Monday, July 25, 2016

Embossing Foil Tape

Earlier this month I embossed aluminum foil with my Cuttlebug, so now I want to try to emboss aluminum tape (like the kind you buy at a hardware store) to see if it's as easy and has results that are as good as the regular aluminum foil.

Because of the paper backing on the tape, the foil holds its emboss very well. All you have to do is cut a piece to fit inside your embossing folder. I ran it through using the traditional plate order for embossing: A spacer plate, B plate, embossing folder with your tape inside, and another B plate on top. It gave a nice clean emboss with a single run through on the machine.

After I had successfully proved that the foil tape ran through the machine perfectly, I thought I'd try to cut out a shape using a Cuttlebug die. It didn't cut as neatly as the foil did. The edges weren't quite as neatly cut, but the shape came out without any problems.

Now that I know the foil tape runs through the machine so well, I can't wait to use it in more projects--especially with it's sticky backing--the sky's the limit!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Cuttlebug Embossed Napkins

I had some 4th of July napkins leftover and decided it might be fun to try embossing them with my Cuttlebug. This particular napkin is "dinner sized" but has a wide embossed border. So I lined my embossing folder right up along the embossed edge of the napkin.

It was wider than the machine's opening, so I folded the edge over. I was worried there would be a pronounced crease after running through the machine, but I was pleasantly surprised. I stacked the plates up in the regular embossing order: A spacer plate, B plate, Embossing folder with napkin inside, and another B plate on top. It ran through the machine perfectly.

The napkin came out great. I have tried a couple other larger napkins with less luck, but the wide border on this one made for a perfect emboss. I expect that solid color napkins that are narrow or smaller in size (like cocktail napkins) would work even better.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Splatter Resist Alcohol Ink Tile

I still have some ceramic tiles left from my last run to the hardware store, so when I remembered I had saved the contact paper heart from my Valentine's Day Glass Etching project, I knew exactly what I wanted to try.

I grabbed some bright alcohol inks, canned air, a 6 inch ceramic tile, and my contact paper heart. I originally cut it out free hand by folding the contact paper, so it doesn't have to be perfect, but I'm sure if you have a cutting machine you could use that to make whatever shape you'd like in contact paper or vinyl.

I squeezed out a drop of alcohol ink near the edge of the heart and used canned air to blow the drop out from the center of the tile. I usually hold the can with my right hand and a plastic lid with my left (I use the lid from the small plastic box I keep my inks in and then just wipe it off with rubbing alcohol when the project is done). A paper plate or piece of cardboard would also work, but unless you're crafting someplace where you don't mind stray drops of ink getting everywhere, you'll want to hold up some sort of shield in the direction you are spraying your canned air.

I worked my way around the tile with drops and blowing the ink. I tried to stay rainbow ordered-ish so that the colors next to each other wouldn't mix and turn into unpleasant shades of brown. I still had quite a few gaps after one trip around the tile. There were places where the colors didn't blow out nicely or where the ink drop squeezed out very different amounts of ink.

So I filled in as best as I could, just adding drops in places where there were big white spaces and blowing the ink away from the center until the tile was mostly covered.

Next I used a technique that I first used when testing rubbing alcohols earlier this year. I used a glass eye dropper with some rubbing alcohol to get tiny little drops to form in the ink. Find a small bowl to pour some rubbing alcohol into (I actually used the lid of my box again, it has a lip and needed rubbing alcohol in it to clean the splatters anyway). You don't need very much rubbing alcohol because the technique requires the dropper to be empty. I dip the droppers tip into the alcohol and suck some up. Then I squirt it all back out. Then I squeeze the the dropper over the ink to expel any tiny amounts of alcohol that are left in the dropper and it creates a pretty splatter pattern.

When I was all done going around the tile and splattering, I was really pleased with the pattern. I let the tile dry for a couple hours to make sure I wouldn't smear it when I pulled up the heart, and then I carefully peeled it off. There was one small area towards the bottom point of the heart where there was a little bleed through from the ink. I used a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean up the bit of ink that seeped in along edge of the contact paper and we were good to go.

If you don't plan to handle your tile at all, you can probably just set it on a shelf and forget about it, but of all the surfaces that I've inked, ceramic tile is the most likely for the ink to smear, smudge, or flake off of, so I'd recommend sealing it. I used an acrylic spray. The spray will react a little bit with the ink, so to minimize that reaction spray a very quick light layer on the tile to set the ink and then let it dry before coming back and getting a couple of good coats on. You could also seal the tile with Mod Podge sealer if you like.

I stuck a set of little felt circles on the bottom of my tile to keep it from scratching any tables you set it on and I was all done. I have also cut a square of felt and glued it onto the bottoms of my tiles in the past--either would work.

