as it catches the light... I am actually contented to leave that as it is now and simply glue on my embellishments. I have just added a selection of metal "ocean" related charms etc. you can change your theme depending on colours and available embellishments.

there now. after fighting with google, the images seem to be in the right order and there is my step by step guide as to how i do my film covered canvases and boxes. its still up on facebook too for those who prefer to go through it that way.

thanks for all the interest you guys have shown and I hope this proves of some use.



  1. Thanks for that Louise. I saw, and commented on your Facebook tutorial but I can get in much closer on these photos and really see all that detail. Still haven't done the cover for my Altered Book but when I do I'm going to be using your method.
    Ann B

  2. That's just brill. I have everything you have used in one form or another so no excuise not to give it a go is there? Have never tried heating the fusible fibres with a heat gun but love the effect you've got.


  3. Hi Louise,
    I tried heating the fantasy film, for my matchbox, and love the effect you get with it, I'm now looking at a pizza box that I got to use with mica sprays, but never got the sprays, lol.... it's calling out to be altered hee hee hee, Dont stand still in my house,lol....

    1. LOL I know the feeling. I eye up everything to see if it can be altered. my family can often be heard muttering "dont even think about it" as they clutch their possessions lol.

  4. This is a great tutorial. I've got some of that fantasy film but wasn't sure how to use it. Now I can experiment!

  5. To-day my life has changed somewhat, Love this box, now I need some Fantasy film to give it a try. Linda, where have I been that I have not found your brilliant blog before now. Definately a new follower. Hugs Rita xx

    1. thank you so much and welcome. the film is great fun (this is not its recommended use but i prefer this use) . if you have any questions just email.

  6. Hi Louise. What a fabulous blog site. Your work is right up my street so I have became a new follower si I can visit you regularly. I note you are a fellow Scot too..............gorgeous creations to inspire definitely be back.......TFS......Annie :)

  7. A beautiful box and a wonderful tutorial!

  8. So glad you shared this with us Louise, I have had fibres and film for ages and I just love how you have used them, I love how you continue adding bits .....inspirational

  9. Have tried fibres in the conventional way - looking forward to playing with them and the heat gun now - all I need to get is some fantasy film.

  10. Hi Louise, would never have dreamed of using the film this way. I've only ever ironed it and thought it looked a bit rubbish so shoved it back in a draw, but this looks fantastic. Will definitely try this, thanks for sharing the technique, your box yours like sunken treasure. xx

  11. Thank you so much for the tutorial! I will have to try this!!! It looks fascinating and your instructions are awesome! <3 Candy

  12. your box turned out beautiful... I need to get my angelina back out of the cupboard... Thank you for the inspiration

  13. So, so pretty, you are a clever girl.

  14. WOW, totally stunning. I am amazed at what you do with products most of us already have, but certainly don't use like this. Well that was until now. Thank you for sharing with us all. I'm off to try my hand at this.
    Thank you for the inspiration to try something new.


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