Monday, January 15, 2018

Setting Alcohol Ink on Fire?

A long while back, I watched a video where someone set their alcohol ink on fire on a ceramic tile. I thought, well hey, that's cool, but what's the point? It seemed a bit like a stunt to me, so I never tried it. But the video popped back up on my Pinterest feed and I was like, what the heck, I guess I'll give it a try and see what the fuss is about.

So, I gathered my supplies: Alcohol Inks (I used Ranger brand for this project), a 6-inch ceramic tile (these cost about 50 cents a piece at your local hardware store), some 90% rubbing alcohol (I bought mine at Target), an eye dropper, a heatproof surface (I used my ceramic stove top and a little old cookie sheet), and a lighter (long handled would work best). 

I removed all alcohol based items from the stove so only the sheet pan and my tile were on it, and I turned on the hood fan (see, I was being careful, Mom :)). Having a pot lid to set on top of it if it got out of hand and a fire extinguisher nearby would also be good ideas. I picked a few colors of my alcohol ink, and I squirted them onto the tile randomly (and then set the inks down away from the stove top).

After I had a good bit of ink on the tile, I used the eyedropper to drip the rubbing alcohol onto the tile (and set aside out of the way). The rubbing alcohol thins the ink out a bit and provides more fuel for the flame.

Then I used the lighter to start the whole thing on fire. The flames weren't as big as I expected them to be (see the right side of the tile) and only parts of the tile caught on fire. I had to go back and light the other side and kind of drag the flame over the tile to make sure it all lit on fire.

I was impressed with the effect the fire gave the ink. It blended colors together without them turning brown and made the ink an even darker more vivid shade. Since my first stab at the colors seemed to need some contrast and to fill the tile in a bit more, I added more ink and alcohol and repeated the process.

Getting closer, but not quite, so I added some more blue and more rubbing alcohol spritzed on and fired it one more time.

I think it turned out really neat. The colors are so vibrant. Alcohol inks are vibrant to start with and they come out even more saturated with color after firing. You do need a fair bit of ink and alcohol on the tile to get it to start on fire, and I was surprised that the ink still seemed tacky afterword even after starting it on fire. The flame didn't get too big and the tile never got really hot, so it didn't feel like a crazy stunt while I was doing it (that said--still take smart fire precautions if you try it).

In the end, I think this method has a lot of potential for decorating tiles. These tiles would make great trivets, but I'm not sure what kind of sealer would work best against hot pans--anyone have any ideas? If not, I'll spray seal it and use it decoratively.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge?

A couple months ago I made some cute bowls using the funny pages from the Sunday paper (follow the link for the original post). They were a lot of fun and could be used decoratively, but I wanted to be able to use them for snacks or even my Saturday morning cereal. So I used some dishwasher safe mod podge to glue the paper on. I followed the instructions diligently and even allowed extra dry time between layers. Then it said I would have to wait at least 30 days for the glue to cure before I could put it in the dishwasher. I waited 62 days (I just set them on a shelf bottom up and forgot about them through the end of the year).

So today was the fated day. The dishwasher was half loaded with plenty of room on the top rack to put the bowls and not have them touch anything else while washing. I filled the bottom rack as normal and ran them through a wash (with the "pots and pan" wash and "heated dry" cycles because it's an older dishwasher and those are the settings I normally use to get everything clean and sanitary).

I let the whole cycle run and then let it cool down. Everything was still a bit warm when I finally checked on them, but they had had plenty of time to cool down a bit and dry off (I think they were sitting in the dishwasher about 2 hours after the cycle finished). I was slightly surprised to find them in pretty much the same state as I had put them in the dishwasher. 

Sadly, one of the bowls jostled itself during the cycle so that it was a bit stuck between the prongs and I tore the paper as I pulled it out of the washer. The finish felt firm and slightly glossy--perhaps a bit less glossy than when they went in, but definitely still sealed. The paper didn't feel soggy or look doughy anywhere. Even where it tore, the paper was dry. All and all, I'd say it was successful. Just be careful where you position the pieces in the dishwasher so the paper doesn't tear against any of your dishwasher's prongs.

Verdict: It works! Would I use the dishwasher regularly with these--no probably not, I don't think they'd last very long regularly using the dishwasher. But they would work just fine for hand washing and occasionally running through the dishwasher.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Best of the Blog 2017

Happy New Year! It's that time of the year where I like to reflect on the projects I've made over the past year and share with you some of the most popular and some of my favorites. It's always amazing to look back and see all of the things I've made, and it encourages me to come up with great ideas for the next year.

