Monday, November 25, 2013

Nature Inspired Altered Spool with Photo Tutorial

These spools by Gina's Designs are so much fun to decorate!  They are large spools and there is plenty of room to play with.  I wanted my finished spool to be nature inspired, and the end result was exactly what I'd had in mind.   I have created a step by step photo tutorial and you will find it following the photos of my finished piece.  The tutorial will show you how I created a  simple and dimensional faux bark look to the center of the spool.  I hope you like it!

Here is my finished spool:

Step by step faux bark tutorial:

In step one I have drawn lines of hot glue onto the spool center to simulate a tree pattern.  I grabbed a tree bark rubber stamp from my stash to get an idea of the pattern I would use.  It took just a few moments to draw on the hot glue.  Be sure your glue gun is nice and hot. My glue gun is the fine-tipped variety and I used the high temperature setting.  It took 3 of the fat glue sticks to achieve this.

In step two I painted it with two coats of white gesso followed by gloss enamel paint in light buttermilk.

In step three I used some ink sprays in nature colors to define the raised areas.

In step four I still wanted more definition so I  rubbed on some Lumiere metallics with my finger to further define the raised areas.  I followed that with a clear pearlescent spray for shine

In step five I covered the surface with thick coat of distress crackle paint in clear rock candy

Here is a close-up of the finished product

Although I did not do a tutorial on the rest of the spool, I will show you and explain some of the steps below:

Before attaching the top and bottom disks to the center piece, I first painted the two disks.  I used the same white gesso, followed by the same light buttermilk enamel paint that I used to paint the center of the spool. After the paint was dry I used Kroma Crackle to distress the finish on the disks.  When using Kroma Crackle I do the white glue method in combination as it dries quickly that way.  You can find this white glue method along with other product how-to's for Kroma Crackle HERE.  I purchase my Kroma Crackle at Dick Blick Art Supplies.  It has to be applied thickly for the best results.  I just use my finger to spread the white glue and the Kroma Crackle.  The crackle dries white so I colored it with ink sprays in browns and greens to look mossy like the floor of the forest.  Now it was time to glue the disks to the cylinder. I first sanded the top and bottom edges of the cylinder to insure better contact.  I then glued the top and bottom to the center of the spool with glossy accents.  There is a grove cut into the top and bottom of the disks so that you know exactly where to place  them on the center part.  I squeezed my glossy accents into the grooves.  I placed an item of moderate weight, in my case a ceramic dinner plate on top of the spool until I was sure the glossy accents had dried and that my spool was put together securely.  I then covered all exposed areas of the disks with the same rock candy distress crackle paint that I used on the center piece.

A close up is here

I gave the edges a finished look by hot gluing fibers along the edges of the disks.  I love these fibers, they are very soft and look like moss.  I purchased these fibers on Etsy,  HERE

Now the fun begins!  The next step is to start gluing your embellishments! 

I personally love the look of nature inspired, but I can see this spool decorated in many different ways, and I know I'll be making more.  I have a vision of the spool dripping with pearls and lace in a gorgeous shabby chic style, maybe an elaborate fairy forest, or perhaps a fun and funky steampunk design, or even mermaids in an ocean theme.   Whatever theme you choose, have fun and please share with us on our facebook page.

Gina's Designs Products Used:


  1. Wow - this is incredible! What a great tutorial - thanks for sharing....

  2. What a beautiful creation. Many thanks for the lovely tutorial. PS I have two cats and love them! Sue

  3. This is the most wonderful spool I've ever seen!! Now I'm totally inspired, and I've got to give this a try!!! tfs sweetie, and a very happy new year to you and yours!! hugs and smiles, Linda

  4. I so love this project. It is gorgeous tfs