Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Roasted fish?

or bunny or lamb or flower or  . . . whatever you want!

I was checking out blogs earlier and stopped by one of my favorite stops, Eileen's ArtSavesLives blog  (not my cousin mentioned in the previous post but someone I met on the Voyage to Mexico cruise with Tim Holtz).  She always has awesome projects and links not to mention a great sense of humor.   I had to do a double take when I saw her fabulous 4 x 4 canvas! (scroll down on Eileen's blog to see the canvas) I saw something that looked really familiar. . . the fish!  It is one I created sometime last year for a swap on the All Things Tim yahoo group!!!    

I used one of my fishies on my August calendar page

I told Eileen I would give the instructions on how to make that little guy (or anything else you want)!   First the disclaimer, if you try this at home (or any other place), do so at your own risk.

Now for the fun stuff!

The supplies you need are:
 * cut-out - can be any shape or size, can be free-hand or diecut.  As far as size I did not have much success with really small stuff (under an inch or so) or really big stuff (over 3-4 inches). I have used grungepaper, heavy brown grocery bags and cardstock.  I like grungepaper the best.  It is sturdier than the other papers I've used and it shrinks when it gets hot which I think adds to the overall look. 
 *Aleene's Tacky Glue - gold bottle (this is the only glue I have tried, so I don't know if anything else would work)
 * matches
 *container of water (just in case, I use a small glass bowl so not only do I have it "just in case" but I can put the used  matches in it and not worry)
 *candle - short pillar worked best for me
 * needle-nose pliers or other "holding device" you don't mind getting sooty (fingers will definitely not work for this one, lol)
 *cloth rags
 * sponges (I used $tree make-up sponges cut in half)
 * Acrylic paint - colors depend on what you are making

Step 1 - Light the candle
Step 2 - Spread the glue over the entire surface, there needs to be enough glue so you can't see the paper underneath it.
Step 3 - While glue is wet, pick up shape with pliers and hold glue surface as close to the flame as you can  (the non-glue side should be facing the ceiling)  moving slowly around until entirely burnt - about 2 minutes - give or take. 
Step 4 - Using a soft cloth rag, gently wipe off soot.  If it is done, it will be kind of a  metallic black under the soot.  If it is too "rare", it will look brownish.  If rare, return to flame for  another 20-30 seconds and re-test for doneness.
Step 5 - Once all the soot is wiped off, you can apply a little more pressure and squish the glue around (the outside is burnt, the inside is still wet) to give the object more texture.
Step 6 - This is the hardest part of all - once you have given it texture walk away from it and let it dry completely (I usually let the stuff sit for a day or two)
Step 7 - Use sponges to add color in layers.

Here are some more calendar pages and other critters I made -  

Some other notes - 

- The sunflower is the biggest object I made and was difficult to get all parts burned because of the uneven weight of the glue and trying to hold it with needlenose pliers.  Depending on the intended purpose, there is an alternative way of making the objects, especially big ones - before Step 1 you can glue a heavy piece of wire (18-22 gauge) or two between two cutouts, then proceed with Step 1.  After you completed the first side, you could glue/burn the second side and then have a totally dimenisional piece of art that can be used as a "sculpture".

- If you use to little glue and/or apply too much pressure you get a flatter surface as in my Jack-o-lantern above.

- In my examples the fish and Jack-o-lantern were made using grungepaper; the bunny, lamb, leaves and sunflower were all made with cardstock. 

If you have questions you can either leave a comment or send me an e-mail (link is in the side-bar).   

Edit:  6/3/10 9:55 p.m.

Just to clarify - "Roasted fish" is not my original idea (however, the title is my original idea! lol)- I discovered the technique in a  booklet I found at a thirft store called "Creative Living Book #99-207 - Aleene's Burnt Brown Grocery Bag" copyrighted 1991.


  1. Linda, thanks for putting the instructions out here. I saw the fish on Eileen's blog and noticed your comment as the guilty party - clicked here as fast as I could. Fabulous technique. Now, to remember where I stashed my grungepaper, it's been in hiding for a month!

  2. Wow, really great technique and great instructions Linda! Will have to try this, that fish looked really awesome, I must say. The choice of acrylic paint colors was great. Thanks for emailing and letting me know!

  3. Blinking on earth did you 'discover' that technique..fabulous!

    off to play now.....where did that candle go to! tee-hee!!!

  4. Thanks for detailed instructions. Love how your calendar came out!

  5. Wow amazing technique - extreme crafting or what lol! I love it, thanks for the tutorial
    Claire xx

  6. Love the calendar and what a great technique!

  7. What a great looking technique - thanks for sharing - I like the leaves the best!!!

  8. What a great idea! I'm going to give this a try!!!