Monday, November 25, 2019

House Colors Alcohol Ink and Vinyl Decal Decorative Tile


Over the last couple of weeks I've been using some black vinyl decals that I cut using my Silhouette cutting machine to decorate some ceramic tiles. This week I am using a decal of the Hogwarts crest, so I wanted to try to incorporate all of the house colors on the tile.


I started out by grabbing my craft mat, some alcohol inks that I thought best represented the house colors, and a can of air.


I ended up selecting at least two of each shade (two yellows for Hufflepuff, two reds for Gryffindor, two shades of green for Slytherin, and 3 shades of blue for Ravenclaw). I dripped the ink on the corner that would appear under their house mascot on the crest and then used the can of air to spray it to fill the corner. After I had the colors filling the corners, I used some gold ink in the center of the tile to appear under the H in the decal. I also used the gold ink to finish the edges of the tile. I dripped a little on a foam brush and tapped it onto the edge of the tile to cover any white showing through.


After the tile had dried for a few hours (though overnight would have been better), I sprayed it with some Kamar Varnish to seal the ink in place. Kamar Varnish is a nice thin sealant that doesn't react with the alcohol ink, but if you're planning to use the tiles as coasters or anything else that will need to be sealed well, you'll need to add another sealant over top. I am planning on using this tile decoratively, so the Kamar Varnish should do the trick.


After the ink and varnish dried, I cut out a piece of transfer tape the size of my Hogwarts decal.


I tried to center my decal on the transfer tape, but was only partially successful. I burnished the decal onto the transfer tape with my thumbnail to make sure the whole design stuck to the tape. I carefully peeled the decal and the transfer tape off of the decal's backing.


I applied the decal and transfer tape as centered as I could manage over the different colors on the tile and burnished the decal onto the tile with my thumbnail before peeling the transfer tape off of the design.


I was really pleased with how the colors turned out under each of the house mascots. I can't wait to try this one on a larger scale, but for now, I have the perfect little Hogwarts crest tile.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Decorative Vinyl Thanksgiving Tiles


Last week I made a decorative tile using a vinyl decal I cut out with my Silhouette. When I cut that decal out, I cut a couple of Thanksgiving themed decals at the same time. So this week, I needed to figure out what do do with those decals. I decided to apply them to 6 inch tiles, too, but this time, I decorated the tile with alcohol ink. I did a similar project last year with Halloween decals that turned out great, so I knew just what to do.


The first thing I did was separate each of my vinyl design and then weed out the cut bits of vinyl. I used a pick to get all of the tiny bits. This is one of the trickier parts of using these vinyl decals in what I'd describe as a medium size. They are big enough that they can be intricate, but the dots of vinyl in between the letters are tiny and sometimes pull up when you are weeding. So you have to be careful.

After my decal was ready, I grabbed my craft mat and all of my orange alcohol inks (and a couple of yellows).


I squirted a bunch of the shades of orange on the tile (though they all looked pretty similar). Then I used some canned air to spread the ink around.


The air spread the ink out, but I didn't have complete coverage, so I reached for some rubbing alcohol to spread and thin the ink out.


I used a misting spray bottle to apply the rubbing alcohol. It speckles the ink and creates a visual texture when it's sprayed on. I spritzed the alcohol on a few times to get the ink liquid again in places and blew it around with the canned air. Then I added in some darker and lighter shades of orange to create a bit more depth before I was happy with it. I wanted something that was interesting to look at, but not too busy, since I was going to be putting the decal over top.


My second decal was a turkey, so I grabbed my brown and terracotta colored inks for the background on that tile.


I started with the lighter colors (Sandal and Terra Cotta). They appear much more orange in this photo than they were in real life. I spread them around the tile with the canned air as best as I could.


Then I added in some darker browns to fill in the tile and make it more turkey colored.


I decided to spread the ink out a bit with the spritzer of rubbing alcohol again to try to get it a more even pattern (a little less busy with different colors). It's still busy, but it's a more evenly busy pattern with some interest. It was still darker in spots than I would have liked, but I called it and set it aside to dry.


Some of the edges of the tiles were still white, so I used some gold alcohol ink on a foam paint brush to finish coloring the edges of the tiles. Then I set them aside to dry.


