Mementoes In Time

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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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Christmas 2017 Series - Simple Tree Cards 1

Posted on November 25, 2017 at 4:40 AM Comments comments (1)


If you downloaded the free Tree Template from the Member Pages (the one used to make the Twine Trees and the mini Gift Tags), then today's post just demonstrates that you can use that simple template in different ways to create different things. You don't need a template of course but we have made it a bit easier by designing one.



So here are a couple of cards, made by using the template to cut a simple tree or triangle aperture from your card, then placing some double sided tape around the tree on the reverse and layering different ribbons across the aperture. Work from the reverse and check the pattern every now and again on the front. Work from the bottom of the tree to the top, overlaying each ribbon a little over the last to get this nice layered effect. Finish off with a hand cut pot on the bottom and then go to town with your other decorative bits and pieces.



You can use paper instead of ribbons of course but by using ribbons, this gives your card a beautiful and luxurious finish that you would have to pay a fortune for in the shops. All made with some ribbon scraps and super easy too!

Christmas 2017 Series - Tag Box Template

Posted on November 24, 2017 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (1)


If you have got the Tag Box Template, featured in an earlier post, here is another project using this file. This time, I wanted to use some of the gorgeous Distress Oxide Snowflake backing paper I made here, together with some wrapping paper that I bought last year and absolutely love. It has turned up all over the place in different Christmas projects and today is no exception!



This is a simple box of tags for use, which I have made for a friend. The use of luxurious ribbons and a festive greeting on the box, make this a nice hand crafted but useful gift. If you prefer to make a gift box then you can!



Here I have taken out the tags, added a ribbon handle and created a lovely gift box with this same project.


You can get his saleable template listed on the left hand sidebar under Chipboard Templates. Thanks for joining me again and see you soon for another post in the Christmas 2017 series!

Christmas 2017 Series - Tissue Baubles or Ornaments 2

Posted on November 22, 2017 at 7:45 PM Comments comments (1)


Gotta love these upcycle projects! I'm back to my tree decorations again today. That same box or baubles/ornaments bought last year in the sales is getting some use this year. I am so pleased with the twig tree covered in all these creations and if you like doing these kind of projects then this one is a must do! All you need is some pretty tissue papers, the printed kind is the best.

 

So I had some gold printed tissue paper I bought about 14 years ago, that I found in a drawer under my bed. Honesty, this tissue paper has been all round the world and back and I finally thought, enough is enough, it has to get used. I had used it a bit here and there but do you know when you have something that you buy and you just don't think you should use it because it looks too nice, was too expensive, or you think you make have a use for it in the future but in the end you don't....well this was on of those items!Turns out that it looked great on my plain old Christmas baubles.


 


The process for making these upcycled baubles or ornaments is exactly the same as we featured on an earlier post with our Distress Oxide Tissue Papers but a whole lot easier as we are using ready printed tissue that we don't have to make first and we don't have to seal to prevent the inks running. So read this post first to see the basic method which just involves using a watered down PVA/white glue to layer up pieces of torn tissue paper, letting it dry and then using some laquer to seal and add a little shine.




I just love how these turned out, taking basic boring and cheap baubles and making them super pretty. One pack bought in the sales last year, has allowed me to make three different types of home crafted ornament to keep, what a bargain!!

Christmas 2017 Series - Tag Gift Box Advent Calendar

Posted on November 21, 2017 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (1)


With December rapidly advancing, today's project is a lovely little Advent Calendar idea, using the new Tag Box Template, one of our saleable templates you can find under Chipboard Templates on the left hand sidebar.

 

All the saleable templates are super cheap, this one is only $1, but they do help to support the site, pay for the site fees etc, so do consider having a browse there. We have heaps and heaps of free stuff too on the Member pages, so register with the site to get acess to those.

 

The idea is that sometimes it is nice to make an advent that is not focussed on chocolate, or maybe you want to make a more adult themed advent for someone special in your life, as I have done here. Each tag has a message on the reverse but you could add a non-edible treat idea, like 'a trip out to the movies' etc.



I had such fun making this one and it didn't take too long to do at all. To complete the whole project including the 24 tags took about a day to do but not solidly working.



