Monday, September 19, 2016

Alcohol Ink on Glossy Cardstock

As anyone who frequents this blog knows, I like alcohol inks. What you may or may not have figured out yet is that I'm also terribly cheap. It's why I made my own ink applicator instead of forking out  5 or 6 bucks for one. Needless to say, I wasn't about to spend $7 on a pack of 10 sheets of paper for the Ranger brand glossy cardstock. And I certainly wasn't going to spend the $14 for 10 sheets of Yupo (which is plasticized paper and works even better than glossy cardstock...or so I've been told as I'm too cheap to buy it). So when I noticed you could buy a package of 250 sheets of Xerox's brand of glossy cardstock for about $12 I figured that was a deal I could get behind. Heck, even if it doesn't work perfectly for alcohol ink, I can still use it in my printer.

So I grabbed my inking supplies: a craft mat, my applicator and felt, and several colors of Ranger alcohol ink and tried just stamping a pattern onto the paper.

Much like the surfaces on the white gift bags I inked last month, the ink soaks in fairly quickly. I wasn't able to cover the whole surface with my initial inked felt. As you can see above, it faded out as I moved along the sheet of paper.

So I used the same felt and added drops of similar, but different colors so I could layer them over the top of each other. I simply stamped from the side of the page that had very little ink and worked my way back to the other side. It worked out pretty well to create a sort of confetti look.

Next, I tried using a water brush filled with some rubbing alcohol and a plastic palette to do some painting. This worked out perfectly. The ink soaks in enough that it doesn't smear. It actually works better than the times I've tried using the water brush on ceramic tile. That being said, it's not a very user-friendly painting medium since it does soak in and can't be changed or layered very well. So I created a nice striped pattern. You could do all kinds of neat things with the water brush as long as you planned them out ahead of time.

Lastly, I tried the good old alcohol ink standby, squirt the ink and blow it with canned air. The canned air didn't move the ink much, but the squirts of color turned out nicely on the paper.

I kept squeezing the ink onto the page until I filled it up and created a design. Since I was just playing around with this new paper, I think these turned out pretty well. I have a better idea of what I can do on this paper and I look forward to trying out new techniques.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Trying Out Pinata Alcohol Inks

If you've been to my blog before, you know that I have made all kinds of projects with alcohol ink. But, in all of those projects, I used Ranger Inks (since they are more widely available at craft stores). Pinata alcohol inks are the other major brand (made by Jacquard), and I finally got myself a starter set

The Pinata set usually costs around $20 on Amazon and comes with 9 bottles of ink. So it's actually fairly comparable in price to the Ranger Inks, maybe even a little cheaper. The colors are all bright and vivid versions of yellow, orange, magenta, bright blue, purple, and green. It also comes with a black, white and a gold (which I didn't try my first time out).

I grabbed a 4-inch glossy ceramic tile to try the inks out on first. I'm pretty familiar with how the Ranger Inks behave on this surface, so I felt it would be a good comparison for me.

I decided to stamp the on my first one with cool colors. I dripped the inks onto my felt and covered the surface of the tile in one pass. The bottles didn't drip quite as much ink onto the felt as the Ranger bottles do and the ink seemed thicker and didn't spread out on the tile as much. The Ranger Inks will usually create a watercolor look unless you make multiple passes with the applicator.

I stamped the tile just a bit more to fill in some of the white space and then put some 90% rubbing alcohol onto my applicator and made another pass over the tile. The ink thinned out and behaved more like watercolors.

I ran my applicator over it some more and stippling occurred. I was really pleased with how the inks didn't seem to get muddled and brown in color, but still separated with the addition of the alcohol.

Next, I tried dripping some colors on the tile. Like with the applicator, the ink seemed thicker and didn't spread out as much on the tile.

So I used an eye dropper with some rubbing alcohol to try to spread the ink out.

I added a bit more ink and then used a can of air to spread it out a bit.

Then I used the eye dropper again with nearly no alcohol in it to blow some alcohol droplets onto the ink and get it to separate a bit. It behaved pretty much just like the Ranger Inks with this technique.

