Monday, October 30, 2017

Bottle Cap Halloween Pins

I have been wracking my brain all week trying to figure out what to do for this week's craft post. I knew I wanted to do something Halloween-y since the post is set to go up the day before. After much hemming and hawing, I remembered I still had a bunch of the craft bottle caps I used to make Patriotic Pins with last year, so I set out to make some Halloween/Fall pins.

The bottle caps are 1 inch on the inside (as are the kind you salvage off glass soda bottles and beer bottles--so both will work). I did a google search for Halloween art and chose ones that I thought would look good as 1-inch circles. I probably saved twice as many designs to my computer as I ended up printing. The icon size ends up being a good indicator of what will look good in the small size. Then I use Word to print them out. Word has a handy feature that will tell you how large the photo is in inches when you're resizing it, so I made all of the photos a smidge smaller than 1 inch tall and wide.

I printed the designs out on some copy paper that's 24lb instead of the standard 20lb. The fancier stuff also is a bit smoother than regular copy paper--so it prints color a bit better. You could use cardstock or matte photo paper instead if you have it laying around. Then I used a 1-inch circle punch to cut the pictures out of my paper. A few get eliminated in this process because they are a bit big or a bit small or just look odd as circles or maybe I might mess up the punch and it's off center....but for whatever reason, start with more designs than you end up hoping to make.

My bottle caps were navy blue, so I knew that wouldn't really work for Halloween pins. I flipped them over and sprayed them with a couple of coats of semigloss black spray paint and let them dry before the next step.

Once my caps were dry, I could glue the pictures into the caps. I used Tombow Mono Multi Liquid Glue. Any glue that is multisurface and doesn't make paper bubble or wrinkle, would work just fine. You just need to get the paper stuck to the bottle cap so it doesn't float up when the glaze gets added.

This Tombow glue is very sticky and works really well with paper, but it's not very much fun if you use too much. Excess does not come off easily and stays very sticky once dried, so use just enough to get the paper to stick but not so much that you end up with ooze.

After I got all of my selected circles glued down (I whittled the pile down to the ones that looked the best in the caps next). I made sure they were all secure and tried to wipe up any tiny bit of glue that may have squeezed out.

Then I grabbed my glaze. I have a big ol' bottle of Diamond Glaze, so that's what I used. You could also use Glossy Accents, Dimensional Magic, or Paper Glaze--whatever you can get a hold of to provide that nice glossy seal.

There are always bubbles with this stuff. Try not to shake the bottle before use, apply the glue in a steady stream without lifting the nozzle out, and use a long neck lighter to pop bubbles after you've applied the glue. You can also use toothpicks or pins or tapping the bottlecap gently on the table to try to pop bubbles, but the lighter is the fastest option.

After I used the lighter on the bottle caps, there were only a couple of tiny bubbles left. Unfortunately, the bubbles tend to surface as the glue begins to dry. Check it every 20 minutes or so of the first hour before the glue sets to pop any additional bubbles. I went on a Target run and missed popping some of the bubbles until the glue was beginning to set on the top. 

Sadly, the glue had not dried by 11pm the night before this post was due to be put up, so we had to wait until the next day for them to finish drying.

By the next day, the glue had dried clear. The orange/yellow printer ink seemed to run on several of the pins. The ones that were predominantly yellow/orange seemed to fair the worst. I'm not sure if this is because I'm using generic ink right now, or not.

And a couple of the pins looked like I had stuck my thumb in them while drying--I did not, by the way. I think this was from me trying to use a lighter to pop bubbles after the glue had started to go easy on the lighter. Maybe only use it to pop bubbles that appear right away and use a pin or toothpick to pop any after that.

So, after eliminating some because they didn't print as well or cut as well and some because they didn't come out after the glaze, I was left with 6 pins. And let's face it, I probably didn't need more than that anyway. :) I used some E-6000 to glue the pin backs on (super glue works too, but it turns the backs white). The E-6000 takes at least a half an hour to dry to be handled, but I'd wait several hours before trying to pin it to a shirt to make sure the pin back doesn't pop off while the glue is still a bit soft.

After some snafus and LOTS of drying time (between the paint and the glues), I can't wait to wear these pins for many a Halloween to come. Happy Halloween everyone--try not to eat too much candy! :)

Monday, October 23, 2017

Alcohol Ink on Glossy Chipboard

I have a bit sickness, a crafty sickness, where I look at something--any random thing--and find myself asking the question, "Can I ink that?" This was totally the case when I was emptying some packaging and saw these small pieces of thin chipboard that had a slightly glossy white surface. Chipboard is the thin cardboard that's used in cereal and cracker boxes, but this chipboard was even thinner. Because of the glossy white surface, I thought stamping them with ink might just work.

