Monday, November 30, 2015

Robin's Nest: Watercolor and Embossing

Good morning.  Today I am a guest designer for Robin's Nest.  Follow the link and check out all the wonderful goodies that are available.

For today's card, I thought I would continue with my exploration of how to use embossing in your projects.  The one area that we haven't explored is the use of traditional watercolors.  By that I mean using watercolor paper, water and soft blended edges.  In the ColourArte project, I used embossing powders and regular cardstock.  The embossing powder acted as a "dam" to contain the paint.  In this technique the embossing powder acts as a way to define the stamp and allows us to use the property of watercolor to spread.  Make sense, maybe not, but as we look at this card it will become clearer.  Also, look at the previous posting for ColorArte and you will see how they differ.
Considered a Winter theme, but there are so many showing up, I thought we needed something bright and cheery!

Tools needed:  Stamp, I used a floral stamp.  In the photo is an evergreen stamp, but it was too boring.
Versmark, powder tool and Watercolor Paper.  So like in previous post, dust with the powder, stamp and heat emboss.  I used a fine clear powder for this project.

I was not able to get a good photo of the embossed image, so I stamped it in black for you to have a better idea of what I started with.
For my watercolors I am going to use Peerless.  If you are not familiar with these, they are a pigment embedded into paper.  You wet the paper to release the pigment and then use like any other water color product.  I really like this medium as it is easy to store, and the colors are vibrant.  Blends and spreads well, but not too much.  I do like my tubed watercolor pigments, but I am basically lazy and this is quick and convent.  I store them in photo sleeves.

First step is to add a wash of water to the image.  I am painting on the "water" over the image and just a smidgen outside of the outermost lines.  I am trying to keep the border area dry so the paint won't flow into that area too much.

The color is picked up from the Peerless strips and floated onto the paper.  In the first photo, green and yellow has been added.  In the second photo a darker green and orange has been added to begin the shading and separation of the parts of the stamps into "parts"  by varying the colors.
After the center image was painted, I used a heat tool to dry the image.  Then added water to the background and floated a blue around the outside.  Adding more water as needed to obtain a nice color wash.
Closer view of the painting.  See how the embossing is showing up as white lines.  

I thenspattered the image with a darker green and die cut into a circle.  Here you can see the embossing better. Note that the color is not staying in the lines.  This gives it a more painterly appearance.  

Ok, now to finish the card:  Using the same 3 sprays: Water Cooler by Calico Studio and a Green and Gold by Heidi Swapp,  a white cardstock, commercial paper doily and beige seam tape were sprayed.

I use a card board box to contain the misting.  The background was cut down to size and the best part of the ribbon selected for the card and the remainder tied into a bow.

All that is left is to add a mat in gold, a few embellishments and a card base.

The doily is placed on the card front and adhered with score tape.  The metal embellishment has also been attached with score tape and then the card base is layered on to a Gold Mat.
Watercolor paper can be tricky to get to stick. The paper often warps or the texture makes it hard to get a good contact.   I find that using score tape and fun foam for dimension will keep everything in place and it will survive even the USA mail. 
The bow and a metal tag completes the picture.  I did not add a sentiment so it will work for about any occasion.  I will add the appropriate sentiment to the inside of the card, thus allowing the art work to take center stage.  

Finished!!  Hope you enjoyed this final installment of Embossing.  Next month I will pick a different technique to focus on so stay tuned.  If you have any suggestions please leave a comment and let me know what you would like to have me explore.  

Thank you Robin's Nest for this opportunity to share my blog with you.