This project is simplicity itself, once the box has been constructed, you can just use co-ordinating festive papers to decorate both the box and each tag. I have used some die cut numbers on a punched scallop circle and lots of Distress Inks to add some depth.

 

Alternatively, you can use this as a lovely gift box for a treat for a special someone and there will be a couple more ideas along this theme posted here on the blog over the next few days, so come back to visit if you would like to see those.

In the meantime, thanks for joining me here and Happy Crafting!.


Christmas 2017 Series - Distress Oxide Background Snowflakes

Posted on November 20, 2017 at 8:30 PM Comments comments (1)


Todays card uses a well known technique to create a lovely snowflake themed background. I have used the paper to make a few projects, not just this card and they will be featured on a future post, so once you have made a sheet of it will be good value for money!



Start off stamping a snowflake pattern over a sheet of card with a Versamark or similar ink pad.



Add some white embossing powder and heat set it. Go back in and fill in any places you have missed, so that there are no obvious gaps in your pattern.



Next, pick out your Distress Oxide Inks. I have gone for all the blues here with a bit of violet/purple colour. Gradually building up colour, dip and wipe your card into puddles of ink on your craft mat. If you need to see more on how this is done, then you can read our series on Distress Oxide Inks.



If you want a bit of shimmer on your background, wait until it is dry and then brush over some iridescent acrylic medium and let that dry.




I was super pleased how this turned out and managed to create a few projects from just this one piece of card. If you want to see what, then stop by the blog again to find out!

Christmas 2017 Series - Beaded Paper Strip Tree Ornaments

Posted on November 19, 2017 at 9:55 PM Comments comments (1)


This is a project based upon one that you can find all over the web but I wanted to make my own version and to make it easy for you, there is a template on the Member's pages that you can pick up if you register with the site.

 

I haven't done any photo instructions for this one as it is relatively straightforward. Bend the paper strips back and forth according to the dotted lines, working from the largest fold to the smallest, shaping the paper at the top or bottom. Punch a hole through the middle and feed through some beading wire and beads to decorate on each layer, the top and the bottom, or as you wish. Loop the wire at the top so that you can hang your ornament.



This is a great way to use up old scraps in your craft box or to make coordinating decorations for a gift to match the wrapping paper.



I will post up some photo instructions if anyone is sruggling with this but it is pretty easy to do. Have fun with the template and of course drop a line to the site using the contact form or add a comment below this post if you have any comments or questions.


Christmas 2017 Series - Distress Oxide Tissue Baubles

Posted on November 18, 2017 at 6:30 PM Comments comments (1)


As promised, we are continuing with the Distress Oxide Crumpled Tissue Technique, this time using it to decorate some cheap, nasty Christmas baubles/ornaments.

 

I love upcycling things to make something really handmade and unique. The thing about crafting is that you can do the same thing twice, use the same materials and tools and finish up with things that are different in colour, tone or finish. Everything you make is truly unique and today's project is a good example of that.



I've got my plain old, cheap baubles out again!



And my good old Distress Oxide Inks. I've gathered all the colours together as I wasn't sure what I was going to create.



I created a whole heap of papers using the same Crumpled Tissue Paper Distress Oxide technique I used in a previous post.

Simply gorgeous colours!!

 

I have added some spray inks over the top, silver, gold and copper depending on the base colours.

 

Tip: Through trial and error I discovered that the Distress Oxides and spray inks will run a bit when we get to the pasting stage, so you will want to seal them if you can. I used some hairspray to just try and fix the colours a bit. There will still be a bit of run but not nearly as much.



I started off by covering my bauble with a coat of gesso, simply to give me a base to work on and hopefully make it easier for things to stick to it.



Then I tore up my paper sheet into little pieces, trying to make sure that I picked the best bits and glued them onto the bauble, making sure to cover the whole thing and working the paper down as much as possible with a wet brush. I found that using a mixture of PVA or white glue mixed with a little water to thin it out was the best option.


Here are the results, with some more spray inks added before adding a coat of laquer to seal the ornament.


Green and yellows with gold spray


Pinks with silver spray


Blues and purples with silver spray


I just love the rough finish on these tissue baubles, where some of the tissue didn't lay flat. I thought this would be a problem but I am actually really happy that it worked out that way! These will be added to my growing collection of hand finished baubles that I create each year.

