Sunday, May 2, 2021

Pixiss Inks: First Impressions

Last week I tested out some T-rex alcohol inks that I picked up earlier this year. Today I decided to take a look at the other unopened box of inks I had in my craft stash.

These Pixiss alcohol inks come in a set of 25 inks and retail for around $39.99. I was able to pick them up when they were on sale for less than $24 which made each bottle less than a dollar. These small alcohol ink bottles usually retail for somewhere between $2-4 per bottle, so that made these Pixiss inks a great deal...if they were any good. 

As you can see, each bottle came wrapped in it's own individual plastic bag. Which, I suppose is to keep ink from leaking all over everything, but was a lot of unnecessary plastic packaging. Especially since each of the bottles also has a little safety ring that you have to pop off when you first open them.

So just like with last week's ink test, I dripped a single drop on a tile and tried to move it around by tilting the tile. That didn't go so well. The ink immediately spread out into a blob. The T-rex, Ranger, and even Pinata inks, all moved across the tile without turning into a single blob. 

So I went a step further and used some rubbing alcohol and blending solution along with a hand bulb blower to move the inks around. I grabbed the two tiles that I made last week with their respective inks and went ahead and made up a sample tile for Pinata, too. As you can see. They all blow around the tile and create interesting patterns. So even though the Pixiss was a blob to start with, it seems to behave fairly similarly to the other inks when thinned.

I grabbed some more inks and blew them around the tile. I found that most of the time, I didn't even need to thin the ink to get it to move--the inks were so thin to begin with. Which would be a benefit for small projects like this one, but for other larger designs, it would mean needing to use a lot of ink to get a vibrant design. The tile turned out cute, and I didn't need to use much thinner to make the inks flow.

Next I decided to use some inks to create a stamped tile. I applied a few drops to a felt applicator along with a drop of rubbing alcohol and stamped the tile. The inks were a lot less vibrant for this type of application than the brands I've used before (Ranger, Pinata, and T-rex). But the finished product was still pretty, just softer colors. It also took a long time for the ink to become tacky enough to create little cells or circles when stamping.

Final verdict: They're ok. They aren't as vibrant as the other inks I have tried, and they are definitely thinner. If you're used to Ranger, Pinata, etc... quality, you may want to pass on these. If you are just starting out and not sure if you want to invest money into alcohol inks, these are ok and do go on sale from time to time, making them a reasonable price for the quality.


Monday, April 26, 2021

T-Rex Alcohol Inks: First Impressions

It seems like there are new brands of alcohol ink showing up every day. Earlier this year, I picked up a set of T-Rex inks after hearing good things about their quality. I picked mine up on Amazon (this is not a sponsored post--I paid for the inks).

I thought I'd share some of my first impressions of the inks in case you were wondering if any of these newer brands were any good or were looking to buy a beginner's set.

I bought the "Starter Set": it comes with 11 inks and a bottle of blending solution, and it retails for about $30. Which makes their price just slightly lower than Ranger inks and a bit more expensive than Pinata. T-rex currently has 3 different color sets (Starter SetWarm Earth Tones and Cool Earth Tones) (compared to Pinata's 2 and about 33 colors compared to Ranger's 90+).

The bottles are this nice square shape which is easy to hold and come with color indicators on the top with their names clearly listed. The shapes of the bottles might make them difficult to store if you have a bunch of the round bottle variety of inks, but the color indicators were a welcome addition (and proved to be fairly accurate once the ink was thinned and spread). 

Next I decided to test out how it flowed. I put a single drop of ink (Tidal Teal) onto a ceramic tile and tilted the tile to watch the ink run. The color was vibrant, but it moved well without being thinned. Then I used a hand bulb to blow the ink around a bit to make sure it was dry and had moved as much as it was going to.

I decided to compare that to a similar color of Ranger ink (Mermaid) which didn't flow or spread out as much.

Then I added both the included blender and some rubbing alcohol and blew the inks around. They were very comparable in this test. Ranger's ink has more color within the ink that reveals itself as you are blowing it around--which can be both a good thing and a bad thing.  The blending solution provided in the set works well.