My two practice tiles turned out really neat. The biggest difference between the Pinata ink and the Ranger inks is that it seems to be a bit thicker/more saturated in color and will need to be thinned out with rubbing alcohol or a blending solution for it to behave the way I'm used to. I'm really looking forward to using this ink on some of the jewelry I've made with Ranger Inks in the past to get even more saturated color.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Popular Post Recap: Alcohol Ink Glass Gems

One of my most popular projects on the blog are these glass gems that I decorate with alcohol ink. Over the years, I've revisited the project several times and gotten several questions in the comments, so I thought I'd combine all of the different variations of the project into one post and answer the most frequently asked questions.

If you've used alcohol inks before, this is a super easy project. If you're new to inking, it's a good first or second project. All you need is an ink proof surface (I use a craft mat, but parchment paper would be a good substitute), a set of inks, and an applicator (you can make your own in a pinch with a scrap of wood and some velcro). I bought my glass gems at Dollar Tree, but they sell them pretty much everywhere that sells craft/floral arrangement supplies. All you need to do is apply some ink to the felt on the applicator (just drip a couple colors on) and stamp at the back of the glass gem until you like the colors that show up. Depending on the colors you used, it could take several layers of ink from the same stamper to get darker colors showing up. When your gems have dried, seal them with a layer of mod podge or with clear spray on acrylic sealer.

One of my first revisits was to turn some of the small gems I made and didn't turn into jewelry into magnets by gluing a neodymium magnet onto the back.

After I acquired some additional ink colors, I revisited the project and tried to get some darker results. With alcohol ink you can get softer more watercolor results or very stippled results where the bubbles appear to be outlined in dark brown or black. To achieve those results, you need to stamp repeatedly (sometimes dozens of times per gem), sometimes even allowing the ink to dry a bit before layering on more. If you over do it, just wipe it off with a paper towel and some rubbing alcohol

I made quite a few necklaces out of this batch. I simply applied some glue on bails using E6000 glue. I strung them up with suede cording and some ribbons.

After making another batch of gems, I had quite a few that didn't turn out quite as dark as I'd have liked. So I made my first attempt at backing the gems in something to make them less transparent. I used mod podge and aluminum foil to make a shimmery backing.

My next attempt at backing the gems involved painters tape and white spray paint. These turned out pretty neat, so I look forward to trying out some other types and colors of paint and maybe even some nail polish at some point. I hope I can add more to this list as I do.

I hope that answers most of the common questions about this project. When in doubt, keep stamping to get darker results. Also start out with the darkest colors of ink when possible. If you're not happy with how translucent your results are, try backing them with foil or paint. Let me know how yours turn out!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Duct Tape Mini-Wallet

A few weeks ago I went to the State Fair for the first time in a few years. I knew I needed to bring a purse, but I wanted to bring something smaller than I normally carry. I had the perfect small cross body purse, but my wallet was too big for it. I ended carrying my cash in my pocket and everything else I needed in my purse (cell phone, car keys, ID, etc...). So after I got home I decided to make a mini-wallet out of some duct tape. I wanted it just big enough to fit my driver's license, a credit card or two, and a bit of cash. You could stick it in your pocket or in a small purse or larger phone carrier. After a couple trials, this is what I came up with.

From my past duct tape projects, I knew that using a rotary cutter and a cutting mat is the easiest way to work with duct tape, so I grabbed those and some coordinating duct tape, a piece of thin cardboard from a food box, and some adhesive hook and loop circles.

I cut my box (one side of an Emerald nut 100 calorie pack box was the perfect size--but a cereal or cracker box would work great too) using a gift card as a template. I cut two pieces the same size as the gift card and was left with a slightly smaller piece at the end to use for the wallet's flap. I laid them out on my mat with a bit of space between them to get the size for my duct tape sheets (it ended up being 4 inches by 7 1/4 inches).

I then laid out three pieces of black duct tape along the lines of my mat and then I centered a piece of patterned duct tape over the top down the center.

I used a straight edge and my rotary cutter to clean up the edges.

Then I made a second sheet the same size, but all black (as it will be the inside of the mini-wallet).