 

Thanks for reading and join me again tomorrow for another fun project with a free Member template!

Christmas 2017 Series - Distress Oxide Background Cards

Posted on November 17, 2017 at 6:15 PM Comments comments (1)



Following on from an earlier post where we created some gorgeous Distress Oxide Tissue Paper backgrounds, as promised here are a couple of cards made using them.




This beautiful red and orange background with copper sprays worked perfectly with this old faithful Stamp It Stamp, embossed with black embossing powder. Actually, I made the mistake of using Distress Embossing Powder which of course rubs off, so I had to seal it with some laquer.




The blue background with silver spray worked nicely with another Stamp It stamp and this time with white embossing powder and a greeting




The green background with gold spray inks was a challenge to use and I messed the stamping up twice, to I decided to work with the small piece that I had left and simply added a die cut ornament and some ribbon which I was much happier with. One of the messed up ones is shown below.




I just wasn't happy with this one at all. Not a great photo but I tried to stamp the tree and emboss in black but the result was too harsh, so I decided to add a bit of white embossing powder on the top to give a snow effect. Yuck! Straight in the bin with that one and a waste of a beautiful green and gold tissue background which was super annoying!

 

Verdict: The stamps did seem to work quite well on this background overall but you do need to be careful choosing which one and which ink to use, to avoid overpowering the background. Join me again soon for another post in our Christmas Series, where we will be making some lovely decorated baubles.

Christmas 2017 Series - Crumpled Tissue Distress Oxide Backgrounds

Posted on November 16, 2017 at 8:45 PM Comments comments (1)


Today I wanted to just share a technique that I stumbled across by accident and I think you agree the 'mistake' turned into some pretty stunning backgrounds.I am so in love with this technique that I keep making them so soon I will have mounds of tissue papers just begging to be used!

 

I'll post up some cards I made with these backgrounds in another post but for now, here is the technique that I call Crumpled Tissue Distress Oxide Backgrounds.



I am working with my Distress Oxide inks, choosing similar colours with an accent colour, eg all blues, with a little violet, then all greens with a little yellow and all oranges and reds.



So here is my tissue paper I was using for something else but decided to hijack and use for this. I have just cut a few squares here to play around with.



Ok, so next you just screw the tissue up into a ball, unwrap it and do it again a few more times if you like but be a bit more careful than you would normally be with just paper, as the tissue can tear easily.



Carefully unwrap the tissue and get it flat but don't iron out all the creases. I actually cut a square of card and then lightly taped my tissue to it, folding the edges around the outside and fixing on the back of the card. This helps to keep the tissue in one piece and gives you something to hold onto when you go to the next stage.



Now you can add your colours to the mat. The ones I am using here were for a green themed background and not the ones that produced the background you can see in the photos below. Just do the normal process you do for Distress Oxides by wiping the pad along the craft sheet, adding a spritz of water and then dipping and dragging the tissue paper until you get the look you like.



Here is my tissue still wet from the dipping process. You can see that the tissue is ruckled but leave it to dry or go over it lightly with a heat gun and the tissue will settle down again and go flat.

 

I also added some metallic spray inks on top, silver on the blue one above, gold on the green and copper on the red backgrounds, just to give a bit more glitz and sparkle.

 

The colours here are just amazing and really the photos don't do it justice at all. I am a complete fan of these beautiful Distress Oxide Inks, so if you like inks and you like playing around and getting in a wonderful mess in your craft space, you should put a set of these on your Christmas list!

 


Here is my finished background in all its gorgeous 'lustrenous' (not sure if that is a word) but I just love it!!

I'll post up some cards to show what I did with these backgrounds in another blog post but to be honest I love them so much they almost don't need anything done to them at all!

Christmas 2017 Series - Quick Gift Tags Free Template

Posted on November 15, 2017 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (1)


Yesterday, we posted up a free template to make those lovely twine trees. You can use the same template (in the smallest size) to make these quick little gift tags. I have used up some glitter gold and green card I had in my scraps box for mine with a quick thread through of some gold cord. Easy but quite nice little handmakes for Christmas!

