Mementoes In Time


Welcome to the Mementoes in Time Blog. This is where we post the latest news and chat on all things crafty, not just card-making. We just make projects we like and then share some of the templates with members. You can sign up for free to this site, there are no catches. Drop by often to see what is new and please do leave us a comment!

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Make beautiful backgrounds with Baby Wipes

Posted on August 19, 2017 at 10:55 PM Comments comments (0)

If you followed the series on Distress Oxide Ink, you will remember I was complaining about wasting the papers used to wipe up excess ink from the mat. An example of one of my heavily used rags is shown above!


Depending on what I am doing, I will use kitchen roll paper or baby wipes. The kitchen roll gets thrown away but I do tend to keep the baby wipes in a big pile near my craft table. The wipes pick up all the lovely colours of the inks or paints I am using and I was intending to find a use for them at some point.

Some of the colours you can create without trying are just beautiful and far to nice to throw away, so I was happy to create some lovely projects from something old. Another recycle, reuse project!  So if you are using wipes to clear up your messes then make sure you keep them to use on a future card project.

Tip: If you are having problems cutting the wipes because your scissors are a bit blunt like mine were, try lightly adhering the wipe to a piece of paper or card. This makes it easier to cut. If you don't need a straight edge then of course just cut away!

Tip: If you are still not getting the finish you want, try sticking the wipe to a piece of card and folding it around and stick it underneath, so that you create a panel that you can then glue to your card. This gives a nice neat effect and was what I used for Cards 1 and 2 below.

Card 1 - Waterlily Pond

This one was really pretty, almost like a Monet painting and reminded me right away of a lily pond.

I wanted a neat edge for this one, so gluing the sheet to some card and then folding it over to create a panel, gave me the finish I wanted.

The addition of a waterlily and a stamped sentiment was all that was needed. The sentiment stamped well, I would just suggest holding the stamp there a little longer than you would normally do for ordinary cardstock, just because the surface of the wipe is uneven and more like a fabric than a paper.

Card 2 - Birdcage

This lovely orange paper, suited a silhouette, so I decided on my trusty birdcage and bird for this mini card

Again, for this card, I made a panel, which you can see here on the reverse. One stuck, just cut the corners so you can fold the edges over

Mounting the panel on black makes a nice contrast with the orange paper

The black cage was brushed with a little Metallic Lustre Black Glimmer, to give it a more dimensional metallic effect.

Card 3 - Mini Waterlily Card

Here I was just using up a scrap and just decided to make a smaller version of the waterlily pond with a small sentiment attached. The tiny dragonfly is simply using a Sizzix Paddle Punch (remember those?) with some silver card.

The baby wipes produce a lovely fabric style of finish which can make your card look expensive. The fact that you are just recycling something you might have thrown away, is an added bonus!

All About Gesso and using it with Chipboard

Posted on August 14, 2017 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (0)

All About Gesso

If you are like me and spent a long time wondering what exactly that mysterious thing called Gesso is and what it is used for but were too afraid to ask, then you have come to the right place. Gesso was always most definitely a product that sat firmly in the realms of art and artists but more recently, or certainly over the last five years or so, it has become more and more popular as a staple item in the craft cupboards of papercrafters and in particular for those involved with mixed media, altered art and the like.


This short article is intended to cover a few of the main points relating to using this product but not in an art context but more with a leaning towards the uses I have found for it and might be of interest to those more generally involved in the papercraft world rather than art. So if this floats your boat, read on!

What is Gesso?

Gesso is essentially a primer. By that I mean a product used to prime or prepare a surface ready for painting or other techniques. Gesso is usually associated with art as we noted above and in particular, working on canvas but as we shall see, it has a range of other uses, to effectively enable you to create a 'blank canvas' or a basic surface on which to add colour, textures and the like.

What is Gesso made of?

Gesso is made with a paint, a chalk and a binder material. Commercial gessos will have particular chemical formulas, which we won't go into for the purposes of this article but if you are making your own gesso, then you will just be needing these three things for starters - PVA white glue, Baby Talc, white acrylic paint. We will come back to that in a later post.

Why is Gesso used?

As noted above, it is a primer. When artists are working directly on canvas without gesso, this can be very wasteful of precious and often expensive paints, as much of the paint will sink into the canvas so using more to get the coverage needed. Gesso avoids this by sealing the surface, so the paint does not get absorbed so readily. Gesso is much cheaper than most of the artist oils and acrylics and so adding one, two or three coats of gesso first before starting to paint is the most cost effective way to do it. For the same reason, papercrafters may choose to use Gesso, to reduce the need for multiple coats of paint and to produce a sealed surface on which to start to work.

So why should crafters use Gesso?

Gesso is fantastic for crafters generally because it can be applied to a whole range of surfaces. I regularly use it on plastics, wooden items and of course my chipboard projects. This can save time, save materials and give you a far superior finish to your projects.

