Monday, September 30, 2019

Magnetic Pin Dishes

I've made homemade pin dishes before for the blog. The first time I made them, the post got picked up by some listicle websites and got extra traffic from all over the internet. So I revisited the craft a while back when I thought I found some good magnets online, since the ones from the craft store were kind of pricey. Unfortunately, those magnets were a bit small, and not strong enough. So, here I am today with a stack of saucers from an orphan set of teacups that my Grandma had in her china cabinet that no one wanted and some new magnets from Amazon. There's only one thing to do--make some more pin dishes!

After my last batch of pin dishes suffered from weak magnets, I set about finding some larger ones to use on the back of my next set of pin dishes. I ordered these 20 mm (about 3/4 of inch) magnets on Amazon hoping that the larger size meant they would be stronger magnets. After they arrived, I set about testing them on my plates. Sometimes the plates will be too thick to effectively use a magnet on or the rim on the bottom won't be recessed enough for the magnets. These plates didn't seem particularly thick, but I held one magnet on the back and most of my pins fell off. For their size, they weren't particularly strong. But, they fit in the recess just fine.

While I was testing them out, I also had one flip over and slap against the plate (because I had a stack of magnets underneath it) and it broke into several pieces. The magnets were fragile and not as magnetic as I'd expect them to be given their size. They were about as magnetic as my last batch of magnets that were half the size (10 mm).

But I figured as long as I glued a few to the bottom, they should work alright. I started out with one magnet on each plate. I glued them down using E6000 glue and waited a couple hours until they were fairly dry before gluing on my second magnet. Neodymium magnets, even the tiny little ones, have a tendency to attract each other very easily, so I figured gluing them one at a time might help with this a bit.

I ended up gluing 3 magnets on the bottoms of my plates. On two of the plates, the second magnet slid over to the other magnet, and I didn't catch it in time to fix it. The glue had already set by the time I noticed. But I soldiered on and glued another magnet on each and let them dry. Then I used a roll of painters tape that seemed to be about the same size as the bottoms of my plates and drew some circles onto piece of white felt. I cut the circles out being sure to cut on the inside of the pen lines so their wouldn't be any pen left on the felt circles.

Then I added a ring of e6000 glue along the edge of the rim on the plates. I added glue to the center around the magnets and glued the felt circles onto the plate.

I glued all the felt circles onto the plates and set them aside to dry. After they had dried, I trimmed the excess felt off of the edges and they were done.


The magnets weren't quite as strong as I would have liked, but they still hold the pins to the plate. These are a fun quick craft as long as you can find decent magnets. I still haven't found ones that work better than the 1/2 inch neodymium magnets they sell at Michael's, but since those are $5 for 4 magnets, I keep hoping I can find some more economical magnets out there.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Alcohol Ink on Glass Sealant Test

One of the most common questions I receive about alcohol ink is: "How do I seal that" or "What should I seal that with?" Even when I see other inkers on Instagram or Pinterest, I often have the same question, "I wonder what they sealed that with?" Sealing glass alcohol ink projects is even trickier since the end product needs to remain glossy and translucent. I've often just skipped sealing the craft projects because I was worried the sealant would either ruin the ink or the glossy finish. But if you want your alcohol ink projects to last, it's usually a good idea to seal them.

So, I dug out all of my sealants (well, I do have a couple more versions of regular spreadable mod podge, but I picked the one I thought would work the best and most easily on glass). I ended up with 8 different products. I'm sure there are lots more similar products available out there, but these 8 are definitely a good start. Since I wanted to test the results on glass, I needed to find 8 of the same glass items I could ink. These memory keeper slides seemed like a good choice. I couldn't find them for sale anymore online, but they seem similar to scientific slides in thickness and weight; these just happened to be cut square for scrap booking and crafting.

I selected 4 colors of ink that I thought would have good saturation on glass and dripped, spread with a small paint brush to make sure the whole slide was mostly covered, and then flamed them to set and spread the ink.

