Friday, 21 August 2015

Mini Workshop: Watercolouring with Distress Markers ...

So today I have created a card using the same stamp as in yesterday's post but this time using Distress Markers to add colour to the image.  

I'll detail the steps as we go along and will link to the products used in the text as well as in the shopping list at the bottom of the post.  

For this design I used a Watercolour paper (Bockingford CP Not).  This is my favourite paper to use for my watercolour paintings as is not too expensive (compared to some) and gives me a good result.  It does have a slight texture to it but is still fairly easy to stamp on (you might just need to put a little more pressure to press the stamp into the texture of the paper - especially when using Staz-On ink.

To begin, stamp the Woodware Poinsettia stamp with a Black Staz-On Ink pad to create a waterproof outline.

[Note: It will not matter whether you use your Distress ink Pens  or Distress Ink Pads to add the colour - you will achieve the same result.  If using your ink pads however you will not be able to use the 'direct to paper' technique which comes a little later on in the project. 

If you are using an ink pad I would suggest that you turn the pad over and press it onto a plastic surface to transfer the ink on to a 'palette'.  I tend to put the ink down onto my largest acrylic stamp block as I usually have it to hand but an old plate or anything that you can clean afterwards will do!  

If you are using pens (as I did) then I 'scribble' them onto the acrylic block (or plastic) to create a paint palette to pick up with a brush.  

Distress ink will to a certain extent act like watercolour paint and will give you a translucent finish that will let the light through.  You can 'drop' new colours into colours that have already been laid down and are still wet (wet on wet technique)or you can let the layer below dry and then add another colour over the top to 'glaze' the layer below.

The main rule with the distress ink is that you can only 'work' the ink i.e. 'smooth out' an edge or blend with another colour whilst the ink is wet.  Once you let a colour dry on the paper it will be fixed and cannot be blended or smoothed as you would be able to do with watercolour paint.  As long as you remember that then you will be able to achieve a good watercolour effect with the pens.  Of course the pens will dry faster or slower on different papers and so it would be best to try the pens on what ever paper you are going to use to see how they work and react!]

Now to the project ...

 I used my watercolour paintbrush and my Scattered Straw Distress ink pen to add the first layer by scribbling the pen onto my stamping block and picking the ink up with the water brush. I used the brush to apply the colour in and around the petals remembering to leave some white areas to give the effect of light and using the brush in the direction of the petals i.e. from the veins out towards the edge.

Once the first layer was dry (which on this paper only takes a few seconds) I added a second layer of the same colour, this time keeping the colour closer to the middle of the petals rather than the edges.  You can see the areas on the photo above which have had a second layer of colour as they are a little darker! [Remember to 'smooth' any harsh edges to the ink if you need to as once it is dry you will not be able to do this! One good quality when painting with the pens is that each layer dries far more quickly than watercolour paint so you don't have to wait long before you can move on.  It does mean though that I find it easier to work on relatively small areas at a time e.g a leaf so that I can see any lines that need 'smoothing out' in time!]

Once the first two layers were dry I added a layer of Festive Berries in the same way as before.  Keeping the ink diluted with water will ensure that you create a translucent effect and will allow some of the yellow to show through.  

[You may recall that when I was using the alcohol markers yesterday I was able to go from a light pen to a dark pen and then back to a light pen to blend the edges.  Watercolour rules are different in that you start with your lightest colour and move towards the darker colours throughout the painting process.  Once you have put a darker colour down on the paper it will be very difficult if not impossible to make it lighter again when using these pens.  It will be better to to add several layers of colour instead of trying to lay the colour all down in one go.  That way the light will not be lost and the design will have more depth instead of looking 'flat'.

You can see from the picture below how the second layer of Festive Berries ink has added some intensity even though it is the same colour as the layer before!

From here I moved on to the leaves ...

... Scattered Straw was used as the first layer again!

Then a layer of Peeled Paint.

