Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Halloween in the Greenhouse - Altered Book

It is done! I've had this project in mind ever since I found a few volumes from a vintage encyclopedia set at the thrift store. Volume 13 was one of them and I immediately thought, "Halloween project!"

The cover had a perfect open spot to add a die cut and owl adornment.

I used wax to highlight the embossed design & color the silver owl.
I hollowed out the book to make a niche inside. It was rather time consuming but worth it! (I went through many X-acto knife blades!)

The genesis of the idea for the theme for this little vignette came from a single 'intriguing' item that I dug up in the garden several years ago:

See that rose tag?
I found an old metal tag from a rose bush and the name was "Intrigue". Cool!! I knew it would come in handy some day. I built up a back story about a lady named Elmira who has some questionable activities going on in her greenhouse… what is she up to?

The inside cover is layered with paper from the Abandoned Paper Stash, Worn Wallpaper, lots of crackle paste, inks, paints, ephemera etc.

The scene is staged as if you are inside the greenhouse looking out the glass wall to the house in the background. Elmira is creeping around outside!



Scroll on to see how I made the plant stand!
I had so much fun making all the little details to add to this scene.

Here's a bit of how-to and in progress photos:

I decorated the inside front cover first after covering the endpapers with black gesso. Then I moved onto the niche part. I started playing around with the placement of the elements.

I colored some Mummy Cloth to layer over the foreground.

I cut a piece of manila folder to fit the background and inked it up with Distress Oxide Inks and stamping (Haunted House set). I also glued two strips of painted wood on either side to be spacers for when I glued in the greenhouse glass wall panel.

The wall panel is a sheet of thick acetate I cut to size. The cobwebs I stamped onto the back with archival ink. I covered the front with Matte Collage Medium to frost it a bit and provide a surface for the Distress Crackle Rock Candy to stick to. The sashing is strips of thin chipboard glued on. I added the crackle paint along the sashing and let it pool in the corners. Once it was dry I added the alcohol ink to grunge it up.

I was inspired by Stacy Hutchinson's candle tutorial she shared with us a few weeks ago. I made my own version. =)

I wanted to make a plant stand to raise up my pot of Death Bells for more visual interest. I thought one of the Thimbles would work but it needed something more. I poked through my stash of odds and ends and came up with a thick plain washer and a lock washer to glue onto the thimble. Perfect!

Well thanks for sticking in with this reeeeally long blog post! I hope you've enjoyed all the details of my project. I have lots of ideas for other projects so we'll see how many I can actually get done before Halloween. ;-)

I am also entering this into the September Vintage Journey challenge, Box it Up. My project is a bit out of the box for the theme (see what I did there?? =D ) but I maintain that I made the book into a box of sorts when I hollowed it out. It can close and it contains stuff. See, box! ;-)

Supplies used:

Tim Holtz Sizzix
Bat Crazy ( Sizzix / SB )
Frightful Things Sizzix / SB )
Regions Beyond Sizzix / SB )
Funky Floral #2 Sizzix / SB )
Labels Sizzix / SB )
Tattered Leaves - retired
Twisted Edge - retired
Strip Die - Brick Wall - retired
Village Graveyardretired
Branch Tree - retired

Tiny Toadstools
Haunted House
Life of the Party


Tim Holtz layering stencil - Falling Stars
Ranger Distress Crackle Paste
Distress Crayons - Set 3Set 2
Ranger Distress Collage Medium - Matte
Distress Oxide Inks
Distress Paint - Peeled Paint, Forest Moss
Art Alchemy - Métallique Wax, Aged Brass
Art Basics - Heavy Gesso, Black
Emerald Creek Quarry Gemstones, Pyrite
iCraft Decofoil Metallix gel - Glazed Pewter
Ranger Alcohol Ink - Pebble, Mushroom, Rust, Blending Solution
Distress Crackle Paint - Rock Candy
Abandoned Halloween 8x8 Paper Stash
mini terracotta pots from craft store

Tim Holtz Idea-ology:
Halloween 2018: Clippings, Ephemera, Worn Wallpaper, Remnant Rubs, Skulls
Halloween Accents
Halloween Layers & Baseboard Frames
Halloween Paper Dolls
Mummy Cloth
Bitty Bats
Creepy Eyes
Mini Paper Clips

Store links in this post may be affiliate links which do not affect the price you pay but allow me to earn a small percentage of a sale. Thanks! (My husband also thanks you!) If you go shopping at Topflight Stamps, use my code LISAHOEL for 10% off your order.


  1. Brilliant altered book, Lisa! I have a couple of these stashed away myself (of course!), and you have filled me with inspiration! I love the idea of the greenhouse and you have brought those thoughts that fill your brain to life in your vignette. Love all the details, especially the candle and the wee planter pots! Well done, you!

  2. This is so stunning, Lisa! I love the scene you created out the glass and all the details. Thanks so much for added your project to our challenge at A Vintage Journey!
    Ann x

  3. I just love the tiny scene you've created inside your amazing altered book. I especially enjoy the view out of the greenhouse window to the creepy world outside. So many clever details and such imagination - love it! Thanks so much for joining us on A Vintage Journey.
    Alison x

  4. This is so so creepy cool Lisa! LOVE the repurpose of the book and your wonderful garden shed inside - with all of your little miniature bits - so many detailed items! thanks so much for joining us at A Vintage Journey Box it Up challenge! xx


Thank you so much for leaving a comment. I appreciate it!