What Gesso do I need to buy?

Gesso can come in a whole range of colours but I tend to buy or make white and add colour to it if I need to. Normal acrylic paint will tint the gesso adequately for most needs but you can add inks for a stronger colour, taking note that the more liquid ink will affect the consistency of the gesso.


You can buy gesso in a range of consistencies and for a wide range of prices.I prefer to use a thinner consistency for my projects generally as this avoides the more obvious brush strokes once the gesso has dried. For more depth, I would probably use a texture paste instead rather than a thicker gesso.


Regarding cost, for most non art projects, you really don't need much more than a basic gesso, especially if you are making something that is not expected to last for decades! Even better, you can make your own and we will look at a recipe for that later.

So What About Using Gesso With Chipboard?

Please bear in mind that when I am using the term chipboard here, I am referring to the crafter's form of chipboard, otherwise known as boxboard or strawboard and not the thick wood type stuff you find in the hardware store. Don't ask me why it gets called chipboard, it just does and adds a real layer of confusion to the situation.

Anyway, Gesso comes into its own when working with chipboard projects. By its very nature and production process, chipboard is quite porous and will readily soak up your precious paint, although the effect will vary from brand to brand. In an older post, on this site you may stumble across a piece about working with chipboar,  I banged on for ages about using a good quality acrylic paint for your chipboard projects but this was before I discovered the magic of using a good primer to seal the board first! I only really discovered it relatively late on my crafting journey, which was a shame, as many pieces could have been saved.


So the problem with using just acrylic direct to chipboard is that you often need to add several coats, as the finish is patchy when the paint absorbs into the chipboard, often differently in different areas. Adding more and more coats, the chipboard can become very wet, soggy and consequently warp out of shape. Often, the colours of your paints will not remain true either, if they are constantly soaking into the background material. Adding a good primer coat first helps to avoid these issues.

Using Gesso on Chipboard

As a demonstration, I have added paint to a piece of board and then added gesso to another.

Paint on the left, gesso on the right

You can see that the gesso is quite thin and also that the paint has given a pretty unsatisfactory finish by itself. You would expect to go over the paint again with another coat but even then, as the paint starts to soak in under the first coat, you can still end up with finish that you don't like.I have had to add up to five coats on some of my projects in the past, simply because the paint was poor quality and too wet or thin to give proper coverage.

Here is the first coat of Gesso, which is pretty thin and doesn't look promising.

When the topcoat is applied, the finish is much better and the paint applies really well over the basecoat of Gesso

2 coats of paint on the left and gesso with one coat of paint on the right

On the left, there is two coats of paint and on the right you have the piece primed with gesso and then a coat of acrylic added. There isn't much to see between the two in terms of the finish but if you are using an expensive paint, you would prefer to not to have to do more than one coat. Using Gesso avoids this.

Using Gesso on different craft materials

Here is a quick run through, using gesso on some white card (the same card was used for all examples) and then showing the differences in the effects you get with using various craft materials such as inks and paints. Priming your surface first, can result in a much more vibrant finish, apart from avoiding the problems with your medium soaking into the paper. Different papers will yield different effects here of course, with handmade papers soaking up inks very quickly. Have a look and see what you think.

Using Paint on Card with Gesso

I am using Distress Paint Daubers here, as they are easy to apply. There wasn't a great difference in results overall.

Verdict - took longer to dry on the Gesso as expected and the result was slightly more vibrant but nothing to get excited about.

Stamping with Pigment Ink on Card with Gesso

You can see that the image on the right, stamped on Gesso has remained wet on the surface of the paper, compared to the plain card, where the ink has partly been absorbed by the card. Pigment ink normally stays wet longer than Dye inks and this enables embossing powders to be added, so this isn't a surprise but in fact with the application of Gesso, it stayed open for ages, well past five minutes on the gesso prepared card. This might be useful for some purposes but I didn't really like the way that the image lost clarity and became blurred. 

Verdict - I wouldn't be inclined to use the Gesso on my card unless I was looking for a particular unfocussed effect

Stamping with Dye Ink on Card with Gesso 

I haven't labelled this one but the Gesso card is on the right. There is less bleed with the dye ink as it dries quicker but there is still a more blurred image and you can see that the colour of the ink is also different. This was a drier dye ink so next up I tried with a much wetter ink.

Here I am using Adirondack which has really juicy ink pads. You can see that the bleed is pretty extreme. Again, this might be an effect you want.

Verdict - Gesso applied to the card allows the ink to bleed creating a fuzzier image than with blank card, so for a crisp image, stick to blank card!