I made a point to try and get all 4 colors on all 8 of the slides, but the pink was covered a bit by some of the other colors on a couple of the slides. These also got a fair bit of ink on their backs as I was inking them, so after they dried to the touch, I wiped the back of the glass off with some rubbing alcohol on a paper towel.

I set them aside to dry overnight, but it has been off and on rainy here, so it ended up being two days. It's always a good idea to let alcohol ink dry for several hours before applying any kind of sealer--especially the kind that get brushed on (like mod podge). If they are completely dry, there's less chance of the ink reacting with the sealer.

So, they dried all the way and the weather 2 days later was gorgeous. 72 and breezy! So I selected a paper plate for each slide and its sealer. I painted on a generous coat of the two paint on versions and set them aside. Then I sprayed the rest. I shook each can briefly and sprayed a couple generous passes onto each slide. I wanted to make sure that if the spray was going to react with the ink, that it would. I left them all to dry on the patio table for 20 minutes and sprayed on (and painted on) a second coat of everything. Then I brought them inside to dry overnight.

After they dried, I did 3 tests to determine the quality of the finish: water, alcohol, and fire. I ran the slide under a stream of water and rubbed it with my finger to check color fastness and reaction with the sealer. Then I spritzed it with enough rubbing alcohol to check to see if the surface was completely covered and if the sealant reacted. Then, after they had all dried and evaporated their rubbing alcohol (I waited several hours), I came back and ran a lighter flame over each slide to check for heat changes and flammability. 

Up first is the Glossy Mod Podge--a classic choice for sealing. It's water based, so it doesn't react much with the ink (except maybe from the friction of brushing it on). It goes on cloudy and dries clear and cleans up with water. It's widely available at pretty much any store that sells craft supplies. However, on glass, it leaves distinct brush strokes which can look kind of sloppy, and the finish will dissolve just a bit with water. I have used Mod Podge on a ton of projects, and the water reaction after dried is pretty minimal, but it can make the surface slick and prolonged contact with water can make the Mod Podge turn gummy. Also, surprisingly, the finish clouded when sprayed with rubbing alcohol. It did not react to the flame at all. So I'd say Mod Podge would only be a good idea on specific types of projects that you don't mind the brush strokes, and it's not going to come into contact with liquids. I have used Mod Podge on several opaque projects without issues and even used the dishwasher safe version of Mod Podge on a plate. That version of Mod Podge is much more water resistant, but also takes a month to cure.

Rating: D (Not the best for glass, but easy to use and clean up and available everywhere)

This product is a fairly new one for me. It's DecoArt/Americana's Triple Thick Gloss Glaze. I have used it for a couple of projects so far with sort of mixed results, but this is my first attempt using it on glass. It suffered from the same brush stroke issues as the Mod Podge, but it also stripped quite a lot of ink off of the slide in the process. The final finish was impervious to water, alcohol and fire, but it doesn't much matter since it's reactive with the ink and strips off so much of your hard work.

Rating: F--Not recommend for Alcohol Ink on Glass

Now we can move on to the various spray-on sealers. First up is Mod Podge Gloss Acrylic Sealer. I have used the Matte Acrylic Sealer from Mod Podge for several projects (up next), but I hadn't used the Glossy sealer. I knew that Glossy would have a better finish on glass, so I picked some up to try. I was surprised when I sprayed it on that it reacted with the alcohol ink a fair bit. The finish, once dried, was a bit speckled. It passed the water test with no issues, but was the only product that failed the rubbing alcohol test by bleeding ink onto my fingers as I swiped it. It apparently did not get a complete seal on the ink. It survived the fire test with no changes.

Rating F--Not recommend for Alcohol Ink on Glass

After the disappointing performance of the glossy spray, I was expecting the Mod Podge Matte Acrylic Sealer to tank the tests too, but it didn't. The finish is cloudy and matte, but it survived all of the tests beautifully. I have used this product several times on opaque surfaces with good results.

