Treasured Pine

You are excused for thinking you have scene this card before. When I get a new pine branch stamp I often set it against a blue sky. I have a pine tree in my front yard and I think it is at its best under a blue sky after a fresh fall of snow. Most of the year said pine tree is just making a mess in our yard and driveway. This lovely stamp is from Penny Black and is called ‘treasured pine’.

I worked on hot pressed watercolour that had been splattered with masking fluid earlier. I smooshed both speckled egg and uncharted mariner distress inks on a glass mat, spritzed with water then swiped my watercolour panel through the ink several times. I also spritzed water on the panel to spread the ink further.

Once the background was dry I worked in a stamp positioner to stamp first the pinecone in a couple of brown inks then the pine needles in a couple of greens. I blended the ink on the pinecones with a brush to intensify the coverage and after the inks dried added white to the snow covered areas with a posca paint pen. I added a sentiment from the PB ‘feeling of Christmas’ set. To see a couple more pine themed designs click here and here

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Alcohol Ink + Masks

I’ve played with stencils and alcohol inks before so it wasn’t much of a stretch to try the same with masks. Masks are basically stencils without any frame around them. The ones I used for today’s cards are homemade from Grafix white craft plastic (also known as white opaque dura-lar).

I used the Sizzix ‘artsy stems’ dies to cut flowers from craft plastic. I also used craft plastic for the alcohol ink panels. I first tried this technique when making bookmarks for a Grafix video tutorial. I used the same funky die-cuts and alcohol inks so check out the video below for the process.

One thing I really like about working with Grafix craft plastic and matt dura-lar (in the final card) is that you can emboss on it. I make sure I preheat the heat tool so I can quickly activate the embossing powder. The craft plastic doesn’t melt or warp if you keep the heat tool moving.

All the sentiments are from Darkroom Door sets (linked below) two were embossed and the other stamped with a new ink from Ciao Bella. It took a while to dry on the craft plastic but I am impressed with the solid matte look once dry.

You can see on this last card I had to come up with a way to attach the semi transparent matte dura-lar to the coloured panel underneath. I didn’t want to use tape which would show so I poked a couple of holes through both layers and sewed the panels together with some silver cord.

All the alcohol ink panels are attached to white card bases embossed with embossing folders for some subtle texture and interest.

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AI Brussel Sprouts video

If you are a little baffled by the title of this post don’t worry no brussel sprouts were harmed or eaten or even incorporated into the making of this video! But would you agree that the little patterns formed inside the circles on the panel look a bit like brussel sprouts?

You will see in the video I didn’t set out to make a brussel sprout pattern; I actually changed track part way through the process. The video shows the technique I started with along with stencil technique I ended up doing. So it’s basically a 2 for 1 deal.

There are several ways to use a stencil with alcohol inks and this is just one. Make sure you check out Ardyth’s youtube channel for more ideas. I mentioned in the video that some alcohol inks tend to be a bit pushy and end up taking over a colour scheme. The lime green did so on this card but I’m glad there are some blues tones still visible at the base of the card.

I finished the card with die-cut letters and a single word from Paper Rose Studio’s So Extra sentiment strips.

You can see other cards made using this technique here and here.

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AI + Stencils Blue Edition

After success with one of my detailed stencils over an alcohol ink panel I tried a few more all with a mix of blue inks. The one above features the Darkroom Door crackle stencil over a mix of cloudy blue and stream inks.

There is also a little bit of salt sprinkled on the panel where the stencil did not make consistent contact. This technique is definitely not for the impatient among us!

I am still working on Grafix white craft plastic and often starting over the top of a panel that already had ink on it. All the card bases are Neenah solar white.

The stencil above is MFT geometric stars and I positioned it over a panel of denim and stream inks with some leftover copper as well. The ‘print’ is not very consistent but I like the way a distinct line is right next to a blurry pattern.

I finished this one off with a die from the Pinkfresh Studio ‘sending’ die set.

I worked with the DD mesh stencil a couple of times because it didn’t make consistent contact on my first attempts. I found if I taped it over the alcohol ink panel onto a piece of scrap cardboard I could bend the cardboard slightly to make sure stencil stayed pressed onto the wet alcohol inks. I just popped the piece in the right sized container to keep it bent while it dried.