Stamping with Pigment Ink and Dye Ink on Handmade Paper with Gesso

Here I decided to have a go with some handmade paper, as this is really absorbent and you can have problems with patchy images as the ink soaks into it quickly. The pigment ink stayed wet for ages on the gesso side and bled a little. I think the issue was that I held the stamp as firmly and for as long on both pieces of paper when in fact you can get away with a much lighter touch on the gesso paper.

Again, a similar result with the Dye Inks and in fact the image on the gesso piece was a bit patchy as you can see.

Verdict - If you need a longer open time with your pigment ink, if perhaps you are embossing on the handmade paper, then applying Gesso first will give you that. The bleed isn't as bad as with normal card though which is good but surprisingly, the image was a little patchy for the Dye Ink (this may be due to operator error)!

Using Spray Inks on Card with Gesso

I'm using Distress Sprays here for this example. Again, the gesso card is on the right.

Verdict - ugh!! The ink puddled badly on the gesso prepared card and would not dry. In the end I dabbed it off with a paper towel which ruined the spray effect finish. Not really what I was looking for. Stick to blank card.

Using Markers on Card with Gesso

Not really much difference here but definitely less patchy result on the gesso prepared card. You will have to take my word for that as it is difficult to see in the photo but the gesso side was definitely better.

Verdict - Good for surfaces using a dryish marker such as the Distress Markers, which can be absorbed quickly by paper and card.

Using Gesso on Plastic

Ok, so this is where it really did a good job. Here I am painting my plastic coffee capsules and the gesso applied to the pot really helped to provide a surface for the paint to adhere to. Of course, a true comparison would be to put a second coat onto the left hand pot where paint was added on its own but the gesso did apply much better than the paint on the first application. If I was just using paint, I would probably need quite a few coats to get the coverage I need.

Verdict - Gesso is great on plastic to provide a good solid base for my paint effects.


While you may not want or need to use gesso on most of your papercraft projects, it most definitely has a place, especially when working with boxboard or chipboard, or difficult surfaces. You could of course just use a white paint with glue as a binder but the addition of the powder element, gives a nice matt surface to deal with. 


I have found it invaluable for finishing projects quicker, being less wasteful with paint and achieving a more pleasing result when using paints, to use a primer like gesso first.

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Chipboard Wheelbarrow Project Mini Terracotta Plant Pots

Posted on August 14, 2017 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Today I am back to one of my fav things, recycling old stuff to use in my craft projects. Those little flower pots in the display photos might look familiar!

Coffee Capsules!

I have posted a few articles about using these little beauties. Those coffee capsules are turning out to be so useful and if you are like me, you get through heaps of the stupid things. Check the right hand sidebar under Recycle category for other ideas using them.

I started off by painting my pot with a mixture of white paint and some PVA glue, to create a surface that would stick to the pot and I could then paint over with my coloured paint.

Now I could have just then painted the pot with brown acrylic paint and be finished with it but I wanted to get a nice rough texture and mat appearance to resemble a terracotta pot, so I added some Plaster of Paris to the paint mix, just a little will give you the chalky paint finish you are looking for.

You can get an even more textured finish to your terracotta pot with the addition of one more simple ingredient

Here is my pot of decorative sand. I actually got this years ago and didn't know what to use it for but it was just perfect for this project. You could use ordinary sand also, just make sure that it is clean and dry before you start to add it to your paint. You can add a tiny bit as I have done for the terracotta pot or a bit more depending on the finish you want.

For this next pot, I was aiming for a more concrete finish to my pot, so I added a bit more sand to my grey paint. Well that just about rounds it up with the Chipboard Wheelbarrow project posts, unless I get anymore queries or questions. I hope you have enjoyed reading the blog and please do comment below if you would like to!

Chipboard Wheelbarrow, creating a rusted effect wheel

Posted on August 12, 2017 at 11:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Today I am showing how I made the rusted effect wheel for my display wheelbarrow chipboard projects. This is a really simple technique and the effects are pretty good. There are other ways of achieving a rusted finish but this one is certainly one of the easiest.

First off, I am covering the wheel that I have cut from the template with Brushed Pewter Distress Paint. I could have used Copper here also.

Once dry, I dabbed the wheel onto my Embossing Ink Pad and added some Vintage Photo Distress Embossing Powder. I was attempting to not cover the wheel completely initially, to create a patchy effect if you like but actually, this wasn't necessary to do, because of the way these powders work.

Tip: With these embossing powders it can be difficult to know when they are heat set. They do have a tendency to burn and give off smoke but don't panic. Just do it in stages until you are happy you have the right finish. You will know that the embossing powder is set, once the finish is more like sandpaper, than sand on the beach (according to Tim Holtz)!

Once heated and cooled, you can start to rub the surface and some of the powder will be removed.

I ended up rubbing off too much of the powder for the first try but this isn't a problem, as you can go back in and repeat the process. The next time, I went for some Black Soot Embossing Powder to fill in some of the gaps.