I think my tile turned out really cute, and I can't wait to try out more resists.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Alcohol Inking Embossed Aluminum Foil

In last week's post, I used my Cuttlebug to emboss layered aluminum foil. I loved the way it turned, but I thought I could make the foil even better. So I grabbed my alcohol inks and craft mat and tried out a few different techniques.

I always thought this embossing folder looked a bit like a sun, so I picked out my yellow, orange and red inks and started stamping in layers. The section was the sun, stamped in, appropriately enough, Sunshine Yellow. Next was, Sunset Orange, then Terra Cotta and Watermelon Red at the top. I added the colors to the felt applicator and stamped each layer until I got good coverage.

After I pulled the felt off of the applicator, I noticed it still had a fair bit of ink on it, so I rubbed it with my thumb over this next piece of foil. Of course rubbing the felt onto the foil with your fingers will mean that your fingers get full of ink (so wear gloves or be prepared to have some vaguely red fingers for a day or two--most of it does come off with rubbing alcohol, but usually not all of it), but it also means that you can get into the nooks and crannies of the embossing better. Once I rubbed the felt all over the foil, I had a nice pinky orange base to start with.

Since I had a base color, I didn't have to worry as much about coverage and could stamp just for color. I added some bright ink colors to my applicator and stamped away until I liked the way it looked.

I liked the result of rubbing the ink, so I tried it with the felt still on the applicator this time on one of the die cut pieces. All of the colors mixed together to make a nice pinky purple, but the settling in the lower areas wasn't as pronounced (of course this could be in part because the embossing has bigger open spaces).

So next I decided to take the color rubbing to the next level with an ombre effect. I started with Mermaid, in the middle of my foil. I dripped four or five drops of color onto my felt applicator and rubbed it across the middle of the foil until it had good coverage. Then I grabbed a clean felt and applied Clover to the top of the foil. Lastly I used Stream on the bottom of the foil. I think this would work great with any color that you happen to have three versions of. You might be able to get away with starting with the light and adding to the felt like I did with the sun design above.

The only problem I had with this design was that the felt started catching on the raised areas of the embossed foil and tearing a little. Not enough to keep me from finishing, but enough to have to stop a couple times and pull little pieces of felt fluff off of the foil.This one has lots of raised bumps, so a simpler emboss probably wouldn't have that problem.

Some of these foil pieces will end up on cards and I think some of them turned out so well that they'll be turned into little pieces of art. I'll post pictures when I finish them.

I didn't try any canned air or splatter techniques this go around, but if you have any other ideas for alcohol ink on foil, let me know in the comments and I'll be sure to try them.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Embossing Aluminum Foil

I got my Cuttlebug about a year ago, and I'm just beginning to scratch the surface of everything that you can do with it. Today I thought I'd share a tutorial for embossing aluminum foil. If you're looking for a tutorial to emboss paper with the Cuttlebug, click on this link: Cuttlebug Embossing Tutorial.

I used Reynolds Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil, but since it works best when folded into several layers, you could probably use a thinner/cheaper foil if you have one on hand. In the photo above, you can see a single layer of heavy duty foil. It has a nice deep emboss, as I folded it to go through the machine instead of running just a single layer through; however, if you rub your finger over the relief, it flattens out. To keep it from flattening out, you'll need to layer the foil.

I was using one of the wide rolls of foil and I ripped a section off the roll that was about 16 inches wide.

Then I folded it in half. Don't worry too much about the wrinkles. The busier your embossing pattern, the less you'll notice wrinkles.

I folded it in half again.

And then one more time to get it about the size of the embossing folder. At this point, it was 8 layers thick. You might be able to get away with fewer layers and still get a good relief, but I was more worried about getting the foil the right size for the machine.

Then I sandwiched it using the standard embossing order for the Cuttlebug: A spacer on bottom, B plate, then the embossing folder with the foil stuck in the middle, then another B plate on top. I ran the whole stack through the machine and it comes out with a perfect emboss. The 8-layers makes a really solid emboss. It won't flatten from simple handling or from running your finger across it. IT would flatten if you run your nail across it with the intention of flattening it (which would flatten a paper emboss too), though.

Next I decided to try and die cut the foil. I used some Cuttlebug shape dies (Labels and Such set) to punch out some shapes.

I used the standard die cut sandwich: A spacer plate on bottom, B plate, Dies, Foil, C plate on top. I ran the whole stack through the machine and it cut out cute little label shapes.

The nice thing about these die cuts is that they pinched together the layers of foil so they won't come apart without some serious fiddling. I might seal the edges with some mod podge or other glue, just in case, but they felt pretty secure.

These were so much fun to make. Like all embossing, it's such instant gratification, and then for it to be shiny and metallic too, you can't beat that. I can't wait to figure out what to use all of my embossed foil for.

Note: All of the embossing folders used in this post were purchased at Tuesday Morning and are Tim Holtz/Ranger brand or We R Memory Keepers/American Crafts brand.