This one is a mix of denim, cloudy blue, silver and a tiny bit of stream down in the right hand corner. I added a sentiment from the DD ‘tall flowers’ set.

As you can see my fascination with this technique continues. I did pick up a couple more detail stencils the other day for this very purpose. I will also give it a try with some watercolour paints and paper. I’m sure the result will be different as the watercolour paints soak in but I think there could be a pretty and subtle pattern. Stay tuned!

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AI Abstract and Landscape

While trying the stencil and alcohol ink techniques earlier this week I also returned to techniques I’ve used before. The Grafix white craft plastic panel above was a grey & blue one which wasn’t very interesting. I added warm tones either side and using tilting and air blowing to create a pattern that looks a little like a rock cross section.

I used some clear gesso to seal this one but it did drag some colour and leave some texture lines so I wouldn’t recommend it as the best sealing solution. I could use a spray sealant but it is very, very cold outside so I’m not popping into the back yard to use aerosol cans right now!

I would tell you the ink colours I used if I knew. I picked up a panel with ink from a previous session then start putting more ink here and there and in no time I saw colours and patterns appear with no idea which ink went where!

On this second panel I have a bit more of an idea of the landscape colours. I began with a previously inked panel and added pesto, ginger and sunshine yellow inks along with generous amounts of rubbing alcohol to move the inks.

As I tipped the panel and used an air blower I was able to create stripes across the panel which looked a bit like hills. I feel like this is still a fluke for me; I wish I could give you exact instructions but it works sometimes and not others.

To add the look of trees and crops I used an alcohol ink paint brush and a very small amount of alcohol ink or isopropyl alcohol. I wanted to add texture to the ink that was already there rather than add more ink because when you add more ink it tends to displace the ink you already have on the panel. With this in mind I added a drop of sunshine yellow at the end to be the sun. It did not expand neatly in a circle so I used a paint brush which meant the sun was a bit larger than intended! I finished both cards with sentiments from the Paper Rose Studio ‘so extra supporting sentiments’ pack.

Alcohol ink art seems to be equal parts fabulous and frustrating but I will keep on persevering and see if I can come up with some processes I can recreate and share with you.

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Grafix Mixed Media Journal Cover – video

A couple of weeks back I shared my process for creating a mixed media swatch book. I used the new mixed media journal from Grafix and swatched alcohol inks as well as metallic and paint markers. You can see the blog post and video here.

After creating several swatch pages I got to work on the cover. The mixed media journal comes with craft plastic and dura-lar film pages along with two chipboard covers. I used texture paste, a stencil and pearlescent paints to create a bold and shimmery cover. You can see my process in the video below.

I was pretty happy with the shimmery circles that appeared on top of the texture and will be putting this technique to work again on some journal pages I’m sure.

I also tried something I have rarely done and that is sealing my artwork with a fixative. I took the covers outside and sprayed them with a Blair fixative. It gave them a lovely satin finish but did not smell good. I decided to leave it outside in the fresh air for a while. I had put the swatch pages back in so the whole book was sitting outside in the sunshine. Within a short time it started raining and I didn’t notice straight away. When I rushed outside to save my swatch book I was happy to see the fixative had protected the cover and the plastic pages were also unharmed. Yay! And the chemical smell was gone.

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Creating a Swatch Book – Video

Recently I received a 6″x9″ Mixed Media Journal from Grafix and decided to turn it into a swatch book. It’s maybe not the most artistic use for the new mixed media journals but I am hoping it will be useful for me as I create projects and teach classes using alcohol inks and non-permeable surfaces.

As you can see from the top photo the journal is disc bound which means I can add new pages as I buy more products! I filmed my swatching process so you can see how I am using my mixed media journal.

So far I have swatched alcohol inks, including mixatives and alloys. In doing so I realised how many were almost empty, which means of course I can get a few new ones!

I’ve also swatched alcohol markers and paint markers. I’m not swatching all my markers on the craft plastics and dura-lar pages as many of my markers are made for paper. (that’s another swatch book waiting to happen)

I work with the paint markers on craft plastic and glass so I swatched on black craft plastic and clear dura-lar.

The mixed media journals also come in 6″x6″ and are a new product so I can’t tell you exactly where to find them right now but I do know DeSerres, Crop A While and Foiled Fox all carry Grafix products as do most art stores so you could ask them to get one in for you.