Again, I wasn't desperately happy, so I went back in for a third time with some more Vintage Photo powder.

For this example, I covered the whole wheel with powder, leaving no silver showing, which actually I was happier with.

Tip: Instead of fiddling around adding different colours, you can simply mix a bit of each powder together first, which I found to be quite successful. It can be more wasteful if you are not making similar projects but you can always keep the surplus for a future project. This give a great and consistent mix to the powder, with the Vintage Photo and Black Soot plus any other colour you want, being evenly distributed.

Join me again for the next post, where I will be showing how I made the little plant pots used in the photos with the wheelbarrows!

Chipboard Wheelbarrow Creating a Faux Wood Effect

Posted on August 12, 2017 at 1:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Today I am going to do a quick post about getting a faux wood effect, which you can use with the Wheelbarrow projects or other papercraft projects.

All of these display examples were created using the same technique to make a 'wood effect' wheelbarrow but simply using different colours to get different finishes.

Take the paint colour you want to use. I am using my Distress Paints here as I find the paint dauber thingy on the top really useful to get the best effect for this technique.

Note: You can also use your Distress Ink pads and simply swipe across the paper as shown but I prefer the effect using the paints.

The colour I am using is Peeled Paint and this was the basis for the green wheelbarrow above. So swipe across the paper as shown, the idea is to get a washed effect and not to completely cover the page. You want some white areas remaining and a rough type of finish, i.e not too perfect.

Next, I am brushing here and there using my blending tool with Tea Dye Distress Ink. The intention is to get a dirty, worn look. Then let it dry or use a heat tool to set the paint.

To create the effect of wood planks, use a pen (I am using my Distress Marker here, the Tea Dye or maybe a darker brown to show up) to draw lines and nails. Stagger the lines for a more realistic effect. You can go back in with your blending tool along the lines if you like to give even more definition and depth, which is what I have done with the Wheelbarrow Template examples above.

This gives a perfectly realistic faux wood effect!

Join me for the next post, where I will be showing a way to get a realistic rusted metal effect that you can use for the wheel on your Wheelbarrow project or any other papercraft project you are making.

Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins

Posted on August 9, 2017 at 11:05 PM Comments comments (0)

In an earlier post, there was a picture of the new Wheelbarrow template filled with autumn flowers in oranges and yellows. There were also some mini pumpkins shown in the photo too. Here is the photo if you haven't seen it.

Actually, there were two lots, some tiny ones in the flower arrangement and some in front on the ground.

So, I was asked where I got those from.If you want to make a similar Autumn piece then this might be helpful!

The larger ones shown in the photo are the dried fruit from Solanum integrifolium and you can find these on Ebay.There are fabulous and really do look like mini pumpkins. You can use these on wreaths and other flower arranging projects but they were just the job for this Autumn Cheer Wheelbarrow Project.

The smaller ones that you can see in the barrow itself are known as Putkha pods and you can find these in floristry supplies part of your craft shop. I simply painted them with my orange acrylics and then dusted them with some Distress Inks to give them some depth and shape and then glued them onto floristry wire before adding them to my flower arrangement in the wheelbarrow.


Hope that helps!

Chipboard Wheelbarrow Instructions

Posted on August 8, 2017 at 10:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Here are a set of photo instructions to make the Chipboard Wheelbarrow from the template

Carefully cut out all the pieces following the template, as all the pieces have been designed to fit together in a certain way.

Affix the two side pieces to the base. The base is slightly longer so there will be a small gap at each end which is where the front and back will fit

Then affix the front and back pieces to the base and sides. They should sit on the base at the bottom and then be glued to the sides

Cut, score and fold the handles

The folds at the other end of the handle which will attach to the wheel

Punch holes in the ends

Fix the stand onto the underside of the base

Then add the support piece gluing it to the stand and the base

Sand off any rough pieces from the wheel. A small nail file works well for this

Attach the wheel to the handles

Decorate with paints, papers etc. It is would be easier to paper the shapes first before assembling but paint can be used once the wheelbarrow is assembled

Before painting, it is helpful to coat the chipboard with gesso, as a primer. In a future blog post we will look at how to get a faux wood effect for the wheelbarrow using paints and inks and how to get a rusted finish on the wheel, to give an authentic finish.

Chipboard Template Wheelbarrow

Posted on August 7, 2017 at 3:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Autumn Decorative Piece

This latest template has been a long time coming but finally all the bumps have been ironed out and I have had such fun playing with it. This cute wheelbarrow is pretty simple to put together with boxboard (aka crafter's chipboard) and can be filled with anything you like to make a decorative seasonal piece, as I have done here, or to celebrate a birthday, wedding or pretty much anything you want. Here are a few examples but I am not finished playing with this one, so there will be some more ideas posted soon.

