The Altered Arts Crafting Craze

It seems as though everywhere I go these days I see or hear about altered art. Altered art is a crafting craze and art trend just perfect for our times. Altered art is a craft that is recession proof because it's easy on the budget, and helps the environment by recycling cast away items. Other terms one hears when discussing altered art include found art or recycled art. New life is breathed into ordinary, old, everyday items. The concept of altered art itself, however, is not anything new. Creating art from everyday items has been done since the middle ages.

 Altered art takes many shapes and forms, however, all altered art includes one main theme, and that is the alteration of objects. By altering everyday objects, one may create a new piece of art or functional item. As an example, one may take an ordinary object, such as a book, deconstruct it, and adorn it with multiple found or recycled objects, creating a new altered art book. One may also be instantly reminded of a popular type of altered art, the shadow box, full of collected objects assembled together in a unique way.

Decoupage, mixed media, and decollage are a few of the techniques used for creating altered art. However, methods of achieving an altered art piece are endless. One may choose to glue objects such as buttons and photos onto a found piece, or paint designs on the object. Rubber stamps are used, as well as markers and textiles. Altered art is a wonderful way to show off a collection one may have in a creative manner. Small collectibles, such as thimbles or charms work well in a altered art craft project and can be an interesting way to display your collection. Artists creating larger pieces have been known to use very unusual objects such as old tires, plumbing pieces, or even landscape tubing!
Many artists and crafters are using this technique to create many types of amazing pieces.

Boxes can be decoupaged for use as recipe boxes. Photo frames, books, dinner plates, wine bottles and paint cans can all be altered for new uses. The altered paint cans make excellent packaging for gifts. Small altered art pieces can be made into necklace and bracelet charms, earrings and buttons. One project, the altered art handbag, has beautiful results, and instead of throwing away an ugly, out of date purse, it can instead be transformed with a new look.
Most craft shops carry the supplies to get started on an altered art project. Scrapbookers, especially, embrace altered arts. Scrapbooking is basically assemblage art, using time honored altered art techniques. Craft stores are full of decorative paper, embellishments, stamps and more for scrapbookers, which can be used by the altered art artist as well. Found objects are less expensive, of course. Think about how some of the items you may throw away could be useful in your current or future altered art project. Keep your eyes open for found objects such as bottle caps, scraps of fabric or empty containers.

An easy altered art craft project to start is the gift box for a friend. Use a sturdy box with lid, unfinished, found at most craft stores, or use an old box you may already have. Paint the box first, in any color you choose, although having the colors you eventually use coordinate makes a nice presentation. Collect a few photos of you and your friend, and also some old cards and letters sent between the two of you and scan them. Print them out onto any textured paper you prefer. Next,decoupage the scanned photos to the box after the paint is dry. Tear pieces of the scanned notes and cards and glue to the box as well. Once the decoupage is done and completely dry, embellish the box with items that have special meaning in your friendship. An old piece of jewelry, beads of her favorite color, and any pieces of memorabilia from your friendship will work well. Fill the box with your gift and you're done! You will have a lovely altered art gift box your friend can use later to fill with more mementos from your friendship!

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