Monday, November 20, 2017

Mod Podge and Scrapbook Paper Fall Tin

I have just enough time to squeeze one more fall craft in before the onslaught of Christmas begins. So with my remaining time, I decided to decorate a Christmas tin with pumpkins out of sheer defiance. Last summer a converted a Christmas tin into a decorative tin that I keep playing cards in, but this time, I definitely wanted to go a bit more Fall/Thanksgiving in nature. I picked out some cute pumpkin scrapbook paper and tried to find a spray paint that coordinated.

I ended up going with the oil rubbed bronze again, but this time I used this Rust-Oleum Hammered Bronze. It gives a nice finish, but it's a bit more finicky to work with. It goes on thicker and takes longer to dry than typical spray paint, so if you pick up a bottle, keep that in mind when you're working with it.

The spraypaint gives pretty good coverage, but it took several coats to get all the edges and sides of the tin covered well...and since it takes longer than usual to dry, it took a few days of me popping out to the deck to spray it and then bringing it in at night before I was happy with it.

After it was painted and dried, I found a plate that was really close to the same size as the indent on the lid and then traced around it with a pencil and cut it out as carefully as I could with a scissors.

After the circle was cut out, it was as simple as painting on a layer of mod podge, smoothing the paper onto it, waiting a few minutes to let it dry just a smidge (wait longer if your paper is thin) and then giving it a sealing layer. It will bubble a bit less if you wait for it to dry completely, but most bubbles and wrinkles will smooth out as it dries unless you used way too much glue. It is dry to the touch after about a half hour, it but takes longer to dry all the way.

The mod podge will cure in a few days in this lovely dry fall weather, but the spray paint will take longer--I will wait a few weeks before I smoosh that lid down snuggly to avoid it getting painted shut as the spray paint continues to dry. But now I have my last gasp of fall decorations sitting on my buffet, and it's just the right size to put some paper pie plates in for Thanksgiving dinner.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Spray Paint Marbled Holiday Paper

A few years ago, I did a couple sessions of spray paint marbling. It's a really fun and fast project, so I thought it would be a great way to kick off my holiday crafting season. Also, it was nicer out today than it has been in a long time (it's been unseasonably cold here), so I thought I'd take the opportunity to get out on the sun-warmed deck and decorate some paper.

For this project you'll need: a plastic tub big enough to hold a couple inches of water and a whole sheet of paper (and it needs to be ok to get paint on it), some spray paint, some vinyl gloves, and some card stock (or other heavier paper that can get wet without tearing). I'm not generally bugged by getting paint or dye on my hands, but I strongly recommend using gloves for this project. Spray paint is very stubborn to get off skin and even more stubborn to get off your nails. The first time I did this project, I had paint under my nails for weeks. My favorite spray paint for this project is currently Rustoleum 2x paint. It sprays out a bit more paint and doesn't dry quite as fast as some other brands. Any spray paint will work, but I'd generally avoid any that say "faster drying" or "half the dry time" on the can. The cheap-o blue label spray paint from Wal-mart (Color Place brand I think) actually works pretty well for this too--so no need to drop a lot of cash.

I started out by spraying a nice layer of green paint on the water. I took a few passes to get the water completely covered.

I added some silver paint and red to the you can see, it didn't look bright red--it created a bit of a void in the middle of the water.

So I came back with some green spray paint to fill in the void.Then I jostled the edge of the bin to get the paint to mix a bit and dropped in a sheet of paper.

I got some good swirls, but there were some areas of dried paint and some voids. This is mostly because I was messing around with pictures--you gotta work fast to get the paint to stick to the paper before it starts to dry a bit. I usually flipped the paper over to get any remaining paint out of the water (and to get a little bit of a design on the back side of the paper). After this sheet, I set my camera down and made several more sheets. 

I made 11 sheets when it was all said and done. By the time I was done, the water was getting a bit goopy, and I was running out of places to put the paper to dry. If I had wanted to make more, I would have needed to change the water and my gloves, so this seemed like a good place to stop.

5 or 6 hours later, the paper was just a bit damp. Keep it flat until it's completely dry. The paper won't be completely smooth and flat unless you press it before it's entirely dry. I don't mind it a bit wrinkly, I think it gives the paper some texture like watercolor paper. But if you want it flat for card making or something fancy, I'd let the paper dry until all of the paint is dry to the touch and no longer tacky and then place it between some parchment (for each sheet), and then set something heavy like a book on top of it. 