A birthday gift for a special friend, filled with all their favourite flowers

Can you guess what the mini pot is made from? It will feature on another blog post but if you think along the recycle, reuse lines, I'm sure you will be able to work out what I have used here!

A gift for a special mother

A wedding decoration with flowers to match the bouquet

You can find the template under the Chipboard Creations tab on the left hand side bar listed as one of the saleable templates. However, there are plenty more templates and other items free for members under the Member Pages on the left hand sidebar. Joining up is free with no obligations. I just like to keep some things for crafters and love to hear about your projects and stories.


Please contact me using the Contact button if you have any questions that you need help with. I get lots of questions about all kinds of art related things which I respond to directly to the people asking but I may do some blog posts with the questions and answers, as they could be of use to many more people.

Decorated Notebook Number 1

Posted on July 3, 2017 at 5:15 AM Comments comments (0)

A quick project today. I was looking at my notebook and decided to do a quick redecoration. This book is just one I carry about and jot down project ideas, things to blog about or anything else that gets my attention, as my memory is as bad as can be expected at my age.

Here it is. A light purple and shiny. Too boring!

A few lovely die cuts stuck to the front, some are Tim Holtz dies and I've added a chipboard butterfly and a wooden flower that I moved about to where I wanted it. You could go to town here with your scene but I was trying to convey a message of small ideas growing into big, so the garden theme was ideal.

A quick cover of gesso and some white acrylic paint to seal everything in and give me a blank canvas

Starting off with some spray inks, as I am trying to get a particular look here

Not enough colour with the sprays, so adding in some Distress Paints on the main accent pieces gives a rustic and handmade look which I love! I really love the look of the brush strokes showing also.


A bit of gesso on a dry brush to accent here and there and then a piece of raffia along the spine and a sentiment which was blended in with some distress inks.

If you like the idea of making your own decorated notebook, I've posted free JPEG and PNG files for the Big Ideas Sentiment that you can find on the Free Stuff Pages.

Alcohol Ink Penny Washer Pendants

Posted on June 29, 2017 at 3:25 AM Comments comments (0)

I am loving this new section on the blog where we post recycled, upcycled and money saving ideas to do with crafts. As you know, the site deals mainly with templates but this doesn't mean that I don't like doing heaps of other things and basically, if I like it, I will try it!

So here are the boring, old, plain washers ready to be upcycled!

There are lot of different sizes out there with different sized holes. I am using the biggest I could find, which are known as M12 (35 mm diameter and 12 mm hole). You can use washers in different sizes and layer them up to create more interest but actually I just wanted to use single layer ones.

I just dabbed my alcohol ink with the blending tool all over the surface, aiming to get as interesting pattern as possible. The first few that I made were all in one colour, using different inks, for example, all blue, or all pink. These were nice but I eventually got more adventurous and turned out some nice mixes with contrasting colours.

These penny washer pendants are an old idea and I am most definitely late to the party on making these but who cares? I had such fun dabbing my cheapy little washers with different combinations of colours and let's face it, fashion goes around and around!

I loved the final effect on this one that is almost like it is flecked with gold.

You will need to seal your pendant to stop the inks rubbing or chipping off. You can create a raised pebble effect using something like Glossy Accents, or if you want to keep the colours a bit more 'true' and vivid, you can use a spray laquer. I tried both and acutally liked both, it just depends on the look you like the best.

You can hopefully see the difference here with the Glossy Accents finish on the right and the spray laquer on the left. You can lose definition with the Glossy Accents one but you get a lovely 3D finish which is much more like a proper jewellery piece.

I am so pleased with these and have made one in every colour to match all my t-shirts!!

I am assuming everyone knows how to assemble these into necklaces but if not, post me a comment below and I can put up a quick demo to show how to add the clasps and cord.

Technique Book Project using Homemade Texture Paste

Posted on June 28, 2017 at 6:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Ok, so today we are using the texture paste made in the last post to create a lovely cover for a book that will be where I want to store my samples for the distress inks and other things that I discover. I am using some precut covers from Zutter and I will be using my Bind it All to make up the book when I have finished.

Gently scrape the texture paste over your stencil, making sure that it is not too thin or too thick. You want a raised texture but you also want it even across the cover, so use a piece of card or an oil paint spatula or pointing trowel tool to do it.


Tip: Scrape off any paste that has gone over the edges of the cover before it dries and make sure you wash off any stencils right away, or else the texture paste can ruin them!

Here is the finished front cover for my journal, which I left to dry overnight.

Tip: The stencil is much smaller than the cover, so let each section dry before doing the next, so as not to smudge the wet paste. You can then line the next stencil up as much as possible to create a continuous pattern. It is quite difficult to do it perfectly and don't worry too much, as when you paint over it, any mismatches are not so obvious and add to the rough handmade charm of your project anyway!