Rating: B (because most of the time you're not looking to make your glass projects look fuzzy and cloudy, but if you are, this stuff works great)

Next we have a series of Krylon sprays to test. The first is Krylon Covermaxx Crystal Clear Acrylic Gloss. I think I bought this one at the hardware store in the spray paint section.  It reacted with the alcohol ink when sprayed on, leaving a puddle of hot pink ink on the plate. It also dried to a speckled finish. It did pass the rest of the tests, but the initial spray ruined its score. I did use this spray very thinly on a ceramic tile project once in the past and managed minimal reaction with the ink, but the sealer actually started yellowing and flaking off as it aged.

Rating: F--Not recommended for alcohol ink on glass.

I was starting to get a bit discouraged by the results, but then, trusty old Kamar Varnish came along. This stuff is usually available in the art supply section of stores, and not in with the hardware store spray paint. This stuff sprays on pretty much the same as the acrylic sealers, but has a slightly stronger smell--so be sure to use in a well-ventilated area (outside would be best). But, it has pretty much zero reaction with the alcohol ink. The finish on glass was also surprising clear. It survived the water test with no issues and didn't bleed when sprayed with rubbing alcohol; however, the finish did become cloudy as it dried. It had no changes or reactions from fire. 

Rating: B (reaction to rubbing alcohol means it may need to be paired with another sealer to get a durable finish)

Next up is Krylon's Triple Thick Crystal Clear Glaze. This stuff is also usually in the art supply or craft section of a store as opposed to being shelved with the spray paint. It provided a pretty decent finish, although it goes on generously enough that I had a little pool underneath (hence the cloudy spot on the photo), so I need to spray lighter coats for future projects. This product passed the water, rubbing alcohol, and flame tests with no changes.

Rating: A (as long as you spray lightly)

This last one is a bit of a wild card. I bought a can of Rustoleum Engine Enamel for the specific purpose of using it to seal candle holders and ceramic tiles for use as hot plates or trivets. I was expecting it to react with the ink. I was also not expecting all of the rest of the products to test fine to a flame. I figured at least one or two of them would turn yellow or get sooty--but they all seemed to do fine. That being said, I was kind of amazed by how well this stuff worked. It had almost no reaction to the ink and had a beautifully smooth shiny finish. It aced all of the tests and is officially rated for up to 500 degrees, so should be perfect to use for the projects that you might be worried about getting a bit on the hot side.

Rating: A

So, the final tally, I do not recommend the DecoArt/American Triple Thick Gloss Glaze, the Mod Podge Clear Acrylic Sealer, or the Krylon Covermaxx Acrylic Spray for use with alcohol ink on glass. 

I do recommend Kamar Varnish as a setting spray and the Krylon Triple Thick Crystal Clear Glaze and the Engine Enamel. And if you're looking for a slightly frosted matte finish, the Mod Podge Matte Acrylic Spray works just fine.

Note that your results may vary. There are a lot of variables involved when using spray sealers (like temperatures and humidity levels when sprayed etc...). Also, these ratings are ONLY for alcohol ink on glass. The products that failed this particular test, may (and probably do) work well for other media. Also, I only used Ranger Alcohol Inks in this test just to keep things simple, so the sealers may behave differently with different brands of ink.

What did I miss? Do you have a sealer that you use with alcohol ink that I need to try out? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, September 16, 2019

Flamed Alcohol Ink Candle Jar with White Paint

I've had this empty candle jar floating around in my craft stash for a while. It's shape made it a hard one to figure out a craft for. Since alcohol ink works almost as well on curved surfaces as it does on flat, it seemed like a good fit. So, I decided to do something else I had been thinking about for a while, painting a vase or jar with white paint after I inked it. I tried it out on some glass gems and it mostly worked, so I knew it had potential.

I started out with a light colored ink dripped all the way around the candle jar as a base color. I decided to go with Sunshine Yellow.

I swirled it around the jar and then lit it on fire with a long lighter. I don't have any pictures of the flaming process on this project because the flame went poof very quickly because of the shape of the jar. If you try this method out, be sure to point the opening of the jar away from you as you light the ink on fire (also, light smaller amounts of ink at a time and keep it on a heat proof surface as the jar will get warm--especially in areas where the ink has accumulated). 

