Monday, February 24, 2020

Laminated Tissue Paper Bookmarks

A couple of weeks ago I made some sun catchers for Valentine's Day using tissue paper and clear contact paper. Which made me think...could I run tissue paper through my laminator? I have one of those inexpensive laminating machines that takes the laminating pouches, so if I could put tissue paper in one of the pouches, I could make more sun catchers, or something else with that fun stained glass effect.

So, I grabbed a couple of laminating pouches and a stack of colored tissue paper.

I started by using a scissors to cut strips of tissue paper of of the ends of the folded stacks of tissue paper. I cut them in strips between a quarter and a half an inch thick.

Then I cut the strips at the folds. I tried to cut them different lengths and slightly different thicknesses. I wanted things to be a bit mismatched.

Then I opened my laminating pouch and started laying the strips of tissue paper onto the sheet. I tried to overlap and angle the tissue paper, but generally kept them all going the same direction. I tried to fill in as much of the sheet as possible while still leaving some gaps for light to shine through.

There were a couple little edges of tissue paper sticking out. I tried to push them in, but a couple still stuck out, and it was just fine (they just got cut off later).

I carefully walked my pouch of tissue paper over to the preheated little old laminator. I stuck it into the machine, fold edge of the pouch first, and ran it through. The tissue paper is so thin that I got a great bond on the first trip through the laminator (sometimes this little old guy needs the pouches to go through a few times to get a good seal).

And it worked! A pretty crisscross of colors! So, off to try it again.

I layered in even more strips this time, trying to jam as many into the pouch as possible while still leaving little gaps.

This one turned out great, too!

After some careful thought, since I had just made some sun catchers, I decided to make some cool bookmarks. The laminated tissue paper is thin, but thick enough to make a great bookmark. After an attempt to cut the lamination film with a rotary cutter and a straight edge, I ended up just using a 6-inch ruler as a template and cutting around it with a scissors. The plastic film is so slick that it was hard to keep the ruler from sliding, which was complicated by the fact that I had to press pretty hard on the rotary cutter to get it to cut well, so it kept cutting crooked lines. The scissors cut the film easily, so using the ruler worked pretty well.

I ended up with a stack of about 15 bookmarks out of those two laminating pouches. You could punch a hole in the top and run some ribbon or embroidery floss through the tops of the bookmarks, but I rather like the simple ones.

I'm so glad the concept worked well, and I can't wait to try it again!

Monday, February 17, 2020

Alcohol Ink Washer Necklace Craft Collection

One of my most popular projects on the blog has been alcohol ink washer necklaces. I've tried them stamped, flamed, and even applied with plastic wrap. I've tested several way to seal them, and I can't wait to try out even more ways to decorate washers with alcohol ink! Check out the whole collection of washer necklaces here: washer necklaces.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Tissue Paper Valentine's Day Sun Catchers

A couple of years ago I made a heart shaped bowl covered in heart shaped tissue paper. During this project, I learned how to punch tissue paper with a paper punch. So, for Valentine's Day, I decided to pull out the old paper punch and tissue paper yet again for another project.

I folded up my tissue paper into several layers (If it's not punching, adjust your layers. A couple of layers of paper is usually not enough, but if it's too thick, you may have a hard time punching through it.) and punched a pile of hearts. I also cut two pieces of  clear contact paper (clear sticky vinyl shelf liner) that were roughly the same size.

I peeled the paper backing off of one of my pieces of clear contact paper and laid it on the table sticky side up.

Then I began setting my hearts on the sticky paper. I intentionally laid them on haphazardly in all directions and sometimes overlapping to avoid any clear patterns.

I continued to stick my hearts on the sticky paper until it was almost entirely covered. There were small gaps here and there and I figured that was ok since it was covered with the hearts in all directions.

Then I peeled the paper off the back of the other sheet of contact paper.

Then I applied it (sticky side down) to the sheet on the table. The two sheets of contact paper create a sandwich with the tissue paper securely stuck in the middle.

At this point you can simply use a scissors to cut out some heart shapes (perhaps make a template first--either from heart shapes found online or one cut out of paper to trace onto the contact paper). But, because I like to make things more complicated and because it's been a while since I have used my embossing machine, I decided to see if I could use some heart-shaped dies to cut the contact paper. I had to cut my piece of contact paper in half to fit the machine.

I have an old Cuttlebug (which are now no longer being made--but the Big Shot and the Evolution do the same thing and can use the same dies). The plate order for die cutting on the Cuttlebug should be A spacer, B plate, dies facing up, material you're cutting, then the C plate. But I flipped it so I could see where the dies were at on my material and went with A spacer, C plate, material I'm cutting, dies facing down, and the B plate. You may get a better cut using the recommended orientation. I did have to add a piece of chipboard to my stack of plates so that it was pressing enough to get a cut, and even then it stayed attached in a few spots, but it applied a good impression of the die that made it easy to cut any attached parts with a scissors. I ran the two halves of my contact paper through the machine and cut out my hearts.

After I had my hearts cut out, I trimmed off any excess that didn't cut clearly and used a hole punch at the top of the hearts to turn them into sun catchers.

I hung my sun catchers up with little hooked suction cups. You could string them up with pretty ribbon or fishing line, too. These were really easy and fun to make. The tissue paper part of the project turned out great, and I'm glad I went with the haphazard anti-pattern. I also look forward to trying out other projects with contact paper in the Cuttlebug to fine tune the cutting. It worked pretty well, but just needed a bit of tweaking.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Watercolor and Paper Cut-Outs Valentine's Day Cards

Each year I participate in a Valentine's Day card exchange. I try to make the cards if I can. For last year's exchange, I made a set of cute narwhal cards using my spray paint marbled paper.

I started out by making a watercolor background on my card stock. I wanted to make an ocean blue pattern and I knew that watercolors were the easiest way to do this. I taped down a frame so the edges would be clean (ish). and so that the paper wouldn't warp too much with the water.

Well, there's a reason why they make special paper for watercolor painting. I did my best to use a few shades of blue and do a color wash that gets a bit lighter towards the top (like the ocean), but the paper came out pretty wrinkly. I used a heat gun and some air drying time on all of the cards and as soon as they were relatively dry, I shoved them under something heavy to try to smooth them out a bit as they finished. It sort of worked and the wrinkles reduced, but it wasn't perfect.

Next I needed some narwhals. Because who doesn't need narwhals. I found some basic clipart in a google search and traced it in the Silhouette Studio. I tried a few different versions before I landed on the one that I used. But when I figured it out, I cut a whole sheet of Narwhals.

The regular settings for card stock need to be bumped up a bit when cutting the spray painted paper. It's also a bit bumpy and doesn't always like to stick to the mat, but I got it to mostly work.

Some of my narwhals peeled right out, but the others had to be carefully popped out of the paper. I was really pleased with how speckled the spray painted paper looked. It was very whale-like. Before I started assembling my cards, I ran my ocean-painted card stock through the printer and added "Narwhal you be my Valentine?" on the front and "Happy Valentine's Day!" on the inside.

After my narwhals were all punched out of the card stock, I used some distress stain blotted on the edges to make sure the narwhals would stand out against the ocean backdrop. I used a makeup sponge to get in all the nooks and crannies.

After the distressing was finished, I punched some hearts out of red glitter paper and used some TomBow Mono Multi Glue on the heart and whales before sticking them on my cards. Because of all the slightly bumpy surfaces, glue worked a bit better than double stick tape for these cards.

After I had made one successful card, I repeated the process and made a whole stack of narwhal cards. If I had to do this design again, I'd come up with something a bit different for the ocean background, but they still turned out super cute!