Monday, April 8, 2019

Egg-cellent alcohol ink idea


I actually purchased these plastic eggs a few years ago at an after Easter sale at Michaels craft store.  They have been sitting in my studio collecting dust so I was determined to work on them this year.  My plan was to color them with alcohol inks to make faux marbled eggs. 

** Note!  never use alcohol inks on eggs that you will eat.  These inks are for decorative use only!** 

The package listed them as plastic eggs and I was surprised when I opened it that they weren’t the shiny plastic eggs you normally find at a craft store.  These had a dull almost chalky surface.  There was a seam to the eggs but you could not take them apart.  

The chalky surface was not egg-actly what I was looking for but the inks worked just fine. 

For this project you get a lot of ink on your hands so if you'd like to try this I'd recommend gloves. 

I put alcohol ink and blending solution in a swirl on a square of white felt and used an applicator with a handle to "pounce" the ink over the egg.  Occasionally I'd blow on the egg to dry the ink faster so I could move the egg around to color the other side.  After they dried I experimented with adding more colors with more blending solution.

I used bottle caps to make the eggs stay still on the table.  Otherwise they’d roll all over the place.

 I was pleased with how they turned out.  Afterwards I felt the need to seal them and add a bit of shine.  The chalky surface was dull and I wanted a shine but not a super high gloss.  

I used Krylon Crystal Clear spray on the eggs.  Right after I used this I remembered I usually use Krylon Kamar Varnish first with alcohol inks since the Crystal Clear can make the inks run.  But it didn’t happen in this case and the inks didn't run at all. 

To hold the eggs while spraying I used the egg carton from the package and turned it upside down.  Sprayed the tops of the eggs, waited 10 min then turned them over and sprayed the rest.  Worked great.  Gave just a bit of shine to the surface but not overly glossy. 

These beautiful colored eggs were completed in less than an hour.  A great addition to my Easter decor.

Supplies used: 
  • Carton of plastic eggs 
  • Alcohol inks (colors used here were Sailboat Blue, Patina, Purple Twilight, Botanical, Citrus, Flamingo, Watermelon, Sunshine Yellow, Sunset Orange, Raspberry, and Stream). 
  • Alcohol Ink Blending Solution
  • White felt (I  buy an 8 x 11 piece of white felt from the craft store and cut it into small pieces)
  • Applicator
  • Disposable gloves
  • bottle caps (for holding eggs while drying)
  • Krylon Crystal Clear sealer spray

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Mardi Gras ATC

Mardi Gras season is upon us and I wanted to create some art to celebrate it.  I came across these Tim Holtz Idea-ology mini mason jars in my studio and got a photo clip kit to go with the jars.  The jars can hold a few strands of beads and the clip is perfect for holding a Mardi Gras bling worthy ATC. 

For those who don't know, ATC stands for Artist Trading Cards.  ATCs are mini works of art.  As far as I know there are two general rules with ATCs.  One is the size - they must be 2.5x3.5 inches (or 64x89 mm).  Think the size of a baseball card.  The other rule is they are intended to be traded or given away and must not be sold.

I knew I wanted the ATC to have a Mardi Gras mask.  I found some shrink plastic sheets (a.k.a. Shrinky Dinks in my childhood) and thought they would be perfect material for a mask embellishment.  Shrink plastic can be cut to shapes, colored, stamped, etc and it shrinks to a small size when heated. I found this mask template online and traced it onto the plastic.  I always write the word "template" on any of my paper templates so I know not to accidentally recycle them.

After it was cut out I stamped the piece using a harlequin background stamp made by Inkadinkado.  The green ink was an archival ink pad by Ranger. I colored the white spaces purple using a colored pencil. 

The original size of the shrink plastic mask is almost 6 inches long.  But after this is heated up it will be small enough to fit on an ATC me! I punched hole on the tops of the mask.  You must punch holes BEFORE heating the plastic.

I used a heat gun while holding wood chopsticks to hold the piece in place while heating it.  It moved around a lot and I guess it would have been easier if I used a toaster oven.  In any case be careful when working with this material because it gets hot (but does cool quickly).  Always follow the package directions on how to use it.   

And here is the mask after shrunk to just over 2 inches!   While it was still hot, I used a spatula and moved it to a foil wrapped can so it would dry curved.  I wanted the mask to have some dimension and stand out on the card.

