Mixed Media – Steampunk -Altered Octopus Tin Top

Mixed Media – Steampunk -Altered Octopus Tin Top

This is going to be the best graduation gift for a Marine Biologist ever. Altering tins is a whole new and exciting activity for me. I love projects that there is no right or wrong, anything goes, the skies the limit – well lets just stick with you can be as creative as you let yourself be altering tins. This is how I did it.

Some the stuff you will need (but not limited to)

  • A tin, (this one is a Vintage Oceanic Cut Plug Tobacco Tin)
  • Clear Gesso https://bit.ly/2TJVIgv
  • Sponge brush to apply the Gesso
  • Fish netting (I used two colors: purple and beige)
  • Other pieces for texture
  • Octopus legs made of polymer clay = https://youtu.be/Yw6Z78rkmMY
  • Trim that look like seaweed
  • Old jewelry pieces and or chains
  • Gears, buttons, keys, anything and everything – remember anything goes!
  • A brush to apply the glue.
  • Water
  • Octopus charms:

Craft Smart Acrylic Paint:

  • Turquoise
  • Green
  • Ocean Breeze

Ranger -Tim Holtz Alcohol inks = https://www.michaels.com/search?q=alcohol%20inks%20tim%20holta    

Colors used:

  • Sailboat Blue
  • Citrus
  • Stream
  • Lettuce
  • Butterscotch

Alcohol Blending Solution

Art Alchemy Metallique

  • Rich Copper
  • Aged Brass

Aleene’s Tacky Glue

Beacon Power Tac Adhesive

Liquitex – Gloss Varnish https://bit.ly/2VIsujQ

The Top of the Tin:

First, I painted the tin with clear Gesso. I bought a divers helmet drawer pull at Hobby Lobby. It was easy to change the direction of the screw from on the side to the bottom.  I drilled a hole in the top of the tin and secured the helmet to the tin with a bolt on the inside.

It is always handy to have a stash of trinkets (keys, gears, old jewelry etc). I picked a few to paint. As always, I used Gesso first and then painted the trinkets and helmet.

The colors I used to get the green patina effect are:

  • Grass Green
  • Ocean Breeze
  • Turquoise

I used the same green patina on all of my trinkets.  I love the patina effect.

Green Patina Trinkets Painted


The seashells were already ink dyed.  If you would like to see how that was done check out my video at = https://youtu.be/FqHNClqMBcg.

The fish netting was added to the top of the tin and seashells were placed around with the netting on top of them to secure them in place.  Design the top with the painted trinkets and such.  Once you have the design, glue the objects to the tin. I love Beacon Power –Tac Adhesive.  It has low odor and it’s easy to work with. Weave the netting under and over objects to get that layered look.


To glue the netting down, use  tacky glue and equal amounts of water.  It will make a thin paint-able paste that you just paint on and it will dry with everything in place.

After everything has dried, I paint Gesso on the fish netting.  Let that dry and paint with Alcohol inks =

The colors used were: Sailboat Blue, Citrus, Stream, Lettuce, and Butterscotch. I use the Alcohol Blending Solution to blend the ink colors.

Art Alchemy Metallique was used in Rich Copper and Aged Brass to highlight the metal octopus and other trinkets at the end.

Finally, I finish up with Gloss Varnish. My favorite varnish is the Liquitex varnish I get at Michaels – Love it! https://www.michaels.com/liquitex-gloss-varnish/MD002517S.html?dwvar_MD002517S_size=16%20oz#q=varnish&start=7 (do used your coupon on this one, it is a little pricey. I have it in matte and glossy finish.

Related posts