Monday, September 26, 2016

Favorite Fall Crafts

After most of September being quite warm, some cooler crisper air has finally settled in for this week. Since it's starting to feel like fall, I thought I'd share some of my favorite fall posts to help get us all in the spirit of the season. I know I needed some coaxing after last week's hot and humid air.

First off is a Halloween inspired metal flower pot that was turned into a Jack-o-lantern with the help of some alcohol ink and a little painter's tape cut into the classic face shapes. I fill it with the candy that we're allowed to eat so I don't dive into the trick-or-treater's stash.

Next is an autumn inspired pen bouquet. All you need for this one is silk flowers, floral tape, and some stick pens. I gathered it all in a terracotta pot that I had painted orange and red ombre with spray paint. These make great gifts for anyone who works in an office!

Another one of my favorites is this collection of paper pumpkins made out of scrapbook paper strips and metal brads. These create quite the impact for the cost of just a few sheets of decorative paper.

Next are the sun catchers I made out of fall leaves that I ran through my laminator. If you can't get enough of the reds and golden oranges of turning leaves, one way to preserve them (at least for a season) is to laminate them.

And lastly, is one of my first attempts at a traditional silk flower wreath for fall. Time to go hang it on the door!

You can see all of my fall inspired crafts here: Sarah Jane's Craft Blog Fall Crafts Collection.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Alcohol Ink on Glossy Cardstock

As anyone who frequents this blog knows, I like alcohol inks. What you may or may not have figured out yet is that I'm also terribly cheap. It's why I made my own ink applicator instead of forking out  5 or 6 bucks for one. Needless to say, I wasn't about to spend $7 on a pack of 10 sheets of paper for the Ranger brand glossy cardstock. And I certainly wasn't going to spend the $14 for 10 sheets of Yupo (which is plasticized paper and works even better than glossy cardstock...or so I've been told as I'm too cheap to buy it). So when I noticed you could buy a package of 250 sheets of Xerox's brand of glossy cardstock for about $12 I figured that was a deal I could get behind. Heck, even if it doesn't work perfectly for alcohol ink, I can still use it in my printer.

So I grabbed my inking supplies: a craft mat, my applicator and felt, and several colors of Ranger alcohol ink and tried just stamping a pattern onto the paper.

Much like the surfaces on the white gift bags I inked last month, the ink soaks in fairly quickly. I wasn't able to cover the whole surface with my initial inked felt. As you can see above, it faded out as I moved along the sheet of paper.

So I used the same felt and added drops of similar, but different colors so I could layer them over the top of each other. I simply stamped from the side of the page that had very little ink and worked my way back to the other side. It worked out pretty well to create a sort of confetti look.

Next, I tried using a water brush filled with some rubbing alcohol and a plastic palette to do some painting. This worked out perfectly. The ink soaks in enough that it doesn't smear. It actually works better than the times I've tried using the water brush on ceramic tile. That being said, it's not a very user-friendly painting medium since it does soak in and can't be changed or layered very well. So I created a nice striped pattern. You could do all kinds of neat things with the water brush as long as you planned them out ahead of time.

Lastly, I tried the good old alcohol ink standby, squirt the ink and blow it with canned air. The canned air didn't move the ink much, but the squirts of color turned out nicely on the paper.

I kept squeezing the ink onto the page until I filled it up and created a design. Since I was just playing around with this new paper, I think these turned out pretty well. I have a better idea of what I can do on this paper and I look forward to trying out new techniques.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Trying Out Pinata Alcohol Inks

If you've been to my blog before, you know that I have made all kinds of projects with alcohol ink. But, in all of those projects, I used Ranger Inks (since they are more widely available at craft stores). Pinata alcohol inks are the other major brand (made by Jacquard), and I finally got myself a starter set

The Pinata set usually costs around $20 on Amazon and comes with 9 bottles of ink. So it's actually fairly comparable in price to the Ranger Inks, maybe even a little cheaper. The colors are all bright and vivid versions of yellow, orange, magenta, bright blue, purple, and green. It also comes with a black, white and a gold (which I didn't try my first time out).

I grabbed a 4-inch glossy ceramic tile to try the inks out on first. I'm pretty familiar with how the Ranger Inks behave on this surface, so I felt it would be a good comparison for me.