Next I decided to play. I used a bunch of colors to fill the tile, thinning with both the included blending solution and rubbing alcohol and blowing it around until the tile was full.

These inks were delightful to work with--to the point that I probably added a bit too much ink to the tile. I used 6 of their different colors to create my splash of ink tile.

Next I decided to test out how they behaved when stamping. I put a few drops of ink on a felt stamper and added a couple drops of rubbing alcohol and stamped the tile. I tried to use colors I hadn't used yet, so it got a bit bright. The ink stamped well, creating little cells and circles as the ink dried and became tacky. My only complaint with these inks is that the orange shade is not a true orange--more of a pale peach. So I hope they have a truer orange in one of their other sets.

These inks are lovely. They are as bright and saturated in color as Pinata inks without being quite as viscous/thick. They spread nicely and would be a great starter set (once they are back in stock) since they come with everything you need, ink wise.

These definitely get a thumbs up, and I can't wait to try more of their colors.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Hanging Faux Stained Glass Panels (Made with Laminating Pouches, Alcohol Ink, and Vinyl Decals)

I made some faux stained glass panels by alcohol inking the inside of laminator pouches and then applying stained glass patterns that I cut out of vinyl on my Silhouette Cameo.

It's been a busy couple of weeks here, but I finally managed to get my plastic "stained glass" panels hung up. I went into my sewing kit and grabbed the largest metal needle I could find and then used a lighter to heat the tip. I held it in the flames for a ten count to warm the needle.

Then I stuck the warmed tip of the needle into the laminating film to create a small hole. Be careful with the needles. I grabbed it in the center once and almost burned my finger. Make sure to only heat the very tip and to only hold it on the eye end.

Then I used fishing line to string up the panels. I tied a square knot in the fishing line and then poked it through the hole in the plastic panel to hang. I even connected my small squares into a hanging trio. 

This method for hanging the panels worked perfectly and it makes me want to try out more designs where I can connect multiple panels like my trio.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Monday, April 5, 2021

Faux Stained Glass made with Alcohol Ink, Laminating Pouches, and Vinyl Decals

A couple weeks ago I made some rainbow-colored sheets of plastic with alcohol ink and some laminating pouches. I turned those sheets into some Easter Sun Catchers with the help of my Silhouette.

I dripped ink onto the inside of the laminating pouches and then ran them through the laminating machine. I only ended up using one of the plastic sheets to make my Easter Sun Catchers, so I had two leftover pages of rainbow-colored plastic.

I found some stained glass designs with a quick google search. I think this one might be a coloring page, but it was the right size, and I liked the pattern, so I traced it in Silhouette studio and sent it to the cutting machine using the preset settings for vinyl.

I designed two pages of decals (since I had two sheets of rainbow plastic). I cut them out of my machine and trimmed off the excess vinyl (since the laminator sheets are 9 x 12 ish and the vinyl is 12 inches--if I had been smart, I would have cut 12 x 18 with the designs turned on their sides since my vinyl was on a roll, but alas, I did not). I got out a vinyl pick and a craft knife and got to weeding. I usually opt for the pick, but sometimes the knife works better, it just depends on the pattern.

This one weeded pretty easily. There weren't too many small sections, so the vinyl pulled off easily.

The second design had some smaller panes with very fine vinyl cuts. They were harder to weed without stretching or pulling up the pattern, but I managed not to destroy any of them while I was weeding--so success!

I grabbed some transfer tape and cut it to size and peeled it off it's backing and applied it to the decal. Since this decal is technically just one piece, I used some less sticky transfer tape. I just needed something to keep the design from twisting, stretching, or sticking to itself. After I rubbed the transfer tape into place over the decal, I peeled it off of its paper backing.

I then applied it to the rainbow plastic laminating pouch. I attempted to peel back the paper while applying it (stick it along the top and work my way down). I would not recommend that method. I got lots of bubbles I had to smooth out in the vinyl.

After the transfer tape was all rubbed down, I carefully peeled it back to reveal my design. I inspected the decal for bumps and bubbles and tried my best to smooth them out.