Making this marbled paper with spray paint is super satisfying. It's fast and comes out with some crazy random designs. Hopefully you'll see this paper work it's way into a few holiday crafts this year!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Cartoon Strip Cereal Bowls

A while back I bought some Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge with the intention of using it to seal some alcohol ink projects (go figure), but when I came across these nice big glass bowls, they were just begging to be decoupaged. So I thought it might be cute to decoupage cartoon strips from the Sunday funnies onto the bowls. I knew this would be the perfect test of the dishwasher safe part--because who's going to use cereal bowls that can't be safely washed?

I found the cereal bowls at Big Lots. I'm sure I bought them on a 20% off day or something like that, so they were pretty inexpensive if the ended up being sacrificed in the name of an experiment. I grabbed a copy of the Sunday funnies and a foam brush and I was set to go.

I cleaned the labels off of the bottom of the bowls and then read the instructions on the mod podge. They recommend cleaning smooth surfaces (like glass and ceramic) with rubbing alcohol before gluing anything to them. Fortunately, I buy rubbing alcohol in bulk (for the alcohol inking), so I had plenty to wipe them off with a paper towel. I let them dry and moved on to my comic strips.

I cut one or two squares (or panels) out of each comic strip until there weren't any whole ones left. I tried to feature the comics I enjoyed the most and picked the most interesting panels. I just used a regular scissors to cut them out. One Sunday's worth was just enough to cover my two bowls.

Next, I applied the mod podge with a foam brush. I was generous with the glue so that the paper would adhere to the glass well, and so that it would soak the glue up a bit and become pliable enough that it could be wrapped around the curved surface a bit more easily. You can spray paper with a bit of water to help make it more flexible and avoid some of the wrinkling when using mod podge, but this only works if the paper is pretty sturdy. Tissue paper can't be wetted down without tearing. Newspaper print is somewhere in between tissue paper and copy paper. It's fairly porous and delicate, but not as delicate as tissue paper. I opted not to wet the paper down because I wasn't sure how fragile the paper would become when wet. I didn't have any problems with ripping from just the glue, but I did have some issues with wrinkling and shrinkage (the paper shrinking after it dried completely).

I worked my way around the bowl, adding panel after panel and gluing both under the paper and coating over the top with the glue. I made sure to turn the panels upside down as I was gluing them so that they'd be right side up when the bowl was flipped over. When I got to the edge, I lined the panels up with the edge of the bowl and tried to glue them down as neatly as possible.

When I was done, I was left with a pretty wet wrinkly mess. At this point, I wasn't sure at all how this would turn out once it dried.

After gluing on the paper, my fingers were covered in newspaper print ink that had been glued to my fingers with the mod podge, it took a bit of scrubbing to get them clean.

After the first coat dried, it hardly looked like it had been sealed at all. Some of the paper had shrunk as it dried. I had to go back in with a few small squares to cover some gaps that became visible when the paper dried. Several corners of the paper were also peeling up, so I glued them down before adding another sealing coat. The bottle suggests 2-3 coats with at least a few hours of dry time between coats. I coated the bowls 3 more times allowing at least a day to dry between each coat.

So the final verdict--I can't tell you yet if this stuff works. The bottle calls for at least 28 days of curing (drying) before it can be washed. So I'll have to update you later. The paper is glued securely to the bowl, and after a few coats, it does finally start to look a bit sealed, but the dishwasher safe stuff doesn't provide the same kind of coating as regular mod podge. The glue is thinner and soaks into the paper more. I'm tempted to put another coat or two on to make sure all of the little wrinkles and edges are securely sealed before I let it cure for its 28 days. As long as they don't turn into a pile of wet glue-y paper after being washed, I've at least made some cute candy bowls. Cross your fingers with me that these can actually be washed, and I'll be sure to let you all know how it turns out when I do.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Bottle Cap Halloween Pins

I have been wracking my brain all week trying to figure out what to do for this week's craft post. I knew I wanted to do something Halloween-y since the post is set to go up the day before. After much hemming and hawing, I remembered I still had a bunch of the craft bottle caps I used to make Patriotic Pins with last year, so I set out to make some Halloween/Fall pins.

The bottle caps are 1 inch on the inside (as are the kind you salvage off glass soda bottles and beer bottles--so both will work). I did a google search for Halloween art and chose ones that I thought would look good as 1-inch circles. I probably saved twice as many designs to my computer as I ended up printing. The icon size ends up being a good indicator of what will look good in the small size. Then I use Word to print them out. Word has a handy feature that will tell you how large the photo is in inches when you're resizing it, so I made all of the photos a smidge smaller than 1 inch tall and wide.

