Gel print backgrounds

I have had my gel plate out recently and I am addicted. It is what happens when I get it out. Gel printing can be frustrating because some of the prints are a whole lot of nothing much while others are full of pattern, texture and colour. I never know whether the next print will be the former or the latter so I keep on printing. I have a stack of prints sitting around and I decided it was time to cut a few up to make cards. I added some stamping and die-cuts.

This first card is my favourite but I must be honest with you, it isn’t a gel print. It is the scrap paper I cleaned the brayer on! I love how pretty the colours and blends are but I’m a bit miffed that my clean up page was prettier than many of my prints!

To turn it into a card I stamped and embossed the PB ‘contemporary’ stamp in white and added the hello, cut with the PB ‘thanks & hello’

Same deal with this background but embossed with gold and adorned with the PB ‘jumbo joy’ die.

I’m glad to add another card to my very small Christmas card stack. My resolution to add to it every month seems to be a bit off and on.

This background is a recent print and includes a fun thread printing technique I saw on Birgit Koopsen’s instagram. She recently completed a challenge gel printing every day in May. She generously shared all the techniques she tried.

I added flowers from the PB ‘perfumed’ set and a sentiment in white embossing powder.

I guess the title of this post was a bit inaccurate as only one of these cards features a gel print background! Watching beauty emerge when gel printing is so much fun. To glance over at my brayer clean up sheet and realise I have to save it because it looks like a pastel check table cloth is a bonus. To see the pale ghosts of stencils turn up on third or fourth prints also amazes me.

I did not participate in Birgit’s recent challenge as I was busy busy launching the new online Floral Faves class but now the gel plate is out I am challenging myself to post something gel-print related every day this week. See you tomorrow.

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2021 BuJo – May title page & to-do list

Each month I plan to post the theme for the next month just before the month starts. I even managed to finish this page a week before May 1st but didn’t get it photographed until this morning! Last month blossom was my theme and I am yet to see blossom in my garden, tulips however, have appeared. I only have one tulip that has survived the critters, it is a yellow-red mix and it is blooming at the moment.

To create my tulip panel I masked above and below with large post-it notes then die cut the tulips from masking paper using the PB ‘promise me 2’ die. Like my own tulip these ones are a mix of red and yellow.

I blended distress inks with blending brushes and got better at protecting the leaves while blending the flowers by the time I did the wish/to-do list page. I drew little stems in green then used the brush tip end of the staedtler brush pen to make the yellow tulip petals.

Just for interest I looked back over my Jan-April wish/to do lists to see how if I am managing to get things done. Most months I check off more than I don’t but never all. I have had my next online class as an item on every list this year and some months I made progress, others I didn’t due to how I was feeling and what other commitments I had. But great progress has been made in April and May so ‘FLORAL FAVES’ is coming!

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Bird’s eye view

This cute bird on a branch stamp is new from Penny Black and is called ‘bird’s eye view’. We recently installed a new bird feeder in our backyard. It is on a shepherd’s hook metal pole to discourage the squirrels. The feeder itself has the anti-squirrel spring mechanism which closes access to the seed when something as heavy as a squirrel lands on it. You can probably guess what I’m going to say next; squirrels are wily creatures as are chipmunks! I can say that no adult squirrels have successfully fed directly from the feeder, they hang around underneath and eat what falls to the ground. We have seen a smaller squirrel climb the pole and lean over to take seed from the feeder without putting weight on it and a chipmunk that is light enough to sit on the feeder and stuff it’s face happily!

I know from experience you win some and lose some with feeders and I am enjoying the cardinal couple, the chickadees and the sparrows that are popping in. I think we’ve seen a finch or two but not certain.

To create this vintage themed card I limited myself to a brown and blue colour scheme. The browns are tea dye, antique linen and vintage photo distress inks; the blues are speckled egg distress ink plus the arctic blue and cyan Karin brushmarkers. First I smooshed tea dye and speckled egg inks on a glass mat, diluted them with water then swiped a piece of hot pressed watercolour paper through the inks. Once the background was dry I stamped the ‘bird’s eye view’ image on the panel with antique linen and kept the panel in the stamp positioner while I added darker ink by applying distress marker to the stamp where I needed darker browns and black.

I painted the leaves in both tea dye and speckled egg inks and did the same with the bird before adding vintage photo ink to the wing, tail and legs. Once the bird was finished I felt the speckled egg blue was not deep enough so I used the blue Karin markers to add ink directly to the paper then blended with a paintbrush.

To add to the vintage look I blended around the edge of the panel with vintage photo ink then dropped splats of water here and there to create watermarks. I also stamped the PB script stamp which never fails to add some vintage charm. I hunted through my dies to find a pretty foliage die that mimics the shape of leaves and cut both bronze and cream pieces to attach to the left of the panel. Continuing the vintage theme I stamped a partial sentiment on a little tag and tied it to the panel with twine. Yes, of course there is also some ink splatter.

