Monthly Archives: May 2014

What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday 260




What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday #260 .

Just stuff, the cards from the last post I made, stamps for the watercolor stamping series, my water brushes, some craft foil. I haven’t been doing much.  The last Online Card Class finished last week, and keeping up with those while working full time can be a strain sometimes.  Sometimes I need a break.

There is an ATC swap to celebrate the five-year anniversary of WOYWW. Looking forward to seeing how that goes.

And that’s all.


Faux Watercolor Stamped Images


Had enough of trying to paint the embossed resist.  It just never worked out. On to the next technique!

If you are not a trained or experienced painter, you can get a bit of the look of watercolors by coloring your stamps with water-based (not alcohol!) markers, and misting the stamp before you stamp.  This makes the colors run together and gives the image that dreamy watercolor look.  You can do this technique with any kind of water-based marker — Tombow, Memento, Stampin Up, Marvy, Distress, heck even Crayolas!  But don’t try this with alcohol markers — they are not water soluble, so it won’t work, and they will just stain your stamps.

I enjoyed the painterly look I got by coloring my stamps with my Faber-Castell Stamper’s Big Brush pens on this card, so I thought I would try them first.




Stamper’s Big Brush pens are filled with India ink, and I confess that I don’t really know what that is.  But it seems to be water soluble, because this technique works.  These markers are designed to work this way — they are after all “Stamper’s Big Brush” pens.  Jennifer McGuire has a video demonstrating this technique here.  But it’s actually really easy: you just color the stamp with the markers — you can use multiple colors as you see here — then mist and stamp.  Also, it works best on watercolor paper, too — this is Strathmore cold press paper.

Here, the central eye of the peacock feather didn’t stamp properly, so I scribbled a bit of the teal marker on my craft sheet, picked it up with a wet brush, and while the image was still quite wet, highlighted the eye so it was more clearly shaped and colored.  Just a little bit, with a very light hand, and then I left the image to dry on its own.  You can’t even tell it was manipulated.

I like the way the colors run together when you use this technique. It rather gives the impression of the iridescence of a peacock feather.  This stamp is one of my favorites; it’s from Hero Arts.

The background paper is from a Recollections pad called “Pretty As a Peacock.”  If you look closely you can see a subtle peacock-feather pattern on there.

You can do second-generation stamping with this technique as well, if you mist the stamp again after the first impression:




Here, the orange leaf on the left is the first impression, and the one of the right is the second.  You may find you like the second generation better!  The green leaf is also a second-generation stamp — the first I misted with too much water, and it was just too runny and indistinct when it stamped. The second generation turned out excellent, though.

This oak leaf stamp is from Rubber Stampede. It’s one of the very first stamps I ever bought.  The white paper is the Strathmore again. The mats for these images are from a Core-dinations pack, and the card bases are Recollections kraft pre-scored cards. I also have an aspen leaf and a maple leaf — print a few more like this and they would make a nice card set to give as a gift.

So anyway, this is a really easy technique, and the results can look surprisingly sophisticated.  I encourage you to try it with whatever water-based markers you have.

Watercolors: Embossed Resist 2


Another less than successful attempt at watercolor resist.



Here I black heat-embossed a background stamp onto the watercolor paper, and painted it in a mix of green, orange and brown shades.  I was going for a more masculine presentation.

I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of trouble with black heat-embossing.  If you heat an embossed image too much, the embossing powder overheats and sinks into the paper, leaving a flat, blurry line instead of a raised, shiny one.  This seems to happen double-fast with black powder — probably because it is black and thus absorbs energy more and faster than other colors.  For me, it happens more often than not, and it happened here too — half the image is over-embossed and flat.  It is so fractured an image, it was hard to tell what was embossed and what wasn’t while heating it. (The stamp is an Impression Obsession Cover-a-Card background stamp called Distress.)

