Embellishments for Mystery & Dazzle

Plaster and gauze are ideal materials for embellishing your art shrines and assemblages.

To learn the basics of using plaster and gauze, see:

When using plaster-embedded gauze, you can create fabulous textural effects with common household and art objects.

Among my favorites are soft drink bottlecaps. Place one with the open side up, and drape the wet gauze over it. Press it around the shape, inside the cap, and leave enough gauze around the bottlecap to hold it in place on the shrine.

After it dries and you’ve painted the shrine, a  flat-bottomed glass beads/stones fits perfectly, one in each bottlecap. (My current package of those beads is labelled, “Glass Decorative Gems.”  They’re inexpensive and available at arts & crafts stores as well as budget import shops.)

Here’s how it looks when finished:

bead in a bottlecap embellished shrine

However, you can use other supports for the gauze.

One of my favorites is a Pringle’s potato chip can lid. This creates a circular area with a lip that is perfect for putting the focus on an inset image such as a religious icon, or small embellishments such as a rusty lock, etc.

I used a Pringle’s lid for this shrine:

Pringle's lid as part of assemblage on art shrine

You can also drape the gauze over wooden shapes such as stars, moons, a Celtic cross, numbers, letters, and so on.  Check arts & crafts stores for inexpensive wooden cut-outs that will add interest to your shrine.

You might want an eerie effect, draping it over a doll’s face, similar to the “mummies” that were popular in art a few years ago.

There are an endless number of textured and dimensional objects to try under gauze. Check your toolbox, trash, or even your drawer of kitchen tools for ideas.

Remember two things:

  • This gauze sticks to anything, including Altoid tins.
  • And, be sure to drape enough of it around the applied object, so that it is held in place when the gauze dries.

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