Let me know if you have successfully deterred squirrels from you backyard bird feeders; I’d love to hear your techniques.

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Alcohol ink gel print

I tried a technique this week that I’ve seen demonstrated by gel printing wizards but never tried myself. In some ways it’s not that different from making abstract alcohol ink patterns on yupo or craft plastic but I found that I ended up with more of a distressed look which is rather nice.

I started with a not entirely clean gel plate and three or four alcohol inks, I’m not sure exactly which ones I used as I was very much in experimenting mode. Obviously there was a green and some blues in there and in real life you can see I also had a silver. I dropped dots of the different colours on the gel plate added rubbing alcohol and blew it all around with the air blower. It dried quite quickly so it took several additions of inks and rubbing alcohol before I was happy with the coverage. Once the AI had dried completely I brayered white acrylic paint over the painted area and took a print on some white cardstock. You can see the usual overlapping patterns of alcohol ink blobs but also some white patches and ‘grazes’ from the acrylic paint.

I trimmed the panel and added a three layer PB die cut sentiment along with an additional sentiment strip. I will definitely be trying this technique again.

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Fern Border

I was looking through my pile of possibilities recently and found some lovely brusho panels I made quite a while back at a class taught by my friend The Crafty Cigale. Instead of using brusho watercolour powders on watercolour paper we worked on photo paper. I remember the process being so much fun that I kept on making panel after panel.

I’ve chosen two of the panels as borders for today’s cards. Initially I thought I would cut into the brusho panel using the Penny Black fern border die and I tried, but using the patterned print as a background showed it off better while still featuring the delicate shape of the fern fronds.

Before die-cutting the fern border I applied double sided adhesive to the back of the card front so once cut I could easily attach it to the patterned panel. The sentiments from the banner sentiments mimicked the curve of the border die so they were an obvious choice in two versafine brown inks

The card bases are Luxe White cardstock from Foiled Fox, which is a creamy colour with a soft pebbly texture. I’ll be back tomorrow with some more birch themed pages from my bullet journal. Thanks for dropping by.

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Vintage collage card

A friend commissioned me to make a ‘vintage’ themed card recently and I happily pulled out a bunch of Darkroom Door stamps to do so. You can see the pocket watch stamp managed to feature three times but the French script, global postmarks, and gerberas also contributed. I stamped, blended and painted with two brown tones of distress ink, two blues and a black. (all the supplies are listed below)

To begin I smooshed some speckled egg and antique linen distress inks on a glass mat, added water swiped the panel through the diluted ink. After that the gerbera background stamp became part of the base layer in speckled egg distress ink. I layered the other stamps over the top in tea dye and antique linen inks and blended some speckled egg ink through the DD diamonds stencil. Of course there is splatter, watermarks and extra blending to darken the edges. To add a dimensional feature I die cut several stems of flowers with the Penny Black ‘shall we dance’ die, some are from watercolour paper, some from tan cardstock and a few from paper painted with salty ocean ink and stamped with the DD gazette stamp.

Almost finished, I added a strand of twine around the base and tied some tiny tags on with stamped PB sentiments on them and some little wooden stars I found. I was pretty happy with all this vintageness but decided to risk some gold paint. I splattered and added it to the tiny stars and heart, the flower centres. Where it worked best though was unevenly painted along the edges of the square panel. You probably can’t even see it clearly but it ended up being one of my favourite parts of the card.

By the way there are yummy new stamps on the Darkroom Door website. You will see them here soon, a few are winging their way here as you read this! Have a great day.

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Fern and floral art journal page

Recently when I was making a card with the new Penny Black stamps, ‘garden variety’ and ‘fresh fern’ I also began an art journal page. I really need to be braver with my art journal, I tend to reach for the same mediums that I use all the time in my cards. Today’s journal page was not particularly adventurous but I did pull out my box of pastes, gels and mixed mediums only to find several of them had dried up completely in their containers while others that used to be thick had turned to liquid. Those ones got tossed but a jar of distress collage medium came in handy along with some modelling paste. I think they might have both done the same job in the end.

I’m still working in my Fabriano art journals made up of drawing paper so I’m trying not to rely on my watercolour habits and techniques. I began as usual by taping the edges of the pages both to keep the book open and to create an attractive frame.

I inked the garden variety stamp with tangelo, northern pine and rosebud memento inks, spritzed it and stamped on the pages multiple times. I did first and second generation stamping to get both bold and pale prints. Then, feeling all brave and mixed media-ish I coloured some modelling paste with peanut brittle memento ink and applied it around the edges with a little plastic applicator (an old bank/library card would do). This step didn’t really yield the results I wanted but it was all in the spirit of experimentation so on I went.

