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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Acrylic Varnish and Mica Powder Background Tutorial

This finished piece uses: Brown Paper Bag with Brick Ink--HEAVY Varnish Mixture coverage)

Acrylic Varnish and Mica Powder Backgrounds

Brown Paper Bag (I used a grocery bag) or Light weight cardstock
(crumpled and unfolded several times)

Acrylic Varnish
(I used
Delta Ceramcoat Varnish-Glossy)
This should also work well:
(you can try watered down Acrylic Medium, but I suggest a soft gel and a glossy finish. You want the consistency of white craft glue (Elmer’s))

PearlEx or any other Mica Powders*
Sponge Paintbrush
Dye Reinker or Color Wash Spray or Fluid Watercolors or Calligraphy Ink
Disposable Bowl
Newspapers or plastic sheeting to protect your workspace.

1) Squirt out a general portion of Acrylic Varnish into your bowl. (Almost cover the bottom of the bowl) Sprinkle one or more colors of Mica Powder onto the varnish. Using your sponge paintbrush, gently mix the powder into the varnish. (You can mix completely together OR keep the colors separate. I liked to keep the colors separate… just mixing at the “seams” where the colors met in the varnish.)

2) Lay a few papers down onto your protected workspace. Pick up the varnish/mica powder mixture and quickly and sloppily brush over your papers. Pick up different colors and cover the entire piece of paper.
---There are 2 ways to approach this---

3) Once the papers have dried, repeat step 2 up to 4 times until you have the coloring you like on your papers. Allow papers to dry completely.

4) Take your dye reinker (or other item from supply list) and pour into a disposable bowl. (experiment with both light and dark colors…see what you like best!) Make sure your ink solution is very intense and rich.

5) Take your varnished papers and crumple and uncrumple several more times. Squeeze the papers tightly when crumpling. Flatten papers as best you can on your protected work surface.

6) Using your foam paintbrush fill your brush with your ink solution. Saturate your entire paper with the ink. (I poured the excess ink back into my bowl) Set paper aside to dry completely.

Use as backgrounds or any other way your heart desires! As with all techniques, experiment and HAVE FUN!!

*Some sites to purchase other Mica Powders (other than PearlEx):
(type “mica powder” in the keyword search box)

More Finished Sample Backgrounds:

Brown Paper Bag with Black Ink:
(Very Light Varnish Mixture coverage)

Brown Paper Bag with Purple Ink:
(Very Light Varnish mixture coverage)

Brown Paper Bag with Brick Ink
(Heavy Varnish mixture coverage)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Plastic Microscope Slides/UTEE/Transparencies

Well, I have been wondering if my plastic microscope slides and my laser copied transparency sheets would melt in my Melting Pot. Now I know! :) I was pleasantly surprised how well they held up in the melted UTEE.
The faux soldering effect is very rough and could stand some refining on my part, but I do like the look. AND, I don't have to purchase a soldering gun and all the goodies that go with it! LOL!! :) These pieces are unfinished (what ELSE is new??!!) but I think they have potential for collages, my OODLES of microscope slide mailers, cards, pins, or.........?????
These are transparency images backed by some paper and sandwiched in between 2 plastic microscope slides. I just dipped the edges into the melted UTEE in my melting pot, lifted, let it cool for a few seconds and repeated on the other sides. If I got big lumps, I just gently melted against the side of the melting pot. These are the 4 out of 5 that I completed this way that I think are acceptable for projects. I did have one, uh, loser that will remain tucked away in a drawer for now.........
(Suze Weinberg demonstrates this technique with real glass slides and memory glass on her new DVD)
Ran out of plastic slides. (Ok, I really have more, but I was too lazy to find them in my little shop of horrors, I mean craft area...........)
Took some of the microscope slide transparency images and laid them directly into the melted UTEE. Lifted it out with tweezers and let the excess UTEE drip off. After it cooled, I redipped the edges. I don't really like the color I had in the pot for this, but I think these will work for sepia and/or vintage pieces. :)
These tend to curl slightly when cooling. You have to be careful if you press them flat after completely cooled .... the UTEE will crack--even with Flex added.

