Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Backgrounds, backgrounds and experimentation

It has been a busy week.  Ready for an update?

Multi layered Grunge Card
As you know I am a design team member for Flossy Scrapper.  My role is mixed media.  Well, what does that mean.  To me it means, canvas and layer and more layers, using different media.  How to apply that concept to cards?  This my first dilemma.   This required me to redefine what Mixed Media means to me and perhaps to a larger audience.  So I spent the week searching web sites and viewing different types of art, paper crafting, Art Journaling,  After much reserarch I concluded that mixed media is technically layering, texture and color.  All this must be readable and in the case of a card on a small scale. Possibly mail able?

I have made those cards!  I called  this grunge but I was using the same concept,  layer, texture, and color. but I defined it differently.  So what I needed to do, was define a mixed media style that was not grunge?  But how. . . . . . . well, play. Truth is the only way to define a new style or explore a media, is to simply play with it.  So today I am going to share my process and examine the results.
A simple Mixed media "grunge card"

Mixed media canvas
The process:
1) Oh where do I start?  Well paper is a good guess.  I decided to try 3 types, an 80# card stock, a #110 card stock, both in white and a cold press water color paper (140# Canson).  These were all cut down to a 4.25"X 5.5" (A2) size.  I made 3 stacks.  All were going to receive the same treatment.

2) Texture:  Decided to start with embossing: both with texture paste and heat embossed.
3) application:  stencil, stamps, direct application (just smear it on).
So, on each of the 3 card stocks, I first used a stencil and daubed embossing ink on to the card-stock using an ink blending tool.  I used several different stencils, and 2 inks:  Versamark and Ranger Distress and then applied a clear (regular grain size) embossing powder and heat set.  Conclusion:  Distress is Thicker and the result was there is a   "more organic" impression.  The Versamark retained more of the fine detail of the image.  This was better for stamping or when I needed a cleaner image, but when I just wanted texture the Distress proved better.  This became more apparent as I added the color.  No appreciable difference between papers.

This photo shows several examples.  All of these were created using the distress ink.  All were colored using sprays. 

Next was to try the same with stamping.  I simple used one of the 2 inks on each of the papers and stamped a background.  Repeated with the second ink.  Here the answer was clear, use the veramark, as Distress blurs the stamped image.  

Last step was to go back to the stencils and apply texture paste.  I used the same paste as in the video "A latte for you" Ranger, texture paste and applied to each of the 2 card-stock papers.  I did not apply to Watercolor paper.

4) coloring  This was the most enlightening.  The 80# did not hold up well and was quickly abandoned, This left  me with only the 110# card-stock and the Water color paper.   I chose a limited palette: Distress: Abandoned Coral, Cracked Pistachio, Fossilized Amber, and Walnut stain.  I used: stain, reinkers, and ink pads.  For the sprays: Distress but I used only the new colors (no Walnut Stain).  I also used: Heidi Swapp: Gold, Bronze, Cherry, Chartreuse, and Orange. Decided to limit it to a single manufacturer, but in the end added Dylusions in a beautiful yellow I did not have a yellow in  Heidi Swapp spray.  First,  I started with the ranger sprays.  Much to my surprise they were pale and almost pastel, on the card-stock and only slightly more colorful on the water color paper. Made sense as they start out diluted, but I was still surprised.   So I quickly moved onto the inks and re-inkers.  This gave me the more vibrant colors I was after and clearly the water color paper showed the best result.  Here are 2 examples of these:  These also demonstrate the difference in the embossing.  The first is with Versamark on Watercolor paper.  The Second, Ranger Distress embossing on Card-stock.
The first is cleaner and more vibrant, the second more rough and organic.  Both nice but different.  In person the difference is more apparent.
This has been stamped with Stampers Anonymous Fresh Brewed Blueprints mini on the background and on the insert.
The stamping here is from the larger Fresh Brewed Blue print and was colored with water colored pencils to keep with the more "pastel nature of the background.  The background is a combination of a coffee stencil and Tim Holtz Star Stencils. 

I then switched to the other sprays,  First sprayed the embossed papers, they are represented in the very first photo and then moved onto plain paper, both 110# and water color.   In the end the samples all had a softer, mistier feel from the metallic layering. When I left out the metallic or used a very minimal spritz, the color was more vibrant, but not as interesting.  Generally, in this exercise  I had used both the gold and bronze on the same papers.  Wish I had stuck to more color and less metal, but 2 of the backgrounds ended up as cards and they both were more "metallized".  Decision: perhaps one manufacture is not best the best for variety.  Less metal if want bolder colors, paper choice little difference other than the color difference and texture between the papers.  I  preferred the card stock, probably because it was white. 
Time to make cards and stop experimenting:

I still had some embossed samples left over.  So I attacked these with my preferred "media" (re-inkers and pads) but switched up the color to Mowed Lawn and Broken China.  

The hexagon stencil had spoken  to me from the beginning, and I had an idea to use them with a Bird Theme.  Thus, I had embossed several of these, hoping to have a few with the right color combinations.  None of the experiments fit the bill, but I had 2 left .  These were going to become the background for those Crazy Birds by Tim Holtz.  Both were on water color paper with Distress embossing ink and heat embossing regular clear powder. They were  colored with re-reinkers that had been applied to a craft sheet and spritzed with water. Careful placing gave me a sky and grassy area..  I had came up with this idea because they have the look of  chicken wire.

Mowed Lawn and Broken China reinkers, colored with Water Colors (tube type)

Full version.  The birds were matted and popped up and then attached to a blue note card

Similar background, but very "little grass", so I created a Barnyard effect.  This bird was colored with Copics.

As you noticed I did not include my experiments with the texture paste.  There was little sampling necessary as I had used the paste and Distress products on the canvas.  I planned on using the texture paste panel to explore using mixed media  in an elegant, antiqued style.  That style will include a video.  I am most happy with vintage, understated elegance and METAL!!!    So, until next time,
Happy Crafting,


  1. all your cards are amazing! but, of course, i'm here for the coffee ;) heehee! i love that coffee stamp. you rocked it!