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.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Alcohol Ink Easter Sun Catchers

Last spring, I had an idea to try using alcohol ink on the inside of a laminating pouch and then laminating it. It worked, and ever since, I've been making sun catchers for every holiday using the technique. Later I discovered I could cut the film on my Silhouette, which opened up even more possibilities. So now it was Easter's turn to get some fun sun catchers.

I laid out a few pouches of laminating film and got out a craft mat, some canned air, some rubbing alcohol, and of course, my inks.

I opened the laminating pouch and dripped one color at a time (a few drops scattered over the film) and then blew the ink with canned air to spread it out and dry it. I repeated the process with a ton of colors until I had a rainbow-y filled sheet of laminating plastic.

To break up the pattern a bit, I used a pipette with a tiny bit of rubbing alcohol that I squeezed over the inked circles to create tiny bubbles/circles all over the sheet. Then I set the sheet aside to dry (open).

I repeated the process with a couple more sheets of laminating film, just in case. For this one I lined up my rainbow of colors when I had filled up the sheet.

After I was done inking up a few sheets, I turned on my laminator. I let the sheets dry while the machine warmed up. It's very important that the ink is completely dry or the laminator will squish around the ink and, even more importantly, won't get a good seal when laminating.

I ran each sheet through the machine twice for good measure.

They turned out perfectly! I now have 3 rainbow sheets of plastic.

One of them was most certainly going to be used to make Easter sun catchers, so I made a design. My laminator pouches are 9 X 11.5 inches. So I set the sheet size to custom and round some bunnies that would hang straight and an egg shape. I added little circles to the top of each so that they could be hung up and squeezed as many of them into the page as I could. Then I set the cut settings to "Sticker Paper, Clear" (which is outlined in the box in red).

Then I stuck my colorful laminating film to a cutting mat and loaded it into my old Silhouette and let it cut.

I watched it cut out the shapes without any issues and peeled the excess off as soon as it came out of the machine.

They worked perfect! The bonus with these cut outs is that I get a fun stencil when I'm done, though I've yet to use one. :)

I hung these right up on the window--such a fun splash of color! So, what shapes should I cut out next? What should I use my other two sheets of colorful plastic to make?

Monday, March 15, 2021

Ombre Spray Painted Tea Tin

Over the years I've spray painted many tins to keep them out of the recycling bin. This past week, the weather here was amazing (for early March), so I decided to spray paint another tin that was destined for the trash heap. I had just finished a tin of Harney and Sons tea and decided to spray it in shades of teal.

I grabbed a cardboard box and went out onto the deck to with my spray paint.

I sprayed the first coats with the tin open. Spraying most of the tin in the middle shade of teal and then coming back with the lighter and darker shades at the top and bottom. I allowed each side to dry and then rotated the tin and sprayed another coat. With dry times and tin rotation, this first coat took an entire afternoon.

I let the whole thing dry overnight and then went over the first coat with a piece of sandpaper to knock down any bumps from the first application (if the spray paint is new--you probably won't have anything to sand off, but my spray paint is old and sometimes comes out of the can a bit wonky).

The edges of the lid were still fairly uncovered and you could kind of read the label through the first coat, so I put the lid back on the container and sprayed a second coat on each side. Medium color first, then dark color on the bottom and light color on the top. Once again I rotated and allowed for dry time in between.

I ended up with a lovely teal tin that's a blank canvas. I'm not really sure what I'm going to store in this tin, and I didn't have any decals cut that seemed like a good fit for a teal tin, so for now, I have a lovely teal tin. If I find something fun to add to it, I'll be sure to post an update.


Monday, March 8, 2021

Refurbished Alcohol Ink Switch Plates

Last week on the blog, I wrote an update post about a set of stamped switch plates I made several years ago. One of the switch plates had gotten really scuffed up and needed some love. I hung up a switch plate I inked more recently in its place and got to work trying to refurbish the old switch plate.

Since it was a smaller project, I grabbed a sheet of parchment paper and selected a few of the more aqua blue inks and a small synthetic bristle paint brush. I dripped a single drop of ink on the parchment paper at a time and used the paint brush to suck up the ink and dot it onto the switch plate cover.

After I covered all the areas that were scuffed off with my first blue, I let it dry for a an hour or so before I came back with the same process and a different shade of blue.

I repeated the process with a few different shades until the white areas were mostly covered or disguised.

After the white areas were covered, I decided to add some additional gold/brass ink to break up the blue a bit and add a little bit of shimmer to the switch plate. I used Pinata Brass, a pipette to drip rubbing alcohol, and a can of air.

I had stamped some gold ink onto the plate when I first inked it (the yellower areas are the old gold ink), so I knew some metallic ink would look good with the aqua blue. I dripped a drop of the metallic ink onto the switch plate and then dripped a drop of rubbing alcohol onto the drop of metallic ink.

Then I used the canned air to blow the metallic ink around.

I layered the metallic ink all over the plate and then added a bit of blue ink on with a paint brush to break it up in places so that it would remain a subtle shimmer.

Once I was satisfied with the way my ink looked, I let it dry over night, and then I sprayed it with a light coat of Kamar Varnish. I let that dry for about an hour and came back with another coat just to make sure all of the ink was sealed before moving on. Multiple light coats are better than a few heavy coats, so if you're not sure you covered the whole surface, let it dry and put on another coat.

Then I followed it up with 3 light coats of Triple Thick Crystal Clear Glaze. I probably could have used a 4th to make sure I got the edges sealed well, but I'm impatient. :) The face of the switch plate was shiny and smooth and didn't scratch with the edge of my nail, so I called it a day.

I really liked how the brass turned out on the switch plate. I wish I had gotten better pictures of the process. It's got a lovely subtle shimmer; I can't wait to hang it back up!

Monday, March 1, 2021

Craft Update: Stamped Alcohol Ink Switch Plates

Over 6 1/2 years ago I decorated my first set of switch plate covers with alcohol ink. Since then, I've made a few more sets, but the only ones that were actually hanging up in my house were these two that I made almost 7 years ago. Well the switch cover that was being used for our closet light, which gets used every day (sometimes multiple times) was showing signs of wear. It had gotten scuffed and scratched.

When I made my first set of switch plate covers, I didn't know about all of the good sealants to use on alcohol ink. I used matte mod podge spray because it didn't react with inks (at least not noticeably--which is strange because the glossy mod podge spray definitely does react with inks). I put a couple of coats of it on and called it good.

Truthfully, it did pretty well. That light switch gets used a lot. We really only started noticing the scuffs in this last year. They were probably slowly accumulating over time and the pattern helped to hide them a bit until it got to this point.

The other switch cover that I have hanging up is in our guest room. It doesn't get used very much and seems to be holding up very well. Another thing I was pleased to see was that neither of these switch covers have faded much in all this time. We keep the blackout curtains pulled most of the time in our bedroom, and the guest room switch is on a sidewall away from the window (and it's a north facing window). I'm guessing they would look a little paler if they were in direct light.

So I decided it was time to take down the scuffed up switch plate. I replaced it with one from a batch I made a couple of summers ago. I sealed these with Kamar and a couple coats of some variety of acrylic sealer. I noticed as I was hanging this one, the screwdriver scratched the switch cover, so I'll need to get some good coats of sealer on these in the future to prevent scratches.

So that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to fix up the old switch plate cover and see if I can find a good combo of sealers! The weather looks warm enough this week to spray--so check back next week for the completed redo!