Most Popular Posts

Most of the posts that are the "most popular" were posted in January and February of last year. They have had the benefit of being up on the blog the longest, so they have more hits. This one surprised me because I considered it to be a bit of a failed project, but coming in at #1 for hits was my Alcohol Ink Mirrored Candle Plate. I tried spreading ink on this plate in about a dozen different ways, and though it was always cool looking, I never ended up with one I was happy with. Clearly, it's time to revisit that post and try again.

My second most popular post of the year embodied many of my alcohol ink posts this year--trying different techniques and surfaces. I've inked a lot of different things, but this stamped glass bowl from Dollar Tree turned out really cool, and I'll be keeping an eye out for more textured glass to ink in the future.

My #3 most popular post of the year was this quick bookmark project. I used some spray paint marbled paper that I had made (and is one of my long-running favorite projects) and cut some shapes out of the paper with my Silhouette. It could easily be done with a basic paper punch, though, and is a great way to utilize that marbled paper.

My #4 most popular post this year was this project decorating altar candles from the dollar store with alcohol ink. I tried a technique that I've been working on mastering this year where you smear the ink on using plastic wrap. The candles turned out great, and I can't wait to find other projects that I can use that technique on.

My 5th most popular post was this metal flower pot from the dollar store that I decorated for Valentine's day with alcohol ink. A quick heart out of painter's tape and a lot of pink ink later, it turned out great!

Honorable Mentions

Since most of the posts that have seen the most online love have come from early in the year, I thought I'd pick a few of my favorite projects from the rest of the year to share as Honorable Mentions.

My first honorable mention goes out to my bowls made from the Sunday funnies. This project is fairly recent, but it was so much fun to make. The decoupage glue I used claims to be dishwasher safe, so stay tuned to find out how well it works now that the requisite curing period is over. 

Another one of my favorites from this year were these cute candle holders I made by punching out tissue paper and decoupaging it onto some glass candle holders. I have been trying to make paper punched candle holders since the early days on the blog and I was really excited to finally get it to work right (tip: you have to punch multiple layers of tissue paper to get it to work).

It wouldn't be a "best of the blog" post without featuring some kind of glass gem project. My favorite from this year was when I used circle stickers on some smaller glass gems to make magnets. These were my choice to feature because they turned out so bright and fun. The white backing of the stickers really made the colors pop!

I thought I'd also feature another alcohol ink project I did this year where I tried a different application technique. For this one, I applied ink to ceramic tiles with wax paper. I thought it turned out so differently than any other application process I've used so far, and I can't wait to try it again.

My last honorable mention goes out to the paper punch heart bowl that I made for last Valentine's day. It was the first project where I finally mastered punching tissue paper with a paper punch, and I loved the way it turned out. 

I hope you find some inspiration from this last year's projects! I can't wait to make more in 2018!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Ornament Collection

Merry Christmas from Sarah Jane's Craft Blog! Check out all of my Ornament Tutorials here: Christmas Ornament Collection.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Transparency Film Photo Ornaments

A long long time ago, I bought some printable transparencies (in grad school, like 10+ years ago) back when people still used overhead projectors. Several years ago, I made some ornaments with my leftovers sheets. At the beginning of the holiday season, I bought a bunch of blank ornaments from Michael's. I've been using my plastic ornaments, but I also had some flat glass ornaments...and as it turns out, exactly one leftover sheet of printable transparencies. So I decided to make a set of photo ornaments for my family.

I opened the photo in Word so I could easily see the size in inches. My ornaments were 3 inches, so I used the circle/oval frame to crop the photo to the right size. Then I copied it 3 more times to fill the sheet. It was my last sheet, after all. I wasn't about to waste it.

I followed the instructions on the package of transparencies. There's a slightly rough side that needs to be put in on the side that prints and then I had to let them sit and dry for about a half an hour.

After they printed, I held them up to see how they turned out--a bit more transparent than I'd hope, but successful. Which is good, since I only had one sheet. :)

So I gathered up my ornaments and a scissors and some tools to work the pieces of plastic down into the ornament (a bamboo skewer and a pair of tweezers).

I carefully cut the circles out of the transparency with my scissors. The circle frame from Word was a nice guide for cutting them out.

Then I carefully rolled the plastic up to fit through the opening at the top of the ornament. I rolled it ink side inward so that it wouldn't scratch or scrape the ink off as I squeezed it into the ornament.

A couple of the plastic circles popped right back open when they made it into the ornament. But a couple of them, stayed a bit folded over. I used the bamboo skewer to readjust the transparency and it popped right back open.

