Experimenting with paper, inks, stamps, paints, fabrics, stitches, metal..........

Experimenting with paper, inks, stamps, paints, fabrics, stitches, metal..........

Monday, 3 December 2012

Tis the Season

No surprise that the ATC swap this month is based on Christmas!

I created my ATCs using a few different colours and stamps, including this freebie from Craft Stamper magazine, made up of hanging stars.

The ATCs were cut from good weight stamping card and backgrounds were created with the turquoise ink and a selection of other colours.  For this example the turquoise was mixed with purple.  Ink was applied with foam, followed by random over-stamping with the dotty 'Fields of Sky' stamp and a snowflake in both colours.


The hanging stars were stamped twice across the top of the ATC in clear embossing ink and embossing powder sprinkled over.  The excess was tapped off and heated.

The card was edge in turquoise ink.  An embellishment was made by stamping the 'tis the season' stamp and heat embossing in the same colour embsossing  powder as the stars.  After cutting out the circle it was also edged in turquoise ink. 

A few more in different colours; silver, bronze, blue and  pink, ready for the swap.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Winter Wedding

I like the idea of using a single colour of card for wedding cards.  With a winter wedding, what better than an icy pearlised, textured white?

Unfortunately it was so shiny it didn't photograph at all well - so just extreme close-ups....... 

Rather simple, with a number of different die-cuts,  these were layered up with gel glue to create a dimensional card.  The card and a slightly smaller panel, as well as all the elements (other than the flower) were cut from the same type of card.  A strip of circles was placed across the centre of the card, two nesting die panels layered on top of each other with letter die cuts spelling out 'WEDDING DAY' was glued to the top and this was placed in the centre of the strip die cut.

A rose was made from co-ordinating pearlised paper using a number of punched flowers and mounted onto part of a die cut flourish at the edge of the central panel. The flower was embellished with white seed beads.

To finish, the card was placed in a matching box lined with silver and white snowflake tissue paper.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Printmaking with Gel Printing Plate

The ATC swap this month was Stripes and Spots, so I thought it would be a good excuse to try out my new gel printing plate from Gelli Arts.  Although not completely happy with the final ATCs, I enjoyed the process of the print and some of the effects achieved printing from the plate, especially as it was my first try.

Acrylic paint was applied to the thick sheet of gel and brayered over the surface.

Getting the correct amount of paint was tricky - the print is not good when there is too much paint and different brands of paint have different consistencies.

Using the straight edge of some mount board I lifted paint from the printing plate in stripes all the way across, placed some white card onto the plate then pressed lightly to transfer the paint to the card.

My first print from the gel plate! 

Once the yellow stripes were dry, I over printed in black through a spotty mask.  I love the texture from the paint and how the spots have stripes.

To create some more depth to the final ATCs I embossed some more spots using an embossing folder through an embossing machine.  I also lightly sanded the embossed areas to remove some of the paint.

I punched some circles of various sizes and strips of various widths out of black paper and card to embellish the ATCs.

Five ATCs for the swap, all very different from each other due to the nature of the printing and the positions of the stripes and spots.


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Festive Charity Event

Please come to our Festive Fundraising Event to raise money for a new Cystic Fibrosis Unit at Nottingham City Hospital.
There will be some mini-craft workshops, raffle, handmade gifts and craft materials to buy, as well as cake!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Papercrafts Class Starting November

The planning of my next class is well underway.  More papercrafting techniques to adorn your arty projects with.  Workshops include Rubberstamping (no surprise really), embossing, collage, paint, books and some Christmassy bits and pieces.  Suitable for any level of crafter, including beginners, so make some time to get creative and meet other crafty people.

A South Notts College course starting on Tuesday 6th November for 7 weeks, 6:30 til 9:30pm at the Textile Workshop in Sherwood.  Fees are £53, or free if claiming certain benefits. Call Karen on 07809 158606 to book.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Myths and Magic - ATC Swap

I got a bit carried away with this months swap.  Inks, Chunky glitter, acetate wraps......

This months swap was Myths and Magic.  I made five cards the same, entitled 'Fairies at the Bottom of the Garden'

For the cards I had a play around with some new products purchased at a couple of craft shows I had been to recently.  IndigoBlu Pastel Perfect Stamping Card and Stampendous Frantage Crushed Glass Glitter. 

IndigoBlu described their card as 'Deliciously Smooth...' and it certainly was.  Ink went on beautifully and it was really easy to stamp on, with a weight of 350gsm it is the perfect weight for this type of project.

I used a couple of colours of Distress ink for the background (Iced Spruce and Black Soot) and stamped the vines around the edge of the card with these as well as Versafine Onyx Black, doing second and third impressions from one inking so they varied in shade.  The fairy was stamped with Versafine for a clear image.

