Monday, December 21, 2020

Snowflake Suncatchers from Alcohol Ink on Laminating Pouches

Earlier this year, I tried inking laminating pouches and running them through the laminator. It worked pretty well, so I cut some stars out of the inked plastic and made some sun catchers. Next I made some shamrocks out of some green inked laminating film. This fall, I made some pumpkins, but decided it would be fun to see if I could cut the film out with my Silhouette. It worked! So, now that Christmas is just around the corner, I knew I needed to try it again.

I turned on my laminator and laid out a laminating pouch onto a craft mat. I also grabbed a can of air and a bulb blower and my stash of alcohol inks.

I grabbed all of my blues, especially the lighter ones, and some white and silver. I even tried to use some pearl, but the white and pearl inks got a bit gloopy. I had to smear them around to thin them out. I used my finger and a foam brush. Needless to say, it took a lot of drips of ink and a little bit of rubbing alcohol and canned air blowing it around and smearing it with a brush to get it looking ok. I didn't want a fully transparent blue sheet or a sheet that was too dark because I wanted to make snowflakes.

So I grabbed another laminator pouch. This time I decided to make a white base before adding on my ink. I used a foam brush to spread out a thin coat of the Pinata white ink.

Then I added my blues and a few drops of silver over the top. This one turned out a bit better, but I wasn't sure what it would look like as snowflakes.

I let the sheets dry until they were completely dry to the touch. If they are still wet, the laminator will squish the ink around, and it won't get a good seal. If it's not sealed well when it laminates, the two sides can come apart when you're cutting it. So after they were completely dry, I ran them through the machine. I was surprised by how transparent the first one came out. It looked like there was a lot of ink on the sheet, but because the insides of the laminating pouches are a little frosty colored, they were clearer than expected.

After my sheets were laminated, I found some snowflake shapes online and traced them in Silhouette studio. I looked for snowflakes that were a bit beefier so they wouldn't be super thin. It also had to be an image that would leave one single piece once cut. I added some holes the top for hanging and sent it to my machine using the clear sticker paper settings (Blade 3, Thickness 33, Speed 4, Double Cut).

I started with the sheet that I thought was a bit of a failure, first just in case it didn't work. I stuck it onto my Silhouette mat and let it run.

After the design cut, I peeled away the excess laminating film and was left with snowflakes--I still needed to finish weeding, but it was a success! After these were peeled off the mat, I ran the other inked piece of plastic through using the same design.

I ended up with 12 bigger snowflakes (about 3 1/2 inches) and 4 little snowflakes. Most of them turned out great. A couple of the snowflakes cut out of the first sheet were so light that they didn't look like they had intentional ink on them, but the rest turned out great!

I immediately hung them up on my patio door and let the light shine through them.

These look great as suncatchers, but would also look cute hanging on a tree as ornaments--especially the more vibrantly colored ones.


Monday, December 14, 2020

Jewel Toned Alcohol Ink Ornaments

After last week's ornament project, I found myself in the Christmas spirit. That, and I found these awesome faceted ornaments in my container of plastic ornament blanks. I bought a big tub of these clear plastic ornaments from a craft store after Christmas a couple of years ago. I didn't really notice these until I had pulled the flat ones out for last week's project. These were just begging to be inked.

I knew I wanted to go with jewel tones since the ornaments kind of look like gem stones. So I pulled out my can of air, a craft mat, and a bunch of purple, teal, magenta, etc... inks.

I decided to add a little glitz and glam to the ornaments by starting out with some metallic inks. I used Ranger's silver for a couple and Pinata's gold for the other two. I dripped a couple of lines of ink into the ornament, and then I used the canned air to blow it around as best as I could.

I let the metallic ink dry for a little while before starting the other inks so they would mix less when added the other inks. I tried out several different colors and determined that the Pinata inks worked great for these ornaments because the inks are a little thicker and not quite so transparent. I did have to use quite a bit of canned air to get the ink to blow around since it kept getting caught up in the pattern on the ornament.

After I had the ornaments colored with my jewel tones of ink, I added a bit more metallic over the top to fill in some gaps. The ink that was added first was a bit brighter and didn't mix with the colors of ink as much as the metallic ink I put in at the end, so it created some nice depth.


After they were all mostly covered in ink, I let them dry with the open ends tipped towards some paper towels. Then I popped the metal hangers back in.

I was really pleased with how these turned out. I even got the husband's comment of, "Hey, those turned out cool," so I know they must be pretty good. :) 


Monday, December 7, 2020

2020 Grinch Ornaments made with Alcohol Ink and Vinyl Decals

A couple years ago, I made an ornament using my Silhouette cutting machine and an alcohol inked plastic ornament. Over the years, I've made many versions of inked globe ornaments, so I wanted to try something a little different this year. It's been a memorable year, so I thought I'd make a commemorative ornament.

I had some plastic globe ornaments in my craft stash. I figured these flatter ornaments would be easier to apply decals to, so I got out some green alcohol ink and a can of air and got to work. I took off the metal hangers on the top of the ornaments and started squirting ink into the interiors of the ornaments.

