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Baby Wipes Flowers

Posted on August 31, 2017 at 11:30 PM Comments comments (0)



Following on from the last post, where we looked at using old baby wipes to make some beautiful card backgrounds, in this blog post, I wanted to show you another way to use up those old rags! I have seen this technique in a number of different places on the web and wanted to give it a go. If you haven't got any used wipes and want to do this project, then just cut some shapes and then colour them with some inks, by wiping them through puddles of colour on your craft mat.




For this first flower, I have die cut five flower shapes from my old baby wipe,layerered them up, staggering the petals, then punched a hole and pushed through a brad to secure the pieces.




My pieces were still wet but you could dry them out if you wish and then spray them lightly before the next step.




You could leave your flowers like this but to get a nice scrunched up finish, use your heat gun to heat them until they start to fold up and crinkle. This can take a while and you do tend to get some brown smoke coming off, especially if you hold the heat tool too close.




I would definitely recommend doing this with really good ventilation in your craft room, or maybe even doing it outside if you can. You don't want to be inhaling all that stuff. Once I was happy with my scrunched flower, I sprayed it with some hairspray to keep it stiff and attached it to my card.




Here is another flower made with just small circles cut from the wipes. This is great if you don't have acess to a die cutter, as you can still get a nice effect with circles rather than flowers.




This is such a nice project to do and you get some lovely fabric feel flowers to use on your card an other projects. Make up a few and keep them in your stash ready to use!

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.


Conclusion

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!



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.

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!

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!


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