Gel Printing with stencils + video

In recent gel printing sessions I have used some of my intricate stencils from Paper Rose Studio. This stencil, ‘little swirls‘ makes a particularly beautiful background. I’ve been printing on a 6″x6″ gel plate with a 6″x6″ stencil but I cut the print down to make a 4¼” x 5½” card.

I used stamps from Darkroom Door’s nature walk , butterflies and happy birthday sets. (all linked at the end of the post). The process for making this type of print is shown in the video below.

After any gel printing session I usually have quite a pile of prints, some become cards but I am hoping to use more in my art journal. I have to be a bit more adventurous in tearing and layering and turning them into more than just a patterned print.

The making of the background above is included in the video. To turn it into a birthday card I stamped ‘have fun’ directly on the print then popped up a sentiment strip on top. The words are stamped in Gina K obsidian amalgam ink using the Pink Fresh Studio ‘Heather’ lowercase alphabet set.

The making of the background below is also part of the video and you can see the mustard paint beaded on the surface of the gel plate making an allover pattern when printed. I didn’t necessarily want the beading but was happy when it ended up uniform. Paints of different brands perform differently on the gel press so experimentation is necessary to work out how much paint and which brands will give you the results you want.

I turned this background into another birthday card by embossing a car from the Darkroom Door Classic Cars vol 1 set along with a sentiment from the same set plus one from the Happy Birthday set.

I also filmed some gel printing with a few textured surfaces from the recycling box; I’ll be sharing that video soon.

I’d love to hear how you use your gel prints; I’m always open to ideas.

Supplies

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Crossword

Darkroom Door added four new background stamps to their line up recently and I’ve shown you ‘handwoven‘ and ‘daisy delight‘ in previous posts. Today I have three very different cards featuring the ‘crossword’ background stamp.

On this first floral card I have used the crossword stamp as a background. I stamped it on scrap first with versafine clair morning mist ink then on a panel of watercolour paper to get a pale grey image adding interest behind the silhouette flowers stamped in different distress inks. I used the same grey ink to stamp words from the ‘you are everything’ set to pop up along the bottom of the panel.

In this second card the stamp functions as both a background and a crossword (of sorts). Although the stamped image is a solvable crossword which comes with printed clues in the packet I have populated it with coffee themed words to work on my coffee themed card. I feel like coffee and the crossword is not an uncommon past time. I stamped the background with fallen leaves versafine clair ink and stamped the sentiment and coffee cup in the same ink on a gel printed panel. I added some blending and ink splatter in both brown and gold before popping up the coffee and sentiment over some gold cord.

Although it took some time to stamp the background and foreground images the hardest part of the coffee card was definitely finding and arranging coffee themed words in the crossword!

My last card reminds me of the riddle, “what is black and white and red all over?” A newspaper!

Get it?

“Read all over!”

On both the second and third cards I used bristol cardstock for sharper stamped images as I wasn’t adding any water or waterbased inks. I stamped a strip of three different DD background stamps, blended the edges and attached them to a red panel then used the ‘alphabet medley’ set to stamp the words in versafine satin red ink. I’m thinking I can use this card for any exciting occasion and stamp another sentiment inside which is more specific.

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Vintage layers

Today’s cards developed bit by bit over a week or so. I worked on flower panels one day, middle layers another day, let them sit a few days, searched for ribbon another day and finally a week later put them together still adding stamping, splattering and blending right up until I called them finished!

I featured the silhouette floral stamps from the new Darkroom Door ‘you are everything’ set. There are four floral stamps along with eighteen word stamps I mentioned in a previous post. The flowers above are stamped on cold press watercolour paper with papertrey inks. I used pale peony and pure poppy on the petals and olive twist on the stems. I spritzed lightly before stamping then blended further with a paintbrush on the paper. I used the same technique on the purple flowers in the second card but worked on hot pressed watercolour paper.

For the vintage and collage details on the card I above I used olive twist and fine linen inks to add painted areas, stamped text, splatter and blending with a brush.

The flowers above are stamped in pale peony, royal velvet and olive twist and I stuck with fine linen and royal velvet as the inks on the layered areas also.

I’ve listed all the stamps I used to add texture and interest to the floral panel and the layers underneath. You can see some of my favourite ‘filler’ stamps including French script and global postmarks. I also splattered water and white paint for some watermarks and subtle blots!

To finish both cards I punched a couple of holes in the top to thread some fabric through. I didn’t have a cream silk or sheer ribbon so I ripped some strips of what might be silk but I can’t remember. The ripped edge worked fine with my vintage layered look.