I played around with how to best stick the crushed glass glitter for this project.  Trying PVA and clear glue, as well as melting into embossing powder, before deciding on sticking with silver stickles glitter glue, giving a mixture of small and large glitter pieces, which worked really well.

The garden gates were stamped onto acetate with permanent ink (Staz-On, Black), scored and stuck to the back of the card.

To finish the card, a mechanism to keep the gates closed - an acetate wrap secured with an eyelet.  This was decorated with words printed from the P.C. 'fairies at the bottom of the garden' coloured to coordinate with the ATC background.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Cards - A Selection from the Year So Far

A small Ecoboard tile (inchie) stamped with Crafty Individuals stamps and coloured with Distress Stains and mounted on a little collage of stamping, including 'one of a kind' postal mark from Stamping All Day on a DL Kraft brown card blank.

Acrylic Paint and Clear Embossing Resist
I made a fair few '40' cards this year I made some of the same cards in different colours using the techniques shown in the shabby tag tuturial, a clear embossing resist for acrylic paint.  Along with some Nestabilities and number dies or happy birthday stamp to finish.  All unique no matter how many I made, thanks to the paint effects and the random stamping of the flourishes. 

Simple Stamping

 A really simple but effective use of torn coloured paper, outline stamping over cream or red paper, matt and layering of the images and a rosette (prepared scoring with ruler and embossing tool).  Some final little details to finish; glossy accents over the cricket ball, a '7' inside the rosette and a random handstamped sentiment off-set to the right.

Mirror Images

This card was C5 size.  I started by creating a watercolour wash of sky and grass for the background, with some grass stamped with watercolour crayon paint.  All other details were prepared separately and later glued in position on the card.  The horse is from an old Woodware stamp set.  One horse was stamped in the normal way and the one was prepared by picking up the ink from the stamp with a brayer and then carefully rolling the brayer onto card to create a mirror image of the stamp - that way I could have the horses facing one another.  The horses were coloured with watercolour crayons and pencils.

The bunting elements were created by stamping chalk ink with a diamond shaped stamp, cut in half and over stamped with a number 5.  The riding lesson post was cut out by hand.  I used real rubber to stamp the sentiment and 'riding lessons' text, so there is no way you can see to get them level - I usually resort to stamping them wobbly on purpose, then it's OK to be a little off!

Fancy Papers and Nextabilities
Lots of co-ordinating fancy papers by K and Company were layered up to create this card.  A square, slightly smaller than the 144x144mm card blank was cut along with strip the same width and three sizes of Nestabilities (Labels Four).  Anniversary was stamped over a light coloured strip with a co-ordinating ink and matted onto the darker background paper.  This was stuck on the top die cut through the centre and trimmed by hand.  The die cuts and strip of paper was edged lightly with 'brushed corduroy' distress ink to give an aged effect and everything was layered up with Pinflair glue gel to allow easy alignment of the plaques.

Clear Embossing Resist
Using clear embossing enamel as a resist is one of my favourite techniques and teaming it up with Distress inks makes it very quick and easy.  I used a new stamp from Inkylicious called 'Delicate vines' and stamped in randomly around the edges with embossing ink, sprinkled with clear embossing powder and heat embossed.  I then coloured the card with three colours of Distress inks; Bundled Sage, Frayed Burlap and Scattered Straw using foam.  I continued the random stamping of the leaves around the edges in the Distress ink colours.  To make the resist show through I buffed the card with kitchen paper towel.  Happy birthday was stamped and clear heat embossed, Distress ink in Bundled Sage was applied over the top, again buffing it up.  The panel was matt and layered with white and Distress ink coloured card in Frayed Burlap and mounted with foam pads in the centre.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Personalised Leaving Card

One of the other projects I was playing with over last Bank Holiday weekend was a leaving card for an Italian student, Debora I have been working with for the past few months.  During her stay we have been trying to show her that Britain has some great food and beer and Nottingham has some great places to visit.  We have also enjoyed working our way through the Wallace and Gromit short films.

I had a brief for the card, which a little unusual.  Most people that ask me to make cards, know my work and just tell me to get on with it.  This one had to be A4, have lots of 'stuff' she has experienced since being here on the front as well as a 'Wish you were here' postcard of Nottingham.

How do you create a piece of work with so many elements and not overdo it?

I started off with some card, slightly smaller than A4 and applied strips of different brown papers, trimming the excess from the edges once the glue was dry. 

I knew Debora was a fan of the 'Keep Calm and Carry On' image so I used that stamp along with a union flag, English postal mark and London Bridge ticket - all in sepia Versafine ink (permanent ink) randomly all over the papered base card. 

