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For the Love of Africa –Mixed Media Night Light

In my job, I’m incredibly lucky to travel throughout Africa, not as a travel blogger, but as a strategic data consultant. And after visiting some of the most beautiful countries on the continent, like Egypt, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Mauritius, Mozambique, and my all-time favorite Nigeria, I’ve developed a deep abiding love of Africa and all her people. So when my fellow bloggers from the IBC suggested mixed media for this month’s challenge, the first thing that went through my mind was how I could celebrate the dark, chaotic madness and raw beauty of this continent I call home. Which is how I ended up creating this “For the Love of Africa” Mixed Media Night Light.

Mixed media pieces are always fun to put together and the possibilities are endless. This tutorial will show you how to make cardboard look like a rusty sheet of metal and turn your mixed media into a night light. #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor

Mixed media pieces are always fun to put together. The possibilities are endless. From combining broken bits of glass, shells, and beads with paint to tearing up cardboard boxes to create a rusty metal continent that has so much to offer the rest of the world ;- )

Mixed media pieces are always fun to put together and the possibilities are endless. This tutorial will show you how to make cardboard look like a rusty sheet of metal and turn your mixed media into a night light. #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor

But before we get to the mixed media night light tutorial let me quickly tell you a little more about the IBC

Soooooooo what’s the IBC all about?

The IBC, or International Blogger’s Club, is a group of bloggers from all over the world who challenge each other to make something using a common theme. Our previous challenge was all about Valentine’s day and we made this adorable quiver full of macramé arrows by recycling a soda can. This month our challenge is mixed media and I decided to celebrate “Africa”. You can see what my friends did with their Mixed Media challenge at the bottom of the tutorial.

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What you Need For this Mixed Media Night Light

  • Piece of Wood
  • Craft Paint – I used Unicorn SPiT
  • Cardboard box
  • Spice and craft glue
  • Transfer medium (optional)
  • Jewelry wire
  • Fairy lights
  • Drill and screws

How to Make a Mixed Media Night Light

Choosing a base and a background

In my humble opinion, mixed media art should always tell a visual story. And like most stories, it all starts with a solid base and a background. For the base of the “Love of Africa” mixed media night light, I used a scrap piece of wood that the Hubby roughened up a bit lot with a wire-brush drill attachment. If you’re going to turn your art into a night light, any base that’s rigid and durable enough to support your design and the lights will work.

Create texture for added interest #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor

Once the base had been prepped, I applied some of my favorite Unicorn SPiT colors all over the board to represent the two oceans that embrace Africa.

Paint the background in shades of blue. #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor #UnicornSpiT

And added a few random wavy shapes with a stirrer.

Building up layers is key to making mixed media #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor

I kept on adding layers of paint until the ocean background felt right.

Building up layers is key to making mixed media #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor

Adding quotes, poems, and words

I love adding quotes, poems or special words on my mixed media art. The words help tie everything together and they serve as a gentle reminder of the story you’re trying to convey. In my case, my love of Africa. For the mixed media night light, I choose an amazing poem that can be read in both Afrikaans and English and it means the same thing.

A Poem that can be read in English and Afrikaans.

It’s freaky and brilliant. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to read it without switching between my two home languages 😀 If you’re not an Afrikaans speaker, you can click on the short video below to hear how it sounds.

My Stories Begin As Letters

You can write the words directly on to the background, or you can print them and use any kind of transfer medium to add them. I took the easy way out and used “temporary tattoo” paper to add the words. Most of the time my handwriting looks like a legless spider decided to do the Macarena 😀

Transfer the poem onto the background. #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor

Use what you have

One of the most satisfying things about mixed media is that you can use things you have at home. It’s kinda like recycling scraps and leftover bits to make art. And you know how much we love recycling stuff. Anything goes as long as you can stick it down and it builds on your story. To make “Africa” I traced the contours onto a piece of MDF that was leftover from when we made this mosaic unicorn, and cut it out with our trusty jigsaw.

Draw the African continent on board and cut it out with a jigsaw #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor

There are so many different ways to embellish the African continent or whatever shape you decide to use. Glue on fabric scraps or buttons, or give it a crazy cracked up paint effect. But none of those seemed to gel with the rusty, dusty, old, worn, and “filled with potential” African story I had going on inside my head. So I decided to repurpose a cardboard box and simply removed the top layer of paper to get at the corrugated layers underneath. We’ve used the same technique in the past to make a roof for our brick fairy house.

Tear the upper layer of paper off of the cardboard box. Trace and cut out the African continent. #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor #wireheart

The de-layered (is that even a word?) cardboard was cut and glued onto the MDF.

And then the whole continent was painted silver.

Paint the cardboard a metallic silver. #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor #wireheart

Right, time to take this mixed media night light up a notch with some texture 😉

Adding texture

Mixed media is all about combining different textures and mediums. It adds dimension and visual interest. You can use texture paste, masking tape, washi tape, thick gooey paint, twigs, sand, buttons or any kind of embellishment that fits your theme or the story you want to tell. In my case, I decided to spice things up a little to create a rust effect on Africa 😉 Just brush on some craft glue and randomly sprinkle coarse spice all over.