I printed the designs out on some copy paper that's 24lb instead of the standard 20lb. The fancier stuff also is a bit smoother than regular copy paper--so it prints color a bit better. You could use cardstock or matte photo paper instead if you have it laying around. Then I used a 1-inch circle punch to cut the pictures out of my paper. A few get eliminated in this process because they are a bit big or a bit small or just look odd as circles or maybe I might mess up the punch and it's off center....but for whatever reason, start with more designs than you end up hoping to make.

My bottle caps were navy blue, so I knew that wouldn't really work for Halloween pins. I flipped them over and sprayed them with a couple of coats of semigloss black spray paint and let them dry before the next step.

Once my caps were dry, I could glue the pictures into the caps. I used Tombow Mono Multi Liquid Glue. Any glue that is multisurface and doesn't make paper bubble or wrinkle, would work just fine. You just need to get the paper stuck to the bottle cap so it doesn't float up when the glaze gets added.

This Tombow glue is very sticky and works really well with paper, but it's not very much fun if you use too much. Excess does not come off easily and stays very sticky once dried, so use just enough to get the paper to stick but not so much that you end up with ooze.

After I got all of my selected circles glued down (I whittled the pile down to the ones that looked the best in the caps next). I made sure they were all secure and tried to wipe up any tiny bit of glue that may have squeezed out.

Then I grabbed my glaze. I have a big ol' bottle of Diamond Glaze, so that's what I used. You could also use Glossy Accents, Dimensional Magic, or Paper Glaze--whatever you can get a hold of to provide that nice glossy seal.

There are always bubbles with this stuff. Try not to shake the bottle before use, apply the glue in a steady stream without lifting the nozzle out, and use a long neck lighter to pop bubbles after you've applied the glue. You can also use toothpicks or pins or tapping the bottlecap gently on the table to try to pop bubbles, but the lighter is the fastest option.

After I used the lighter on the bottle caps, there were only a couple of tiny bubbles left. Unfortunately, the bubbles tend to surface as the glue begins to dry. Check it every 20 minutes or so of the first hour before the glue sets to pop any additional bubbles. I went on a Target run and missed popping some of the bubbles until the glue was beginning to set on the top. 

Sadly, the glue had not dried by 11pm the night before this post was due to be put up, so we had to wait until the next day for them to finish drying.

By the next day, the glue had dried clear. The orange/yellow printer ink seemed to run on several of the pins. The ones that were predominantly yellow/orange seemed to fair the worst. I'm not sure if this is because I'm using generic ink right now, or not.

And a couple of the pins looked like I had stuck my thumb in them while drying--I did not, by the way. I think this was from me trying to use a lighter to pop bubbles after the glue had started to go easy on the lighter. Maybe only use it to pop bubbles that appear right away and use a pin or toothpick to pop any after that.

So, after eliminating some because they didn't print as well or cut as well and some because they didn't come out after the glaze, I was left with 6 pins. And let's face it, I probably didn't need more than that anyway. :) I used some E-6000 to glue the pin backs on (super glue works too, but it turns the backs white). The E-6000 takes at least a half an hour to dry to be handled, but I'd wait several hours before trying to pin it to a shirt to make sure the pin back doesn't pop off while the glue is still a bit soft.

After some snafus and LOTS of drying time (between the paint and the glues), I can't wait to wear these pins for many a Halloween to come. Happy Halloween everyone--try not to eat too much candy! :)

Monday, October 23, 2017

Alcohol Ink on Glossy Chipboard

I have a bit sickness, a crafty sickness, where I look at something--any random thing--and find myself asking the question, "Can I ink that?" This was totally the case when I was emptying some packaging and saw these small pieces of thin chipboard that had a slightly glossy white surface. Chipboard is the thin cardboard that's used in cereal and cracker boxes, but this chipboard was even thinner. Because of the glossy white surface, I thought stamping them with ink might just work.

I took out my alcohol inks, a craft mat, and my homemade applicator (it's just a block of wood with a piece of double thick craft foam and the hook side of hook and loop glued on top). I chose some bright colors and got to work.

I randomly dripped a few dots of each color onto the felt square that I stuck onto the velcro of my applicator.

Then I stamped over the surface of the whole piece of cardboard. It felt like there was just a bit too much white space, so I went over it again.

After my second pass over the cardboard, I felt like it looked a bit like a confetti design and decided it would make a great gift tag. 

I continued stamping by adding purple and blue to the mix to create three different bright variations.

Then, since I figured I was making gift tags, I thought I'd try some red and green. Red and green are really tricky to ink together as they are complementary colors (on opposite sides of the color wheel) and create a lovely shade of brown when mixed together. So I made a point to stamp on two shades of red, wait a few minutes for it to dry and then switch felts on my applicator before applying the two shades of green. They turned out pretty well--no browns.

