Monday, May 18, 2020

Dripped Alcohol Ink on White Coffee Mugs


Last year, I bought some plain white mugs from Big Lots and I've had some fun figuring out new ways to ink them. My first project was a beachy drip project where I used aqua alcohol ink and rubbing alcohol to thin it and make it look like water. My second mug project used the plastic wrap method of ink application. As I was digging through my craft stash, I found another pair of mugs and decided to revisit the drip technique from my first project but with some shades of purple.


So I got out my craft mat, three shades of purple alcohol ink  (purple twilight, eggplant, and passion purple), and some gold ink. I also grabbed a small jar with a little bit of rubbing alcohol and a pipette.


I started by drip/drawing a line of ink onto my mug and turning the mug to allow the ink to run and dry as I went. I connected the line so that it made a ring all the way around the mug.


I turned the mug to try to connect the lines of  ink as they flowed around the mug. After my first line, I decided I liked the contrast of the dark purple against the white mug and the ink was flowing well enough to get nice lines around the mug, so I opted not to thin the ink with the rubbing alcohol. I used the rubbing alcohol I put in the jar to clean up instead.


I added another shade of purple and tried to let the ink flow in a controlled, but artistic fashion around the mug. Sometimes it branched off a bit from where I intended it to go (see the above photo). I used those branches as places to cross over the alcohol ink lines.


I added two more lines of purple so that I had about an inch of wavy lines around both mugs. 


Then I started adding my gold over the top. The gold ink flows a bit more freely than the regular alcohol ink (but the pinata colors flow more slowly than ranger ink), so I carefully guided the lines across my existing purple lines and created loops where I thought it needed them.


After I felt like the design was all connected together and looked good, I let it dry for a little bit.


Then I grabbed a can of Kamar Varnish and sprayed the ink design on the mugs to set them. If I decided to use these as pen mugs, they are good to go, but if I want to use them as drinking mugs, I'll need to seal the ink with dishwasher safe mod podge. The gold alcohol ink is made with metal particles, so don't put it in the microwave.


These free form drip designs are a ton of fun to make. You can let the ink sort of go where it wants to, and you can kind of guide it along to create a pattern. You have some control, but it still does it's own thing. I can't wait to try this method again!

Monday, May 11, 2020

Spray Painted Galaxy Tray with Vinyl Decal


Sometimes a craft takes a long and winding road to get to a finish line. This craft begins over a year ago when I went to the local Goodwill Outlet and brought home a pile of junk (I try not to go often because I always bring home a pile of junk--some of it is awesome junk--but it's still junk).


So, I started out with this lovely tin duck tray. At the store it looked sturdy, mostly un-dented, fairly light (it's pay by weight), and kinda ugly. Which is a perfect recipe for a thrift makeover. I figured I'd spray paint it a solid color. So I picked out this hammered steel spray paint. I figured the texture of the paint would hide any little blemishes or scratches.


If you're curious, this lovely duck tray was brought to you by Avon. High class as always.


So I sprayed it evenly with this lovely hammered paint. The surface came out perfectly. The only problem--I had just painted it to look like a pizza pan. I never used it. It languished for months in the unfinished project pile.


So when it got nicer out, I decided to get creative with the spray paint. I have had some luck making starry galaxy patterns with spray paint, so I gave it another shot. I sprayed over the pizza pan silver with a coat of black paint and let it dry.


Then I started layering in stripes and splatters of teal, blue, purple, and silver spray paint. 


I sprayed swaths and splatters of paints until I liked the look of them. If I thought they were a bit too early 90s bright, I'd go over them again with black paint to wash them out a bit.


When I thought it was looking close to what I wanted, I started adding in silver swaths and just kept spraying paint across the tray until I thought it looked good. I'd let it dry between layers of paint and when I felt pretty good about the top of the tray, I flipped it over and painted the back of the tray, too.


