Monday, January 25, 2016

Dripped Alcohol Ink Domino Pendants

If you've been following the blog, you know that I snagged an incomplete domino set over Christmas break and I've been putting them to good use. Today's project used a different technique than my last domino pendants (which used stamping). This time I brought out the canned air and dripped my alcohol ink on to create a marbled effect.

Unfortunately this tutorial needs to start with a little cautionary tale. I started these thinking they'd be a quick easy project, but they took longer than I expected, and I ran into some snags along the way. I began the way I do with all of my ink projects, I laid out the craft mat and selected my inks. I dripped the ink onto the dominos and used some canned air to blow the ink around, but I soon realized that the ink was pooling under the domino, and even with the canned air (spraying it all over), the ink was tacky and not drying quickly. So I ended up with lots of smeared ink and a craft mat that looked like a colorful crime scene. Frustrated, I let the dominoes dry overnight and came back to them after I had a mini-aha moment.

To stop the pooling under the dominoes, I tore a piece a paper towel in half and folded it up underneath the domino. Now if the ink drips over the sides, it gets absorbed instead of pooling. This worked pretty well, and I was able to keep layering the ink on the dominoes.

Another problem I had was that my canned air was spraying ink all over the place. That I fixed by using the lid of my alcohol ink tote as a shield. A piece of cardboard would work well too, but I was able to wipe all of the ink off the lid when I was done with a paper towel wetted in rubbing alcohol. I also ran into some problems with the canned air. I was using some cheap stuff from Big Lots and the cans kept getting over-cooled and spurting stuff (propellant I assume) out onto the domino. I mostly solved this problem by switching between two different cans and not pushing all the way down on the trigger to use as little air as possible.

After all of the big issues were solved, then it became fun again, and it was all about layering on the ink to make the best looking domino. When I was done covering one side, I would move on to another domino (you can see one in progress drying in the the photo of the lid shield above).

After the side was dry, I turned it onto the back to cover it. Then once I was fairly satisfied with the top and bottom of the domino, I worked on the sides (they already had a fair bit of ink on them from doing the fronts and backs). They usually just needed a drop or two, but they were a bit of a pain as the domino edges are rounded just a bit, and they were even less steady on the paper towels than on the craft mat. After I was done covering the dominoes, I then went back and added metallic inks to give them more dimension. After blowing them with the canned air, they were often a big blob of silver or gold, so I would have to layer a little color over top (starting to sense a pattern here, just keep layering until you like the way it looks).

After a couple of days and lots of trial and error, I finally really liked the way that they turned out.

So I snuck them into the garage to spray some sealer on them. Then I grabbed my glue-on bails and some cording and turned them into some cool necklaces. These were a bit of a pain, but I really loved the way they looked in the end.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Alcohol Inked and Embossed Domino Pendants

A little recap of this week's and last week's posts in collage form. Check out the tutorial for part one here and part 2 here.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Embossed Domino Pendants

If you read last week's post where I played around with stamping alcohol ink on some dominoes and were wondering what the heck I was going to do with them--today's your lucky day!

I sealed the dominoes with some clear acrylic sealer so that the ink wouldn't smudge, scratch, or have any issues with bleeding when stamped. Last Thursday it was almost 50 degrees, which is unseasonable for January. Today's high was 2 degrees, so I'm glad I got the dominoes sealed when I did. Spray a very light coat at least a foot away from the dominoes at first and then wait like 30 seconds before giving them a good spray to avoid any stippling. Then flip them over and repeat.

After the sealer had dried, I grabbed my embossing stuff (heat gun, embossing powder, VersaMark ink pad, and a random assortment of stamps). I picked this scroll pattern stamp and stuck it to a stamp block.

After tapping the clear "ink" from the VersaMark stamp pad onto the stamp, I set my domino onto the stamp and pressed down. Be very careful not to slide or bump the stamp.

I then put the domino onto a paper plate and sprinkled embossing powder over the stamped image. Be sure to put enough on to cover whatever design is stamped on. Then dump the excess off. I often blow gently on the stamped design (but not in the direction of the pile of powder on your plate or it will go everywhere) and rub my finger along the edge to get rid of any powder that's sticking because of static, etc... After you've dumped the excess off you can put it back into your embossing powder jar (just  like glitter).

