Stamping Technique: Bokeh

Bokey-dokey!

Bokey-dokey!

I have been feeling very brave this year, to the point where I have been actively searching out new techniques. I’ve found some wonderful tutorials on YouTube (I will link to this one in particular), but sometimes the host(ess) can ramble on when I really just want the steps laid out. Next! Next! Okay, moving on! (Thank you, ADHD.)

Watching the video I was not convinced that my result would even be passable (I’m pretty hard on myself), but I was very much surprised with the results. I made more. Then a couple weeks later, I did the technique again. Here’s what you need to know:

You will need cardstock. A template (thin sturdy cardboard, plastic, whatever floats your boat. You won’t want it to bend or fold when you’re spreading the ink!). You’ll need at least two ink colors, plus WHITE (I used Stampin’ Up!’s Whisper White). You need a way to spread ink: sponge, daubers, felt, foam- whatever works best for you. My first time out the gate I used felt, second go found me with the little finger-dauber-sponges.

1. Cover your cardstock (mine’s cut to  1/4 x 4) with your multi-inks. You can go stripes, tic-tac-toe, criss-cross, but whatever you choose you’ll want to lay it on well. No white showing through. Or very, very little.

2. Wait. You have to let the ink dry. It’s better to wait a day than it is to use your embossing gun to speed the process. Just trust me. Or not, and then I get to say “I told you so!”

Too much fun!

Too much fun!

3. Is it dry? Okay. I made my circle template using a spare plastic sheet (the kind that clear/cling stamps are usually affixed to) and stamping out my two smallest punches – 1″ and 3/4″. The video creator used Sizzix thinlits, but they would not cut through the plastic all the way no matter how many sheets of paper i bribed my Bigshot with. These should be relatively small circles. Put your template over the dried cardstock, get out your ink applicator and white ink. Gently apply the ink in the circles. Do as many or as few as you like. Overlap ‘em, bleed off the edges – this is a beautifully imperfect and imprecise technique. After you’ve done one size, move to the second.

4. Bonus if you use the little finger daubers – put the template aside and just plant little finger dots on the paper.

5. Let it dry. Again. (You have to be really patient for this technique, I know).

Contrasting colors work well, too

Add some rhinestones for extra bling!

6. Use as you see fit!

 

Have you tried this? Do you have any tricks or tips to add? Let us know!

Gesso Resist

It is no secret that I am in love with my distress inks and the resist techniques that go hand in hand with them. Recently, i tried my hand at gesso resist – and think it turned out pretty well. It could well be a new favorite. Well, after faux watercolor, perhaps. Because we ALL know that I am in love with faux watercolor. It’s true. It’s true. Anyhow, let’s talk about THIS technique, yes?

Gesso Resist (on shimmer paper [I wish the photos did the shimmer bit justice.])

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Pretty, isn’t it??

Let me show you how it is done, eh?

Supplies needed:
gesso
paper (i used shimmer paper in this batch)
distress inks
ink blender tool
flat spreader – an old credit card or the stiff packaging from … anything

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On a clean sheet of (shimmer) paper, spread a thin line of gesso across the width. Not too much, not too little – the goal is to have an uneven coverage across the paper for the ink to grab onto – or not, as is the case of resisting.

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Spread it back and forth using your stiff flat … thing.

IMG_0361 Add more gesso as needed or desired for the sort of grungy resisty look you may be going for. It is best to start with a little and build up from there as it is next to impossible to remove it should you decide you want less. Remember that you want the paper to get some of the ink, too – and not simply have a flat nondescript layer of gesso.

IMG_0344I know it is difficult to see as it is white on white, but this is the result I ended up with after my spreading of the gesso.

Next, pull out your favorite combinations of distress inks. Apply the ink randomly across the surface in varying patterns and mixtures of color. The shimmer of the paper underneath really adds an extra POP to this project. I promise.

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IMG_0351I like to do several at once, since it can be messy and i like to limit the amount of mess-time. Plus, the gesso dries pretty quickly so it doesn’t have a lot of wait time before moving on to the next step.

Which is stamping! Pick your favorites, and stamp to your heart’s content.

