Thursday, February 28, 2013

Specimen Art Super-Sized -Tutorial and My Easter Mantel

I got out my Easter Decor Bins last weekend.  I am always so excited to open my holiday bins up to be reminded what goodies I got on sale at the end of last year's holiday.  Well, this year I was dissapointed.  There was one wreath that my daughter HAD to have (at 6 months old) at Michael's that I was excited to see.  Other than that- disappointed.   I tried to use what I had to make a pretty Easter mantel- but it was looking an awful lot like last year... This is when I knew it was time to MAKE SOMETHING NEW!  But what?!  I took a little time for some Pinterest Inspiration and found this beauty-by Craftberry Bush.

I love the look of the shabby frames and the book page backgrounds.  I've been intrigued by this type of art for a while now, called "Specimen Art"- it is all over Pinterst in many different themes.  I decided to go for it.  Madisyn was napping and I really wanted to have something to put on my Spring Mantel, so I decided to see what I could come up with- with materials I already had.

My sister gave me about 15 books of fabric samples last summer- I've used a few sheets here and there, but never as the feature of a project.  I saw them stacked neatly on the shelf of my Craft Table and a light bulb went off.

I also had a mish-mash of old frames with very old photos on my craft room window sill.  I took the photos out and jazzed them up with a little GOLD spray paint.
I remembered I have a very old Encyclopedia sitting around waiting for me to do something with it....

First Steps:

  • Created a Stencil out of cardboard to cut around for both sizes of my eggs.
  • Picked out and cut my fabric samples out of the books.
  • Tore pages out of my vintage encyclopedia and cut them down to fit inside my frames.
  • Glued each Egg to the book page with Tacky Glue

I decided to go two diffferent routes with this project and ended up with two different results.  I did do the traditional Specimen Art approach with one of my gold frames. 

Mini Specimen Art

  • Spread a bead of Tacky Glue around the inside of the frame where I wanted my book page to attach.
  • Carefully laid my book page face down inside the frame and ran my finger around the edges to make sure the glue would adhere.
  • Let dry upside down like this for a little bit.
  • And turned it over to reveal my beautiful piece of art!

Specimen Ar Super-Sized

The second approach I took, was a variation on the style- I like to call it "Specimen Art Super-Sized".  The look I decided I was going for was more rustic than the gold frames I painted would provide.  Lucky for me, I hand-crafted around 30 Rustic Frames for my wedding and I still have a few sitting around the house unused!  I used Anna White's great Barnwood Frame Plan to build these- so easy, I hope you give it a try!

  • Glued each Super-Sized Egg (cut with my large stencil I made) into the middle of it's own book page.
  • Repeat for 6 eggs.
  • I didn't want to make the use of these frames permanent for Easter, so I decided to thumb tack my book pages into place for these frames- that way I can remove them if I want to put them to a different use!
I made six of these- each with a different texture and color hue than the others.  And I absolutely LOVE the way they turned out for my Easter Mantel.  Below are photos of my Easter Decor- Enjoy!

Other Noteworthy Elements to my Design:

  • The Branches are in vases with water- they are Cherry Blossom Branches from my front yard, and they have PINK BLOOMS!!! I will post a photo in a week or so when they open- they are SO beautiful!
  • The Rustic Candle Sticks are made from scrap 4x4- aren't they great?
  • Vintage Sheet Music is shredded for nest stuffing under my Craft Paper Eggs.
  • The ADORABLE baby photos are my daughter Madisyn- I thought the style and coloring of these photos went well with the concept, so I found this frame I've had for 15 years on a shelf and added them in- She's our little Easter Bunny.
Our mantel wraps around our fireplace towards our front door (2 sides of our fire place are exposed).  That other side always has to be done up as well since that is what you see when you open our front door- I went with a slightly more Chic look on that side-

And, to tie everything together, I placed the Small Egg Specimen Art Frame on the shelf on the wall of my dining room.

I hope these Vignettes inspire you to start working on your Easter Decor!  Have a great day and thanks for reading!

Beyond The Picket Fence
The Shabby Nest  UndertheTableandDreaming


  1. I love the rustic elements and the fact that you didn't use the usual pastel colors for the eggs. Very nice. Thanks for sharing,

    Emily (visiting from

    1. Thank you Emily- you have some really creative ideas as well!
      Enjoyed Perusing your blog!


Blogging tips