I started out by coating the ornaments with a lighter shade of green as a base. I used 4-5 drops of Limeade ink and some swirling around with the air can to coat the insides of the ornaments.

Next I dripped a couple drops of Botanical ink into each ornament and blew it around with the canned air until it was dry.

Lastly, I used a few drops of Bottle ink to create some contrast. I accidentally squirted much more than a couple drops into one of the ornaments, so I squirted some rubbing alcohol into the ornament and swirled it around. Then I turned it over and let it drip out onto a napkin. Then I added some of the lighter green back into it until it looked the way I wanted it to. It was still a bit darker than the others, but it was salvageable.

While the ink was drying, I used my Silhouette to cut out some designs. I cut out a Grinch face, a Grinch hand holding an ornament, and some text that said "2020 stink, stank, stunk." I found the face and hand through a quick google search and used a font called Grinched to make the text.

After the designs were cut and weeded (excess vinyl removed), I cut them into their separate designs and cut out some transfer paper tape for the designs with multiple components.

I centered my Grinch face on the paper tape and burnished (rubbed) the vinyl design so it would stick to the tape.

Then I applied the decal to the ornament from the center out. I was surprised that even these flattened globes had quite a bit of curve to them, so some of the vinyl wrinkled a bit.

I rubbed the design down and carefully peeled back the transfer tape to reveal the vinyl decal.

On the next ornament, I made some cuts in the transfer tape to eliminate some of the wrinkling. It worked perfectly.

On the back side, I repeated the process with my other decals. The hand and ornament decal was all one piece, so I applied it without transfer tape. Then I lined the text up next to it with the transfer tape and burnished it onto the ornament. I cut the transfer tape between each line of text so it wouldn't wrinkle (sorry I didn't take a picture of that application).

I repeated the decal process on all four ornaments, and aside of some difficulties getting the decals on straight, the ornaments turned out positively Grinchy!


Monday, November 30, 2020

Monday, November 23, 2020

Plastic Wrap Alcohol Ink on Dominoes

After last week's domino project, I had an urge to work with dominoes again. I decided to try out the plastic wrap application method to see if it would work on dominoes.

So I set out a craft mat and a sheet of plastic wrap and got out my inks.

I selected a veritable rainbow of alcohol inks and dripped them all over my sheet of plastic wrap.

When the plastic wrap was filled with ink, I dropped my dominoes onto the ink and wrapped the edges of the plastic around the dominoes. When I do this again, I'll try to make sure to have enough inked plastic to wrap around all of the dominoes. Some of my dominoes were inked on the backsides and some weren't.

I let them dry for several days before unwrapping them, but they're usually dry after being left for 12-24 hours (depending on humidity levels and how much ink was used and how porous the surface is, etc...). 

Between the rainbow of colors and the ink getting a bit smooshed when I moved my pack of dominoes off to the side of the table to dry, they got a bit muddied in color, but they worked. This surface works perfectly for alcohol ink application like this. So I'll definitely try again!

I got a few good ones out of the batch and proved the concept. Now I just need to take these dominoes and the ones from last week and make something with them.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Sunset Stripes Alcohol Ink on Dominoes

I've had an application technique for alcohol ink floating around in my head for awhile. I've seen ink applicated in rainbows with foam brushes and makeup sponges, but I always thought it wouldn't look as pretty when I tried it myself. I've used foam brushes to apply ink to the edges of tiles and in other areas where I want a solid color, but I hadn't tried striping the ink.

So I got out some dominoes and a foam brush so I could test this striped application method. I chose some colors that I thought would look nice next to each other. I added an orange when I had space for more ink on my foam brush.

I used the tip of the inks to draw a line of ink on the foam brush and just stacked the lines of ink on top of each other. I couldn't really see the ink (except that hot pink raspberry color) on the foam brush, but I could tell where it was wet.

I took a picture of the inks before I painted them on the dominoes so I could remember what colors I used: Sunset Orange, Raspberry, Purple Twilight, Sailboat Blue, and Clover.

Then I brushed the ink across the domino. I adjusted the position of the brush to get more blues and more oranges, but it was immediately stripe-y and beautiful. The lines blended together as they dried.

The ink lasted so long I was able to double brush some of the dominoes to get darker colors and added a little extra orange to a few. Each different method created a slightly different look

I let them dry for an hour and the colors continued to smooth a bit as they dried, so they hardly looked stripe-y at all. But, I did get some ink on the edges, so I wetted a paper towel with some rubbing alcohol and rubbed the edges of my dominoes on the damp paper towel to remove the excess ink. The hardest part is keeping the ink off your fingers so you don't get more on the domino edges as you are cleaning.

I had a few that didn't quite turn out or got a bit of rubbing alcohol on them while I was cleaning, so I stamped their surface on the alcohol soaked paper towel to create a texture to hide the defects.

They're not quite as pretty as the striped ones, but they are still cute.

After I cleaned the edges, I put them in a cardboard box and gave them a good coat of Kamar Varnish to set the ink.

These were super satisfying and quick to ink. I can't wait to figure what to make with my rainbow/sunset dominoes. I've stamped and embossed and decorated dominoes to make necklaces in the past. Maybe these will be keychains. Anyone have any other ideas?