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IMG_0353This technique also woks nicely on black paper and gives a particularly grungy sort of effect:

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Enjoy playing with your newly-learned technique!

 

 

BONUS QUESTION: Do you pronounce ‘gesso’ with a ‘g’ sound or a ‘j’ sound?

Make Your Own … Dots?

Enamel dots are all the rage right now. Stampin’Up sells some in co-coordinating colors but they are just so costly for what you get, am I right?  Below you can see the ‘candy dots‘ in the ‘brights’ colors – pretty!

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So, when I stumbled upon a tutorial for making my own dots, you -know- I jumped all over it. (You can see the original [that I first found] here.) The gist is this – pick up a set of your own Perler beads and melt them down. THAT EASY.

So, I went on over to Amazon and found a couple of sets that I liked – one even has a pearly sheen! The sets are around $10, but if the count on the package is right you will get around 4k dots after all is said and done.

And then I experimented. The original tutorial says to put them in at 450* for 15 minutes, but i found that to be way too hot and i ended up making my entire house all plastic-y smokey icky. After some trial and error (and my husband inquiring as to what the heck I was up to…) I found that 350 for 20 minutes worked for me. She also says to use parchment paper to prevent sticking, but i didn’t find that to be all that helpful; they continued to glue to the paper like crazy. There I was, frustrated and tired and about to give up when the a-fore-mentioned husband suggested those silicone baking sheets. LIGHTBULB!! Yes, I -must- try that!

Silicone sheets were then acquired for around $15 for a set of two. A bit costly for a crafty thing, but they will come in handy for other purposes as well. (Craft sheet, perhaps… Oh, and possibly, y’know… baking.) I’ll tell you what – they work like a charm. No more sticking dots!

Here’s the short version:

Place your beads on your baking sheet in a cookie tray. This part is rather time consuming, but you don’t have to be as OCD about their placement as it turned out I was. Just make sure they are standing up on their ends.

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Place your tray gently in the oven, making sure not to knock any of the beads over. They don’t melt in a perfect circle if you do; they turn into a rounded rectangle. But hey, if you want that shape instead, go for it! Then bake them at 350 for 20-25 minutes. It may seem like a long time, but that’s what it took for mine.

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They melt up with little divets in the center, but that is part of the charm! With the silicone baking sheets, all you have to do is pop them right off and voila, you have your own dots to use on your projects. Just stick’em with a glue dot and BAMF. Away you go!

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My First Post – No Pressure! Embossing Vellum Paper

Vellum paper, white embossing powder, flip it over and use your markers to color the backside of the vellum. Beautiful results!

If I can do this, so can you. Beautiful results!

I won’t wax rhapsodical and shall get straight to the point. This embossing vellum paper project was Pinterest-inspired and is super-simple. All you need is: Continue reading

Coming soon to a Skype near you…

Before too much longer, I will be offering online classes via skype. One on one (or a small group, if you want to include a friend or family member or two!), I will walk you through the creation of several cards, showing you the tips and tricks I use along the way. Since it will be just you and I, there will be no being left behind and plenty of opportunity for questions and guidance. It will be all about the cards — and YOU!

Right now it is still in the planning and testing phase (Thank you, Lara, for being my guinea pig!) but if everything works in practicality like it seems to be working in my head, it will become a reality soon. My craft room has been supplied with a computer with a webcam, my workspace is 98% ready to go, and I am getting my ducks in the rows in which they are needed.

The way it will go is this: I will have a pre-planned class prepared with a list of supplies that will be needed. You will order (and/or have) the listed items and when you receive them, you and I will get together via skype or google hangouts and have a blast! I plan on having a series of classes available eventually, with each one compartmentalized for ease of access down the road to those who may stumble upon this plan later or find time for creativity after everything has started rolling. Everyone will start at the beginning and work through the series in order – and each class will expand upon supplies you’ve already received, so minimal hassle will trip us up along the way.

There will be standard supplies that you will be expected to have on hand before we get started: a paper trimmer (or scissors!), adhesives, and the like. I’ll be certain to have a list available so you can be prepared ahead of time. Then you will simply order what the class list recommends, and bamf! We are good to go.

I am excited!

Whatcha think?