The darkest green was created by using a Pine Needles pen.  You can see from this picture and the one below how some of the edges of the dark green ink have been smoothed out with a clean wet paintbrush (look at the top left leaf).

On the picture above I started to add some dark areas to the image to make the layers of the flower 'pop out'.  The beauty of the inks is that you can easily mix individual colours on your 'palette' so that you have just the shade that you need.  I wanted a brown/green colour and so scribbled Pine Needles and Vintage Photo onto my block and pulled the two together until I got the shade that I wanted. 

In exactly the same way as yesterday with the alcohol markers, I added the dark colour into the middle of the flower and under the edges of the layers.  

[One thing that I should mention - if like me you use your stamping block to act as your palette then this is clear and you cannot always see the colours that well.  I put a piece of white paper on the table under the block and you can then see the colours perfectly!]

You will probably need to use several layers to get the dark areas. There was a limit as to how dark I could get the shadow areas so I also used the pen directly onto the paper - I wanted the darkest areas to be under the edges of the petal/leaf.  I took my Pine Needles pen and with the brush tip end drew a single line directly onto the paper following the under edge of the petal (where the darkest shadow would be).  I then took my clean waterbrush and smoothed out the harsh edge of the pen by pulling it out towards the rest of the petal/leaf.  Using the pen directly on the page gives a more intense colour than if used with the paintbrush and water. You may need to do this more than once to get the depth of colour that you want - just let each layer dry first!

Colour was added to the berries adding a couple of layers of the Festive Berries ink. Once dry I used the Vintage Photo pen directly onto each dry berry to create a spot of colour to show the base of the berry.

I created the shadow around the design by drawing a single line of Frayed Burlap ink close to the edge of the image (directly onto the page with the pen)then pulling the ink out with a clean wet paintbrush.

 NOTE:  It is REALLY important here that you do work in small sections as if you try to draw around the whole image with the pen there is a very good chance that it will be dry when you try to smooth it out with your wet paintbrush!

After I created the first layer of shadow there were a couple of areas (e.g. bottom left hand corner) where I wanted a little more depth so repeated the process.

Once the Poinsettia was complete and dry I trimmed it (leaving some of the shadowed edge).  I took another sheet of paper from the Gilded Winter Paper pad (used yesterday)and adhered this to my blank card.  I used my card as a tent card (spine at the top) this time.

You may be able to see that I added a little ink around the edge of the card to 'add some age'.  This was done using a Peanut Brittle Memento ink pad and a sponge.

I stamped a sentiment from my sentiment stamp set using Charcoal chalk ink onto kraft card, trimmed and stuck to the card (I held the trimmed flower over the brown card before sticking the sentiment down to help with the positioning).

I tied a couple of pieces of red twine around the card and into a bow adding a mini bell from my Dovecraft jingle bells to the middle of the bow with a little more twine.

The next step was to stick the trimmed flower onto the card.  As I had some small areas to stick e.g. around the scrolls I used a tape runner.  I find that the E-Z Dots permanent tape runner is strong enough to hold the heavier watercolour card!

Finally, I used Diamond Glitter Glue to draw a thin outline around all of the leaves and petals NOTE: The Diamond glitter glue has a thinner applicator to the Icicle glitter glue that I used yesterday (as the glitter is finer).  This means that I can achieve a beautifully thin line of glitter glue all around the edge.  I also used the glitter glue on the berries by applying two coats to each berry (letting the first layer dry before adding the second).  This created a beautiful domed, glittery berry with the colour of the ink showing through underneath!

To complete the card I added 5 spots of the glitter glue to the middle of the flower and before it was dry I dropped some seed beads in.  I used white but to be honest I think that gold, yellow, crystal or green would all look great.  It just adds an extra dimension to the card!

And here is the finsihed card ...

Hope you enjoy - Happy Crafting!

Shopping list

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Playing with Alcohol Markers ...

I have been speaking to several of you over the last few weeks about different methods of adding colour to your projects.  I promised a few 'mini workshops' on the subject and over the next week or so I will post some different methods here for you to take a look at.