Here's a close up of the newly created mask embellishment.  I used a gold paint pen to outline the mask and add details.

Next was creating the card background. Any guesses as to my art supply of choice?  Yep, it was alcohol inks.  Actually I did try some other materials first; water colored backgrounds, stamped backgrounds and even layering tissue papers.  But I liked the thought of using gold metallic alcohol ink to give it lots of shimmer. Other alcohol inks used were Bottle and Purple Twilight.

It took several tries to get a background I was happy with.  Some other papers that didn't make the cut are shown here - but they won't get thrown away.  If I don't use them in another background I'll use them with punches for embellishments.

I used rubber stamps and black archival ink to add a fluer de lis image and a French scrip.
Then I tied some gold treads to a corner of the mask and glued a small green feather to the top.  I outlined the fluer de lis with Glossy Accents to give it some dimension.  Glossy accents was used to adhere the final mask to the card.

Laissez Les Bons temps Rouler!

Friday, February 15, 2019

more Valentine art...

finished up two more pieces of Valentine art.  This beaded piece started with a scrap of wrapping paper with a dragonfly image that I loved but didn't know what I wanted to use it for.  I glued the wrapping paper to card stock and die cut the heart shape.  Using Modge Podge, I added more paper scraps and an old stamp for a collage look.  I used Glossy Accents to adhere misc. beads and findings from my embellishments stash.  One of these days I will organize all of my embellishments, beads, findings, etc.  Right now they all reside in a storage box with no organization whatsoever.  I'll admit sometimes it's fun to rummage through the box and discover new bits and bobs that I didn't know I had.  But some organization would be helpful though.  In any case it was fun putting this together. 

As I was rummaging through the said embellishment box I discovered misc alphabet letters from sticker sets over the years.  Really cool dimensional metal alphabet letters, a few scrabble tiles, round sticker letters of an "a" and "h" (really? why did I save these two letters?) and a cloth brad style button ampersand.  
So I decided to make another Valentine piece (a nod to my love of calligraphy) with some scrap writing paper and these various alphabet letters.  The "a" and "h" round stickers were a cranberry color so I decided to color the other pieces to match (or a close match) using Alcohol Inks.  This worked well with the metal letters since they were silver.  
Also colored an old pen nib and added it to the piece.  A small white feather (also from the box) finished off the piece.   

Both pieces were adhered to paper from my paper stash and set in black frames (without glass). 

I really enjoyed putting these Valentine pieces together.  Hope these projects inspire you to create something with found items from your studio.  Or perhaps just enjoy exploring storage boxes :-) 

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Steampunk heart

I wanted to make a new Valentine's Day decor piece and decided I was going to go with a steampunk design.  I really like steampunk but haven't make a lot of art pieces with this look. 

When starting a piece like this it does help to have a box of "odds and ends" pieces that you can choose from.  I can't remember exactly where or when I got the gears from but it looks like it was from a package of Tim Holtz idea-ology mini gears. Same thing for the spinner piece - it was from a package of game spinners.

The heart was die cut from cardstock, then wrapped with aluminum duct tape which I always borrow from my husband's work shop.  I think by now he's used to looking in my studio if he's missing some materials.  But this time I actually put it back after I used it!  (lol)

Then used an embossing folder with gears design on the heart piece.  Afterwards I colored the embossed heart with alcohol inks - started with Teakwood then added Gold.  I colored all of the pieces with the same inks then glued them to the heart using Weldbond Glue. 

The heart was then glued to a piece of striped background paper from my paper stash (which oddly enough never gets any smaller after I use papers...why is that?).  I put it in a black frame without glass.  Really liked how this turned out.  Here's to more steampunk art in the future!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

wall art - winter sky northern lights

the inspiration for these pieces came from decorative trim from our Christmas crackers.  It was so pretty I knew I wanted to save it for something.

I needed some artwork for a trio of black 5 x 7 frames.  Decided to create a snowy winter night sky with northern lights. Someday I would love to see the northern lights in person but here in the city it's hard to see many stars let alone any northern lights.

Alcohol inks were used on glossy cardstock to create the look of a night sky with northern lights.  The colors used for the sky were: Indigo, Denim, Botanical, Purple Twilight and Stream.   I used Snow Cap (diluted with blending solution) on a brush and gently flicked the ink on the paper to create stars.  Then I went in with a Uni-ball Signo White Gel Pen to make some the stars a brighter white.

