Monday, July 9, 2018

Beginner's Guide to Alcohol Ink Stamping: Multiple Colors and Media

This is part two in my Beginner's Guide to stamping with alcohol inks. If you missed part one, check it out here: Beginner's Guide to Alcohol Ink Stamping: Basics on Ceramic Tile. In part two we'll take a look at some other surfaces you can stamp alcohol ink on and learn a bit about stamping with multiple colors. If you're not sure what these alcohol ink things even are, check out this post: Getting Started with Alcohol Inks.

To get started stamping, you'll need:
An applicator and felt (homemade is fine--last week's post discusses these in more detail)
Parchment paper or a craft mat to keep your work surface clean
Rubbing alcohol for clean up
Stuff to stamp (we'll go through several options, but any glossy flat surface will work to stamp)

My first group of examples to stamp is plastics. In the past, I've stamped milk jug plastic, dominoes, buttons, switch plates, plastic Easter eggs, transparency film, shrink plastic, and these plastic charms. I had some of the plastic charms leftover, so I decided to use those as an illustration of glossy plastic, and I just got some Yupo to try out too. Yupo is plasticized paper with a sort of satin finish. It's kind of expensive, so I cut a sheet in half and just decided to see how the ink behaved on it while I was stamping the charm.

I selected twilight purple and put a generous drop on my felt applicator and stamped on the Yupo to see how it spread out and how the color looked. The color was vivid, but the ink soaked into the paper just a bit, but not quite as much as it does when working with glossy cardstock.

The glossy clear plastic of the charms let the ink spread out in the first stamping, so I kept stamping to try to get it to stipple and create cells.

I covered the whole charm with the purple until the tiny cells started to form. If your ink keeps spreading out and doesn't create the tiny little cells, let it dry for a minute and then start stamping again.

It was pretty boring and plain, so I chose a contrasting ink limeade to break things up.

Since lime green is nearly opposite of purple on the color wheel, it turned brown--but it did break up the purple.

To counter the green/brown, I selected raspberry pink. I stamped the pink randomly over the charm.

Then I picked out sailboat blue and stamped that over the charm before I was finally satisfied with the color combination. If the inks are spreading out more than you like, let them dry for a bit or just keep stamping--as the ink runs out on your felt, it will make smaller and smaller blotches.

I stamped all of the colors on the Yupo to see how they mixed and how they sat on the paper. I still have lots of experimenting to do with that surface to see how to best use it, but it is about as thick as card stock and cuts very easily with a scissors, so it has lots of card making and scrapbook applications.

Next, I tried some glass. I got some memory glass squares and rectangles at Tuesday Morning for super cheap a few years ago, so I thought they'd be nice flat glass examples. I've stamped ink onto lots of glass surfaces over the years (from candle holders to soda bottles to gems and everything in between). The translucent nature of alcohol inks means that they were made for glass. My memory glass rectangle slide was just plain glass, but the square one was "frosted." I also grabbed a large glass gem from my stash. The glass gems are from the floral craft section at Walmart. This time I thought I'd show you different colors being stamped all at once instead of one at a time. I chose the Summit View set (one of my favorites) and watermelon red from the Dockside Picnic set (another favorite).

I stamped all three of my surfaces with felt that had one drop of each of the four colors. I moved the stamp around and stamped until the surfaces were nearly covered. Even though they are all glass, the surfaces all turned out slightly differently when stamped. The regular glass rectangle had very little movement with the ink. It sat on the surface and didn't spread out. The frosted glass spread out just a bit more but still had good cell definition on the colored blotches. The ink on the glass gem just completely smooshed out and the colors ran together.

To get a closer look at the gem, you can see the colors, but they turned all soft and watercolor-y. There's no cell definition like with the glass slides. With some darker colors, this effect can be very pretty, but its a bit too light with these colors. I could have let this dry and then came back to it with the ink again, and after a little bit more stamping, it probably would have gotten cell definition. But instead, I decided to add new colors to all three glass surfaces to see how they behaved.

I grabbed the other two colors from the Dockside picnic set (sailboat blue and citrus green) and put two dots of blue and a dot of green on the clean end of my applicator felt.

On the slide, the colors still didn't spread much, but added more interest.

The frosted one looked pretty good to begin with, and the added colors turned into some rainbow-y fun. This was my favorite of these three glass surfaces to work with.

Then on the gem I added the same colors and you can see that after the base colors had some time to dry, adding new colors (especially after they had already been used on two other projects) created colored cells and contrast.

Using multiple colors at once can save you time when you're inking surfaces, but you lose some control over how colors are going to mix and what they're going to look like--especially if the color or the surface is a new one to you.

The last stamping surface I'm going to show you is metal. I've stamped ink on metal tins and picture frames and flower pots, but the most popular metal project I have stamped ink on are metal washers.

This time I used the Dockside Picnic set of inks, but I swapped out limeade for citrus because the citrus comes off a bit yellow-ish and I wanted more of a green. I dripped one dot of each of the three colors onto my felt and stamped it over the washer to start to cover it. As you can see, it's pretty blotchy. It's not running together or creating cells yet.

So I stamped over the washer again to cover it more. The colors started running together and I didn't get very much definition or stippling. But I did like how the colors looked a bit stripe-y. I decided to work with that and emphasize it a bit.

I put one drop of ink on the clean side of my applicator felt of the red and went back over the red areas of the washer to create some cells of color and to brighten the red up.

Then I grabbed a clean square of felt and put one drop of the blue on the felt and stamped in roughly the areas that had some blue on them already.

Then I came back with the green and filled in any of the gaps or dull areas with fresh green ink.

In the end I had a very vibrant washer. It turned out so well that I'll probably seal it and turn it into a necklace.

So hopefully you've learned a bit about the different types of surfaces you can ink and how to work with multiple colors. Using several colors on your felt can speed up application--especially first coats of color--but you may want to go back in with one or two colors to create definition and contrast. Be careful when inking highly contrasting colors as they can turn brown (green and red are the biggest culprits). Also, each surface will take the ink a little differently, so it takes practice and patience. If your inks are spreading out too much, let them dry for a minute (really, they dry fast) and keep stamping. If your inks are not spreading out as much as you like, you can add blending solution or rubbing alcohol to your felt to get them to spread....but that's a great topic for another tutorial. :)

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!

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