I laid out my cardboard pieces onto one of the sheets of duct tape with the two card sized ones on the bottom and the smaller one at the top. I left a bit of a gap between everything for folding and tape adhesion.

I also made another one with no cardboard in the flap. I laid it out with the two card sized pieces of cardboard on the bottom.

Then you put the other sheet of tape onto the cardboard covered piece. Be careful when you're setting it down since duct tape to duct tape is really sticky and hard to pull apart. If there's a tiny bit that doesn't line up, that's ok, it will be covered with edging tape.

Fold your duct tape sheet where there isn't any cardboard so the patterned duct tape is on the outside. Then measure the side of the mini-wallet with the flap open. Mine turned out to be about 4 1/2 inches. I laid out a strip of black duct tape and cut it in half (and trimmed the edges neatly).

Then I laid the tape on both sides and folded it over the edges.

Then cut a piece of black tape in half that's the width of the wallet (4 inches in my case).

Then use a scissors to cut the edging tape along the opening of your pouch. On the first one that I made without the cardboard in the flap, I edged the short side first before taping the long sides down. I didn't like how that edge was unfinished after I trimmed the opening, so this time, I put that tape on last.

I taped along the top edge and along the pouch opening. It was a bit tricky to tuck it into the pouch, but not too bad.

I ended up with two mini-wallet pouches--one with a cardboard flap and one with a soft flap. They both seem like they'll work just fine, so time to find an enclosure.

You could hot glue on snaps or make a button closure or some kind of belt strap type closure, but I went with the easiest option, sticky velcro circles. Stick the two sides together and then stick it to the pouch. Then all you have to do is close the flap to stick it to the mini-wallet.

I can't wait to try these little pouches out. Maybe for when I don't want to take my purse to work or to the concert I'm going to next month. They seem like a perfect fit.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Spray Paint and Mod Podged Tin

Have you noticed that the more realistic they make Mr. Peanut, the creepier he looks? Maybe it's just me, but I had a holiday nut tin with Mr. Peanut in a sweater printed on it's lid that just had to get covered up. The tin was a great size and had a lid that fit perfectly (not so tightly that you have to pry it off but not so loose that you're worrying about it popping off), so I knew I wanted to recycle this bad boy into something amazing. A while back I refashioned another holiday tin into a decorative storage tin. It worked perfectly, so I knew I wanted to do something similar.

I grabbed a can of oil rubbed bronze spray paint and a cardboard box to catch the spray and I got to work covering up the slightly creepy peanut.

I made several light passes at the tin and let it dry before coming back and making several more passes. Then I turned the tin and repeated. The key to good spray painting is lots of light coats. The impatient person in me hates this, but it turns out way better if you make dozens of light coats than spray the paint on heavily a few times--trust me.

After I had a good coat of paint on the tin, I let it dry for a few days before moving on to my next step. Spray paint can take a while to cure, so be sure to leave your lid loose for a while, especially if it's a tight fitting lid, so you don't end up with a painted on lid. I picked out some scrapbook paper that had some bronze/brown color in it and looked a bit like a mosaic. I measured the flat part of the lid and cut out my paper to fit. I used a rotary cutter because I had mine out, but a paper cutter or a sharp scissors would both do the trick.

After my paper was cut, I grabbed my Mod Podge, a foam brush, and a paper plate to rest the brush and to put the lid on while it was drying. You could put down some newspaper instead if you like.

I brushed the lid with enough glue so that I could readjust the paper if I needed to once I set it down, but not so much that the paper would bubble up.

Then I adjusted and smoothed the paper onto the lid.

I let the paper dry for a few minutes and then applied a top coat. The paper bubbled quite a bit when I spread the glue on over the top of the paper. If this happens to you--don't panic! Different paper reacts to the glue differently, and small ripples will almost always flatten out as the glue dries. Don't try to flatten or press them down--it will crease the paper. I put a second coat on once this coat had dried and that coat rippled a bit too, but both times the paper smoothed out as it dried.

Once the Mod Podge dried, I had a great little tin (sans creepy peanut). It was the perfect size to store decks of cards and a notepad and pen.