If the picture wasn't quite straight, I used the tweezers to tilt it back into place. Generally, the transparencies went into the ornaments very easily. The flat ornaments work very well as the round ones require a lot of adjusting and some stuff (like glitter or fake snow) at the bottom to keep the transparency upright and centered--the flat ones do not.

In the end, the hardest part of this whole project was cropping the photo to the right size and then waiting for the ink to dry--otherwise, it was super easy and quick.

The ornaments did end up a bit see-through on the tree and might work better hung on an ornament stand, but they're still pretty neat.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Mod Podge and Holiday Napkin Ornaments

Last week I shared a project made with a package of clear plastic ornaments I got at Michael's. This week I used the same ornaments with mod podge and some holiday napkins to create some cute ornaments. I saw these black napkins at Walmart and thought the foil snowflakes were really pretty, so I bought a pack to craft with (and maybe use as napkins, we'll see :)).

So I got out my glossy mod podge and a foam brush and two of the plastic ornaments (and a paper plate to work over).

After opening the package of napkins, I found that only the front fold was foil embossed, the rest of the napkin was covered in gold ink--still cute, just not as cute. So I cut out the foil snowflakes from 3 of the napkins for my 2 ornaments (that's 2 napkins' worth on the plate above). I used a regular scissors and cut hexagonal shapes around the snowflakes. The embossed shapes meant that the black napkin was pretty well adhered to the second layer of the napkin. If your layers come apart or are loose once you cut your shapes, just pull the backing off and use the top layer.

Then I spread a thin layer of mod podge onto the ornament with my foam brush. Be careful not to use too much glue--the napkin will wrinkle/bubble and it will be more likely to tear once the glue has soaked in.

I pressed one of the snowflakes into the glue from the center out, creasing the napkin along the edges to get it to wrap around the spherical shape.

Then I just continued gluing snowflakes onto the ball until it was completely covered. I tried to make sure all of the edges were glued down, but there were probably a few loose edges and creased napkin areas that could be glued down, but I let it dry instead so I didn't rip the napkins while they were wet.

Then I worked on the other ornament while I let the first one dry. By the time I had covered the second ornament, the first one was ready to be sealed. I glued down a few loose edges and them put a thin layer of glue over the whole ornament--smoothing as I went.

The photo above shows the first ornament beginning to dry, and the second ornament after I had just finished it's sealing coat. I left them for about an hour and they were ready to hang.

These turned out really cute--a bit wrinkly from trying to wrap something flat around a sphere--but really cute. As I was doing the project on these new ornaments, I realized that you could totally use old beat up colored ornaments for this project too. I may have to find a few old ones to upcycle. Happy crafting!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Alcohol Ink Ball Ornaments

On my last trip to Michael's, all of their blank ornaments were on sale, so I picked up a bunch of plain ball ornaments. I even got a box of clear plastic ball ornaments. In years past, I have used alcohol ink to decorate glass ball ornaments, this year, I thought I'd try the plastic ones out to see if they worked just as well. I also thought I'd try out using the Pinata Alcohol Inks to see if there were any substantial differences (now I know that doesn't make for a great experiment when I change two of the variables, but bear with me).

Anytime you work with alcohol inks, cover your work surface with a craft mat or parchment paper. Once the ink dries, it does stain. If the ink is still wet, you can wipe up spills with rubbing alcohol. So I laid out my craft mat and my inks. You can use Ranger Inks for this project too (and they are more widely available at craft stores) if you'd like, but I thought I'd try out the Pinata ones.

I grabbed green, because Christmas, and made three small squirts into the ornament.

Then I grabbed some canned air and stuck the straw nozzle into the ornament and gave it a few good squirts. The ink spread out pretty well, and it covered a lot of the ornament. If your coverage isn't quite that good on the first try, add a bit more ink and repeat. I then tipped the ornament over onto its opening to let it sit for a minute to dry a bit and let any excess ink drip out. I made a second ornament while I waited. Since Pinata doesn't have a red in their set, I used a drip of pink, orange, and yellow and spread that around the ball with the canned air. I had to add some additional ink to this one and decided to go with the gold.

It looked so festive, that I tried the gold out in the green ornament after it had dried for a bit. The ink dries really quickly, but the colors can mix together if you add wet ink to dry ink. The gold spread out pretty well and didn't mix too much with the green ink, so I was pleased with the results.

The Pinata Inks worked well for this project. The ink is a little more vivid and a little bit thicker than the Ranger Inks which actually works better for this particular project. The ink was darker in the ball than the Ranger Ink was in the glass balls. The plastic ornaments also worked well. The ink behaved very similarly to glass and the finished project was glossy and transparent just as you'd expect from glass without them being breakable. So I'd definitely make more of these ornaments with the plastic balls and the Pinata inks.