I felt pretty good about my galaxy pattern, but it was a bit boring, so again, it went in the unfinished pile. This time, though, I wanted to add a decal to it, so I waited until I was cutting out a ton of silver decals (for last week's craft) to cut out several space ships from various fandoms (Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Firefly). But before I could apply a decal, I needed to add some stars to my galaxy/nebula spray paint. I sprayed some silver spray paint onto a paper plate and used the back of a round toothpick to apply dots in a random pattern to the tray.


I did my best to make the stars random, but they ended up a bit too evenly spaced out. But it still added some interest to the spray paint. I let the stars dry for a couple of hours before applying a decal.


Then, after comparing all the ship decals, the votes (from my husband) came in and we went with the original series Enterprise (from Star Trek). I opted to use a new transfer tape after last week's debacle (the transfer tape I usually use peeled the spray paint off of my project). This transfer tape is like a stickier version of contact paper--it's clear with no lines on the tape itself. (FYI, Contact Paper doesn't work very well as transfer tape, you can use it in a pinch, but it's peels up to easily, so it's hard to get the decals to stick to it.)


I cut my transfer tape a bit larger than my decal and peeled off it's paper backing and applied it to the weeded decal. I rubbed the tape onto the design, paying special attention to the places where the decal separates into multiple parts.


I peeled the tape and the decal off of the vinyl decal's paper backing and then selected a spot for my decal on the tray.


I applied the decal, rubbed it down and carefully pulled up the tape. It was a bit less sticky than the other tape I use, and this paint job (aside from the stars) had been drying for a whole year by the time I applied the decal, so no paint peeled up (YAY!).


It took a year and a couple of months, but I think I finally finished the duck tray makeover. I may seal it with some spray sealer or mod podge before using it with food or drink, but as a decorative piece, it's good to go. I can't wait to use more of my silver decals!

Monday, May 4, 2020

Making and Applying Decals with the Silhouette Cameo: A Success and a Failure


Whenever I have a craft failure, my husband is always telling me to post about the failures. He's right. It's important for readers to see how mistakes get made and what not to do. So this week, I'm writing about how I made a whole bunch of decals and how the planned project for this week, came apart at the tape (so to speak).


I was cleaning out a closet (seems like everyone is doing that these days) and I found an old drink flavor container (generic Crystal Light from back when they came in these round canisters). They are a nice size for storing things and the labels come off easily, so I decided I needed to make something fun out of it. Since we're having some great spray paint weather (70 and low humidity) I decided to try ombre painting again. This time I decided to go from dark purple to magenta.


I started out with the darker shades of purple on the bottom of the container, spraying in light passes around sides.


Then I sprayed a reddish purple in the middle and sprayed the magenta spray paint around the top edge. The layers dried pretty quickly, and I set the canister aside for several days to cure.


Then I selected a color of vinyl that would compliment the canister. I had some sparkly silver that I thought would be fun. The holographic colors in it complimented the pink spray paint and the silver would be a good contrast against the dark purple. Since I had a 12 x 12 inch sheet of the vinyl, I decided to find a bunch of designs that would look good cut out of silver and filled up the space on my square in Silhouette Studio. I Googled my chosen fandoms and copied and pasted solid designs that I then traced. I knew I was using all of these for my own personal use, so I just looked for designs that didn't come from websites that were asking for payments for their own creations. Be sure that you pay for designs or make sure they are free for commercial use if you are planning on making something to sell.

Then I cut the whole sheet of vinyl with my Silhouette. I used the mat to load the vinyl because it was very curly and I wanted it to load straight.


After I cut the page of vinyl out, I got to the tedious work of weeding the decals. There were 21 designs on that 12 inch square. And, the design on the silver vinyl made it really difficult to see the cut lines.


After about an hour and a half of plucking tiny pieces of vinyl, 19 of the designs survived. The two that didn't I had made too small and couldn't remove the excess vinyl without pulling some of the vinyl that was meant to stay in the decal with it too. But I felt like I got a lot of decals out of that 12 inch sheet, and I can't wait to make fun projects out of them in the future. Also, I'll be finding tiny bits of silvery sticky vinyl for weeks. They were stuck all over my shirt when I was done.


