Nathalie’s Elephant

By Judi Kauffman for Walnut Hollow


???????????????????????????????Nathalie’s Elephant is named for mixed media artist Nathalie Kalbach. She designed the stencils that inspired my project. It is also in honor of Carla Sonheim whose wonderful class, Woodburning for Mixed-Media Artists, I audited a few weeks ago. It was Carla who reminded me how much fun mark-making with a woodburning tool can be. (I admit that my Creative Versa-Tool had been gathering dust for the last few months so having a reason to keep it front and center again has been a joy!)


I had a great time working with a wood burning tool and a pair of stencils. I highly recommend the combination! For a surprise finishing touch I made Shimmer Sheetz side pieces and corner accents.


Safety reminder: If you’re new to pyrography (the other name for woodburning), be sure to read all of the instructions for the Walnut Hollow Creative Versa-Tool® and use it precisely as directed. I like to stand while I work so I put my glass mat on a granite counter in my kitchen with the stovetop’s downdraft fan pulling any wisps of smoke away from my face. (Do not leave the tool plugged in when unattended or not in use; it’s not a toy so make sure it’s not within reach of children or pets.)




1. Using a soft pencil and very little hand pressure trace an elephant silhouette from the Elephant Parade Stencil onto an 8” x 10” Walnut Hollow Basswood Canvas (set as a horizontal rectangle). Trace the spiral portion of the Batik Stencil three times – once at the left edge, once above the elephant’s back, and once to the right of its front foot. Using the photo at the start of the blog post as a reference, continue tracing various shapes from the Batik Stencil to fill the Canvas.


???????????????????????????????2. Using the Tapered Point in the Walnut Hollow Creative Versa-Tool® (set on Orange, the second hottest heat setting) outline all of the shapes traced in step 1 except for the small pattern elements below the elephant’s feet.


???????????????????????????????3. Add details and shading using the Flow Point, Shading Point, and Circle Stamping point as follows:

*Dots – light and dark, large and small = Flow Point

*Small stenciled pattern shapes below elephant’s feet = Flow Point and Circle Stamping Point

*Darkening throughout the surface = Shading Point

*Patterns, darker shading, and wrinkles on elephant = Shading Point

*Other patterns = Circle Stamping Point


4. Erase any pencil marks that remain visible. For added durability, use one or two coats of matte acrylic to seal the wood burned surface. (Dry between coats.)


5. Back two 5” x 12” pieces of Fire Opal Gemstones Shimmer Sheetz with double sided adhesive sheets. From one 5” x 12” piece cut two 8” x 1.75” strips, and then cut one 2” x 5” strip. From the other 5” x 12” piece cut two 10” x 1.75” strips. Set aside all scraps for future projects.


6. Using an ink applicator tool to apply colors for a mottled effect, alter all Shimmer Sheetz pieces from step 5 with Espresso and Pool Alcohol Inks. Darken ONLY the 2” x 5” strip with a bit of Pitch Black Alcohol Ink.


7. Working one strip at a time: Insert the 8” x 1.75” strips into the Lots of Dots Embossing Folder (sideways) so that only the middle section will be embossed and run through the machine using the appropriate plates. (Feel the inside of the folder to make sure you have the Shimmer Sheetz positioned so that you will have RAISED dots on these two pieces.) Both ends of these strips will have NO embossing.


8. Again, working one strip at a time: Emboss the center section of the 10” x 1.75” strips twice – with raised dots for half of the embossing and de-bossed dots for the other half. Both ends of these strips will have NO embossing.


???????????????????????????????9. Lightly sand all four embossed strips to create an aged look and tone down the shine. Wipe with damp paper towel after sanding. Follow with Timber Brown StazOn ink to further enhance the feel of patina.


10. Working one side piece Shimmer Sheetz strip at a time, remove the paper release sheet to expose the adhesive and position the strips on all four sides of the project.


???????????????????????????????11. Create two faux metal luggage straps for each corner of the project: Use the small label/tab shape die from the Tags & More 2 – Deco die set to die cut eight pieces from the 2” x 5” piece of Shimmer Sheetz. VERY IMPORTANT: Each of these shapes has two TINY die cut circles. Be sure not to misplace them!!!


Reminder – You will need a metal adaptor plate to die cut the Shimmer Sheetz. Cutting side of the die faces the metal plate; Shimmer Sheetz is between the plate and the die with the ink-altered side (front) facing the cutting side of the die. Use your machine’s usual plates for the rest of the cutting sandwich.


???????????????????????????????Elephant-6-Kauffman12. Working one piece at a time, remove the release sheet to expose the adhesive and add the faux metal luggage straps to the corners, folding in half as shown so they wrap from one side of the project to the adjacent side. Tip: Mix up the placement of the tiny circles for extra contrast. This makes them look more like nail heads than if they were kept with their original label/tab shapes.




Walnut Hollow

Basswood Canvas, 8″ x 10″

Creative Versa-Tool®


Elizabeth Craft Designs

SS0218 Fire Opal Gemstones Shimmer Sheetz

114 Lots of Dots embossing folder

952 Tags & More 2 – Deco die set

802 Metal Adaptor Plate

5” x 12” Transparent Double Sided Adhesive Sheets (two pieces)


StencilGirl Products

L320 Batik Stencil by Nathalie Kalbach

L321 Elephant Parade Stencil by Nathalie Kalbach


Other –

Ruler with grid, craft knife and cutting mat OR paper trimmer; Tim Holtz Alcohol inks in Espresso, Pool, and Pitch Black (Ranger); StazOn ink in Timber Brown (Imagine Crafts featuring Tsukineko); Pencil; Sanding block; Optional: Tempered (heat resistant) glass mat




5 thoughts on “Nathalie’s Elephant

  1. Thank you so much for inviting me back as a guest designer! It’s always a treat to see my projects on your wonderful blog.

  2. Oh my goodness, what an ELEFANTASTIC project!! I adore elephants in all shapes and forms and using stencils for a woodburning pattern is a very clever idea! (Especially for someone like me who cannot draw …). I haven’t used my woodburning tool in ages …. but I wonder if I need to dust it off now…
    I hadn’t seen these wood canvases before. Really cool!!!

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