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Fields of Gold

This card was inspired by @jenny_illustrations a watercolour artist I follow on instagram. She painted her scene but I used a selection of Darkroom Door stamps and some wet into wet techniques.

I worked on a panel of hot pressed watercolour paper splattered with liquid frisket. I wasn’t necessarily wanting the look of snow, more the interest or vintage look of little dots over the panel. It could be snow, an early snow or a first snow but that is not something I am thinking about right now. Not for a minute am I wishing summer away, I would never do that. Summer is definitely my favourite season and it is still officially summer for another 18 days!

But back to the card. I taped it down to my glass mat which I also used as a palette where I squished my distress inks to provide me with ink to paint with. I spritzed the whole panel with water then painted weathered wood and faded jeans distress ink in the sky then tea dye and gathered twigs distress ink in the foreground. It was not meant to be gathered twigs; the lid said ‘fossilized amber’! The lid was wrong but the colour, surprisingly worked maybe even better than amber would have giving me a gradation from light to dark brown.

While the whole panel was wet I stamped the large mountain stamp from DD ‘majestic mountains’ in faded jeans ink then, after a pause, the small trees from the same set in ‘hickory smoke’ then. after a longer pause, in ‘black soot’ ink. I used a small floral stamp from DD ‘wildflowers vol 1’ to stamp and restamp flowers in the foreground, first in ‘tea dye’ then in ‘gathered twigs’. I dried the panel rather than wait and finished it off with tea dye and gathered twigs splatter.

I was pleased to see my taping sealed the edges well resulting in no leaks. I am trying a different painter’s tape so it scored points on this project. I’m not sure why but this panel needed to be a side fold card. It has a little sentiment from DD ‘nature walk’ that says ‘ walk through the wildflowers’; you might not be able to read it but the recipient will.

I’ve done very few scenic cards lately so I enjoyed the process and result. I am pondering my next online class… scenic cards or Christmas cards? Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts.

Supplies


Gel Print Leaves video

Last week I posted a card featuring gel printed leaves from herbs I grew. I tried to explain my process but a few of you wished for a video so I picked some more leaves and had some fun printing them.

I used two different methods in the video, the leaf printed in yellow at the top of the page uses a two step method. The blue + green leaf above uses three steps and has one technique layered over the other technique.

I think the part of gel printing that gives me most inconsistent results is the way I apply ink. I’m getting better but I still get unwanted lines from the edge of the brayer. That wasn’t so evident on these prints as I was working on little gel plates called ‘petites’ from Gel Press.

I did a bunch of prints for this video on the square and the circle ‘petite’ plates as shown on the top cards. For the ‘slimline’ card I used three of the square prints but die-cut them smaller so I could fit them side by side on a 8¾” x 3¾” card.

I hope you give this a try, it’s quite satisfying and addicting once you get going!

….And did I mention I now have an online class called COLOUR CLUES?…

Supplies


Clover journal page

Are you wondering if I’m repeating myself? Didn’t I post this a few days ago? Indeed, I posted something similar on Monday, a card featuring the new ‘warm wishes’ set from Darkroom Door. At the end of the post I mentioned that I’d like to transform the design into a journal page…so I did!

I kept my colour scheme with the addition of more green and added a few extra stamp images and a bit of texture. I used a Fabriano ‘Venezia’ art journal, with drawing paper not watercolour paper. The weight of the paper is decent but if I’m going to be spritzing and adding water and ink I paint a layer of absorbant ground on both pages first.

I began by inking up the clover stamps with worn lipstick, aged mahogany and peeled paint markers, spritzed them so the ink started blending on the stamp then stamped randomly across the pages. I spritzed the images lightly so the ink moved and softened and also dabbed colour and water away with a paper towel. I inked the number/account book stamp from ‘number medley’ set with stormy sky distress stain and stamped it randomly around the pages. After stamping I spritzed the images so the ink spread, diluted and ran across the page. I dabbed some of it dry but left other bits to make watermarks. I also splattered the stain around with a paintbrush. Once the first layer of stamping was dry I switched to stormy sky distress ink and a blending brush to add colour to all the page edges. Also on the dry page I added a bit of texture by applying modeling paste through the DD stencil, ‘crackle’. The crackle was not very obvious but showed up a bit more after I added more stamping.

At this point I considered the background complete and started on the more distinct stamping. As I was working in the journal I couldn’t place it in the MISTI so I placed my ‘staytion’ magnetic board under the left hand page and added some acrylic blocks underneath the board to balance the left side of the journal with the right. I used an acrylic block to stamp all the clover and positioned a stampa-ma-jig against the block a couple of times just in case I didn’t have a complete image. I was able to do touch ups with a paintbrush and extra ink if the stamping was too pale.

