Monday, September 24, 2018

Alcohol Ink Glass Gem Pins

I've made quite a few necklaces for the blog. One of my favorite necklace projects is decorating glass gems from the floral department with alcohol ink. I've revisited this project several times (glass gems). The last few times I've decorated glass gems, I've been testing various application and sealing methods, so I didn't even end up making the gems into anything. I had a pretty big stash from the last few projects (flaming ink on glass gems, dripping ink onto glass gems, and sealing gems with enamel paint) that I hadn't done anything with. So, when my sister messaged me and said: You make a lot of necklaces, why not make some pins. I said: Sure! 

I decided the best way to seal the gems was to use aluminum foil tape. It provides an opaque background which makes the colors pop and adds a bit of shimmer. It's also pretty easy to work with. I used a round toothpick to trace around the gem and cut it out with a scissors. If your gems are one inch and fairly regularly shaped--you can use a 1 inch paper punch on this tape and it works perfectly. My gems were all odd shapes and sizes, so I opted for tracing.

Cut on the inside of the trace line with a regular scissor and you'll be left with a little circle sticker. Peel the backing off and apply it as centered as you can to the gem.

Smooth the tape out with your fingers and you're all done. It's pretty fast and easy.

The finished product is so shimmery and pretty.

I repeated it for a bunch of gems that I had stashed in with my alcohol ink, just waiting to be finished into something. I even put the tape onto the back of a few of the gems I had painted with white enamel paint (top left). It didn't really add any shimmer to the gem, but it did cover the slightly lumpy and oddly colored paint and provided a more finished appearance.

The gems looked so pretty when I was finished with the aluminum tape that I took them outside for a little photo shoot (It doesn't hurt that it was 75 degrees and sunny today, either).

Now that I had them finished and sealed off, I could turn them into pins. My pin back stash was running a little low, so I chose 5 that I thought would make good pins and grabbed some E6000 glue.

I decided on which direction each gem looked best and then dabbed two little dots of glue on each pin back and stuck it down on the gem. I added a little dot of glue over the top of each one to make sure it would stick. Then I left them alone for about an hour and a half before I touched them again. They dry to the touch before that, but the glue remains a bit soft, so let them dry for a while before trying to pin them into anything.

I pinned them to my trusty jean jacket to get an idea of what they looked like. I can't wait to make more pins! One tip--glue the pin backs toward the top of the gem. They are bit a heavy and tend to tip forward.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Alcohol Ink Washer Necklaces Sealed with Embossing Powder

I recently read a comment on one of my several attempts to perfect washer necklaces. The comment said they used embossing powder to seal their alcohol ink washer necklaces. I thought that was a fantastic idea--one definitely worth trying.

So I got my alcohol inks, a craft mat, and an applicator with felt out along with a few washers from the hardware store.

I grabbed a lime green ink (limeade), a teal ink (clover), and the blue from the pinata ink set (baja blue) and put a couple drops of the blue on one end of my felt and mixed the two greens on the other end of the felt (a couple drops of both). Then I stamped the washers by alternating the sides of the felt that I was stamping with until I got a nice cover of blue and green on the washers.

Then I came back in with other colors to add contrast. I added denim blue to this washer. I added the purple from the pinata set to some of the other washers. I then added a bit of indigo blue and used that color as the main color on my other two washers.

I just kept on inking until I liked the color combos. If you're not liking the way it's going, use some rubbing alcohol to clean most of the ink off the washer and start again.

I let my washers dry for about 20 minutes before proceeding to sealing. The ink needs to be dry enough that it won't smudge when handled. I grabbed my clear ink pad and some clear embossing powder and a heat gun to seal my washers.

I put my washer on the ink pad ink side down and pressed, pealed it off the ink pad, and then put it on a paper plate and poured embossing powder over top. The clear ink allows the powder to stick to the washer. Then dump off the excess powder and put it on a heat proof surface to melt the embossing powder. I kept all of my extra powder on the paper plate and then dumped it back into the jar when I was done.

Keep moving the heat gun around the washer until the powder turns clear. Then leave it alone until it's cool. The washers hold the heat and get quite hot, so they need to be left alone for 5-10 minutes before you try to pick them up. I started getting some burn marks on my cork trivet because I was holding it a bit close to the surface. A layer of tinfoil might have been a good idea.

I wasn't completely satisfied with the surface after the washers were done. They were sealed, but they were a little bit bumpy and the surface wasn't as thick and shiny as I had hoped. So I tried to add another layer of embossing powder after they cooled. Once the embossing powder turned liquid, it started moving the ink. Which could be cool, but was not what I was looking to do. So a single layer and heating until it just turns clear is as good as it gets.