Paint on a layer of craft glue and randomly sprinkle on some coarse salt. #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor #wireheart

Once the glue dries, add layers of brown and black craft paint and speckle on some orange with a toothbrush.

Add washes of brown, black and orange to create a faux rust effect. #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor

Putting a little heart into it

Mixed media is a playful art, where you can experiment and break the rules to your heart’s content. It’s a fun expression of an idea using different mediums. And more importantly, it’s about letting your inner child take over. Your mixed media art should be an expression of YOU.

I stay in South Africa and wanted to add one more thing before turning my rusty African continent into a night light. Since we use a lot of jewelry wire in our craft projects, it seemed appropriate to use a small off cut to make a wire heart.

How to bend the jewelry wire to make a heart #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor #wireheart

And glue it on roughly where we stay 😉

Mixed media pieces are always fun to put together and the possibilities are endless. This tutorial will show you how to make cardboard look like a rusty sheet of metal and turn your mixed media into a night light. #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor

Turning mixed media art into a night light

Okay, so I promised you a night light tutorial and now that all the key bits are finished, I can finally show you how to wire everything up 😉 For this mixed media piece, I placed my rusty African continent on my background and lightly marked where it would go. I wanted to hide the lights behind a “floating Africa” so I added three screws and drilled a hole in the board for the lights to fit through.

Add a few screws to balance Africa on. #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor

Thread the string lights through the hole, so the power pack can be hidden behind the board.

Thread the fairy lights through the hole. #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor

Test if the lights work before gluing them onto the back of the African continent (or whatever shape you’ve used in your mixed media).

Test if the lights work #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor

And finally, balance and glue Africa on to the screws.

Test if the lights work #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor

The night light is very subtle but it casts such a lovely glow behind Africa. It’s almost as if she’s been lit from inside. And if you’ve ever been lucky enough to spend time here, you’ll know how true that is. Africa has a way of creeping deep inside your soul and shining a light like no other place in the world 💓

Mixed media pieces are always fun to put together and the possibilities are endless. This tutorial will show you how to make cardboard look like a rusty sheet of metal and turn your mixed media into a night light. #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor

And during the day the rusty African continent adds a beautiful pop of color.

Mixed media pieces are always fun to put together and the possibilities are endless. This tutorial will show you how to make cardboard look like a rusty sheet of metal and turn your mixed media into a night light. #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor

The words, layers and the textures help draw the eye, inviting you in for a closer look.

Mixed media pieces are always fun to put together and the possibilities are endless. This tutorial will show you how to make cardboard look like a rusty sheet of metal and turn your mixed media into a night light. #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor

You can use anything to create your mixed media night light. That being said, it’s not just about what you can use, but rather how you use all the bits and pieces to tell your visual story.

Mixed media pieces are always fun to put together and the possibilities are endless. This tutorial will show you how to make cardboard look like a rusty sheet of metal and turn your mixed media into a night light. #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor

If things are just thrown together haphazardly without any thought to composition, textures, colors or balance it might not turn out quite the way we imagined.

Mixed media pieces are always fun to put together and the possibilities are endless. This tutorial will show you how to make cardboard look like a rusty sheet of metal and turn your mixed media into a night light. #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor

If you enjoyed this mixed media night light tutorial don’t forget to pin it for later.

Mixed media pieces are always fun to put together and the possibilities are endless. This tutorial will show you how to make cardboard look like a rusty sheet of metal and turn your mixed media into a night light. #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor

Sharing is caring 😉

Mixed media pieces are always fun to put together and the possibilities are endless. This tutorial will show you how to make cardboard look like a rusty sheet of metal and turn your mixed media into a night light. #mixedmedia #mixedmediatutorial #DIYNightLight #ACraftyMix #fauxrust #Africa #HomeDecor

Oh and if you’re looking for some of the things we used, we’ve got you covered Disclosure: Clicking on the links below, means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us come up with more amazing craft ideas to share with you 😉

BENECREAT 12 17 18 Gauge Aluminum Wire (18 Gauge,492 FT) Anodized Jewelry Craft Making Beading Floral Colored Aluminum Craft Wire - Silver
YIHONG Fairy String Lights USB Powered, 33ft Twinkle Lights with RF Remote, Color Change Firefly Lights - 13 Colors
Darice Cotton Stretched Canvas, Pack of 2 – 11” x 14” Double Acrylic Primed Painting Canvas with Wooden Frame, Ideal for Acrylic or Oil Paints, Acid-Free, Medium Weight Blank Canvas

And if you prefer to buy rather than DIY

Sale Extra Large 7.1'/18cm Gahaya Moon Lamp, 3D Printed Light, Touch Control, Stepless Dimmable, Warm White & Cool White, PLA material, USB Recharge
Wall Art Blue map of The World Painting Ready to Hang -20' x 40' Pieces Large Framed Wall Art World Map Canvas Art Map Wall Decorations Artwork Prints for Background for Home Office Decoration.
Fourth and Forrest Africa Metal Wall Hanging | Africa Sign | Minimalist Modern Décor | Mixed Metals | Copper Africa | Home Décor | Gallery Wall Art | Copper

Pssst, don’t forget the see what my friends from the Int’l Bloggers Club have done with their Mixed Media challenge. Their links should be down below.