To complete the 'paper blended' background and tone it all down, I applied two very thin coats of white gesso over the top.  This gives a pale whitewash effect.

While the gesso was drying I got to work on finding some images for the background.  Printing off some random images from the internet of Robin Hood and other Nottingham sites, baked beans, cheese, local beers etc. I cut them into triangle shapes, not necessarily the whole image, often just part of it.  Some of the images were more easily identifiable than others.

I applied the triangles from one side of the card to other to give the effect of bunting.  This way I was able to get all the different elements required on the card and bring them together without making it look too busy (hopefully).

One final thin application of gesso over the top of the bunting, gluing the background to the base card, positioning of the postcard with kraft photo corners to the front and the card was finished.  Hopefully I fulfilled the brief!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Bank Holiday Monday Crafting

I've spent the Bank Holiday Monday, stamping, cutting, ripping and sticking.

I had a deadline for my August ATC swap and they need posting tomorrow!  This month's theme is THIS ENGLAND.  A few months ago I did a swap based around the Union flag with images that were distinctly British as the focal point.  I liked the result so I thought I would do something similar for this swap. 

I decided to use a 'Clean Collage' technique on this occasion, still incorporating stamped images.  Some images ripped up to create a stylised George Cross along with vellum and old book pages and other images simply stamped in black and cut out for the main image. 

Clean Collage refers to the fact that the collage doesn't cover all of the piece, there are areas of white card still visible.  Apart from the white ATC blanks all paper, vellum and card used were from the scraps box.  Using a gel glue to put everything together, the final pieces were not as one-dimensional as the photos suggest.  I love the rose stamp which I bought from 'differentcolors.nl' at Hobbycrafts in Birmingham last year, and have used it in a number of projects featured on the blog.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Simple Card

Vintage style woodtype and letterpress printing is very fashionable on cards in the shops at the moment and I like some of the simple and stylish designs.

I made a card with this in mind for Dad, although it can obviously be easily translated for Mum or anyone else for that matter.

Opting for a black and white colour scheme on this occasion  I started with a sheet of black A4 card and folded a card blank with a bone folder, adding a white panel towards the right hand side of the card.  I also included a white card insert to give a heavier weight feel and a more suitable writing surface for the greeting.

The card topper was prepared with an ATC sized piece of black card decorated with white die cut and hand cut letters, black rubber stamping onto small white pieces of card and a single 'DAD' handwritten with a white gel pen on black card to fill in the last tiny little gap and all in different fonts and styles.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Shabby Tag Tuturial

I thought I would share how to get a shabby chic effect using an embossing powder resist and acrylic paint.  I have made a few birthday cards recently with this technique and was really pleased with the results.

Start with some 300gsm black card and cut a tag 12x6cm.  Using Spellbinders dies (labels number four and single spiral blossom number one) die cut in the same heavy duty black cardstock two nestled panels and a floral spiral.

Wipe over the tag with an anti-static bag, tumble dryer sheet or a light brushing of talcum powder.  
 Using a flourish rubberstamp - this one is from IndigoBlu Music Hall set, stamp randomly around the bottom edge and up the left hand side of the tag a few times with VersaMark or a clear embossing ink. 


Sprinkle with clear embossing powder and tap off the excess.  
 Heat emboss until all the embossing powder has melted.

 Using a pastel shade apply acrylic paint fairly liberally with a brush or a paint dauber to the smallest panel, flower die cut (both sides) and all over the surface of the tag. 

Allow the panel and flower die cuts to fully dry. 

Before the paint on the tag has fully dried gently wipe away excess paint with a dampened kitchen paper towel.  The paint takes longer to dry on the embossed areas.  
All is not lost if you manage to wipe away too much paint, just reapply and repeat.  
Leave the tag to completely dry.

With Staz-on black ink stamp 'shabby' over on the left hand side of the panel.  

Once dry stick the panel onto the larger panel and then stick the matted panel onto the tag, with the edge overhanging on the right hand side.  

Cut off the excess.

To make the rose, with fine sandpaper sand away the edges of the spiral to reveal some of the black colour underneath the paint. 

Using a bone folder gently curl the edges of the spiral before winding it tightly round.  
Leave the spiral to unwind a little, the rose should naturally form it's shape. 

Apply some glue (glossy accents will be best) to the base and hold for a few seconds for the flower to bond.  

Once thoroughly stuck, manipulate the 'petals' into a more rose-like shape and press down on it with the palm of your hand to flatten it.  

Stick onto the bottom left hand corner of the tag with a wet glue.

To finish the tag, dye some American seam binding with Black Soot Distress Ink by applying ink to a craft mat, spritzing with water and running the binding through it.  

Scrunch and crinkle binding.

Dry with heat gun.  

Thread through your tag.

Your tag is finished! 

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and these techniques.