I painted the cover with a black gesso, simply made with black paint added to my white gesso. In fact the final colour was more of a dark grey but I was very happy with this.

The gesso gives a completely flat matt appearance and really hides the pattern underneath, so I went in with some Metalic Lustre to bring out the beautiful texture. I am using Black Shimmer here, with a tiny little bit of the Silver to highlight here and there. Don't overdo the silver or you lose the aged look that you want.

I was very pleased with this effect and the photo does not do it justice in any way. Absolutely stunning!

For the back cover, I repeated the technique but with a different stencil.

Out comes the Bind It All to create a cover.

Here is the almost finished album. I am waiting for some corner protectors to come in the mail, which will finish it off nicely and I will post up another photo then so that I don't hold up this blog post. I am soooo happy with how this turned out and will be off to make some more in different sizes. The homemade texture paste we made in the last blog post worked so well and all for a fraction of the cost!

Make Your Own Texture Paste

Posted on June 27, 2017 at 1:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Texture paste is something I have come to love using more and more on my projects. There will be an upcoming post on a technique book that I made using texture paste on the cover and it worked beautifully!


Anyone who buys texture paste regularly knows how expensive it can be, so here is a recipe to make your own on the cheap! Actually, there are several recipes out there circulating on the web but this one I use works well enough for the projects I am doing at the moment. I made this batch for the equivalent of a couple of dollars.

Here is the recipe for Texture Paste that I use:

  • 2 parts baby talc/powder
  • 1 part white paint
  • 1/2 part white glue

So, if you are using cups, do 2 cups powder. 1 cup of paint, 1/2 cup white glue. I have scaled mine to make the amount that I want to keep for upcoming projects, so you can use any measuring cup or container you like but just use the proportions given above.


Tip: If you want a coarser effect to your texture paste, you can swap out the powder for some baking soda. I personally am happy with the smoother finish from using powder but of course it depends on the project that you are doing.

Stir well to mix and either add more powder or paint to get the consistency that you want to work with. You can then store the paste until you want to use it, I am using a plastic box with an airtight lid.

Alcohol Ink Decorated Bottles

Posted on June 26, 2017 at 3:15 AM Comments comments (0)

As you know, if you follow this blog regularly, we like to pick up all kinds of projects, not just papercraft. All things are an adventure to be discovered and today's project is an example of that....when you ask yourself, 'What if I did this, what will happen?'


I have to say I was so happy with the outcome, creating something so beautiful from something so ugly, so I hope you enjoy reading about it too!

I had a pile of these old brown bottles lying around due to go into the recycling collection, You know the type, the ones you get with cough medicines and the like in.

Obviously, you can't go in and decorate without sealing or priming the surface in some way, particularly with brown bottles, where nothing shows up, so i added some white gesso here mixed with some PVA white glue, in the hope of getting it to stick a bit better. I am not sure exactly how much but probably about 1/4 to 3/4 of glue to gesso but you could of course try it without.

Pick out your alcohol ink colours. This is the fun part and can be a bit hit and miss, although I do find alcohol inks very forgiving. Just dab the colours on in the normal way, using the blending tool and enough blending solution to give you an effect that you like.

Here you can see the first example, which I think turned out really nicely

The addition of some sitck on gems, also dabbed with the same alcohol ink colours, a ribbon and a sentiment, together with a few fresh flowers from my garden, makes a gorgeous gift for a friend, or to keep for yourself. Cover your bottle with some gloss varnish to make it a bit more sturdy, especially if you are making vases like I have done here.

Here are a few more in different colour schemes. You could simply make a collection for display, as they are so pretty!

Time for Tea, Teapots and Teacups Multi Template

Posted on June 19, 2017 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Our new Teapots template, was designed to be used with the teacup and saucer template and you can now get them both together as a multi buy on the template pages.


The Teapot template includes teapots in two styles and the larger sizes work with the second and third sized Teacups.

The small Teapot templates work best with the third sized Teacups!

Make Your Own Distress Ink Mini Ink Pads

Posted on June 19, 2017 at 1:45 AM Comments comments (0)

I hope all the fathers enjoyed their day yesterday and that they received lovely handmade cards and gifts to celebrate. As far as posting on the blog, it has been just too hot to do much in the craft room this last week or so, so I have been having a well deserved break. Today, I have a quick post done a while back on the theme of recycling again, which will do until I move onto doing some other things.


I love my Distress Ink Pads but in the past I have wanted to take a small craft kit with me when I travel and the normal ink pads are just too big. These little minis are a great alternative but if like me, you are on a budget, then you will always be looking for ways to get what you want at a discount!

I had these old ink pads that I had to throw away, as the ink pad foam itself had just disintegrated, making it impossible to use.