Christmas 2017 Series - Twine Trees Free Template

Posted on November 14, 2017 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (1)


Welcome to Day three of our Christmas 2017 Series!


Today I have a really simple but beautiful project for your that honestly takes minutes to make.You can make these lovely twine trees to hang as a decoration around the home or make them as unique gift tags or gift decorations for a special present.

 

 

The basic shape here is just a triangle with a punched hole at the top but you can find a template on the Member pages in various sizes, so that makes it much easier, as the hard work is done for you. We will be using the template on a range of projects over the following few blog posts so register with the site if you want to get that.



I have simply cut one of the larger pieces from the template and put some double sided sticky on the reverse and front to hold the twine as I start to wind it around. I didn't do this for the first demo and you can see in the photos that the twine doesn't sit as flat as it should to look neat. It is worth doing this step.



Now the tricky bit. Start winding from the bottom, securing the twine at the base on the reverse. You may need to unwind and do this a few times to get the twine to sit close together with no gaps. Getting the right tension is also key so that the string doesn't sag or slip down. I am using just a basic green garden twine here but I made some with a decorative twine that you can see in the photo at the top as well as a range of ones using a fluffy type of wool and some glittery thread I had lying around from years ago that I had no idea what to do with!




Thanks for joining me today an drop by again soon for more in our Christmas Series.




Christmas 2017 Series - Toilet Roll Pillow Boxes

Posted on November 13, 2017 at 8:30 PM Comments comments (1)


I seriously love upcycle and recyclye projects. I guess I have just become a bit meaner in my old age, or maybe I just like to see what I can do with all those things we usually throw out!




Anyway, here is today's projects using some humble toilet rolls. There have been all kinds of Health and Safety missives about using old toilet rolls, especially with children's crafts, so be aware of that. I am making these for my own personal use and therefore do not have any legal issues to worry about. Also, if you are intending to fill your boxes with candies or sweets, it would be wise to use wrapped ones just to be on the safe side!



First off, I am just squashing down the tube a little to make it easier when it comes to shaping the box.



 I have chosen some wrapping paper for my rolls and cut a piece to size.



After the glue has dried you can move on to forming the pillow box



I am gently pushing in one side at one end of the roll, to form one of the flaps. You will need to do this to both sides and on both ends. Don't be too rough with it, you just need to gradually form the shape and it will actually go into place pretty easily.



You can see one side folded here



Both flaps folded in here




Here is what the box looks like, without the wrapping paper but you can see the shape that you are aiming for is a pillow box



I've added some silver cord here to make little parcels which finishes the box off nicely. I think these look stunning with this lovely snowflake wrapping paper!



If you make enough of these little boxes, you could string them up to make an advent calendar. Notice the pegs holding them are the stamped wooden pegs we featured on yesterday's post!




I hope you are enjoying this year's series of projects. Tomorrow we will be making a very simple tree decoration project and there will be a free template posted on the Member pages for those that are interested.

Christmas 2017 Series - Five Ways With Decorated Pegs

Posted on November 13, 2017 at 1:55 AM Comments comments (1)

 


I really love making use of things around the home and transforming them into lovely and useful projects. Here is one that just uses simple and very cheap wooden clothes pegs which you can pick up in more or less any store. You can really go to town with decorating here. For my pegs I have painted each one with white acrylic paint to get a nice base to work on and to cover up any markings on the pegs.


Here are some ideas for working with the painted pegs.



I have simply covered each peg with some glitter paper here. Use a peg as a template to draw around one side and glue onto the top of the peg. These are simple but gorgeous and I will be using mine to attach tags to Christmas gifts. You could also use them to hang up Christmas cards that you receive or on a hanging advent calendar, similar to ones featured on this blog in past years.



For these pegs, I am using up my paper scraps in the theme of purple and silver. I think these look fantastic and I am really pleased with how they turned out. I have simply glued my papers to the pegs but you could also seal them with varnish to make them extra durable.



These ones are simply stamped using a range of Christmas themed words and images. The white paint gives them a very neat and clean finish and I am planning to use mine to attach tags to my gifts. You could also them as placecard holders for the dinner table.



I've simply glued this one to my gift but you could use some double sided tape or glue dots. I've added a wooden snowflake for decoration.