I added some Watermelon to the jar next and used the same process (just applied a little less since the red is so vibrant).

Then I added some Pinata Purple and lit it up. I continued with a blue and green to get the full rainbow of colors. Then I came back and added just a bit of yellow to fill in the gaps and break up any large sections of color.

I thought the jar looked great, but as always with glass projects, it looked best against the light or something white.

This jar had a lid, so before I could move onto the white paint, I had to ink it with the same colors. I left the jar and the lid to dry overnight to set the ink (but the next day was a total rain out so it ended up being two days).

I used some plastic wrap and some painter's tape to cover the outside of the candle jar and then I took it outside in a cardboard box to spray it. I opted to start with a thin coat of Kamar Varnish just to set the ink so it wouldn't react at all with the white paint.

I let the Kamar Varnish dry for about a half an hour (it was dry and in the 70s with a breeze--allow to dry a bit longer if it's humid out). Then I applied a coat of white spray paint. I had to pick up the jar and spray at some weird angles to try to get good coverage, but I managed.

After the first coat had dried to the touch (about a half an hour again), I sprayed another coat and then let it dry overnight before I peeled the tape off. I opted to scrape the paint off of the top rim of the jar, but otherwise it turned out perfectly. The colors pop so much more clearly with the white paint!

I'm not sure if I'll store anything in this jar or just set it out decoratively. I'll wait a couple weeks for the paint to finish curing to put the lid on and decide if the paint will be sturdy enough to use as a storage jar.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Fall Craft Collection

With the new school year starting, it's time to take a moment to share the blog's collection of Fall inspired crafts: Fall Craft Collection

Monday, September 2, 2019

Plastic Wrap Alcohol Ink on Washers

After last week's success with using the plastic wrap application method on glass gems, I decided it would be fun to try it on metal washers. Washer necklaces are my second most popular post on the blog, so it only seemed appropriate to give them the plastic wrap treatment too.

I laid out a sheet of crumpled plastic wrap on my craft mat and selected some washers and some coordinating colors of ink so they wouldn't turn too brown.

I ended up selecting some blues and greens and then some purple as a pop of color. I squirted the ink onto the plastic wrap until I had good coverage.

Then I plopped my washers down onto the ink making sure they had good contact. Then I wrapped the edges over the top to secure them for drying.

I set them aside for a day to dry. When I came back to them, the dried ink was a bit darker. I was optimistic since the last couple attempts at this method have been pretty successful.

So I peeled my first washer off of the plastic and was disappointed. The color didn't really stick to the washer.

After peeling them all off, I had very little color transfer. Undeterred, I decided I could try to add more color with a second attempt.

So I chose some saturated colors and a new piece of plastic wrap and plopped them down into the ink.

A day later I ended up with much better transfer. Two of the washers had a slightly pitted surface--they did not pick up the ink well. The others did ok. Definitely well enough to seal them up and make a few necklaces.

I thought I'd try the DecoArt by Americana Triple Thick Gloss glaze on these washers to seal them.

It's hard to see in the photo, but it worked pretty well. It gave me a bit more of a shiny finish than mod podge, but less of a raised glaze than dimensional magic or diamond glaze would. However it was also a bit more of a pain to apply than mod podge and a bit less than the fussy dimensional glazes. So it falls smack dab in the middle. I had to use two paper plates--one to apply the glaze, then pick them up out of the excess glaze that sloshes down into the center of the washer as you brush it on and then plop them onto a second plate to dry, and they still sort of glued themselves to the plate as they dried. You might have better luck with parchment than I did with a paper plate (I had to pry pieces of paper plate off of the back of a few of them).

But in the end, most of the washers turned out cute. I'm not sure why I had such bad transfer of the color on the first attempt. It may be that the surface of the washers just needs two applications, I'm not sure, but I'm definitely intrigued enough by how they turned out to try again!