Holiday Hostess Gift using US Art Quest

Today I'm featuring products from US Art Quest.


If you've attended rubber stamp and mixed media expos and retreats, you've probably seen Susan Pickering-Rothamel demonstrating the products there.  She is passionate about these products, product safety and product quality.  I've been a big fan of their products for a long time.  Just browsing their website I see so many items that are in my studio and regular residents of my worktable. So when I heard they were having a design team call, it made perfect sense to feature them in a post in support of this company.

Being a technique freak, I like to call out the many uses of a product and show you how to use it to its fullest potential.  I also like to take something that looks one way, and make it into something else entirely to hopefully inspire you to see things differently.

So today I am taking this mulberry, sewn paper and turning it into a holiday hostess gift.  I see circles – but don't they have the potential to look like holiday ornaments?  With a little technique and fun products they will!  Make sure to click on pictures for a closer look if you'd like.

Mulberry paper and most handmade papers are very absorbent.  This can be excellent when you want to control the flow of a product, such as watercolors.  I'm going to paint the paper using this interference mica and pigment watercolor palette.

I'm going to start with the Interference colors and color in the centers of the circles on my paper.  I'm using the coordinating interference color, to make it pop on top of the darker backgrounds.  In the sample below, I've colored the center of the red circles with Interference Red, using a paintbrush and a little bit of water to mix the paint on the palette.

Don't you love how that color just pops?  Also, the mulberry paper (or handmade, or watercolor will do as well), controls the flow so nicely.

I've continued on now, to all the circle centers, using coordinating colors of Interference paints.  Now they are beginning to have a holiday glow about them.


Next, I'm going to color the outer ring of each cirle, with a coordinating duo color from the palette.


And because I want to add a little wintry mix to my project, I'm going to apply the pearl pigment to my acrylic stamp, mixing it to the consistency of heavy whipping cream (not drippy) and stamp it onto the background in a few places.


It's coated up good, and unevenly applied – but that will give me texture as well.  I'm not expecting the perfect impression from the stamp — just the snowflake feel and texture.


Now to embellish the circular shapes further, I want to add a dash of glitter.  This is where one of my favorite adhesives on the planet comes into play.  It's called DUO Embellishing Adhesive.  And yes, I own a big, honking 32 ounce jar of it.

Duo is a multi-surface, dual-purpose glue.  When wet, it is a traditional glue, doing what you expect glue to do.  But it works on metal, paper, glass, mica, wood….LOTS of surfaces.  But it has another power as well.  When you let duo dry, it becomes a clear tacky, film like surface that you can easily apply glitter, powdered pigments and foil flakes to.  That's what I'm going to use it for.

Here is a hint about absorbent papers though.  Sometimes they are TOO absorbent, and so I applied DUO twice.   

The first time, I brushed it on to seal the paper and stop the absorbing of the product.


After a few minutes, I applied it again.

The second time it was ready to stay on top of the surface and do its thing.

You want to let it dry completely.  You will see the Duo reflecting back at you and crystal clear.  See these halos of light?

Now it is ready for the dry application of glitter (or pigment powders, or foil, etc.).

I pour a little bit of glitter in the center of a circle.  Just a smidge.  I'm doing a multi-color glitter project, so I don't want to have a lot of leftover glitter wasted, since I won't be saving the 'party mix' of colors when I tap off the excess.

And then I take my finger and gently work it onto the tacky Duo adhesive.

Do this for the middle ring on all of the circles, using coordinating glitter, powdered pigments, etc.

And as you can see, I've drawn, with a waterproof ink pen, a little rounded rectangle shape on the top of each of my circles to create an ornament 'cap'.  These I filled with Duo, and applied foil leaf flakes to each for a different texture.


I used the black pen to draw ornamental S-hooks to hang my ornaments along the horizontal sewn stripes of the paper.  As a final step, I randomly stamped words onto the paper, such as 'peace', 'joy', 'rejoice', 'hope' and 'love' in a lighter gray ink. 


I mounted the mulberry paper to a wood canvas using Perfect Paper Adhesive.


I'm looking forward to presenting this to our hostess on Saturday.  She always keeps the handmade cards that I give her, so I hoped a handmade decor piece would be well received for the festivities.

If you love making handmade art, make sure to check out US Art Quest.  Their blog is and the website is

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