Until next time,
Happy Crafting,

Visit previous blog posting for more information on Embossing.  Also ColourArte YouTube Channel for a video on embossing and painting with Twinkling H20's, which are another form of watercolor.
Peerless Watercolors,
White Neenah 80# card stock for card front. 
Commercial paper doily, 5"
Gold Cardstock for mat, Cream for Card base.
Strathmore 400 series 140# cold Press Watercolor paper
Beige seam binding
Metal embellishment: Tim Holtz Ideology line
Spray Paint:  Water cooler by Calico Studio, Green Shimmer and Gold Shimmer by Heidi Swapp
Fun Foam
Score-tape, glue dots

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Color Arte: Video. How to make a quick Christmas Card with Twinkling H20's

When I created the stained glass card for the recent Club Scrap Blog Hop, (see previous posting) I got to thinking about quick simple one layer cards that take little time but make a big splash.  Those cards you need for mass mailing or for teachers, co workers, etc.  While thumbing through my stamp collection, I noted several stamps that I have never used.  I like the look of them, but they are simple and are designed for stamping and very little coloring.  Why I keep buying them I have no idea, I think I am wanting to be simple but just can't help my self, LOL!

Anyway this technique is perfect for those stamps and when finished look more complicated than they are.  In the video, 5 minutes long, I stamp paint and assemble 3 cards.  I even made a big goof and showed how I salvaged the card and made it better.

After having read my last blog about embossing I won't elaborate here.  I will say that the embossing powder for the moose is a custom blend.  I took gold, brass and platinum to make a "more brown-tan" color. We mix paint all the time, why not embossing powders!!

If you look close at these, I have stray powder all over them.  These were for the video.  Didn't work with dumping a pile of baby powder and dusting it off on the video, looked like I was crafting in a smoke zone!!  I used an embossing powder tool and even with my paintbrush detailing, all of the stray flakes remained.  The bright lights and that it was raining outside didn't help.  Where are those dry hot Texas days when you need it.  Maybe I should not save my videoing for the last minute!!!!  Bottom line, follow the written instructions for embossing in the Club Scrap Blog Hop Tutorial and not the video example!

More shots:

Not that the coloring is not solid.  You are using the colored paper to add dimension and using the mica in the paint to add glitz.  But in person they are stunning.  Photo really doesn't do them justice.

The Video:  watch the video to see the cards being made.  Simple technique, hope you enjoy.

Happy crafting, 
until next time,

Links and supplies:

Stamps: Moose by Unity, Poinsettia by Heartfelt Creations, Sentiment by Stamping' Up
Embossing Powders:  Platinum, Princess Gold, Wow! Brass
VersaMark Ink
Baby Powder
Card stock:  80# Black, red, gold, platinum, and 110# white for the Card base.
Scrap of ribbon and cord

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Club Scrap: Blog Hop: Heat Embossing and Moroccan Spice

Welcome to Club Scraps Monthly Blog Hop.  You should have arrived here from:  Tricia Morris
 If you got lost along the way, you can start at the beginning by clicking this link: ClubScrap Blog Hop

Every month it seems I have a technique that I focus on.  This month the theme is embossing or so it seems.  Everything I have made this month has been embossed in one way or the other and this posting is no different.  When I do one technique over and over I learn a lot about the process and tools, so as we look at these cards, I will share my observation about embossing.
Here we go:  Let's take quick look at the cards.

They are all so different but all are embossed with embossing powders.

So lets take a minute and talk about powders.  In my opinion all powders are created equal.  They have some differences, mainly size of the particle and of course color.  But they all react the same way. You stick it down somehow, heat it up until it melts.    There are different grain sizes; from the smallest (fine detail) to largest (labeled as bulky, UTE or deep impression).  I do think that some melt more readily and some melt smoother.  But that is more to do with your heat tool, the ink, how much has to melt, the paper (both type and thickness)   and of course the weather.  When I moved to Texas from Washington State, I had to rethink everything, from glue, adhesives, ink and embossing powders.  The bottom line, look at what you have and test it out.  Use different inks, different amount of heat.  Change one thing and see what happens, did it make it better, the same, or worse.  Often if I can't get a good stamped and embossed image the first thing I do is change the ink.  All ink will emboss if it stays wet long enough.  Mix the ink.  Stamp with versa mark and then layer a pigment over the top or visa versa.  This is a great trick when you have a lot of area to cover and a missed spot will show up.  The colored ink tricks the eye into believing the image is solid.