I hadn’t used tissue paper in a while so I scrounged through our wrapping paper box and found some white, stamped the fresh fern in rich cocoa memento ink then tore it into sections before gluing it on the journal pages with collage medium. The tissue became almost transparent which gave the flowers behind a soft pearly look. I stamped the verse from 1 Corinthians on tissue too and glued it down in the same way replacing the first word, ‘love’ with a die cut.

I would love to know if you have an art journaller you admire. I am a big fan of Vicky Papaioannou and have watched many if not all her art journaling videos. I am interested to know what gels, pastes and mediums people use for what purposes. Which are best for resist effects, which are great for gluing, etc. Please share any recommendations you have.

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Daydream Watercoloured Flowers -Video

Penny Black has a new release called ‘Daydream’ and it’s filled with spring goodness. I guess many of us start daydreaming about spring in February. The stamp featured in my card today is called ‘daydream’ and I’ve paired it up with a new die, ‘thanks & hello’.

I’m enjoying working with the Karin brushmarkers both for watercolouring line images and for inking stamps. In today’s video I ink the stamp with four markers but my technique is slightly different to my usual method and involves some ‘water stamping’

In the video below you can see why the juicy Karin markers are perfect for this technique. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, a little ink goes a long way. I’m looking forward to trying this technique again on a different stamp with even less ink for a paler more subtle look.

I chose to keep the panel simple on a white background but you could add a pale wash before starting or do some second generation stamping for background flowers. Maybe I’ll try that next.

This blue which has a hint of purple is my favourite blue. It reminds me of cornflowers which featured in my bridal bouquet and was the colour of my bridesmaid’s skirts.

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Faith & floral journal page

I know it is not spring yet, in fact it is still very winter where I am; we’ve had some of our coldest days and nights just in the last few days. Maybe because it’s so cold now is a nice time to muse about spring.

Sometimes I have a plan for a journal page, other times I work it out as I go along. To begin this one I painted absorbant ground on the journal double page. It is a base preparation a bit like gesso which makes the paper act a little more like watercolour paper. I should probably just switch to a journal with watercolour paper pages but I stubbornly want to keep adding to the this one.

Once the base dried I stamp the Penny Black ‘springtime sigh’ stamp in one corner then coloured with Arteza real brush pens. The colouring is not precise, the surface doesn’t react the same as watercolour paper but I found blending with very little water gave me the most control.

I stamped first with Gina K skeleton leaves amalgam ink which I have used for no-line watercolour in the past but it remained too distinct on the journal page so I switched to antique linen which worked a bit better. I restamped and coloured springtime sigh several times then decided I wanted fewer little flowers to colour! I switched to the new Penny Black ‘illustrious’ stamp which co-ordinated well. I don’t know for sure but I wonder if both stamps were drawn by the same artist, the scale and style is similar.

When stamping the ‘illustrious’ stamp I was able to ink most of the stamp with Arteza real brush pens which cut down on the colouring. I still used antique linen ink on the large open leaves then blended with a marker to shade the leaves. When I had almost framed the double page spread I switched to the PB ‘tranquil buds’ stamp to add some lavender.

Next came the tricky stage when I had to decide what was happening with the empty area of the journal page. Writing, stamping, hand lettering or empty space were all options. I decided a bit of ‘filler’ in the shape of a text stamp would be nice and instead of the large script one I often use I chose the smaller typed text stamp from the PB ‘footnotes’ set. I stamped it here, there and everywhere in old paper ink, often spritzing with water before stamping so it just stamped a blurry pattern. I also added splatter then chose a phrase from the new PB ‘inspirational sentiments’ set.

Is that cute notebook die-cut covering a failed stamping attempt? Yes it is but I’m quite happy with that because the notebook page looks sweet. I cut it with a die from the PB ‘a pocket full’ set. I love how this page turned out even though I had no idea at the beginning it would progress this way. That’s the beauty of a journal page.

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Freshly cut flowers

I’ve teamed up with the Foiled Fox again to share a post on their blog. If you pop over there you can read all the process details for this floral card featuring a stamp and a die from Penny Black.

This stamp is called Fresh Cut and it is a rubber cling stamp of five long stem roses. I did some masking and partial stamping to fill the corner of my panel with eleven orange roses. I guess I should have added one more to have a dozen!

You might recognise the background style on this card; it is inspired by some of Jill Foster’s amazing cards for Penny Black. Because all those roses make the panel a little busy I separated the stacked die-cut words from the roses with a piece of vellum, just to make it easier to read. Don’t forget to visit the Foiled Fox blog today for all the details and while you are there browse awhile for more inspiration.

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