After they had dried for about an hour (though longer would be better), I sprayed them with a couple quick coats of Kamar Varnish to seal the ink. If you plan to use your tiles as coasters or hot plates, you'll probably want to use another sealant over the Kamar Varnish, but this stuff works great to set and seal the ink without interacting with it. Since glazed ceramic tiles are such a smooth surface, my main reason for sealing them before I put on the decals was so that the transfer tape didn't pull up any ink.


After the Kamar Varnish had dried for several hours (over night would be best), I applied my decals. I used some paper transfer tape since the designs had little unattached bits all over. I would have been impossible to apply without the transfer tape. I applied the tape to my decal, burnished the edges and loose bits well with the back of my nail, then carefully peeled it off of it's backing and then applied it as straight as I could to the tile.


My favorite part of any vinyl project is when I peel the transfer tape back to reveal the decal in it's new home. I peeled the tape back carefully, making sure all of the vinyl bits had stuck to the tile.


And when it's all revealed it's so gratifying!


I repeated the process with my turkey decal on the brown inked tile.


This one came out a bit busier than I would have liked, but the design is still readable and cute, so it's a win!


These would work great as is on a shelf or mantel for Thanksgiving, and I might use them that way. What I'd really like to do is spray them with some heat safe engine enamel and use them as hot plates/trivets. I am worried, though, about how the vinyl decals will do with the heat from pots and pans. So if I try it out, I'll let you all know how it works!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Vinyl Decal Decorative Tile


I'm still a bit of a newbie when it comes to using my Silhouette (even though I've had it for ages), but I keep on making projects, and I learn something with each one. I had a couple of these 6 inch ceramic tiles with a subtle pattern on them that I picked up on clearance at the hardware store. I used one of them for a decal a while back,  and it worked out perfectly with black vinyl, so I thought I'd try it again.


I started out by setting up a few designs in the Silhouette studio. I found a couple through Google searches and a couple were freebie designs from ages ago that I pulled from my library. I set them all up to cut on black vinyl. I used the default settings and let her rip (...er cut).


After my vinyl had cut, I used a scissors to cut apart each of the different designs.


Then I carefully peeled back the vinyl. There were a couple of thin letters that didn't want to stay on the backing, but I managed to get the design freed from the rest of the vinyl.


I didn't realize it at the time, but I managed to lose an apostrophe at some point in the peeling process. Since I was oblivious, I carried on with the weeding. I used a little hook (though the point of a craft knife works well too) to pluck the vinyl out of between the letters that was leftover.


After I had weeded my design, I realized I was missing the apostrophe. I looked for it among my discarded vinyl, but to no avail, I ended up having to cut one out of scraps of vinyl. It's not perfect, but did the trick until I have a chance to cut out another one (the next time I cut out something in black vinyl). Then I cut a square of paper transfer tape the size of my design. If the design is simple, you can sometimes get away with using painter's tape, but for larger or more complex designs, the transfer tape helps a ton.


I applied my transfer tape onto the top of the design, being careful to center it so it would be easier to place the design on the tile evenly. Then I used the back of my thumbnail to burnish the vinyl onto the transfer tape to make sure all of the letters stick to it. Then I peeled the backing away from the vinyl design, being careful to make sure all of the letters stuck to the transfer tape.


Then I applied the transfer tape to my tile and burnished the letters once again. Then it's my favorite part of every vinyl project, peeling back the transfer tape to see what it looks like.


Even though the apostrophe wasn't quite perfect, I was really happy with how the design turned out. I look forward to finding a good place in my office to display my new decorative tile.


Monday, November 4, 2019

Plastic Wrap Alcohol Ink Flower Pot


Alright, I might be a bit obsessed with the plastic wrap technique. I keep looking for items I can ink with this method. This week, I found a metal flowerpot in my craft stash that I purchased from Walmart earlier this year that I thought might just work.


I laid out my craft mat and a sheet of plastic wrap. I gathered up several bottles of  alcohol ink and dripped the ink out on the plastic wrap.


Once the plastic wrap has been covered in ink, I set the flower pot onto the center.


Then I folded the plastic wrap up the sides of the flower pot.



Then I folded the plastic wrap over the top and bottoms of the flower pot so that the ink would stay neatly in place while it dried over night.


The next day, the ink had clearly gotten considerably darker as it dried. It seems like the indigo blue ink has taken over, yet again. I carefully peeled off the plastic wrap and was pleasantly surprised how good the overwhelming blue looked against the silver/gray of the flower pot.


Another successful surface for the plastic wrap application method! I can't wait to find even more surfaces to try it out on.