Hand-carved dragonfly plaque


One of my favorite visions of summer is the yearly return of dragonflies. There’s a point when the sun is about ready to set behind our woods;  it’s just dark enough as a backdrop to see the dragonfly wings capture the remaining sunlight. You can see them feeding on mosquitoes, dipping and swirling, their wings glistening in the late-day sun. The colors are ever-changing and they are never still, fluttering in the light as long as it lasts.


I‘ve had a fixation on dragonflies since I was a child…my Granny called them “snake doctors.” I used to try to get close enough to see if they really were ministering to puny snakes, but I was too afraid of snakes to get really close. I like to think that my love of them is because their flitting about from here to yonder represents the way some creatives move from one medium to another and back again.

The Southern Hawker is one of the dragonflies with transparent wings, so it picks up color from its surroundings. I can make them any color I like and today I chose greens, blues, golds and purples – my favorite color combinations.

Here’s how I made it:


Two 12” Smoothfoam Scrapbook Mount sheets 
1 sheet Sulky Stick’n Carve 
ColorBox Spritzers Dye Ink:  Glacial Lake, Golf Course, Deep Grape
Golden Acrylic Glazing Liquid – Sea Foam Green
12” x 12” sheet patterned cardstock
Smooch Pearlized Accent Inks:  Kiwi, Garpe Soda, Pool, Gold Lamé
PanPastel Artists Pastels:  Turquoise Shade 580.3, Pthalo Green Shade 620.3,Violet Shade, 470.3, Dairylide Yellow 520.3, Bright Yellow Green 680.5
Inka Gold Metallic Pastes:  Jade, Aquamarine, Champagne
Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue
Aleene’s Repositionable Spray Adhesive
The Crafter’s Workshop Dragonfly Harmony stencil
Self-adhesive chipboard nameplate
Dew Drops embellishments
Table top easel for display
Paint brush, baby wipes, craft mat
Iron, old credit card, craft knife with new blade

Trim inside the border to make sure you keep the wings attached to the frame.

1.  Click here to download and print this dragonfly outline on to the sheet of Stick’n Carve. Adhere to one Smoothfoam sheet and cut away the background with the craft knife, leaving the frame with the wings and body attached. My dragonfly wings are approximately 8″ wide. I trimmed the overall sheet down to create 1” border on three sides and a 1-3/4” border at the bottom to accommodate the nameplate.

painted cutout

2.  Remove the Stick’nCarve sheet and paint the Smoothfoam carving with Golden Glazing Liquid (any craft paint you have on hand will also work) and allow to dry. Paint the inside and outside edges of the Smoothfoam carving with Inka Gold – blend the colors as desired to create depth.

3.  Spray the spritz inks on to the carving and blend with a baby wipe. Allow to dry, then intensify the colors around the edges with PanPastels.

Apply Smooch

4.  Paint details on the dragonfly with the Smooch inks and allow to dry thoroughly. Highlight the edges of the carving with Inka Gold.


5.  Paint the chipboard nameplate with Inka Gold. Print out the dragonfly name and adhere it to the backside of the nameplate. Glue the nameplate to the wide portion of the frame. Adhere Dew Drops to cover the holes of the nameplate.

stencil swirls

6.  Use the stencil to apply Color Box Spritzers to the cardstock in colors that will contrast with your colors for the Smoothfoam carving. Put a light coating of Aleene’s Repositionable Adhesive on the back of the stencil. Place it on the cardstock and apply color, moving the stencil as necessary to cover the entire paper. Allow the paper to dry and iron it if it needs smoothing.

Tip:  For a smooth finish, spray the color onto a baby wipe and rub it around with a circular motion. For a more textured background, spritz the color on, then use the wipe in the same circular motion. The Spritzer spray dots and splashes will remain visible.

7.  Spread a thin coat of glue on the back of the second sheet of Smoothfoam with an old credit card. Position the cardstock on the sheet and smooth down. Place a book on top for weight; allow to dry. This sheet will be the background for your carving.

Inka Gold Edges

8.  Paint the edges of the background sheet with Inka Gold, blending colors as desired, allow to dry. Glue the carved dragonfly to the background sheet. When dry, place the finished piece on an easel for display.


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