Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Altered Brooches Tutorial

You may remember a short while ago I created some altered art brooches. Well, I've made another batch and a little "how-to" in case you'd like to make your own. Here's what they look like when complete...

Ready? Here's how....

For the base of my brooches I used THESE SQUARE TINSROUND TINS, and SMALL ROUND TINS  from

The tins have a clear plastic window that is fairly easy to remove. Just slice into the plastic with a craft knife and use a pair of pincers to twist and pull the plastic from the rolled tin grip.

The plastic will tear but your tins should be fine. You could keep window in place, but I prefer to remove them. Removing the window adds to the depth and you won't have to worry about the vinyl scratching or not being able to fix items that might dislodge inside.

Using the base of the tin, trace around the edge on the reverse of a decorative scrapbooking sheet. When you cut this out, trim slightly smaller, just inside the line, so that the cut-out will fit into the bottom of the tin.

I like to cut out a bunch in a variety of papers.

Affix your cut-outs to the inside bottom of your tins.

Next, I gather the images I think I might use. These pictures are all from the Tintypes Collage Sheet (my favourite!) and the School Days Collage Sheet. To add a little extra weight, I glue the images on to heavy decorative paper and cut them out.

To soften the cuts, and hide the white of the paper, I run a paintbrush loaded with an umber coloured paint around the edges.

Now I start playing with placement. I mix and match, moving things around until things start to come together. As I keep working, these choices will change. It's good to experiment and go with the flow :)

If you'd like to add wings, hats, colour or other embellishments to your cut outs, now is a good time to do that. Aren't these Small Angel Wings adorable?!?

To add depth, I use two layers of double sided foam tape. Try to cover enough of the back so that the image is well supported.

As you put your items inside, place and replace the lid to see how your composition is coming along. The lid will cover quite a bit of space around the outside edge so it's important to check how well it all fits together before fixing your embellishments into place. In this tin, in addition to my winged girl, I've added Glittered Holly Berries, Tiny Paper Roses, White Rose with Heart Shaped Petals and some gorgeous tiny ivory and pink paper rose buds. It doesn't take much to fill up that tiny space!

Let's start on the exterior. I use a toothpick to carefully add jewellers glue to the of the tin. The rims that held the vinyl window in place are handy for gluing down trim. Here I'm using 2mm Rhinestone Chain which is absolutely perfect for those rounded corners and pretty and sparkly too boot!

You can now fasten the lid to the bottom of the tin and work on further embellishing the exterior. For the tin below I used some Plastic Pearls (Strands) and an Artisan Elements Borders Sticker which, although I've left white, can be coloured. It's just the right size for the small round tins.

For this brooch I've used Plastic Pearls, Gold Fleck Trim and Rhinestone Chain.

Keep playing until you're pleased with the results. Work in layers, adding bits and bobs, here and there. When you're done, attach a pin back so that you can wear your new piece of art.

Now get out there and show off your handiwork!

For all the products used in this tutorial CLICK HERE.


  1. These are fantastic! Thank you for sharing your process!

    I have one question, if you have time: What are the main adhesives you use? Whenever I put together little boxes and such ... I can't seem to find anything that both dries quickly enough to keep bits from tumbling off and will remain stuck to metallic or embossed surfaces (non-porous, essentially).

  2. very inspiring ideas, thanks for showing them!

  3. Beautiful! Thanks so much for the tutorial, making these looks like alot of fun.

  4. These are darling and just in time for Christmas!! Thank you!

  5. These are gorgeous. Thanks for the how-to!

  6. So sweet - love your project!
    Great tutorial.

  7. These are super cute! I love them. Definitely want to make a few of these with a Christmas theme.

    Thanks for the Tutorial.

    Take care,

  8. What a nice idea and beautifully done.