After measuring the size of the ink container, I am using the Ranger Cut N Dry Felt here to cut some squares and glued them in place with some solvent glue. You could use a hot glue gun I guess also.

A couple of droppers full of reinker in my favourite colour Tea Dye and you are ready to go!

I just punched some squares rubbed with the ink to make labels for my ink pads but you could make much flashier ones using the Distress Ink Swatches you can get on the Ranger website.

As you can see, the ink is exactly the same, so my mini ink pad is a success!

So now I have my favourite colours to hand taking up a fraction of the space.

Finding a Craft Use for Coffee Capsules

Posted on June 12, 2017 at 11:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Today, I thought I would share another handy tool that I use, which is a cheap and cheerful alternative.


I love coffee and since I got a coffee machine, I have found that the emply capsules are stacking up all over the place. I usually empty the coffee grounds on my compost heap and recycle the plastic inserts but I thought there has to be a use for the capsules themselves.

I am always looking for little pots to put glue and paints in and these are just the thing to use!

I've hot glue gunned the pots to an old CD which I can spin around when I am using multiple colours of paint and if you have the CD/DVD spindle, this makes a handy way to spin the pots around when you are working.

A Quick Tip - Using a Dog Hair Roller for Clearing Up Your Craft Area!

Posted on June 10, 2017 at 12:10 PM Comments comments (0)

In the spirit of encouraging a sustainable world, I've decided to add a new category to the blog, entitiled Recycle, Upcycle and Frugal. I'll be posting any ideas or thoughts I have on reusing, or reycling household objects for use in your crafts, as well as any everyday things I come across that might be useful, which don't necessarily save money or the planet.


We have already featured lots of ideas in the past blog posts of this kind of course but never had a special category for them until now, so if you have any ideas you would like to add, or would like me to try or demo something out, then please comment below or on the Facebook page.

Top tip today is an obvious one but I have to say, I have found it so useful in cleaning up my craft area, especially after using glitters and embossing powders.


This neat little dog hair roller I found in my discount shop does the job nicely and also picks up little paper pieces from my paper trimmer and scissors. I got the roller plus four refills for just over the equivalent of a dollar. Cheap but very useful tool to have on your craft shelf.

I am usually out in the town covered in glitter, which I hope is why I get strange looks and not for any other reason, as it is almost impossible to clear up glitter completely but at least my craft mat should be clean!

All About Distress Oxide Inks (Part 14)

Posted on June 8, 2017 at 11:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Life in A Distressing World, Adventures With Oxide Inks (Part 14)

Distress Oxides - It Will All Come Out In the' Wash' plus one more technique and a wind up review of these inks

I think we are there at last, well, unless I start fiddling again and in that case I will post another piece to the blog, you just never know!.


I have to say, I have really enjoyed playing with my Distress Oxide inks. This is in no way a sponsored article, just my thoughts as your average crafter. We are all feeling the pinch these days, so each purchase we make has to be worth it. I was in two minds whether to get these, especially as I realise that the rest of the colour swatch is probably coming and that means more expense and these products are never cheap are they?


However, even with this relatively limited range of colours in the first release, there is plenty to amuse for most people. The inks do produce a unique effect and I love the pastel tones that you end up with. The fact that they react with water, like the rest of the Tim Holtz range is great and I love the fact that I can combine them with all my other Distress products.


Anyway, without further ado, here are a couple more photos from my messing around sessions that you might like to see. I hope you have enjoyed this extensive review of Distress Oxides and please do leave a comment below or on the Facebook page if you have any thoughts, suggestions or questions.


Also, apologies for the somewhat grotty work mat I am using in the photos, if you would like to help to fund me to buy a new one, please consider hitting the Donation button on the right hand tool bar!

A simple wash background here and the inks work beautifully for this!

Just simple lines running across but you get the idea. More water and they run into each other more but some of the ink will settle quickly into the watercolour paper

A stamped image with my Versamark Archival

The inks can be used by simply brushing them onto the mat, adding some water and away you go. You get an unusual matt, almost flat image, so those of you with more talent will be able to achieve more by shading and highlighting!

Using Mirror Board

I was wondering what would happen with these inks on mirror board. Yes, I know, the inks won't stick but I wanted to create an effect with some of the mirror showing through.

As you can see, I had to cut up a few squares as this technique did not go well!

I had mixed success with this, as you can see below. I did manage to get the ink to fix once I had brushed on some Picket Fence Distress Paint. I deliberately left patches unpainted.

I can't say I was too happy with this but it was an interesting experiment. Perhaps the addition of alcohol inks on the mirror background first would work better and I will try that next time!

Texture Paste on Mirror Board

I was hoping for a more successful outcome with this one. Texture paste pretty much sticks to anything, so I knew the inks would apply nicely. The trick was getting a good stencil with enough paste coverage to use the inks on. Again, some alcohol inks in the background might work well with this technique.