I did end up with some nice washers out of the project and they look about as shiny as being sealed with mod podge (and take less time to finish than sealing with glue). If you have tried embossing powder over alcohol ink with different results--let me know about it in the comments!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Alcohol Ink and Foil Charms

A few years ago, I used a batch of Tim Holtz acrylic charms that I picked up on sale somewhere and made some necklaces using alcohol ink. The charms worked great with the ink, but like most alcohol ink projects on glass or plastic, the ink remains translucent. This is really pretty in a candle holder or vase, but in jewelry it means that whatever shirt you're wearing suddenly becomes part of the pattern. I found a pretty easy solution for this issue with alcohol ink decorated glass gems: aluminum foil tape (it's the tape that's actually used on duct work and is available at most hardware stores). Adding foil tape to the back turns the gem both opaque and shimmery and it covers and protects the ink. And, the foil comes in rolls with a sticky back with paper--it's basically a tinfoil sticker. You can cut it with a scissors, and it's pretty easy to work with. So, when I found my stash of acrylic charms, I knew exactly what project to try with them next.

So I got out my alcohol inks, craft mat, and applicator with felt. I chose Valencia orange, Raspberry pink, and Mermaid teal to start.

I put a couple drops of the teal color on one side of my applicator and stamped it across my plastic charms. Then I put a couple drops of the orange and pink on the other side of the felt and stamped it on the charm to fill it in. There was enough blue in the green that the colors didn't turn too brown when they mixed.

I kept stamping and filled a bunch of charms with color. I set them aside to dry for a few minutes. They needed to be dry enough to handle--so at least 10 or 15 minutes of dry time is needed. Then I got out my foil tape and a small sharp scissors.

The square charms could pretty much just be cut to size and trimmed along the rounded edges afterward, but it worked better for the round charms to trace the shape onto the foil with a toothpick or skewer. Then cut the shape out, peel the tape off, and stick it onto the charm.

It's hard to get the shape exactly right and even harder to get the sticky (and fairly thin) foil on there straight, so you may have some overlap or general crookedness. I carefully trimmed off as much excess foil as I could with a scissors.

Then I used my toothpick to poke through the hole in the charm. Then I used the other end of the toothpick to smooth the foil into the hole. I finished the whole thing off by rubbing the foil tape down along all of the edges and burnishing with my fingernail if necessary.

I was really pleased with how shiny they turned out. The hardest part of the project was trimming the tape and getting it on straight.

The foil will indent a bit if you scratch it with the edge of your nail or something similar, but seems pretty sturdy. It might tear if caught/scratched with something very hard or pointy, so wear with care. I strung them up with some simple hemp cord. I made them long enough to slip over my head so I could just tie the cording in a knot.

It's hard to see in the photos just how silver these appear in person--they really shine! I can't wait to wear these!

Monday, September 3, 2018

Washi Tape Altar Candles

I love Dollar Tree's white glass altar candles. They are the largest and cheapest jar candles you can get just about anywhere...and I have shown them my love in several different projects over the years (altar candle projects). I have accumulated a nice sized stash of washi tape (decorative paper tape--it's masking tape with designs on it) that I have picked up at various sales and discount stores, and it occurred to me that washi tape and my favorite dollar store candles were a match made in heaven.

I went through my stash and decided that I had plenty of black and white tape and that it would look cute stacked with all of the various patterns. So I dug out all of the black and white tape rolls--eliminated a couple because didn't look sticky enough or had a little bit too much off-white in them and then started sticking it to the candle jars. The great part about washi tape (on glass at least) is that if you don't like it, you can just peel it off.

So I lined up a tape along the bottom edge of the jar as straight as I could and wrapped it around the jar. When I wrapped back to the tape edge, I cut it off with a scissors and smoothed it down. Then I repeated the process with the same tape on a matching candle so I could have a pair.

I kept wrapping tape in different patterns up the jar. I tried to contrast the patterns a bit. If it was a very angular pattern, I'd use something round next. If it was very white, I'd use something dark, etc...

When I got back up to the tape that I started with, I contemplated quitting there for a moment. It looked pretty good with the white candle, but I decided to keep going. After all, I could always peel it off if I didn't like it.

So I kept wrapping tape until it got to the point where there wasn't room to put another row of tape on. It ended with a little lip of glass, but it was above the wax line, so it looked finished.

The black and white tape looks really graphic and cool. It was occasionally hard to keep the tape straight, but it was pretty forgiving--even if a sliver of the candle appeared between tape, it was pretty hard to see it unless you looked really closely. They were fun and easy to make and turned out great!

Candle warning: As with all candle craft projects, do not burn these unattended. I haven't burned these candles yet, but there is potential for the tape peeling up as the candle warms. There is also a chance that the tape could get hot enough to burn or scorch.