Five years ago my friend Tom started The Red High Heel Party. This unbelievable, blowout, shindig, gala, party of the year is a fundraising effort for the Long Beach (CA) AIDS Foundation and their AIDS Cancer Life Emergency Fund. Over the course of five years a small group of dedicated friends and volunteers have hosted this event and have raised more than $25,000 to directly benefit HIV+, AIDS and Cancer victims in Long Beach, CA. It’s been a blessing and a pleasure and a literally mind-altering experience to be involved with this group and watch this party grow year after year from 20+ friends in the driveway of his apartment to over 200 people renting party space and getting all crazy.

We’ve always worn red high heels… it’s the party thing. And each of the last three years has had a “theme” as well.  This year it was Masquerade.  Tom chose this gorgeous image for the cover photo of the party Facebook page. It was love at first sight for me!


I wanted to make something special for Tom to commemorate our big fifth year hosting. And I found a fantastic paper mask at Michaels.  Hmmm I thought… I will try to paint that picture. (This is very brave of me. I am not an artist.)

I got a canvas with thick sides and I got me some DecoArt paints, and I sat down to have some fun.


I started by kind of drawing the shape from the mask in the image on my mask with a pencil. Then I went over the pencil line with hot glue. It’s important to note that hot glue guns, particularly the mini kind, are not made for drawing. It is easy to burn yourself since even the center of these guns gets very hot. By the same token the low temp ones are useless. Maybe next time some better kind of adhesive from a tube that is paintable.
I, of course, was working at the last minute.


I painted the outside of the mask with a gorgeous White Pearl from the Dazzling Metallics line of DecoArt paints. Then I brushed DecoArt One Step Crackle over the top of the paint and let it dry. When it finished crackling (2-4 hours), I rubbed some Cocoa Bean Multi Surface over the cracks and wiped most of it off. It left me with a gorgeous cracked finish like the one in the original image but slightly finer.


Meanwhile, whilst all of these steps were drying and such, I started my canvas. I outlined my curtains in pencil and painted in the black area with DecoArt Black Acrylic Paint. For the curtains I made a mix of Poppy and Dark Scarlet Multi Surface Paints with some Cocoa Bean thrown in. I basically poured a bit of each into the dents in my plastic palette and mixed as I went with the brush in the middle. This paint dries really quickly, so you get a sort of streaky look if you aren’t even handed. But that’s exactly what I wanted here. I was soooo excited with how great it turned out!


By the time I got this done, I was ready to add the gold to the mask. I used DecoArt Metallic Lustre Champagne Ice and Gold Rush for this part.  Mine was sort of dry so I used a really wet, flat brush which worked perfectly. I was careful to paint over the top of the hot glue so no pencil lines showed through. I was pretty darn excited about how it was coming together!


So I wanted the word like it was on the original image. But I was afraid to wreck it by trying to write it with a gold pen. So, I stole a page from the decorative painter’s art and used carbon paper to trace a copy of the image that I enlarged in Photoshop to be the right size for the space I had. Then I painted over it with DecoArt Dazzling Metallics in Venetian Gold with a teeny, tiny brush.


I wanted to attach my mask, which had holes on the side for string, with decorative brads. I had some vanilla ones from Stampin’ Up! that were gorgeous, but too white with my antiqued mask. So I rubbed a bit of Dark Chocolate Americana Acrylic Paint by DecoArt on them and wiped most of it off for a great antiqued look.


I added some feathers to the back of the mask to enhance the 3D flair of the piece. I just attached them with some of that really sticky red double-sided tape. I’m not sure I’ve ever been prouder of something I’ve made. This just came out so fantastic!


You can really see how dimensional it is when you see a side view of it –


Do you love it? I didn’t want to give it away! Tom loved it, and he suggested we all sign the back and give it to the venue that hosted our amazing Masquerade this year. I thought that was a lovely idea! I gessoed the back of the canvas so that we could all sign and brought some Zig Micron Permanent pens to the party.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this project. I adored making it! I’m thinking something similar might be fun for Halloween with a darker drape and a more purple/black/etc feel.  What do you think?

For those of you, like the FCC, who care about this stuff, DecoArt has been very generous to the Stampendous design team, and I shared in that generosity. I got my Dazzling Metallics, Metallic Lustres, and Americana Acrylcs from them, but I purchased my Multi Surface Satin paints and my One Step Crackle at Michaels along with the rest of the supplies for this project. And, as always, if I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t use it, no matter who gave it to me.