For the first of these 'mini workshops' we'll take a look at alcohol markers by creating this Christmas Poinsettia card.  I warn you now that there are quite a few steps to follow so sorry for the lengthy post today!

I'll list the products as we go and again at the bottom of the post so that you can see exactly what brand of item etc was used to achieve the effect.

To begin, I stamped a Poinsettia Stamp using a Black Staz on ink pad onto a sheet of paper from a Gilded Winter Paper pad from Trimcraft.  

The paper/card you stamp the image onto will certainly affect the overall result of the project as each will have a different surface which will react to the alcohol markers in a different way.   I am a great fan of watercolour paper and will be using this on the next workshop but I do not think that the results are great when using it with alcohol markers.  This is because the alcohol markers 'bleed' into the paper too much and the overall effect becomes 'flat'. Of course there are different brands of watercolour paper and some may work for you but for me a thick card/paper like the paper in the First Edition Gilded Winter pad is great as the ink will 'sit' on top of the paper and will give a nice overall finish.  (We will come back and look at other card/papers in the future).

One other thing to note here is that I stamped the image with a Staz on ink pad which works here but may not be the best for your paper type.  This of course also contains 'alcohol ink' and so the pens will make the outline image 'bleed' if you are not careful.  I have made sure that I try to not let the pens go over the outline too much and not to press hard if I do. If you are worried at all I would suggest that you stamp in Memento or emboss the image first.

 [EDITED: Different brands of pens will react differently to different ink pads and different paper - Here the Staz on ink works with this paper type and and brand of alcohol marker as long as you are not heavy handed with the pens over the outline - see what works for you with your brand of pens and paper.  'Memento ink' is a good general ink to use with the markers and most paper types]

This project was created with the First Edition Alcohol Markers and I used the fine 'bullet' end of the pen at all times for maximum control.

I started by putting a base layer of  No. 37 - Primrose over the top petals of the poinsettia.  I made sure that my brush strokes followed the direction of the leaf i.e. from the veins towards the outside of the petal so that the finished result would look more natural.  I did not want my final image to become flat and so you can see that I left some 'white' areas around the veins and down the stem.    

For the next layer I used No. 15 - Crimson to add red brush strokes to the petals.  You can see the direction of the brush strokes more easily here!

The next stage was to lay down No. 13 - Coral next to the Crimson ink.  Allow the Coral ink to go over the Crimson as this is where the magic happens.  The lighter ink acts as a 'blender pen' and 'blends' the two colours together so that there are no harsh lines between each colour.  Leave some of the original Primrose colour showing at this stage as this will help stop getting too much of the darker colours onto the design which can make the image look 'flat'.

The next step is to go back to the original Primrose colour and add ink to the edges of the petals.  I let the Primrose pen go into the red colours and this helps blend any harsh lines.  

Repeat Step 1 (the Primrose colour) on the next set of petals.  

Before moving onto the red stages on this set of petals I wanted to add a darker colour (as most of this area would be in shadow).  The darker colour will make the top set of petals 'pop out'.  Using No. 53 - Espresso add some dark ink to the base of the next set of petals as shown.

I then added some of the darkest red colour (Crimson) as before.

In this picture there have been a couple of stages ... the lighter red (Coral) has been added as we did with the top layer of petals and the Primrose colour has been used to bring the reds together (remember to leave some white areas to represent light! around the veins.  I have also extended the dark brown (Espresso) around the edge of the top petals to suggest the shadow and make the top petals stand out.  At the moment we have harsh brown edges ...

... I used the Coral pen to blend the brown edge into the reds.  To do this allow the Coral pen to run over the edge of the Espresso and into the red areas.  Again the lighter pen acts as a 'blender pen' and 'blends' the darker colour. 

At this stage I used a No. 41 pen - Satsuma to add a touch of 'gold/orange' on the tips and edges of the petals here and there.

The last layer of leaves will be green rather than red (and yes I did make a mistake and colour one of the bottom set of leaves red instead of green in error - I did not even notice until I had finished the card!).  