 


You could also add a name and make your peg personal!



Or add numbers and use them to hang parcels on a hanging advent calendar (I'll be featuring a project using these in another blog post)


I hope you have enjoyed this first project for the Christmas 2017 series. I'll be listing all the projects with free templates or digitals on the Member pages, together with all the previous years projects, so join up to the site to see those and to get any templates we post. All other project posts are archived in the Projects and Tips Menu on the left hand sidebar.


Been away but now back!

Posted on October 4, 2017 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Just to say that I have been busy with so many things in life generally that the blog has taken a bit of a backseat. Actually, I could write a whole separate blog on the various things that have been stealing my time and I am sure this is true for most people. Anyway,  I have got up today and decided that I had better start posting some projects, with Christmas just a few short months away...panic!!

 

As usual, we will be doing a mix of cards, chipboard, decorative projects and freebies, much like previous years. Really, anything I can think of and decide to try out for myself will be shared on the site for you to try.

 

Different from previous years, however, I will be posting as soon as I have finished something and not waiting to the last few weeks to do an intensive post of all the projects. This gives anyone that wants to make things, the chance to do it, otherwise the benefits are lost. That's it for now. I had better get going and do something!!

Baby Wipes Flowers

Posted on August 31, 2017 at 11:30 PM Comments comments (1)



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!

Making a Small Waterlily

Posted on August 26, 2017 at 2:50 AM Comments comments (0)



In an earlier post, we looked at using baby wipes to create some beautiful backgrounds for cards and other projects. Two of the demo cards had mini waterlilies on them, so I just wanted to do a quick post showing how they were put together. Each one was made slightly differently but the overall effect was more or less the same. What you are going for when you make paper flowers is a representation, rather than a perfect rendition. This is because most of us do not have a huge range of craft tools to produce all the shapes we could use. Sometimes we have to make do and improvise!



Here I have punched out a few flower shapes that I am going to use and brushed each one with some chalks.



You will see that I only had one size of the main flower shape, so I had to use two daisy punches for the smaller flowers. You could also use our Flower Layering Template Number 2 to cut some flower shapes.




Next to add some dimension as we layer them up, I used a piecing tool, (you could use an embossing tool or even one blade of a pair of scissors) to just pull along the petal and flicking it up to make it curl slightly. When layered, you will get a much more realistic flower if you shape the petals a bit. So I went ahead and layered them up to create the rendition of a waterlily.



I have added a few dots of liquid pearls in lemon to the centre for the stamens and a couple of handcut waterlilies to finish the notelet we featured on a previous post.




I hope you have enjoyed this blog post. Please do leave a comment below or you can comment me using the Contact Form on the sidebard if you have any questions.



Well That Has Torn It! How to get different distress effects to paper edges

Posted on August 23, 2017 at 6:30 AM Comments comments (0)


Using torn paper edges on your cards instantly creates interest. This is of course an old technique and can really make an ordinary design look really special and far less processed. The torn effect creates the illusion of an aged paper and breaks up the design elements on your creative layout. You can use them to add a border between two types of paper or card as shown in the demo above or in so many different ways on scrapbook layouts and cards.

 

If you are not good at getting a straight edge with your scissors, then this technique can be very useful as by its very nature it doesn't have to be straight and in fact you are looking for a wonky edge to give the piece character. You can create your edge manually or using some tools as we will see.


This is a quick post just looking at some of the ways to get an edge that isn't just a plain, straight one. So if you always stick to straight edges, maybe this is time to step off the straight and narrow and try some tearing!


Simple hand tearing



As it sounds, this is just using your hands to tear the paper. You can get lovely effects with this, as the paper tears unevenly and exposes the layers of the paper. You can then brush the edges with chalks or distress inks to add depth and interest. In this example, I am going with the grain of the paper. All papers will have a natural grain, where the fibres are lying in a certain direction, usually when you are tearing horizontally. If you go with the grain, the tear will be easy and pretty straight and is definitely my preferred way to tear.



Tearing downwards, I am tearing against the grain and it more difficult to control the tear and get a straight edge. You will need to move more slowly and carefully and it can't be avoided if you are tearing a square. At some point, you will be working against the grain. You will get a much more rough and unfinished look with a tear against the grain which can look nice on your project.