I wanted some clover-ish leaves to stamp around the flowers so I grabbed a stamp from the DD ‘wildflowers vol 2’ and stamped foliage all around in peeled paint and forest moss inks. I added some green splatter too because journal pages always need splatter! At this point I was almost finished but I wanted a little more blue on the page. Rather than add more of the number stamp I used a very delicate floral stamp from ‘nature walk’ in faded jeans archival ink so I would have fine detailed lines that wouldn’t blend or blur. To balance mass of colour at the base of the pages I added more blue across the top edges. The blending brush was going to take too long so I swiped the ink pad over the edges and some water droplets also.

My journal is nowhere near full but it has become bulky with uneven pages because some have been glued to each other, others have been collaged. When I started the journal I glued pages together for sturdiness because that was what Vicky Papaioannou did and Vicky is an art journal wizard! She doesn’t always do that any more and neither do I because some of the pages just don’t want to be joined to each other, it makes it difficult to open them or flatten them. If you are an art journaller I would love to know if you prep your pages in some way so they can take a bit of water and liquid ink.

 

I hope you enjoyed seeing how a card inspired a double page spread; I definitely enjoyed working on the large scale with less pressure to keep things neat and contained!

Supplies


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Warm Wishes

Hot off the presses and ironically cold out of my mail box here are some brand new stamps from Darkroom Door. Rachel Greig creates incredibly artistic stamps and these new flowers are no exception. The feature image and sentiment on today’s card are from the new set, ‘Warm Wishes’ which contains five flower stamps and eight sentiments.

I decided not to watercolour them this time (but you know I will), instead I chose a crisp pigment ink so you would see the incredible detail of the flower head. I created a background by stamping some fave florals from DD ‘nature walk’ and ‘wildflowers vol 1’ in memento London fog ink. It is a light enough grey to show up but not take over. On the card above I stamped the feature flower from ‘warm wishes’ in versafine clair ‘shady lane’ ink and added the sentiment in the same colour.

Both the stamped panel and the card base are neenah solar white cardstock and the panel is popped up on a piece of foam to create some subtle framing.

Make sure you pop over to the Darkroom Door blog for more inspiration with the new ‘warm wishes’ set. And check back here too because I’ll be giving these stamps the watercolour treatment very soon!

Supplies

 


Lake Wanaka

I have been creating with the new ‘Lake Wanaka‘ stamp from Darkroom Door. When I first saw this stamp I searched ‘Lake Wanaka tree’ and up came a range of inspiring images. Then I waited for the stamp to arrive so I could try to recreate some of the seasonal shots of this lake and tree in New Zealand.

For this first summer scene I worked with a hot pressed watercolour panel in my stamp positioner because I knew I was going to add inks step by step. I started by inking the lower (lake) portion of the stamp with stormy sky distress ink and the top portion of the stamp with tea dye distress ink. Next I worked with  forest moss marker and ground espresso distress markers to add colour to the tree. This took a little while as the tree is made up of fine detail so I was only transferring a little ink at a time. Once the tree was defined I painted the lake with stormy sky and weathered wood ink. (smooshed onto my glass mat – I know you’ve probably got that step by now!) I switched to earth tones to paint the mountains and followed some of the definition of the stamp with rusty hinge, frayed burlap, vintage photo and tea dye inks. I painted a little stand of trees in the left corner with forest moss ink and added some reflections in the water. Once the mountains were dry I painted the sky with weathered wood, stormy sky and faded jeans ink.

For the sunset look below I used did less painting and worked with a base of one colour ink. I used faded jeans archival ink to stamp the whole image then painted more faded jeans distress ink into the shadows of the mountains, black soot ink over the foreground hills and faded jeans and spun sugar inks over the lake.

I used forest moss and ground espresso markers to ink the tree and stamp over the initial print and painted over the trunk also with ground espresso ink to make it bolder against the background. The sky is a mix of worn lipstick and spun sugar inks.

I decided to make a co-ordinating background panel by painting some worn lipstick, spun sugar and faded jeans distress stains onto my glass mat then swiping a piece of watercolour paper through it. I popped my stamped panel up on some dimensional tape.

My autumn Lake Wanaka panel features the main tree and stand of trees in fossilized amber ink. I inked most of the stamp with a stormy sky marker but avoided the tree so I could use a fossilized amber marker to ink the foliage. I wanted to leave snow on the mountain tops so I did very little to that area but painted stormy sky and chipped sapphire shadows further down the mountains. Once again I painted the foothills in black soot ink. I used diluted stormy sky ink for the lake and chipped sapphire for a bold sky. When I was stamping the tree I spritzed the stamp to help the fossilized amber ink spread further.