Augie Acrylic and Magazine Pages Collage

A project for the hubby. I finally finished a magazine collage of our dog, Augie. She was a wonderful dog and we all still miss her. I made this for my hubby's office. I copied a silk sceen characature my husband made of Augie onto a stretched canvas. I textured the background w/ gesso, a paint texture tool, and acrylic paints. I collaged her body and skis out of magazine pages. (the close ups of the white areas and her skis are below) I wanted to add her name to he piece, but for some reason my husband didn't want it on there. So, I textured it into the gesso. If you look really close, you can see it........ ;)
To see what Augie looked like in real life, you can see her memory page here: She's the doggie on the left! :)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Adventures of Flat Susan

Flat Susan has made her first 2 stops on her world tour. Both of her first stops were in Arizona.
First stop: An elementary school. What fun she had visiting with the kids!! :)
Second Stop: Moonlighting as a new car model. I look good in black, don't I?? :)
Stopped for a little lunch ..... I do enjoy Chinese food! :)

Apparently Flat Susan was attempting to escape from her host family's house to take a joy ride in that new black car. The dog was in on the deal......the attempt was thwarted. Whew! Would not like Flat Susan to spend the remainder of her journey in an Arizona jail!!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Tortured Felt (with some molded UTEE tossed in!)

Ahhhhhh yes......torturing poor defenseless felt!! Elizabeth Woodford from the Arttechniques Yahoo group offered a wonderful tutorial on Tortured Felt this month. Using her instructions as a general guideline, here are my creations. I tell you....this technique is a great way to vent some frustrations!! :) Take THAT you felt, you!!
(Also, make sure you place your felt on a heat safe surface. I used a large wooden block covered in several layers of foil.)
All the pieces below follow the same basic recipe:
A piece of felt (cheapo craft felt), acrylic paints, foam paintbrush, heat gun, and embossing powders.
I randomly squirted some acrylic paint onto the felt piece. I smooshed and pounced the paint around the felt with a foam paintbrush. I added embossing powder (usually 2 or more colors) and then pounced and rubbed it into the paint. I then used my heat gun to "torture" the felt. Begin with the gun up high away from the felt so you don't blow away all of the embossing powder. When you start to see the powder melting, move the gun closer to the piece. The felt will begin to "melt" and create holes. (Your acrylic paints may also start to bubble) Use your heat gun on the felt until you achieve the look you desire. (make sure all of your embossing powder is melted!) Your felt should feel stiff and the embossing powders "enameled" when you are done.
Hot Pink Felt
Bright Yellow Felt

Hot Pink Felt: This piece was covered in a VERY heavy layer of acrylic paint. I tortured this piece until there was almost nothing left!! LOL!!

Navy Blue Felt: This particular piece of felt was much more "substantial" than the others. It was denser and thicker. I did not get many holes, but I liked the results anyway. I REALLY had to crank the heat on these pieces. I also used some Pearl Ex Inkpad Reinkers on a couple of these pieces. I used 2 Interference colors. (Blue and Violet) The reinkers are a much thinner consistency than the paints. They tend to create a more distinctive pattern in the felt. (the middle piece below is a good example)

Here are a couple of pieces that I actually CREATED something with! Whoopie!!! :) Both use a molded UTEE piece as the focal point.

This goddess is black UTEE colored with metallic rub ons.

This sun is black UTEE colored with acrylic paints. (SNEAK PEEK-- This background is a piece of Acrylic Varnish and Mica Powder Paper. I will be doing a tutorial here next week AND I will also have a swap of these background papers next month on the Yahoo Group: Arttechniques.)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Crayons and the Household Iron