Next I put my domino on a heat resistant surface (in my case it's a cork Ikea trivet) and use a heat gun to set the powder. Move the gun back and forth over the design until the powder turns liquid and then let it cool and you're done.

In the second photo of the domino, you can see how the embossing powder turns glossy black after being heated.

I really liked the way the scroll-designed stamp turned out, so I made several different versions using that stamp.  I also tried out a flower and butterfly stamp on my lightest colored domino. I did try a couple out that didn't quite turn out--mostly because I did a bad job stamping--so be prepared to have a couple of misses among your dominoes.

After my embossing patterns all cooled, I used some E6000 glue to attach some flat necklace bails to the back of the dominoes.

After the glue dried, I used some faux suede cording and some satin cording to string them up as necklaces.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Alcohol Ink Dyed Dominoes

Over Christmas I managed to snag an big set (double twelves) of dominoes. They were well used and missing two of their numbers, so they were perfect to craft with.

They seemed like perfect candidates for alcohol ink since they are a smooth non porous surface. I grabbed my craft mat, inks, applicator, and some rubbing alcohol. My first step was to make sure they were clean of dirt and oil from being handled. I used a paper towel and rubbing alcohol to clean each domino.

After inking my first domino, I set up two applicators with two different sets of colors dripped on them so that I could dye two dominoes at once. This worked out pretty well since you need to dye a side, let it dry for a minute, and then flip to another side. I started on the backs so that the fronts wouldn't be marred or full of fingerprints. The only downside is that the colors are more separate when you start and begin to mix a bit on the felt by the time you stamp the front of your domino.

As always with alcohol inks, stamp until you receive the desired effect with the ink. Keep stamping to mix colors or get a stippled effect, and replace your felt or add ink if the colors become muddied. I used some of the metallic inks on these dominoes and really liked the way they turned out.

Now I just need to figure out what to do with my lovely decorated dominoes. You could use them for pendants, key fobs, drawer pulls, or a really colorful set of playing dominoes (although I'd dye them all with the same colors to keep folks from memorizing their favorite dominoes). I hope I can add some additional embellishment or decorations to these beauties in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to find out.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Best of 2015 Craft Projects

It's the first post of 2016 which makes it a great opportunity to reflect on 2015's craft projects. I've selected the top 5 (well 6--there was a tie) most popular posts of the year (based on web traffic) and a few of my favorite projects.

Most Popular from 2015

1. You may notice a bit of a trend with the most popular posts this year. The top 3 are all glass gem alcohol ink projects. Go figure. The number 1 most popular post of 2015 is my post about making glass gem necklaces.

2. My second most popular post was making alcohol ink decorated glass gems into magnets.

3. Number 3 on this year's list is backing alcohol ink gems with aluminum foil.

4. My 4th most popular post was actually a bit of a flop. It was my attempts at using Sharpies and rubbing alcohol to create an alcohol ink type effect on tiles. The above photo is when the tiles were still wet, they didn't dry nearly as vibrant, but I document the whole process if you're interested in not making my mistakes.

4. Also tied in 4th place was this alcohol ink decorated tin. I keep a few spools of thread and some pins and needles in this tin now for making quick sewing repairs.

5. In fifth place we finally have a project that didn't involve alcohol ink. I used mod podge and tissue paper to create "stained glass" candle holders.

My Favorites of 2015

It's always interesting to see what projects are the most popular, but since it's only January, the posts that went up early last year are always more likely to win out. Also, the alcohol ink posts are very popular, so I picked a few other projects to highlight as some of my favorite from the year.

I made two sets of bottle cap magnets this year. One with the caps painted black, and one with the caps painted white. They were both a ton of fun to make and turned out great!

I was also very pleased with the progress I made with watercolor painting this year. I started late this summer and made several paintings. I picked my favorite to share for the list--this painting of a butterfly.

My favorite spray paint project of the year has to be these ombre tins. They turned out so bright and happy and were really easy (after I got the original printed labels on the tins covered with several coats of  paint).

Lastly, I picked my favorite alcohol ink project from the year: This drip decorated vase. I really love how this one turned out!

Happy New Year! See you next week with a new craft tutorial!