Saturday, May 7, 2011

Vintage Bird Cage Ornament

Vintage Butterfly Cage

Technique:  Die Cutting/Scrapbooking

1.5mm balsa wood
'decor' crackle medium
acrylic paints
antiquing medium
silk flowers and leaves
butterfly embellishment
pva glue
fine grade sandpaper
matte varnish

Sizzix Big Shot die cutting machine
Tim Holtz Alterations Caged Bird die

Oh I love my die cutter indeed I do! Just for fun I entered this project into the "Anything Goes" Simon Says Stamp and Show Challenge.

Cut 2 bird cages from balsa wood and glue together.  You could use just one thickness, or use chipboard/cardstock if you prefer, but I love working with the balsa.

When dry, apply two coats of base colour, front and back.  I used Jo Sonja Antique Green.

There are different types of crackle mediums and paints available, and they can create different types of aging in your work.  For this project I used Jo Sonja Decor Crackle Medium, which is a 'sandwich' crackle.  This means you apply a base coat, then a coat of crackle medium, then a contrasting top coat, and the crackle medium will cause the top coat to crack as it dries, allowing the base coat to show through.  Apply a coat of crackle medium according to the directions on bottle, and then your top coat.  I chose a plain white for my project because I planned to antique it.  Allow to dry overnight.

Using the sandpaper, distress the cage further.  Go a bit heavier in some spots to let more base coat show through, attack the edges, you don't have to be delicate!  When you have the appearance you are happy with, you can age it further by using an antiquing medium.  Again there are lots of ways you can antique a project.  You can mix a little drying retarder with burnt umber acrylic paint and rub that over your project to age and darken it.  You can buy ready made antiquing liquids that are primarily just a mixture of drying retarder and acrylic paint.  For this project I used a Tim Holtz Distress Ink to add a dark tinge to the edges.  It's subtle but it's there, shame on me for not taking before and after photos to show you.

Once the whole lot is dry, give front and back a coat of matte varnish.  When that is dry, use hot glue to attach your embellishments.  Hang and admire!


  1. Very lovely bird cage and embellishments! Very striking. Thanks for joining us at Simon Says Stamp and Show Challenge. <3 Candy

  2. Hi Morgan I would love to see a picture! will be back soon!

  3. That's really weird... I did have a photo included, and the post originally had a link to the Simon Says Stamp And Show Challenge (I was entry 158), and now its reverted back to the draft form before adding those details... and another DT member had left a different comment which his disappeared. The Twilight Zone ate my post and duplicated it!

  4. I didn't realize you can used balsa wood in die cutting machines! Your project is stunning ... I love the techniques used on the birdcage!

  5. I didn't realize you can used balsa wood in die cutting machines! Your project is stunning ... I love the techniques used on the birdcage!

  6. This ornament is wonderful.....I make Victorian Tussie mussies, & Christmas ornaments & cards, etc., etc. Any time I see Victorian crafting, my interest is peaked. I'm really into die cutting & embossing also, & die cut alot of butterflies, so this project would be right up my alley. Thanks for posting it. You did a great job :-)