For the second sheet of designs, I tried a different method. I stuck the transfer tape onto the vinyl and rubbed it down, then I peeled it off its paper backing and left it on the table sticky side up.

Then I applied the plastic laminating sheet to the transfer tape with my designs. This seemed to work a bit better. There were fewer bubbles. It was easier to smooth down. It was a bit harder to get the design lined up straight, but my designs were slightly smaller than the sheet, so it worked out.

I rubbed the transfer tape down to make sure the vinyl stuck to the laminating sheet, then I carefully peeled it off.

Then I used a sharp scissors to cut the stained glass panels out of the laminating plastic.

I cut right up against the vinyl of the larger designs and left a tiny edge on the smaller designs, since the vinyl was so thin.

These turned out amazing! After I got a few pictures, I used some water to stick them to my front door window. I figured they'd fall off after a couple hours, but they stayed stuck up there all day.  I'll probably make some tiny holes and use fishing wire to hang the panels so they don't fall down, but this project has given me so many ideas for new ways to use alcohol ink and plastic!

Monday, March 29, 2021

Alcohol Ink on Spray Painted Plastic Easter Eggs

For the last several years, I've tried out various different methods of decorating plastic Easter eggs. I buy them on clearance after the holiday, so I usually have a stash in my Easter box. I have mod podged and spray painted and inked them. This year, I decided to try using alcohol ink on eggs that have been spray painted white. It can be tricky to find the inexpensive plastic Easter eggs in white--they usually come in a variety of pastel shades. Alcohol ink is so much brighter and vibrant when it's on a nice light background.

So I grabbed a can of  glossy white spray paint and put some plastic eggs in a cardboard box and attempted to spray paint them. It took several coats with them opened up, then I put them back together and put them into an egg carton and tried to spray paint the sides. They are tricky to paint just because of their shape. I ended up with some paint issues (spots where they touched and some pealing, etc...), so I tried another batch, so I had more options.

This time I selected yellow eggs and spray painted them with a satin spray paint in Heirloom White (cream/off white). I made lighter coats and got much better results.

I got out my inking supplies (craft mat, rubbing alcohol, a paint brush). Then I selected my white eggs that turned out ok and the batch of off white eggs and used bamboo skewers or toothpicks in the little holes in the tops and bottoms of the plastic eggs so they could be held while inking. A couple of them did not have holes. I set them aside for later. 

I selected a shade of magenta ink (wild plum) and dripped some ink onto the egg and spun it around to get it to run around the egg.

I dipped a paint brush (a #6 round brush) in some rubbing alcohol and spread the wild plum ink out across the egg. The satin finish paint soaked up the ink a bit and gave it a lovely watercolor effect.

Then I added some pink (raspberry) alcohol ink to the top of the egg and spread it around with my paintbrush.

Then I added some slightly more purple ink (boysenberry) to the bottom of the egg and spread it around. Once the egg was covered, I used my paintbrush to draw lines and make patterns. I used both plain rubbing alcohol and I dipped my brush in some alcohol ink to make the patterns. I used a plastic lid as a palette.

Next I tried inking one of the eggs painted in glossy white. The ink behaved differently. It immediately wanted to run and create cells instead of creating an even watercolor look. So I applied my ink and let it dry a bit before I moved on to painting the next section.

The first one was a bit tricky, but I found that if I spread the ink on thinly and then set it aside to dry and worked on another egg, it worked much better. When the ink was nearly dry, it was much easier to create the patterns in the ink.

I had a couple of eggs with no holes in them, so I opened the eggs up and painted one color on one side of the egg and a complementary color on the other side of the egg. It was hard to paint them (hence the big splotch of green ink on the mat). They want to slide when open and they want to roll when closed. So I let the halves dry and then held the top and bottom between my fingers and did my best to paint the patterns on the egg. I had to paint over my finger prints to hide them a few times.

Even though I struggled with the glossy paint (spray paint and plastic sometimes don't get along) and they were a bit messy to paint, I think they turned out great! I would recommend using a satin or matte spray paint. The eggs come up out looking much more like real dyed Easter eggs and are a bit easier to paint. But both the glossy and the satin turned out lovely in the end.