IBC Mixed Media Challenge

Unique Creations by Anita | Northern Feeling | A Crafty Mix

And as always, wishing you a wonderful, crafty week filled with lots of love. Thank you for popping in for a visit.

Made with love by a Crafty Mix

Categories:   Art by Mix, Craft Tutorials, Home Decor Crafts, Quick & Easy Crafts, Wire Crafts

Comments

  • Posted: February 21, 2020 14:26

    Gemma

    This is so beautiful! You are so talented, and I just love the meaning behind the piece! I wish I was creative :D xo
    • Posted: February 21, 2020 15:14

      acraftymix

      😍 In all honesty Gemma, I think you're very creative. I popped into your blog and I love your way with words. I hardly ever wear makeup but you make me want to rush out and buy all kinds of glittery stuff.
  • Posted: February 20, 2020 23:04

    Christina

    Michelle, you amaze me! This is so adorable :-)
    • Posted: February 21, 2020 04:53

      acraftymix

      🤗 THank you Christina
  • Posted: February 19, 2020 18:55

    Linda Johnston

    Art that impacts me as an appreciator nearly always has a story. Thank you for sharing this piece and your story. Also the tutorial was great to have.
    • Posted: February 20, 2020 09:27

      acraftymix

      That's so true, Linda. I believe it was Degas who said: “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” 💞
  • Posted: February 19, 2020 03:07

    Kim

    Michelle, you are a true artist. This is gorgeous.
    • Posted: February 19, 2020 05:15

      acraftymix

      😘 Thank you so very much, Kim
  • Posted: February 18, 2020 17:19

    Marie

    What a beautiful heartfelt work of art, Michelle! Your love of Africa is palpable. You tugged at the heartstrings a little with the heart placement. Such a wonderful idea turning it into a subtle night light. I'm a huge fan of mixed media. In fact, my closest friend is a mixed media artist, so this challenge speaks to me. I so regret not joining you, uber-talented ladies, this month. Pinned a few times :)
    • Posted: February 19, 2020 05:19

      acraftymix

      Awwww Marie, I totally understand why you couldn't join us this month. I hope you had a wonderful family day on your side of the world and that the weather's improving a little too. Thank you so much for the pins and there will always be a space here for you in the South of Africa if you ever decide to come and visit our wild and beautiful country 💓 The beers are always cold and sunshine and smiles are guaranteed
  • Posted: February 18, 2020 17:16

    Maria Brittis

    I love this and the colors are so vibrant.
    • Posted: February 19, 2020 05:32

      acraftymix

      Thank you, Maria 💞 I tried to get the color of the ocean around Africa to match the calm tranquil Mauritian waters
  • Posted: February 18, 2020 02:46

    Deana Landers

    Michelle, how beautiful and what a great life and story. I have many readers from Nigeria and Africa and hope to visit there one day.
    • Posted: February 18, 2020 05:11

      acraftymix

      😍 I hope you do get to come visit one day soon Deana. Africa is a very special place
  • Posted: February 17, 2020 20:38

    Anita holland

    This is a super great project as always. I had to giggle reading the poem because I read it in my mommie accent first then in my south african one. 🤣 it us very clever. And your use of masala as rust is brilliant.
    • Posted: February 17, 2020 20:40

      Anita holland

      Sorry auto correct changed my spelling. It is pommie accent not mommie 🤣🤣
      • Posted: February 18, 2020 04:47

        acraftymix

        Darn silly autocorrect 😂
    • Posted: February 18, 2020 04:46

      acraftymix

      I know right!!!! 😂 😂 😂 I always try to start off all nice and proper in English and by the third stanza, I've switched over to Afrikaans. So weird
  • Posted: February 17, 2020 18:38

    Lori Nell

    What a beautiful and meaningful craft, Michelle. Love it! What a fun and adventurous career.
    • Posted: February 18, 2020 05:16

      acraftymix

      Thank you, Lori 😘 I have been very lucky
  • Posted: February 17, 2020 17:13

    Katrin

    Wow this is such a unique piece Michelle. I mean it is not only a beautiful piece of art but the memories that go with it every time it’s lighted, that is priceless!
    • Posted: February 18, 2020 05:10

      acraftymix

      Thanks so much, Katrin. I'm so glad we have a monthly IBC challenge. They always prompt me to think a little differently 😘
  • Posted: February 17, 2020 16:29

    Claire

    Love it what a fabulous piece of wall art an even better that it has a special meaning.
    • Posted: February 17, 2020 16:58

      acraftymix

      💓 You have no idea how much that means to me Claire. Thank you. Africa, warts and all, and her people are so deeply embedded inside my soul. I can't even contemplate leaving her.

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