Given that half the embossing is overdone and sunk into the paper, it didn’t pool the watercolors very much.  Well, I mounted it on a kraft card, added a sentiment and called it a day. I sponged the edges of the panel with Tea Dye Distress ink, because I felt it needed something to separate it from the kraft, but didn’t want to go to the trouble of cutting another panel to mount it on.

I guess it looks OK. Like Jennifer McGuire often says, you may not like a certain card because it fell short of what you were envisioning.  But the person to whom you give it only knows that you hand-made a card for them, and they are perfectly happy with it. I’ve found that to be true.

UPDATE: I am entering this card into the Craft Hoarders Challenge, as the challenge is to use metal or glass. The sentiment on this card is metal, and it is really the focal point of the card, so it seems appropriate.  I was just checking up on everyone in my blogroll, and found that challenge — so why not?

Watercolors: Embossed Resist


The next step in our exploration of watercolors, and also of the Online Card Class, is watercoloring over heat embossing.  This is supposed to give interesting effects as the paint pools around and within the embossed design.

Well, I’m getting frustrated with it, and I can’t be the only one.




Here is my third attempt.  I’m sorry to say, this card looks crappier on camera than it does in real life.  But both ways, the paint is blotchy, and I am disgusted at how the orange paint stained the embossing on the sentiment.  Why did it do that? Why only the orange?  This is after three separate attempts to clean it, too.

Trying to clean the sentiment dabbed paint away from around the letters, so I went in with a fine-detail brush and tried to add more paint around the letters of “You Are,” to try and increase the contrast. Not sure it really worked.  One of the things the instructors for the class reiterate again and again with the watercolors is that less is more — you have to let the watercolors blend and move on their own.  The more you try and fuss around and fix it, the worse you will make it.  I think this is an example of that problem.  Trying to fix the stained sentiment just made everything worse.

Another thing they stress is that you won’t really know how a piece looks until it completely dries — the colors and the lines of where the water went and mingled change when dry.  That happened here, too — it wasn’t as streaky when it was still damp.

So, this card is not bad enough to pitch straight in the circular file, but it is hardly my finest moment.  I mounted the panel on some plain white watercolor paper, and then on black cardstock.  Maybe when I look at it tomorrow, it will not seem so hideous.

We’ll see.  Either way, I’m about ready to move on to other techniques.



Watercolors: Basic Washes 4


Sorry I have been so silent lately. But the electricals blew out in my office, and it took a while before I could get the electrician out.  I had some family stuff, too — my Mom was in the hospital, but she is out now and things are OK for the time being, so I was able to turn my attentions to my crafts for a while. Here are a couple cards made with some of the basic watercolor washes I made in earlier blog posts:




The dragonfly panel on this card I stamped and black heat-embossed on the purple watercolor Gelatos wash I made here.  The darker purple mounting panel was cut with the Spellbinders Distressed Edges nesting dies, my first time using them, so NBUS, as Darnell says.  Mostly I kept it simple, no bling, to showcase the washed panel. This second card is stamped on one of the Twinkling H20s panels. Try as I might, I could not catch the iridescence of the paint in the photo, but this shot does show the banded nature of the wash well enough.  Again, simple.




I swear, I lined that sentiment up with a grid block and it still came out crooked!  I have problems with my eyesight, I think that is why I have such trouble with straight lines. I think I need to adopt a more naturalistic, flowing style that is not so dependent on straight lines and things lining up nicely. I’m trying to figure out what that is.


The pink Gelatos panel I butchered during the course of making a card, and it had to be discarded.  It’s not often that I screw things up so badly that a card has to be trashed, but it happens.


I was signed up for the Watercolors for Card Makers Online Card Class, but I haven’t been able to attend much, with my Mom’s sickness, and no power in my office.  But we have a week to work before the class closes, so if I do any of those projects, I will post them here too.

