Mixed Media – Steampunk -Altered Octopus Tin

Mixed Media – Steampunk -Altered Octopus Tin

This is the completed mixed media – Steampunk -Altered Octopus Tin that I made. 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.

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

Craft Smart Acrylic Paint Colors: 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

To see how the top was done = http://www.seejsjourney.com/mixed-media-steampunk-altered-octopus-tin-top   

Outside the bottom of the Altered Tin:

The fish netting was cut big enough to cover the bottom and sides.  Slip resistant matting was put inside the netting for more texture.  I had previously painted some trim that I thought looked like seaweed, and ink dye some sea shells = https://youtu.be/FqHNClqMBcg  to have on hand for this project.

The colors of paints I used to get the patina effect are:

  • Grass Green
  • Ocean Breeze
  • Turquoise

Green Patina Trinkets Painted 1

The front handle and lock needed to be painted along with some more old jewelry pieces. I always paint with clear Gesso first and varnish with Liquitex after.

The lock ornament was glued front and center of the can. Placement of the octopus legs was next, and I started to design and create around the octopus (Leroy). Yes, I named him. Glue your trinkets on with Power Tac glue.  It is low odor and works really well.

Next, the hand painted seaweed was cut and glued on the can. Selected sea shells were glued on and the starfish was added to the front. I thought it still needed something so the small octopus was added a bit later to complete the look. I loved how the patina key turned out, that was also added to the front plus the sea turtles.

To secure the sea shells, I bring the fish netting up and glue it around the shells. You don’t want the netting to be too dense or you won’t see the shells.  It all depends on the look you want.

To glue the netting in place you make a mixture of 50/50 tacky glue and water.  It becomes a thin workable solution that you paint on and it glues everything in place – it’s great.

I needed a few more ink dyed smaller seashells so I painted a few first with Art Alchemy Metallique:  Rich Copper and Aged Brass. Paint with Tim Holtz Alcohol inks and don’t forget to add the Alcohol Blending Solution.

Then I put clear Gesso on the fish netting with a sponge brush.


I love using a spray can lid when applying Gesso or varnish to my projects.  The sponge brush can be pushed up and down between the inter circle and the inside of the lid to put product on the sponge. But, you can always twist it to take some of the product off the sponge.  The sponge will stand up in the lid, and it’s just a handy thing to use – a spray can lid – go figure.

After the Gesso is dry the fun begins. Paint alcohol inks randomly on your tin or netting until you’re happy.

I used Sailboat blue, Stream, Citrus, Lettuce and Butterscotch, then the Alcohol Blending Solution. When I was happy (and I love to be happy), I highlighted areas with the Art Alchemy Metallique  Rich Copper until I was happy – again.

Finally, I finish my mixed-media-steampunk-altered-octopus-tinup 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 – but worth it.  I have it in matte and glossy finish.

Stop by again and see what SeeJsjourney makes next, because I am a maker and you never know what I will make next time.


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