So back to my spray painted canister. I had selected a quote from Picasso to put on it since I was planning on using it to store art supplies. I cut out a piece of transfer tape a bit larger than the decal and applied it to the vinyl as straightly as possible. Then I burnished the transfer tape with the back of my nail so that the vinyl decal would stick to it.


Then I applied the decal to the canister. I had to chop off Picasso's name; it didn't quite fit. I figured I could stick it off to the side of the quote afterward. I rubbed the letters down so they would stick to the canister.


Then I carefully peeled back the transfer tape and half of the paint came with it. I stopped and pulled from the bottom and some of the vinyl stuck on the paint. A little sanding before spray painting, some gentler transfer tape, all the things I could have done differently started running through my mind, but I couldn't save this project (at least not without a whole lot of scraping and a big do-over).


I still had 18 decals left, though. So gosh darn it, I was going to make something with them. I picked out this cute infinity Harry Potter decal (if anyone knows the original artist, please let me know in the comments) to apply to my Chromebook. I used the same process of cutting the transfer tape just a bit bigger than the decal.


Then I stuck the transfer tape onto the decal as straightly as possible and burnished it over the design so the vinyl would all pull off of the backer sheet.


Then I peeled it off the backer sheet and applied it to my laptop and burnished the design again and carefully peeled off the transfer tape.


As I did, I was left with a perfect decal. I was so glad nothing peeled off this time. :) 

Monday, April 27, 2020

Plastic Wrap Alcohol Ink and Spray Paint Cylindrical Vase

I've been enjoying finding new ways and different objects that I can try out the plastic wrap method for applying alcohol ink. I came into the possession of several of these cylinder vases and was trying to think of what I could do with them. I had some success using the plastic wrap method on a glass vase where I used spray paint, so I thought I'd try that again, but this time with a different shaped vase, some lighter colors of ink, and a different color of spray paint.


So I laid out my craft mat, a sheet of plastic wrap (I used Glad Cling Wrap--not press and seal), and some alcohol inks.


Making sure the plastic wrap stayed a bit rumpled, I squirted and dripped my alcohol ink on in a random pattern until the plastic wrap was covered in an area about the size of my vase.


Then I set the vase onto the plastic wrap and wrapped it around the vase. Then I set it aside to dry. When using this method with vases, be sure to put something underneath them to catch whatever ink seeps out of the bottom while it dries. I usually just leave it on a craft mat until it's dry. It takes 12-24 hours for the ink to dry completely (depending on temperature and humidity). I usually just leave it for a day and then come back to it. The nice part about this method is that if you're busy, you can leave the plastic wrap on it indefinitely until you have time to peel it off. I got busy with other projects and our early spring weather turned back into winter for a while, and since I knew I wanted to spray paint this one, I left the plastic wrap on it for about 3 weeks. I didn't notice any adverse affects from waiting to peel the plastic off.


You can see how much lighter the inks appear after they've dried. Some inks stay really saturated in color on glass, but most turn very translucent.


The last time I made a spray paint backed vase using this method, I sprayed the vase before I inked it. This time, I thought I'd try spraying it afterward. I already had the outside covered in plastic wrap, so I just made sure the top edge was still secure but not folded inside the vase and got to painting.


I selected the off white paint sort of on accident. I went down into the basement where I keep my craft supplies and meant to grab regular white paint, but when I got upstairs, I noticed it was off white (Heirloom White). I figured it would work and give a softer appearance that would go nicely with the softer colors, so why not?


I gave the inside of the vase a couple of light coats of spray paint and left it to dry for about an hour.


The conditions were good for spray painting (warm and dry) so the paint dried quickly. I peeled my plastic wrap off and was left with a lovely vase.


Leaving the plastic wrap on and painting after the inking was completed and dried worked out pretty well. Next time I may want to tape the top edge to get a perfect paint line, but I had very little spray over, and the off white paint looked lovely with the pastel shades of ink.