So let's start with working with the powders.
Here is my set up.  It is a box (Club Scrap Box), a swifter and a coffee filter.  The swifter catches all the stray powder and the filter makes it easier to get back in the bottle.  What isn't shown is baby powder or an powder tool of some sort.  All embossing powders need to have the surface de-magnetized so that the powder only adheres to the inked area.  This is most important with dark paper.  When I am using a very dark paper, I just dump a puddle of baby powder in the center and dust off.  The little powder tools just don't lay down enough powder to ensure no stray particles.  But even with the best prep, on humid days, baby powder doesn't work 100% of the time.  A fine paintbrush takes care of those buggers.  I have noted on days when we are having thunder storms, skip embossing, do something else as the garbage can will fill up fast!!

The next player in this game is the heat tool.  It needs to get hot and not blow too much. I have used almost every brand out there and burned up every brand I have purchased.  I think I am tool challenged.  So, I decided after my last burnout (embossing a lot of butterflies with thick embossing medium and on chipboard) that I needed a professional tool.  Guess what, Home Depot carries heat guns.  They are designed to strip paint and warm pipes.  Go figure. I think if they can hold up to paint stripping they can hold up to my crafting.  I bought the lowest wattage, lowest power one, it was made by Wagner and I  must say, I can emboss to my hearts content and no over heating or worse "burn out".  Turns out it works fabulous on Velum.  I will post a link to my new gun. 

So lets get to the cards:
The simplest in terms of embossing is the Sympathy card:

This is straightforward.  The band was stamped onto a scrap of the background paper, wrong side and heat embossed with Ranger fine detail gold.  The fine detail works wonderful with those images that need crisp lines.  What it doesn't do well with, is an image that is fairly solid like the flower.  If you look close it is not as smooth.  I could have used a bigger grain powder and been happier, but then the color wouldn't match.  I could give a long dialog about Gold color but will save that for another posting.  I will say that the color of gold is a fascinating story and involves the jewelry industry prior to days of marking the piece.  But another day.  

Adjusted the stamping so that the exposed image would be symmetrical and then used the flower to cover the irregularities.  A gold card stock was cut and the band glued onto that.  Wrapper finished.
Gold cord was wound into a circle and using a glue dot held into place.  

Stamped the image and embossed with the same powder, note no stray flecks.  Baby powder at its finest.  I die cut this using a label die and then used  a gold pen to edge the die cut.  Finally added tiny dots of a glitter pen.  This was attached onto a piece of fun foam and adhered over the Gold Cord. Making sure that there is adhesive only on the part that will touch one of the flaps.

This is a tri-fold card, that measures 4.25" X 5.5"finished and closed.  The card base was cut 5.5 X 8.5" and scored on each end at 2.25".  A sentiment was stamped and added to the inside of the card.  
Another view.  Ok, now that you have your primer on Heat Embossing, lets take it up a notch.

I did not photograph the background.  It is very straight forward.  I used a snowflake background stamp with snowflakes by Hero Arts and Kraft paper.  The image was stamped in Versamark ink and Heat embossed using Ranger Holographic embossing Powder.  Then using white and blue pigment ink, lightly enhanced the background.  This was cut down to 4 X 5.25 inches.

Using a Sizzix die, tags were cut out of white paper, stamped with the snowflake stamp from the kit and heat embossed with a white glitter embossing powder by Wow!.  This now is tone on tone with a little glitter.