Watercolors: Basic Washes 3


Continuing on with creating basic washes from my various watercolor, watercolor-like, or water-based supplies, just to see how they work as watercolors.  In this post I have Twinkling H2o’s, Faber-Castell Gelatos, and Distress Inks. Twinkling H2os are cake watercolors in tiny little jars, with bright colors and a lot of mica powder added to them to give a pearly shimmer. I didn’t even know what they were for a long time — I kept reading mentions of them in papercrafting books and magazines, and wondered. “What are these Twinkling H2os?”  Someone finally explained it.  Then I found a basic set at Michaels one day, so I bought it.  This is the first time I have ever actually used them.




Pretty intense colors, and an all-over pearlescent sheen.  Hope you can see it:




Good color coverage, and less streaky than the Yasutomo pearlescent watercolors. (Probably because they are better quality.)  I like them so far.

Next I tried Gelatos, which are a solid media, but are water-soluble and easily mixed with water to make a watercolor-like pigment.  You can even make color sprays out of them with enough water — Faber-Castell sells a kit of little tools for that.  I’ve made a couple and they have good color and coverage. (I want to like color and shimmer sprays, I do, they seem like so much fun, but I just find them too messy and unpredictable. I keep trying, though.) So anyway, I haven’t tried Gelatos as watercolor paints before. At first, for some reason, I tried applying the Gelato right to the paper and washing it out.  That didn’t work; the pigment did not spread across the paper but stayed where I had applied it:




I mean, this will work if you are going for that sketchy, messy mixed-media look, but not for a watercolor wash.  Seeing this, I remembered, oh yeah, you are supposed to mix the paint on a palette. What you do is swipe the Gelatos sticks on your craft sheet or other smooth, plasticky flat surface, and add water, then mix to create a paint.  The Gelatos mix quite readily with the water and smooth out to an even liquid.  They wash like this:




Streakier than I hoped, but with more practice I might be able to create an even wash.  We’ll have to see.  There are regular Gelatos, and also a few metallic colors.  The regulars produce a matte wash, and the metallics have a subtle sheen — nothing like the Twinks or the Yasutomos, though.

Finally I tried Distress Inks from the inkpads. I went a little afield.  I did a partial wash, because I wanted to make a certain style of card,which I have already posted.  Here is a better picture:




The inks here are Salty Ocean, Peacock Feathers, and Moved Lawn. I generally like what was the “Seasonal” range of Distress Colors rather than the orginal range, because they are brighter and more vibrant.  The seasonal colors sold so well they are part of the whole range now and are not just sold seasonally anymore. For the second piece, I did a wash and then grunged it up a bit using Tom Holtz’s “wrinkle-free distress” method, where you build layers and drops of Distress color, drying the paper between colors.  Just to see how it would look.  Because that’s how Distress inks are meant to be used.




Distress inks as watercolors are very easy to do.  You just squish the inkpad down on your craft sheet or other palette, spritz the ink laid down with water, and swirl it with your brush to make a paint.  The big difference, I think, is, even when dry, Distress colors will continue to react to water if it is applied.  So you need to be careful of that as you work.


Haven’t made any cards with these panels yet — when I do, I will add them. I’m also taking the Online Card Class Watercolor for Cardmakers.  It seemed opportune.   So I will be posting projects from that, as well.

Watercolors: Basic Washes 2


just a quick card i made with a wash of Distress Ink treated as watercolor:




This is something I’ve seen in the blogosphere a lot lately — bright washes of watercolor, paired with thick black sentiments or diecuts.  So I though I’d try that. I took this picture with my phone, which is why it looks weird.  The inks are Salty Ocean, Peacock Feathers, and Mowed Lawn.  The sentiment is from Momenta.  I’ve never used it before, so it’s NBUS.  As I work through my stash list I’m also trying to use the stamps I’ve bought but never used yet.

Watercolors: Basic Washes



Once I was finished with my Dazzles projects, I asked what readers might like to see next.  My blog buddy Ela suggested watercolors, so that’s what I’m going to do.  Watercolors are terribly trendy right now, but i can work with them without having to buy a lot of new stuff.  I have watercolor paints, and plenty of stuff that can be used to make watercolor paints, or in a watercolor fashion.

