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What I Did Over Summer Vacation: Van Helsing's Legacy

Shortly after Christopher Lee died, Michael DeMeng issued a challenge to create a vampire-themed assemblage piece and of course, I jumped at the chance! If you don't know who Michael DeMeng is, visit his website and behold his creations. Swoon over the details of each delightfully dark piece. Go. Now. I will wait.

You're back! Good!

I decided to alter a 7Gypsies tray I snagged on sale. I'd have a fake vial of vampire blood, maybe a wooden stake, and a Shrinky Dink rendering of Christopher Lee in all his Dracula glory.

A not-so-scary Dracula
What do they say about best laid plans? I bought a paper doll book of vampires (really, check it out) and traced him out onto the Shrinky Dink paper. I colored him in and then popped him in the oven. He did not turn out so well. That scrapped the Shrinky Dink idea. Back to the drawing board.

I had bought some buttons at the craft store that had hearts with a blade piercing them. Rust was on my mind so I painted them with Sophisticated Finishes and applied the antiquing solution. I had some extra skulls from the Vlad Tepes Shrine so I rusted them as well.

In my hoard of craft supplies I had some small bottles with corks so I dripped red alcohol inks inside to give the glass a bloody look and then added some brown stain to the cork so it looked old.

Everything was coming together, but the empty section just kept taunting me.

To let my mind rest, I coated the tray with Golden Modeling Paste, adding peaks and texture with a knife, then let it dry. Once dry, I painted it black.   

A trip to the craft store led me to some very cool metal frames from Tim Holtz and an idea was born. I aged the frame and found an image of Christopher Lee that would work. I cut, cropped, tea-stained the paper and tucked it behind the frame. Wonderful!

After printing up some phrases from Stoker's Dracula, I aged the paper and added it to the tray. I glued in all of the little accessories but thought the photo of Dracula needed something else. Digging deep into my craft stash, I uncovered a very special cross. I lovingly glued everything in place and admired my work. It still needed a little "something" so I added some white and phthalo green paint. I'm thinking it might need a bit more rustiness to it too...

Van Helsing was a sentimental guy


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