I finished the card off with white and navy mats and a little sentiment strip. I think you can probably guess why the sentiment is positioned right there. You’ve done the same I’m sure to cover a little bit that didn’t go the way you wanted it to!

Thank you for joining me today. I hope to be back before too long with more Lake Wanaka interpretations. Make sure you visit the Darkroom Door blog to see other creations featuring this stamp.

 Supplies


Darkroom Door wedding cards

I’ve been creating with the tall flowers and nature walk stamps from Darkroom Door again, this time with a wedding theme in mind. Darkroom Door now has eight different sentiment stamps collections in list format, each one has a different theme. For two of today’s cards I isolated one sentiment by masking either side but on the second card I used a large chunk of the stamp as a feature over a soft blurry floral background. I am over on the Darkroom Door blog sharing these cards so make sure to pop over there for more details on my process.

This first wedding card made me think of a country style-decorate the barn type of wedding. I did a bit of masking to get the look of three daisies against a timber background and used twine to keep things natural and not too fancy. I inked the daisy from ‘Tall Flowers‘ set in worn lipstick, abandoned coral, forest moss and peeled paint distress ink, spritzed lightly with water and stamped in centre of a hot pressed watercolour paper panel, then used masks to stamp another on each side. I masked all three daisies so I could stamp the  Woodgrain Background Stamp in weathered wood and frayed burlap distress inks.

My second card features the ‘wet on wet’ watercolour technique. The watercolour panel was very wet before I stamped the daisy stamp in wild honey and forest moss distress inks. I restamped to get paler images then dried the panel before wrapping a vellum strip with gold embossed wedding sentiments over the stamped flowers.

The very blurry style is not for everyone but in real life it does have a soft romantic look to it.

My final card features wildflower silhouettes in blueprint sketch and milled lavender ink stamped repeatedly to get first, second and third generation images as well as silver embossed flowers and sentiments with some very sparkly silver ribbon.

Working with sentiment strips that have fifteen different sentiments gives me plenty of options, some of the ‘wedding’ sentiments are totally appropriate for other events too.

I enjoyed the process of creating wedding cards in three different styles and I know I could have gone even fancier. What’s the fanciest card you have ever made?

Supplies


Steps journal page

Are you a wee bit surprised to see a journal page here?  I’m surprised myself, surprised but pleased. I really enjoyed dreaming it up and making it. It didn’t end up looking as I imagined but that is the way with journal pages is it not?

This art journal is a Fabriano journal; the paper is nice and thick but not watercolour paper so I painted over it with absorbent ground first. Then I grabbed a bunch of stamps from Darkroom Door along with three light coloured oxide inks and stamped mesh, stone and woodgrain texture stamps over the background. I spritzed it with water to soften the edges of the stamped images and dabbed some out too to make it subtler. Even after adding some water it was still bolder than I wanted so I painted another thin layer of absorbent ground over it.

I filled the bottom of the page with repeat stampings of flowers from the Darkroom Door ‘tall flowers‘ set in distress inks then blended some of the big flowers with water. They don’t blend as well as they do on watercolour paper but the effect is still nice.

I added grass and flowers from the DD ‘ nature walk‘ set, also in distress ink then a border with the mesh texture stamp in black soot oxide ink. It was a bit bolder than I wanted so I spritzed then dabbed with a paper towel ( as you can see I’m a fan of the ‘spritz and dab’ ). I splattered wild honey, forest moss and dusty concord diluted ink over the whole spread and it ended up looking like confetti. To boost a few of the flowers I outlined them with fine tipped black markers.

I wrote psalm 18:36 with a brush pen leaving a space to stamp the word ‘steps’ with the DD alphabet medley stamps.  I find choosing words for a journal page tricky, which words and how to add them. But the beauty of a journal page is the experimental nature of it. If I don’t like something on this page, I’ll try something different on another. Once the ink had dried I sealed the large flowers and the lettering with distress micro glaze.

Do you have any art journallers you would recommend for inspiration? I already follow Rachel Greig from Darkroom Door, Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, Vicky Papaioannou and Maremi SmallArt who all have different styles and inspiring journal pages.

I’m hoping to create in my journals more often and will share pages here if possible. Even if you are not an art journal person the designs can usually be converted to a card and sometimes start out as cards anyway!

Art Supplies (all Darkroom Door stamps are linked in description)