I took out my alcohol inks, a craft mat, and my homemade applicator (it's just a block of wood with a piece of double thick craft foam and the hook side of hook and loop glued on top). I chose some bright colors and got to work.

I randomly dripped a few dots of each color onto the felt square that I stuck onto the velcro of my applicator.

Then I stamped over the surface of the whole piece of cardboard. It felt like there was just a bit too much white space, so I went over it again.

After my second pass over the cardboard, I felt like it looked a bit like a confetti design and decided it would make a great gift tag. 

I continued stamping by adding purple and blue to the mix to create three different bright variations.

Then, since I figured I was making gift tags, I thought I'd try some red and green. Red and green are really tricky to ink together as they are complementary colors (on opposite sides of the color wheel) and create a lovely shade of brown when mixed together. So I made a point to stamp on two shades of red, wait a few minutes for it to dry and then switch felts on my applicator before applying the two shades of green. They turned out pretty well--no browns.

I had hoped to use a large tag punch to cut out gift takes from my newly decorated chipboard, but as hard as I pushed, I couldn't get a neat cut out with the paper punch, so I pulled out the big guns: the Cuttlebug. I tried a Cuttlebug/Cricut brand die first, and after a couple of passes through the machine, it cut out neatly. The thickness of the cardboard also meant that the edges embossed automatically.

Though I was able to get some other brands of dies to work with the chipboard, the Cuttlebug branded ones worked the best. They cut the easiest and gave the crispest edges. I did need to put a piece of cardstock in my "sandwich" to make it just a smidge thicker to cut better (if it's rolling through really easily, it might not be thick enough, if it makes any sort of noise or doesn't want to roll through with steady pressure, it's too thick--there's a magic spot in the middle), and I flipped my plates over sometimes after I rolled them through the machine. They went A spacer, Cardstock spacer, C plate, chipboard and die, B plate, but sometimes I flipped them to go A spacer, cardstock, B plate, die and chipboard, C plate. The die cuts a bit better with the C plate on top, but flipping it over allows you to see your die placement better.

In the end, I was pleased with how they turned out, even if I didn't get the classic gift tag shape. The ink worked pretty well on a surface I'd never tried before, and the chipboard, though a bit stubborn, worked just fine through the Cuttlebug. I even embossed a piece to see how well it worked on this thickness (swapped out the C plate for a B plate and an embossing folder and it worked perfectly).

Monday, October 16, 2017

More Glazed Alcohol Ink Washers

Though gem necklaces have overtaken them as the most popular post on the blog, the washer necklaces I've created with alcohol ink are still some of my most visited posts. I was surprised at how long it had been since I had tried something new with or revisited washer necklaces, so I picked up some washers at the local hardware store and decided it was finally time to try glazing again. A while back, I tried using Diamond Glaze (one of the resin type glues on the market), and they didn't turn out very well. Way back when I first started the blog, I had some success using Paper Glaze with some washers decorated with scrapbook paper, so I knew I could get a better result on washers. Since I didn't have any Paper Glaze (and the smoother surface might not work out as well as one covered in paper), I tried out some of the Ranger Glossy Accents.

So I started the same way I would any time I make washer necklaces, with a craft mat, some alcohol ink, and a felt applicator. I applied a few drops of ink to my felt and stamped a base color of blue and green on 3 of my washers. I stamped until the ink started to separate and create little bubbles. Then I switched to the other side of my applicator and added a few drops of purple. I made one of the washers nearly all purple and then used it as an accent color on another as it was starting to dry out. Then I changed felt and continued to add colors until I liked the way my washers looked. In the process, I made one with an orange and yellow base just for something different.

After applying pink to the orange washer and some of the yellow to one of my green and blue washers, I was good to go. I only made four washers this time since my main goal was to test the Glossy Accents glue. All of these glazes are glues that imitate resin. Resin is smelly, expensive, and much more difficult to work with (from what I've seen), so I'm trying all of the glue products before I try working with resin.

After the ink dried on my washers (usually just takes a few minutes, but I left them for a few days before I put on my glaze), I used the Glossy Accents to apply a ring of the glue around the washer. Make sure not to shake the bottle before you apply the glue, and the glue seems to acquire fewer bubbles if you glue in one constant stream looping around the washer without picking up the tip or stopping. I tried not to get too close to the edges of the washer or the center since I had such a big problem with the glue oozing off the edges the last time I tried. The glossy accents seemed thicker and less prone to bubbles as I applied than the other glazes I've tried. I was very hopeful as I left them to dry.

