Friday, April 28, 2017

Technique of the Week: Watercolored Die Cuts by Pam Nelson

This week’s technique shows you another way to add color to your die cuts through watercoloring.  I used the Memory Box Graceful Cattails (#99574) die but there are lots of other dies that will work for this technique, too.  I also used the Magenta “Vertical Happy Birthday” (07.968.H).

To get started I collected several supplies.  In addition to the die you will need a round 1 ½” punch or a circle die of that size, some masking paper or a Post-it Super Sticky Notes (these have adhesive on the entire square), Post it Tape other tape such as blue painter’s tape for masking, a small bowl of clean water for rinsing your brush and Distress inks (I’ll provide the names of the colors I used in the instructions below.)  I also used “Pearly Water” for painting, which is a mixture of ¼ teaspoon of Perfect Pearls to 2 ounces of water.  I just sprayed a bit into a small bowl.  The pearly water just adds a bit of shine to the painting but you can also use clear water.

To begin, cut a piece of watercolor paper to 4 1/8” x 5 3/8”.  Die cut the Graceful Cattails from one side, being sure to leave enough room for your sentiment stamp on the right side.  After cutting, leave the die on your paper and put the stack of paper and die on your craft sheet.  You want to leave all of the die cut background pieces in tact so gently remove the die from the watercolor paper.  If a few pieces come out, just put them back in place.  Use the Post it tape to tape around the edges of the die cut and anchor the paper to your craft mat.  I found that leaving the background pieces in the die cut makes it easier to paint the fine stems and other parts of the die cut.

To begin painting, smear a bit of Mustard Seed Distress Ink and Wild Honey Distress ink on your craft mat.  Dip a small watercolor paintbrush in the pearly water, pick up a bit of the Mustard Seed ink and then paint the rim of the sun.  Rinse your brush in the clear water, dry your brush on a towel, dip in the pearly water and pick up a bit of Wild Honey ink to shade sections of the sun.  Be sure to rinse your brush in clear water each time so you don’t contaminate the pearly water with ink.  Next move to the grass and stems of the cattails and paint using Twisted Citron, Mowed Lawn and Peeled Paint.  Smear a bit of each of the colors on your craft mat and paint all of the stems with the lightest color first, then add a bit of each of the darker colors.  You want the stems of the cattails to be dark enough to stand out against the green background you will be creating in the next step.  

Finally, paint the cattails using a bit of Wild Honey and Aged Mahogany.  Set the piece aside to dry.  

When it is dry, remove the tape and gently punch out the background pieces from the die cut. 

If you look closely you can see the pencil marks at 2 o'clock and 8 o'clock on the sun

The background piece for the die cut is also colored with Distress Inks, using a foam applicator.  You will need a mask to ink the sun and then protect it when you create the sky and ground.  Use a punch or die to cut a 1 ½” circle out of the center of the Post it note or a 3” x 3” piece of masking paper. 

Align the mask with the pencil mark so that the inner pencil marks are visible.

Cut another piece of watercolor paper to 4” x 5 ¼”.  Align your die cut on top of this and with a pencil, gently mark the circle of the sun in two places on the inside and outside of the die cut. 

Place the mask over your piece of water color paper, using the pencil marks as a guide (this is the square with the hole cut in the center.)  Using a foam applicator, lightly apply Mustard Seed Distress Ink and then a bit of Wild Honey Distress Ink for shading.  Remove the mask and let this dry for a couple of minutes (or use a heat gun to dry it.)  Erase the outer pencil marks (the inner marks won't be visible any longer.

Put the circle from the center of the mask over the sun you just colored.  Use a foam applicator to gently apply Tumbled Glass Distress Ink around the sun, blending it to about ½” – 1” below the sun.  You can also add more shading with a light application of Broken China and/or Stormy Sky.  (Try these on a scrap piece first to see if you like the color.)  Use the same method to apply Twisted Citron and Mowed Lawn on the bottom section of the card.  Begin at the bottom with Twisted Citron and blend it up to the blue under the sun.  Add the darker Mowed Lawn at the bottom of the card.  You want this to be lighter in color than the green stems of your cattails.

