Sunday, August 13, 2017

Alcohol Ink Glass Gem Necklaces


My most popular project on this blog are these glass gem necklaces. I have revisited and rehashed this project several times in an attempt to perfect it and create new versions. In today's latest version, I hope to answer some of the most frequently asked questions and--in a first for this blog--I've included a video of the stamping process.


These are pretty easy to make. All you need are alcohol inks, a surface to work on, an applicator and felt, and some larger flat glass gems.


I didn't have a fancy set up--just my cheap cell phone camera on a tripod pointed at my work surface, but hopefully seeing the process will help answer some of the questions folks have about how long to stamp and what it looks like as you're stamping. If it's not dark enough, keep stamping and layer in my colors until you like it.


This is raw from my phone. I took a few different videos and picked the one that showed the most without too many hiccups--so no editing. I'll get the hang of this stuff eventually, but I thought you'd all like to see what the gems look like in process.


I've also included a picture of the gems drying with my pile of felt so you can see approximately how much ink I used and how many felts are used to create 11 gems. After the ink dried, I painted on a thin coat of glossy mod podge (I've also used a clear acrylic spray to seal them) and then used E6000 glue to attach bails. Then I threaded them with ultra suede cording.


I also wanted to include a picture of the necklaces completed on a darker surface. Sometimes the images are misleading in how much contrast appears on the gem. They are still very translucent. If you're not liking the look of the see-through color, you may want to consider backing the gems with paint or foil tape to get the colors to pop.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Fried Onion Container Refashion


It's been awhile since I covered a French's Fried onion container. Long enough that I had two empty ones in my recycle craft box. So it must be time to whip a couple up. These containers are the perfect size to store bits and bobbles and the lid sits on the top securely, so I just can't throw them out without re-using them. The tricky bit is that they are curved, so aside from just leaving them white, mod podge (or other decoupage glue) is a must. Tissue paper is one of the easiest things to decoupage that will curve a bit. You could also use decorative napkins in much the same fashion. I cut two strips of this silly dog birthday tissue paper that I picked up at Tuesday Morning to the size to cover my containers and grabbed a foam brush.


I usually start these on the side seam in the plastic. I just spread a very thin layer of glue and curve the paper along the surface. Be sure to keep the top straight and avoid getting your fingers too glue-y or they might stick and rip the paper.


I like to let the edge hang over and then glue it down. But you could trim your paper (or be more precise when you cut out your original square). I just use the foam brush to put down some glue and then fold the paper over the edge.


Since the bottoms had glue on them, I left them sitting upside down on their top openings to dry just long enough for the tissue paper not to be wet and fragile. Let them sit for 5-10 minutes or over night, but let them set up a bit before spreading on a layer of sealing glue.


Now I have two more cute storage containers. These are going to be used for dog treats. I think my pup will approve.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Spring/Summer Candles Refresh


After this week's project where I punched butterflies out of tissue paper for a candle holder, I had leftover butterflies. They're fragile, so they are hard to store and keep for later, so I thought I'd use a few of them to jazz up this old project (pictured above). The colors matched the pattern on the tissue paper perfectly.


I painted a thin layer of mod podge onto the candles and placed my butterflies on carefully. Then I waited a minute or two and painted a thin layer of glue over the top. It took maybe 10 minutes to add the butterflies, so it was a great way to use up a few before tossing the leftovers.


The butterfly additions are pretty subtle. The lime green ones disappear almost entirely, but it's nice to add another layer of dimension to an old project to freshen it up.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Mod Podge and Punched Tissue Paper Candle Holders


This past spring I discovered that you could, in fact, use a paper punch to cut tissue paper. Way back when, I saw a project online using the punched paper, and I was pretty miffed when I couldn't get it to work. But I made a heart shaped bowl with heart shaped paper decoupaged onto it with pretty good success. So, when I found some new paper punches on sale at Tuesday Morning, I knew I had to try it again.


Tuesday Morning had a good selection of Martha Stewart punches. Even this big butterfly punch (which makes a 1 1/2 inch butterfly) was only $4.99. What I learned from the last project was that the only way you can get the tissue paper to work with a paper punch is to fold it so you are punching multiple layers at once. How many layers it will punch depends on the punch. So there will be some trial and error. Sometimes it feels like you've folded too much, only to find out that the paper will only punch once you've folded it some more. So, if at first you don't succeed, try different thicknesses until it works.


After I had punched out some larger butterflies, I grabbed a smaller punch (this time a Fiskars punch) to make some smaller butterflies to hang out with the bigger ones. I ended up punching small and large butterflies in three different colors. Then I grabbed my mod podge and a foam brush.


Next, I applied a very thin coat of mod podge and gently tapped the butterfly onto the glue. Don't try to move it or press it too hard, it will probably rip or tear. Just get it onto the glue as best as you can. Try to keep your fingers as dry as possible during this process so there's less of a chance that your fingers will stick to the paper and tear it.


I moved around the candle holder applying a thin layer of glue and tapping the butterflies onto the glue. I placed one large butterfly and then two smaller butterflies of the other two colors and repeated until I had them sprinkled almost all over. I then added 2 or 3 more small butterflies in any places there were gaps.


Then I put the candle holders down and walked away from them. I let them dry overnight, but letting them dry until the glue is completely clear should be enough to keep them from ripping easily when applying the seal coat.