I am excited to keep adding to mine and to use it when ever I’m working on plastic surfaces.

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Alcohol Ink Flowers – Video

Last week I posted a video showing my method for abstract alcohol ink backgrounds. This week’s video is less abstract. In it I show you how I created the purple flower in the card above. I’ve been experimenting with creating flowers and sometimes have more success than other times. I’ve included four cards in this post but there are several panels that I will probably wipe clean.Did you know you can wipe your yupo or craft plastic clean with rubbing alcohol? I don’t always get the panels back to pristine white but so close it doesn’t matter.

To create this rose I used only two alcohol inks, eggplant and gilded alloy along with plenty of isopropyl alcohol. You can see my process in the video below.

The next flower is on black craft plastic, messier and more experimental but a similar process of moving the inks towards the centre leaving rims of gilded and indigo ink as I went.

On the panel below I used Ranger flamingo and gilded alloy inks. The pattern is a bit lopsided but it’s definitely floralish. I added a gold mat and gold die cut from the PB set ‘celebrations’.

Have you tried alcohol ink flowers? Do you think you might?

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Moving Alcohol Inks with Air – Video

I’ve had the alcohol inks out recently and spent some time trying to get soft wavy patterns on craft plastic. I have seen several artists who do this technique beautifully but I am very much still a beginner with it. I have a few cards to share today along with a video showing my process for two of the panels. I worked on white craft plastic from Grafix which is heavyweight and totally opaque. For most of the panels featured today I used only two alcohol inks plus plenty of 99% rubbing alcohol; each panel was created with a metallic and a non-metallic ink.

This first panel was made with turquoise AI and gilded alloy AI; I love the range of blues when diluted with rubbing alcohol. The ‘for you’ Penny Black die cut is two layers of turquoise cardstock topped with one layer of pale gold.

This warm toned card was made with honeycomb AI and mined alloy AI then die cut with a WaffleFlower square nesting die. I used the WaffleFlower additional square dies to cut a larger copper square then added the PB ‘light as a feather’ die cut and a PB birthday sentiment embossed in Brutus Monroe penny embossing powder.

You can see the process for both cards above in the video below.

As I am working on alcohol ink panels I am evaluating my process and working out what I want to try next. I just bought a cheap lazy susan to work on the blown flowers and I’m pretty sure I don’t need to use as much coloured ink when I make the initial drops. You can be sure I will let you know what I discover.

I have a couple more cards made off camera using the same technique shown in the video. The card above features juniper AI and statue alloy AI with the PB ‘many thanks’ die cut from antique gold cardstock and stacked twice.

When this panel was finished it reminded me of photos of the artic and far north where the icebergs and glaciers are made up of beautiful shades of blue. It’s kind of a cross section perspective where we can see below and above the ice the bears are walking on. I did use two blue inks plus a silver for this one, ranger turquoise and stream with pinata silver. The bear die is ‘polar bears’ from Penny Black.

We’ve been watching Cecilia Blomdahl’s youtube channel about her life on Svalbard, an island off the north coast of Norway. She lives in the world’s northern most town. Polar bears are definitely around so you don’t wander outside the village without your weapon!

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Snowflake Skies – Video

I teamed up with Grafix to create a couple of snowy projects on their Duralar plastic films. The card you see on the left and below was inked on white craft plastic, also know as DuraBright white. It is totally opaque and has a bit of weight to it. For the votive wrap I used Dura-Lar matte film which is lighter weight and has a frosted transparent appearance which was what I wanted so the light from a votive would shine through.

I used stream and denim alcohol inks and felt to apply the inks to the plastic films. To create the snowflake patterns I die-cut a Penny Black snowflake from felt and stuck it to the wooden back from a old stamp. You can see the whole process in the video below.

I cut the Penny Black neighborhood border from Dura-Bright white for both the votive and the card.

You can see in the video and the photo above how the colours in the votive surround look different with a light inside; I guess it would depend too whether your battery votive candle was a white one or more of a yellow glow.

I’m really enjoying working with the Dura-bright white for alcohol ink projects and will be trying more techniques on the Dura-Lar matte in the future. If you are looking for the bright white remember it also goes by the name white craft plastic. Crop A While might have some and Deserres does carry it.

I’ve been working on a few different alcohol ink techniques so there will be more cards to share and another video next week.

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