Here are three.  I thought for my first attempt at watercolors, I would just lay down some basic washes on paper, see how the media worked.


Basic Watercolors

These three panels are painted with just the basic, cheap Artist’s Loft watercolors you can buy at Michaels for kids and rank beginners.  I think they were five dollars.  They are matte and provided a pretty good coverage of the paper I think.  Orange/yellow, green/blue, and purple.  The orange panel got some water spots on it somehow, but that’s OK, because it just contributes to the watery look.  I just painted washes of color over the paper — which is Strathmore hot press watercolor paper — and left them to dry naturally.




Pearlescent Watercolors

These are Yasutomo Pearlescent watercolors that I bought at Hobby Lobby ages ago (which I no longer shop at because of the birth control thing).  Agin, these were super-cheap, about eight dollars I think.




They are quite pearlescent IRL, but as usual, the camera can’t catch the pearly quality very well.  You can see it a little better in close up:




These ended up streakier than I expected.  They also dried weird, with the borders between the different colors I used on each piece softly blended in some places, starkly divided in others.  The green one also dried all dribbly on one end, as you can see here, even though it was laid out flat.


Dylusions Sprays

I don’t really care for sprays and mists all that much, because they are so messy and unpredictable.  But of the ones I do have, I like the Ranger Dylusions sprays the best because they are such vibrant colors.  I love to use bright color on my projects.  Well, the Dylusions sprays are water-based, translucent dyes, so I thought I could try them as watercolors.




Wow!  So intense!  I sprayed a little of each Dylusion into the wells of my paint palette — just a couple sprays, it doesn’t take much!  Then I picked them up with the paint brush and washed them over thre paper.  I didn’t have to add any water –they are thin enough on their own.

I really did not think they would come out so brilliantly bright.  It occurs to me, just now, that if i had added some water, I could have toned them down.  Not that I necessarily want to, I love the bright colors, but it’s something to try.

The Dylusions also dried a little runny and weird — in the future I might dry them with the heat gun before they can run and streak.

So I made a few cards with these panels:




The ones on the left and the right are the basic watercolors, and the one in the center is the pearlescent Yasutomos.

The orange panel reminded me of a tropical sunset, so I used a big tropical flower on the card, and a sentiment from the same stamp set, which is Inkadinkado Floral Expressions.  I dotted the stamens of the flower with Orange Peel Stickles, to bling it up a little.

The blue/green one reminded me of the sea, of course, so I used some seashells stamps, masking the starfish with a slight border so it was not subsumed in the cockle shell.  The sentiment reads, “Capture this moment in your heart” — capture it like a shell found on the beach.  I added some Doodlebug flower sequins.  The five-petaled shape of the flowers mimics the shape of the starfish.  I like the deep blue sequin best, so I mounted the panel on a royal blue card base.

The center card is made from a panel of gold and copper colored Yasutomo watercolor.  I thought the streakiness of the panel needed a regular geometric pattern to balance it, hence the hexagon background.  I thought it looked quite masculine.  I mounted it on a brown card base, and added a metal embossed sentiment.  I even had some hexagonal embellishments to bling it up!  They are gold glittered hexagon enamel dots from Basic Grey.

You can see the bling, and the pearlescent sheen of the watercolor panel, better on closeup:




So that is my first stab at watercolors.  It was fun to try different things.  But in the end, I think the cheap-ass big-box brand Artist’s Loft paints gave the best color and coverage.  I would like to work more with the Yasutomos, I love anything glittery or shiny.  I wonder how they would look on dark paper.

I also have plenty of other media that can be treated like watercolors — Distress Inks, Distress markers, Faber-Castell Gelatos, probably more. I will have to look at the stash list!  Watercoloring could keep us busy for quite a while.