The next day I carefully painted a thin layer of mod podge over the entire candle holder, making sure to glue down any loose edges that may not have gotten glued down well when applying the fragile paper. I paid special attention to getting the brush strokes even and all in one direction in the final coat since they'd be visible when they dried.


This is the first time I've ever mod podged tissue paper on glass and didn't cover the entire surface. I kind of like the glossy hazy look that the glass takes on once the mod podge dries. It will look beautiful with a candle glowing through it.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Alcohol Ink and Plastic Wrap Flower Vase


This is now my third project using plastic wrap to apply alcohol ink to glass. My first attempt was a decorative wine bottle from the dollar store. Then, I applied it to some altar candles to try out a smoother surface. It creates a neat crinkled look, but it takes a bit of fiddling to get the surface completely covered and looking good. Hopefully, I've got the process pretty much down pat because when I saw this perfectly smooth cylinder vase, I totally wanted to plastic wrap it.


I grabbed my inks and a craft mat (or two) to get started. Then I tore off a piece of plastic wrap that was a bit bigger than my vase. I've tried a couple brands of plastic wrap and haven't noticed any difference in the result yet.


I chose ink colors that were close to each other on the color wheel so they wouldn't turn brown when they mixed together. I dripped 4 or 5 dots of each color onto an area roughly the size of my vase.


Then I set the vase down on the edge of the ink and rolled it onto the wrap until the plastic wrap was wound around the vase. I then set it aside for a few minutes to dry a bit so the color wouldn't all pull off of the vase when I removed the plastic.


After probably about 10 minutes, I removed the plastic. The colors were pretty light and didn't cover the whole vase.


I knew I wanted to get the vase more coverage, get the colors a bit darker, and try to get a bit more texture to appear, so I dripped some more of the same colors onto the same plastic wrap.


This time, I intentionally rolled it onto the vase wonky. I wanted it to be crooked and a bit crinkly. Then I unrolled it right away and reapplied the plastic in a different location to transfer as much of the ink onto the vase as possible before it dried up. I would usually apply about 3 times each time I added ink to the plastic as I worked my way around the vase trying to add color to places that were light or bare.


Once it was mostly covered, I then applied a dot or two of ink to the plastic to provide contrast to make the design a bit more interesting. With my color choices that usually ended up being pink or dark blue.


Once I was satisfied with the look of it, I set it aside to dry for a few minutes. If you plan to handle your vase a lot or store it near any alcohol based liquids (like hairspray, perfume, etc...) you'll want to seal your alcohol ink masterpieces. On glass, you'll want to use a glossy sealer like glossy mod podge or glossy acrylic spray. If you plan to use it only as decoration and don't plan to handle it much, it may not even need to be sealed, but when in doubt, seal it.

These projects with plastic wrap have been such a fun experiment in alcohol ink. I think they turn out looking really cool in person, but they are a bit difficult to photograph. I hope these projects have inspired you to try it out!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Alcohol Ink Foil Gift Bags


A while back I decorated some white gift bags with alcohol ink. They turned out pretty fun, so I was on the hunt for gift bags I could decorate. I'm still looking for silver, but sadly all I found were these metallic pink ones (it was probably around Valentine's day that I found them). I wasn't sure how these colors would work out, but I'm always up for alcohol ink experiments!


I laid out my craft mat and grabbed some dark colors (like pitch black and indigo) and my silver alcohol ink.


I spread some black on the hot pink bag and used a can of air to blow it around. It didn't soak into the bag quite as much as it did with the white, but it also didn't want to spread much.


Since the metallic pink was already pretty showy, I wanted to keep the ink fairly simple. I added some silver and used the can of air to spread it out a bit.


For the shiny coral colored bag, I went with indigo instead of black and then added silver to it.


They didn't work out quite as well as the white gift bags did, but they were successful enough to keep hunting for more gift bags to try the alcohol ink decorations on. It's always nice to end an experiment with a project worth using and sharing with fellow crafters. 

Have you tried alcohol inks on any unusual surfaces? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Alcohol Ink Mason Jar


I had a quart sized mason jar lying around and I figured, hey, I haven't inked a mason jar yet
(unless you count the slightly ill-fated attempt with food coloring and mod podge)...and that's good enough reason for me to give it a whirl.


I grabbed my craft mat, some alcohol inks, and a can of air to start off the project.


I chose mostly blue-green inks to cover the majority of the jar. I have quite a few shades of teal and aqua so I knew I could get some variation without having the colors mix and turn brown. I started out by just squeezing a fair bit of ink into the jar and then blowing the canned air on it to get it to spread and dry more quickly.


I kept adding different shades of green and blue and spraying them with the canned air until the jar was mostly covered. Then I flipped it over to make sure that the ink wasn't settling at the bottom and left it for a few minutes.


I opted for my accent color to be a purple-y shade of pink. The magenta would be bright enough to be a contrast, but would hopefully be purple enough that it wouldn't turn brown when mixed with the green ink. I lucked out and picked correctly. The pink stayed pink in some areas and turned more purple in others as it mixed with the green ink. I dripped the magenta into the jar in a few places and sprayed the air on it to get it to spread.


After I was satisfied with the coverage, I flipped it over again for a few minutes to make sure the ink wasn't pooling at the bottom and it was done. It turned out really pretty and looks great sitting on my window sill in the kitchen with the light shining through it.