Move back to the die cut piece and stamp the Magenta Vertical Happy Birthday next to the die cut using VersaFine Vintage Sepia and emboss with Judikins Clear Detail Embossing Powder.  Put more Tumbled Glass Distress Ink on your craft mat.  Use a medium size watercolor brush to lightly paint the white areas of your die cut with pearly water, being very careful not to touch the painted areas on your die cut as this will reactivate the ink.  Pick up a small amount of the Tumbled Glass ink with your brush and dab it over the white spaces.  By “dabbing” rather than “brushing” adds texture and interest to the background.  The water will help it blend – you can also dab up extra color with a paper towel.  Continue all over the front of your card until it is the color and texture that you want.  You can also drop in a bit of Broken China or Stormy Sky ink if you want the background a bit darker.  Set aside to dry.

To assemble the card, adhere a piece of So Silk Fair Blue paper, cut to 4 ¼” x 5 ½”, to the front of an A2 card.  Line up the die cut with the background watercolored piece and adhere together.  Adhere this piece to the front of the card.  Add sequins using Ranger Matte Adhesive.  I also like to put a drop of Pico Shimmer or Clear Embellishment in the center of my sequins for another bit of shine.

This is a fun technique that would work well with many die cuts, so I hope you will look at your stash of dies and try this technique.


Beginning Monday, May 15th, Art 'n Soul will be starting a new class idea - Mini Classes!  These classes will be held like a make and take, where we show you a new technique, and you go home with a finished card. Materials to make your card will be provided, but we may ask you to bring something to help finish it. You can come in any time during the given day and time period. The cost will be $5.00 cash (give to the teacher) or store credit (arrange this at the register). There's no need to pre-register, just drop in any time during the time period.  

Marj will be getting the ball rolling with this beautiful card.

Come in on Monday, May 15, any time from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Please bring your double sided tape of choice (or tape runner) and your MISTI and MISTI corners, if you have them (If you don't have a MISTI or MISTI corners, they will be provided for you to use).

The Mini Classes won't be on a set day or time as we want to make them available to everyone so we'll schedule them on different days and times.  Watch the weekly newsletter and Facebook for more Mini Classes in the future. 

We also have lots of amazing classes scheduled for this Spring and Summer! If you have not already heard, Helene from Magenta is coming in May to teach a fabulous class showing you new techniques using stencils and Nuance. You do not want to miss this! Helene is not able to get here very often. Here is a sample of one of the beautiful cards you will make, and you will learn more tips about using stencils and Nuance.

You will learn how to make this gorgeous card with a beautifully ethereal and soft colored floral background You will learn techniques you can use over and over. This is one of four cards you will make! Helene will teach two sessions of this class, on Sunday May 21st, and Monday May 22nd.

Other amazing classes we have coming up include:
May 13: Rosie's Roadshow is here for a Birthday Card class. This class is almost full! 
May 20: Sally Penley is back with another amazing class, "Vibrant Versals". Decorative capital letters...think someone's initial. Perfect tiny gifts. Takeaway - small framed verbal piece.
May 27: Sally will be back again to teach her very popular "Six Books in a Box" class. Basic bookmaking and six different, simple book structures. If you have always wanted to learn to make little books, this is the class for you.

In June we have Terry Medaris coming to teach coloring with Prismacolor pencils.
Also in June, Linda Malcolm of Lost Coast will be coming to teach a fun and quirky class "Altered Ancestors".
We are so excited to announce that in July, Kae Pea from Rubbermoon will be here to teach 3 classes!!

You can see more information, plus a photo for each class in our newsletter here. You can see an archive of all of our past newsletters, which include all of our very popular "Technique of the Week" articles here.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Technique of the Week: Ultimate Recycling, Part 2, by Marj Marion

Last week in Part 1 of this “Technique of the Week” article, Marj shared a decorative idea for recycling the wood blocks that are left over after the rubber stamp has been removed.  Many of us are building up a large number of these wood blocks as we convert our stamps to cling to be used in the MISTI Stamp Positioning Tool. This week Marj shares three more practical ideas for repurposing these great pieces of wood.