Tearing against a ruler



If you can control the tear you will get a much straighter edge by pulling the paper against the side of the ruler. The edge will not expose the paper layers as it does with manual tearing and you will finish up with a neater but still torn edge. Depending on your project, this can be quite useful.

 

Apart from the simple straight edge ruler I am using here, there are all kinds of special tearing rulers/edgers you can buy, that allow you to tear against different edges and create different effects, so if you are going to be using this technique often, these might be worth investing in.


Using shapes to tear around




You can use different shapes to tear around, which can be useful if you are wanting to create a particular design for your card. This is similar to using a ruler but you can tear different shapes. Here I am using an acrylic square block to tear around.




And here, I have used a round coaster.


You will still encounter problems going against the grain but slowing down and being careful should help to overcome this to some extent.


Using Scissors



If you don't like the idea of tearing, you can try using scissors. You can get decorative scissors that will cut hundreds of different edges, from scallop to deckle and everything in between. I like scissors because you can effectively aim for a straight edge, which is easy to do by eye but the finish will be more interesting. My favourite decorative scissors, apart from my Scallop pair have to be the Deckle Edge. This pair by Fiskars gives a nice varying edge but there are loads that you can buy. The downside is that you won't get the fully natural finish that you get with tearing, as of course you are repeating the pattern each time you cut.


Using a distressing tool



You can buy these little tools pretty cheaply and they are simple to use. There are lots of different varieties on the market. Just pull or drag the cutting or tearing edge of the tool down the side of your paper to create a torn or distressed look. You can do it lightly or go over it more to create more of a distress look. The benefit of these is that you can work directly on any straight edge that you have and can control the effect to give the effect of wear to your paper edge, without it being too torn, or risk ruining your project by over tearing.


Use an Electric Distressing Tool



I got this cool little gadget recently but although it is now a discontinued item, you can still get them second hand on Ebay and there are other brands out there that do a similar thing. You can feed card, paper, board and heaps of other things in this, which makes it super useful.



Basically, you feed the card through from right to left or vice versa to get a lightly distressed edge or a more obviously distressed edge. Super easy and super quick. I love it!



Here is a comparison with a simple rectangle of the six ways we have looked at to get a torn/distressed edge to your paper.

  • Manual Tearing
  • Using a Ruler
  • Using a Shape
  • Decorative Scissors
  • Distress Tool
  • Electric Distress Tool


So, that is about it for this quick round up of different ways to get a torn or distressed edge to your papers. There are of course others! Why not give them a go if you haven't already and add a comment below if you have any others.


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!



Answering a Question on Chalked Backgrounds

Posted on August 20, 2017 at 5:50 PM Comments comments (0)

I get quite a few questions sent to me via the contact form and I usually answer them directly to people that do write to me. Mostly, I am able to offer some kind of suggestion, although I am no kind of expert! I thought it might be a good idea to post up some of them here on the blog and show what I answered, so if anyone else had a similar question, it could help, or if any lovely crafters out there who read it and can answer it better or add any useful comments could then do so, under the blog post. Here is a recent question regarding using fixatives on chalked backgrounds.




If I use chalk to create a background paper, and then spray with a fixative, will I still be able to glue other papers on top of it? (I like to do collages). Thanks!


I have used chalks for backgrounds for many years and always use a fixative to seal the chalk. The things I am doing usually only require something like hairspray rather than a commercial fixative and I can't recall having any problems with it in the past.




Here is a simple chalked background with just chalk swiped across the paper. I sealed this with hairspray as I usually do, because I am cheap and wouldn't pay for fixative!




Then some simple cut out flowers glued on top. I did choose a PVA, white glue to do this and actually ended up covering the whole piece, in effect sealing it the whole thing and giving it gloss finish. I can't imagine you would have any problems adding whatever you like to the background to build up a collage but it could depend on what you are adding over the top, in terms of inks etc. Stronger colours will drown out your delicate chalks. The best option is to trial things out on a scrap piece before using your precious collage items on the final piece and messing it up.


Hope that helps!


Anyone out there like to add a comment or suggestion, please do so below this blog post!

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 (1)

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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