Using a scrap from the Sypathy card, I stamped the ornament in silver ink and then used Silver glitter embossing powder.  Fussy Cut.  Slightly bent the holder to give it some dimension.
A brushable glue was painted onto the ornament and microfine glitter was added.  This  photo shows what it looked like before the glue was dry.  You can see that I deliberately left brush strokes.  When you see those frosted ornaments in the store, they are not solid, glitter falls off or failed to stick, that was the impression I was going for. 
Here is the finished, see how it looks more dimensional.  This and the package were glued onto the tags.  The package is straight forward.  Stamped onto a lavender sparkly card stock and fussy cut.  Water color pencil and Wink of Stella in clear was used to enhance it further.  The bow was filled in with Icicle colored Stickles.
A small sentiment was stamped onto vellum, die cut and adhered.  
This is an A-2 card.  All were layer onto the card.  The embellishments were popped up with 3D foam dots, the tags threaded with silver cord and glued flat onto the card mat.  See how flat that velum sentiment is.  I believe it was because of my new heat tool, no warping.  Finished.

Ok, now on to the masterpiece, well I think it is a masterpiece.  It was really more of a mental exercise masterpiece.  Once I got the details worked out it was simple.  Good news, you can just follow my lead and not have to think about all the fussiness.  

Stunning isn't it.  But relatively simple.  
Let's start with the embossing powder as that is our focus.  I needed a powder that was not too silver, not too dull.  I was wanting a stained glass look.  I tried a thick mixed powder by stampendous but lost the fine detail of the stamped image.  
See how irregular the stamping and embossed areas are.  Might work if I wanted a distressed antique look, but I didn't.  So how to resolve this issue?

Make your own blend of embossing powder!!!
I mixed 4 parts black, 2 parts Wow! brass, 3 parts Platinum, 4 parts silver.  The black toned down the silver and the platinum and brass gave it some pizzaz.  
You can see it here on this Kraft cardstock.  The light from the camera makes it appear more shiny but the finished card is a better representative of the effect.  Let's talk about the stamping.  This is the card base.  The stamp was 3 rows of the image.  I aimed for any imperfection in the stamping to occur where the image was.  Trimmed the stamp so that the red rubber edge was symmetrical all the way around.  The benefit of unmounted rubber stamps, is you are in control of your stamp.  Adjust, trim, do what ever you need to do to get what you want.  Stamps are simply a tool, take control. Then using a stamping template (acetate with the image stamped in archival ink) positioned the card stock under the acetate, removed the acetate, inked with versa mark and stamped. Repeated this process for as many times as needed to cover the background.  I did use a MISTI for this step.  Any type of positioner would work.  This was trimmed down to 4 X 5.25 inches.

The tile image was stamped onto red card stock from the kit.  Using Twinkling H20's that had been previously activated with water, carefully painted in the image.  I used the thick paint and let it flow between the embossing.  Added very little water and let dry thoroughly.  I was very pleased with the result and it does look like stained glass.  You don't need water color paper to use a water color paint, just use one that requires very little water to activate.  Twinks are perfect here.
All that metallic embossing powder and Twinks makes it hard to photograph, so here are to views.

The sentiment was stamped in versa mark, embossed with Ranger Platinum on Velum.  The focal image was matted onto red cardstock and then onto fun foam and adhered to the base.  A red card base finished the card.  I think it would make a nice Christmas Card.

Well that is it for me today.  Be sure to complete the hop and leave comments along the way.  Your next stop is:  Julie Heyer

Happy Crafting

Supplies and links:

Club Scrap: Moroccan Spice Deluxe Kit, Stamps, and Embellishments.

Embossing Powders:  Ranger:  Fine Detail Gold, Platinum, Silver, Black, Halographic
                                    Wow!:    Brass, white opaque with glitter
                                   Zing:       Silver Glitter
Glitter:  Micro fine glitter, Cloud Nine by Sprinkle and Sparkle
Ink:  Veramark
         Archival: Grey
        Versafine: Onyx Black
Twinkling H20:   Mango Mamba, Lucky Apple, Teal Zircon, Sunflower
Paper:  All came from Club Scrap except the Vellum, lavender for package  and a strip of Gold Card stock, source is unknown 
adhesive: score-tape, ATG, liquid glue
Fun Foam
Stickles: Icicle
Wink of Stella:  Clear
Various Dies: Spellbinder, Twisted Metal (label), Sizzix, Tags.  
Wagner Heat Gun: Similar one at Amazon