SECOND IDEA:  When it’s time for an afternoon rest, I like to use my laptop on my bed!  Sometimes, I need to type a letter, copy some quotes from a book, or type directions for an Art ’n Soul technique!  I needed a stand-up support that doesn't tip over on the bed.

1.    Get an acrylic document holder from the office supply store.  Use a binder clip to attach the document to be typed out on the lap top.

2.    Take two empty wood stamp blocks, glue them together, and wrap them with decorative paper or contact paper.

3.    Use clear packing tape to strap them to the angled base to stabilize the document holder.

4.    Voila!  A non-tippy stand to hold your paper or item to be entered into a laptop.

THIRD IDEA:  Create a door stop!

1.    Cover two or four medium to large wood stamp blocks of the same size, wrap them with decorative paper.
2.    I glued three blocks together and let dry.

3.    I wrapped them together as one piece, added ribbon, and glued a layer of felt on the bottom of the stack.
4.    You can decorate the top of your door stop with multi-dimensional bling or decor.
5.    I have a couple of doors that keep drifting open, and this makes a nice doorstop.

FOURTH IDEA:   Create “lifts” for various stamp-related supplies in a file cabinet.

1.    I’m lucky to have a legal size file cabinet next to my desk in my art studio.  I store various boxes of pens, brushes, paper and stencils in the drawer for handy access to my desk.  Sometimes, I want the items up higher in the drawer, so I used my excess wood blocks as “lifters”, which gets them up where I can best reach them. I just arrange a smooth surface with the blocks, and store my art supply boxes on top of the wood blocks.

2.    If you have narrow wood blocks, they can be wrapped with paper, and tucked behind stamp pads to keep them from getting pushed too far back in your stamp pad shelves.


If you missed Part I of this fun technique, you can read about it on our blog here.  In addition, all of Marj’s great projects are on display at Art ‘n Soul so please come by to see them in person. 

While you visiting the store, be sure to check out the class boards to see samples from all the great classes we have scheduled for you in May, June and July.  We have a great variety of classes coming up so there is truly something for everybody!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Technique of the Week: Ultimate Recycling, Part 1, by Marj Marion

Due to the popularity of the MISTI Stamp Positioning Tool, and the upcoming Stamping Platform by Tim Holtz, many of us are un-mounting our wood mounted stamps to create cling stamps that work well with these wonderful tools.  After we unmount our stamps from the wood blocks, what to do with these nicely cut (but slightly sticky) pieces of wood? Over the next two weeks Marj will share several fun and innovative ideas she came up with for repurposing these wood blocks.

FIRST IDEA:  Create paper covered wood block decorative sets for your bookshelves, side table or desk.  Follow these easy steps, using whatever decorative papers, stamps, die cuts and bling that you desire. Choose your decorative paper, or create your own with stamps and ink. Make just one block, or a set of three; whatever you wish. Make a set for each holiday of the year!  Or, spell out a word, with a letter on each block. They are small and easy to store and they make great gifts, too!

To remove the rubber image or the foam cushion glued to the wood, heat your stamp for 30-60 seconds in your microwave to soften the adhesive. Use a hot pad to remove them from the microwave. 

For stamps that have a clear film with the stamp index, sometimes you can peel this off and use it for the index in your Avery Elle stamp pockets or other storage.

1.  Marj chose Asian Washi Paper, but you can create any theme by varying the paper.

2.  Select your favorite glue:  Yes Paste, Scotch Quick Dry Adhesive, Scotch Craft Glue Stick, Liquitex Matte Gel or Matte Medium, or PVA glue are all good choices.

3.  Choose a paint color that coordinates with your decorative paper, and paint the top and bottom of your three wood blocks. I used Martha Stewart paints. Let dry completely. I mixed colors in a small plastic container and painted three coats of paint on the ends, using a Heat Tool to dry the layers for faster completion.

4.  Measure the front of the block, and add enough on both sides to wrap the paper around to the back of the block with an extra 1/2”. Because the top and bottom of the block are painted, you don’t need to cover them with paper. 

5.  Spread an even layer of glue on the front and sides of your wood block.  After getting these areas glued on smoothly, you can add a 1/2” of glue on the two back sides, and press the paper down. If your block sides are curved, be sure to press the
paper down securely into the curve.