I decided to stamp the on my first one with cool colors. I dripped the inks onto my felt and covered the surface of the tile in one pass. The bottles didn't drip quite as much ink onto the felt as the Ranger bottles do and the ink seemed thicker and didn't spread out on the tile as much. The Ranger Inks will usually create a watercolor look unless you make multiple passes with the applicator.

I stamped the tile just a bit more to fill in some of the white space and then put some 90% rubbing alcohol onto my applicator and made another pass over the tile. The ink thinned out and behaved more like watercolors.

I ran my applicator over it some more and stippling occurred. I was really pleased with how the inks didn't seem to get muddled and brown in color, but still separated with the addition of the alcohol.

Next, I tried dripping some colors on the tile. Like with the applicator, the ink seemed thicker and didn't spread out as much on the tile.

So I used an eye dropper with some rubbing alcohol to try to spread the ink out.

I added a bit more ink and then used a can of air to spread it out a bit.

Then I used the eye dropper again with nearly no alcohol in it to blow some alcohol droplets onto the ink and get it to separate a bit. It behaved pretty much just like the Ranger Inks with this technique.

My two practice tiles turned out really neat. The biggest difference between the Pinata ink and the Ranger inks is that it seems to be a bit thicker/more saturated in color and will need to be thinned out with rubbing alcohol or a blending solution for it to behave the way I'm used to. I'm really looking forward to using this ink on some of the jewelry I've made with Ranger Inks in the past to get even more saturated color.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Popular Post Recap: Alcohol Ink Glass Gems

One of my most popular projects on the blog are these glass gems that I decorate with alcohol ink. Over the years, I've revisited the project several times and gotten several questions in the comments, so I thought I'd combine all of the different variations of the project into one post and answer the most frequently asked questions.

If you've used alcohol inks before, this is a super easy project. If you're new to inking, it's a good first or second project. All you need is an ink proof surface (I use a craft mat, but parchment paper would be a good substitute), a set of inks, and an applicator (you can make your own in a pinch with a scrap of wood and some velcro). I bought my glass gems at Dollar Tree, but they sell them pretty much everywhere that sells craft/floral arrangement supplies. All you need to do is apply some ink to the felt on the applicator (just drip a couple colors on) and stamp at the back of the glass gem until you like the colors that show up. Depending on the colors you used, it could take several layers of ink from the same stamper to get darker colors showing up. When your gems have dried, seal them with a layer of mod podge or with clear spray on acrylic sealer.

One of my first revisits was to turn some of the small gems I made and didn't turn into jewelry into magnets by gluing a neodymium magnet onto the back.

After I acquired some additional ink colors, I revisited the project and tried to get some darker results. With alcohol ink you can get softer more watercolor results or very stippled results where the bubbles appear to be outlined in dark brown or black. To achieve those results, you need to stamp repeatedly (sometimes dozens of times per gem), sometimes even allowing the ink to dry a bit before layering on more. If you over do it, just wipe it off with a paper towel and some rubbing alcohol

I made quite a few necklaces out of this batch. I simply applied some glue on bails using E6000 glue. I strung them up with suede cording and some ribbons.

After making another batch of gems, I had quite a few that didn't turn out quite as dark as I'd have liked. So I made my first attempt at backing the gems in something to make them less transparent. I used mod podge and aluminum foil to make a shimmery backing.

My next attempt at backing the gems involved painters tape and white spray paint. These turned out pretty neat, so I look forward to trying out some other types and colors of paint and maybe even some nail polish at some point. I hope I can add more to this list as I do.

My most recent stab at the alcohol ink glass gems came from a recommendation in the comments about using aluminum tape (like the kind they use to tape your ductwork together from the hardware store). It comes with a peel off backing and can easily be punched with a 1-inch circle punch. So it was a slick way to get a shiny background on your gems without having to glue anything. This batch I made with some slightly iridescent gems, so they are especially sparkly in person.

I hope that answers most of the common questions about this project. When in doubt, keep stamping to get darker results. Also, start out with the darkest colors of ink when possible. If you're not happy with how translucent your results are, try backing them with foil tape or paint. Let me know how yours turn out!