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!