6.  Use a squeegee, or a brayer, or any hard, smooth object to press the paper firmly into the glue.  You can cover the paper with a waxed sheet to protect it.  Try to avoid any wrinkles, unless you like a textured look.

7.  Let the adhered paper dry thoroughly.  Then measure the back of the block, and cut a matching paper to cover the back completely, and glue down.  Let dry.

8.  Now, you can stamp on the paper covered block, add coordinating die cuts, bling ribbon, or wood shapes.  Shrink plastic art pieces also make nice additions.

9.  Repeat this process on all the blocks in the set you want to create, and decorate as desired. If any of the block seem tippy, you can cover a small wood block with matching paper, and glue on the back to stabilize the block.

Be sure to check next week's "Technique of the Week" blog post where Marj will have three more ideas to share with you.  All of Marj's great ideas are also on display at Art 'n Soul.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Technique of the Week: Easy Copic Coloring by Pam Nelson

This week’s technique is quick and easy.  I think it has been around for a while because I mentioned it to a friend and she said that she used to do this technique.  I wanted to share it with you, just in case you haven’t tried it, because it is quick and easy.  Plus I love the vibrant colors you get with the Copic Markers.

When I saw the new Impression Obsession Wallflower Cover A Card stamp (CC285), I knew that I wanted to use it for this technique.  However, any stamp that has a lot of solid surface to it will work great.

To begin, cut a piece of black cardstock to slightly larger than the Cover A Card Stamp.  Use the powder tool to apply anti-static powder over the entire piece of card stock.  Ink the stamp with VersaMark and stamp onto the black cardstock.  I love my MISTI for stamping Cover A Card stamps but you can also lay the stamp face up on your craft mat, cover with ink and then lay the cardstock on top.  Lay a piece of copy paper on top and apply even pressure over the entire stamp.  Gently lift the cardstock off the stamp.

Apply white embossing powder over the entire image.  Let your heat gun warm up well before applying heat to your image as this will help to prevent warping of your paper.  After the image has cooled, gently wipe with a soft cloth to remove the excess anti-static powder.

Now for the fun part!  Select the Copic Markers for your coloring.  I recommend avoiding the very dark colors (they cover the image so much that you can’t distinguish the image from the paper) and the very light colors (they don’t show up well.)  For this example I selected a variety of bright colors.  Apply the color using light, brush like strokes over the white embossed images.  For shading, such as on the leaves, apply one color and then lightly add the next color.  

The ink just glides over the surface of the melted embossing powder.  Since you are coloring on a glossy surface you have time to blend your colors before they dry.  If you accidentally apply color off your image onto the cardstock, the “oops” is hidden by the black cardstock.  Continue until the entire image has been colored.

The tip of your Copic Marker may pick up some white color from the embossing powder.  This won’t hurt your markers.  Just color it off on a piece of scrap paper.

The “have a beautiful day” sentiment (07.969.F) is from Magenta’s 2017 Spring Release and was designed by Dianne Johnson.  Stamp it with VersaMark on a scrap of black cardstock.  Emboss with white embossing powder and color the words very lightly with Copic markers.

To complete the card, I used the Hero Infinity Nesting Die set to cut a 4 ¼” x 5 ½” rectangle from Stardream Amethyst paper.  I adhered that to an A2 white card base.  I used the next smaller die to cut a 4” x 5 ¼” rectangle from the stamped image and adhered that to the card.  Use the smaller dies to cut a 1 ¼” x 2 ½” piece of Stardream Amethyst and cut the sentiment using the 1” x 2 ¼” die.  I love using these nesting dies for this purpose because you get straight cuts every time!

Adhere the sentiment to the amethyst cardstock.  Add a piece of fun foam to the back and adhere to the card.  For the last step, I sprayed the entire card lightly with Imagine Sparkle Sheer Shimmer Spritz Spray to add just a bit of shine to the card. 

Are you looking for another way to use your Copic Markers?  I’m not a great “Copic Colorer” but this technique was lots of fun.  It was also very quick and easy.  You could easily stamp and emboss several images and then just color them all at once.  I hope you will give this technique a try.  Art 'n Soul has great stamps that will work well for this technique!