There has been a ton of chit chat on one of my Yahoo groups about Encaustic Wax. Well, there is NO WAY I can start another addiction at this point! LOL!! So, I thought about Traci Bautista's work with melted crayons.
I got out some Crayola crayons, some inexpensive neutral-colored cardstock, my household iron (I had to fight the dust bunnies for it......), some regular foil, and an old kitchen cloth. I spread my stash out on my washer and dryer (what?!?) and got to work.
Cover your iron with 2 layers of foil. Try to wrap it around tightly so it won't move too much while you work with the crayons. (It would probably be best to use the "Heavy Duty" foil rather than the standard foil.) Place your paper on top of the old cloth.
Start melting! :)
Some tips:
1) Don't try to put the foil over your iron when it is turned on.
2) Empty the water out of your iron BEFORE you start.
3) Have a good sense of humor and some burn salve.
These first 2 papers I made by rubbing the crayons directly onto the iron (remember it is covered with foil!) Then I smeared, rubbed, twisted it onto the cardstock. This took quite a while and several layers and crayons. The results are OK and you have more control over where the colors are placed with this technique. I did press and hold the iron in some spots after all of the colors were on the paper. That is where the "wrinkles" come from. After I had the results I wanted, I turned the paper over and ironed the heck out of it on the back side.
For these next 3 papers, I broke the crayons into small pieces and put them on top of the paper. Then I "ironed" on top of the crayons. I moved the iron very slowly over the paper lifting it often and putting it back down in a different places on the paper. I also held and pushed the iron down in some areas on the paper. This was MUCH faster and I think I like these results better.

I was surprised that the colors on these papers seem very stable. I can bend and fold the paper and the wax seems infused into the paper. There is no cracking of the colors at all! Neat! Now.... I'm gonna see if I can actually create a project.........
Ta for now! ;)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Tape LIfting Experiments

I have been intrigued by Trish Bee's Tape Lifting Technique. I was wondering if it would work with Scotch tape to make a pseudo Bargello look. I think with some work and practice on placement, it could be a neat alternative. A way to achieve a transparent Bargello look...... :)
I experimented with a detailed stamp. (This image is from Non Sequitur) I used Brilliance Black ink for these samples.
For more information on the Bargello technique:
Ink up your stamp with a generous layer of ink. Then very carefully lay the tape over the rubber. There are endless possibilities here. Combine different tapes, combine ink colors, alternate strips from 2 different images into one! Oooooh...... cool! :)

Here is the Scotch Tape piece I did. I used a Matte Finish tape for this sample. I'm sure you can acheive different looks with differnt tapes. Hmmmmm.... what about those colored and/or patterned tapes!!??
(Please note that these are very rough experiments and I did not produce any finished projects with these pieces.)

3 pieces of packing tape laid horizontally across the rubber stamp.

3 pieces of packing tape laid vertically across the rubber stamp.

Here are the pieces after a quick coloring with StazOn inks. I like the look of the different colors that appear in the spaces between the tape.

Conclusion: Why do tape transfers or tape lifting?
1.. Transparent Bargello "look".
2.. Transparent Split image.
3. Ability to get a complete image over a very textured cardstock/paper.
4. Because you can!! :)

UTEE Frame and Tag Technique

I played with more UTEE yesterday. I did some "Frame and Tag" art. I really like how the colors marble and swirl together when you pour them out onto the craft sheet.
Instructions: Melt 2-4 colors of UTEE and a sprinkling of Flex in your Melting Pot. After everything is COMPLETELY melted, gently swirl the mixture together. (Do not overmix.......I only did 1 "S" stir and that was it) Pour a freeform oval/circle onto your non-stick craft sheet. Quickly place a metal cookie cutter (smeared generously with clear embossing ink--as a release agent) into the puddle of UTEE. Push the cookie cutter in FIRMLY. After completely cooled, remove the cookie cutter and cut out piece of UTEE. Place photo/picture under opening (Frame) and use your cut out (Tag) to embellish the piece! :)
Have fun!!
Can you guess who is behind the Star Frame????

In this sample, the Frame was made with a Flower-shaped cookie cutter. The Tags were made with 2 leaf cookie cutters.

