Twiddleybitz Gate Mini Album (Tutorial) Part 1

I’m going to run this tutorial over the next few days. It would be way too long as a single post otherwise. So let’s start with the gates and cover pages.

[Apologies on the quality of some of my photos during the putting together of the album. Most of it was done late at night and the lighting reflects that.]

To create the cover pages that will be seen through the wrought iron gates, I first inked the edges of the chipboard with Black Soot Distress Stain. This gave me a ‘finished’ edge to them – making it easier to add patterned paper without needing to cut it exactly.

Before beginning the mini album I picked out the photos I wanted to use. Most of them have our old, faded grey paling fence in the background behind my daughter. I wanted to reproduce this fence as part of the mini album and the paling fence pattern of the Willow paper in the Pickled Pear range allowed me to do this easily.

I trimmed down two pieces of Willow to match the size of the gate covers and another to match the back cover. This is easiest to do by tracing around the chipboard pieces, using them as templates. Then I trimmed them down a further half centimetre along all edges. I’m going to use the piece meant for the back cover for all the images that go with my explanation of the process.


Once you have it trimmed down to size, you need to use a distressing tool (a proper Heidi Swapp or Tim Holtz one works best – though a pair of scissors will do fine too) along all the edges to rip and distress them. Add in some additional bigger rips here and there and tear some ‘holes’ in the fence in a couple of places. I’ve popped it back onto the chipboard cover here, so you can see how well the holes will contrast against the patterned paper.


The next step is to use a black ink (try to use an old pad if you can, so that the ink is not heavy and black, but is faded) along all the edges. It is important to ink down along the rips and tears to age them as well. A little bit of ‘overspray’ to the inking is fine too – see the 2 rip holes below for what I mean.


The final touch is to lightly wipe the ink pad across the paper here and there, so that you leave a light smattering of ink. A sort of smudgy look. This will ‘age’ the fence panels in the un-ripped sections to match the edges/rips. Have a good look at the following image and compare it to the one before it – you should be able to see that the second image is grungier than the first.

When you are happy with how they look – attach the fence panels to the chipboard cover with dimensional tape.


Here are the 2 front panels to match the back cover.


And here is the one on the left after I put the mini album title on it. I’ve used the Itty Bitty Alphabet (ALPHA005B) from Twiddleybitz for my title. These particular alphas are black to start with – but I added some black Kindyglitz to them to make them sparkle a little. Although it’s a similar product to Black Soot Distress Stickles – the finish is very different. The Kindyglitz has less texture to it, the ‘black’ is more pronounced and the glitter is more evenly spread compared to the Distress Stickles. Apologies that you cannot see the sparkle on the alphas – Kindyglitz is notoriously hard to capture properly in photos without using a flash and doing that would have flashed out everything else.


And here are the two inner gate pages as they appear in the final album.


I like the back of my mini albums to be fairly flat and not overly embellished – so all I added to it was a simple journalling spot and a couple of word strips – all from the Collectibles pack.


I wanted a wrought iron feel to the actual gates themselves, but at the same time I wanted them to be pretty and feminine. I got the best of both worlds by producing a glittery, rusted look to them by using the following process.

Ink the gates with a shimmery gold ink. It needs to be nice and thick. I’ve used Galaxy Gold Brilliance Ink from Dew Drop.  Then heat gun it to make it set. Check out the shimmer – this is one gorgeous ink.


I wanted a dual-tone look to the gates – so over the gold I randomly applied some Weathered Wood Distress Ink. It matches the dominant blue in the paper range really well.

IMG_3277blue crop

To get the rusty look I needed 2 stages – the first was to rub over the gate randomly with Black Soot Distress Ink and then heat gun the gate to set all the inks. You can still see bits of the Weathered Wood here and there.


The second half of the process is to add a thick layer of Black Soot Distress Stickles and dry this with a heat gun. You get this lovely sparkly look that is both grungy and textured at the same time.

IMG_3319stickles finish crop

Here’s another couple of views of the texture of the gates in better light.



Once my gate – both sides – was done, it was time to add embellishments. That’s a rather organic process – so it is a bit hard to take photos step by step thoughout. I pulled apart two Prima arrangements – one relatively recent vine with plastic leaves and flowers; and a much older bouquet-style arrangement of paper flowers. The yellows, light green and white of the flowers were a perfect match for the Pickled Pear paper range. To the gate on the left I added a small bronze filagree butterfly charm.

To attach the flowers to the gate I first entwined them around the ‘rails’ with whatever bits of stem and vine I could. Then I added a few touches of glue here and there to make sure they all stay put. I prefer using Tombow glue (the white/green container) but sometimes I find it doesn’t hold up to high level use – so I’m not sure how it will cope with heavy duty handling – but for just looking at – it should all stay put.

Here’s the completed left gate over it’s matching cover.


And here is the left gate as it appears in the finished album.


Another shot – this time looking on the ribbons that are tied around the “rings” holding the album together. I used a variety of ribbon styles, widths and colours (even some tulle netting) and tied some of them into bows, leaving others just as tied on strands.

(A note on the rings – they are silver – not my preferred colour, which is bronze. I can’t find any large bronze rings – well, I can’t find bronze rings of any size actually. Sigh – I will settle for black if I can find them – even a cream or green to match the paper colours. Anything is better than the silver. I live in hope of finding some.)


The other side of the gate has a matching floral cluster.


To finish off this side of the gate – since the other side got the title – I popped a couple of the die cut butterflies from the Collectibles Pack together and then put them over one of the journalling spots from the same pack. This is slightly smaller in size than the hole in the gate – so to keep it in place, I punched out an acetate circle and glued that to the underside of the gate and then glued the journalling spot to the front of that.


And here is the right gate as it appears on the finished album.


And now both gates together. The final touch to the gates was to add a little bronze chain wrapped around the gate. This was then emvellished with a bronze key and lock charm set, a bronze butterfly dangle charm and some pearls. The chain has been wrapped around both gates indpendently and then the final length is used to tie them together. You open up the chain by undoing the lobster clasp holding the two ends together. As you can see, without this, the album has a tendency to gape open.


A close up of that gorgeous chain/charm album closure.

IMG_3492chain detail

With the gate covers done it’s time to move onto the inner pages.  Check them out in up-coming posts. 🙂


One Response

  1. Lovely! The chains look awesome!

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