I had hoped to use a large tag punch to cut out gift takes from my newly decorated chipboard, but as hard as I pushed, I couldn't get a neat cut out with the paper punch, so I pulled out the big guns: the Cuttlebug. I tried a Cuttlebug/Cricut brand die first, and after a couple of passes through the machine, it cut out neatly. The thickness of the cardboard also meant that the edges embossed automatically.

Though I was able to get some other brands of dies to work with the chipboard, the Cuttlebug branded ones worked the best. They cut the easiest and gave the crispest edges. I did need to put a piece of cardstock in my "sandwich" to make it just a smidge thicker to cut better (if it's rolling through really easily, it might not be thick enough, if it makes any sort of noise or doesn't want to roll through with steady pressure, it's too thick--there's a magic spot in the middle), and I flipped my plates over sometimes after I rolled them through the machine. They went A spacer, Cardstock spacer, C plate, chipboard and die, B plate, but sometimes I flipped them to go A spacer, cardstock, B plate, die and chipboard, C plate. The die cuts a bit better with the C plate on top, but flipping it over allows you to see your die placement better.

In the end, I was pleased with how they turned out, even if I didn't get the classic gift tag shape. The ink worked pretty well on a surface I'd never tried before, and the chipboard, though a bit stubborn, worked just fine through the Cuttlebug. I even embossed a piece to see how well it worked on this thickness (swapped out the C plate for a B plate and an embossing folder and it worked perfectly).

Monday, October 16, 2017

More Glazed Alcohol Ink Washers

Though gem necklaces have overtaken them as the most popular post on the blog, the washer necklaces I've created with alcohol ink are still some of my most visited posts. I was surprised at how long it had been since I had tried something new with or revisited washer necklaces, so I picked up some washers at the local hardware store and decided it was finally time to try glazing again. A while back, I tried using Diamond Glaze (one of the resin type glues on the market), and they didn't turn out very well. Way back when I first started the blog, I had some success using Paper Glaze with some washers decorated with scrapbook paper, so I knew I could get a better result on washers. Since I didn't have any Paper Glaze (and the smoother surface might not work out as well as one covered in paper), I tried out some of the Ranger Glossy Accents.

So I started the same way I would any time I make washer necklaces, with a craft mat, some alcohol ink, and a felt applicator. I applied a few drops of ink to my felt and stamped a base color of blue and green on 3 of my washers. I stamped until the ink started to separate and create little bubbles. Then I switched to the other side of my applicator and added a few drops of purple. I made one of the washers nearly all purple and then used it as an accent color on another as it was starting to dry out. Then I changed felt and continued to add colors until I liked the way my washers looked. In the process, I made one with an orange and yellow base just for something different.

After applying pink to the orange washer and some of the yellow to one of my green and blue washers, I was good to go. I only made four washers this time since my main goal was to test the Glossy Accents glue. All of these glazes are glues that imitate resin. Resin is smelly, expensive, and much more difficult to work with (from what I've seen), so I'm trying all of the glue products before I try working with resin.

After the ink dried on my washers (usually just takes a few minutes, but I left them for a few days before I put on my glaze), I used the Glossy Accents to apply a ring of the glue around the washer. Make sure not to shake the bottle before you apply the glue, and the glue seems to acquire fewer bubbles if you glue in one constant stream looping around the washer without picking up the tip or stopping. I tried not to get too close to the edges of the washer or the center since I had such a big problem with the glue oozing off the edges the last time I tried. The glossy accents seemed thicker and less prone to bubbles as I applied than the other glazes I've tried. I was very hopeful as I left them to dry.

The next morning they dried from their cloudy color to a hard, clear, glossy surface. I noticed one of my washers had oozed into the center and that the colors seemed a bit blurred by the glue. Though, I was generally impressed by the glossy accents for this particular project. The glue seemed thicker and dried glossy and clear, but it did react with the alcohol ink a bit.

You can see in the close up of the one that oozed into the center, how the glue looks a bit pink from the alcohol ink. Also, the glue didn't settle as much as the thinner varieties, so if I overlapped my glue trails it was thicker, and in the areas I didn't quite go to the edge, it didn't spread or run to the edge--this is good because it is less likely to run over the edge, but definitely something you have to be careful about when applying.

In the end, I got three pretty necklaces out of the batch and I think the Glossy Accents worked better than the Diamond Glaze for these washers. I may try sealing the washers before adding the glaze glue the next time so there's something with a bit of texture for the glue to latch onto and so that the glaze doesn't muddle the colors. I'll keep you posted on how it turns out!