Add the Primrose base to the leaves as in previous layers.  Blank areas have been left around the stems and veins again.

No. 25 - Pistachio was added next.

Instead of the Espresso colour for the dark shadows, this time I used No. 30 - Pine.

After adding the dark Pine, I used the Pistachio to blend the edges by running the lighter ink over the edges of the darker colour. I then went back to the Primrose pen for the edges.

 {Tip:  If you are having difficulty blending colours together and can see a harsh line between the edge even after you have 'worked it', it may be that your card/paper is not the most suitable for alcohol markers.  Try another type of paper and you may achieve a better result.  Ideally for best results when you add the lighter colour to the darker edge you will see the darker colour start to 'loosen' from the paper and begin to move around the page a little, this is how it blends}.

The middle of the flower was created by adding spots of Pistachio and then adding a little Primrose over the top to blend the area.  You can see here that as I was working on the middle I also gently ran the Pistachio pen down the vein of the petal to make each petal a little more realistic.

To add colour to the berries start with the darker area of the berry (the shadowed areas).  I added Crimson here as the darkest colour.  Be careful not to add too much dark colour or the berries will become flat, just a little 'c' on each will suffice!

Next I used the Coral to add another 'c' on top of and next to the first layer.  Make sure that you leave approx 1/3 of the berry clear at this point so that you can create the 3d effect.

This is where the Colourless Blender Pen comes into use.  Where a lighter coloured pen will act as a blender for a darker colour on a project.  The Blender Pen will blend and get rid of harsh lines on your lightest colour (it blends the line out to your white paper etc).  use the Blender pen and gently brush it over the Coral edge, brushing it out to the top of the berry.  Be careful not to let the blender pen brush over too much of the darker red here as you may lift all of the red colour out!

After finishing the berries, I took one last look at the overall image and 'blended' any lines etc that I had missed before or added a little extra dark shadow if needed.  I also used the Espresso to add a line of shadow around some of the outside edges of the design.  This brown line was then blended with the Primrose ink and that in turn was blended with the colourless Blender pen to create a shadow on the design.

I trimmed the design to fit on my base card.  Here you can see how the pens have bled through the paper on the reverse side.  

As I stuck my design onto Glitter Cardstock I used Super Sticky tape {I find that unless I use this to stick the card it does not adhere particularly well to the glitter}.

After sticking the image to the glitter card I trimmed again, added to the base card and added a sentiment from the same set of stamps as the Poinsettia.   I added a 'distressed' effect to the edges in exactly the same way as the shadow was created around the flower (i.e. with the Espresso and Primrose inks and the Blender pen). 

Finally I added some ivory organza ribbon (doubled up) down the spine of the card (tied in a bow) and attached three jingle bells around the bow with Bakers Twine.  I also added some Icicle Glitter Glue to the edges of each petal, leaf, berry and swirl.  I am not sure that the photography does the glitter glue justice but it creates a 3d effect on the final card and makes the design 'pop out' beautifully.  The trick with Glitter glue is to push and hold the glitter into the nozzle of the pot and then use the glitter glue like a pen instead of like a 'glue applicator'.  This will give you a neat finish without flooding the glitter glue over the project.

And there here is the final card ...

I hope that this has given you a few suggestions for using your alcohol markers.  If you have any specific questions or other suggestions as to how you use your pens please do let us know.  We'd love to hear from you.

Happy Crafting!

Shopping List

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Last minute Fathers Day card ...

If you or the kids need to make a Fathers Day card today try this little paper pieced project...

All you need is a pair or scissors, a pencil, white and black pens, some glue/tape, a selection of cardstock/papers from your craft box and the template below.

Print the template a couple of times.

Use the template to cut out parts of the design and trace around onto patterned card/paper. Cut out each section and start to piece your design together.  Use the picture above as a guide!

TIP:  You may find it easier to cut the whole of the outline (car and pressies etc) out first and then stick all of the other pieces onto that base cut out.

