Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Metal Detecting Birthday Card–Mixed Media

On Saturday it’s my hubby’s birthday. A few months ago, he took up metal detecting, and is having so much fun with it, and making new friends, and sometimes finding some quite interesting things. I thought it would be nice to make him a birthday card this year that reflects this new interest and to celebrate a special joke we share together!

When he first started, every time he came home I used to ask him, “Did you find a Saxon hoard?” After that amazing find of the Staffordshire Hoard in the Midlands in 2009 by a metal detectorist in a farmer’s field, and the two men shared a reward worth a king’s ransom, I’ve been dreaming of retiring in style! My hubby is always up before I am in the mornings, and on his days off, he’s often out metal detecting, and he leaves me a note to say where he is – “Gone to find a Saxon hoard.” He STILL hasn’t found one, much to my extreme disappointment – I hanker after one of those glorious Saxon torcs to grace my now-not-so-swan-like neck… so I thought I’d “find” a Saxon hoard for him.

Here’s the front of the card.

I designed the metal detecting man in Inkscape and cut him with Sheba, my Black Cat Cougar cutting machine. The svg file is now uploaded to my SkyDrive and is free to download if you want it – it might be a useful addition for a man-type card, especially if you have relatives who share my hubby’s hobby.

I used my new heavy watercolour paper that I bought for mixed media work (I’m making my Fine Art Album pages out of this), but it has unfortunately buckled a bit – it may settle down when it’s completely dry. (In future, I may prime it with Gesso if I’m doing extensive wet acrylic painting on it.) I painted the sky with ultramarine acrylic paint diluted with acrylic polymer and a little water. The grass is sap green acrylic paint. The cross-section of the ground I first painted with burnt umber acrylic paint, and then mixed some more of the same paint with coarse pumice acrylic gel medium and applied it with a palette knife over the painted surface, to give a nice earth-like effect.

When this was dry, I added various bits and pieces for the metal detectorist to detect – some of these really are metal: the chain, spring, washer and tube, but the rest (gear wheels, key etc.) are from my stash of such things that I made last year from friendly plastic pellets. They had been painted with black gesso, and I just rubbed on some Treasure Copper and Treasure Gold (like Rub ’n Buff) to give them a metallic appearance.

I added the text to the image of the scroll, using Serif PagePlus (desk-top publisher) and then printed it, and cut it out. It is stuck onto the card using quite a lot of Pinflair glue to make it nice and dimensional.

Here is the inside of the card.

The left-hand side has the greeting for my hubby. I printed a separate piece of 100 gsm paper and then distressed it with Brushed Corduroy Distress Ink. The inside of the card itself, I distressed with Dried Marigold Distress Ink, and then stuck the printed piece down. The whole thing got a bit marked with the paint from the front and the right-hand inside piece, but on balance I don’t mind too much because it adds to the distressed look, and after all, metal detecting isn’t exactly a clean hobby!

On the right is his Saxon Hoard! I printed and cut out the text, and stuck this down with regular matt gel medium. I then painted the whole of the rest of the background with burnt umber acrylic paint as I did on the front of the card, and in the same way, applied a mixture of coarse pumice gel medium and burnt umber acrylic paint, which covered the edges of the printed piece of card.

I printed and cut out a large number of images of Saxon and other items to represent the Saxon hoard.

This involved a huge amount of “fussy cutting” with fine scissors, and I gave myself neck-ache doing it – it took hours! Some of the pieces are very small. I also cut out a large number of images of coins. Each one of these pieces was applied individually using Pinflair glue – some of the larger ones I hand-embossed before sticking them down to give them a bit more dimension. I added some Stickles glitter glue in several colours, just to highlight various points and add a bit of bling to make it look like a real treasure hoard. Once they were dry, I applied a further small quantity of the burnt umber and pumice gel medium mixture to cover up bits and pieces, to make it look as if the hoard had just been unearthed.

You will notice the torc in the bottom left hand corner. Earmarked – for me!!


  1. Absolutely brilliant - what a talented lady you are! Your husband is going to love this :-)

  2. A great card, the fussy cutting paid off! Hugs trace x 20

  3. What a fabulous card - so much detail and so much love gone into it - I'm sure he'll be thrilled with it. The Staffordshire find has recently been re-shown on Time Team (of which we are avid fans!) and the pieces are exquisite aren't they. Like you I would love a Saxon torc - who knows one day...

  4. Oh my gosh, Shoshi - what a fabulous card for your hubby! You are the only person I know that could spend that much time cutting out all that treasure:) Your husband will absolutely LOVE this!!!

  5. wow!! what a card!! i hope he appreciated all your hard work... and i hope he finds such a hoard :)
    have a great week!
    no. 37

  6. thank you for visiting and leaving such a thoughtful and lovely comment, shoshi, i really appreciate it :)
    and sorry, i misread the opening sentence on your post... i hope your hubbie really enjoys the card on saturday and appreciates all your hard work :)

  7. What a super card! You'll be selling them next!

  8. Amazing work! I am so impressed, I can't even tell you. You are very talented, and I appreciate you sharing your beautiful art here on your blog. I'd just love to have you share it with us in our challenges at Word Art Wednesday. We'd be blessed to have you join us. We offer free word art each week, an awesome prize to be won, and lots of fun. I really hope you will stop by and play along with us!
    Karen L
    Word Art Wednesday

  9. Wow look at all that cutting you had to do. It was so worth it your card is fantastic. Thanks for the visit to my blog Sandy:) #27

  10. I'm sure your OH will love the effort that you put into the card.

  11. This is SUCH a brillliant card and I love the story behind it! I'm sure he'll love it!

    Thanks for sharing. Ali #77

  12. That is so clever, I bet your hubby loved it.
    Have a great week.
    Von #7

  13. hope your ok i miss u of the forum and often wander how you are
    hope ur fella had a good birthday wish him abelated one from me


  14. What a great card!!! I do hope he loved it, you've really worked hard!
    Happy WOYWW!
    Zildara (#161)

  15. Fantastic card... love it... I bet your husband loved it also!! you clever girl fabulous idea!!! I do hope he finds his saxon hoard some day and happy birthday to your DH... Hugs May x x x#26

  16. Hi Shosh, just dropping by to say 'hello'! Loving the card! :) xxx

  17. Because I'm late to WOYWW, I thought I'd comment here sure did a lot of work for that card Shos..and my word, it was worth it! The fussy cutting alone would have done me in, but it is great, bet Mr Shoshi loved it.....

  18. Beatiful card Nice done, specially with the embellishments Plastic ones.

  19. That is a fantastic card you've made - did he like it? I've read your post on the country show, and glad you had a good time! We often go to the Dorset Steam fair which is pretty much the same with the added attraction of the steam engines and a huge fairground...

    Thanks for stopping by!

  20. Absolutely the way you use the metal for it..Metal business cards.

  21. Wow! That is such a thoughtful and well done card Shoshi. It makes me smile and think of what sort of personalized gifts I can make for the people that I love. Thanks of sharing this post! I found it really inspirational :) Your husband's hobby is fantastic! I've never heard of anything like that. I guess Canada has less history to be found in the earth than in Europe. Loved your childhood memories of the museum in Cambridge. No wonder you still have a fondness for them. We had a great day at the ROM. Felt thoroughly saturated after all of the visuals! Hope your having fun with your new computer :) Bye for now!


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