Friday, March 2, 2007

March Stamper's Mall Project--Nautilus Tag

I made an Ocean Themed Laminate Tag for my project this month! Come check it out along with all of the other fun art posted for March!!:

You can order FREE samples of laminate tags to play with here:

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Adventures in Baby Oil!! :) Tutorial/Observations

Update: March 12, 2007
Another great idea in from my buddy Lyn over at the yahoo group Inky Fun Stampers.... Mulberry paper! Very pretty and cool results! Thanks, Lyn! :)
Update: March 5, 2007
Some great suggestions for those of you who cannot easily find one-sided wax paper. TRACING PAPER and/or WHITE TISSUE PAPER.
UPDATE: March 3, 2007
If you do not adhear the papers or seal them within a few hours, the baby oil will begin to evaporate/dry out. I oiled some of the thin wax paper and it dried back to non-translucent overnight. The wax paper sample I made below, however, is still translucent because I used some gel medium to glue it to text paper.
Updated Conclusion:
(seal your papers with a coating of acrylic varnish, gel medium, or you can try sealing with an acrylic sealer [I have not tried this to see if it will work. I assume you would have to seal both sides of the paper.] If you use your paper in artwork right away (ie glue to collage, glue to card, etc) then I would still seal the top of the piece with gel medium or acrylic varnish.) For more information on Gel Mediums--->
Did you think you had the wrong blog?!? LOL!! Here is what I played with over the last couple of days.......
Papers and Baby Oil
This is a fun technique to give you translucent papers to work with. You can get a beautiful layered look that had oodles of possibilities. The supplies are basic and hopefully everyone has easy access to these:

Baby Oil--Wax Paper/Freezer Paper/Text Weight Paper--Paper Towels
Black Stazon Ink (if you don’t have Stazon, you can use any permanent ink. Be careful if you have to heat set so you don’t burn the paper!)
Optional: Colored Stazon Inks, other permanent inks, acrylic paints, and walnut inks.

Stamp images onto your waxed paper with your Stazon Ink on the NON-WAXED side of the paper. Allow to dry thoroughly! Heat set if necessary (using other inks) (On my first try with this, I stamped on the WAX side. The waxed paper and the text weight papers did fine this way......NOT the Freezer paper!)

Load up a Kleenex/Tissue with baby oil. Flip wax paper over and gently rub oil into paper. (this is done on the NON-INKED side of the paper) The oil will soak trough the paper and produce and translucent quality.

Allow soaked papers to sit for an hour. To remove excess oil: Place a small pile of paper towels onto a flat work surface. Place oiled wax paper IMAGE SIDE DOWN onto the pile of towels. Take a wadded paper towel and gently rub the top of the waxed paper. (the NON IMAGE SIDE) Your paper will still have a slight silky/oily feel, but most of the excess oil should be removed.

Text weight paper laid over text. Subtle translucency.

Wax paper laid over text. Very translucent.

Freezer paper laid over text. Nice translucency.

(March 2, 2007)
It was brought to my attention that Freezer paper is PLASTIC on one side.....NOT wax!! Ahhhhhhhhhhh-Ha! No WONDER it behaved the way it did!!
I will have to run more experiments with stamping on the NON-PLASTIC side and see if I can get the oil to soak into the paper w/out smearing the ink on the non-plastic side. Will post results soon!!!!!!
Okay..the Freezer Paper..LOL! Rule number 1: Stamp on the NON-PLASTIC side! :) I really think this has a lot of potential. The paper has a nice thickness and texture and it turns nicely translucent. However, the ink will rub right off the wax if you stamp on that side. (Note to self, use baby oil to clean Stazon ink off my rubber stamps!)

This is more subtle. The text weight paper is colored on the back with Walnut inks. The text barely shows through. Now, the one thing I really like about using this technique on text weight paper (aka copy paper) is that the paper is cheap and easy to find! :) The oil really soaks in and there is not much of a greasy or oily feel to the finished paper. I think that using a more transparent color on the back of the paper would give a nice effect as well.

I think the Wax Paper is my favorite. I really like the look of the colored wax paper over text. I colored the back of this image with Stazon inks. I think a very thin arylic wash would look great, too. Mica powder wash or mica powder/acrylic mix might also be interesting.

I really think that this has some great possibilities. Right now, I like the idea of layering multiple sheets of the wax paper (since it is the thinnest and most translucent) together to come up with some interesting background pieces and/or collage elements.
I would also like to try this out with Deli Paper. (I don't have any...yet!)
I'd really like to hear from any of you who have experimented or worked with this technique before!