Next up, back to the stencils and texture paste, again on mirror board

After drying the texture paste for quite a while, I could go in with my distress inks, applied directly to the pattern using blending foam. I love the way the texture paste picks up these pastel, matt colours. You could add water but be wary as the texture paste will melt away if you are not careful!

I absolutely loved this one. Such fun and a beautiful effect on the mirror board. Yet again the photo can't do it justice so try it yourself!

Ok that is it for now! Thanks for visiting if you have come every day for the next part. I will be taking a break from demos I think for a while but I am hoping to do a long series on Distress Sprays and Stains. There will also be some new templates coming which need demos and some other projects too. Add to this, my usual ramblings about this and that, so please drop by again soon.

Important Stuff

Please ask if you wish to use our content - words, photos or designs. You can contact us here and we usually just ask for attribution links to be added.

I would like to say that this article is NOT sponsored in any way, I do not receive any remuneration and any enthusiasm for the product is genuine and without any kind of financial incentive whatsoever!

All About Distress Oxide Inks (Part 13)

Posted on June 8, 2017 at 1:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Life in A Distressing World, Adventures With Oxide Inks (Part 13)

See the World In Black And White - Playing Around With Gesso!

Right back at the start of this series, we had a look at different card stocks that you could use Distress Oxides on. Oxides can be used on black card as we found but the colour is not highly vibrant. This is in part due to the fact that most cardstocks are partly porous and some of the ink is bound to sink into the card.


However, if you use black gesso as a background for stamping with Distress Oxides, the gesso forms a flat matt surface that keeps the ink from soaking into the card, as it is usually used to seal canvas. You can get some great and very bright effects, reminiscent of chalks on a chalk board. Here are some demos of me playing with the Distress Oxides on cardstock treated with black gesso.

Black Gesso

Pretty stunning effects using these inks on some card previously coated with black gesso and dried before stamping. I just love the vibrancy of the colours!

The card on the left had stamped images sprayed with water and wiped away, to leave a feint shadow impression. The wet card was then stamped as before with oxides. You can see the bleed on these stamped images creates a slightly lighter effect than the pure stamped images on the right

Here a butterfly stamp is used with a single ink colour applied direct to the stamp

If you spray the image with water the colour dissipates more or less completely and if dabbed with a cloth to pick up the excess water and ink, you will be left with a shadow image.

Here is another example with a script stamp

Adding a spray of water causes the ink to bleed out. This was then dabbed with a towel to take up the extra moisture

Using this as the background, I have then stamped an image on top of the shadow script, using a mix of oxide inks applied directly to the stamp. You will notice that the script shows through the butterfly but if were to stamp the butterfly first and then seal it with Distress Glaze, you could then stamp over the top with your script and it would not cover the butterfly wings. I haven't tried this out yet but I am pretty sure that this is the effect you would get.

Finally, here s an example of the background you can get with the basic dipping technique on black gesso. I think the colours are more vibrant than just using black card.

White Gesso

I was interested to see what the difference might be, if any, when using paper or card sealed with white gesso before adding oxide inks. Just a couple of examples here but you get the idea.

Here are a couple of first attempts. The colours are definitely more muted, subtle and pastel than simply using on non-primed card. I actually really like this effect. The one on the left shows the smoother but perhaps less interesting effect with more water added so the colours run into each other completely and the one on the right had a bit less.


A closer look!

Here is another example using lots of water spray and some splatters. It is almost like you are looking through tissue but hard to see on the photo.

I got a more vivid finish on this one using less water and some splots of ink from the reinker bottles

On this example, I blended colour onto the card with my blending tool/foam to give solid patches of colour and then added water from my spray. This gives a much denser coverage and with these darker colours, it oxidises beautifully

I just wanted to show you this one, where I had actually just cleaned off my brush by wiping the gesso across the paper. I then, added my distress oxide colour as usual using a dipping technique and you can clearly see the difference in take up of the inks here. This was quite a thick covering of gesso so the finish is very opaque but with a thinner coat, the background will show through to give that tissue paper effect mentioned above. The ink seems to sink behind the gesso which you can see on this other piece which was covered completely.

Here is a close up of that tissue paper effect. Ignore the brown flecks that brushed off (not sure where they came from). You can see on the edges where the gesso wasn't applied that the colour is darker and the lovely subtle tone on the rest. Use less gesso and you will get more colour coming through.

Thanks for joining me and visit again for part 14 which I think will be the last...whew!

Important Stuff

Please ask if you wish to use our content - words, photos or designs. You can contact us here and we usually just ask for attribution links to be added.

I would like to say that this article is NOT sponsored in any way, I do not receive any remuneration and any enthusiasm for the product is genuine and without any kind of financial incentive whatsoever!


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