I was going to use white cardstock for snow but then found a sheet of white glitter cardstock in my paper stash.  Perfect for sparkly snow!  I cleaned the studio a few weeks ago and it looks like it paid off.  I cut the piece and attached it to the bottom of the cardstock. 

Next was using those Christmas cracker trim pieces.  I cut out the individual pieces, colored them black with a Copic black marker and added them to the scene.  The original silver trim didn't provide much of a contract to the snow and the black Copic marker worked well to get them dark yet keep some of the sparkle.

I'm happy with how they turned out. It's hard to see in this photo but there is a shimmer to the snow and the trees and animals. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

bowling ball turned into garden art

I've read posts about turning bowling balls into a gazing ball or some type of garden art and always wanted to try this.  Then a friend gave me a old bowling ball.  She was an avid bowler but hadn't bowled in a long time.  She was happy to give it to me rather than have it collect dust in a closet.  Now I'll admit this project sat in my pile of "to do someday" projects for a year or so.  I'm glad I finally got around to doing this and it's out of my studio and into my garden.

I just love copper and verdigris color so that was my starting point when planning out a design. I wanted a look of embossed leaves in a copper patina. 

Now I forgot to take a photo of the original bowling ball but it started out as a plain black bowling ball.  I decided to plug the holes with some pieces of wine cork then topped them off with leftover grout from a house project.   Since this would be outside in the garden I didn't want to clean out dirt, mulch, or spider nests from the holes when I brought it in for the winter.  I let the grout set for 24 hrs.

After the grout was set I painted it using Rust-oleum Paint & Primer Spray Flat White.  I let this dry overnight. Oh I should also mention I used a ring from a mason jar as a stand to hold the ball when painting.

Besides copper and verdigris color I love leaf designs. To get a raised leaf design I used a tube of dimensional fabric paint with a thin point and painted leaves and swirls over the ball.  The color of the fabric paint really didn't matter since it would be covered up with spray paint.

Next step was to paint it copper.  I had an old can of Rust-oleum copper spray paint and gave the piece 2 good coats, allowing for drying time in between.

Then I wanted to give the copper an aged look.  I used alcohol ink (surprise, surprise) Teakwood by Ranger. Using a rag I dabbed the alcohol ink over the ball keeping some spaces clear to show the shiny copper. 

Next came the process to give it a patina look.  I had a bottle of Patina ink "Verdigris" for metal by Ranger that I bought for some metal charms. This bottle looks like an alcohol ink bottle but formulated for metal.     I thought it would be perfect to give it that verdigris patina finish.

Last step was an important one - sealing.  Since this would be outside I wanted to make sure it was sealed and protected from the weather (although I will bring it indoors for the winter).  First coat was Kamar Varnish by Krylon.  I let that dry overnight.  Then 2 coats of Rust-oleum 2X Ultra Cover Matte Clear Spray Sealer.

And the piece has been sitting in the garden since June and has held up well. I enjoyed turning this old bowling ball into a piece of art that can be enjoyed in the garden.


Friday, July 13, 2018

Fairy Garden creations

I enjoy fairy gardens and since they've been so popular lately it means there are lots of pieces available to purchase to make your fairy garden unique.  I bought a few pieces but then wanted to try my hand at making some.  These pieces were from a winter project that I finally got around to sealing and putting out in the garden. 

Now as many of you know, fairies really don't need sign posts.  I think the signs are more for us so we know the possible places they are in when not in our gardens.  Here's the sign post I created for my fairy garden.  The sign pieces are made from popsicle sticks and the main post is a square wooden dowel I bought at Michaels. The locations are simply the places that our garden fairies love to visit.

And what would a garden be with some bird houses?  These were made from pieces of wood from a kitchen construction project. Wooden chopsticks were used for the posts.  The roofs are made from pieces of thin craft copper-like metal that I had lying around the studio.  After everything was painted I gave the bird houses and the sign post a few coats of outdoor matt sealer.


The fairy garden pieces are  in a raised bed planter that mainly holds herbs plus other small fairy garden plants.  A few more fairy d├ęcor pieces are being planned.  Hope to get them done this year!