The next morning they dried from their cloudy color to a hard, clear, glossy surface. I noticed one of my washers had oozed into the center and that the colors seemed a bit blurred by the glue. Though, I was generally impressed by the glossy accents for this particular project. The glue seemed thicker and dried glossy and clear, but it did react with the alcohol ink a bit.

You can see in the close up of the one that oozed into the center, how the glue looks a bit pink from the alcohol ink. Also, the glue didn't settle as much as the thinner varieties, so if I overlapped my glue trails it was thicker, and in the areas I didn't quite go to the edge, it didn't spread or run to the edge--this is good because it is less likely to run over the edge, but definitely something you have to be careful about when applying.

In the end, I got three pretty necklaces out of the batch and I think the Glossy Accents worked better than the Diamond Glaze for these washers. I may try sealing the washers before adding the glaze glue the next time so there's something with a bit of texture for the glue to latch onto and so that the glaze doesn't muddle the colors. I'll keep you posted on how it turns out!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Stamping Alcohol Ink on Ridged Surfaces

The last time I was at Dollar Tree, I saw this cute little jar with a lid and thought,"Could I ink that?" If you've been following Sarah Jane's Craft Blog for any amount of time, you know that's a common question I ask at Dollar Tree. :) So I thought, "Maybe, I could." I actually like the "maybe" answer the best because that means I get to try something new. So I bought the little jar, and it sat on my craft supply shelf for months (yes, it's been months since I've been to Dollar Tree--time for another trip!) before I finally decided to try to tackle it.

I brought out my regular inking supplies (craft mat, alcohol ink, applicator and felt), but I also grabbed some makeup sponges and a few cotton rounds.

I knew that if I tried stamping the ink onto the jar with the regular wooden applicator, the ink would just sit on the top edges of the ridges. It would be very stripey--which probably wouldn't be a bad look either, but I wanted to try to get more coverage. I brought out all of my blue, aqua, teal type colors so they would compliment each other and dripped one of the turquoise inks onto the makeup sponge. Then I stamped the jar, but most of the ink was sucked into the sponge. It left light circles across the jar. Not quite the better coverage I was looking for. (Though, I'll try to keep it in mind if I ever have a strong desire for alcohol ink polka-dots.)

Next, I tried the cotton rounds. I was a bit worried when I dripped the ink on and it immediately spread out, but after a few quick passes across the jar, I could tell it was working better. I stamped the jar as much as possible with the first few drops of ink and then added a few more drops and made another pass.

I was able to get pretty good coverage with six drops of ink. It didn't get into all of the indents from the ridges, but it did work great to get ink on the entire curved surface of the ridge.

The ink did seep through the cotton round a bit--but less than I expected (back of cotton round pictured above). So you may want to use gloves for this method if you don't like getting it on your hands.

I didn't take any pictures of my last step, but I had the applicator out, so I went ahead and added some darker blues and some brighter greens onto the regular felt applicator to go around the jar and add a bit more dimension to the color. I opted not to do any wild contrasting colors because I wanted the jar's ridged pattern to stand out and not have to compete with the ink too much.  So, success! I inked the ridged jar and learned a new method for applying ink to curved and ridged surfaces.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Using a Felt Applicator to Apply Acrylic Paint Experiment

I haven't had any time to do a proper craft this week, so I thought I'd share a test experiment that I tried out using acrylic paints on glass gems and metal washers.

A while back I got a set of these little metallic paints. They are called Lumiere paints by Jacquard (yep, the same company that makes the other set of alcohol inks). They come in these little ink like bottles, but they are, in fact, just metallic acrylic paints in fun colors. Truth be told, I didn't really know what to do with these little guys, so I set out on an experiment.

I grabbed the felt applicator that I use for applying alcohol ink (it's just a wood block with some fun foam and velcro glued to the top that you can stick a piece of felt onto) and put a couple of dots of paint onto the felt. I had no idea if it would work. The first layer went on fine, but it didn't cover very well. So I layered on another color and kept stamping.

It seemed to work fairly well on the glass gem, but the paint started sticking to the felt a bit on the metal washer. When it stuck, it would pull a bit of the paint off. So after a few different colors, I had to call it quits. But I might have been able to let it dry and add some more.

I was actually surprised by how well it turned out in the end. I will definitely try to find reasons to use this paint on the glass gems again in some way as it seemed to work very well on the glass. I'm still not sure how well it will hold up over time (if it will scrape or flake off, etc...), but I'll keep you all posted!