One the pieces are all stuck onto the base card add a little detail with pens and either stamp or hand write your message on the label.


To all of the wonderful Dads out there ... have a very Happy Fathers Day!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Creations from the Garden ...

Summer is slowly but surely on its way and with it comes a burst of colour in the garden.

Have you ever used some of your favourite flowers on your projects instead of rubber/clear stamps?  You can create lovely little notelets, cards, gift tags or writing paper etc.

For best results flowers with a good outline/definition work best.  Lavender (used in the project above) works very well and is plentiful in the garden during the Summer.

Start by giving your flower a good press down on a table top with your hand to flatten it.  This will help to spread the petals out and create more of a flat stamping surface.  

Look at the flower from the angle that you will use for stamping e.g. lavender from the side, gerbera - top down.  If you need to remove a couple of the petals to create more open space and a better result then this is fine.

Use a good strong pigment ink (so that it dries slower) and start to press the flower head into the ink pad.  Once you have inked the flower stamp it onto some scrap card to see how the impression looks when stamped.  You can go back and remove a few more petals to create a better stamped image if you want to.

I tend to stamp the image by using my finger to press the flower onto the page.  If you have a particularly thin flower (like the lavender stem) you can use an acrylic block to press the flower so that you can keep your fingers out of the way).

You will be able to use the flower as a stamp several times before it will become too 'soggy' and damaged to use.  This is one advantage of using a pigment ink pad to ink your flower as it will have a sponge pad (rather than felt) and will be flooded with ink so you will not have to press as hard on the flower when inking, thus minimizing the damage to the flower.  

You may find that you get a better effect when you ink the flower, stamp onto scrap card and then stamp again without re-inking.  This can give a slightly drier effect which can show more detail of the flower (this technique works very well with gerberas).

It is just a case of trial and error, finding the best flowers, inks and number of stampings that you can get out of each inking that works for you.  Each stamped image will be completely unique!

The girls and I can have a lovely afternoon stamping as many flowers as we can onto scrap pieces of card which we can then use to create all sorts of projects at a later date.  It really is a lovely way to use flowers that have been blown over in the garden or buds that have broken off those flowers from the supermarket on the journey home.

Have a go, it is simple, cheap and a great way to keep the children happy!

Monday, 11 May 2015

Weekend Walk ...

I hope that the weather is being kind to you today.  It is beautiful here, the birds are singing and the sun is shining.  

We are getting busy with end of term bits and pieces at school now (the girls will be breaking up for Summer at the start of July) so I have been busy arranging 'school stuff' which has not left much time to create!

As a result I am afraid that I do not have a project to share with you today so instead here are a few pictures of a recent walk around the headland at Noss Mayo, South Devon (not far from Plymouth).

The walk is definitely in our top ten walks in Devon and is around 5 miles long.  A moderate amount of exertion is required to walk up the hill to the headland but it is not that bad, you can push a pushchair, I know I have done it many times.  Walking the route anti clockwise is certainly easier than clockwise as there is quite a steep slope on part of the route and it is easier to walk down than up! 

The nice thing is that you start and end with the Pub and get to see some wonderful views during the walk.

 We start in the village (at the pub) and follow the path along side the river. 

You get a different view depending on the season and whether the tide is in or not!

It really is a boat and coastal river lovers paradise!

The path takes you along the river and through a nature reserve until you eventually reach the headland.

The walk is perfect for the dogs as for most of the walk they do not have to go on a lead.  Sometimes we do come across cows with their young on the path and we do put the dogs on a lead then but otherwise they and come and go as they please!

We follow the path for a couple of miles along the headland and eventually we start to come away fro the sea, down a country path and back towards the village...

... and to the pub for coffee or lunch!

The walk itself takes about 1.5 hours (if you are not rushing and stop to take in the views).  You could easily spend an afternoon afterwards sitting outside the pub watching the tide come and go!

If you are interested and would like to know more about the walk you can find the full route and directions in this months Devon Life Magazine.